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logo-best-comments.jpgNormally we use this weekly post to hail a particular favorite comment, but this week we’d like to ask for your opinion.  We’ve posted a few times regarding Harbor Freight’s sales flyer, and each time it’s elicited a number of comments both good and bad regarding their tools’ quality and price.  Clearly they sell some very inexpensive tools, and clearly some of them are below standard.

Clearly some shops — like the body shop at xxx who builds the famous “Eleanor” cars of Gone In 60 Seconds fame — make good use of them, but we feel like we’ve heard as much negative as positive talk about HF.

We have our own opinions, and we’re preparing a post to express them — but we’d like to hear your thoughts first.  If you would, take a minute to drop a comment here to indicate you’re ideas about HF in the following areas:

1) Do their low prices overcome low tool quality?

2) If you use HF tools, in what areas of work do you use them (and why)?

3) If you don’t use HF tools at all, what’s your reasoning?

Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think!


105 Responses to What do you think of Harbor Freight?

  1. Myself says:

    I only buy things at Harbor Freight if I’m reasonably convinced I’ll only need to use them once, and if I’m sure that a failure won’t unduly inconvenience me. For anything more important, I aim higher.

    Case in point: A single step drill from a reputable brand usually fetches $30 or more, but a few months back, Harbor Freight had a set of three for $15. I’ve used step drills at work and I know how handy they can be, but I don’t do much of that sort of work at home and I certainly wouldn’t pay $100 for a twice-a-year tool. But for $15, I bought a set just to have around.

    On the other hand, last spring I needed a hand-cart. Like, really needed one. Unlike the step drills, I know a hand cart is the sort of thing that gets a lot of use once it’s hanging around, so I wanted some real quality. The offerings at HF were, as we all know, scarcely better than large red toys. I ended up buying a Milwaukee from Home Depot for about twice what I thought was reasonable, but it’s already seen some heavy use that would’ve pulverized the laughable excuses for “bearings” in the HF model. Use that I couldn’t have specifically predicted when I bought it, but of the general sort that I anticipated might crop up.

    They say a craftsman buys the best tools he can afford, and for tools that see regular use, that’s a rule to live by. But sometimes you can’t justify the cost for a tool you’ll only use once, or you don’t even have a specific use for. For those times, Harbor Freight junk is better than nothing.

    There are a few things I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from HF: Air tool quick-connect fittings, for example, are hard to get wrong. The upstream side has some mechanical details that might make a reputable brand worthwhile, but the downstream side is so simple, if it fits, it works. Plastic parts containers are another typically high-markup item that Harbor Freight carries at reasonable prices, with no significant difference in quality. Their extension cords seem decently made, if your demands for abrasion resistance aren’t too severe. Tarp tape, duct tape, and teflon tape I’d buy at HF, but electrical tape has to come from 3M.

  2. weldo says:

    Man I’m disappointed. When I saw this post come into my RSS reader I wanted to jump in with my well thought out contribution. But Myself beat me to it. Actually better said than what I was think’n. Dang it.

  3. Jake Strait says:

    Agreed. If its infrequently used, its hard to justify the cost of an expensive tool. And a cheap tool for the job is better than the wrong one or no tool at all.

  4. Trocero says:

    I do a lot of furniture restoration. The B&D sander that I had for about 10 years finally died. I bought a HF sander and have had no problems with it. This was one of their $20.00 sanders. I figured that I was going to be able to finish the table that I was working on with it and that would be it. The good news is that I not only finished the table but have used it many times over since I layed out the 20 bucks for it. This was about 3 years ago. It has helped me finish sanding projects from wood work to automotive body work.

  5. STL_Guy says:

    I think the quality from HF can be hit or miss. Some things don’t require the best quality, and some things do. I have bought dial calipers, pipe benders, ratcheting bar clamps, and other stuff that I would buy again because they are good quality products. There is however other stuff that if they gave it to me I wouldn’t use. I have found that you really have to lay your hands on the products from HF to inspect the quality before the purchase. Luckily for me there is one in town.

  6. Eli says:

    I bought an angle grinder for 25 bucks. It’s been fine. My prestige would be higher if it matched some of my yellow/black or red/gray tools, but I haven’t regretted the purchase. Sometimes a package of five tape measures can be more useful than one really good one. I agree, HF has it’s place, usually a case by case basis. And the pages aren’t glossy, so you can hang it on a nail in the outhouse….

  7. olderty says:


    We, ok my dad, bought a balancer-puller, engine puller, jack, and engine stand from there. No probs so far on the multiple times it’s been used. Luckily I live close to one of their warehouses so I can go see the level of quality before I (or we) buy something. Like if the piece was built with decent grade metal, has solid welds, etc. Tools for daily use are usually from Craftsman.

  8. Clint Wichert says:

    I love HF. I buy most of my tools there. I choose to shop at Harbor Freight for the following reasons:

    1. The low price more than makes up for the Lack of Quality in some areas. Take for instance their Cordless Drills. 2 years ago I bought an 18V Cordless drill there with an extra battery for 40 Bucks. A co-worker also got a similiar DeWalt Drill for 300 bucks. We both built him a fence a few months ago, and both tools performed well. At the end of the Job, I needed a new drill, so now I have payed 80 bucks compared to his 300 and I was able to get a 24V drill for the same price. It just doesn’t make sense to pay the extra money to me.

    2. I don’t need the best quality for a tool I may only use once or twice. I recently had some quarter round to put down on top of some new wood floors I installed in my house. It didn’t make sense to me to spend 100-200 dollars on a finishing nail gun that I am going to use one or twice in my life. I got one at HF for 20 bucks, and if it breaks the next time I need use it I’ll just buy another one.

    3. I’m not a Brand snob. Most of my co-workers buy Craftsman sockets and Milwaukee drills so that when people come over to their house or garage, other can be impressed with their tools. I can understand paying money for quality tools if your profession dictated, but mine does not. I buy tools for use. I want them to work when I pick them up. If I can get them cheaply, I can use that money to buy other tools, or more materials. I don’t care what the brand name is. To me it is simple economics.

  9. Rick says:

    Great topic..
    I’ll try not to repeat some of the other sentiments already voiced here..

    Overall, I like HF for their cheap prices. Right now, that’s my primary driver. And like someone said, sometimes a crappy tool is better than the wrong or no tool at all. Case in point – I’m trying to do some of my own work on my car, and old 17 year old BMW 5 series. One of the maintenance items coming up is a valve adjustment. I needed a torque wrench, but I knew that a.) I didn’t need to be accurate down to the hundredth of a ft-lb.. and b.) I knew that I would use it maybe 6 times a year.. and if it lasted a year, then hopefully in a year I can afford to buy a better quality name-brand torque wrench.

    One of the other things I bought recently was a tool chest to store some of my hand tools in the garage (and keep them separate from my dad’s stuff. I really like the Craftsman rolling cabinets, etc. but for a nice big chest you’re looking at $500-1000 – Maybe more like $200-400 if you opt for one of their homeowner models. But right now it’s not something I could afford, so I spent $59 on a cheap one from HF. I was a bit dissappointed with the quality of the materials and the build – but to put it in perspective, I just wanted someplace to keep my tools clean and dry, off the floor and in one place. And this got the job done on the cheap. Considering I don’t lug it from job to job or shop to shop – it’ll likely last me as long as I need it, despite the thin metal and the poor quality latches.

    The other thing I bought – which falls into the “I’ll use it maybe twice or 4 times in the next 5-10 years was a spring compressor. I had rented some individual coil spring compressors from a tool rental place to swap my wife’s front suspension on her Trailblazer and nearly killed myself when one of the compressors swung around to the other side next to the other one as I was trying to relieve the tension. The truck spring was shaped like a C instead of being upright like an I.. In any case, after that I decided that I needed something more than those crappy individual ones. So I bought the HF Strut spring compressor for $40. A buddy had what looked like the same one, and that’s what saved my behind, and my face, and whatever other body part might have gotten mutilated if that spring had let go. Yeah, there are better quality items out there, and yeah, some of his pieces were a bit bent, etc. on some of the adjusters and the pins that lock the spring onto the compressor.. but it still got the job done. And in no time flat. I figure, if I use it 4 times, it’ll pay for itself.. and if I use it twice, it’ll still be worth it. I expect to swap the suspension on my car, and I may end up having to swap out my wife’s front shocks as well. Without the right tool, I could get hurt at worst, or at best, it’ll take me the better part of a day and a lot of sweat and frustration, not to mention some choice words to get the job done. With the right compressor, I’ll be done in about an hour or two tops, with much fewer headaches and expletives. Not to mention it leaves me more time to work on my own car, or spend some quality time with my daughter.

    That all said.. I’m in the market for a good combination wrench and socket set for automotive use. Considering I own both foreign and domestic and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, I need something comprehensive. (SAE and Metric).. But you can bet that for something like that – that should last a lifetime, and will get use on pretty much every job – I’ll not be looking to HF for the solution. In the meantime I’ll keep saving my pennies and borrowing my dad’s Craftsman set (that I incidentally gave him about 12 years ago for Christmas.. I knew I shold have gotten the bigger set… someday I’ll inherit it.)

    That’s it for me..

