Fucking Harbor Freight

Ordered from Harborfreight Fucking Harborfreight!

I just ordered from Harborfreight.com:

1 91310-4VGA 100 PC. SECURITY BIT SET 9.99 9.99
because I always wanted to be able to get behind those panels that I wasn’t supposed to. Not because I want to do anything bad, just because someone said, “No, you may not look here”


3 39440-5VGA PENCIL TORCH 5.99 17.97 I’ll be bringing the art of Peep Flambe to Burning Man. We had so much fun at the Chobunnpeggelly party torching peeps and making s’mores out of them, I thought the rest of the world might like to do so as well.

Update: 2 of the 3 pencil torches leaked. After the event, I tried the last remaining one and it refused to fill. I threw them all out.

1 4807-0VGA 5 PC. PRECISION PLIER SET 9.99 9.99 I’ve misplaced a pair of pliers that my grandfather owned. They’ll turn up, they’ll turn up. But in the mean time, I need some needlenose pliers for all my working with model airplanes and such.

Update: The pliers suck. The wire cutters won’t cut even 28 gauge wire.

2 42428-2VGA SPLIT LEATHER WORK GLOVES 0.99 1.98 Ninety-nine cent gloves! And they might be good gloves. They’ll probably end up being either alternative gloves for working in the shop (instead of always using my welding gloves) or go in my disaster go-bag.

Update: The leather work gloves are awful. They stink of some awful awful rubbery-chemical smell. I tried to wash the smell out and the sink turned black black for several minutes. Apparently, they hadn’t been dyed well at all. Now I have 2 pair of slightly damp, terribly smelly, color bleeding gloves. I put them in the closet inside a plastic bag to keep the smell at bay but the smell leached out and gave me a headache! I discarded them.

2 3015-1VGA 80″ x 60″ WOOL BLANKET 5.99 11.98 I had said to myself that I’d just put my sleeping bag in my go-bag but then I remembered that it was snug -inside- my duvet cover… so I’m getting a spare blanket.

Update: The wool blankets smelled like another kind of death. I tried putting them in a washing machine. The second they hit the water, the water turned bright red. The dye apparently hadn’t set. When I took them out of the machine, my hands turned red and they smelled just as horrid. I threw them out.

1 46157-1VGA SELF-POWERED AM/FM RADIO/FLASHLIGHT 9.99 9.99
disaster go-bag. I’m a bit miffed that I recently purchased a $60 Freeplay radio that appears to do everything identically.

1 47873-4VGA 16 OZ. RIP HAMMER WITH FIBERGLASS HANDLE 4.99 4.99 It’s good to have a hammer for occational tasks. It’s not a snazzy $30 hammer but an acceptable pound of steel on a stick. It’ll do.

Update: The hammer is a laughing stock. This is the pièce de résistance. How do you screw up a piece of metal on a stick? How?! I’ll tell you how. I can understand that the fiberglass handle transmits vibration poorly in a $5 hammer, I’m cool with that. But then, you make the head too convex and very smooth so that the hammer has no sweet spot; every strike glances off. You put the center of gravity far away from the head so it twists out of your hand when you miss the (non-existent) sweet spot. Friends have tried the hammer and they agreed with me.

4 40030-1VGA 2 PC. COOLMAX(TM) DISPOSABLE RESPIRATORS 3.99 15.96 For my go-bag and to be brought to the playa.

1 91214-2VGA BLUE FLAME DESIGN AUTO DARKENING WELDING HELMET 59.99 59.99 This is the only thing I -needed- in this whole order. Why did I get all that other crap? I’m getting this for my summer project MIG welding waaay too much this summer.

Update: The welding helmet works perfectly 90% of the time, making it completely worthless. 9 times out of 10 it auto-darkened instantly. That last time, it would take a full 1/4 second and I’d be fucking blinded.

25 Comments

  1. Lee says:

    I called Harbor Freight and they’re sending me a prepaid return label so I can return the stinky stuff to them for a refund. Though I lost some time by getting bad items, their service in correcting the problem is excellent.

