5 Tools You Should Never Buy from Harbor Freight

5 Tools You Should Never Buy from Harbor Freight


Rev up your engines,
today I’m going to talk about harbor freight tools, now I’ve been a mechanic for 51 years
so I got a garage full of tools, you’re not going to spend that kind of money fixing your
own car, so you want to buy certain tools that you need, and you don’t want to pay too
much, but on the other hand you don’t want to buy cheap junk that’s going to fall apart,
so you want to save money buying tools and a lot of people have asked me in the past,
scotty what do you think of harbor freight tools, well I’ve bought stuff from them for
the past few decades to tell you the truth, and I found out some rather interesting things,
now the first is the bad, you do not want to go too cheap when you’re buying tools,
here’s an example of a tool I got at harbor freight tools and it was too cheap, I bought
a cut off saw for cutting off mufflers and exhausts and body panels and stuff, and I
made a mistake and bought one of these $29 ones at harbor freight tools, and yeah I admit
it I’ve been cheap my whole life, well in that case I went too cheap, the thing only
lasted a few months and finally when I was sawing and it shorted out the wiring, kicked
my circuit breaker off on the house, yeah I admit it I made a mistake, the I got this
dewalt cut off saw, no problems at all and if you look closely you can see this is all
ground down here cuz I actually ran over it with a ford pickup truck and it dragged it
down the street, but it still works fine, this is a solid built saw, yeah it costs a
lot more than the cheap one did but in the case of this it’s worth buying a good one
if you’re planning on using it for years, and when I reach into my drill bag with drill
bits here’s another thing not to buy cheaply, drills bits, you don’t want a set of cheap
drill bits you can see this one has snapped right off cuz it’s just cheaply made, they
say that it’s titanium coated or whatever but that doesn’t do anything, if the steel
inside is cheap it’s going to snap off like this, so you see a set of drill bits and there’s
like 20 of them for $10 believe me don’t buy them, unless your drilling into wood or something
that doesn’t have much resistance, if your working on cars forget it, but good drill
bits, in most cases if you want a good drill bit their going to cost $9 or more each, not
for a set of a bunch of them, and the same goes for the drills themselves, yeah I tried
some of those cheaper harbor freight ones and they all burnt out early, so now I got
a dewalt drill too and this thing has been going for years and years and I never had
any problems with it at all, so I can see your now thinking, oh scotty is just a hater
he doesn’t like them, well they do have good products too, especially lately they’ve been
going more high end on a lot of their tools to get mechanic like myself to go there and
buy stuff, here’s a perfect example, this zurich zr13 scan tool is about $200 and it
does a lot of stuff, it does all the scan tool data, trouble codes, and it will also
check your battery, check your alternator to make sure your charging system is good,
it’s actually a really good tool, it’s one if their new zurich lines where their trying
to make better tools for people that are serious about fixing cars, in the past they sold a
lot of cheap scan tools that they weren’t all that great, but now their going for higher
quality scan tools, and since if you search on the internet for harbor freight discount
coupons, every time I buy something big from them, hey I can always find a 20% off of one
item somewhere on the internet, if it’s a $200 tool, hey now it’s only $180, now when
it comes to heavy duty tools I’ve used them in the past, underneath all this stuff that
I hang on is a 20 ton press, it’s made out of very thick steel, when I press with it
I’ve never had any problems with anything, I’ve never found anything that I was working
on that I couldn’t press on or off with this thing, and yeah when I compared priced before
I bought it, other places that were selling the same rated press, those things were 3
or 4 times more expensive than this thing was, let’s face it steel is a pretty cheap
commodity when it comes down to it, the sell it buy the ton, they make these things in
China, yeah their made in China, I’ve had no problems at all with them, and when it
comes to jacks, here’s a jack that I got from harbor freight tools this daytona, you see
all those jack handles behind me, those are all harbor freight jacks and they all still
work, some of them are 20-30 years old, again we’re talking mainly steel and a simple hydraulic
ram jack that picks it up and down, pretty simple technology, hey the Chinese a good
at building that stuff, I’ve been using Chinese jacks for the last 40 years, and the only
reason I have a bunch of them is because they keep making cars lower to the ground, so I
keep having to get jacks that are lower and lower, so I can slide them under the car and
actually jack the car up in the air without either damaging the bodywork and not even
being able to get it under there, so my advice on that is get a low profile one like this
daytona, when their this low they’ll get under just about anything, and since this one is
a heavy duty jack it also goes high enough that even though it goes low, I’ve used it
working on f150 pickup trucks and it’s high enough to get the tires and everything off,
let’s say you want to work on your car’s ac system you got to have a vacuum pump, and
I bought this at harbor freight decades ago, and sure if you look at it you can see the
plastic cover is cracked I got a strap holding it on, but the thing still works, so it may
look beat up but it still works and it’s worked for decades, and I paid like $60 for this
when it was on sale, and heavy duty sockets, hey these are made out of heavy duty steel,
I never had any problems with them, the only problem I had is my own, you can see these
are different and that’s because I lost the other ones, and if your into welding, once
I bought one of their $99 welders, really it was a piece of junk it didn’t work worth
beans, but a few years ago I bought one of their $300 welders and it’s been an excellent
welder, because again you can’t go too cheap, the $300 one man it’s a good welder, it puts
out a lot of power solid thing, but the $99 one, I should have known, when the really
good ones were like $800-900 hey I’m happy with the $300 one it works perfectly fine,
but the $99 one, don’t go too cheap, same thing goes with their generators, I bought
a $89 generator when it was on sale, I mean it’s ok to run a coffee maker or something,
but then I bought a $500 one, and man that thing is great, I could run my air compressor,
all kinds of power tools off of that thing, hey it’s a pretty good unit, and I know we’re
all looking for the pie in the sky that we’re going to buy a $5 lottery ticket and make
$500 million, but let’s face the facts, you can get a good deal, but don’t think you’re
going to get a totally fantastic deal on a tool that hardly costs anything, cuz odds
are it’s not going to be such a hot tool, so know you know what I think of harbor freight
tools, there’s good things, and there’s bad things, do your research before you buy them,
and you can make out quite well if you spend a reasonable amount of money buying tools
that aren’t super expensive but their not the cheapest thing you can get your hands
on, and since this is mechanic Monday I’m giving away one of these harbor freight disc
brake kits, it’s the same exact one that I’ve been using for years, to have a chance to
win place a clean non offensive comment on the YouTube comments below, and a winner will
be chosen randomly by computer to get this great brake kit so you can do your own brake
jobs, so if you never want to miss another on of my new car repair videos, remember to
ring that bell!

