Newbie question :) : Harbor Freight?


Old 03-12-14, 08:55 AM
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Question Newbie question :) : Harbor Freight?

Hi all!

I just bought my first house... Im thinking about buying a portable generator. In my search, I found consumer reports was pretty favorable for the Harbor Freight 'predator' generator

While looking on their website, it seems that HF sells the same quality tools as lowes/home depot--just in with their own branding?

I cant stand working with tools of poor quality (ever since I snapped a 'husky' socket changing a starter years ago--nice scar to remember that by), so I am wondering what the consensus is on HF? Are their tools decent in quality?

Or is it all chinese made disposable tool sets?

Thanks in advance
Old 03-12-14, 09:57 AM
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Or is it all chinese made disposable tool sets?
I have a jigsaw I really like because it is all old fashioned metal construction and it was made in Poland.
Old 03-12-14, 10:05 AM
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Their stuff is.......... ok. It's mostly all imported merchandise from China.

You get what you pay for. You've heard that before.... it would apply here.
Old 03-12-14, 12:00 PM
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They're cheap but sometimes that's ok - I have many tools I've bought from them that I would buy again.
Old 03-12-14, 12:33 PM
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IMO most of HF's better tools are decent quality but they do have some extra cheap stuff too that isn't worth using. I've been well satisfied with most of the HF tools I've bought, especially when you consider the price paid.
Old 03-12-14, 01:32 PM
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seems to be about what I was thinking.

Based on reviews and consumer reports rating, the generator should work for me. I will have to be judicious with each purchase tho (it seems) in terms of getting adequate quality, regardless of price point

thanks everyone!
Old 03-12-14, 06:51 PM
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I've purchased a lot of things from Harbor Freight over the years and "most" of them have been okay. I have found that tools that are supposed to be hard are often not. The cold chisels and punches are almost worthless and the cutting tools will lose their edge very quickly. Most of their hand-held power tools are cheap enough that even if they wear out they can be replaced several times for the same amount as a higher quality "name brand" tool.

But a generator is definitely something that I would NOT buy from Harbor Freight. Many tools and electronic devices, including heating appliances that use electronic control circuits (most modern furnaces and heating boilers) can be damaged by the poor voltage regulation and transient voltage spikes that are inherent with low-cost generators. Yeah, it MIGHT work okay but it might also smoke your appliance.
Old 03-12-14, 07:52 PM
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I've found that it's a good idea to read the reviews on HF items. I was there the other day and got a highly rated combination vacuum/fuel pressure gauge. (4.5 stars) When I opened it (10 miles away) I found that the gauge was not pointing at ZERO. Back to the store. I exchanged it no problem and this one works fine. I'm very happy with it.

I also bought one of their OBD-II scan tools. (On Board Diagnosis) Most gave it 5 stars, but it has a 3.5 star rating. I'm pretty pleased with it so far. It's helped me learn a lot about how the emission controls affect the PCM- the Powertain Control Monitor (onboard computer).

I've really been fairly happy with everything I have ever bought there. (except 1/8" drill bits) I fried one of their Multimeters the other day. I think it was $5 so no big loss. But rather than replace it with another one, I went and got a real one. (Klein). Good tools are the kind that you only have to buy once cuz they will last the rest of your life.
Old 03-13-14, 05:19 AM
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PJ is correct. You get what you pay for. I also would not buy a generator from HF. Buy a name brand that has a history. Generac for instance.
Old 03-13-14, 10:14 AM
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Even Honda is making generators in China. How much is a name worth?
Old 03-17-14, 08:18 PM
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"Even Honda is making generators in China. How much is a name worth?"

Actually quite a bit. Sometimes.

Not unheard of to have the name brand "built" along side the off brand to a different specification on an assembly line owned by a company we never heard of. And sometimes the off brand id better.
Go Figure.
It's the spec and how much below spec work the "name" will tolerate that matters.

To the OP, HF, depends what it is, who is using it to do what.
A customer who does hobby gardening brought me her old TroyBilt Horse with Clinton engine for me to get it running. I tried talking her into having me put a HF Predator on it.
Had the same TroyBilt been brought to me by a yard-garden service I would have steered them into a higher quality engine.

When it comes to tools I have nothing against "off brand" as long as they have some overall quality. Thus I have a few HF tools and apparatus, darn few. There is an old saw I've found very true: Cry once or cry every time it's used.

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