  2. Rich says:

    I always have to laugh at posts like this… No one has ever claimed (in their right mind) that Harbor Freight has ‘QUALITY’ stuff…

    Their stuff aint that bad… Its probably worth every penny you paid for it… and I’ll bet you ordered it from Harbor Freight because their’s was the lowest price…

    I’d not advise mail-ordering from them, but find a local one if you can, and drop in…

    Their return policy is great though… If you dont like it sen dit back…

  3. JohnFreeman says:

    Nah… most harbor freight stuff is worth it…I wouldn’t but a welder there, but gloves, hammers, come on… it’s a fair return for low dollars.

    Bought one of their table top drill press ($35 delivered…amazing). Same as the $100 Delta at Lowes. The depth gauge was broken, so I emailed the service address and had a replacement in 2 weeks. I was astonished…

    John

  4. Keith says:

    Baloney! It is NOT worth it. And NO, I didn’t pay less for their garbage. I bought a Riveter for a job and paid for the “best” on they had there. The rivets that came with the kit I was instralling were heavy duty (4 of them). The stupid piece of shit tool broke on the 4th rivet and the quality of it sucked. The “metal” peanut brittle it was made of broke, yes peices of metal broke all over the place. Chinese shit! So I got 3 rivets on and then left without a gun for the 4th.

    My wife went and bought me a Craftsman Riveter ($2 LESSSSS expensive) and it worked GREAT! I put in 2 more rivets in other places to check it and it went smooth and professional. You could tell the quality of the American tool as opposed to the complete fucking shitty Chinese crap.

    Fact is that some places are just known for good stuff and others bad stuff. American Cars inmho are not that great, Japan is great for em. But American toiols are the BEST. Chinese tools are shit period.

    If you want to waste your money go buy the throwaway shit Harbor freight sells. The “Pittsburgh” brand (funny they use an American city selling great steel to sell shitty tools with brittle metal) is a joke.

    I will NEVER buy tools from that store again…ever. I may buy wore or something, but never tools. They suck.

  5. Kevin says:

    Kind of like facing the wind then going to the bathroom, what exactly did you expect HF to be selling? Real rivet tools cost real money, the ones at HF work find with 1/8″ rivets or spend a couple of more dollars and get the 41291 hand tool.
    I’ve been buying drill bits from them for three years about once every 6 months just to see when they will get some bits that will drill a hole without wearing out, still waiting and they have always taken the burned out bits back. I own both their stick and mig welders, work fine for me with the duty cycle they published which means plan on spending a long time welding while building a trailer waiting on the welders to cool down.
    While some would say they should change the name to HF JUNK most of the people that purchase from them already know what they are spending money on, besides, I’m now finding stuff at AutoZone and Sears that is priced lower then HF!

  6. Dan says:

    Harbor Freight is really a hit-or-miss place with a lot of junk and a lot of bargains. Some stuff is total junk. Other stuff is a huge bargain and works just fine. Some stuff isn’t a better deal than you get at Lowe’s/HD though. It’s definitely a store for smart shoppers. If you go in there thinking everything is the lowest price or good quality, you’re going to get burned. If you’re careful what you buy, and mindful of what things cost elsewhere, you can get some great bargains.

    As for Chinese tools being shit, most power tools these days are made in China, whether they’re a Harbor Freight brand or a big American or Japanese name brand like Delta, DeWalt, Craftsman, Hitachi, etc.

  7. Lee says:

    I had bought all my previous items from Harbor Freight by mail order. I could imagine that walking into a store, you would have a better chance finding the things they do well as opposed to their crap. But it’s still near impossible to tell in a store if a metal product has been tempered correctly, etc…

  8. WARREN says:

    I WORK IN THE HOME CONSTRUCTION FIELD AND MY TOOL BAG CONTAINS MANY HF TOOLS. THEY SEEM TO WORK WELL. NO ONE WOULD BOTHER TO TAKE A CHEAP ASS TOOL, AND IT WOULDN’T HURT SO MUCH IF THEY DID. I CAN AFFORD TO KEEP A SPARE ON HAND.

  9. greg says:

    I bought a set of jack stands there once. One of those fuckers busted while I was under the car. Luckily, I had left the jack underneath and when the stand broke I was trapped and could hardly breathe… that Walker (American) jack saved my life. I was able to reach the jack handle, but it took a good 15 or 20 minutes to get enough ooph on the handle to jack up the car where I could escape. No more Chink shit for me. Maybe the cheap solution would be to buy a Chink car, then when it falls after the Chink jack stand breaks, the car will bend around my body with no damage to me. Sounds perfectly plausible.

