Harbor Freight different model numbers?

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 01-24-2015 05:47 PM 6096 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4794 posts in 3268 days

01-24-2015 05:47 PM

I’m sure anyone who has looked at the HF catalogs, sees 2 or even 3 tools, same tool, same price, but different item numbers. The reviews may be different for either tool. Take for example the 10” sliding miter saw; one has rave reviews and the other not so. I have been in the situation where I wanted the tool with the best review, but a different one was substituted with a less than good review. When questioned, HF would say “they are the same tool”. If they are the same, then why the different reviews. I wanted a trim router and the oscillating sander and both times I had only the choice of the tool with the poor review. What goes here? I have a store locally, but I ordered the router online, telling them I wanted ONLY the item number for the better review. They said they would, but when I received it, it was the poor model. I returned it to the store, but they would refund the shipping and handling.

5 replies so far

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2099 days

#1 posted 01-24-2015 06:47 PM

can you provide an example? I was surprised by what you said and went looking…couldn’t find it. I called and asked and the answer I got was “different shipping lots” associated with price indexes and on hand merchandise. This I can understand. It very well could be the same tool and manufacturer but shipped after a price adjustment. original stock is sold at the old price while the new rate is applied to new stock. As far as the reviews are concerned that could very well be the sentiment of the person who reviewed the tool. Just a case in point: I went to buy a CMS when they were on a special and I had a coupon. I needed to wreck one for cutting pavers on a patio job. I walked in the store and they had a return by the front counter at a reduced price. I went through the store and picked up a diamond blade to install on the martyr and then picked up the saw. As I paid for the saw a fellow in the checkout behind me started up! He had brought that saw back because it was such a piece of garbage and wouldn’t cut, wouldn’t cut square,,, he could cut faster with a hand saw, on and on for about 2 minutes as I was carrying it out of the store. This interspersed with his “years of experience” in woodworking and and how he knew “Not to buy keeper tools at harbor freight now”. Well I just got a sacrificial tool for a job that if it just held out long enough to finish I would be satisfied with. I got home and opened the box. On the top styro foam block was the inscription in big letters “this saw is a piece of ….” Not to worry, right? It was doomed to a life of torture and death anyway. I got it out of the box and plugged it in, pulled the trigger…VROOM! sounded good! but there was a small scent of something burning….uh-oh! I tried it again…VROOM! funny smell. “Well” I thought “It could be worse… It could be dead out of the box and I can bring it back” I took the diamond blade out of the package and got to the wrench to install the blade. As I pulled the guard out of the way I noticed what the other fellows problem had been. The blade was on backwards! That saw that I got super cheap is still making the rounds to friends and friends of friends houses doing finish trim and patio blocks depending on the blade that has been installed for three Years! It still cuts good miters and runs strong! SAME SAW! one bad review and one excellent review lol.

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

10533 posts in 3453 days

#2 posted 01-24-2015 07:06 PM

REO, Now, that was funny.

I almost returned a band saw blade because the teeth were pointing up.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View MrUnix's profile


6766 posts in 2224 days

#3 posted 01-24-2015 07:15 PM

I’ve seen where the same item has 2 or three different numbers.. 99% of the time they are identical with very, very slight changes that are barely noticeable.. like a different style/color handle or a slightly different shaped housing. Reviews at HF are basically worthless as far as I’m concerned.. I’ve seen some of the strangest complaints, usually from people who have no clue and/or people trying to do something with an item that it wasn’t designed for. Granted, I’d never buy a power tool from them unless I need it for a one-off project or plan on trashing it in the process and don’t care about longevity.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View MrRon's profile


4794 posts in 3268 days

#4 posted 01-24-2015 08:32 PM

One item in particular was the oscillating drum sander. I read glowing reviews on that tool, but after reading all the reviews, I was warned about the new item number not being the same as the older item number. The newer item had faults that were not on the older item. I pulled the instruction manuals on both models and yes they were different, although they looked identical on the outside. I’m not in a position to shell out $800 for a top line model from a top name company, so I have to look at HF for many of my needs. I don’t know how HF operates. Maybe their lesser model is made in a different factory that cheapens it even more.

View scottstef's profile


18 posts in 1306 days

#5 posted 01-24-2015 08:47 PM

in the old days the last digit was used for pricing. if you were shopping online and put an item in the your shopping cart, you could adjust the last digit and get the sale prices, or lowest prices. not that i would ever do anything like that, bout some people told me it could be done

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