OT Harbor Freight Tools and Coupons - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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Lightbulb OT Harbor Freight Tools and Coupons

It seems Harbor Freight tools often get mentioned in various threads but there was no dedicated HF thread. I'm often the first to criticize low quality use once break once tools, but I just had an atypical positive experience with HF to share. I bought the $20 LED shop light (coupon below) and it is a high quality build that is brighter than my dual tube LED shop lights. I just used it for a quick in the car paint project inside the garage, there was no need to roll out into the sunlight.

Your comments about HF tools good or bad are welcome.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 07:06 PM
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I like Harbor Freight tools.
Sure some things are cheap low quality.
BUT, other things are very high quality and certainly good enough for amateur mechanics like us.

I especially like HF sockets, and wrenches. I have various ratcheting wrenches, stubby wrenches, and both metric and SAE versions.

I also use HF Torque Wrenches - $10/each on sale is not bad. I checked the calibration using some weights and they seem close enough.

I also find HF AC gauges and vacuum pump nice.

I still like my Craftsman Ratches though.

My Engine Hoist works well.
The transmission jack I purchased bent when I dropped the Transmission/Transfer Case assembly on my SUV but it was the cheapest HF version and I should have known better and purchased their more heavy duty one.

My HF Earthquake lug wrench doesn't seem to have the torque I was expecting but maybe I should test drive another vendors to be sure.

My $89 HF wire welder that I modified to work as DC works great for me to learn how to do welding. Still have it and it will weld some light to medium duty needs but not for structural welds. But for $89, what do you expect, and also you need to be proficient at welding to take advantage of more expensive welders.

My assessment ... yes Harbor Freight is a "happy place" for guys like us.
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"You have chosen to drive a MERCEDES-BENZ, a car in whose construction and production we have taken great pains because we believe that quality is not a matter of chance." -- page 3, Owners Manual 380SL
Timing Chain, Subframe, wiring harness, Climate Control, Rust prevention, etc.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 07:39 PM
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Granted I have extensive collections of tape measures and magnetic trays from HF but... Though it was once the "go to" place for cheap tools and miscellaneous merchandise, the extensive collections of similar items at Rural King and Menards (though both might be relatively regional) means I no longer am guaranteed a woody there.

Alan
If it doesn't fit, force it.
If it breaks, it needed replacing anyhow.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 08:48 PM
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A few weeks ago I was under my 260e replacing the rear flex disk. I had the car on jack stands, so I was on my back.

Open ended wrench was only way for me to reach both the head of the bolt as well as the nut.

I had a few wrenches laying on the ground. First wrench I tried was a HF open ended wrench. It rounded the nuts.

Grabbed another wrench, and it turned the nut. Wondered why it worked and the HF didn't, so I researched the brand (Wright Tool).

I think I bought the Wright Grip wrench at an estate sale last winter.

Since then, I have been buying Wright Grip open ended wrenches to replace my HF wrenches.

Check out this guys demo of them on Youtube.

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Last edited by LostInTime; 06-15-2019 at 08:56 PM.
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 11:26 PM
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alot of the stuff they sell is hit n miss, but to be honest most companys are any more, the only thing craftsman and other brands have is being a little tougher and simpler to return/exchange..try dealing with snapon LOL

jacks, jackstands and other "large" items are all honestly the same parts made at the same place in tiawan just painted and stickered up to whatever company needs to sell em, be it craftsman or HF

im not against HF in any way, do they sell cheep crap, sure but everyone does, do they sell some quality stuff yes at a fraction of the cost of anyone else

i have a slew of "large" items from HF and no complaints, but ALWAYS replace the hardware with higher grade, as for power tools, no luck, tho their winches are GODS, i had an emergancy job of hauling out 15 cars for someone that the city was on them about, most with all 4 wheels locked, and most in bad spots, this winch was kickinass n taking names and dragging the f350 away on some, i haf fullly intended to use it break it and return it, ive now had it for quite a few years and its moved some serious weights

their air tools are a crapshoot, some are very good some arnt, but the same tool a few month later could be as good as a mac, basicly buy it..if it sucks swap it till you get a good one

on hand tools, i break ALOT of tools, ratchets i go thru like candy and often break open end wrenches, so i stear clear, but their ratchet wrenches are better qualiy than my bluepoint snapons

all said, i once ran screaming, these days i buy more from them than i do anywhere else, but wrenches, sockets and ratchets are all s/k or craftsman, i wont even look at anything else
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 06:34 AM
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When you pickup a tool and hold it in your hand, you should get a pretty good idea if it's quality or crap. If it's crap... put it back. I used to buy only Craftsman but the first time I bought a Pittsburgh (Professional Series) ratchet is the last time I bought a Craftsman... not that there's anything wrong with Craftsman but why pay twice as much for a tool that isn't twice as good?

