Grizzly vs Harbor Freight: is there really much difference?

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HF is a common whipping boy here on the Wreck, whereas Grizzly is often and highly recommended. I note differences in their overall structure and offerings. But for similar merchandise (bandsaws, jigsaws, planers, drill presses, etc.), I see only the slightest margin of difference in fit and finish--a margin of difference that is negligible for those who tinker with their WW toys during set up before they ever use them.
So what gives? Is it that Grizzly is predominantly WWing and HF not? That HF offers more of the substandard line of tools than Grizzly? That HF is a behemoth merchandiser, in comparison? Or is it simply that Green looks nicer than Orange?
Speaking of Orange, remember, I'm only talking of the comparable items (oranges and oranges, not apples and oranges) both sell that seem identical. I suspect a lot of their tools are made in the same location and have a similar quality finish.
Curious, H
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No comparison. You're trying to start an argument, and, frankly, it isn't worth raising my blood pressure :-)

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Not much to say: you're wrong.

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If you genuinely can't tell the difference, then by all means save the money and buy the cheap stuff.
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OK, but the obverse is just as true: if you can't tell (transitive verb here) the difference, then by all means spend more money to buy the same stuff. You'll definitely feel superior.
H

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If you want an easy warranty Grizzly, if you want a boat anchor HF.
--
Rumpty

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snipped-for-privacy@sewanee.edu (Hylourgos) wrote in
snip

A lot of tools, including those of the 'major' manufacturers, look the same because: a. it's the sensible way to make them b. form follows function c. they are coming from the same factory in China.
If c., then the difference is in the specs given to the Chinese factory and the follow up on quality control by the owners of the brand going on the tool. This is particularly true for motors, batteries, and moving parts.
LD

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Troll.

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Hmm...yes, but if that were true, then you're what, a nibbler?

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Harbor Freight in my opinion is more cheaply made. The Grizzley stuff is of a higher order. I prefered the quality of the Grizzley bandsaw over Delta. I first encountered the Grizz at a woodworking expo in Atlanta. I was impressed. I wouldn't use it if I was running a production shop, but in a Job shop they do fine.

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They may well be made in the same factory. However, I recall reading an article in either FHB or FWW a few years ago that pointed out that many times the difference between tools made in a factory for Company A and for Company B was the presence of the procuring company's monitors to make sure that the paid for quality was delivered. Apparently the culture and ethics of many oriental manufacturers is that if they can get away with cutting corners they will.
RB
John wrote:

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Aren't we glad no western manufacturers would do that? ;-)
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Alex
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Remember working in the stamping plant years back, where we could accept a certain number of defects for a Mercury, more for a Ford. Steel suitable for neither was shipped cross-town to - Cadillac....

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IMHO. China made items can be as good if not better than counterparts made anywhere else. Problems can occur from things constructed from material made from scrap, melted down obsolete military items I suppose. Most often cast metal components. Otherwise their technology is state of the art. Their quality steel can be as good as it gets. Patents have little or no meaning in China. So they copy the best. They build their own quality production machines. I received a brochure from an electronic small test equipment manufacture in China and in the center was 'Fluke' models they produce. Same technology as their in house brand. Big big difference was price.
If you need high production precision equipment, Rely upon a reputable dealer that will stand behind what they sell. If you are a hobbyist. You can buy the HF items for less than 1/3 of the cost. Use some judgment as to the most for the money. Stay away from the under $1.00 items. <g>
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Chipper Wood

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I'm guessing many of the things come from the identical factory. However that doesn't mean the items are of identical quality. It's my feeling (I have no facts to back it up by the way) that manufacturer A builds an item and inspects it with a scale of tolerences in mind. Companies pay according to what set of tolerances are met. I think in general Grizzly uses a higher set of tolerances than HF does.
And I have bought from both companies and have had some good and bad experiences with both. However, Grizzly seems to be better overall.
On 29 May 2004 16:09:22 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@sewanee.edu (Hylourgos) wrote:

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Jim K wrote:

A quote from Grizzly's web site:
"We also have offices in Taiwan and China with our own quality control engineers that oversee the production of our equipment."
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Very sensible, Jim. On some of the more common HF items that get fairly good reviews here on the wreck (6" jointer, 14" bandsaw, DC, and a few others) I'm wondering if there is really much difference between what they offer and what Grizzly offers.
In comparing two of those machines, I don't see enough difference to justify the price difference. Since you own machines from both, maybe you can help me out here. What's your opinion on these?:
***14" Bandsaws: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber2208 [regularly on sale for $218, free shipping, plenty of stores for pickup]
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G1019 [at $378, with s/h, what makes it worth $160 more?]
***6" jointers: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber0289 [regularly on sale for $180, free shipping, plenty of stores for pickup]
http://www.grizzly.com/products/item.cfm?itemnumber=G1182HW [$383 with s/h. Again, is it really worth $200 more?]
I have nothing against Grizzly, but it seems to me that all you get, on some machines, is the assurance of better quality control than HF, but for about double the price. My feeling is that I can go to any HF store and be my own QC specialist. Putting together a jointer or a bandsaw is just not that hard, even with bad instructions.
[Again, I feel the need to inject the apples/oranges metaphor. I would not buy a HF CMS or grinder for any amount of money, even though some on the wreck are happy with them]. It just seems common sense which machines at HF are worth comparing to Grizzly and which aren't. For the ones that are, I'm trying to understand if they are the same machines, essentially, and the markup is owing to Grizzly's QC, or if they are really different machines.
Cheers, H
(Hylourgos) wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@sewanee.edu (Hylourgos) wrote in
snip

It's not only QC, but the specs laid down by Grizzly vs HF. Flattness of tables, motor windings, thickness of case materials, etc. Both products can be built in the same factory, by the same workers, look very similar, but be very different in terms of fit and finish, warranty, and ability to stand up under heavy use. The Chinese have been doing this for years.

snip
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[snip]
OK, I compared the pictures and specs. It is hard to tell the quality of the bandsaws from the photos. I can see a few things where the Grizzly is better (hinged wheel covers, etc.), but it is really hard to tell the quality of the motor, guides and wheels from the picture on the web page. This is where I have to rely on reviews on the rec.
On the jointers, the Grizzly appears to have a better fence system. The HF model looks like an end mounted fence and the grizzly's is center mounted. The Grizzly's stand appears more sturdy. Again, since I don't have either of those particluar models, I can only rely on rec experience.
On either machine, the quality of the parts I mentioned (wheels, guides, motor on the bandsaw and fence and motor on the jointer) can be the difference between a usable tool and a totally unusable one. Would need to do a goggle search to really decide.
Montyhp
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Thanks Lobby and Noel.
I guess it's impossible to compare fairly without knowing the specific data (about motors, bearings etc.) you mention. So far, at least on those two machines, I can't tell any appreciable difference.
H.

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