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Old 12-28-2011, 06:39 AM   #1
JimVonBaden OP
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Rate your Harbor Freight Tool Experiences!

Please rate your experience with specific tools/items purchased and used from Harbor Freight. Note the link to the item, if you got it on sale, a photo if you can, and your DIRECT experience with that item.

Anyone who is interested in buying inexpensive tools and items from HF can use this thread to see if what they are interested in has a chance of being worth the price!

This thread is NOT about wheather or not you should buy things from China, or anywhere else. It IS about helping people decide the good values from the bad at Harbor Freight. Please do not waste our time with rants about HF and Chinese crap.

I'll start out with examples!

Three years of hard labor: http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-lb...ift-68892.html

Major Pass, and only $289 for the air/manual lift version on sale!


http://www.harborfreight.com/motorcy...ock-96349.html
Similar three years:

Pass. It is great for getting a bike on the lift alone, and holding it while tieing it down!


http://www.harborfreight.com/1500-wa...112-96289.html

Pass, lasted three years, for $9.99 on sale.


http://www.harborfreight.com/9-piece...set-67914.html

Pass, excessive use, and the Allen sockets, with no failures, and lots of abuse.


http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog.../category/434/

Got on super sale for $12.99. MAJOR PASS! Works great, especially for the price. Now if only I could weld worth a damn.


http://www.harborfreight.com/automot...nds-38846.html

Pass, but beware of using them on assphault as they will sink in.


http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog.../category/433/

Pass, strong and cheap at $39 on sale.


http://www.harborfreight.com/power-t...der-92623.html

PASS! This thing is great! Holds the HF 7" rubbing and buffing pads (also great!) and the other accessories.


http://www.harborfreight.com/power-t...der-93431.html

Pass, but the dust collector is worthless!

http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-to...set-66836.html

FAIL Cheap and bend easily!

http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-to...set-92193.html

FAIL!!!

I have used LOTS of HF hand tools, and most are OK, the screwdrivers are generally crap, unless you use ones with replacable tips, but otherwise they do NOT do well.

Jim

PS Yes, I know Poolside (Jim) has a similar thread, but this is about pass or fail on specific items, so different.
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Old 12-28-2011, 07:36 AM   #2
Skippii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden View Post
I also have the blue flame version. I paid $39. Works fantastically, and has enabled me to weld much better than before I had an auto-darkening helmet. Mostly just because now I can start my welds in the correct place. Anyway, I'm not blind, so I'll say PASS.


I use it with:

http://www.harborfreight.com/120-amp...der-98870.html
(I can't post the images from work)
I paid $69 for it refurbished. I've probably burnt 50 pounds of rod with it. Never had a problem with it, ever. I've used it with 1/16, 3/32, and 1/8 rod on both 120 and 240 volts (It likes 240V MUCH better). PASS.


http://www.harborfreight.com/80-piec...kit-97626.html
(actually, I can post the images...but they come out rather large:


FAIL. Where do I begin to describe this piece of shit? The power supply is basically a tiny bit larger than your average cell phone charger. It buzzes and spins, but when you touch a spinning cut-off wheel to a peice of PLASTIC (forget about metal) it instantly stalls and wimpers. It has no power. If you intent to use this to drill, grind, cut, or even scratch something, forget it. My ex had vibrators ten times more powerful than this crap.

I think I have this, but mine only came with 5 bits...
http://www.harborfreight.com/8-in-1-...ver-31555.html

FAIL. it doesn't ratchet well...it just works like some kind of torque wrench, where after about 1 foot pound of force, it disengages and spins. If you switch it to the "locked" position where it should work like a normal screwdriver, it spins in both directions. Also, if you are lucky enough to make the screwdriver actually work, the bits break. This might be the first time I've ever bought a screwdriver that didn't work.


http://www.harborfreight.com/7-funct...ter-90899.html


7 Function Digital Multimeter- I think I paid $3.99. PASS. It's worth the price just for the transistor test, where it shows the Hfe of any NPN or PNP tranisitor you plug in, as long as you get the trannies in *just* right so it can read them. The resistance (ohm meter) function works well, but be aware that the signal voltage and current it uses is surprisingly high (over 3 volts), which is strong enough to damage some ultra-sensitive component and will light up LEDs. The probes are crap and will fall off the wires if your not careful, so solder them on or something.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:10 AM   #3
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I have the heat gun, ' GOOD" the metric hex head sockets "REAL GOOD", and I used to have the orange o-ring picks "JUNK as you indicated.

Probably my best one is an old HFT 5 gallon pan cake compressor. I'd guess 15 or so years old. It won't die. I've used the heck out of it. It won't run any air tools. But it is great for tires and to blow the fecal matter off tons of anything I tear apart. Which is almost daily.
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:08 AM   #4
FatChance
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I have the 1000lb motorcycle lift as pictured, Excellent!

Also, the wheel chock on the lift as pictured, Excellent!

Also, the heat gun as pictured, Very Good!

Also, the motorcycle tire changer. Good. (With some aftermarket additions, Excellent!)

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Old 12-28-2011, 05:46 PM   #5
CA Stu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance View Post
I have the 1000lb motorcycle lift as pictured, Excellent!

Me too, I added a wheel clamp I bought off ebay and it has been a super-handy lift.
Unfortunately, the bottle jack in mine leaked out some fluid and I had to top her up...

