Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board

Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board (
-   Garage - Tools (
-   -   tools from harbor freight (

critter119 11-08-2009 12:55 AM

tools from harbor freight
hey all, i am looking at purchasing some specialty tools amd don't want to spend the money that other places are asking, i was wondering if any of you had any good or bad experiences with them, some of them are us general and pittsburg. please help me out as i am not that knowledgeable about them and i would like to get some feed back from ya'll. please help as to i am a young HOTTRODDER.
thank you

ckhismine 11-08-2009 04:53 AM

Some of the things they sell are ok and some are just plain junk. Be careful of the things you buy from them.

Jake_Dragon 11-08-2009 05:06 AM

I have several tools from HF. But you have to be careful or you will end up with cheap China junk. Like a screw driver that disintegrates the first time you try and use it. Just look for quality not quantity.

redsdad 11-08-2009 07:08 AM

1/4" angle air die grinder 93088-9VGA - mine is over 10 years old, I abuse it shamefully, it doesn't owe me a dime. Use if with a 2" pad and dotco abrasive discs for weld finishing.

1/4" die grinder kit 44716-0VGA - works OK, not much power so kinda slow going. I am probably asking too much of it.

3" high speed air cutter 47077-3VGA - I have two, one set up with one disc for cutting, one set up with two discs for grinding weld proud. Same results as the 1/4" angle die grinder.

High speed metal saw - 91753-1VGA - I think this is the one I have. It is the cheaper of the two they sell. Stalls quite frequently. Thinking about buying the other one or just buying a higher end one from a name brand.

Air ratchet 47214-3VGA - Works great. Listen, I paid four times for a Snap On over 20 years ago. Hit the trigger one day and the head locked and screwed itself off the air motor. Air tool warranties are 90 days, not life, or so I was told. I would get the HF any day.

4", 4-1/2", and 9" electric grinders 91223-2VGA, 91222-2VGA, & 93179-2VGA
Get the CE brand, not the drill master. My 4" has a cut off wheel on it and the 4-1/2" has a grinding wheel on it. Work great. The 9" (it may be a 7", can't remember) has a shrinking disc on it. The unit works great. never got the hang of the shrinking disc.

Pressure pot sand blaster 34202-8VGA - OK for the hobbyist. I use mine primarily with alum. oxide. Get the deadman nozzle 92189-1VGA

Bead roller 34104-0VGA - The frame will twist out of shape. I reinforced mine by welding on 1" square tubing. works great now. 2 person operation, one to crank and one to feed. 1 person results hit and miss. I may eventually put a motor on mine. At $150, I am not sure if it is such a good deal. Wait til it goes on sale.

Planishing hammer 94847-0VGA - Great potential at a great price. You have to add two set screws to hold the gun in place. The bottom die lock and adjuster are not very robust. I have to figure out how to modify the stock parts are replace them to keep them from shaking apart.

English Wheel 65177-0VGA or 97050-0VGA (I think they are the same except for the number, HF changes numbers from time to time). I used to think there were 3 scenarios on buying this, now I think there are 4. Investing in a good wheel is pricey. Figure $1500 minimum. I picked up my HF on sale for about $200. So, you have a guy who doesn't know if he will like wheeling or will be any good at it. He doesn't want to invest $1500 in a tool he may not use. He buys the $200 HF unit. Scenario one - he buys it and is really no good at it and/or doesn't like black fingernails. He is out $200 instead of $1500. Scenario two. He would be a good wheeler, but the HF's drawbacks discourages him and he drops wheeling. This is the downside to the HF wheel IMHO. He is out $200 and the world is short one wheeler. Scenario three. He discovers he can wheel and he likes it. He moves on to a better grade wheel when he can afford it. Since I have been wheeling with mine, I think there is a fourth scenario. The guy likes it and is fair at it. For the type of work he is doing, the HF unit is all he needs. It is not for restoring high end cars. I will probably reinforce my frame. But it smooths out hammer blows and it will crown metal. You can't paint right over the metal because it does have marks in it.

Hole punch 44060-0VGA - Works good but the pivot pins are too soft. I intend to replace mine with drill blanks when I get some time and find some drill blanks.

