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Old 07-24-2009, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Harbor Freight: What's the Catch?

I've always been curious about them, simply because they have a great selection of crap and the prices are almost too low. So I rolled the dice yesterday, ordered an angle grinder, a set of grinding discs, a stepped drill bit set, an apron, a magentic parts tray, and some dust masks, and the bill was only $55. Now, with an apron or a parts tray, it is what it is. What I'm curious about is the angle grinder, which was all of $27. Are their power tools so inexpensive because they're junky, like the off-brands you find at Big Lots? I mean, for $27, I don't expect it to last forever, but is it going to burn out after the 3rd use?

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:27 PM   #2
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we used to have a store arround the corner here and I've bought a few power tools from them that all crapped out after a few uses. Their hand tools and such are decent though, but I've made it a point to never buy power tools from them unless i only intend to use it once or twice.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:27 PM   #3
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Negative. I love Harbor Freight. I actually sanded down my entire deck as it needed it pretty badly. First went to Lowe's and picked up a B&D belt sander. After about 30 minutes of use, it failed on me. Refusing to go back to Lowe's and drop some more cash, I decided to go to Harbor Freight. Found a good sander for less than $40.00. The sander was powerful and built strong. Finished off the entire deck without any more problems.

I have heard that you can't expect them to last forever, but that's mainly if you're doing commerical jobs. If you're only going to use the grinder every once in a while, you will be just fine. And you saved a lot of money in the process!

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:29 PM   #4
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I have (5) Harbor Freight power tools, all have worked for quite some time flawlessly... they are still running. I have cut many a keggle with my HF angle grinder

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:32 PM   #5
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+1 for HF.

If you're just a weekend warrior and not a contractor or something where you need the tools every day, harbor freight is a good inexpensive way to fill your garage with tools that are nice to have around for the occasional use.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:40 PM   #6
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For something might only get used a couple times a year there is nothing wrong with HF. Even some of their stuff will hold up really well. A friend of mine has a big ass compressor he got from there. He has had it aboout 3 or 4 years and uses it alot. He had to replace the gauge and bleed valve but other than that it is running fine.

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:42 PM   #7
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I have two categories of tools: those I use all the time and will abuse mercilessly and those I'm going to use a couple of time a year for light use. For the first group (or anything that will require precision), I buy the good stuff that will last a lifetime. For the second, it's Harbor Freight. I have no complaints from the HF stuff I've bought-- the 1/2" hammer drill has actually been a pretty decent tool.

Their clamps, casters, and other assorted commodity type stuff are also a very good value.

I buy philips head screwdrivers from them by the metric crapload because they're always wandering off...

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Old 07-24-2009, 02:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsmith179 View Post
First went to Lowe's and picked up a B&D belt sander. After about 30 minutes of use, it failed on me. Refusing to go back to Lowe's and drop some more cash.
You may have wanted to look into a return???

HF is fine like others have said. However, I am of the opinion that tools in general, and power tools in particular, are an item that should be bought once to last a long time. Camping equipment, brewing stuff, and tools. Buy the best, buy them once.

Using a high quality power tools really does make a difference. However, if you really are only using it once or twice, then who cares. My tools get a lot of use, so I care.
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:54 PM   #9
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Thanks, that's pretty much what I thought. I am a weekend warrior, so to speak...and I can't imagine using the angle grinder that often. But I wouldn't go and buy something like a cordless drill from them, because that is something I use all the time...and my DeWalt 14v XRP is pretty much my bitch.

And for a table saw...well...Grizzly Industrial is the only way to roll.



I got the older version of this one, back when the entire top was made of cast iron. That whore weighs like 400 lbs...but you can bet it's the only table saw I'll ever need.

__________________
MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 07-24-2009, 03:09 PM   #10
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+1 on all the above. Clamps, folding sawhorse, angle grinder, recip saw, arc welder, all from HF and still working great. My advice- stuff like clamps are a no-brainer. Watch for their sales on that kind of stuff and stock up. Power tools- brute tools like the above are great if you're not making a living with them. My arc welder leaves a bit to be desired, but it was $50, I got what I paid for. Tools where you need precision and durability- hell no. Routers, router bits, table saw, dado blades, dovetail jigs, etc. are nowhere near adequate for precise woodworking.

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