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wtf?
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1,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so we all know that a lot of fighters are built on a budget, and we wont go buy Snap-On priced stuff for tools we only use a handful of times. But everyone knows that there are tools that are great buys, ones that are decent enough, and ones that you should avoid from HF.

I see a lot of threads asking about the quality of a certain tool for HF, so lets put all the reviews in one thread.

Try to post a decent review of what you like and dont like about each tool, a pic if you got it, and wait till after you have atleast used the tool some time to review it.
 

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wtf?
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1,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
90 Amp Flux Core Welder

http://www.harborfreight.com/welding/mig-flux-welders/90-amp-flux-wire-welder-98871.html



I got it for 90 bucks with the coupon. It worked right out of the box, but it could use some work. The faceshield sucks ass, throw it away and buy a real hood. Same with the wire. I got much better results with the lincoln flux wire. I also upgraded my ground clamp with the large brass one for 10 bucks at HF. Welder works better now. I originally bought it just to tack stuff together and finish welding at school with good welders, but it works good enough for many different projects at home. BUT make sure you pay attention to the duty cycle. If you try to run this thing all day you will burn it up. Ive had this thing for probably 9 months and it still works good.

Note that the electrode is always hot. so if you touch it to grounded metal, it will arc even with your finger off the trigger.


6" Digital caliper
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-t...micrometers/6-inch-digital-caliper-47257.html



Got this gem on the open box shelf for 6 dollars. Its a little gritty (at least mine is) but it does metric, sae, and fractional inches. Open and close it smoothly and not really fast and it works well. If you sling it open and close really fast, sometimes it loses zero. Comes in a nice plastic box with cut out foam liner.
Digi calipers (like any precision measuring tool) are notoriously delicate. so dont be using these as a hammer and they should last you.


18 piece t handle hex set
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-t...-ball-point-and-hex-key-wrench-set-96645.html


I have had this set for about a year. the holder is nice, with hex shaped holes so the wrenches stay mostly straight(except for the smallest couple). Seem decently strong, although my dad somehow busted a chunk off one of the plastic handles. They are fairly large, and you can get some good torque on the short side. Dont try to go gorilla strength on the ball end though, as it can twist inside the bolt. definitely worth buying.


17 Piece metric/sae hex key set
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/hex-wrenches/17-piece-sae-metric-hex-key-set-94650.html


I got an exact copy of these at walmart. They have been my go to hex key on most projects. havent broken or bent one yet, and i have had them a couple years. I do have to tighten the nut that holds them together from time to time though. most definitely worth buying.

6 Piece pliers set
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/pliers/6-piece-pliers-set-38082.html


I havent had these terribly long, but they seem to work good. This should be one that you inspect in store before buying (same with all cutting pliers) as the cutting edges can be hit or miss. on the set I got they were useable, but not perfect. I have seen worse though. Great set for 10 bucks, compare that to 49.99 for a kobalt set.


3 piece locking pliers set
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/pliers/3-piece-curved-jaw-locking-pliers-set-91684.html

9 bucks? cant beat that with a stick. these work great, no complaints. These are fully riveted, not riveted/welded like some others, but seem plenty sturdy. Nice rubber grips that stay in place while clamping. a great buy.

Metal socket rails
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-t...h-and-1-2-half-inch-socket-rail-set-1147.html


These guys work great. I usually buy several and either cut them smaller/ divide up, or move all the clips onto 1 rail. 2.50 for a 3 pack or .99 cents each. cant go wrong here. I have most of my sockets on Hansen socket trays, but all the others on these.

4 Piece socket adapter set
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-tools/sockets-accessories/4-piece-socket-adapter-set-1793.html

Havent broken one yet, and I have had them for about 4 months. Strong detents so they wont fall off the ratchet. These are a must have.