Riv-nuts or Nut-sert 1210-0VGA - What can I say. I like mine so far.

I had stayed away from the wrenches and sockets. What can I say, I am a SnapOn snob. But I did need a set of allen wrenches so I decided to take a chance. 94680-0VGA I may be buying more HF wrenches in the future. These are good.

I also buy shop towels there. 46163-0VGA They go on sale 50 for $10. I don't wash them anymore. I just throw them away.

Pop rivets, cut off wheels, aluminimum oxide, gloves. Can't complain. Sure, the more expensive cut off wheels from elsewhere last longer. But, unless you are doing production work, who cares.

eloc431962 11-08-2009 07:26 AM

Here this might help you. ...............................Cole

spikebot 81 11-08-2009 08:12 AM

I have bought a couple items. My 4 1/2" grinder is 10 years old and I abuse the crap out of it. Still works great. I won a set of pittsburg pipe wrenches at a raffle and they are junk. Recently got a cylinder compression tester and it seem to be fine. I think some items are ok but stay away from hand tools most are crap

Furytom 11-08-2009 08:35 AM

I bought quite some stuff there too lately. For the money most of there stuff is alright. Got me a soda blaster an the 40lbs pressure sandblaster there just the other day. Both work pretty good so far. The bucket sandblaster I bought there before did not work with my walnut shells at all. The wire wheels they have are great and cheap and work fine on rusty parts. Got a bunch of hand tool there too. All do work so far but of cause I only use the stuff a couple of times during the week. But Im happy with there products.


MARTINSR 11-08-2009 10:42 AM

I look at it this way, first off, why work harder than you need to with a poor quality tool? Those cheapie die grinders are just maddening! Its like trying to mow a lawn with hand trimmers, yeah I guess you can, but why?

99% of what is found in the HF store is out and out garbage. There are a few things that are usable, but finding them is pretty tough.

A quality tool is always worth darn near what you paid for it, years later with inflation, it will be worth MORE than what you paid for it. Cheap tools are WORTHLESS the minute you walk out of the store.

When I think of how much better my super high dollar die grinders and angle grinders are than even the lower priced ones on the tool trucks it makes me sick to think of all the work I did with the old ones! The ones I bought over the last few years, a little larger with more HP (MAC, SnapOn and Matco) are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better, OH MY GOD, they are SOOOOOOO superior it isn't even funny! And that is compared to the "basic" Mac, SnapOn and Matco. So if the difference between the highest quality and the above average quality tools are so different what is the difference between them and the HF junk? MILES that is the difference, MILES.

I bought a Harbor Frieght die grinder so I could put a burr grinder or something in it, I forget what, maybe a cut off disc, I don't remember. But I wanted this tool that I seldom use to be in a die grinder so I didn't have to switch it out on my good die grinder on infrequent times I used it. Understand I don't swap out tips on drills and that sort of thing a lot, I have a drill set up with the bit I use 90% of the time and then another drill to use the other 10% I have die grinders and angle grinders set up the same way. I have many of them in my box so I don't have two take the time to switch them. So anyway, I bought this cheapie HF die grinder. I feel like I should be spinning it with my hand to speed it up! :rolleyes: It literally has so little power I could almost take the cut off disc and spin it with my fingers and get the job done. It sounds like I am seriously exaggerating, but I hardly am. It is out and out junk. It sure spins nice if you don't have the tool touching the metal. :mwink: I think I still have it, but may have simply thrown it in the garbage as I have with a number of tools I have tried from HF.

I have bought a number of tools there myself, my engine stands, carts to roll around heavy parts are pretty nice too. But every time I cheap out with something I else I get the shaft. An engraver, a lousy engraver to put your names on your tools, oh my God, not only did it hardly even work it broke in about a ten uses.

But as I was saying, I don't buy a whole lot but I have co-workers who do. I have a bunch of guys who buy stuff there all the time. I have seen them brag about something and then be bringing it back for exchange because it does't last a week. One guy with a 1/4" air ratchet must have replaced it three or four times in the first month!

