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Taiden SuperDork
1/25/12 6:25 p.m.

I will say that my Harbor Freight sockets have yet to strip a bolt and have yet to cause me any issues.

I load them right up into my impact wrench and give them hell.

$55 or so for a complete metric set 4 years ago. 1/2" 11 - 26, 3/8" 6 - 19 deep/shallow, 1/4" 4 - 11 deep/shallow

I have zero complaints and would tell all my friends to buy them again, but I'm not sure you can get them packaged as such anymore.

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/25/12 6:26 p.m.

I have a big stack of HF tools sitting in my dining room right now... i keep going in there and buying mass quantities of stuff. With coupons. Lots of coupons.

Last time, i saved over $160 with coupons.


ThePhranc HalfDork
1/25/12 6:28 p.m.

HF should advertise in GRM.

Toyman01 SuperDork
1/25/12 6:49 p.m.

The aluminum jack stands are outstanding. I liked the first set so much I bought another set and got rid of all my steel ones.

I've had pretty good luck with their sockets, ratchets and hand tools, but I don't use them as my regular sets. There is a set in each car for emergencies.

I've had mixed results with their power tools. They are worth what you pay for them, meaning they are cheap. My biggest complaint is, if it's gear drive, it's noisy to the point of annoying.

I have one of their small aluminum "racing" jacks. It's not the greatest. It would help if I just used it on light cars. It didn't appreciate jacking up a fully loaded van, or the house and hasn't been the same since. Also, the frame is too weak and can't handle any side load without twisting.

I have one of the Mini Mills. It is outstanding as long as you realize it's a small mill and needs to be used accordingly. It has done everything I have ever asked it to do, slowly.

Taiden SuperDork
1/25/12 6:51 p.m.

I want one of their lathes just for laughs. I love making chips on lathes.

Grtechguy SuperDork
1/25/12 6:56 p.m.
ThePhranc wrote: HF should advertise in GRM.


dimeadozen Reader
1/25/12 7:25 p.m.


-Small canvas tool bag (Item # 35539) It's stood up to 5 years and counting of junkyard trips. The stitching on the handles has stood up to supporting the weight of tools, the zipper works well, and it's small enough to easily hide in the cab of a pickup when you don't want to lug your tools around the yard.

-Powder coating system- The cheap moisture trap cracked where the air line fitting attached to the body on mine after about two uses, but after replacing it with a decent filter, it works great.

  • Powder coating powder:- The red powder dries a more brownish color than I would prefer, but the black is a nice deep black. The stuff has a REALLY long shelf life, too. Just wish they would come out with a nice generic warm silver for valve covers, air cleaner housings, etc.


-1/2" torque wrench. Yes, I've used torque wrenches before. I purchased this one after reading great reviews of it all over the 'net. The first time I used it, with the correct indicated breakaway setting, it sheared the head off an L series cam tower bolt. After paying a machine shop to extract the bolt, the wrench was gifted to Goodwill.

Benchtop bead blasting cabinet The first time I used it, glass beads shot out every crack. It was made of panels bolted together, and it appears that the "sealant" between the panels was hot melt glue that was allowed to cool before the panels were bolted together.

benzbaron Dork
1/25/12 7:46 p.m.

Good stuff -Love my HF ratcheting wrenches sae and metric -torx socket drivers -allen socket drivers -large crescent wrench -abrasives for my drill, for 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of sears -automatic welding helmet is good -test light -heat gun -ratcheting breaker bar

Junk -the nitrile gloves were the worst I've ever used -snap ring pliers are absolutely useless -sump pump, I don't like the activating mechanism

For power tools I'd much rather have a used name brand off of CL than a piece of chinese junk.

nderwater SuperDork
1/25/12 8:24 p.m.

After breaking yet another big-box store ratchet, I picked up a set of HF swivel-head ratchet wrenches (using the 20% off coupons, of course). They have become my go-to tools whenever I'm working on the cars, and have yet to ever let me down.

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/25/12 8:26 p.m.

Oh man... how have i not seen those before? I NEED THOSE.

J308 Reader
1/25/12 9:10 p.m.

