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Thread: Admit it-What Harbor Freight tools do you have?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    New Jersey
    Blog Entries

    Admit it-What Harbor Freight tools do you have?

    So yesterday I asked for a recommendation for a pin nailer as my Harbor Freight one had stopped working. I was completely surprised when several Creekers recommended I buy the Harbor Freight one. I did buy it (for $22 after a 20% coupon) what did I have to lose? It works fine. Mine was about 10 years old and not used very much, but it does appear to me that the Harbor Freight line has improved over the years.

    So Creekers admit it: WHAT HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS DO YOU HAVE? Don't be scared we won't, at least I won't, yell at you
    I'll start :
    obviously I own the pin nailer,
    I own the mini lathe , very happy with it.
    I owned the scroll saw, junk, it broke in a week and was returned for full credit and I bought a Ridgid.
    Own the cutoff tool, works fine.
    Sandpaper, don't even think about it.
    I bought their small pack of epoxy, $1.79, works fine
    I own several of their clamps, they're OK but I prefer my Irwins and my Jets
    I have the 2hp dust collector, works great
    Digital caliper, works fine, 10 years old , still going after one repair
    I'm a hobbyist, and I think that most of the Harbor Freight line is aimed at me, I'm would imagine that if I were a professional ,using tools, all day, every day, I'd use different brands.
    Last edited by dennis thompson; 06-13-2020 at 7:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Elmodel, Ga.
    more infoI'll bit.
    First is the 2 HP dust collector. A real gem for the price.
    #2: 4" belt and disc sander- junk, under powered.
    #3 sandpaper, like you, won't go there again
    #4, Rosewood marking gauge, junk
    #5, 6"-36" bar clamps, small ones are fine for hobbyist, large ones not so much, but will work ina pinch. I do like the handles on them though.
    #6, 18 ga. pin nailer, good for the cost. Had mine for 5 or more years with no issues.
    #7, 12" disc sander, heavy weight, good deal and another gem. Took a bit to get the platform square and I wish that it was cast iron instead of aluminum, but for the price, it works surprisingly well.
    #8, 5" random orbital sander. The sander itself works well and my dust extraction hooks up to the older ones, but the new ones have a square fitting that cannot hook to a hose. The on/off switch is a piece of crap. Won't hold up and HF has no replacement parts for it. I took both of the last ones apart and put in an inline switch. Then went and bought a Bosch.
    #9, 2 1/2 gal. Paint pressure pot, used for resin casting. Works well for the price.
    #10, Wife has a blast cabinet that works well. The gun isn't great, so it was replaced with a better one. Cabinet is good for the price.
    #11, older (5 years or so) hose reel. Leaks. Hose is garbage. Dry rots around the fittings within a year. Constantly cutting a replacing hose.
    Last edited by Steve Eure; 06-13-2020 at 6:17 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    SE Mass.
    Hot knife for cutting foam and rope. Worked for about an hour.
    Chainsaw sharpener that doesn't.

  4. #4
    I own or have owned a lot of HF stuff. Some of it I am very happy with, some of it is junk. The following is a list of HF stuff currently in the shop. I am probably missing some items. Some of the worst junk isn't included because I no longer own it.

    Here is my long and probably incomplete list:

    • 2 HP dust collector - good value
    • 4" belt and disc sander - No longer has the disc. Gets used regularly alongside a ShopFox with a different grit installed in each.
    • F clamps - Lots of them. The short ones are fine, the longer ones are pretty useless.
    • Aluminum bar clamps- junk until stiffened with wood inserts
    • 18 ga. pin nailer - decent value
    • digital caliper - good value
    • pneumatic die grinder - Just okay
    • pneumatic 3" cutter/grinder - Just okay
    • 1 ton arbor press -Good value
    • mini lathe (don't currently use)
    • drill press (don't currently use)
    • 1" belt sander (use with a leather belt for honing)
    • 12" disc sander - good value
    • Pocket Hole jig - a gem
    • Dowel jig - worthless junk, no luck getting any decent results with this one
    • Dovetail jig - unused
    • Trim router - not great, but see regular use in shop built fixture (not using the original base)
    • 7x10 metal lathe - nice machine for the price
    • Nitrile gloves - Good value
    • CA glue - I like the little tubes
    • Hand truck - Good value
    • Various casters
    • Movers blankets - good stuff
    • Movers dollies - good stuff
    • Air hose reel - okay
    • Hand tools (pliers, cutters, etc) - better than expected
    • Lots of small items some good some junk