    – Rick

  10. Rick says:

    Ok fine.. so I lied..
    I meant to mention some of the stuff I bought from HF that I would buy again:
    Roller seat with tool tray – $20
    Flourescent worklight on a reel – to attach to my ceiling joist in the garage – $40
    Magnetic Tool trays – bought three at $0.99 each
    1000 assorted cable ties – $3.99
    13 pc – precision knife set (I use that term loosely) – $3.99 (think X-acto knife only more disposable)
    Magnetic tool holder (screws to wall to hold whatever) $4.99

    All of those get the job done, there’s not much to them that can break in terms of poor quality, and spending any more for something nicer just didn’t make any sense. Especially with some of the prices.. I mean the magnetic tool trays are basically 4″ dishes with a rubber bottom, so I can actually put it on my fender and not worry about damaging the paint, and the cost 99 cents!.. I could have bought something a bit larger, or brand named for $10 or more.. but here I’ve got 3 of them, and I could buy another dozen and still come out on top, and get the use out of them that I need (i.e. to hold screws and bolts, etc. )

    ok.. now definitely, that’s it for me.. for now..

  11. James B says:

    Bad: wood bandsaw switch, angle grinder switch, holdfast broke in half, c-clip plyers bent in half, chisels bent and flattned, heat gun broken out of box, c-clamp broke, ring roller slips, biscuit cutter worthlessly sloppy, big vice cracked in half

    Good: wood bandsaw with new blocks and timberwolf blade works well, horizontal metal bandsaw with baldor motor and blade upgrade works great, 3-in-1 milling machine with no problems, ornamental metal bender, disposable angle grinders, engine stand, anvil, hammers, twist and bradpoint drill bits, high-lift style jack, hollow chisel mortiser with some modifications, work table,

    summary: switches fail often, metal castings are weak for clamps and vices but good for power tools, anything that needs to be reallly tough or hard should come from elsewhere

  12. Harry says:

    I only buy stuff that won’t hurt me or damage what I’m working on when using it. As a mechanic, I have two sets of their impact sockets and a 231 clone 1/2 impact wrench that I lone out to new hires until they get established. That way if it walks or fails, I’m not out that much and my personal expensive tools stay safe. The stuff has held up well so far. HF fills a void for cheap and often disposable tools. I think the problem is that people want to get a professional quality product at the HF price and then complain about it when it fails.

  13. BC says:

    I have a shop full of HF tools from hand tools to large power tools. I’ve spent thousands of dollars there and I have very few regrets as most of them have served me well for many years. You will not get the best tool on the market but you will get a quality tool at an awesome price 90% of the time. The only large tools that I decided not to buy at HF were my table saw and miter saw. Those are the two tools I use the most and need to be very accurate. The rest are green.

    • indentured1 says:

      How can you spend thousands at Harbor Freight? You could buy the entire store for $999. Including the real estate in most cases.

  14. I’ve posted here on this subject before… My name is Marc and I’m a Harbor Freight junkie.

    What can I add to the discussion… Well, first of all, their sheet metal is uniformly thin and crappy, and anything that incorporates sheet metal in a critical place (hinges, for instance, in their folding work table) is a bad buy no matter how cheap they price it. And their “precision” tools are made to, shall we say, pre-Columbia NASA tolerances. Other than that, my experiences have been consistently great.

    I buy at HF when I’m doing a job that I KNOW will destroy whatever tool I use to do it. Cases in point:
    – I drill a lot of 2.5″ cable holes in desktops and cabinets. (2.5″ with a grommet fits a parallel printer cable.) Now, MDF sheathed in melamine is a nasty, nasty business for a hole saw – or for the drill motor itself, come to that. I’ve destroyed many hole saws in the course of my career. They die whether I buy them for $15-20 at Home Despot, or $1.99 at HF. Guess which I prefer?
    – When I need to cut lots and lots of rectangular holes in drywall, my cutout tool is much faster than a drywall saw. (It’s a generic Rotozip – sort of a cross between a high-speed drill and a heavy-duty Dremel. Or a one-hand router. Whatever, it does the job.) Unfortunately, this raises a hell of a lot of dust, which gets into the motor and burned out my original Rotozip ($80) and my first cutout tool ($19). My second cutout tool is going strong, and when it dies I won’t be replacing it with a Rotozip!

    Tools from HF that continue to make me happy:
    – 10″ mitre saw (not exactly high-precision – I have a nicer one for that – but very portable and durable.)
    – Drill press
    – Air compressor
    – Drywall texture gun (Home Depot wanted FOUR TIMES what I paid for this, and I can’t see any room for improvement, really)
    – Cordless drill
    – Reciprocating saw
    – Tile cutter
    – Estwing hammer (DIRT cheap)
    – Solar battery charger (I need a new car battery, but I’m putting it off by leaving this on my dashboard. $19 and works great!)
    – Solar Malibu-style garden lights, $5 each
    – Work gloves
    – Tarps and bungies
    – Anvils and vises
    – Pipe wrenches
    – you get the picture…

    Also, I really like the ambience of the store – I feel like a kid again, somehow.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

  15. Brian D says:

    More of the same, I love HF for those seldom used or disposable tools but I buy my precision or mission critical items elsewhere.
    To add to the goodboy/bad boy list:
    Good: 8×12 folding trailer, several drill bit and chisel sets, lots of consumables (teflon tape, wire wraps heat shink tube, tarps, etc.)
    Bad: Electric Chainsaw, 6×4 trailer
    Average: Hand tools of all sorts

  16. Dean in Des Moines says:

    I’ve been to the local HF twice. Each time I was sorely displeased and bought nothing.

  17. Jason says:

    That $19 Lithium Ion screwdriver I bought at HF is still going strong. I’ve used it about once a week for a few months and haven’t recharged it yet.

  18. Ryan says:

    I would use HF tools for the occational job. However for some things I would think twice. Any job in which a tool is used for safety, such as a jack stand, I demand quality. I will not go cheap on ANYTHING which if failed would result in death or injury. In my opinion, my life is worth a few extra bucks.

  19. Eric Corson says:

    I have a dim view of HF, yet skim there mailer cover to cover. My boss luvs habor freight and goes there to “relieve stress”. He bought us a parts cleaner that works ok. Also a mig welder cart-A JOKE- metal was so thin it “parallel-o-grammed” when bolted together! I actually fixed it by welding joints and removing cheapo wheels, mounting on plywood and adding heavyduty casters-all on company time, of course. Also note to boss-those bargain sawzall blades arent much of a bargain if the teeth are not harder than the mild steel you are cutting! We got a good laugh out of that one! HAHA!

  20. spokehedz says:

    Most of what I feel about HF has already been said. However, if Mythbusters have taught me anything, “If it’s worth doing, then it’s worth overdoing!”

    Main reasons for shopping there: Cost, ‘hackability’, and ‘cool’.

    Cost: Everybody is cheap to a point. Cost is always a driving factor–both negative and positive. If a tool is ‘cheap’ then it must be cheap, right? Most people have this stigmata about HF. It’s cheap, therefore it will break. This is not always the case, although sometimes it is. I woulden’t buy things from HF when I was making a jet engine, but if I’m slapping a new wheel onto a go-kart… Then HF is okay. And the plus side is that if it works for a while, then i’ve got a bargin. if it breaks, then I buy a new/better one. I still won’t be out the money, as i got use out of the tool until it failed. I am not a professional–i don’t need professional tools. Therefore, I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on tools that are above my skill level.

    Hackability: I don’t always use the parts I buy from there for the intended use. The digital callipers i bought from there were ‘stock’ for all of 3min before I cut off the ends and made them into Digital Linear Scales. Put those on my friend’s mill (also from HF, I might add) and now he can prototype new designs in his garage with a lot more accuracy than before. And when he wants to go CNC, it’s a hop-skip-and-a-jump over instead of 30K for just thinking about it. All in, he has spent less than 1500 on the mill, a new gearbox, the Caliper/DLS, and some other odds and ends. Tools are what you make of them.

    Cool: I admit–some stuff I just buy because it’s cool. Do I need the 65K high-speed airtool? No. Is it something I might need? Maybe. Is it cool? Heck yea! Sometimes a guy needs to blow a little cash on something cool, just to have it. I’d rather spend the $15 bucks on it and screw around with it than not buy it at all. And if I need it, then I have it.

    And plus, a hammer is a hammer–and a screwdriver is a screwdriver for 99% of the population out there. Think of it like this:

    You can put an entire socket set, driver, wrenches, screwdrivers, electrical wire, tape, zip ties, soldering iron, shrink tubing into one toolbox for under $100 and just KEEP IT IN YOUR CAR in the emergency case you might need it.

    You won’t put your ‘good’ tools in there, ’cause you will need them. But ask yourself this: how handy would that be if you broke down on the side of the road and you needed a wrench to get the stupid radiator cap off.

    And if that don’t convince you, how many of you have kids? Don’t they like to run off with your tools? Yea, thought so. Get your kid their own set of tools and let them use those instead of your $30 wrenches.

  21. James CD says:

    I recently bought a Sherline desktop milling machine, and of course, began discovering several other tools I needed to go along with the hobby. Looking in the local Atlanta area at places like Sears & HF I discovered Sears sells the EXACT same dial indicator that Harbor Freight sells at about 3 times the price. I know this because I bought one from Sears, saw the same thing at HF, and brought it home. Then even after removing the back of both dials they were identical down to the last detail. The same can be said for several other small machinist type tools that Sears sells.

    I bought a cheap tap and die set there for less than $10. I don’t use it much, and when I do, it’s usually on soft aluminum. For my purposes it works just fine. If I worked with harder metal and/or needed more precision I’m sure I would have to shop elsewhere.

    I also got a very cheap electronic (digital) caliper there, too. For me, it works fine.

