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Forum topic by MrRon posted 03-15-2014 07:36 PM 1505 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5275 posts in 3483 days

03-15-2014 07:36 PM

Sawstop would probably take 1st place when it comes to pros and cons. People on both sides are passionate with their opinions regarding this tool. I doubt that anything more than a stalemate will ever happen. This is NOT another SS thread.
Another topic of interest has recently risen into our consciousness; Harbor Freight. Just a short while back, HF was cursed and not considered to be in the same class as name brand tools. There were no reviews of HF tools, either good or bad. Many just considered HF as just plain junk, not worthy of discussion. Recent reviews of HF tools has put them in a more favorable light. They now have many tools that are worthy of comparison with the name brands. I have read that HF deals directly with the manufacturers, eliminating the middle man and thereby offering lower prices. If this is true, then they have a definite edge over it’s competition. True, they still sell some junk, but so do the others. I believe HF will be a tough competitor in the future. They are in a position where they can go up while the others can go down. For the casual and even dedicated woodworker, HF can be more than adequate. The professional who uses his tools hard and on a daily basis, may not find HF adequate for his needs. He will be using more expensive tools from people like Milwaukee, Snap-On or Festool that cost 5 to 10 times more. If you visit the “reviews” page, you will notice reviews of HF tools are getting more positive; to me that means they are gradually improving their image and their products. The review of their pocket hole jig is a good example of the direction they are headed. Other companies should take notice.

17 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12468 posts in 2620 days

#1 posted 03-15-2014 07:38 PM

Yeah, you just made it a Sawstop thread. Enjoy.

-- Rick M,

View bondogaposis's profile


5153 posts in 2591 days

#2 posted 03-15-2014 07:47 PM

I’ll be looking forward to the day when HF sells a 10” table saw that won’t eat hotdogs for $150. With the 20% off coupon it will be $120, maybe I should wait for a sale.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View bbc557ci's profile


595 posts in 2314 days

#3 posted 03-15-2014 08:22 PM

So then you wanna make this a Harbor Freight thread ;o)

Much if not most of what HF sells is sub par, just my opinion. That said however, I do have their 2hp dust collector, and a couple of weeks ago I bought a digital caliper from HF. Do I really believe it’s accurate?...I have no idea, but maybe, kind’a….??

I think maybe HF is becoming more popular because the known/major tool manufactures have and have been lowering their standards/quality, but not their prices. Why pay $100.00 for for a sub par tool manufactured in china with the known XXX or YYY manufacturers name stamped on it, when you can get about +,- the same performance from a china HF tool for 1/2 the price. Not saying that’s a good thing by any means, just reality.

Most of my WW tools are old, but of good quality. Some I bought used due to price/quality and some I bought many years ago, when the quality was actually good. If I need a new tool that needs to be accurate and perform, I doubt I’ll be buying it from HF. I’ll buy nickle/dime items from HF from time to time but don’t see myself buying anything major from them. But who knows, maybe their quality will improve, right?

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3557 days

#4 posted 03-15-2014 08:35 PM

Some people will pay more for an American-made product simply because it’s American-made. Other people will pay more for a foreign-made product simply because it’s not American-made.

I have purchased many products from Harbor Freight at prices that, to me, represent value. I have also purchased some products from them at prices that turned out to not represent value, but I was not out all that much cash and, almost always, got that purchase price refunded to me.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Manitario's profile


2705 posts in 3123 days

#5 posted 03-15-2014 08:43 PM

All I care about is if the tool does what it is intended to do. My personal experience with “cheap” tools, eg. HF, is that they have a higher chance of having flimsy parts, poor design or early death. That said, I’ve had “cheap” tools that have been awesome, and expensive tools that have sucked.
As for Sawstop…the vast majority of the arguments against it seem to be about the safety mechanism/Steve Gass/copyright laws/safety legislation….not really logical; would be the same as getting angry about tablesaws being legislated to have a riving knife. Bottom line is that safety mechanism aside it is an excellent tablesaw, on par with Powermatic, with excellent customer service.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4200 days

#6 posted 03-15-2014 08:49 PM

Ya don’t wanna get me started on Craftsman. Once a brand that could be trusted. No so today.
HF has a place, and judging by the traffic at our local store, it is meeting a certain level of need. Can’t fault ‘em for that.
Now lemme go fire up my HF dust collector. :)


View Sawdustmaker115's profile


306 posts in 1961 days

#7 posted 03-15-2014 08:51 PM

+1 on Bondo Gaposis comment lol
I’ve had my fair share of junk from HF. But at the same time
I’ve gotten stuff that’s really good.
I bought an angle cube their to set my blades and tables to the right
bevel, that thing has been dead on. In my opinion Pittsburgh and
Chicago are decent brands. I have a Chicago impacter i have to say im really
impressed with it, and i plane to buy an 18volt hammer drill there. So yeah i feel HF is a place to get
really crap tools, but at the same time they sell some decent stuff at great prices.

