Category: HFR Forum User Guide

Notes for the Novice Shopper: Everything has three prices!

07/25/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Hot Buys, Store Policies, HFR Forum User Guide, Announcements

Link: http://HarborFreightReviews.com

This posting is still 'under construction,' so check back frequently for updates. Also see our Guide to Using this Discussion Forum.

This version was revised: 02 August 2010 03:57 EDT.

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!"

Buy ahead: anticipate your needs so that you can make use of Harbor Freight™'s frequent deeply discounted sales and special offers. Use our "target prices" to guide you to the best value for the money. Extra money to spend this month? Browse our "Hot Buys" category to find items you might find useful that we considered especially good buys. Be prepared for a long list of "Hot Buys" because we consider most of Harbor Freight™'s extensive inventory to be good-quality items and great values when purchased at our target prices. And have fun assembling your tools.

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.

The store's current inventory can be accessed from any of their cash registers/computer terminals. It won't tell you where the item is located in the store, but it can tell you if the item is listed in the store's current inventory. If it's a hot item that you're chasing down, insist (politely but firmly if necessary) that they check their actual store inventory online. And remember that Harbor Freight outlets will usually issue rain checks for out-of-stock items.

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.)

Be sure to take your purchase out-of-the-box and give it a thorough run-down during the first month. If you're not happy with the item, take it back for a full refund as per their 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Don't get stuck with an unboxed lemon that you only discover to be junk after it's sat around for several months. Try the product out; be a happy Harbor Freight™ customer and don't burn yourself by not returning items that don't live up to your expectations or at least close enough to merit purchase. And remember their lifetime warranty on all hand tools. Let us know if you have problems with them honoring this published policy.

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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A Guide to Using Our Discussion Forum

07/19/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: HFR Forum User Guide

Link: http://www.HarborFreigthReviews.com

You can access this guide from any page in the discussion forum by clicking on the "HFR Forum User Guide" category found on the right-hand column. Be sure to uncheck that filter when returning to the main reviews.

This version was last revised 03 August 2010 20:32 EDT.

Welcome to Harbor Freight Reviews

This discussion forum was created for those who love shopping at Harbor Freight™. The forum owners post reviews from time-to-time of items personally evaluated, helping to guide others through the good, the bad, and the do-not-buy junk that is found throughout Harbor Freight’s brick-and-mortar stores and occasionally some items sold through their online sales outlet. The purpose is to share information on the best buys and the worse buys, on the best prices, and on availability of special discount offers such as online coupons.

Please note that Harbor Freight Reviews is in no way affiliated with Harbor Freight™. We do not receive any commission from sales from them nor are we liable for the information provided here for educational purposes. We LOVE Harbor Freight, but we are also aware that shopping there can be tricky (see our Guide for the Novice Shopper) and we appreciate others sharing their experiences with us as well. And like many others, the forum owners are dedicated to buying one of everything (on sale, of course) before it's 'game over' for this life cycle. Cheers and happy sa(i)ling throughout the Harbor B)!

Why Another Discussion Forum?

At the time of its inception this forum was unique for two reasons. First and most obvious, we provide pricing information for each item. The published "retail price" is given for each product which is accurate at the time the review was written. A "frequent sale price" is also listed which is the lowest sale price that has been seen in the past 6 months that is expected to be repeated (e.g., no clearance prices). And finally, a "target price" is set which is the price we would hope to pay for the item ourselves. This latter price is the most important of the three -- it considers not only value-for-the-money but also prices for which the item has been recently advertised. If you can beat our target price, "go for it." If you have to pay more for an item than our target price because of current need, "such is life." Our target price is merely a guide to the complex and frequent sales and special coupons offered by Harbor Freight which makes their pricing obscure at times. In simple terms, the target price is simply the price we would hope to pay for a replacement of the item under review. We update our pricing occasionally but with no set regularity.