    So, like several others on here have noted, I would think twice about buying something very expensive from HF, but it’s definitely worth a little comparison shopping for certain items.

  22. Cometchaser says:

    After reading all the comments about HF, I’m reluctant to buy anything but dispensible items. I’ve been searching for a 10″ or 12″ Sliding Compund Miter Saw on the internet (e-Bay, etc.) and at Sears. Most are either junk or full retail price. If the price appears reasonable, the shipping is exhorbitant.
    I like to save money just like everyone does, and even though I have only occasional use for what I buy, I tend to spend a little extra for the quality. While most of my power tools are Crafstman, I read some blogs about Sears Miter Saws and they weren’t very positive. Broken carry handles and other plastic parts that failed.
    What I’ve gleaned from most of the comments here is that for occasional or discardable stuff, HF is OK. For anything else, save your money if you don’t need it right away and buy better. Above all, inquire about manufacturer guarantee/warranty. HF’s Miter Saws are made by Chicago Electric and carry a very limited g/w.

  23. brew says:

    Just wanted to add a little bit here. I have always been a tool snob, and try to buy the best I can afford. BUT, lately I have found the wonderful world of HF. 🙂

    Do a search on the web for “Harbor Freight gems” there are quite a few lists floating around of tools that people have bought there and had very good luck with, IE. 2hp dust collector, hvlp guns, nitrile gloves, etc. Here are a few to get started,

    #45378 2HP Dust Collector (A true bargin)
    #00623 1″ Dial Indicator
    #05645 Magnetic Base For Dial Indicator
    #34214 Angle Finder
    #36697 Feather Board
    #36221 9″ Drill Press Lock Clamp
    6″ thru 36″ Bar Type Clamps, personally I have over a hundred. only one failurein 7 years.
    #04067 3-Way Edge Clamp
    #31255 ¾” HD Pipe Clamp Set
    C-Clamps, All Sizes
    #03629 7 Piece Forstner Bit Set (Good starter set)
    #35837 29 Piece Brad Point Wood Drill Bit Set
    #30756 7-Function Multitester
    #41558 Magnetic Light
    #47257 6″ Digital Caliper (A true bargin)
    #44566 Stacked Dado Set (A good first set)
    #37861 10 Piece T-Handle Hex Key Set
    #41796 1LB. Dead Blow Hammer
    #90007 3 Piece SAE Ratcheting Wrench Set
    #90008 3 Piece Metric Ratcheting Wrench Set
    #42304 9 Piece SAE Wrench Set
    #42305 9 Piece Metric Wrench Set
    #00621 Spring Loaded Pumch
    #00659 Magnetic Parts Holder
    #42288 Magnetic Pick-Up Tool

    #93656 23ga pinner
    #42253 18ga brad nailer
    #44667 18ga bran/stapler I’ve put on a couple of shake roofs with this.
    #46320 50′ auto return hose reel, $80. As good as any on the market for $200.
    #46104 25′ auto return reel, $40.
    #00406 Jitterbug. Used it n used it n used it ……
    #43430 great gravity feed gun
    #46719 the little brother to the 43430
    #00086 Conventional hi pressure touch up gun
    #30224 Standard hi pressure 1qt gun
    #00282 Die grinder. Had it for 12 yrs or so still works fine.
    #52845 Mini die grinder with 1/8″ collet
    #46524 rev 3/8″ drill
    #07528 rev 1/2″ drill
    #00113 Body saw. cut up a whole pickup with this little gem.
    #36567 sheet metal shear
    #34945 3/8″ impact
    #53176 1/2″ impact

    Elect. tools;
    #41831 12-1/2″ planer. Though certainly no equal, design is similar to woodmaster planer.
    #35570 Mortise machine. Put XY vise on it and its just a piece of cake to use.
    #42203 4″ angle grinder. Just won’t die.
    #32222 Hand planer. used it for several doors now, works fine.
    #44914 1/4″ plastic flush trim router. Base isn’t much but works fine. similar to Ryobi, lots cheaper.
    #42596 recip saw. Been beat up some and comes back for more.
    #02957 SDS hammer drill. THese things are cool!! lots better than a hammer and chisle
    #34706 wood lathe
    #30289 6″ jointer. Used the heck outta this thing.

    #44768 solar panel. use them to keep the batteries in the lawn mowers up, over the winter.
    #35841 Propane torch, quartz elect igniter.
    #42396 Clamp on ammeter.
    #04486 3 jaw 2″ mini lathe chuck.
    #37041 Corner chisle for hinge mortises
    #37052 Nitrile gloves.
    #03577 Transfer punches.

  24. Fred Gross says:

    I’ve bought a few things at the HF store in Grand Rapids, MI. I wanted a cheap stick welder and got one from them for $80, on sale from $120. I have used it several times and it works fine for it’s intended purpose. I pulled the lid off to inspect the internals and everything looked well-built.

    I have also had friends buy gear pullers from HF and had them fail the first time out – but for infrequent use items I still believe it’s hard to beat HF.

    I would be much less likely to buy from them if they didn’t have a local store – seeing is believing!

    Fred G

    • Brent Timmer says:

      Just went to the GR store last night lol. The gal behind the counter looked like she wanted to be anywhere but there… man the prices….

      Keep telling myself this stuff has to be junk… but I needed a few things (air compressor, car jack, air hose, grinder, etc.) that I won’t use a ton, but after research they had the best items and for way less than anyone else (mainly the compressor – 5.1CFM 10 gallon, and car jack). I guess time will tell if they are junk.. but look solid so far, and for the price I can just buy another if they break :-p

  25. Nordmann says:

    I recently bought a $12.99 corded drill from HF. I used it for 2 weeks then it up and quit. Walked into the store with the drill in box to return, the manager by the door told me to sit the drill down and go grab another. I was in and out in under 60 seconds.

    The new drill’s been working fine. Its not the greatest drill ever and I plan to buy a nice Li Ion soon, but its a great cheap drill.

  26. dpocius says:

    I’m in agreement with what I’m hearing here. I’m OK with HF if:
    1) Little safety risk or project quality risk if tool fails.
    2) One-time or occasional use.
    3) Quality is matched to application, esp. for consumables.
    4) Cheap entertainment.

    I bought a Chicago Electric hammer drill #45377, marked down to $44. It was the floor item, no box. I think it’s now obsolete? Didn’t notice that chuck key was missing; devil’s own job trying to find one; oddball size. Downloaded the instruction manual from their web site- HF really shines here! Interesting note: tool is made in Russia.

    Bottom line: nicely-made, more rugged than pistol-grip cheapo at similar price. Will probably last a while for small-to-medium duty jobs. I bought it because I desperately needed to drill exactly 4 ea. 3/16″ holes in a concrete floor. 11 bucks a hole, now I have a free hammer drill. How’s that for rationalizing?

    Yeah, I feel like a kid in there, too. Wheee!

  27. rbb says:

    Harbor Freight is a great place to drag the wife or girlfriend to as revenge for them dragging us to the mall ;^)

  28. geo_wil says:

    Cheers, rbb!

    An acquaintance once told me that the main difference in the manufacturing processes between the best and the economical is in quality control. I bought a hammer drill from HF that died after about 3 hours. I have a three horse router that has lasted through 3+ years and 100+ projects. I’ve had mixed results with air nailers and staplers, though in HF defense, I sometimes have had to put them in the hands of inexperienced carpenters. Admittedly, I would have been more upset about it had they been $80 Porter Cables!


    It is always a chance you are taking when you buy any tool. If you are outfitting an entire job/crew, probably best to stick with the cheaper ones. At $25 per trim nailer, you can (hopefully) afford to keep a couple extra around. For myself, I prefer to go with the leaders, unless I need something quick and am waiting to finish/collect on a job. But I still really love my HF router!

  29. eric says:

    Hello, just wanted to add my experience with HF.

    Good: Angle grinder – still going strong after a couple years and lots of uses Electric chain sharpener- works great, dont use it much
    4 in 1 screwdrivers- no complaints after 100s of uses
    extra long needle nose pliers- excellent value for seldom used tools. they did start rusting fast though
    Truck bed organizer bar-still works great after lying in truck bed after a few years. this is the bar that holds things in place so they dont move.
    washer and o-ring assortment- thumbs up. pennies for replacements.

    Bad: angle grinder wheels- wear out extremely fast. but the price cant be beat.
    wire brushes- dont last long at all but again dollar prices you can stock up.
    bench grinder stand- cheap cheap metal broke when bolting it together. didnt use it took it back with no questions asked.

  30. John Davis says:

    This may be an odd post, but I think there are a lot of people like me out there. I was really happy and continue to be happy that I found Harbor Freight. For the first time I can see something I want and not go out and buy it, just to let it sit in the garage when I don’t need it. I seemed to always buy things I knew I would need some time, because they really were great to have on hand.
    Harbor Freight has cured me of that waste of money. I now consider Harbor Freight as “My Garage”. I know it’s always there and WHEN I NEED IT, I can just go get it at a good price. That means I have the money because I didn’t buy 14 different things I didn’t need. It’s like an adult toy store. I can save money by doing things myself with the specialized tool I get WHEN I NEED IT. Now my garage doesn’t have a lot of things in their original boxes that I knew I would need some day- No time wasted finding the right tool I got a year ago. I just go to my “Toy Store” and get it – use it – and then I have it and the money I saved from having the job done in a shop usually either pays for it or makes the tool ridiculously cheap. It feels great to know that I will have whatever I need WHEN I NEED IT. – JD

    • Rednroll says:

      John, I’m one of those people. HF is my BIG garage just like you described. I’m working on repairing something which comes around way too often when you own a house and vehicles. When I’m working on fixing something, I can evaluate it and say to myself, “Do I want to spend all day on this using the tools I currently have or go to the BIG garage (ie HF) and get the “right” tool, knowing I won’t have to pay for that tool by paying off a credit card bill for the next 6 months?