-- Anthony--

View bandit571's profile (online now)


22016 posts in 2923 days

#8 posted 03-15-2014 08:51 PM

lets see, A bench top drill press @$70 or so, with five speeds, about all I NEED for the work I do. It did need a small set screw in a pulley, but that was about $0.49… had it for almost two years, no problems.

Spent $10 or so on a small handplane, A Windsor #33. It has turned out to be about the best small ( Stanley #40 size) scrub plane ever. One hungry little beast.

Pittsburg pro line of hand tools, like their BIG Cresent wrenches, a set of long allen headed sockets, a set of T handled ones. I don’t really trust the ratchets, though.

IF you need CHEAP sanding belts for a one-of job, then throw the mess out, these are decent. Sheet sandpaper…...don’t buy.

They also sell a decent set of metal tool boxes, including US General ones.

There was someting about a angle grinder?

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

View Farrout's profile


187 posts in 3394 days

#9 posted 03-15-2014 08:55 PM

I bought a circular blade sharpener a paint sprayer at HF. Both did what I wanted them to do. Since I am an amateur and need each maybe once a year, they meet my need. I bought a roll around cart that is just barely able to hold itself up. I might have saved my money there.
I do find it interesting that on their web site, there are customer comments and ratings.
I buy tie wraps, rubber gloves, general purpose grease, and respirators there.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30153 posts in 2578 days

#10 posted 03-15-2014 09:13 PM

I think being selective on what you buy is important. Also, how critical does the performance matter compared to the cost. I have a few HE tools that work fine. I know some of their products are not very good. However, I can find products at Lowes and Menards that are subpar as well. I have many cheaper clamps. I know in some cases they won’t hold as well alone. I can’t afford that many Bessie clamps. It’s a trade off.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View darthford's profile


612 posts in 2164 days

#11 posted 03-15-2014 10:18 PM

Why not HF when it makes sense. I needed a cheap buffer I wasn’t looking for a lifetime tool. HF had one for like $48, I actually thought it was too cheap so I went over to Sears. Sears had the exact same buffer same casting same motor same everything and wanted $129, I returned to HF and bought theirs. Also bought a chain hoist at HF and get my Evapo-Rust at HF. Not much else, I buy there when I need a throw away item.

Regarding SS I was at my local wood working store today, I saw the SS Pro 3hp on display man it looked like a toy compared to my Grizzly, dinky and thin.

View Kelly's profile


2187 posts in 3184 days

#12 posted 03-16-2014 12:03 AM

Probably 99% of the tools in my shop are PC, Bosch, Dewalt, Delta and so forth. That said, I love HF.

I have friends I feel I owe favors and when they want to borrow a tool, I’ve been known to buy a HF grinder and never ask for it back. I’ve seen them with tools and I don’t want them touching mine. By the way, they never gave them back either.

I have a small herd of bar clamps and are, certainly, not orange, and I’ve been very happy with them. However, I bought four more recently and the handles spins on one. Oh well.

I bought an impact for a job and presumed it disposable. Eventually, it got replaced by a Bosch and since it wouldn’t die, I gave it to a kid trying to start out in a handyman business.

View JollyGreen67's profile


1676 posts in 3003 days

#13 posted 03-16-2014 01:14 AM

When I am in the market for a power tool, I go to the manufacturers site and look at the breakdown of the tool, to see if it has real bearings, or bushings. I will not buy a tool with bushings. I was in the market for a stationary belt/disc sander. Looked at Ryobi – bushings. Looked at PC – bushings. Looked at HF – bearings. Also looked at angle drills, stopped when I got to HF – bearings, $29.99 ! It’s been in constant use sanding turnings on the lathe for at least two years. Same type from Milwaukee and Sioux was over $200.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected ! RIP 09/08/2018

View TarHeelz's profile


62 posts in 2321 days

#14 posted 03-16-2014 01:29 AM

I enjoy controversy, thus my:

1) Sawstop 3HP PCS; hooked up to; a
2) HF Dust Collector.

-- Tar Heelz, Durham, NC USA

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3486 days

#15 posted 03-16-2014 01:54 AM

My last job was in a stainless steel fab shop, making really big, precise lab type equipment. About half of the assemblers had pretty much all HF hand tools. Were they as good as snap-on or old craftsman, no. But they did the job just fine, no issues. Most all of us were using HF pneumatic angle die grinders. Only saw one failure. An angle grinder of unremembered age, that was given to the apprentices for the abuse and pleasure.

FYI, their 6” digital calipers are as accurate as a starrett, QA tested all of ours.

Rumor has it that HF edits out the bad reviews on their site.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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