  10. mark says:

    man what a crew here.Ifell in here by mistack,but would like to say in defence of HF. i have worked all my life on trucks/trailers.heavy stuff.i stand by HF. some tools are crap but you get that in all stuff. some times when the prices is right you can work that piese of sh… in to the ground and replaces it on warrenty cheaper. they have a great plan. i can beat the hell out of that stuff and replace it no problem. the big tools are a real time saver. could not afford to have half the crap to make life easyer if i paid the going rate some where else. thank god for harbor freight

  11. George says:

    IMO, There is one in my town. I find great bargins. Quick-Grips that sell at lowes 2 for 19.97. HF, 1.99 each and I have had no problems. This is just one example. Biggest advantage you have got to shop their store that way you can see and feel the quality. Never had any problems .

  12. Peter says:

    These comments are unbelievable.

    Greg, the only thing your anecdote proves is that you are a complete and utter dumbshit. Who the hell trusts their life, in an immediate and obvious way, to the absolute cheapest of the cheap? You can get away with a cheap wrench if you don’t mind stripped nuts once in a while. You really want to use a crap jackstand to lift a few thousand pounds of machinery, AND THEN CRAWL UNDERNEATH IT?

    Christ, man. I’ll expect a posthumous darwin award for you.

    And then you have the nerve to blame “the chinks”? Any old thing to support your stereotypes, I guess. As if ALL chinese tools come from one giant factory painted red. The only thing the chinese suppliers of harbor freight are guilty of is, when asked by an american retailer to produce a $5 rivet gun AFTER overseas shipping costs and retail markup, saying “sure thing! whatever you say!” while stifling their laughter. Of COURSE the tools are going to be shit. If you can find an american to do the same thing at the same price, you’ll still get a shit tool. You think before manufacturing all went overseas, there weren’t legions of american factories producing really cheap crap? Pay the chinese more, and their quality will come up. Until then, pay more for quality, no matter where it comes from! And stop complaining if all you look at is price! You’ve got nobody but yourselves to blame.

  13. Lee says:

    Peter, I can see your point but please write more kindly. I ask that everyone keep their comments civil.

  14. Thomas says:

    i happen to work at a harbor freight so i ultimately know what is…and what isn’t junk…i will say that our hydraulics are one of our best things…and this is a MUST…you might think that the ESP (extended replacement plan) is a jip…but it’s nowhere near…especially on a $200 impact wrench or a metal lathe that’s $1000…the fact is is that all tools wear out over time no matter what brand…but sure american tools are better but look at the price comparison…most sears tools are $400 for a miter saw..while our 12″ usually goes for around $150 (estimating)…plus you get a cheap $12 replacement and bring it back if it gives out..you get 90 days to exchange it as much as you would like..and if you choose..30 days to get your money back..as if most of you thought that a $.99 pair of gloves was going to be a high quality glove…noone thinks when they go in they’re getting higher quality than american brands..but for the price comparison..it’s unmatched anywhere else..WHY? because we go straight to OUR manufacturer…we have no middle man we have the companies manufacture for US!..that’s why we can keep everything so cheap and still stay in business after the 5 month shipping overseas..we’re a growing company with over 5-6 stores opening each MONTH…and no im not trying to give you false imformation…so one thing you need everytime you get an eligible ESP tool..GET IT! (unless the tool is somewhere close to the ESP price such as our rotary tool)..thanks for reading

  15. […] can’t really trust the reliability of high-tech products from China. I started talking about Harbor Freight and he told me a […]

  16. BARRY says:

    HELL I BOUHT A GREEN TARP TOOK IT BACK THEY WILLNOT EVEN GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK EVEN WITH THE RECIEPT JUST BECAUSE IT WAS OPEN EMAIL THEM AN E.A.SMIDT HE WILL NOT EVEN ANSWER MY E-MAIL AINT THAT SO MUCH B.S I MEAN REAL B. S…..

