Just how bad are harbor freight power tools?

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Just how bad are harbor freight power tools?(self.woodworking)

submitted3 years agobyNemosaurus

Im looking to get a table saw and drill press for some upcoming projects and the price is enticing.

11 points12 points13 points3 years ago(2 children)

I have one of their tabletop drill presses. Keyed chuck. Had it for years. Works fine.

8 points9 points10 points3 years ago(0 children)

I had their miter saw. The brushes in the motor burnt out and they couldnt sell me replacements. I was pissed until I realized that that cheap-ass machine had lasted 8 years of abuse.

Theyre not great, but they may do if 1 degree accuracy isnt important.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(0 children)

I bought a tabletop drill press when it was on sale, and I definitely would agree it works fine. My only gripe is the table doesnt have a lock to keep it at an angle, and it took two people to move the belt.

6 points7 points8 points3 years ago(0 children)

Took them back. (HF was literally 2 min away)

Half hour later both were dead again.

One lasted almost 2 hours and the other 45 min.

HF guy saw us coming back and had our cash ready for us and asked us not to get any more.

6 points7 points8 points3 years ago(2 children)

The 2hp dust collector runs pretty damn well.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(1 child)

Probably their most universally acclaimed item.

2 points3 points4 points3 years ago(0 children)

is that because its job is to suck? lol… I have always heard that HF was a good place to get your first of some tool… but probably not your last. I joke with my friends that its great if you need a water soluble wrench or a single-use hammer.

4 points5 points6 points3 years ago(0 children)

Read the reviews on the site (they dont seem to delete or edit the negative ones) and do other Internet searches for the specific tool you are interested in.

That really is the correct answer because their quality simply varies from tool to tool.

3 points4 points5 points3 years ago(1 child)

My Harbor Freight rule is to pass on anything that has a motor or an edge.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(0 children)

I was going to say the same thing. Harbor Freight is great for solid state and chunky steel tools — hammers, pry bars, large blunt wedging tools, hydraulic presses, anvils, long rulers, bench vises, sanding sponges, etc. But I wouldnt bother with most of their power tools or anything else that has a motor. You get what you pay for in this world, and if a $15 grinder seems too good to be true, it probably is.

They do have great deals on certain specialty items, though. Their punch and die set at $30 is a great value, as is their doming block for around $40. Their aluminum tool cases are a good value when theyre on sale, as are their canvas tool bags, mechanics creepers, and their better quality 3 ton floor jacks.

I absolutely love my 20 ton shop press that I got there for next to nothing. Its just a heavy duty standing frame with two springs and a bottle jack, but it sure makes life easier when Im doing certain jobs, and the sale price was about 1/3 what youd pay for the same thing elsewhere.

Harbor Freight is also a great place to get cheap smaller items that are just useful — little battery op LED work lights, small key-sized folding utility knives for your key ring, etc.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(0 children)

I am guessing that the Canadian equivalent of Harbor Freight would be Princess Auto. Anyone know if this is about right?

2 points3 points4 points3 years ago(0 children)

I love some of the power tools. I have the oscillating multi tool, 3/4 hp grinder/buffer, and a corded 1/2 drill. To me the multi tool and drill were so cheap that they pay for themselves so quick that i can abuse them and throw them away without remorse. The 3/4 hp buffer is my favorite. So much power and runs like a dream, I couldnt be happier using it with a wire wheel or as a buffer. The pnuematic tools are great too. Read the reviews before you buy. But to me when you pay 1/4 or 1/5 the price of a comparable tool its hard not to try it out. Oh and Ive owned the random orbit sander. Well worth the money. At work I used the small sds hammer drill and I was not happy. Stick to bosch, milwaukee or Hilti for that. Id love to hear some thoughts on the cordless tools and batteries.

4 points5 points6 points3 years ago(3 children)

Glad you asked. I needed a saws all two weeks ago, light work. HF with a coupon AND a special they were running…$20. I said what the heck…even if it just lasts a year Ill be happy.

