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Forum topic by RayD posted 03-02-2013 08:35 AM 2000 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1930 days

03-02-2013 08:35 AM

So I just had a Harbor Freight open up down the road from my house. Every review i read has pretty much terrible things about their tools. Anyone have any diamonds in the rough from them? I’m dying to go check it out, but don’t want to waste my time…

-- -Ray

33 replies so far

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2021 days

#1 posted 03-02-2013 09:04 AM

Just look carefully at what you buy. I have a belt/disc sander that is about 5 years old and it works great for me. I have several hand held power tools and they are OK as well. Just got the 2 HP duct collection system, so far so good on it. It is absolutely worth checking out.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View Bobmedic's profile


379 posts in 2797 days

#2 posted 03-02-2013 09:06 AM

Their 2 hp dust collector is decent. It is identical to the Rikon that sells for twice as much. I have one and like it. They have coupons for the quick grip type clamps for 1.99 each that you really can’t beat. The clamps are not top quality but for 1.99 you can’t go wrong. The 14” bandsaw is also decent with a few modifications. I’mconvinced they are all made in the same factory as the Jet and Powermatic.

View BigJerryWayne's profile


138 posts in 2098 days

#3 posted 03-02-2013 09:29 AM

I have several bar clamps that work well.

-- An oak tree is just a nut that stood it's ground.

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2670 days

#4 posted 03-02-2013 12:24 PM

HorizontalMike started a thread with “Harbor Freight Gems”, or diamonds in the rough, if you will.

Ultimately, it is hit or miss on any paticular item. With the store close by, go ahead & buy something and either return it for credit/refund or replacement. It IS worth the risk, when you are trying to equip a shop on a budget.

They have a very good reputation for returns, usually with almost no questions asked. Keep your reciept & read their “Return Policies”. Some of their hand tools carry a lifetime guarantee.

Many a LumberJock have outfitted their shop with HF stuff & are producing great results.

BTW: Welcome to LJs & remember to have fun making saw dust!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View LoydMoore's profile


105 posts in 1952 days

#5 posted 03-02-2013 12:47 PM

Google “Harbor freight 20% off coupon March”. One of the links will allow you to print off a coupon. I copy and paste into a Word document @ 6/page. At the first of every month I print out about 18 and just keep them in the truck.

Best part is you can use the coupons at Home Depot and Lowes.

I have both dust collectors, pad sande, belt sander, disc sander, sawsaw, doxens of clothes pin clamps, bar clamps and several hand tools. I just did a review of the HF flush cut saw – an excellent hand tool.

Haven’t used it yet but the router inlay kit is $10 and looks exactly like the $35 kit I have had for years.

-- Loyd, San Angelo, TX

View RayD's profile


6 posts in 1930 days

#6 posted 03-02-2013 01:00 PM

Thanks for everyone’s input. I couldn’t resist and went in to check it out last night. It’s has the feel of the Kmart of tools! I got a few of the 60” aluminum bar clamps ($12.99) and the 6” digital calipers ($9.99). I did see the dust collection that looked decent. I’ll prob grab that next weekend when they have their “sidewalk grand opening sale”

Thanks again!

-- -Ray

View HorizontalMike's profile


7755 posts in 2909 days

#7 posted 03-02-2013 01:12 PM

Boy! I use my HF digital caliper ALL of the time! Good choice.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View AJswoodshop's profile


1057 posts in 2272 days

#8 posted 03-02-2013 01:26 PM

I have this sander and it works great. It one of my most used and I’ve never had any problems with it. Some of there products can be low-quality, just really look carefully at there tools. I buy all of these type of clamps at harbor freight, they are really cheap and work just as good as any other clamp.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2956 days

#9 posted 03-02-2013 01:29 PM

HF is like anyone- you get a gem or junk. Since it is close, you have the advantage of being able to return anything that isn’t up to par. My HF store is 30 miles away so returning something isn’t cheap with gas prices or time effective.

View bbasiaga's profile


1232 posts in 1990 days

#10 posted 03-02-2013 01:40 PM

HF tools are indeed made in the same factory as Jet, Grizz, etc. The main difference is in the tolerance the brand accepts in the parts. So Jet has a higher tolerance than crafstman, who has a higher tolerance than HF. What this means is Jet gets only the best machines that come off the line, Craftsman the best to middling, and HF best to worst. So the best HF machine can be as good as the best Jet, but the worst Jet should be much better than the worst HF. In reality what happens is the factory makes only so many ‘best’ machines, so Jet gets most, craftsman gets a few, an hf may get none.

The real interesting thing: at least at one point in time if you were willing to buy a container load full, specify a paint color and figure out the import paperwork, you could buy direct from the same factories they do. NorthernFreightJock tools anyone?


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View syenefarmer's profile


488 posts in 3076 days

#11 posted 03-02-2013 08:50 PM

The thing to watch out for from Harbor Freight is the batch they have in stock on the shelf today may or may not be of the same quality level as what’s on the shelf next week. Things that have a power cord or battery will always be a guessing game until you use it. Hand tools, etc should be examined closely before leaving the store but will generally be OK for light to moderate usage. My opinion of most products sold at HF is that if you intend to really use your purchase hard or often then you should shop elsewhere. There is much in that store that can save a home owner/hobbyist some serious cash but also much that can be like taking a match to money.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#12 posted 03-02-2013 09:06 PM

Don’t forget to pick up one of their $14.99 hvlp spray guns they work great.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View History's profile


399 posts in 1977 days

#13 posted 03-02-2013 09:35 PM

RayD : So I just had a Harbor Freight open up down the road from my house. Every review i read has pretty much terrible things about their tools. I would have to jump on that bandwagon also. Anyone that knows anything about tools and machinery knows that Harbor Freight is a waste of time and your hard earned money.

View bandit571's profile (online now)


19972 posts in 2679 days

#14 posted 03-02-2013 09:43 PM

Aw, come on, SAWSUCKER, telll us how you really feel…...LOL

I have a few items from there. A $9 “bench plane#33” is an absolute GEM! have mine set up as a scrub plane.

I have one of their 5-speed bench top Drill presses, for the last couple of years, and still going good. It does all that I need it to do.

Not sure WHICH H-F store sawsucker actually WENT into, but it wasn’t the same one I go to.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#15 posted 03-02-2013 09:51 PM

Well, a waste of time and money is relative. My HF DC has been a value, brad nails have worked well.
Just a point of opinion I guess.
I’d buy the DC again. The bags were rock collectors. Replaced ‘em with good felted bags from Highland.
Other than that, the incedental “parts and pieces” have been a price/value purchase.
The stupid narrow crown stapler is a good value.
Ya pays your money, and ya takes your chances.
Ya wanna really take your chances? Buy C’man and MinWax.
I’ll not go any farther with that comment.


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