100 comments

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  2. Good presentation. I've never had a problem with HF. I don't buy the really cheap stuff, but I wait until something I want goes on sale then use their discount coupons for a deeper discount I get great deals on heavy duty and woodworking power tools at pawn shops. Save a bundle on quality tools.

  3. Some of the cheap ones are passable. I've got about 3 each of the corded drills and angle grinders you can pick up for about $10 with a coupon. NONE have failed me yet and I've had them for years. I don't use them every day. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year. I bought so many for two reasons. They're CHEAP and I hate trying to remember where I put them. There's always one laying around close by if I need it. There were times I used them alot at one time. They start to get hot with continual use. I just switch out to another IF that happens. They've been a good investment. If you're a professional using your tools constantly then YES get the quality professional grade tools. If you use them like 99.999% of people Harbor Freight is a good place to go. Five years ago they had a sale on Torque wrenches. $9.99 each. I bought the 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch ones. I've NEVER used them yet they're sitting in my workshop BUT I'm doing serious work on my truck right now. They will come in VERY HANDY over the next couple of weeks. Tools are like guns. Better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it. I love Harbor Freight. PS: I bought the 2.5 hp 21 gallon air compressor that Scotty has as a back up from Harbor Freight. Saved my butt remodeling my bathroom. Air hammer with chisel attachment taking out concrete over metal lathe walls.

  4. Harbor Freights multi tool kits suck. The tools all fall out when you open them and the sockets won't stay on the ratchets

  5. funny i've had my sawzall from them for 14 years hehe Its been great. I like the dewalts I have better but for $20 to use on sketchy stuff that might ruin it hell ya. The Earthquake XT impacts are crazy good though. No quality loss there at all. In 2019 They have good stuff and still bad stuff. Like he says watch what you buy. cheers

  6. I bought the Harbor Freight saw.

    I haven't used it frequently, but it has gone a great job cutting wood. (For automotive jobs, I'll use my Dremel since it can reach in tight spaces.)

    I have to get rid of a broken, 1980s-era, very heavy metal ladder. I just bought some "Diablo" blades for cutting thick metal.

    We'll see if the saw holds up.

  7. I bought a battery charger, asked at the register when they handed me the receipt if i could go ahead and return it and save myself the trip home. They didn't think it was funny.

  8. Couldn't agree more with your findings. I have bought some good stuff and a lot of bad stuff from Harbor Freight.

  9. Don't buy the $5 socket set — yeah, surprise. The 10 mm socket stripped before the nut I was trying to remove on a hood.

  10. @scotty do you still shop there? Im a employee and I can give you my employee number that can take 20% off of the whole order

  11. At our shop we have 10 of those Daytona jacks and every one of them still work great. They Snap-on jacks are made by the same company in China.

  12. Don't buy 1/2 torque wrench! To rebuild a engine.i sued them.n was awarded almost 900 dollers for damages!!

  13. I bought a harbor Freight pickle fork tie rod separator which bent and broke apart on a HONDA tie rod. I never experienced such soft steel(?).

  14. The stuff you said that doesn't work is also made in China. You never know what they are putting into as you breathe it. Thanks China.

  15. You are TOTALLY right. I have several tools from Harbor Freight. Burned on some and others still going. I made a small emergency tool kit for traveling from their tools and keep them in the vehicles.
    Going CHEAP costs in the end. They are GREAT in an emergency, especially since a Sears is IMPOSSIBLE to find to buy Craftsman.