The black drill bits they sell are junk, pure and simple. FAIL Spend the extra for good drill bits.
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Old 01-16-2012, 03:26 PM   #6
VTWIN-The Real VTWIN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance View Post
Also, the motorcycle tire changer. Good. (With some aftermarket additions, Excellent!)

+1 on the tire changer and mojo bar. The only problem I had was with the mojo bar socket head bolt fastening the teflon tire removal end. It bent trying to remove a stuborn tire. Quickly fixed with a new grade 8!
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
Nanuq
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance View Post
I have the 1000lb motorcycle lift as pictured, Excellent!

Also, the wheel chock on the lift as pictured, Excellent!

Also, the heat gun as pictured, Very Good!

Also, the motorcycle tire changer. Good. (With some aftermarket additions, Excellent!)

What aftermarket additions specifically?
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Old 08-31-2013, 06:16 AM   #8
cablebandit
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Most likely the Mojo Lever and Mojo Blocks. Makes mounting tires a breeze and you won't scratch the rims.

http://home.comcast.net/~prestondrake/mojoweb.htm
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Old 08-31-2013, 08:59 AM   #9
Stan_R80/7
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Getting back to HF tools, I bought the 24" tire irons from HF:

http://www.harborfreight.com/24-inch...ron-93230.html




As noted in their image, the bar is not flat but has ridges on both sides. This serves to reinforce the bar allowing some good leverage to easily bend an aluminum rim. These would be good for a steel truck/tractor wheel. Rim protectors will help but not stop gouging where these ridges contact the rim. However, the price is right and an angle grinder can modify the tire iron if someone was determined to use them. I kept mine as pry bars or use with steel rims.

FWIW, I use the plastic stubby tire irons (http://www.stubbytiretools.com/). After getting a pair, I figured out how to make them out of delrin rod. Most certainly a technique specific tool - but the plastic tools make it difficult to mar or bend an aluminum rim. Of course, YMMV.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
trc.rhubarb
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Had my steel one now for over 2 years - same battery.
Works great but I rarely use it.
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Old 11-25-2013, 06:26 AM   #11
TeneRay
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I purchased the 4x6 horizontal band saw about a month ago and have been using it extensively. Pretty solid machine. Did the first "mod" which was to buy a quality blade. Cuts like a pro. Not very useful as a vertical band saw since the throat is only about 3 inches deep.

Throatless "Beverly" shear. Says it's meant to cut up to 18g steel but I've been working with 16g aluminum. Pretty loose out of the box and requires some tuning between the cutting blades. The design isn't that great since the hinge bolt requires enough torque to keep the tolerance between the cutting blades but too much and you're having to HeeMan the shear.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by facetjoint View Post
I have the heat gun, ' GOOD" the metric hex head sockets "REAL GOOD", and I used to have the orange o-ring picks "JUNK as you indicated

Probably my best one is an old HFT 5 gallon pan cake compressor. I'd guess 15 or so years old. It won't die. I've used the heck out of it. It won't run any air tools. But it is great for tires and to blow the fecal matter off tons of anything I tear apart. Which is almost daily.
I "had the yellow heat gun" & now in the land dump as switch quit. Using the black one past few years with fingers crossed! Anyone giving HF "high speed" drill bits a pass has not used them much? They are not made of suitable material to drill harder materials like steel. Save you money and buy up to the job at hand. Ebay search will save you some money on bits but be certain to ask questions 1st! As to torx bits-again, save your money & either buy a name brand or be prepared to take them back after much use & never buy a torx bit that lacks a take back warranty as they all are subject to fail after much hard use.
Update, just took back the super duper hose nozzle - Chinese takeoff of Bonaire nozzle. It lasted 2-3 weeks, which is barely within the return period. FWIW, just try & find a good hose nozzle anywhere at any price!

kantuckid screwed with this post 09-17-2012 at 06:30 AM
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:48 AM   #13
Dave in Wi
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Location: Madison WI (40 Square Miles Surrounded By Reality)
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I have used both the Cen Tech digital calipers and micrometers. They were cheap, dead nuts accurate (checked them against my feeler gauges), readings are repeatable, and my eyes LOVE the fact that they are digital. And you can get readings in metric or inches.

I also recently bought a single 6 point socketat HF to loosen the clutch nut on my atv (24 mm or something like that). 99 cents on sale. How can they do that? It worked fine and now I have it whenever I need it.
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:03 PM   #14
Speedo66
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Had one of their 4'x8' folding trailers with the 12" wheels. Piece of 4x8 plywood and you were in business.

For less than $300 delivered at the time, it did what it was supposed to do, carried two bikes with no problem.

Used it millions of times to haul homeowner stuff, etc.

Not pretty, not particularly strong, but it never failed. Paint sucked, had to watch for rust, and wire brush and touch it up occasionally.

But when I sold it, I actually got more than I paid for it, so it literally owed me nothing.

This one http://www.harborfreight.com/1195-lb...els-90154.html

PASS

Bought a set of their circlip pliers, you know the ones with the 2 tiny points that fit into the holes. When the tips weren't bending, the part of the pliers that held them wouldn't hold them, kept letting them move out of place.

These things http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog...circlip+pliers

FAIL
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Old 12-28-2011, 04:06 PM   #15
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