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We’re most definitely not vouching for any of the tools specifically on sale through Labor Day weekend at Harbor Freight, but we know damn well that some of you dabble in the ‘Freightster and would like to know that they’re running some specials. Hell, we might even take a spin by to see what’s what. For example, I’ve bought more than a few jack stands at HF, like these that are $13 right now. However, I’d avoid anything paint-related — especially something like this dodgy $10 HVLP spray gun.

If nothing else, HF always makes a fun outing with any of your tool-obsessed buddies. There’s something uniquely awesome about wandering through the aisles speculating on the quality/usefulness of various items, all the while trying to spot what we around the TM offices call the “rubber frog” — you know, the item that just makes no damn sense at all, but ends up in every HF flyer. (BTW: Bonus points for anyone who finds the rubber frog and sends us a pic.)

[Harbor Freight]


14 Responses to Cheap-Ass Tools: HF Labor Day

  1. johnnyp says:

    Found a coupon for framing nailer for $59. Used it a total of 6 hours , died. They did replace it, but the dilemma goes on. Do I buy stuff like this and use twice, maybe three times and can it or buy quality. A quality gun is easily $250 but it is tough to justify a purchase on a tool that is used so infrequently, I am not a professional tradesman.I do own a 25 year old sawzall along w/ a worm drive c saw , both worth every penny because of the use they get.

  2. rick says:

    appreciate the heads up. For those of us weekend warriors these tools have a great place for us. The vast majority of what I have is from them, and with a few, very few, exceptions, they work great. The reviews on their site really help in identifying what works and what doesnt.

  3. Rob says:

    Why do you think the $10 spray gun is dodgy? There are 26 customer reviews of it on the HF site and almost everyone raves about it.

    You’re not biased against anything that has a well-known brand name attached to it are you?

  4. Chris says:

    Just been working with a guy who insists price is everything and buys most of his stuff from Harbor Freight. I’m no snob, and have been known to pepper my collection with their stuff (impact sockets, screw tips, blow guns), but where I draw the line are their loads for pneumatic guns.

    Spend 3-5 minutes having to clear a mangled staple from Harbor Freight from your Senco gun, do it 10 to 12 times a day, and all your “savings” have evaporated in lost productivity.

    They’re much like Craftsman; having been bitten by shoddy crap in terms of their power tools in the 70’s and 80’s, I’d still never touch Sear’s stuff. However, there’s no socket wrench I’d rather have than a Craftsman.

  5. Tony says:

    @Rob, yeah, what’s with the hate for the $10 gun? From the reviews it’s sounds like it’s the one that Jesus Himself uses.

  6. Spyrus says:

    I actually own the step up from the 10 dollar gun (only difference is the step up includes an air gauge/regulator) and it works great for small projects. I wouldn’t paint a car with it but for the stuff I have done it has worked great

  7. Kris says:

    I’ve bought a few things at HarborFright, mostly things with few moving parts. There’s actually sites out there that list “good” tools there, an example is


    One thing that always strikes me when I go there is the rubber smell that overwhelms as soon as I enter the door.

  8. jconde says:

    Harbor Freight is great for tools you’ll only need occasionally. If it turns out that you use it enough to break it (or just to hate how it works) then buy a real version of the tool, if you can find one.

  9. Bill Brasky says:

    I buy several things from HF a year. My framing nailer for $60 was great and used it to build my shed and will use it to frame my basement exterior walls. My disliked tool is the 22g headless Pin Nailer. It doesn’t have a safety so you can actually just fire the nails into oblivion and it doesn’t have a magazine sight to see how full the magazine is. I’ve done several projects only to find out that nothing was holding in the last piece b/c I ran out of pins. Also the back end plate leaks oil/air so if I stop for a couple minutes I usually disconnect from the hose otherwise the compressor will cycle b/c the air lose after 5 mins…kinda crappy pin nailer but for $19 the price was right 🙂

  10. Anonymous says:

    I find harbor freight to be perfect for any consumables, like blades for box knifes, latex gloves, welding gloves, etc.
    just got their soapstone marker, welding hammer, a cheap torch for de-icing, and some leather welding gloves. all perfectly useable, all cost much less than brand-name items. and they all work fine for their jobs, and at their price, when they wear out like they should, replacing is just as cheap.

  11. Paul says:

    I own one of the Framing nailers. It has been used quite a bit and it is poorly made but still works. I borrowed a paslode impulse from my dad and picked up the HF nailer so both me and my buddy would have a nailer. The HF gun has a nasty kick to it and stresses my wrist. About every 20 nails it kicks and one doesn’t quite go all teh way in. But for the price and as a cheap DIYer it does ok. My friend borrowed it and framed his whole basement with it, and its still working.

    I have the HF $40 paint gun, it is considerably better built than the $10 gun. I havn’t had much expereince with it so I can’t say its good or bad as I’m no pro painter. But it has great reviews and it is supposedly an exact copy of a 15 or so year old devilbiss or other name brand makers gun that would run about $300-500.

    I have had very good luck with the HF air tools. The earthquake impact wrenches are top notch. I also have some of the cheaper air tools and they are all in good working order.

  12. John says:

    Has anyone noticed the high prices at HF these days?! Even the sale prices are not a bargain, considering the products are inexpensive, non-branded products made in China. Kind of shocking. Their claim of “ridiculously low prices” is unmoored from reality.

  13. Kirk says:

    HF has to pay freight like everyone else, eats everyone up with the fuel prices today. The sale stuff and most everything else is still a good deal. Most of what we buy is made in China no matter what name is on the outside, the stuff from HF is just more crude in the way its made.

  14. John says:

    The regular prices are overpriced, for what the products are (cheaply made products). The sale prices may be reasonable and proportional to what the products are, and in that sense should not be the sale price. That is a strange store.

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