I am new to the notion of Harbor Freight. One opened near me recently. I needed a rubber mallet for some furniture repair and refinishing and they had one for $2 and seems to work fine.
They seemed to have a lot of stuff in there including power tools, but I had never heard of the store brand they were carrying. Most people on these forums have much more experience with power tools and woodworking than myself, so I wanted to ask you all what you thought of Harbor Freight quality for power tools or any other products.
My only exposure to power tools were with brands like DeWalt, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Craftsman, and Porter Cable....I seem to trust these brands because most reputable stores sell them. I probably would pay more and stick with a trusted brand, but wanna know what you guys think.
Ok this is what I know second hand from friends who are avid do it yourselfers and from a purchase of a dolly from them myself. Be careful about many of their power tool products as they are offshore products and sometimes not standard sized for refills and such. Not high quality you do get what you pay for. The dolly I had was very lightly made and eventually bent while moving a fridge for a friend.
One friend who builds CNC machines at home for fun, LOL said it to me this way: If you only need it a few times a year and dont mind less than stellar accuracy they are ok.
Again remember most of this is second hand info coming to me so it should be taken that way.
I have a 10" miter saw from there that I use for diy woodworking and it does a decent job. I'm not making anything as nice as some on here but it work ok for beginners like me.
I've bought several things from them and found most items are great for occasional use, but for every day tools, you would probably be better off buying the name brand tool. One great thing about their products is the warranty. If you buy the extended warranty they will replace the item forever, well that may be an exaggeration but they do have good warranties on products.
HF gets a bad rap on and on. I would not be doing things without the low prices on tools at HF. Example.... I was interested in biscuit joining. HF has a decent one for around $30 (use a coupon). I liked the method of joining and eventually sold the HF tool and purchased an upgrade brand. The pocket hole joiner they sell may not be up to Kreg design features, but I have one and it works fine. I often will spend time "tweaking" or adjusting an HF tool. "China junk" is the common comment.... Hey.... check most any tool. Very few made in the US anymore.... I think the corded stuff at HF (drills, hammer drills, impact drills) are pretty good. The battery powered stuff may not be up to par, but can be o. k. to some limit.... Anyway, be a wise shopper, but avoid a negative attitude.
Not great quality as a whole, but not everything needs to be superior quality. It depends on what you're looking for. I would never buy a saw or a power tool from them, but I have a small dust collector from them (with an after-market bag and an Oneida cyclone added on) and it runs just fine. For tools and supplies that don't need to be spec'd to high tolerances, keep them in mind -- I built a 2-stage dust collector system with ducting for less than $500 -- wouldn't have been possible without using some HF components. It's kind of funny sitting next to my ridiculous SawStop table saw and some other expensive toys, but the idea is always to get what is needed to do the job to the quality you want, but for the cheapest price. I want precision cuts. For a dust collector, I just need it to move a lot of air.
HF = Buyer Beware! Their equipment comes from (usually) Asia and is cheaply made. I don't think they have a quality control system in place. I have bought some of their tools that work great and some that work once (or less) and then are trashed. It seems hit or miss to me as to which is which. If you don't expect to buy something in the line of Porter-Cable or DeWalt or just need a "throw-away" tool then you may get some good bargains.
I'm with Bryan Lisowski. If you want to get something that won't be used much and accuracy isn't issue. Then Habor Freight is a good way to go. As the old saying goes... "You get what you paid for".
I've had the Harbor freight dust collector for about 4 years now it it does a good job, I buy the blue bar clamps from them and you can't beat them for nitrile gloves. Alot of the other things I have bought from harbor freight I figured them to be throw away tools. they have great deals on things like tarps and hold down straps.A freind of mine gave me their router bit assortment and to tell you the truth I don't think they are all that bad.
All in all I think Harbor freight does have a niche in the market but I wouldn't buy anything like their router table, band saw or other big machine that you like to be accurate or last a long time. One thing I look for when purchasing a power tool is the length and quality of the power cord and most Harbor freight tools seeem to have a cheap and short power cord.
I have also bought a lot of the blue bar clamps , tarps and some of their small air tools !! Also bought a floor model drill press , 16 speed , made by general, seven years ago and still working good and use it a lot !!
I purchased two things from them in the past month and both came in damaged. Their packing methods and the method of delivery are cheap, but not careful about the condition that the item gets to you in. One item was an inexpensive drill press. They packed it with lots of thin foam, but put the plastic pieces on the bottom under the steel parts. When the package was dropped in shipping, the weight of the stand assembly destroyed the plastic switch housing. The box didn't even look damaged. This store hands a lot of inexpensive of brand tools and items of use. If you can get it home without shipping, you will probably have a good buy. I must say, their customer service are quite willing to help.