High Speed air reciprocating saw
http://www.harborfreight.com/air-tools/specialty-air-tools/high-speed-metal-saw-91753.html


It works, but it is annoying to change the blades, and you will do it often because the short stroke only uses a small part of the blade. Get out your ear plugs too, as this is loud as shit when cutting sheet metal. keep it oiled and it should last. I found it handy for cutting radiator hoses, wood, and all kinds of stuff.

Thats all i have for now. I just bought some more stuff today, and I will review it after a few uses.
I hope this helps a few of you (as I just spent an hour typing everything up haha), and please contribute to it when you can
 

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Cmon' Kitty!
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777 Posts
Great reviews, but the metal socket holders BLOW.

The plastic ones are way better, even if they're "expensive"
 

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wtf?
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1,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #4

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wtf?
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1,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

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UnicycleMode
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7,569 Posts
Just bought a 8" drill press from HF for $50. Once I start putting the beat down on that thing with some hardened steel I'll report back with a review of it. Seems to work pretty well as it sits, haven't gotten to use it though. I also have a Chicago Electric 220 Dual Mig from HF also. Had that sucker for years, I don't think there is one thing I have clamped the ground to that it couldn't weld well. Just like you found, Lincoln Electric wire works the best. ;)
 

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Buy all my shit!
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6,042 Posts
Just bought a 8" drill press from HF for $50. Once I start putting the beat down on that thing with some hardened steel I'll report back with a review of it. Seems to work pretty well as it sits, haven't gotten to use it though. I also have a Chicago Electric 220 Dual Mig from HF also. Had that sucker for years, I don't think there is one thing I have clamped the ground to that it couldn't weld well. Just like you found, Lincoln Electric wire works the best. ;)


A shop I worked at 5 years ago bought there tallest drill press (Think it was the 6' tall floor model). I drilled 28 holes in 2 H-beams to make deck adjusters for a 20ton press I hhad to make for the shop. I drilled every one of those holes with a tapered step bit, used the oiler it cable with.. It worked mint and never burned out on me. I went threw a few drill bits but the press never failed
 

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Remi's Dad
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17,593 Posts
harbor freight is GREAT for the price nab a DA or other pnuematics for cheap replace every year or so is alot cheaper than buying a hutchins or snap-on and having to have them rebuilt.
my little air compressor sucks bum though it's set on 125psi at eh regulator but wont shut off and can't get over 90psi all it's good for is airing up tires and airbrushing (which i do alot of, airbrush from hf too) not so great.
The electric impact for 30 bucks is a frighn god-send i use it all the time it's fantastic, but when it comes to really-high torque applications it falls short (that's what the 5 foot chommoly tube is for.

overall :HF rocks though
 

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QUESTIONABLE ENGINEERING
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1,325 Posts
HF ANGLE GRINDER
This thing is awesome! I think I got it for like $15 at HF and I do ALL my cutting and sanding with this thing. They sell wheel packs with grinding and cutting wheels that have been more than adequate for cutting frames, grinding down welds, cutting brackets out of 10 GA stainless, basically anything metal related. I've been using it for almost 2 years now and it still works like a champ! I expected to have to buy a new one after 6 months, but nope. I really like the shield on the back. I found out how useful it is after cut-off wheeling my finger on my friend's grinder.


HIGH SPEED AIR RECIPROCATING SAW
I HAVE to give this one a negative review for any metal work. It sucks at cutting anything stainless or irregularly shaped. The (pricey) blades are flexible and get bent easily. It works okay for cutting thin sheet metal, as long as you can keep the gaurd flat up against the metal. However, I would just rather use my angle grinder for straight-ish cuts .. as it takes less effort. I guess it would be okay for cutting hoses and wood as chance said .. but I don't do much of that!
 

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V4's FTW
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10,494 Posts
Harbor Freight (Pittsburgh) sockets - YES

Harbor Freight (Pittsburgh) ratchets - NO!

Buy the socket kits that come with ratchets, then cut the ratchet heads off and toss them. Use the handles for punches/drifts instead, much more useful that way!!
 