  31. Joe Kovacs says:

    I think pretty highly of HF. They sell exactly what they advertise and mean to sell. As someone else said, Sears tools are exactly the same things from the same sources but Sears consider themselves to be hotshot merchandisers. I have never laid down money for Craftsman and look sort of sideways at pros who do.

    I’m a householder, not a pro. Generally, whatever tool I need, I go straight to HF and get it. They work out fine. They do the job, nothing more, nothing less. When something wears out, I figure I’ll be using that particular thing pretty often, I know what to look for and replace it with a good one from an industrial supply joint.

  32. Zathrus says:

    Ok, to be fair not all of the Sears stuff is exactly the same — wrenches, ratchets, sockets, etc are still “Made in America” and offer a lifetime warranty (note — HF offers a lifetime warranty on many of its sockets as well, but probably only useful if you have a store near you).

    That said, as you say, a lot of the stuff is exactly the same between HF and Sears/HD/Lowe’s or even Snappy/Mac/etc. So why pay the huge markup?

    As others have remarked before me, I’d think twice about buying anything from there that my life will depend on (hoists, jacks, etc), simply because some of the stuff isn’t identical, and it can really matter. And if you go to the stores, they’re far from the pretty aisles of Sears (or even HD/Lowe’s), but that’s part of how they keep their prices down.

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  34. Josh NC says:

    I would say the best value on a power tool at HF is their 13″ 16 speed floor drill press. At just under 200 bucks, they’re less than half the price of comparable models from other brands. I could give you a list of little nit-picky complaints about it, but all-in-all it’s an excellent, well made machine that I’ve used countless times drilling precision holes to 1/2 degree tolerances and .5 mm depth tolerances. A more expensive press may have small, pointless creature comforts and silly features that the HF doesn’t, but they both drill holes equally as well. It’s just that fact that you can get a 500-800 dollar tool for 200 bucks that blows my mind. Also, I’ve never had a single problem with one of their vices of which I’ve had a few.

  35. Bill says:

    I purchase all my bar clamps at HF. For a few dollars each, you can get a very large assortment of different sized bar clamps. Really, what can go wrong with a bar clamp??? I purchased several C-clamps too. Those were all very hard to tighten/loosen, but after applying some 3-in-1 oil to the threads, they work just fine. What really can go wrong with a C-clamp?

    I’ve also purchase assortments of things like electrical connectors, wire ties, sandpaper, etc. Quality really isn’t relevant for things like these.

    Just last week I bought a oscillating spindle sander. I haven’t yet used it (I did turn it on a play with it for a few minutes, but have not yet completed a project with it), but for $95 it was well worth the price. It appears to be well made.

    I’m in the market for a strut spring compressor. I will probably not buy that at HF for safety’s sake. But for things that really can’t break, or tools you will use rarely, you can’t beat the price.

    I’ll never buy screwdrivers, wrench, sockets, etc., at HF because I use the crap out of them. I just know those will never last unless I buy quality.

    I needed a set of knives for my wood lathe. I looked all over for them. Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, etc., does not sell them. Tool Zone does, but they were pricey. I bought a $50 set at HF that has about 10-12 knives. The wood case fell apart immediately, but after re-gluing it, no problem. The knives appear to be decent, but I haven’t put a lot of use into them just yet. Time will tell. For quality knives you will pay like $100-$200 EACH.

    I did buy a small cutoff wheel for my Dremmel (looks like a 1-inch diameter table saw blade). It wasn’t specifically made for a Dremmel, but it fits just fine. It came in a 3-pack, and I only needed it to cut the casing on the doors in my hallway so I could fit laminated flooring underneath them (I have places where two doors meet at a 90-degree angle, so a regular saw couldn’t cut the casing where the two doors meet). The blades wore out fast, but between the 3 blades that came in the kit, it finished the job. For $5 it was well worth it.

    HF has its place, and I will continue to be a loyal shopper there for tools that make sense to buy cheaply.

  36. FELIX says:

    I think its like anything else you buy. Check it out. Granted some things are not made for everyday use (power tools). But many of the handtools I have noticed over the years have greatly improved in quality. I think craftsman sockets have gotten cheaper. I broke all of my craftsman 8mm sockets on a transmission pump housing. Went to HF and got a variety of 8mm sockets to finish the job. Still using the same ones today. Have a straight die grinder ($12.00 HF) that is 22 years old. Have abused it every chance I get. Purchased a Chicago Pnuematic die grinder ($150.00) used it several times and it blew apart. Good thing I had my old HF for back up. I use it for cutting Cobalt/Titanium fan blades on jet engines. Have HF engine hoist, hydraulic strut spring compressors (2 each different models), ball joint and fwd bearing kits and various pullers. All work great. Pnuematic tools from HF are great. Have used 3/4″ and 1″ impacts work just fine. Always watch sales and pick up at good prices. Always buy one for home and work. Electric power tools I have a buffer and angle drill. Did not want to spend alot for occasional use. They work fine when needed. Do see people returning power tools at the HF store. Its obvious they are being used for construction. Manager never hagels. Just gives them another one. It looks like they where in service for quite awhile before they failed. Guy I worked with purchased a cement mixer for his farm. After a lot of use the bearings went out. He talked to the manager. manager ordered him a new set of bearings free of charge. He had the mixer for several years before this had hapened. But check what your buying and its intended use. Would I buy a parachute or an electronic fly swatter no! Would I buy a home do it youself dental kit? Maybe.

  37. Bubba says:

    Harbor Freight/Chicago Electric tools are cheap and dangerous. I have had a tool fall apart which caused a serious injury during the operation of the tool. This tool was straight out of the box and maybe used for 3 hours tops. Save the money and buy a higher quality tool that is not reconditioned and sold as new.

  38. Bubba says:

    1) Do their low prices overcome low tool quality?
    No!! I bought an Electric Tool, Right out of the Box it feel apart and caused a serious injury.

    2) If you use HF tools, in what areas of work do you use them (and why)?
    I would not use them ever again, they are cheap and quality is unsafe. Save the money and buy a higher quality tool.

    3) If you don’t use HF tools at all, what’s your reasoning?
    Cheap, they fall apart, don’t use them if you want to keep any body parts. Why keep buying a cheap tool that needs to be replaced a couple of times when you can buy quality tool and get the job completed. After all, how much is time and safety worth to a person? How much time/money is lost going back to HF to replace that tool (time, Gas, cost of tool)? Just buy a higher quality tool.

  39. Will Williams says:

    HFT is a great tool store there is one about 2 miles from where I live i got a bunch of stuff from them like 90amp flux core wire welder for $100, auto darkening welding shield for $50 301 piece mechanics tool kit for $179.99 with a lifetime warranty, arc 180amp stick welder for $140.00, tons of hand wrenches floor jack stands 3 ton low profile floor jack for $50.00, air ratchet,hose real, paint sprayer, shop light, drill press $50.00, 6.5hp engine with governor removed had for 2 years now and no problem its used on a racing gokart! engine cylinder hone for 16 dollars and works great, etc, etc, etc! I rebuild engines on a daily basis and it is great for the money and there drills and power tools work great just pay a little more for the warranty and you dont have to worry about buying another and ive really got to many tools to mention but most of my tools are 98% harbor freight!!!!

    All there tools i have purchased work great and i use them all the time and they go through a lot of strain!!!

    I have had bad experiences with craftsman tools i bought a drill from them and about a year later it crapped out allong with both the batteries i took it appart and found out that every thing in it is made in china! dont be fooled by the mark (MADE IN USA) its a bunch of shit! Mater of fact ive had more of there tools break than the harbor freight ones and harbor freight does have a lifetime warranty on all there hand tools and a warranty you can purchase for the other tools for a very cheap price and you dont have to ship them anywhere just take it back to your local hf and i also have a craftsman tool chest and the thing is a pile of crapp also the drawers are only 14″ long and like 26″ wide and to belive that i paid 300dollars for that i can pick up a better one at hf for that price!! and a extremely huge one for 900.00 (Sorry if i offended anyone but im just telling my experience of both)!!!

  40. Money Pit Dweller says:

    Reality hit me when I paid for the comparison between cheaply made products sold at Home Depot or Lowes, and similar quality items from HF. For example, I bought a tool that cleans copper pipes prior to soldering at HD for eight bucks and the same one was available for less than two, with no loss of quality, at HF. One has to be very careful that what we buy at HD or Lowes is truly superior in quality to HF because, often times, that is not the case and we end up paying more for less.

  41. bob says:

    Sometimes it takes a little while for the true crappiness of an HF item to grow on you.

