Harbor Freight Reviews

The unofficial review forum for Harbor Freight™ tools.

 

Guide for the Novice Harbor Freight™ Shopper

 As the savvy Harbor Freight™ shopper already knows, everything has multiple prices. In fact, it's not unusual to find the same item selling for three or more different prices at the same time. (We refer to this as their triple-pricing policy.) It all depends on which coupon you have to redeem. And "Inside Track" members are reputed to get even better offers.

Even the savvy shopper occasionally comes to the store armed with the latest coupon only to find that the item is actually on-sale for less money than expected. Usually, the lower in-store sale price is honored. Also be aware that quite often the sale price is NOT posted on the shelves. Use the current sales fliers and coupons as your guide to special sale prices.

One of the most useful features of this discussion forum, and indeed our Harbor Freight Reviews website, is the price comparisons--we list the "regular retail price," usually a "frequent sale price," a "target price," and sometimes even a "best price" that has been found for the item within the past year. Keep in mind that the better prices are usually purchases made with coupons and even with a coupon applied to a deeply discounted sale item (see below). Part of the 'game' played by many Harbor Freight™ customers, including us at Harbor Freight Reviews, is to buy their products at the lowest possible price. The object is not just to fill your home shop with the most tools but to do so at the most economical price: "he with the most toys [assembled at the lowest cost] when he dies, wins!"

Harbor Freight Coupon Redemption Policy
Harbor Freight™ is usually very generous with their coupon redemption policy. We have had no problems at our local, Buffalo-area (New York) store. Coupons received in the mail, clipped from magazines, and printed from their websites have all been honored without incident. Of course you can't combined coupons on a single purchase, but the usual 20%-off coupon is honored even on deeply discounted sale items. Sometimes, the resulting price has been ridiculously low; usually it's just a 'sweeter deal.'

Never make a large purchase without at least using the 20%-off coupon found in several national magazines and often in newspaper inserts. And for the best savings combine this coupon with a deeply discounted sale price whenever possible.

Hidden Inventory? Ask for Help!
Sale items are sometimes difficult to locate, depending on which actual retail outlet you visit. The staff can be very help in finding that special item or checking their inventory online. A lot of the larger items don't even get shelved but remain in the back storeroom. You have to ask for them. Recently, I discovered that a 9-LED mini flashlight that has been repeatedly offered for free with a coupon is kept behind the cash register in an unmarked brown paper bag. Bad sport:(, but at least I now know the trick. At our Buffalo area stores the staff always seems busy and often difficult to track down. Nonetheless, find a "sales associate" and ask if you can't locate a sale item.

Harbor Freight Warranties & Satisfaction Guarantee
Harbor Freight™ boasts the best warranty in the business for all of their hand tool lines, matching the famous Craftsman™ hand tool lifetime warranty. They also have a 30-day 100%-satisfaction guarantee whereby any product may be returned for any reason within the first month. And recently, they claim they will price-match for up to a year after your purchase. It just can't get any better than this! (These policies were accurate at the time of writing, but check their websites and their retail outlets for any changes.)

Harbor Freight™ Quality
The tool snobs usually degrade the quality of products found at Harbor Freight™. Don't be surprised to see them in the store too, but they'll argue that it's a fluke that Harbor Freight™ occasionally has a product that they find acceptable for their "professional" work (e.g., Harbor Freight's™ reinforced rubber air hoses find their way into many professional shops because of their high quality and unbeatable price.). These are often the same tool snobs that will tell me that my Craftsman™ tools aren't really high quality and then go on to exault the properties of their truely "professional" tool. But for many of us Harbor Freight™ does fill a niche and fills it quite well.

Harbor Freight™ allows me to purchase special-use tools that I wouldn't normally be able to 'afford' for occasional or one-time use, and they allow me to purchase duplicate sets and duplicate-purpose tools so that I always have the right tool at hand. For projects that I work on frequently and for those requiring a lot of torque, I have good-quality tools set aside. (I don't want to round a rusty nut with a cheap wrench or to strip the head of an over-tightened screw with a poor quality screwdriver.) For everything else I have everything else. Depending on how often I use the tool and how much torque or precision is required for the task, I have a lot of varying quality tools, many of which were purchased from Harbor Freight™. (My duplicate Craftsman™ tools also get distributed around the home and shop, but I seldom buy duplicates of this tool line because they are relatively expensive.) And with the typically low prices on generally acceptable-quality tools at Harbor Freight™, I'm able to buy an entire set to replace a few wrenches or screwdrivers that are misplaced around the shop or that "walked off" from my toolbox. (Ever notice how often that 1/2" wrench, eh, 12mm wrench, goes missing and how often that's just the wrench you need?)

Harbor Freight™ quality is sometimes near the top of the line, but the bulk of their products consists of medium-quality tools. For most purposes these tools suffice and at a considerable savings too. A few products at Harbor Freight™ are very low quality and the savvy shopper has to be on-guard to sort through the various products. At Harbor Freight Reviews we try to help you sort through the product line by identifying the good-quality products, the "Hot Buys" (also check the "Hot Buys" category on our discussion forum for the most updated list), "The Junk,", and "Everything in Between." Although your experience might differ, our reviews are based on our first-hand experience with each and every product for which we post a review and not on radom individuals posting their unvetted opinions to some unmoderated commercial Internet site. We test every product, sometimes extensively, and we post updates as our experience with the product changes. You can read our online tool reviews on our Harbor Freight Reviews website or for the latest additions on our Harbor Freight Reviews Discussion Forum. Please keep in mind that we cannot garantee that you will be similarly satisfied or dissatisfied with any specific product but only share our honest, candid opinion about the products we test.

Bottom line: Shop knowledgeably at Harbor Freight™ and you'll be a "happy camper." Check both of their websites online (i.e., Harbor Freight Tools AND Harbor Freight USA) for their latest coupons (links are usually at the top or side of their home pages; look carefully). Check local newspapers for advertisements and inserts and check national magazines for coupons including the ubiquitous 20%-off coupon. Be a savvy shopper and spend money (on the best deals) to help keep them in business so that we all continue to have access to this fabulous low-cost tool outlet.



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Copyright 2010 Beaux Arts USA

Last revised: 27 July 2010 18:58 (EDT)

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