A few years back (ok, maybe more than a few) I was looking to buy a 12" Adjustable Wrench, the Craftsman was something like $20 bucks (memory could be weak) and the Chinese knock off at about $5 bucks looked exactly the same, was made from metal every bit as good (if not better) and even had a rubberized coating on the handle. I still have that adjustable wrench today and whenever I need a big adjustable that's the one I use... the Craftsman sits in the tool drawer looking pretty.

When I installed my MaxJax lift I needed to drill ten 7/8ths holes through 5" of solid concrete. Off to Harbor Freight I went and returned with a Bauer hammer drill that made short work of drilling through concrete. Of course, due to my own stupidity, I located the posts to close together and had to re-drill 5 of the holes 12" wider and then due to even greater stupidity I realized that I located the posts too far into the garage and had to re-drill all 10 holes 18" closer to the garage door. What's my point? Well, in addition to lesson learned... the hammer drill performed flawlessly drilling 25 7/8" holes through 5" of concrete. Great tool.

On the other side of the coind, 10 years ago (I think it was 10) I bought a band saw from Harbor Freight that was a knockoff of the much more expensive popular brand. There was no Harbor Freight store anywhere near me (now there are two within 10 miles of me) so I purchased it online and had it shipped. When it arrived I was disappointed with the poor quality to say the least. Everything about the tool was cheap crap (with the possible exception of the cast iron base). Had I seen this machine in a store I would not have bought it. I probably should have sent it back but it was very heavy and the carton it came in was all but destroyed in shipping, and it was so cheap to begin with, so I kept it. I am still using that saw today and it's still made of the cheapest crap materials you could find, but I gotta admit... it cuts pretty good.

bTw... don't bother buying the Harbor Freight $9 dollar HVLP spray guns on sale... they're total crap.

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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Hello all thanks for the great HF feedback. One tool that I found surprisingly durable is the electronic chainsaw on a pole. I have done several seasons of serious tall tree trimming with it, and it is still going strong despite several bouts of getting stuck in the branches. Also the free flashlights, batteries, drop cloths, electric test meters, etc. are worth the price.

One item I think is crap are the titanium drill bit sets. I guess getting 30 drill bits for $11 is asking a bit much, but i had these bits give up going through soft aluminum. Forget about steel.


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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 10:38 PM
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funny thing about the bits, the step bits are genuinely pretty good, and the "black tin" boxes of drill bits are good at very specific speeds DRY, ive actualy had more issues with their bits in aluminum than steel...go figure

the tap n die sets are pretty stout unless your working with something seriously hardened or in very small size, i wouldnt want to machine new holes from scratch in anything hard, but for thread cleanup and soft materials they are great

the air saw is junk, even after multiple revisions its still garbage
air ratchets are so so...i wouldnt advise
impact guns under 1/2 and over 1/2 are under powered, the 1/2 drives are snapon(front back slide)/ingersol(speed slide side to side) clones, and pretty hard to get wrong
air palm sanders and drills are solid, even compared to my hutchins units
air hammer/chissle works as it should
the earthquake series seems to come up short, the older "cummins" series is SOLID tho if you can find one

sand papers cheep but wears out 4x faster than anything i typicaly buy at twice the cost....
auto dimmin welding helmets useualy need some fine tuning but are actualy really nice units
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:53 AM
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For what it's worth, I've been using a Pittsburgh SAE tap & die set for almost 40 years with no breakage or complaint. My Craftsman metric set may look a little nicer, but there has been no difference in performance between the two. Same compliments for a Pittsburgh large pry bar set purchased at the same time.
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PanzerPuff View Post
Hello all thanks for the great HF feedback. One tool that I found surprisingly durable is the electronic chainsaw on a pole. I have done several seasons of serious tall tree trimming with it, and it is still going strong despite several bouts of getting stuck in the branches. Also the free flashlights, batteries, drop cloths, electric test meters, etc. are worth the price.

One item I think is crap are the titanium drill bit sets. I guess getting 30 drill bits for $11 is asking a bit much, but i had these bits give up going through soft aluminum. Forget about steel.
I bought that HF chain saw on a pole too and I agree totally, it's a great tool for the price. Every time I use it people ask me where I got it and how much did I pay for it. When I tell them, many go directly to HF and buy one of their own. Still going strong... and with the original chain... several years later.

HF created a spin-off cottage industry... search eBay and you'll find hundreds of HF items for sale for more than you'll pay to buy the same item directly from HF.

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