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  43. Greg says:

    I’ve been buying tools for 30 years now. My old Milwaukee drills and sawzall were made in the USA, as were all of my early DeWalt tools. The quality was unmistakable back then. Walking through Home Depot the other day I looked at all the major brands of power tools on display. I looked at Hilti, Milwaukee, Skill, Delta, DeWalt, Ridgid, Makita, and EVERY brand had power tools marked “Made in China”. Now I know that these companies all have their own engineers (maybe in India now) and their own quality control team on site in the Chinese factories, but more and more I feel less assured that I’m buying a quality (Chinese) tool, just because it has a familiar American name on it. Then add in the cost if they’re stolen as they often are, and the reason for buying American branded tools is a moot point. Considering all that, I don’t feel bad for owning lots of HF tools in addition to my old, quality American made tools. The HF quality can be hit or miss, but in general seems to be constantly improving. I just bought the 95082 12″ planer, and think it’s a great tool for the money. It does need better blades but I found those in HSS elsewhere. Their engine hoists cannot be beat for the price. Floor jacks work well for me. Air tools and nailers, I have many and all work from good to great. The orange angle grinders work for years and years. The orange electric angle drill, pure junk. The little $130 bench top shaper/router, junk too. Reciprocating saws work great though maybe a little noisy. I would say I’m more than satisfied with 90% of my purchases there. What I don’t like, I just take back.

  44. Lynn says:

    Where can we find parts or a manual for a wood planer.Central Machinery 12-1/2″ 2.2 hp. I have looked all over the net. Thanks for the feed back

  45. connie says:

    Their stuff is junk junk junk.

  46. connie says:

    I should of said some of their stuff is junk! forgive me all. Over all I believe their quality is improving.

  47. Stash says:

    I agree with those who say you need to physically look at their tools before you buy them. Some are good, some are total junk. I used to work next to their corporate office and store in Camarillo, Ca. and spent many a lunch hour looking at their tools.
    On one occasion I wanted to purchase an angle drill. I looked at the Harbor Freight model which was $20 then went to Sears to look at their model. I was surprised to find it was exactly the same drill, the Sears was black, the Harbor Freight was orange, the molded plastic was exactly the same. The Sears was $60.
    Its a shame that the price of USA made tools is so expensive, for people with the choice of doing things half assed or using the right tool for the job, they are better than nothing.

  48. Stavrowsky says:

    Their house brand of hand tools, “Pittsburgh”, are considerably less costly than say, Craftsman or Snap-On, are generally of good quality, and carry the same warranty.

    I over-stressed a 3/4 inch ratchet trying to loosen a nut on commercial mower blade. The nut had been torqued on to 415 lbs, and then allowed to rust a couple of years before I tried its removal. It might as well have been welded on. I applied sufficient torque trying to loosen the nut to break the ratchet (using a 6 foot cheater). Harbor Freight didn’t hesitate, didn’t ask for a receipt, wasn’t interested in how I broke it. They just took the broken one and gave me a new one in exchange….. no questions asked.

    I have no hesitation at all in buying their Pittsburgh brand hand tools.

  49. I bought a 21 gallon 3HP air compressor 2 years ago. I used it for about 10 hours that year then went away for the winter. Came back next summer and used the air compressor for another 20-30 hours then went away for the winter again.

    This summer I just started using it again, and now the pressure won’t go above 60, and the thing keeps running trying to build up more pressure. I can find no leaks, but HF says there is nothing they can do since I did not buy the extended warranty. I am stuck now with a huge piece of metal recycling to take to the recycling center.

    I don’t know if this is a fluke and to get another one from them, or if I should look for a different source.

  50. Miss Francine says:

    You know harbor freight has an excellent marketing with all those coupons and freebies. Its gets you in their store. The quality is the same as its always been. I have many hf tools some are very good, hand tools mostly. Stuff with motors buy the extended warranty. At least then you can take it back after ninety days. I’m no pro but I remember something pros always have told me buy the best tools you can afford. Not just because the price is cheap. Now that most tools are no longer made in the usa. What do you do? It’s a global economy. Something to think about.

  51. Mr Chuck says:

    It depends on the tool. Some of HR stuff is out of line. I stopped by to get a electric Shaker for cleaning tools, sgell casings,etc. Well they had one (5 or 10 pound capacity if I remember correctly. The said it was half price $49.95 reg. $99.00. The viberator (shaker) had bad reviews. So I went to Cabbelas sporting goods and bought a Leyman shaker (same size) for $44.95 and get this it had goob reviews and its made in the USA. Go figure

  52. joshua says:

    I work at harbor freight currently. It really is hit and miss with most of their stuff. I you are a contractor and you burn throught tools often then its great. If your a homeowner and you need a one or two time tool then its great. If you are somebody who cannot take advantage of the warrenties (gov. jobs, etc.) then it is not for you. People who use the tools daily and need them to perform great (but not things that burn out like winches, impact wrenches ) then its not for you. Thats jsut what i have observed from working there. thanks people

  53. Jim says:

    I bought a Rotary Hammer drill 02957 about 6 years ago because it was cheaper to buy than renting one for ONE day.
    I have used it and lent it to neighbors and it has had a lot of rough usage. It still works as good as new.

    I have bought several cordless drills at HF and the batteries do not last very long, so I bought a more expensive drill elsewhere.

    Hard for me to buy from HF now as I moved to Hawaii.

  54. Johan says:

    @ Jim, what do you mean? I live in Australia and beside some freight cost, it still comes over what I order and pretty fast too.

  55. John says:

    I am a professional jack of all trades, have used lots of tools over 45 years. Most of the barn full of equipment I have, I hunt from garage sales, swaps etc, and get the best of the old stuff not made any more. But…..I still buy some stuff from HF mainly things any idiot could build that is as strong as a bowling ball that can’t break.However some of their electrics are ok for occasional use and the price justifies the purchase at times. Their air tools are normally worth the price for occasional use too. I have 2, 1″ drive impact wrenches 10 years old and still working fine for occasional use on my trucks and dozers. Sanding belts are cheap, but junk. Although, I have sworn off the place because of the crap I have purchased over the years, I still have a hard time passing the store when in the area and usually end up spending 40 bux or so on stuff I know will last a few uses or longer. Oh, please don’t buy their welding expendables…..absolute garbage and might give one an unnecessary inferiority complex.

  56. Dave G says:

    I think Harbor Freight’s service is deplorable. Bought a workbench and three drawer backs were missing. I discovered this after I put the rest of the bench together. They wanted me to ship it back. I’d have to disasemble it and find a box, because the original box was torn badly, probably why the backs were missing. Any other outfit would have simply walked out a distribution warehouse, removed three drawer backs and mailed them to me. Result to them would be the same, a bench missing three backs. But they couldn’t get out of their own way and the low level Asians who read the same script would do nothing for me. Even a note to they guy who always sends you a Thank you note did nothing.

  57. gordon grimes says:

    I install elevators for a living and restore cars/motorcycles as a hobby. I’ve bought HF tools for a lot of elevator work when getting started. They are not the best but usually get the job done. I’m also not too upset if one falls from the 4th floor landing and is destroyed. The quality is a bit hit or miss so if you expect years of service forget-about-it. My 5 year old hammer drill is the only tool from HF that has not been replaced. Most wrenches, drill bits and the like are pretty much junk. FYI look for “made in Taiwan” as these tools are usually made with higher standards and are much better quality. Screwdrivers and chisels are complete junk which I tend to abuse anyway so go ahead and buy a few. I keep the good screwdrivers separate and use them only for their intended purpose. My home toolboxes for working on motorcycles/cars contain a huge variety of tools. A great deal of these tools are made by companies who either are gone or have sold out (aka crapsman). I now buy most of my hand tools from a company called Cornwell most of which is manufactured in the USA. Yes they are expensive but the truck stops by house when I give him a call.
    The biggest difference is my repairs and restorations work needs the best finish and quality tools help preserve that look. HF stuff is great for one-time usage or maybe the homeowner but, for anything even close to professional work I would look elsewhere.

  58. mark says:

    Just tried to get a pipe wrench with a life time warranty replaced and they refused. No proof of purchase. In case they do know the little receipt they give you after about three months the ink fades and can’t be seen. Good way to not have to replace tools. I’ll go back to Ridge they’re the best anyway. Left $400 worth if other stuff in store since they wouldn’t replace a $20 wrench. Good business move people.

  59. Danny Troy says:

    I’m laughing myself all the way to the bank with buying these low priced tools. Sure, it’s not quite up to the quality of the top brands, most of which are now made in China anyway, but if you buy for their intended purpose they are more than adequate. For a homeowner/tinkerer they do the job quite well. I think their quality has been increasing over the years, where the “name brands” are decreasing. I use them alongside some top brands and they do the job, with few failures. I joke and tell my wife I’m shopping at HF until I have one of each! And yes, their warranties are quite good, but I haven’t had to try it out on any tool yet. I’d list all the HF tools I have now, but I’d get writers cramp.

  60. AXEL says:

    I have been buying from Harbor freight for about 10 years, and have spent many thousands of dollars buying tools and equipment.
    If you buy Cheap, you get Cheap.. I do not expect much (Which is usually what I get).
    My big complaint is Harbor Freight discontinues many items and discontinues parts for the items.
    I have to get replacement parts for my Harbor Freight machine tools from Grizzly tool and hope that they fit my Harbor Freight equipment.
    Most of the items are close to Junk quality but there are some exceptions.
    I have learned if you expect to purchase a replacement part for your equipment 1, 2 or 3 years down the road, Forget Harbor Freight, It will probably be discontinued (As well as replacement parts).
    Now I only buy “Disposable” tools from HFT.