I hate seeing home hobbiest who don't have a whole lot of skills, or time to learn spending their valuable garage time with such junk tools. The worse part is, they think THEY are the ones having the hard time with an unfamiliar job when if they had a good tool they could master it.

Hand Eric Clapton a junk guitar, believe me, he won't make it sound very good.

Redsdad, nice job laying out all the different tools. The only problem is, there is a very good chance the part number bought yesterday will never be there again! They swap things out an awful lot there.


matt167 11-08-2009 11:08 AM

IDK, I'v had pretty good luck with HF stuff.. my Chop saw was used to cut the rectangle tubing used on my Frame recently. it's 5 years old now and I paid $50 for it, I accidently left it out in the rain once :pain: but it works and cuts like new.. mini planishing hammer, altho primative using an air hammer, works pretty and for $39 on sale, I'd say it was worth it..
Compressor I got on sale for $129, and it's a smaller 10 gallon unit, but it keeps up with painting just fine. gets hot and I I run it to the point it probably should fail but hasn't yet and I'v had it just about 2 years... Impact wrench, yea it's a little on the weak side, but I have a nice Dayton 750 ft/lbs 1" impact that'll pull off what it don't.. Air ratchet I don't use enough to say so but it works ok.. serivce cart is pretty good, drill press is ok. I ask too much of it, but for an 8" benchtop press, It's pretty good.. sandblast cabinent works good... at $17 on sale, the 4" and 4 1/2" grinders are a steal, they don't lack anything IMO... oh and the air hose is excelent.. IIRC I paid $24 for a 100' length of Goodyear hose, and I have a few lengths of there PVC hose which is just as good
3 ton Jack works great

Things I have broke/ not so good

2 3/8" drills, 1 keyless, 1 keyed
2 compressor lead hoses seem to only last a year b4 cracking and requiring replacement
wire feed welder is a joke. improved feeder replaced worn out original and it's better, but still only good for spot welding which a wire feed isn't good for anyway
couple of the siphon feed paint guns, I just threw out instead of clean cause were not great

now given, I have broken some things, but in general without some of the HF equipment I have bought, has allowed me to do many things I couldn't have afforded if I had to spend money on better tools.. my '51 Chevy wouldn't be painted, it wouldn't have a patch panel in it I formed with my Planishing hammer, and my Ratrod project would only be a thought in my head

oldred 11-08-2009 12:41 PM

No one has asked the very important question, "what do you intend to use them for"? If you are outfitting a shop to earn money then stay away from HF, don't even look at the place as you drive by but if this is just for hobby work or your home shop then HF can save you a bunch of money. Like everyone else has said you can get some junk there but you can also get some real bargains, for instance the small angle grinders are terrific (the Orange Chicago Electric NOT the junk Drill Master don't buy anything with the drill master name). Some of the tools I have bought and really liked for the price, Balancer puller set is less than $10 and works great (has grade 5 bolts that can be replaced with grade 8 for even more strength), Porta band saw that I have used and abused but the cheapo blade that comes with it is junk just replace with a Morse or equivalent and the thing will last for years, Power steering pulley remover set less than $10 and I have had to REALLY bear down on some stubborn pulleys but the thing held up well and has worked every time, Metal cutting horizontal band saw I bought 9 years ago and use almost daily to cut everything from mild steel angle to 4 1/2" 4150 bar-it cost $158, I even have a 14X40 shop lathe that is used almost daily and has been for nearly a year now. That lathe has been one of the most fantastic deals I have ever gotten from them, this thing is plenty accurate and has lots of power and cost less than trying to rebuild my worn out Summitt. Ask about individual tools that you have in mind because there simply is no single answer to a general question of how good are HF tools? Some are total junk and others are a bargain so find out about the specific tool you have in mind and your odds are going to be better. I stepped down from Snap-On hand tools and industrial shop machines when I retired and started buying tools for my home shop, some are still pro quality but others are of the bargain variety and the fact is I have saved thousands of dollars compared to buying pro quality BUT this is only for hobby type work and I would never buy nor recommend these kinds of tools for a pro.