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Cmon' Kitty!
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777 Posts
I havent used them a lot yet, because I have the sockets that dont get used much on them. I could see how they would wear out quickly though. I have most of my sockets on these

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200234124_200234124

And IMO, those are the best socket organizers out there
Those things rock ^^

I should have clarified, for a stationary toolbox the cheapo metal organizers are fine. But if your toolbox bounces around in the back of a truck the metal ones fall apart after the first corner, while the plastic ones (with spring-loaded balls) have been holding my sockets for over a year.
 
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Swamp Witch
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6,239 Posts
100 Piece Security Bit Set

http://www.harborfreight.com/100-piece-security-bit-set-91310.html

This is probably the most-used tool(s) I own. It has a huge selection of security/anti-tamper bits as well as a variety of sizes of torx, hex, flat, phillips and so on, SAE and Metric. It also has some adapters included. The bits have held up very well, considering I use them on virtually everything I work on, and the case makes it easy to keep them organized. Overall, a great buy for $9, and they're often on sale.
 

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fail-o-matic
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my cheapo beat around keep in the truck multimeter is from HF... digital, manual ranging (i miss auto ranging when i use it for sure).... has a backlit display, and i wont feel bad if i i break it.. checks within 1% of "better" meters.. i think is was 8 buck or something, i don't remember now...
 
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Premium Member
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20,726 Posts
This is a great "secret santa ideas" thread!! :thumbsup:


I have a variety of HF tools & most are pretty good tools, but don't ever get a wrench there. They are like 'pot-metal' & twist off, or twist in two very easily. I get some of the best tools at flea-markets. People get desperate & sell their good tools for next-to-nothing! I have actually felt guilty on occasion. :D
 

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wtf?
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Discussion Starter #18
Awesome! We got some good reviews and discussion already!


And thanks for posting Dogmeatk, I have been wanting an angle grinder of my own (so i can return magnetnerds) and was wondering about theirs. I havent bought any powertools (other than the welder) from HF yet, good to hear it works well and lasts:shocker:
 

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wtf?
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1,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
This is a great "secret santa ideas" thread!! :thumbsup:


I have a variety of HF tools & most are pretty good tools, but don't ever get a wrench there. They are like 'pot-metal' & twist off, or twist in two very easily. I get some of the best tools at flea-markets. People get desperate & sell their good tools for next-to-nothing! I have actually felt guilty on occasion. :D
Gotta love the flea markets too. I picked up 3 large sockets, 2 being craftsman deeps, and 1 being a mac standard, for 2 bucks each. They are like 10 bucks each new
 

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wtf?
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1,188 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
got a few more of the new stuff I just got.


1/2" Drive Click Stop Torque Wrench
http://www.harborfreight.com/hand-t...-inch-drive-click-stop-torque-wrench-239.html


<THE BEST THING O HAVE BOUGHT YET>
10 bucks with a coupon. has a great click feel and sound, reversible ratchet head, and checked out exactly with a dial type torque wrench my dad has. Also comes in a nice formed plastic case.


Magnetic paper towel holder
http://www.harborfreight.com/magnetic-paper-towel-holder-67700.html


Was keeping the towels in a bottom drawer, but this makes them much more accessible. its a 2 piece design for any width roll. I use the really strong blue shop towels, and a swift pull will rip the sheets off the roll and not budge the holder.

3 Piece thumbwheel ratchet set

http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece-thumbwheel-ratchet-set-94011.html

Boy are these guys rough. One of the three is drilled noticeably off center. The actions are stiff, and are pretty hard to reverse. I hear you can get them to loosen up a bit by spinning them with a drill. For 4 bucks, i might have a bit of fun with these and tune them as best as I can, machine finger grooves in them, pack em full of bearing grease, and maybe even powder coat them.

I bought these knowing I wouldnt use them too often (esp the 1/2" dr) but I figured they would be handy when needed
 
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