  61. Bill6060 says:

    When the tools I need are available at Harbor Freight, I buy them there, usually while on sale, or with a coupon from a newspaper, or from email. I picked up a complete set of word working power tools for about $100.00. Try to do that anywhere else…. This included a circular saw, belt sander, variable speed reversible 3/8″ drill, and a reciprocating saw (saws-all type of saw). They’re all corded, bought them about 5 years ago or more, and they all still work like new. The reason I’m writing this review today, is I finally broke a belt on the sander, picked up 3 new belts and a free 25′ tape measure at the Labor Day Sale yesterday all for under $6.00, and decided to try to put that belt on today. Found the instructions, and it was easy, pull out a lever, slip the new belt on, and push the lever back in. Then I checked the instructions, and went ahead and serviced it. Brushes still like new, and it came with a spare set. I cleaned it, centered the new belt, and I’m fairly certain this thing will out live me. I was so impressed that I stopped the wood working project to write this favorable review. I also buy sockets, rachets, torque wrenches, tarps, tie-downs, ramps, yard tools, air tools, and more from Harbor Freight. Never had any real problem to speak of with their tools, they stand behind what they sell, and I own a lot of tools that I wouldn’t otherwise own, Thanks to Harbor Freight.

  62. Keith says:

    I use HF tools in place of my good tools. I salvage boats and use the HF double cut saw. I cut slowly and spin the blades freely often to remove debris in blades. I also spray lubricant on the blades frequently. I’ve heard a lot about the double cut saw (negative) but when you use tools like these you have to use common sense. I cut fiberglass sometimes 1″ thick. I have burnt up big name saws as well as HF. No problems.

  63. Brian says:

    I like to say that I use harbour freight tools only in situations where the low quality will not have any impact. Trouble is that it can be hard to know when that is. For instance I bought an 18 inch pipe wrench, thinking “how can you get a pipe wrench wrong its just a couple of pieces of cast iron”. Turns out the cast iron used on the jaws of the pipe wrench is so soft, the wrench doesn’t grip anything. I have an 8 inch rigid pipe wrench that I had to use instead because the harbour freight one was totally useless.

    Now take the 1 inch dial indicator that I bought a few years ago. I was in a hurry, I had to set the backlash on a ring and pinion for a rear end rebuild. I didn’t have $500 to buy a Starrett dial indicator set. A dial indicator is a precision instrument were you would think that quality would be of absolute importance. I’ve used this dial indicator for the last 5 years and I’ve had no reason to complain about it. I’ve had friends of mine who have bought moderately priced indicator sets for $75-150 and I would swear that its the same indicator

    I’ve also had very good luck with their torque wrenches. Their power steering pump pulley puller ruined the flange on my power steering pulley because the jaws spread apart.

    The point is that it can be difficult to know when their quality will be acceptable and when it won’t

  64. Artie says:

    The only issue I have ever had with HF is the brand Chicago Electric. All other brands, never had an issue with. Once HF fires Chicago Electric, this will be a perfect tool store.
    Every thing I bought that had Chicago Electric brand did not work right out of the box or worked once or twice. I’ve given up on Chicago Electric items, that’s a shame because I am in the market for a welding machine and WILL NOT try a Chicago Electric. Guess I will have to try another retailer for the welding machine.
    All items from Central Machinery, Central Pneumatic and others I will continue to use BUT NOT Chicago Electric!

  65. al says:

    HF, they should open up a store here in HILO HI ,96720 that way we don’t need to order on line and pay extra on shipping we don’t have that much tools stores here except for some tools are regular but such as lathes and other tools wood chucks they all have to be special ordered it would be ez if we can have a business here with all they carry we do need a carrier here whats good for business….aloha n have a great day

  66. Eric says:

    I want to begin by saying how much i appreciate harbor freight! I am an engineer, i have built an amazing tool set which i have used extensively for years! Ratchets, breaker bars, torque wrenches, screwdrivers, sockets etc. I have saved thousands and because of harbor freight, i can afford tools otherwise out of reach.I do all the maintenace on my cars, from oil changes to diagnostics. I am very intelligent and have used Mac, Snap On, and Craftsman for many years. Yes, i have gotten a few tools from Hf that left me scratching my head, but if you are careful and buy their more expensive Pittsburge Professional tools, AND YOU USE THEM PROPERLY, AND KEEP THEM CLEAN AND DRY,they will serve you very very well! Many people are helped by harbor freight,and if your smart and pay attention to the market you will notice places like sears, home depot, lowes and the like all sell tools made in china. China is everywhere face it! You read the tool blogs and people have many many problems with All brands of power tools.Read about craftsman air compressors! Junk! I bought a 21 GALLON 2.5 hp oiled compressor from Hf works great! I have tested many of hf tools for many years! I dont spend money on a tool. They make me money. Paying mechanics cost you money. You buy a few bad cheap tools from hf, oh well! What are you out? A few bucks…big deal. At least your not out hundreds more by paying a mech, Which may screw up your car even worse. Most but not all my tools from HF have saved my tail and have held up better than Craftsman tools, not to mention hf has awsome special reach hand tools. I cant say enough great things about hf, and how greatly their products have enhanced my and my families lives! Thanks Harbor Freight, keep up the good work… Great thing is, I look forward to getting many more amazing deals from them in the future!

  67. Hambone Peanuckle Chip Chop Paddywack says:

    I love them. I have pretty much every tool they make. Yeah you will get one out of 10 items that probably breaks and bums you out, but the $2000 or so you saved on those 10 tools would probably allow you to buy 20 more of whatever broke if you wanted/needed to.

    That’s the thing, you buy them if you are a pro who wants to abuse something until it breaks and treat it as a throwaway, or a home guy who can work around the quirkiness of the cheap tool or baby it because you don’t use it often…

    You buy something else if you are a hobbyist who uses that specific tool on a regular basis or a pro who need a reliable tool that works perfect consistantly and/or has a company that provides the cash to buy it.

    They definitely have a target market and I fall into it. I’ve had my fair share of their stuff break on me but most of it gets the job done with only a little eye rolling hassle and a lot of saved cash.

  68. MrDougie Fresh says:

    Well like most of the comments have all been the same! HF sucks! I have to ask though what Nationality they owner is? Or they person who started it?,
    Try getting any kind of info from customer service if you can get a live person it’s some old lady who don’t know shit! I always get the same voice recording saying we are having a hight volume of calls today your approx wait will be oh?? 35 plus minuets or try online @. So I needed the power cord to one of there survallence systems that the cord just came apart! But go figure it wasn’t a good selling product so they don’t have them any more! Wow! Should of known! You get what you pay for! SHIT! I would never use HF again not even to put a tire on a go cart! To buy a screw driver the tips wear off before you finish! Thanks hope you all feel the same! Dougie fresh out 😉

  69. sassyyesiam says:

    I have never ordered online with HF, but thought I would save myself a trip and took a chance of a item unseen, I was extremely upset when the Sandblaster that was purchased was not the one I received and no one bothered to let me know that they substituted the similar one, I called thinking we received the wrong one and was advised that they did not have the one I ordered in stock so they just decided to substitute this one. If I wanted this one I would have ordered it!!!! They could have at least given me the courtesy of letting me know they did not have what I wanted and did not know if they would have it available, however for a item out of stock it is still on the website for the same price!! I think this is just horrible customer service! If I ordered today (because it is still offered) would I get it or not. I will not order again online, at this time I am not even sure if I will shop there anytime soon.

  70. evan says:

    i shop mainly from harbour freight and chisels and hamers are good but i bought a 12 in compound miter saw from them and the blade cought the safty gaurd and riped it to peices also dont buy sawzalls from there either they fall apart but most hand tools like wrenches and stuff are ok so i tend to stay away from power tools but buy hand tools

  71. Jack says:

    Well, today was my first burn at Harbor Freight…and my last because I won’t be going back!

    I’ve bought four or five small tools and bits and pieces, but today I bought a 3-in-one framing nailer that I needed for a very small project. Worth the $100 (I thought) even if it didn’t do a great job.

    The problem is that Harbor Freight is 30 miles and 45 minutes away!

    Got it home and of course, it didn’t work and won’t work unless I can stop all the air escaping from the exhaust at the back. It might be a small problem with an easy fix for all I know, but the help line person told me it was too technical for her and gave me a ‘specialist’ number…and when you call that number the line is dead. I checked the number given me…but it’s a dead line with no ring tone!

    Not sure I get Harbor Freight’s business model. It seems to be to sell cheap goods until you sell one that fails and then the lack of service p***es the customer off and they will never shop there again…or am I missing something?

  72. LINDA & RON MCLARNEY says:

    Purchased a propane torch thru Harbor Freight a few weeks ago online and was very happy with the product and delivery time. Found a motorcycle swingarm rear lift stand on there website which I needed. Not available for sale on line only in the store. I live in the North Georgia Mountains so nothing is close. The closest one for us was in Asheville, N.C., which is 135 miles from my house. I called and verified that they had the product, which they said they had 4 or 5 on hand. The next day I left for Asheville. When I got to the store they had to go in the back to get this item but none of them had the paddle adapters on them. They obviously had been stolen or taken off to put on another one. The manager, Jeff guaranteed us that we could call customer service and order the part. WE called the next day and the girl we talked to said that the parts where on order and gave me the part number for future reference but that it would be 6 to 8 weeks before they got them in. We than called the manager, Jeff at the store in Asheville and told him our dilemma. He told us to call him back on Friday because he was getting one in. We called him back today thinking he could just take the paddle adapters off and send them to us which we would gladly pay for, he could then put the one he had in stock with the other ones which were missing the parts. He would not listen or help us. We than called customer service again to lodge a complaint. The girl we talked to us was very helpful but told us part was no longer available. So corporate is contacting us now to send a new stand. Be aware that you have all parts from what you order from Harbor. You may not be able to order them. Or have them check right in the store before you leave.