This is a great idea for discussion for GRM'ers, but I just want to add that garagejournal has a huge HF pass/fail thread going on over there.

I have bought many cheap tools at Harbor Freight, but have yet to have one fail. Of course, I don't make my living with them and subject them to hundreds of hours of work yearly, but I do use them for anything I need.

Appleseed SuperDork
1/25/12 10:30 p.m.

Damn you. Damn you all.

Checks calender for next day off.

joey48442 SuperDork
1/25/12 10:46 p.m.

We have there metal band saw. It's awesome. So far it's cut all the metal for the 7 brilliantly. I also love my breaker bar. Put a piece of pipe on it and actually lifted the rear of my Miata off the jackstand tryin to break a lugnut loose the tire guy put on with an impact, and the bar was fine.


moparman76_69 Reader
1/25/12 11:03 p.m.
Donebrokeit wrote: They also have a long handle 1/2" breaker bar that seems to be well unbreakable, and trust me I have tried real hard

I've broken three of them. Also broken every drive adapter I've ever gotten from there and every 3-4 lb mini sledge.

I've had good luck with most of the power tools. I buy 4-6 of the multimeters when they go on sale since I use one for work and one at the shop and lose them quite a bit. I've got two sets of the color coded sockets and they work great, but I did break an impact socket once.

The greatest tool I've ever bought there was the 3/8 - 1/4 drive ratchet with the extendable handle. I strongly suggest getting one.

Hasbro Dork
1/25/12 11:45 p.m.

I have a ton of stuff but my favorites are the aluminum jack stand ($59.00!) and torque wrench. Tools, trailer, 2 1/2hp chipper, air tank, etc., etc.

Osterkraut SuperDork
1/25/12 11:51 p.m.
J308 wrote: This is a great idea for discussion for GRM'ers, but I just want to add that garagejournal has a huge HF pass/fail thread going on over there.

I was about to say half the forums I'm a member of have a Harbor Freight thread, GJ included.

EvanR Reader
1/26/12 12:17 a.m.

They are in the process of opening a new store within walking distance of my house. This could have bad ramifications to my bank balance.

Appleseed SuperDork
1/26/12 1:40 a.m.

The only impression I got from the HAMB on HF tools is that if you had them, liked them, or recommended them, you were commie, nazi, feminist, racist scum and deserved to be destroyed.

Granted this was back when the economy was real good and people had money to buy the really good stuff.

Derick Freese
Derick Freese Dork
1/26/12 1:55 a.m.

If HF tools weren't 50% of the performance for 10% of the price, I wouldn't buy them. When you price yourself out of a market, someone will happily come in with an inferior product and a damn good price.

ronholm Reader
1/26/12 8:36 a.m.


stuff that fails IMO

Anything with a cord.. with the exception of a angle grinder... For the money is lived plenty long enough.. but still the quality and power difference b/t a HF grinder and a name brand at the pawn shop doesn't bridge the gap.

pneumatic tools. Come on... the exception is when a super coupon comes along.. and something which is normally 30+ dollars is on sale for 10 or less... I have picked up a couple that way.. They have all performed better than my low expectations.

I hate cheap screwdrivers.. even when buying them a ridicuoulously cheap prices

I bought a couple extensions which didn't make it...

The screwdriver bits as stuff for the drill.. The prices are right.. but they don't pay for themselves as they don't last long enough to match the value of good bits and tips.

Sandpaper/grinding wheels stones... Again.. Better stuff is cheap because it last longer works better...

Drill bits.. (DUH)

and the stuff I like/love

I just picked up the 5 drawer service cart/toolbox thing.. I love it.. I may buy a couple more for the woodshop... I had a super coupon which bought the thing for under 150 bucks.. It needs just a couple little things done to make it tough as it should be.. But i don't expect any problems.

The Powercoating stuff.. It performs as well as anything you can buy in the sub300 dollar range.. Love it.

The manual tire changer.. Like most things I but from HF it required a couple little things to suit my tastes.. But yeah... Again bought it for next to nothing with a super coupon.. and it paid for itself the very first time out. and the tire spoons they have work awesome.

