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I would like to buy a digital caliper and other tools. I was looking over the online catalog of Harbor Freight. Everything seems too cheap.
Has anyone bought any tools from them. Was the quality acceptable?

Thanks
 

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Darling of The Lounge
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I purchased a heat gun and digital scale from HFT and both work fine. Their hand tools are OK for what I use them for. However, if I used tools to make my living, which I don't, then I would go with Snap-on or Craftsman.

Overall they have very good bargains!
 

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I'd agree, if it is a too; you will use only once or just occasionally the HF stuff is OK sometimes...if it is something I'll use regularly I spring for better stuff. Do have the digital calipers too and they have worked fine and are accurate enough for bicycle and auto work. Some stuff is definitely junk, but I have an HF store in town so i can check it out first...
 

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Some HF stuff is junk. Some is suprisingly good. Most is mediocre but priced accordingly.
I have bought a fair amount of HF stuff over the years. Every once in a while I get something that just doesnt' work.

The chinese digital calipers are pretty good. Some of the wrenches are made in India and are pretty bad... ok for an emergency toolkit for a car, but not good enough for regular use or for bicycle use.
 

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Retro Grouch said:
I purchased a heat gun and digital scale from HFT and both work fine. Their hand tools are OK for what I use them for. However, if I used tools to make my living, which I don't, then I would go with Snap-on or Craftsman.
Me, too, Bike work doesn't put much stress on tools. I have a pretty nice set of Craftsman stuff I've accumulated over the years, but when I'm traveling with the bike I have a cheap set of basic tools in a bag that goes with me.
 

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better deals elsewhere

You get what you pay for, Lowes, Home Depot and Sears all carry lifetime warnities on the tools and much better quaility than H. F.
 

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I use a cheap set of plastic analog calipers from HF. They've been good enough to correctly distinguish a seatpost size, etc.
 

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Their pittsburgh line of tools is pretty nice for the money. The stuff that has no brand name and is in the <$10 range is pretty much junk.
 

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out of stock

daniell said:
I would like to buy a digital caliper and other tools. I was looking over the online catalog of Harbor Freight. Everything seems too cheap.
Has anyone bought any tools from them. Was the quality acceptable?

Thanks
I was all jazzed up at finally finding an affordable work bench that wouldn't cost a fortune for shipping. They had a nice bench with peg board, built in lamp, and power strip for $113 shipped. After ordering, a week passes by and I give a call to get a shipping update. Customer service then tells me the bench is on back order. "Well, when will it be in?" I ask. "Mid-June" is the answer.
If you're going to bother having a website listing all these products, why can't you include the feature that indicates whether a product is in our out of stock? And even if they can't do this (which so many other places can), why don't they think I deserve some email or some communication telling me it's on back order?
So I figure if they don't think it's worth the effort, I'll not order anything from them again.
 

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A statement I heard said:

"I like Harbor Freight. They always have a new one in stock when the one I have breaks."

Read: I wouldn't waste my money on a tool that may have to be replaced due to it's failing. Pry open your wallet and buy the best tools you can. They will be with you for the rest of your life. I have a full set of bike-tools. Not one of them is, or ever will be, from Harbor Freight.

"I am easy to please. I am always satisfied with the very best there is." - Oscar Wilde
 

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Puchnuts said:
A statement I heard said:

"I like Harbor Freight. They always have a new one in stock when the one I have breaks."

Read: I wouldn't waste my money on a tool that may have to be replaced due to it's failing. Pry open your wallet and buy the best tools you can. They will be with you for the rest of your life. I have a full set of bike-tools. Not one of them is, or ever will be, from Harbor Freight.

"I am easy to please. I am always satisfied with the very best there is." - Oscar Wilde
My experience is, they have some good stuff, some meh stuff, and some absolute junk. I wouldn't buy off-line from them, because you never know. But if you have a physical store nearby where you can actually look and heft the merchandise -- it's fun to browse, and once in awhile you may find a real deal.
 

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If you want something: durable, precision, well made...look elsewhere. That is relative to the tool. If the wrench is forged to size right, no big deal. If you need a one shot tool for a particular task you may be ok.

