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  • Harbor Freight Better Quality?

    Notice the new brands, quality, and higher prices. Are they worth it? Is it worth paying a bit more for the name brands? Just wondering if you have tried some of higher end products?



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • #2
    I have noticed an improvement in some of their hand tools. Specifically, I have bought some of the Bremen (sp?) Vice Grip type pliers. They are for all intents Vice Grips without the name stamped on. I have compared them to real Irwin brand parts and they are virtually identical. They are about half the price of Irwin's. Since Irwin moved all their production to China, I don't really feel bad about buying the knockoffs.

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    • #3
      Their 20% off coupons work on fewer items now. Wouldn't work on the pallet truck I bought.

      Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bluechips View Post
        I have noticed an improvement in some of their hand tools. Specifically, I have bought some of the Bremen (sp?) Vice Grip type pliers. They are for all intents Vice Grips without the name stamped on. I have compared them to real Irwin brand parts and they are virtually identical. They are about half the price of Irwin's. Since Irwin moved all their production to China, I don't really feel bad about buying the knockoffs.
        The new (Irwin) Vise Grips are half the quality of the old ones. I now buy the older ones at garage sales. The Bremens are about the same quality, except they're limited on the varieties offered.

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        • #5
          I just bought a riding mower/ATV lift from HF for $99. It is well designed and well made. I have used it a bunch for refurbing a mower we were gifted that needed a lot of work. The lift works great.

          I have noticed a general increase in HF quality over the last year or more. You still have to be a discriminating buyer, but many of the products are somewhat better than in years past.
          Kansas City area

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          • #6
            I’ve bought some of the new Chief branded air tools from HF, recently, I bought the extended die grinder, the 4-1/2” angle grinder and the 3/8” and 1/2” air drills, they are all made in Taiwan, are excellent. The parts breakdown on the 1/2” air drill is identical to the Mac 1/2” air drill, also made in Taiwan. Surprisingly, they are not as of yet exempt from the 20% off coupon. The 3/8” air drill cost me about $75, with a good quality Jacobs chuck.
            jack

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            • #7
              Some contractors at our house had the $95 Bauer Rotary Hammer Drill. It lasted 2 hard working days and failed. HF replaced it no questions asked and the next one wasn’t punished as badly and was still doing ok a few days later when they left. The contractor said he liked it and got the 2 year warranty.

              My Cheap HF sawzall clone failed yesterday cutting pecan for my smoker. I’m not sure I’ll waste any time trying to fix it. It aggravates my arthritis something fierce and it actually did the job I bought it for a few years back.
              Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
              9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX

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              • #8
                I constantly get the flyer's now that we have one in town , what i noticed is the price on most things is going up-up-up

                i don't know if it's tariff induced or what - but some things are getting very high to the point that it very well may pay to shop around and get something you know is good stuff, HF is usually always a crap-shoot and sometimes is a great surprise when you buy something that's extremely cheap and it lasts decades (like my old floor jack)

                I will add - the newer double pump floor jack i got is awesome so far - i think iv had it a couple years now and is way better to use then the old HF one and was really not much more cost over all this time,,, the track record remains to be seen but so far so good...
                Last edited by A.K. Boomer; 07-29-2019, 03:46 PM.

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                • #9
                  I have seen an improvement in the quality of many of their items over the past several years. Around five years ago I needed a large number of 12" clamps for a wood project so I purchased a dozen from HF. They were poor quality, could not grip very tight and a couple broke when I tried to get them tighter. Plastic where steel should have been. I repaired them. I still needed to glue up a number of boards so when I was back in the store I noticed that those clamps had been replaced with a new model. I tested one in the store and it worked well. I tested several more and they were all fine. So I bought a dozen of them and they worked well for my project. I was able to use six of the new ones and five old ones on one board's glue-up by alternating them and being careful with the old ones.

                  My point is, they probably saw a lot of returns on the old model so they improved it. The price was a little higher, but the quality, while not top notch, was a lot better. And this was several years ago. I have seen improvements in a lot of their other products.

                  However, there are other items which could benefit from some improvements. I have a HF belt/disk sander, a popular model. There are many internet videos on how to improve it. The biggest problem seems to be belt tension which is so hard to adjust that the sanders from the factory/store are never properly tensioned. This is a design problem that could be fixed with a proper tension adjustment on it.

                  And they do take defective products back, but only for 30 days. That policy could be improved. If a product is poorly designed, the take-back period should be a lot longer.
                  Paul A.
                  SE Texas

                  And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                  You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                  • #10
                    As far as power tools, I like the Rigid brand 18v cordless stuff from Home Depot. Have their drill, now the one handed reciprocal saw, lifetime warranty on batteries, parts, labor to original owner.

                    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RB211 View Post
                      Their 20% off coupons work on fewer items now. Wouldn't work on the pallet truck I bought.

                      Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk
                      Yeah... the coupons are getting to be a joke. I took a 25% off coupon and a 20% off coupon to my local horrible fright and bought some stuff - a tool chest, a cheapo skil saw, some LED overhead lights, a package of microfiber cloths and a package of sandpaper.

                      Neither coupon was allowed on the $299 tool chest or the cheapo skil saw. The lights were on sale so they were already 33% off. So I got to use my 25% coupon on the sandpaper and the 20% coupon on the microfiber cloths. Total savings was under $10 on a sale that went over $400.

                      Look at the fine print on the 25% and 20% coupons... they eliminate 2/3's of the products and most of the costly ones.

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                      • #12
                        then there's yet another alternative --- i went to look at a skill saw there recently also - did not like what i seen and did not come with a blade so thought ahh what the heck i'll check out my local pawn shop - iv dealt with the guy before straight up with stuff - here's this porter cable skill saw that's built to the gills and looks fairly new for 35 bucks - i ask if i can fire it up he says sure, sounds sweet and none of that "black and decker" shimmy when coasting down,,, also a carbide tooth blade so buy it and used the crap out of it past couple months what a great tool...

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                        • #13
                          Did it still have a serial #?
                          Len

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                          • #14
                            Good question Len. yes it's just on a sticker with warning stuff but it does have one...

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                            • #15
                              I recently purchased the "Banks" brand pneumatic roofing nailer (better) for about $100, and it had good reviews and I was pleased with it. Already paid for itself since I had been paying a guy $25/hour while he was taking 6 or more strokes for each roofing nail. The Central Pneumatic model was maybe $25 cheaper but had poor reviews.

                              I also bought three 12" tool bags for $5 each, and a 29 piece HSS Titanium coated drill set for $10. They looked good, but I haven't actually used them yet. However, my 115 piece set I bought 15 years ago has been OK, so I would expect this set to be at least equal. No guarantees, of course - I think quality may have gone down and then come up recently.

                              I've found that you really need to look closely at expiration dates on coupons. The tool bag was on sale for $5 until June 30, so when I went in July 1 it had expired. Then they had an email coupon that expired July 14, and I went there July 15 - again disappointed. Finally I found another coupon on a flyer I got in the mail that was good until October, so I used that. But the trips were not wasted. I used the 20% and 25% coupons for some items, and I got my free work light each time. Now I write the expiration dates very clearly on the coupons and flyers, and I also list items I am interested in to see the best prices.
                              http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                              USA Maryland 21030

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