  16. This is a hoarders episode right? With the raving lunatic owner going on & on about all the items they can't throw away?

  17. Saws are good I put floor in two houses using harbour freight. Power tools are bad including breuer. Dont buy screw drivers

  18. Love there TOOL CHESTS!!….ill never pay 5 to 10k for a horribly overpriced snap on the HF US General Series 2 Tool Chests are beyond awesome!!!..and about 5 times less expensive..with just as good and in alot of cases BETTER quality ..than the ridiculously overpriced Snap On brands

  19. I got a harbor freight drill for Christmas one year and I abused that thing for about 5 years before it finally kicked the bucket. I went back and bought the model you displayed on what to avoid and it's been going strong for about a year now.

  20. You can normally tell what's cheap and what's not that they sale my box at work is nothing but harbor Freight Tools

  21. The absolute best way to get super cheap tools is craigslist, offerup, or facebook marketplace.
    I have gotten a set of brand new ryobi tools (2 batteries with charger, sawzall, drill, flashlight, circular saw, and my favorite tool ever – the quarter inch impact) for 90$ and they have worked amazingly for me.
    I also got a full size impact for 40, and a jigsaw for 20, as well as an angle grinder for 20. As cheap or cheaper than HF – and cordless.
    I got a pressure washer for 30$
    I got a once-used 2 ton engine hoist for 100, and a transmission jack for 25
    100 piece husky socket and ratchet set with one (that I already had) missing for 15
    vice for 10
    and many more.
    Offer half of what they are asking. Often times people will take it just to get rid of whatever they have and make even a little bit of money.
    I have bought many things at HF too, it all depends on the item

  22. Don't buy their Pittsburg 8" digital caliper…it was off as much as .017" A 7.400" pushrod measured 7.417"! verified off with another caliper and the pushrod is precision from BTR.

  23. Harbor Freight carry the product line called Hercules which to drill set bit and drills are like 22 bucks they work really well the best to the best deal on drill bits and check it out I've been using them for a while!

  24. Hey Scotty, I am a retired buyer for Craftsman Tools. As most people know by now when China purchased Craftsman tools they are now made in and come from China. There are five primary tool manufacturers in China and only one that make tools for Harbor Freight and Craftsman tools for Lowes. So your audience can save a lot money by buying Harbor Freight tools instead for Craftsman tools unless your into name brands. No one should feel bad I was a Craftsman tool guy myself until China made the purchase. Now I save money and shop at Harbor Freight. By the way you have saved me a lot of money!!!

  25. I appreciate the review of Harbor Freight tools. We have a store in this area but I normally buy my tools from Sears. It is good to have an idea of what is worthwhile at Harbor Freight.

  26. I'm no mechanic, but I've had to learn how to do things myself since I've had bad luck with trucks n cars. Won't deny it, I get a kick on working on my trucks.

  27. Scotty I absolutely love the Bauer brand and the Hercules. If you want a impact drill with a ridiculous punch then you can go for the earthquake xt brand. I love harbor freight, just need to use common sense when making purchases

  28. Bought a HF grinder in the mid 90s that lasted until 2010. Paid $6 for it. Had the second one going on a decade and it’s still going strong. Because of inflation, I paid $10.

  29. Buy name brand cordless tools, but buy HF cordless batteries to gut and rebuild the batteries when they die out in your Snap-On, Dewalt, Milwaukee, etc sets. Buying name brand replacement batteries costs $75 and up. HF batteries can be bought for $5-10. Get a soldering iron from HF and spend a half hour rebuilding what you already have.

  30. I’ve gotten some good stuff their like hammers , pry bars, wrenches to get me by when driving long haul if they get lost or stolen no big deal and my good stuff at home.

  31. Good honest recommendation for Harbor Freight stuff – I love to go there and browse; like a kid in a candy shop!!!!

  32. My experience with HF exactly. Lately, though, seems like, with the tariff debacle, their prices are going up. Still great deals to be had, however.

  33. That is was I thought and I bought the dewalt drill. Used it for one job and put it away for about 1 1/2 years went to use and it wouldn't work. So much for spending more on a name brand.

  34. I buy a lot of stuff from harbor freight if I don’t use it that much why spend a fortune I don’t expect it to last forever

  35. I bought a machete from harbor freight first time i want to chop a tree branch it broke in 3 pieces. Some things can be dangerous if you buy cheap crap

  36. I watched your video about using oem thermostats. Before I watched it I had changed my girl friends radiator and th with a cheap thermostat and it would run fine, for 1 day, 3, days the just run hot cool it off refill the radiator be
    good to go until it happened again. I knew it was the thermostat but it was new? Then i watched your video and I realized I had had this problem a few times in fact i ruined my engine in my truck 4 yrs ago i could not get it to stop overheating change the pump, radiator, thermostat but kept overheating but not all the time till i blew the head gasket and scored the cylinders looking back I was buying cheap thermostats I did change it twice but not oem. I the thermostat fixed her cars overheating. You convinced me..
    Thank you
    Ps I should have known being in the transmission business for 32 yrs. I only use oem in rebuilds i sell.

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