The wrecking bar with the double head on it.. My favorite wrecking bar ever.. SO handy.. and tough..

The short yellow handled mini sledge hammer... I haven't broke it yet... Not from lack of trying.. and it is the perfect size.. My favorite 'Ford' tool ever.

The sandblasting cabinet.. It required a bit of sealing.. but I have used the heck out if it...

The SOCKETS.. Seriously.. I avoided them like the plague. One day I was in there and they were clearancing the stuff.. OK.. junkyard tools I thought.. Nope.. my good sockets are on injured reserve.. and I have been using the heck out of these aver since.. Trust me.. If someone can break a socket it is me.. The painted ones.. I have had awesome luck.. and impact sockets are great also... and I keep them on the upright socket trays from HF.. I love those also.. they are cheap.. and wouldn't move well.. but in the rolling service cart... PERFECT.

The 2hp Dust collector... I have a nice delta unit back in the woodshop which is supposed to be a better unit.. the HF unit unit is hooked up to my sanding/painting powder coating benches... They may trade places because the HF unit is more powerful and quieter... I could have bought three of the HF unit for what a used Delta dust collector sells for..

The magnetic trays.. just buy them and throw them all over the place.. You will be amazed at how useful they are...

The 20 ton press... I bought mine at a swap meet.. pretty sure for less than even current scrap prices.. It has nothing wrong which can't be fixed.

and next time you are in HF.. Join the inside track club.. then don't buy anything unless they send you a super coupon for it.. You will be amazed how cheap some of the stuff goes on sale for...

And some stuff.. like the bead roller.. Just expect to improve it when you get it home.. and then figure that into the total tool cost...

92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/26/12 8:40 a.m.

+1 to Inside Track club. The coupons are hit or miss, though... You'll go a few weeks with a bunch of crap you don't care about, then BAM!!!! This week's comes out and you need EVERYTHING ON THERE.

And then you buy it. Buy it all.

oldopelguy Dork
1/26/12 9:19 a.m.
Donebrokeit wrote: They also have a long handle 1/2" breaker bar that seems to be well unbreakable, and trust me I have tried real hard (think fence pipe) and its even on sale this week for $9.99 (might have to make a trip to HF today). http://www.harborfreight.com/interests/automotive/12-drive-25-breaker-bar-67933.html Paul B

Funny, I was going to post that as my one lingering dud from HF. Bought one in college and snapped it right off trying to loosen the axle nut on an ACVW. Ended-up putting a 3/4" drive Crapsman on the credit card to get the job done.

I get the rubber housing tractor lights there when they have a good sale. Pop the sealed beam out, pop in a sealed red semi light and you've got a trailer tail light that won't break when your friend borrows the trailer and backs into whatever it is that friends are always backing into.

My dad is also a big fan of the portable band saw when you get them on sale <$50. He has 5 I think, and just rotates them out as something goes wrong and then fixes them all en mass when he's down to the last one. (Seems they chew up drive wheel, but replacements are available cheap if you get several at a time.)

1988RedT2 SuperDork
1/26/12 9:39 a.m.

How could I have forgotten? My cheap HF sandblaster (with Black Beauty as the abrasive, of course) is doing a fine job of stripping some rusty parts for me. In fact, I've got some black sand-like material falling out of my hair at this very moment.

ThePhranc HalfDork
1/26/12 10:12 a.m.
1988RedT2 wrote: How could I have forgotten? My cheap HF sandblaster (with Black Beauty as the abrasive, of course) is doing a fine job of stripping some rusty parts for me. In fact, I've got some black sand-like material falling out of my hair at this very moment.

What sandblaster did you get? I have the red hopper gravity feed one and it sucks.

Gearheadotaku SuperDork
1/26/12 10:31 a.m.

Bought a tap and die set. JUNK. Most if the pieces aren't labeled, or just with ink. Handles are flimsy. Oddly enough, it is identical to my Craftsman set (Which I broke, Sears was closed, and I was desperate). Craftsman was labelled properly though. For $10 it did the job.

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