  73. Patrick montaron says:

    I am an overseas customer of HFT and have been spending thousands of $ for years, by mail ordering.(not counting the cost for shipping stuff and customs duties to pay again at the terminal of my country…)
    My last order was sent to wrong address in USA (?!!)FEDEX confirmed that the shipper (HFT)has given them the wrong address and HFT will not assume theirs faults: a complete loss for me: very disapointed !!!
    So i am looking for a similar and more serious compagny now

  74. David Merrill says:

    I have bought many tools from Harbor Freight.
    I have a 12×36 Engine lathe for 20 years, bought in Camarillo before they had retail stores. I would buy again. I have their Bandsaw mill used to make all of the lumber for my Shop (barn!) Flawless. Use the 25% off coupons and wait for item to go on sale. Dead blo hammers, 6″ digital Calipers, Parallels, 12″ planer. I just bought the 5 in 1 battery jumpers for my kids. The item jumps tractors, diesel, fills tires( air compressor), Work light (LED) and 2 110v outlets(Inverter)$99 on sale $74 with coupon $6 delivery. I make camera products in North Carolina with these tools. I use endmills from the USA on a mill from Taiwan with a controller from England. It is all relative. We all do good and bad. Pride keeps me from shipping less than my best to my customers. I had to raise my price this week and my customers are worried it is not enough! Peace

  75. jt says:

    A few reasons to buy my tools at harbor freight

    1. The power tools are getting better at a very low price. Not only that but they do offer in store service plan/ warranty I look at that two ways if it breaks take it back get a new one. And I’ll never pay the full price again.

    2. All my hand tools from there have a lifetime warranty I’ve taken busted sockets back and they exchange it with no questions asked. I’ve been shopping there and seen managers open new tools sets to give a customer the socket they were exchanging…. I know a lot of people say they want craftsman tools because of the lifetime warranty the Sears store around my area closed now what for the tools I do have from there? I could drive 40 minutes to the next Sears store or I can go 5 minutes to Harbor Freight and get the same warranty at a better cost.

    Overall Harbor Freight has treated me well and I’ll continue to get my tools there

  76. Nola says:

    What ever happened to customer service? Harbor Freight certainly doesn’t put customers first. I now know they won’t do an exchange if you don’t have a receipt. However, I believe rules should bend to keep customers happy. I bought a 7X9 tarp a week ago which turned out to be too small. I tried to exchange it and pay more for a bigger tarp but the manager wouldn’t even consider it and was rude as all get out. So, for an item under $15.00, Harbor Freight of Garden Grove has lost a good customer and all of their recommendations forever! What happened to the good old days when the managers used their brains instead of a inflexible rule?

  77. MikeFromLakeMathews says:

    Lousy return policy
    I bought this hitch ball, but discovered it was the wrong shank size. Unfortunately I lost the receipt and when I took it back to Harbor Freight they would not accept the return, even though I wanted to make another purchase. The hitch was in the original packaging and in perfect condition. It was obvious I purchased it from them because it has Harbor Freight on the package. I realize it was my mistake, but I was not asking for cash, just a credit for what I needed to buy. As I walked out of the store I saw a sign stating “100% Satisfaction”, may be the sign should read “70% Satisfaction”.

  78. dave says:

    I was always told a person with good talent but crappy tools gets a job done better than a a person with no talent but expensive tools.

  79. Xero says:

    Personally, I have no interest in Harbor Freight. Yes, America has become a global economy and some products just aren’t manufactured here anymore, but even so, I still want to buy American made products. I don’t blame non Americans not caring about this, but that makes sense.

    Cheap tools might be great if you going to use them for a specific purpose, but these items almost never last that long and I don’t have time to driving back and fourth for warranties.

    There is a vast deal of unemployed Americans and a great deal of manufacturers have either shut down or sent the overseas. I might just be one person, but I don’t want to contribute to the problem if I don’t have to.

  80. Omega says:

    There is a Harbor Tools next to where I work, so I *WAS* happy when they opened up. Everything I bought there has turned out to be a total waste of my time and money.

    The last straw was the Pittsburgh digital caliper that was so far off, that it cost me over $70.00 due to an error caused by it.

    I no longer shop at “Harbor Fright”.

  81. The Sicilian says:

    Anything from hf is junk, its just fact, yet there will always be those who want to create some weak unfounded excuse for an argument. even the “so-called” free stuff (with purchase). when actually its NOT free at all, unless you consider your time and gas to go there is “free” in some crazy way? I work on everything and anything, from being a journeyman carpenter, custom tile setter, detailed finish, and the list goes on. The time I take to research, drive to, search the store for, stand in line, drive back to continue my work, I could have just gone to my local HD, or OSH, or ACE, and if the tool or whatever I bought fails in anyway , even if I just do not like it for some reason, those three aforementioned will return or replace them no questions asked. I went to return a few outright broken or just non functioning hf junk, and it was hassle city from the get-go. Im a “don’t take no for an answer” kinda guy, and I did not allow them to snow me with their nonsense, so I did get my money back on/or replacements on the items I actually bothered to take back, but the others I just chalked up as “you knew better, so no bitching”.
    And heres the main reason I STOPPED getting even a paperclip from this scam outlet: Every single HONEST, RESPECTFUL, and just straight forward review I gave, to try to save another consumer from the hassle of the junk I experienced, THEY REFUSED TO POST. They gave no reason, it just never showed up on the reviews. My reviews are specific, accurate, and straight forward and honest, and reading the reviews for the junk product I read that gave them 4-5 stars, they seemed scripted and just plain fake. Think they don’t have fake posters? Guess again, its been done for many years and will continue to be done. So do your self a huge favor, and go spend a few bucks, sometimes only a few cents, and even more, sometimes less for the same tool you need and with a name brand that stands behind their name-brand. Did you know that HD brand (RIGID) tools come with a LIFETIME guarantee, no questions asked? Even if their batteries stop holding a charge, they replace them free of charge.
    I just happen to already have DeWalt tools, and got lucky with a HD manager who replaced both my batteries for free. My bosch compact impact driver has been driving 3-4″ screws for years and is still going strong, batteries are starting to not hold a charge as long, but still works great. My DeWalt 7″ saw has been replaced by them due to oil leak from the bearings around the main gear, and its still going strong. My Craftsman table saw and chop saw, still going strong after 25 years.
    Nothing from hf, not even their GD fly zapper I got for free and replaced with a hassle twice, is still working, NOTHING from hf lasts for sheet, period. hate, lie, bs all you want about this place, but a fool and their money are soon parted. The only individuals who even walk into a hf store, just do not value their time or money, as any professional does.

    • Rednroll says:

      LIFETIME Guarantees are for people who are bad with math. The fact that all the brands you listed (Rigid, DeWalt, Bosch) cost more than 5 times than an equivalent HF tool should have been your 1st clue. These brands are able to offer you these lifetime guarantees by charging you upfront for the replacement cost of the tool you purchased. Here’s the math they’re doing without you realizing it. Charge 100% of their customers for the replacement cost of the tool and tell them they have a lifetime guarantee. Then of those 100%, only 15% of those customers will ever use that guarantee and obtain a replacement. The company in return profits on the other 85% who didn’t ever use that guarantee, the same as if the had sold them 2 of the same tool without ever giving them the 2nd tool.

      With HF they provide you with an option to purchase a 2 year extended service plan. No questions asked returns just like you mentioned the other guys did. With many of their tools like sockets, etc you will get a lifetime guarantee as well. Take note of the difference. HF is providing you a “choice” to purchase or not purchase that extra piece of mind and YOU get to decide if you want it or not. Rigid, Dewault, and Bosch make you buy the extended service plan up front and then disguise it under the name “lifetime guarantee”.

      So I wouldn’t be calling others fools for buying HF tools without looking in the mirror since the one who is likely being fooled the most is yourself.

      Sorry to be the one who has to tell you this. I work for a company and work with others who have worked for these companies that offer these “lifetime guarantees”. They’re doing the math and making off with your money without spending a dime on 85% of every item they sell while making you feel good because you feel you are secure by having a “lifetime guarantee”. It’s a win/win for them all the way to the bank.

  82. Bob Liley says:

    I need the manual for a model number sku#s35570 mortisinh drill press

  83. Anthony defrance says:

    Trying to return an item. Boy am I having time!
    Harbor freight! They should throw this crap in the harbor before it gets off the ship

  84. Jim Ketchum says:

    What many people do not understand is that many (probably most) manufacturers do not price anything for what it is worth but what “the traffic will bear”! That is why something at Sears will sell for 3X the price they sell for at HF and be EXACTLY the same tool.

    More and more I am seeing the prices at Amazon to be more or about the same than I can buy the same item locally.

  85. Rednroll says:

    I buy tools from HF which make my life easier and tend to be an upgrade from the tools I already have. HF tools have allowed me to be able to buy the right tool for the job, when I previously couldn’t justify the cost of purchasing the right tool.

    Some examples.

    I have a great quality hand drill I’ve drilled many holes with. When I needed to drill some semi-precision straight holes it involved me using a punch, eyeing the level bubbles and a very steady/straight hand using my hand drill. It was pain staking, took time and patience. The right tool for those jobs was a drill press but I was able to get by with the hand drill. Now I can buy an 8in drill press from HF for less than I paid for my hand drill.

