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Old December 31st, 2008, 06:32 PM   #1
bugdust
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Default Harbor Freight
Re:: Pass or Fail   

I frequent a few forum boards and a couple of them have Harbor Freight threads. I searched and we have a couple here as well already. But, they all turn to discussion thread quickly. I'd like this one to be different. No opinions or discussion, no anti-chinese crap comments, whatever. Keep it to actual reviews of stuff you personally have bought at Harbor Freight. You can include Northern Tool or Cummins or whatever other off-brand, just note that it is from there. Try to list the tool as best as you can since HF sells many different levels of the same tool. State whether it is a PASS (recommended) or FAIL (not recommended) and why, how long it lasted, how you used it, etc.

*3" blue casters, swivel & rigid - PASS for light duty. I have them on my (VW) engine stand and they work ok. One doesn't roll as well as the others but it may be because I welded them on instead of bolting them.
*5" swivel solid casters - PASS. I just welded four of these to the body rotisserie and they work great even with the body bolted on.
*weld wire - PASS. I have .023 & .035 and it welds fine. It does semm to rust a little quicker than name brand stuff but I do live in humid FL. It welds better than the stuff I bought at Tractor Supply.
*step-drill bits - PASS. I bought the 3-pc set and have used two of them. I drilled small holes bigger in some 1/4" tube with no problem. I haven't had them long so can't say how they will do long term.
*40 lb pressure pot sandblaster - FAIL. I broke two parts trying to assemble it, bought better quality replacements and still couldn't get it to work right. I returned it for a refund. It may have been a fluke...see below
*20 lb pressure pot sandblaster - PASS. I bought this one used at a yard sale, same style & brand as one above. It works okay but is too small for most jobs.
*dead-man valve for sandblaster - PASS. I've used it quite a bit now. It does what it is supposed to.
*blast hood - PASS. This is the orange w/ yellow trim one, has a hard hat inside. It works good and uses standard weld hood coverplates.
*4" cut-off wheels - PASS. They aren't DeWalt quality but they aren't DeWalt priced either.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

HF.......4 pc blind bearing puller set....PASS
HF.......stud welder dent puller....PASS
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

HF........Pittsburg open box wrenchs...PASS
HF......... 2 ton floor jack........PASS
HF.........Screwdrivers..........PASS
HF.......... 15 dollar grinder....PASS
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

drill bit sharpener FAIL
grinder pass
diamond plate tool box FAIL yes i have pics
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

HF 12 ton shop press = PASS


HF 5-piece plier set = PASS, cheap but work OK, good for junkyard trips
Cummins 4-inch Angle Grinder = FAIL, not worth using, my old Dewalt gets the shit beat out of it and keeps going. The Cummins has no power, I bought it for $10, should have bought lunch instead.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

HF Angle grinder X2 1 fail, 1 pass the first one the brushes burned out in about 2 hours of use, the second had about 40 hours on it and hasn't gone wrong
HF exhaust pipe expander X3 fail, fail, fail all of them broke
HF electric impact and impact metrics, big pass, best tool I have.
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

60 dollar 7inchbuffer/ polisher=PASS (works really good)
35dollar paint filter(the big ugly green one)=PASS
2 ton cherry picker load leveler=Pass
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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

multi-colored handled screw driver/scribe/torx set. Ya know, the green, orange, yellow, black handles shrink wrapped in one big sheet. You'll never strip out the head of any fasteners with this set. They will sacrifice themselves long before the slot will twist. I still have to keep them, cause my daughter got them "just for you, Daddy."
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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

Cummins: cherry picker, had two years still works well I use it alot:pass
Cummins: Stationary crane that swivels built like a cherry picker have it mounted in the back of a truck used it alot in the last year: pass
Cummins: set of drill bits for drilling steel, they came in a red metal box the best thing was the box: fail. They didn't hold an edge not even for one hole.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

4" angle grinder PASS
flux core welder ($89 on sale) PASS has worked ok for 4 years
Pittsburg combi wrenches SAE & Metric PASS
Universal impact socket set PASS
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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

$50 auto darkening welding mask-pass
used it once on kinda a big job, happy sofar.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 08:34 AM   #12
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

$50 Auto darkening helmet also passes for me. Love it and greatly improved my welding.
$7 impact driver 1 fail second one passed.
Pittsburgh power saw used with cut off blade to cut fire brick for smelting furnace - pass
Pittsburgh 4" grinder - Pass
cheap flamed creeper bought by my kids for me - pass, works just fine.
Hydraulic pipe bender - pass
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Old January 1st, 2009, 08:43 AM   #13
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

sawsall is junk.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 12:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

Forgot about my HF Paint guns:
a) small jamb suction gun = PASS
b) larger suction gun = PASS
c) larger HVLP gun = PASS

For the painting I do these guns work fine.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 01:03 PM   #15
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air long board - PASS
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Old January 1st, 2009, 02:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

Cummins stuff:
*screwdrivers - PASS, yellow handles with black grips, have owned for years. Better than Craftsman
*floor jack - PASS, 3-1/2 ton brown one. I paid $69 back in 2001 or so, it's junk now but I've drug it through sand, left it outside, etc.
*orange handle prybars - PASS for light duty. I bent the largest one in the set...don't remember how
*orange handle plier sets - PASS, I have the regular pliers, needle nose, bull nose, side cutter, a set of long needle-nose with different angled ends and the snap-ring set, all are very good, have had for years, I like them better than my Snap-On
*sheet-metal snips - FAIL!! I bought the set with left, right, straight and they all suck
*rivet gun - PASS, I've had this for years and while I don't use it much it works every time.
*body hammer/dolly set - PASS, the only thing I don't like is the fiberglass handles...they're nice but I prefer the feel of the wood
*dead-blow mallets - PASS, I have the set of 3 and one is starting to split just this week. I have had them since about 2002 or so 2003 and used them quite a bit.