Torque454 11-08-2009 10:15 PM

I have a small harbor freight air compressor (its like 2hp twin tanks) doesn't move much air but its QUIET! and is just fine for airing up tires, impact wrench or air ratchet and other little things like that. But don't expect to run a sander or cutoff wheel with it. I've already tried that. It works for about 10 seconds but thats it.

The Pittsburgh wrenches and sockets are fine. Screwdrivers are fine. I have a cutoff wheel that is just OK. It does the job but it has a tight spot in it and occasionally has a hard time starting because of that but once it starts its fine. Their extension cords seem to be fine. Air fittings seem to be ok. I just bought a set of driving lights that seem to be fine so far.

Forget using their seal removal tool, and their vice grips. Those are junk. Destroyed the seal removal tool the first time i used it AND didn't even get the seal that i wanted out. The vice grips i still have and they still work but they bend easy and the jaws stick and it doesn't like to release very well. I wouldn't buy another pair of them.

I like the pry bars that i bought there. The tap and die sets are good. Things like heat shrink tubing, and their pencil soldering torches are good. There are good and bad things there, shop there much and you'll get to know whats ok to get and whats not. I have some hydraulic jacks from there that are fine too.

I cant think of everything ive got that is from there but thats some of it.

Chevrolet4x4s 11-09-2009 04:56 AM

Driving lights are good,throw their fuse away,and their switch may break,mine did.
My 4 inch grinder is probably 4 years old,its just mow starting to get weak.
The airsaw tore up in 5 minuites,but thats the only real dud I've ever got there.

oldred 11-09-2009 08:12 AM

The driving lights are OK for while but they age quickly! The black rubber part will dry out and fall apart in a short time but the lens is made of glass instead of cheap plastic. :confused:

critter119 11-09-2009 06:41 PM

hey all,
thanks for the input so far i graciously thank you,
some of the tools that i am looking at are

manufacturer item
U.S. General Fuel Injection Pump Tester
Mityvac Mityvac Vacuum Pump
U.S. General Engine Oil Pressure Tester
U.S. General Fuel Pump and Vacuum Tester
U.S. General 7 Piece Lube Accessory Kit
Serpentine Belt Tool Kit
U.S. General 2 Piece Grease Gun Injector Needle Set
U.S. General 18" Flexible Grease Hose
Pittsburgh 10mm/14mm Spark Plug Thread Chaser
Pittsburgh Oxygen Sensor Thread Chaser
U.S. General Tire Gauge with Flex Hose
Storehouse 40 Piece Hose Clamp Assortment
In-line Ignition Spark Checker
U.S. General Oil Pump Primer Kit
Mechanic's Stethoscope
U.S. General Engine Oil Pressure Test Kit
Four Wheel Drive Ball Joint Service Kit
Pittsburgh Blind Hole Bearing Puller
U.S. General 17 Piece Heavy Duty Slide Hammer Kit
Pittsburgh 46 Piece Bolt Puller Set
Pittsburgh 4 Piece Three-Jaw Puller Set
U.S. General Pulley Remover and Installer Set
Central Pneumatic Brake Fluid Bleeder
U.S. General 14 Piece Slide Hammer and Puller Set
U.S. General 14 Piece Master Ball Joint Adapter Set
Pittsburgh 7 Piece Brake Tool Set
Steering Wheel Remover Set
U.S. General 5 Piece Front End Service Tool Set
U.S. General Air Superiority 7.5 HP 80 Gallon 175 PSI Air Compressor
Central Forge 8" Swivel Vise
Central Hydraulics 10 Ton Super Heavy Duty Portable Hydraulic Equipment Kit
45 Piece Metric Titanium Nitride Coated Alloy Steel Tap & Die Set
Pittsburgh 45 Piece SAE Titanium Nitride Coated Alloy Steel Tap & Die Set
Pittsburgh Heavy Duty 17-1/2" Hand Riveter With Collection Bottle
Central Pneumatic Pneumatic Spark Plug Cleaner
Central Pneumatic 1/4" Air Hydraulic Riveter

matt167 11-09-2009 07:06 PM

I wouldn't have any problems purchasing any of the things you listed for a home shop. don't expect them to hold in a pro enviroment if that's what your thinking

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999 - 2012. All Rights Reserved.