    I rotate my own tires and replace my own brakes on my vehicles. My good quality 1/2in rachet and socket sets not purchased from HF work well, but end up being a lot of manual effort. A $40 HF 1/2in electric impact wrench has made my life easier taking off those lug nuts where justifying the cost of a good quality air compressor, air impact wrench and all the accessories didn’t make a lot of sense for my casual use.

    My precision rulers and tape measures took great measurements. However, a $7 HF 6in digital caliper has been an upgrade and makes measuring quicker and easier at nearly the same price.

    I’ve spent hours wrenching on rusted nuts/bolts and spraying them down with liquid wrench to get them loose. For $10 I got a HF angle cutter and those same jobs are done in less than a minute and cost me less than the combination of the wrenches and can of liquid wrench/WD-40.

    With socket wrenches and adapters I’ve spent hours of frustrating times trying to find the right combo of ratchet, socket, adapters, extension, and universal joints to reach that ONE bolt and get a proper grip on the head. With HF tools I’m able to purchase every extension length, adapter, and universal available to no longer have to try and “make do” with the limited menu of what I have with my more expensive brand name tools.

    As a home/auto DIYer, HF tools may not be the “best” tool I could buy, but from my previous menu of “best” tools they’re an upgrade because the cost of their tools has allowed me the luxury of obtaining all the “right” tools which I could not previously justify based on the cost for the couple times I may use them.

    I also enjoy those HF “Free” item coupons which I bring with me every time I shop there. It’s been a nice additional convenience having all those flash lights, tape measures, multi-meters, AA batteries, Scissors, and screw trays hanging around at no additional cost.

    • James H. Ely says:

      I buy alot of stuff from HF and no problems as of yet. Unfortunately us homeowners cannot pass the cost of tools on to a customer.

  86. Alan Day says:

    Cordless 18 volt drills are fine mechanically. The battery is terrible and runs down rapidly at rest. It needs a Lithium Ion option.

    Open end metric wrench sets need to be complete and not skip the wrenches that are size equivalent to SAE.

  87. Terry Obeney says:

    Bought a double bevel miter saw. Accidentally bent fence extensions (two small flimsy aluminum plates attached to the cutting fence). Found out that NO parts are available for their products. So your basic assumption when dealing with Harbor Freight is assume if anything breaks that is not a warranty issue it will be a disposable tool. Absolutely no service or support is provided for the products they sell. I quote from their “support” department e-mail:

    “Harbor Freight does not service or repair any of the products that they sell. Harbor Freight also does not have a list of approved repair facilities for each region of the US. If repair work is needed, we do recommend contacting a local, reputable repair professional for assistance with any repairs or service.

    ….. There are still further products which no parts are available for purchase individually. Parts availability is not limited to specific brands of products or specific prices of products, but by specific products in our inventory.

    i.e. you are on your own. Avoid at all costs

    • Rednroll says:

      What is the cost of customer service and support? You can look at it as having no customer service or support, but you also have to compare what the price of an equivalent tool that does come with customer service costs. I’ve found most tools with customer service cost 5 times more than an equivalent HF Tool. So instead of looking to get a tool repaired, it’s still less expensive to just buy a totally new replacement and you still have more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

      You need to look at the full equation when making these comparisons. With other tools you’re paying for that customer service and support when you buy the tool, regardless if you use that service or not. No thank you. I rather just buy a replacement tool and not have to bother with the headaches of dealing with a repair and still have more money in MY pocket after doing so.

  88. Tom Anderson says:

    Discussions like these remind me of my friend when he lived across the street with his stepdad.

    My friend Danny would be over in my garage, we would be tearing into an engine or whatever, and we would hear a scream across the street. I mean, this was a weekly occurrence. It was always the same thing, his stepdad, who he called Opps, which is POPS sideways, could be seen clutching his bloody hand, finger, or foot due to the failure of another chinese-made POS tool.

    One time he came over and asked me how much my Craftsman Torque Wrench cost, and I told him about $50. He smiled and said he just bought a complete tool set, screwdrivers, sockets, pliers, the whole works, for $49. He was smug about that.

    I watched him attempt to adjust the drum brakes on his Olds and BEND one of the screwdrivers. Imagine that.

    I see people above waxing on about “a screwdriver is a screwdriver”. No, it isn’t. One busting on a tight screw can cause injury. A socket that breaks can crack your knuckles.

    Someone above mentioned, “a hammer is a hammer”. What training program did you EVER graduate from? A cheap hammer can have a bit of metal break off after striking and go sailing into your flesh or someone ELSE’S eye. I have seen heads come off cheap hammers and go flying. NEVER use a cheap hammer, or chisel for that matter.

    Some of you guys talk as if hand tools are essentially safe. They aren’t under heavy use. You should ALWAYS be wearing quality eye protection, and for that, no expense should be spared. I am very careful with eye protection, and even I had made an awful mistake. I was wearing eye protection, but the left side I had left a gap as I was in a hurry. I was simply filing plastic. A shard of plastic shot off, bounced off the inside of the glasses and into my eyeball. It didn’t hurt that much, just irritated, and I kept working. Hours later, my eye was watering so bad, my eye doctor froze it and had to pick out a sliver of plastic from my eyeball! No damage, but is sure irritated. Lesson, even hand tools can be dangerous, even good ones.

    So please, stop with the “it’s just a hammer” nonsense. Do not buy cheap tools that are used to strike, twist, bend, puncture, etc under stress.

    You get what you pay for. And most guys, having egos, will never admit to the smashed fingers anyways.

  89. Tom Anderson says:

    You’re insane.

  90. Mat Kay says:

    HF verses Junk :

    My philosophy on Harbor Freight Tools is ;

    “If you need a onetime tool to complete a job then I’ll considerate it. If you need to use it more than 1 or 2 times “Go Buy It Some where Else”

    I have 2 Toolboxes 1 full of HF tools. Most of them a stripped, Broken or have such bad quality control they get used rarely. I’ll use them if I don’t care if they are lost. I have yet to find one their socket wrench that lasts more then a week. At least now the have 100% no questions asked hand tool swap for new one program.

    Second Toolbox has Proto, SnapOn, Craftsman tools. These I use for working on my car, tractor, and other jobs.
    Power Tools; ROFL .. Example:

    Needed a Small Bench Drill Press and XY Vise for a weekend. After I got them home. The X-Y Vise had so much slop in it, .010. Even after tightening everything down as much as possible. Castings were almost unfinished, but had nice Blue paint job.


    Run out was .009. Table had a 1/4 difference. Absolutely no way to level it.

    Conclusion: I wasted 3 hours trying to make it work. But, they did give me my cash back without to much hassle.

    Went to Sears bought craftsman setup ( Yes, it did cost me almost x2 as much. But the roll out was ~ .001, table was level.

    Harbor Freight Does serve a purpose.. I’ve yet to find it.

    Hope this helps someone ..


  91. Rednroll says:

    If you know what .010 of slop and .009 of run out is and know how to measure it, then you likely made a good choice of not buying HF tools. For the rest of us who don’t know and don’t need precision tools to do work around the house and on the car, then the HF tools will do just fine.

    If you’re worried and breaking HF tools, then you might want to consider stepping up a level and purchasing their “Pro” grade tools which are made of Chrome-moly steal and are just as strong as any Snap-on, Craftsman Chrome-moly tool and will be stronger than any NON Chrome-moly Snap-on/Craftsman tool. Don’t go buying a $2.00 set of screw drivers from HF and expect them to be as strong as a $40 set of Craftsman. I’m pretty sure most of us are smart enough to be able to figure that out.

  92. Cool E Beans says:

    First a positive story. I bought 8 squeeze clamps, 18″, and two of them wouldn’t tighten up. They would squeeze and release a bit so basically useless as a clamp. I took them back to the store and without a hassle swapped them for two that would clamp down. Hooray. I didn’t know I should have had to check to see if a clamp would actually function before buying but now I know better.

    I own the 4.5 hp Chipper and for four years or so had no trouble out of it. Then it would start but run for only a few moments and quit. Took it to a shop, not HF, and they determined that the low oil sensor was faulty. Cutting the wire to it solved that problem and it runs fine now. I always checked the oil and always had enough so the fix was beyond my knowledge.

    Last is the unresolved problem. I own many of their power tools and only have a situation with one of them. The Chicago Electric Variable Speed Rotary tool which came with two collets, a 1/16″ and a 5/32″. That’s right, no 1/8″ so none of the bits will tighten into the tool. I just received a reply from Harbor Freight regarding replacements and was told,

    “Thank you for your recent inquiry.

    Unfortunately, the part you are requesting is not available as a replacement part from Harbor Freight Tools.

    We apologize for any inconvenience.”

    Sadly, it is not inconvenient, it renders the tool useless except for using a 1/16″ drill bit. No other collet that I have tried will fit this tool. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Dremmel is a bit larger and the one in the 249 piece accessory kit also doesn’t fit properly to hold the bits. I also have the DC powered rotary tool but it is so under powered it too is useless for most applications.

  93. LARRY SHANKS says:

    Don’t know about the electrical tools i bought , they haven’t come yet ! there shipping sucks and is slow. I have been checking tracking # for to days and all it says is shipping label sent to FedEx .wonder how long it will take ?

  94. Fred blogg says:

    I think HF tools are now getting quite expensive.

    Anyone agree?

  95. Wal says:

    I have purchased many tools and accessories at HF without any problems with the items.
    I have no concern, if an item is defective they within 90 days give full refund.

  96. Mark David says:

    I put some nuts in the large Harbor Freight vise, and it hurt as much as the Craftsman vise did.

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