I've bought more over the years but that's all I can think of right now.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 02:11 PM   #17
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

chop saw - pass
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forget wd-40 and duct tape... i have a sawzall and a welder.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 04:43 PM   #18
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

ill go there, chop saw - pass!
step bits - pass
angle grinders - pass
air tools - all pass
dremel discs - FAIL - flew apart
sockets, wrenches - pass
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Old January 1st, 2009, 05:06 PM   #19
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

mini air sawzall (pneumatic body saw): fail, wouldn't stay in motion under light load
floor jack: major fail, wouldn't hold pressure
large snap ring pliers: fail, cracked and bent tips
4" angle grinder, chop saw, drill press, welding helmet, die grinders, air ratchet, impact gun, files, screwdrivers: PASS big time
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Old January 1st, 2009, 06:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

fail on the pneumatic body saw here as well.
pass on the powdercoating setup and auto darkening welding helmet
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Old January 1st, 2009, 06:41 PM   #21
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

Magnetic parts dish - Pass
Aluminum shop jack - Pass, not the heaviest duty, but it'll lift a bug or datsun fine.
Oil filter pliers - pass
Sand blasting cabinet - FAIL. Crap design, crap parts.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 07:04 PM   #22
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

grinding / cut-off wheels 10-pack for $5:00 PASS if you take it easy on them.

bought an air saw there about 10 years ago, lasted for about 8... haven't found another one to last as well, even one form Lowes that was 3 times the cost...

Wheel skates (tire dollies) 2 sets, no bearings in the wheels, grease em and go... PASS for light cars
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 04:33 AM   #23
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

Autodarkening welding helmet - PASS
Ubercheap cordless drills - PASS, but don't expect miracles out of them.
Welding clamps - PASS, but they're not as strong as name brands (which are four times the price)
1/2 ton arbor press - FAIL. It took them four months to send the replacement hardware for all the parts that were broken when they came out of the boxes.

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Old January 2nd, 2009, 06:59 AM   #24
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

I'm rough on tools and most everything I have is older Snap-on or Mac by comparison but some HF stuff works rather well.

HF plastic scraper, panel remover set same as Matco but its $7 not $35 to $50 -Pass

HF large screwdriver bit set same as Matco, Nesco and Mac $9 instead of $50-Pass

HF fullsize English wheel -Pass

Its not really bad at all but check it out as some are a bit tweaked that I've seen. If you know how to use a wheel it works but a stronger neck would be nice to use it with thicker metal or provide more pressure. I was surprised at how well it does work and it has a deeper throat than most ready to use kits. I wouldn't call it professional but it is very useful for the money.

HF Pittsburg 3ft 1/2" breaker bar-Pass

I've used it to where the thick wall Snap-on and Mac sockets split if it did not break the fastener loose after trying a 800lbs in reverse impact ( mapp gas only no oxy-actalene torches to use at the time)

HF Pittsburg 1/2" deep well impact sockets-Pass

I've beat on these too, I figured them for junk but needed the 1-1/4" and larger sizes for a quick job, my IR impact is 800lbs in reverse but didn't kill them yet. I would be careful with them just in case but my Snap-on set was over $400 when I bought it (12 years ago) and these were $12 about 4 years ago and most likely still are not much more.

HF Chicago electric standard Chopsaw-Pass

Regular use for two years, I bought an Evolution Raptor and gave it to my pops,with a brushes change it lasted two more under heavy abuse. If cleaned and rebrushed it probably would still work.

HF 4-1/2 standard Chicago electric grinder-pass

A little less power than most grinders but after having my last new $129 Matco explode on me for no reason. (Locked up internally 2 minutes in the whole drive head came off and shot me right in the balls) I returned it and bought more HF's at $15 each. I keep a different type of wheel on each one and the rotation between them makes them last longer about two years on average with near daily use.


HF airsaw 1 fail and 1 impressive-pass

I borrowed a brand new one from a guy I work with since my old IR was across the shop, made two quick cuts in 1/8 luan about a five inch cut total and it seized solid after adding oil to it.

It was replaced instead of repaired by the tool service we use at work with a new $65 IR which have declined in quality in the past years but are still better than a $9 HF generally.

This in turn prompts another coworker to try and kill a second HF bought at the same time, it is brand new never used, never oiled, it was duct-taped to the on position and feed a steady diet of dirty used acetone and laquer thinner at 160 psi at the inline regulator, in the corner of the shop for two whole ten hour days... For two years of daily, near constant, improper use but it still worked and had more power than both the standard and professional series IR's at any given pressure. For that matter the new junk IR's only last 6 months to a 1 year under the same conditions, while my old one was about 12 years old before needing a rebuild.

I would assume the piston swelled as a result of this action to a cast in bore like fit resulting with this out come.

I'm not but If you are a Matco fan you can find many of the exact same tools at Harbor freight in most cases.

Summit Racing also carrys Matin Tool brand they make all of Matco's bodywork hammer and tools at half the price.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:09 AM   #25
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Default Re: Harbor Freight

HF Body hammers- Fail

These are not balanced at all, heavy to start with and faces are completely flat, almost useless as an actual body hammer. However they are useful as an extended reach dolly or as a shaping tool to clamp in a vise.
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