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No, I don’t buy all my “cheap-ass tools” at Harbor Freight — though I do buy a lot of them there.  This 25-piece metric/SAE wrench set for $18, for example, is an integral part of my I-don’t-give-a-shit-if-you-steal-it junkyard toolkit.

I put my first junkyard kit together the day after someone walked off with a stick full of 3/8″ drive Craftsman sockets while I was waist-deep in a Honda pulling some parts for my old CRX.  Actually — I was a lot younger then — I whined about it to my Dad, and he recommended HF.  Come to think of it, I believe this was my introduction to the ‘Freightster.

Don’t get me wrong — these are crappy wrenches.  But you really have to put “crappy” in perspective.  I’ve had this latest set of wrenches for at least seven or eight years, and Sean and I finally managed to break one when we were in the ‘yard pulling a seat for the game chair build last year.  Even then, we were using another wrench on the end of the one that broke as an “extender.”  If you care, it was a jaw on the open end that sheared.

Anyway, do the math: If I’ve avoided the loss of one or two wrenches — even just Craftsman wrenches, not the Snap-ons or MACs — at any point in the last eight years, I’m totally ahead, even if I have to buy another whole set to get the 19mm back.  That’s a deal I’m prepared to take (again).

What’s funny is that generally people don’t steal your cheap-ass tools.  They’re looking for better stuff, so they just leave your crap alone.  It works out great.

25-piece Metric/SAE Combination Wrench Set [Harbor Freight]



6 Responses to Cheap-Ass Tools: HF’s Wrench Sets

  1. Paul says:

    Good ole Harbor Garbage! I just did a little more work on my HF RF-31 mill. That is the trouble with cheap tools, I end up working more on the tools than a job!

  2. Chuck Cage says:

    Paul: That’s the joy of “cheap-ass tools,” isn’t it? We added the category recently because it seems like they do have a place in the shop.

  3. ambush27 says:

    if it was me I’m not sure I would bother replacing the 19mm not an entirely common size and in a pinch you can always use a tire lug wrench.

  4. James B says:

    It didn’t take me three days to crack a cheap ass Harbor Freight impact socket with a cheap ass Harbor Freight impact driver. The value proposition is marginal, there is one- but not much.

  5. Rob says:

    For simple tools like wrenches, I don’t have problem with buying HF. It’s also a nice way to start off if you don’t have any tools (or money for tools). If you end up breaking one here and there, replace them with quality tools. That way, the tools you use alot get upgraded and the ones that don’t see much use, you haven’t spent a ton of cash on.

  6. Jeff T says:

    There is a real lifetime warranty on these, too… I’ve seen it in use.

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