I used it for LITERALLY 40 SECONDS. Dead. When i brought it back he didnt look shocked. He even said probably the wires. That is most likely correct. HF brand power tools use really inadequate electrical wires that just cant hold up to the tops needs.

I buy Nitrile gloves and random small tools from them that are not important to me.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Ive had one for quite a while and its worked well over the $20 value. Used it to cut some sod flush for a retaining wall project and other random junk. Luck of the draw.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(1 child)

and yet ive used my sawzall from them to cut hundreds if not thousands of 4×4 posts without issue.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

General rule with products that undercut, first drop in cheaper material in making, then remove features finally lower quality control standards. The first two can have minimal effect on the overall usefulness of a product. Whats interesting though is with reduced qc you can get a ton of products that have a shitty lifespan then one that exceeds all expectation and was assembled perfectly lasting for 100s of hours of use when the mean life of its line was 10 minuets.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(0 children)

I have their bench top drill press, benchtop band saw, Circular saw, disc sander, oscillating tool, 3/8 corded drill, a few socket and driver sets …

the drill press is decent for the price but not great, the bandsaw to do over again I would not buy. the disc stander is going to be replaced soon because I cannot get a screw to stay seated to hold the disk to motor shaft.

the 3/8 drill is a beast, and came with extra brushes for the motor as did all the tools of all my purchases this one is one that is a best buy. I have had it for years and used the heck out of it. the circular saw comes a close second.

Do your home work on each tool some are good and some just suck… 1/4 sheet sander avoid.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago*(1 child)

I have been pretty impressed by their selection of tool chests as well.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(0 children)

Who ever down-voted you is a retard. HF tool chests are solidly built for their price point.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(0 children)

My harbor freight tool philosophy: If im not sure Im really going to use the tool that much, I buy HF and use it until it dies. If I actually wear it out, I buy a nice one.

So, I wouldnt buy a table saw, but I did buy a polisher for a project, it worked, and Ive never used it again.

2 points3 points4 points3 years ago(4 children)

i just bought the table saw this week. Theres a site somewhere that allows people to rate HF tools as worthy or not. The table saw was worthy. Plus, with a sale and 20% off coupon, I got it for $105. Unless you need something for your day job, I dont think you can go wrong at this price.

[S]1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(1 child)

Which model did you get? And do you happen to have that review site? Sounds like it could be very helpful for future projects.

1 point2 points3 points3 years ago(0 children)

I dont think this was the exact one but it was pretty close. . When I looked, I saw four posts that all said the table saw was worth the purchase.

I got the 10 inch 13 volt. There was a15 volt for the same price but the box had been opened and I didnt want to risk that. Also, the guy said the 15 didnt fit the stand well.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(1 child)

You can get the cheapest Ryobi or Skil for a little more than $105. Any idea if those are better?

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

I doubt there is that much difference, but I saw a lot of negative reviews on Ryobi products. Plus, one of them didnt have a saw dust port for a shop vac.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Ive got one of the 18v drills. Its a beast when the battery is charged, but dont expect is it to last much more than about 20 min. I got maybe 20; 2-1/2 deck screws driven on a ~90% charge.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

I never buy from HF without a 25% off coupon. I dont expect much out of their tools and when they work well,I am usually pleased. Power tools? you might get lucky but I dont use their stuff, as I work in an industrial environment, and even good quality tools(Milwaukee/Porter-Cable, etc)have a hard time surviving.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

I have a few tools of theirs. Their tool boxes are fantastic. I got one with a coupon for $315 and its equal in quality to my dads $1200 Craftsman setup. Im blown away by the quality actually.

I used to have a drill press from them. It was fine. Nothing to write home about but it worked. I gave it away when I was gifted a late 60s era craftsman full size drill press. Bad move. The HF one is much better.

Probably my favorite HF tool is my Mini lathe. Its the exact same casting and configuration as the older Jet JWL1015, Grizzly H8259, and the Turncrafter Pro Mini Lathe. It cost me $145 out the door though… Also, I wanted to have a longer bed, so I ordered the Turncrafter bed extension. Bolted right on in 5 minutes – no issues. I have turned a bunch of stuff with it and it does great. I also have the HF HSS lathe chisels. For $40 they are fine. Badly ground, but easy to fix and they take a good edge.