I've bought non-critical stuff there and it is fine. I bought a 14" drill press as a secondary machine. It works but as for being precise...no way. After some hours tuning it, it does the job but it does not drill a perpendicular hole. Otherwise it works fine but I'd have been better off buying a Jet drill press for $200 more. (Which I also have and it was excellent right out of the box and today 12 years later.)

A buddy bought a lathe, surface grinder and a few drill presses. Now he's a gifted tinkerer and he tore down the machines for a re-work. They have top level bearings, re-machined surfaces, any joining surfaces were precision matched. In the end they work well but he put a lot of labor and other machine hours in. He could have bought some nice gear to begin with. The joy for him is to tinker so he bought with that in mind. :shocked: :eek:ut:

When it comes to basic, Sears is the first thought. If not, I hit up my machinery/tool supplier but I have to be willing to pay. There are times you just don't need the precision. On bicycle stuff, Park is my first thought followed by the house brand from Performance and/or Pedros. Whatever is less and appropriate.
 

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You can get those house-brand digital calipers all over the place. I doubt they're actually precise to .01mm (they're certainly not repeatable to that), but they get the job done to .1mm easily enough.

In general, for anything you're going to put any kind of force on, Harbor Freight is the place for single-use not-too-precise tools.
 

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If you aren't hard on the tools then they are ok. I have a metal lathe, an assortment of power tools and an assortment of hand tools from them. The lathe does what I need it to do but it is by no means even close to a good lathe. The power tools will get the job done. I paid like 10 bucks for a grinder with a cutoff disc that has been used a ton for cutting body panels out of cars for bodywork and a lot of other random stuff and somehow it is still working. I have broken a few sockets of theirs but it was working on cars and I shouldn't have been using a 3/8" drive socket on the huge bolts I was trying to loosen. For light work like bikes then they will do all you need them to do. We have one of those cheapo calipers at our shop and they do really suck. They get the job done as long as you don't need to be precise. I use them for matching bottom bracket lengths and stuff.
 

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I also use tools for woodworking and auto maintenance, both of which tend to be hard on tools. My policy with HF is the same as for Craftsman/Sears: buy nothing that plugs in. The one advantage of Craftsman is their return policy is fairly generous, and the lifetime warranty usually applies. But HF is so much cheaper than for things like screwdrivers or a specific size socket you know you'll use once, it's worthwhile.

One caution would be torque wrenches: for a low-torque type, you're better off going high-end, since those will tend to be better calibrated than the cheapo HF stuff, and the cost of overtorquing a bolt can be pretty huge.
 

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On the other end of the tool spectrum, their car engine hoists and motor stands are junk! Lots of stories out there about failures causing damage and injury. When I installed the 454 with a Tremec 5speed hanging off the end into my Chevelle, I was glad I wasn't thinking about dropping it on the front of the car.
 

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I'll just chime in ... as about the 20th person to say ... if you don't need it to be really accurate, and/or you don't worry about it breaking ... HF is the bomb.

That's not sarcasm, either.

For lots of things ... you really don't GAF, though, and they've got lots of things. But I totally agree: the only way to learn what HF IS and ISN'T good for .... is by spending time at their stores.

Otherwise, I'd never buy sight unseen from their catalog.

Though I DO buy at our local HF store, I'm also aware that -- like nearly everything else we buy -- there's a societal/geo-political bit to every dollar I spend, there, on disposable garbage products, from China.

Some care about that stuff; others don't.

Just sayin......
 

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Puchnuts said:
A statement I heard said:

"I like Harbor Freight. They always have a new one in stock when the one I have breaks."

Read: I wouldn't waste my money on a tool that may have to be replaced due to it's failing. Pry open your wallet and buy the best tools you can. They will be with you for the rest of your life. I have a full set of bike-tools. Not one of them is, or ever will be, from Harbor Freight.

"I am easy to please. I am always satisfied with the very best there is." - Oscar Wilde
That is pretty rich. I can agree with a lot of what you say. Then again, the quality of the tools you own is a personal choice, and owning great tools will not guarantee great results.

I suppose one should consider the cost of the job done incorrectly more heavily than the cost of the tool.
 
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