  17. charles says:

    fuck yall haters always talking shit on our tools then stop buying them go and spend 500 more bucks at sears or home depot or somethin i just hate wanna be bob the builders who dont even know how 2 charge a drill i have a cheap drill from hf for 2 years now and its fine my craftsman drill cought on fire the third time i used it fuck yall

  18. jack pona says:

    If you buy anything there, you need to take it to the shop, tighten all the bolts, double check everything. Put loctite on all the screws. Obama will save us

  19. John says:

    I’m fortunate enough to have a HF RETAIL STORE in my town (Woodstock, Georgia) and it pretty much rocks. You can’t tell what is crap from a mail-order webpage, but when you get your hands on tools in the store you can tell right away what is crap and what isn’t. I’ve bought tons of hand tools, supplies, tarps, etc. from HF over the years. When I had a hobby car, HF was THE perfect place to buy specialty tools I’d only use a few times, at a FRACTION what it would cost at Home Depot/Sears/Lowes/Snapon, and use my savings elsewhere.

    On the other hand, I can honestly say I would NEVER buy anything sight unseen from their mail-order business.

    My $.02

  20. Tennyson Lee says:

    Harbor Freight is a mixed bag. Some of their merchandise such as moving dollies and C clamps are decent quality. Some of their other products including their $4 hammers are very poor quality. (the hammer head flew off after an hour of use) They opened a store near my home so I look there before trying more expensive sources. They do have a generous return policy so it’s easy enough to return items that prove to be unsatisfactory if there’s a local store in the area.

  21. Ken says:

    I love this article as much as I love HF. But like the rest of you, I need to put my hands on something. Ordering from the catalog is out of the question. I’d be interested to know whether Greg bothered to check the weight capacity on those jack stands–or whether they were used properly. I have a hard time believing one collapsed below their rating when properly used. If he did, he’d have an opportunity for a lucrative lawsuit. With that said, glad that you’re still with us Greg despite natures attempt at natural selection.

    My experience with HF been hit or miss for me.

    Some hits:
    -Finger ratcheting socket drivers. HF is the first place I’ve seen these, and they’re great for hard to reach places.
    -Roofing pneumatic nail gun (99$ on special). I laid a whole roof with one half expecting it to break, but the thing performed flawlessly. The next closest model at home depot was 350ish$.
    -Anything that clamps–at 25% of cost.

    Some misses:
    -OBD II CAN engine code reader/fault clearer (99$). Thing worked flawlessly until it didn’t. I used it 2-3 times with excellent results before it just stopped turning on. Unfortunately, the 4th time was a few months after the 90 day guarantee.
    -Claw hammer. Hammers don’t seem to be popular here. My problem was with the claw. It was so blunt, it had a hard time getting under a nail only have driven in!

    I moved away from my hometown to a place without HF a little over a year ago. I have to admit, despite the misses, I do miss blowing a few hours after work sifting through the crap for gems. It was hours of entertainment by enabling the imagination. I found myself thinking often, “I wonder what this is used for? Or, I wonder what project I could start with this?”

    PS, I always wondered about those welding masks. Thanks for the insight, Lee!

  22. patel says:

    Harbor freight rules are simple:

    1) Don’t buy things there that are going to be your workhorse for everyday (i.e. cordless dril or hammer that you bang with for 8 hrs a day… jack ass… all though i have them in my woodshop class at school and 80 students abuse them daily and they hold up

    2) Inspect the material its looks like cheap crap it probably is

    3) DO buy things there that you rarely use i.e. tile saw or

    4) If it cost 1/4 the price of everyone else who cares break it twice and get a third (again unless its something u use often)

    5) cheap crap like chip brushes, drop cloths, foam brushes, flux brushes, regular sandpaper, hobby knives, are UNIVERSALLY MAD OF CHEAP JUNK… why pay double for the same garbage

  23. rohmell brills says:

    I like everyone’s comments on here. I like Harbor Freight. I thought that they had the cheapest price for an inverter welder at 119 dollars, but I found a Forney AT-100 from an ebay seller for 99 with free shipping, plus it came with a case.

  24. lee says:

    Thank you for all of your comments. I have to point out that most of the commenters miss the point of my post. For example, this comment, “Don’t buy things there that are going to be your workhorse for everyday…” If you read my post, you’ll see that most of the items I purchased didn’t work for their intended purpose at all. The auto-darkening welding helmet didn’t auto-darken. The hammer didn’t hammer. The torches didn’t make fire. The wire cutters wouldn’t cut wire. Etc…

    If you walk in to a Harbor Freight store, you have chance at buying “good enough” equipment. But recognize you are not buying equipment, you are buying what amounts to a lottery ticket… the stuff might work.

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