I doubt you will be sorry about the 20 bucks you shelled out. I love mine
for the price. Their router bits are probably ok if you have a need for a
couple of uses, but if you are gonna need them any more than that,
(roundovers, chamfers, pattern cutting, etc.) invest in good bits. I have
bought one of their cheap carbide sets, and used enough of them to feel I
got my money's worth ($19.95), but all the often used are Whiteside or
equal. And what the hell, when I throw the cheap ones out, I can use the
flip-out tray box they came in, for good bits.
If you look at their online catalog, and study the model numbers, and then
go to the store and check the same units and their model numbers, you can
pretty easily see how to get virtually anything "on sale" by having them
price match with web prices. I stumbled on to this after seeing someone on
this group mention a saw on sale and price matching with the web page.
looking at the numbers tells the story pretty fast. I questioned the local
HF and they said as long as I bring a printed page from their site, with the
lower price, they will match. I bought the $319 14" bandsaw for $219 NOT on
HF sells a LOTof junk. But it does carry a few quality name brands,
usually behind glass cabinets. It is one of those stores you need to
be careful about quality. I bought a cast-iron stand for my grinder
at HF for $30--it is China-made cheap but it doesn't matter to have a
low-quality grinder stand for my low-quality grinder!
It's funny how the people who say that HF stuff is junk don't ever buy
it. How can you be an expert when you are not experienced?
large drill press
HVLP Sprayer w/ Turbine
Dozens of Clamps
14" metal cut-off saw
7" wet tile saw
18g brad nailer
15g finish nailer
stacked dado set
In general, all of their disposables and blades are sub-par, so plan on
replacing them if you need quality. Otherwise, it's all tool grade, if
not heirloom grade. I see pros using their stuff all the time. The only
think that I've bought from them that was a POS was a $15 hand plane,
which I returned.
I also buy a lot of non-HF stuff when I need real precision (table saw,
router, etc). If you want to get something that you'll use for many
years, then go ahead and spend the money to buy something nicer.
I made a mistake once of buying a grinder at HF.
It was cheap. Only $20. I did not expect great quality for that price.
What I got was a total piece of crap. Parts were missing. It had a
terrible vibration when running. I did not think it was safe to use.
I do think you can find some bargains there, but you have to be very
I agree with that. Some of their stuff is junk, some is worthwhile. I find
the tools that I use only very infrequently can be of Harbor Freight
quality. Even my shop at work is now buying some of their products.
440 LB electric hoist $59
Sawzall type reciprocating saw $29
Bubble level with built-in laser $9
B&D Workmate clone $11
B&W Security camera $29
Emergency light (wall mount - 2 lights) $19
Tow Strap $8
Tarps $1-$20 Bought lots of 'em
Digital Volt Meter $2.99 (got several - accuracy rivals my Fluke!)
Pneumatic variable speed drill $19
Digital Clamp on Amp meter $9
Bench top drill press $39 (bought a decade ago)
"I" wouldn't buy their blades or router bits because they appear to be below
the level I'll accept. All those items above have been thoroughly tested
and work great. I bought a bench top TS that was junk and I subsequently
dumped it. Not all their stuff works as well as I had hoped, but the vast
majority of it was worth a lot more than I paid, which is why I keep going
Let me know in twenty years how that meter is holding up!
A fellow I work with bought a VOM from HF. It lasted about 6 months of daily
use, and failed when he was not able to replace it easily. He bought Fluke
to repalce it!
For the home owner, occasional use, I would probably buy one or two also, if
I did not have five different Fluke meters in my possession already!
It certainly could fail at an inopportune time, I agree, though electronics
today are pretty reliable. If they work out of the box, they will usually
continue to work for years unless mistreated. And you did adress it but
for the price difference on the clamp meter, you could buy a new one every
year and only be behind after the 15th year.
Take the price of the Fluke, divide by $2.99, let me know how many SPARES
that'll cover! Flukes are good meters, which is why we have them at work.
But 99.99999% of the time, that el-cheapo meter will do most everything "I"
need whether it be at work (Biomedical field use) or at home. I've already
opened it up and had a look at the guts. The main chip is buried in an
expoxy blob on the board, the rest is rather well built on a single board.
You're probably right though, it may only last 15 years. ;-)
As mentioned in my original post, I bought this for my truck, boat, toolbox,
and for field work. The lab still gets the high dollar toys. Oh, Flukes
die too. We're getting rid of a Fluke Datalogger and replacing it with a
laptop and an IOtech. Fluke couldn't fix it reliably, and having to repeat
a 2hr airpack test with human subjects isn't an option. As Fluke says, "If
it works, it's a Fluke". Funny, but sometimes true. Money doesn't always
buy quality or reliability. We've bought a lot of high end electronics at
work and sent them to our calibration lab before use... only to find they
failed the initial cal. The equipment, in those cases, were returned.
If your buddy needs it as a daily tool, what's he doing buying a $2.99 meter
designed for occasional use by a home owner? :-o I consider Harbor
Freight tools great for the occasional use. I don't think many of their
products would withstand daily use as professional equipment, but then
again, their stuff is a fraction of the cost. If he couldn't afford
professional quality equipment, he could at least bought a few spares. :-)
Well, would you be willing to stand directly in front of a
table saw blade turning at very high rate of speed and wonder
if those little teeth(carbide) are going to stay on there ???
Would you be willing to put your hand VERY CLOSE to a router bit
that is turning at 22,500rpm and wonder if that edge is attached
The same applies to the slot cutter and reciprocating saw....
C Carruth wrote:
Go to the HF site, click on "order from the printed catalog" on the left.
When the window for the product code comes up, enter the quantity (1) in the
first box, the item number (41168) in the next box, the discount code (5vga)
in the third box, and (vga) in the last box. Click add to order, and a page
will show the 10" SCMS at $95.99. Print this page with all of the HF logos
and stuff and take it to the store and purchase for less than $100. If you
look on the boxes, you will see the model number, not the "X"vga series.
It's the discount level. They will match it at the store. Have fun.
I owned their 10" SCMS for a couple of days last year. Got it on sale
for $99 took it home and tried it out. It cut ok but I felt that the
sliding mechanism was a bit sloppy (in other words it lacked
precision.) Also the little interlock button associated with the
switch is fragile and easly broken/lost. One good thing about HF is
you can take it home and check it out and if you do not like it you
can return it and get your money back.
A SCMS is a great job site tool but in the shop an old craftsman RAS
($100) is superior in my opinion.
One great value they (HF) are currently offering is the 6" digital
calipers for $19.95 (includes a case and a spare battery.) I have
never heard anyone complain about these (except people who have never
I've bought a lot of little odds and ends from them - clamps, drill
bits, calipers, emery cloth strips and have been pretty happy with
what I've botten.
BTW, I bought a Craftsman circular saw blade ($48) a couple of weeks
ago and the third night it shed a carbide tooth (WoW! - that will wake
you up). Sears replaced it with no hassles I'm happy to say.
On Fri, 15 Aug 2003 18:58:29 GMT, Pat Barber
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