View Full Version : And just what is the difference between these

Anthony Whitesell
03-17-2009, 10:46 AM
Beyond the fact of the $20 price difference...



I really hate the unnecessarily huge mark ups. This makes the second time in two weeks I've encountered a double-digit dollar firgure mark-up. I bought a new printer and Best Buy wanted $35 for a printer cable (6' USB A-B). I picked up the same item no-name manufacturer for $2.50 plus $7 shipping (which really was $7 since since I ordered a few other items at the same time).

Joe Pelonio
03-17-2009, 11:19 AM
There may very well be a difference in quality, depending on the manufacturer, but it's always safe to say that identical items at Harbor Freight and Rockler will be more expensive at the latter. They are just not as big, not as many stores = less buying power, and therefore need higher prices to make their profits. The same as a name brand item being cheaper at WalMart than Macy's.

mike holden
03-17-2009, 11:29 AM
Large retailers can specify tolerances and quality levels on what they will accept.
This means that virtually identical products can be quite different "under the skin". Since the designs are identical, sometimes the lower priced piece meets all the requirements of the higher - but the point is, it does not *have to*.
So, greater variation between assemblies and then factor in how well the vendor stands behind their product (which is a cost) and you can easily see how there can be quite a difference in pricing for the *same* product.

Or more simply, buying the less expensive version is a bigger gamble. If you win - you save some bucks, if you lose, well, ....


glenn bradley
03-17-2009, 12:00 PM
I'm not saying that Rockler doesn't have high prices on some items. Most sellers do here and there. Price sometimes goes along with the quality level of a product that two stores offer. Maybe Lee Valley sells X, Rockler sells X-1 and HF sells X-2(?).

I have learned to avoid almost anything from HF that requires accuracy. Drill bit sizes are hit and miss. Things that should be balanced frequently aren't. There are many diamonds in the rough at HF. I don't know if this is one of them; it could be.

Jason Beam
03-17-2009, 12:08 PM
Well these aren't identical - the handles are different for one thing.

Looking in the HF manual, i can see that the faces are machined, but to what degree nobody knows.

Honestly, you can't judge these things just lookin' at a picture on the web. Get down and hold each one and make your judgement. The castings could be thinner or the bar could be different. Heck, they could be made of different materials for that matter.

Sometimes "Off brand" isn't always the same - it doesn't always mean different, either, don't get me wrong. With something like this, i'm not sure i'd buy either - i fail to see the usefulness. In fact, it may make me think I could make unsafe cuts (really accute angles with the perpendicular face of the gauge, for example).

If you're looking for the perfect miter, there are far better ways than this device. Most of which you can make yourself. :)

Edit: One thing I will bet - you'll have to check BOTH for perfectly square faces and you likely will find the HF one to have more variation than the Rockler one. Certainly not something I'd order online, myself. I'd stand there with MY trustworthy square and be sure.

Bruce Shiverdecker
03-17-2009, 12:13 PM
I have a cheap version (checked for square at the store) and it works fine. I don't remember where I bought it.

Currently using to cut angles for some work tables at my sons store.


PS Jason - once you set the angle, you can cut complimentary angles just by moving to the other slot.

Prashun Patel
03-17-2009, 12:21 PM
In either case, you might do better to order a reputable miter gauge or make your own miter sled. This is one area I wouldn't skimp..

Brad Wood
03-17-2009, 12:29 PM
I buy stuff from HF... but only things that don't require precision/accuracy/etc. I likely wouldn't buy something like this from HF, at least not until I held in my hand to get a feel for the materials used, etc.

Michael Weber
03-17-2009, 1:20 PM
And, while the two faces might be exactly 90 degrees to each other that's no guarantee that your miters will be perfect. You still have to ensure that it is set up exactly 90 degrees to your blade. Otherwise one angle might be 46 and the other 44 degrees. That would add up to 90 but the the angle widths of the stock your cutting will be different. At least thats' the way I see it.

Chris Kennedy
03-17-2009, 3:52 PM
I would guess that the HF is a knock-off, or is being manufactured off-label for cheaper. If you look at the picture of the Rockler, you can see a small brass plate at 0*, which I assume is the brand-name. There isn't a nameplate on the HF.

I'm with others -- I wouldn't buy either one without being able to check it myself.



Brian Effinger
03-17-2009, 8:18 PM
This means that virtually identical products can be quite different "under the skin". Since the designs are identical, sometimes the lower priced piece meets all the requirements of the higher - but the point is, it does not *have to*.

Good point. Just to expand a little further - walk into any BORG (orange or blue) and look at the "John Deere" riding lawnmowers. They're green, and they say John Deere on the side, but believe me, they are anything but. I believe stuff like this happens all the time - same or similar product, made for two very different customers at two very different price points.

Martin Braun
03-18-2009, 12:27 AM
I don't buy anything from harbor freight anymore. I bought some wood clamps and other things that were low cost, but after they broke, etc. it's just not worth it in the long run. I expect to keep my tools for many years, and I don't mind paying extra money for better quality. If it's something that's really expensive, that I don't need right away, then I will wait for a sale.

I also buy used tools made by well-known manufacturers. I bought a DeWalt drill off ebay for $20. The trigger switch was bad and the seller told me to go pound sand. For a couple bucks at the local parts dealer, it was back up and running in no time. Now, if I do buy something with a cord, I will check Craigslist first and try it out before I buy.

Don Bullock
03-18-2009, 10:29 AM
One summer I worked at a testing lab. We often got jobs comparing items that looked exactly the same. Often the cases involved patent infringement. Our tests included strength of material used as tested on several different testing apparatus. After all our tests were run it was amazing how different items could be even though they looked identical and made with what appeared to be the same materials.