    EDIT... Forgot to include 2 purple spray guns. Very good value IMO.
    Last edited by Pete Staehling; 06-13-2020 at 7:25 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Hoschton, Georgia
    1. Angle drill for sanding bowls. I splurged and got the one with a keyless chuck. Works great
    2. 13" bench top drill press 3/4 hp. Works ok but not for accuracy. Too much runout in the chuck. Would not buy again but my good drill press was down and I needed something quick to finish a project.
    3. 12" F clamps. Great deal at about $3 each. I have a dozen.
    4. Foam floor mats work pretty good. Not really a tool but good for the feet while working with tools.
    5. 2" spring clamps. I have lots of these and they work.
    6. magnetic dish for keeping up with little metal things.
    7. magnetic strips for attaching bigger metal things to the wall.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    - Stick of green polishing compound for my strop. Threw it away after one attempted use.
    - Spring loaded center punch. Threw it away after a few uses. The punch portion wasn't hardened and deformed immediately.
    - Backpack garden sprayer. This actually worked pretty well. I'll be breaking it out for the third season soon. It was $20 so I got my money's worth.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Their 1/2" breaker bar is the best deal in the store. For less than 20 bucks, you get one as good as the top name brands that are over 200 each out of the tool trucks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Cambridge Vermont
    I have a few items
    -10" tile saw, works great
    -14" bandsaw (was free to me and free tot he next guy after about 1 year of use)
    -a few air tools that work ok
    -lots of 4 1/2" grinding discs (work just as good as any other brand I've used)
    -a tool box that's well built but came with the usual HF dents
    That's about it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Northern Michigan
    None! I am old and already own most everything I need so my point of view is different than others getting started. I have walked through the store twice now. First time could not find anything meeting my needs or quality standards. Last time a couple months ago when I had one of those 20% off coupons. Wanted some type of adjustable height cart or roll around table. Turns out the coupon can’t be used for anything larger. Amazing the incredibly long list of excluded store items for the coupons.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    columbia, sc
    - tile saw
    - SDS drill
    - hole hawg type drill (high torque 90 degree)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Kansas City
    No power tools. A hoist, tarps, gloves, truck ramps, acid brushes, foam brushes, bungee cords, digital calipers, and solar lights. They used to have Japanese flush cut hand saws which I liked, but now they are Chinese. Used to see US-made Pony pipe clamp sets.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    SW Michigan
    2hp DC- good
    tile saw-good
    1" belt sander- pretty good
    1/2" torque wrench-adequate
    floor jack for truck- good
    free blue LED lights with magnetic base- love them. One stays on the BS.
    "Mechanics" tool chest- not so good. One drawer slide failed early on, other than that it does the job for weekend warrior stuff.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Tucson, Arizona
    So it sounds like HF has some pretty nice stuff! I'll have to check it out.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Landenberg, Pa
    My general rule there is nothing with a moving/motorized part but:

    screwdrivers (like clamps, canít have too many at hand)
    f-clamps (not bessey but they work great)
    bar clamps (crappy but still do a job here and there)
    sandpaper (never again)
    moving blankets (awesome)
    moving dollies (awesome - I sometimes get these just for the casters)
    work gloves (nearly disposable but work great for $1/pair)
    wrenches and sockets (again, no moving part, no problem!)
    random Allen key sets
    specialty pliers (random car jobs for example)
    quick clamps (not as good as name brand but for the price they work great and I donít care when they break)
    random low quality chisels (I tend not to use my good ones to repair household hinges, etc)
    speedsquare (I still maintain that this is a gem - itís square next to my expensive squares and a helluva lot cheaper)
    carpenters square (see above)

    I know thereís more... but again, no moving parts, no problem.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Ratchet straps, a dead-blow hammer, step drills and some sanding sleeves for my OSS. that's about it based on my best memory effort.

    Edit...oh, there's a 14" HF bandsaw in my garage bay that a friend left with me when he moved to Idaho a number of years ago. I've been planning on refurbishing it to sell, but still haven't gotten around to it. I need to start making that a rainy day project or something.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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