Oh, and I have their little $10 gravity feed HVLP gun. Nice little gun for the money. Works just fine. Its not an Accuspray quality gun, but it lays down primer with the best of them.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

lasted literally 15 seconds before the fake brass fitting popped out. making it garbage because its pressed into the janky plastic they use.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Note that when you look at reviews on Harbor Freight website, they default to showing the most positive reviews to most negative. Re-order them to show the most recent ones and you may get a better sense of how the quality of the stuff produced now.

Also, I have their scroll saw I bought the other week. Its pretty good for $50 w/ a 25% off coupon and on sale. But definitely replace the blades immediately.. I picked up some flying dutchman blades and they work great.

Lastly, I picked up the 2HP dust collector and modified it with a thein baffle before the intake. The thing is awesome to have!

-3 points-2 points-1 points3 years ago(1 child)

how much do you care about your body parts?

edit- you get what you pay for. Just dont expect them to last more than a couple projects and you wont be disappointed.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

not sure why you go down voted for sharing your experience. I find your comment to be 100% correct. Shop there if you dont care for the tool to last long. Shopping at HF is like going to the casino, you have to go into it knowing you will lose your money, and be okay with that.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Terrible. Dont even bother. You will hate using them and regret the money spent. Sure some people have had some OK success but seriously why buy a tool that is basically disposable. I feel sad when I think about someone excited to do a project with a new tool only to be disappointed because it is such a piece of junk.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

I have a cordless drill from there, after my last one was stolen at a job sight and its lasted 5 plus years of abuse. Might just be the best 20$ Ive ever spent, but I may just be lucky. also had their belt sander for a year and it keeps on truckin

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Their tools are cheap but with persistence you can get solid vintage American made tools on craigslist for the same price. I just picked up an old king seeley jointer from the 50s for $40. Made of cast iron and has a really nice motor. Guy had an old drill press for $50 too. Ive seen 80s era delta tablesaws for $150. Go garage dealing too.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

its really hit or miss, it depends who they decided to copy when making it.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Their industrial tool boxes got better reviews and are made better than anything you will find at a department store.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

I have a variable speed belt sander and an orbital sander from Harbor Freight. They both sand just fine. Not the best, but at the price point (with coupons) they are hard to beat.

That said, I probably wouldnt buy a table saw there.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(0 children)

I bought a 13 drill press a few years ago. I dont use it that much but its still working fine. Its not the nicest drill press, but its good enough for my needs.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(0 children)

I just spend the evening using a HF corded Oscillating saw for a major demo. It performed great. My B&D saw died twice in the first year. You never know what you are going to get. Some of their stuff is a great value. Its so cheap, if it breaks, you can afford to buy a second one and you still havent spend much.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(0 children)

Get a used something else. Better than anything new HF.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(0 children)

Look at the reviews. Ive had quite a bit of success with their tools, because I took a lot of time to see what others said. There is always the person who expected top tier quality and says harbor freight is awful, but in my experience if you do the research, its worth it, especially if youre looking for entry level stuff.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(1 child)

Bought small (1) gas powered water pump. Ran good for 6 weeks. Lost spark to spark plug. Started to repair. Remembered 90 day warranty. Took it back. Refund no questions, bought another and paid extra for one year warranty. Be sure to save the receipt. The receipt has a bad habit of fading out in a hurry. So either make a photo copy or pay by credit card and keep copy of bill.

0 points1 point2 points3 years ago(0 children)

Bought 4000 w generator for $300 last week with coupon. Went to HFT today and they were having a refurbished tool sale. Same generators for $200, but with only 5 day warranty. Other refurbs were 2/3 of lowest sale price. Seeing so many generators made me wish I had got an extended warrenty.

-1 points0 points1 point3 years ago(0 children)

Drill press should be fine. Id pass on the table saw.

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