The second feature that makes Harbor Freight Reviews unique is the fact that our reviews are written from first-hand, personal experience. Although we are interested in the experiences of others and are willing to post reviews written by second parties from time-to-time, the basis of this discussion forum is our own experiences, taking into consideration that of others but ultimately OUR personal opinion about a product. This differs importantly from other online resources where the reviews are written by anonymous authors, sometimes by people that have a vested interested in the subject about which they write; often by people who have unrealistic expectations about a product (e.g., do not consider its price when considering its quality). When reading these reviews one must always take into consideration the author. The same is true here at Harbor Freight Reviews, but here you 'get to know' the author by reading a lot of material written by the same person.

Evaluating the products and writing these reviews is a slow, tedious process. We could rapidly expand our product coverage by allowing unvetted reviews from anonymous authors, but that is not the purpose of Harbor Freight Reviews. Furthermore, we will update our reviews from time-to-time as we gain further experience with a product. With this understanding of the nature of our discussion forum, we hope that you find our reviews interesting, valuable, and perhaps even entertaining from time-to-time. In any case, "happy hunting."

Click here to jump directly to the 'top' (i.e., latest topic) of the discussion forum.

Navigating the Discussion Forum

Items in the discussion forum are presented in reverse chronological order—the most recent reviews appear first. If you simply wish to read the most recent reviews, start at the first item on the top of the page and read your way down through the various reviews. Use the highlighted page markers at the bottom of each page to advance through the various pages. This approach works best for those who like to periodically peruse our reviews and to read everything at least once. To read the comments posted by others or to post your own comments, click on the review’s title to open a special page (registration is required for posting comments because of spamming).

For those that require a more systematic approach to locating information, the right-hand column has several navigational aids. First, clicking on a highlighted date on the calendar will show only reviews posted on that date. This is useful for those that wish to read the forum on a daily basis but have missed specific dates. Second, there is a search box (after the forum description on the right-hand column) which permits searching the forum for specific words including the Harbor Freight item number. Third, there is a list of categories that can be used to filter the reviews. Clicking on any of the categories will show reviews only for items listed in the specified category. Be sure to click on “ALL” when finished if you wish to return to reading all of the items posted in various categories. (See the section below on “Keeping Up-to-Date” if you would like to learn about the last item in the right-hand column, XML feeds.)

Be sure to click on "All" found under the "Categories" listing on the right-hand column or you won't be viewing our entire database of reviews after you've perused a category or a specific date. Alternatively, you can click on "reset filter" when available to make sure that you're seeing the entire list of product reviews. Either procedure will remove the "filters" that were set by your early search. For those who don't use any of the links under "category" or the "calender, you can disregard this instruction set.

Locating Specific Reviews

If you wish to check for a specific item, enter the part number or name in the search box found midway down the right-hand column; you can also enter any related search terms (e.g., solar lights). If you wish to search for items in a specific category (e.g., air tools), use the category filter found on the right-hand column (click on the relevant category). And if you wish to search by specific dates that the reviews were posted, click on the date on the calendar found on the top of the right-hand column. (See previous section for more details.)

Click here to jump to a list of “Hot Buys” for items that have been reviewed.

Keeping Up-to-Date

There are two ways to keep up-to-date and to ensure that you don’t miss any reviews. The old fashioned way is to manually peruse the reviews, beginning with the top of the list (most recent) and read until you reach the point where you left off with your earlier reading. Alternatively, you can click on the corresponding date on the calendar found on the right-hand column. A more convenient, and indeed a timelier, method of keeping up with the very latest posts or comments is to use the XML feeds available for this forum.

To receive RSS feeds, click on either “posts” or “comments” found under RSS on the lower right-hand column of each page. This will subscribe you to new “posts” (i.e., lead reviews posted by the forum owner or others) or “comments” (i.e., remarks posted by readers regarding the various lead reviews), respectively. Most people just subscribe to the RSS feeds for new “posts,” but some like to keep informed of all of the comments which are being left regarding reviews of the various items. To use RSS feeds you also have to have an RSS-feed reader installed. There are three different systems that are frequently used for this. We use an RSS reader on our Yahoo.com home page that we check frequently throughout the day (Google.com also offers an RSS reader for use on their home page.). Read the instructions found on your Yahoo.com or Google.com for further information on how to install this accessory. Alternatively, you can install an RSS-reader to work directly with your web browser (a plug-in). This will scroll the latest RSS feeds across a window on your browser (See your browser for instruction on how to install this plug-in.). Another convenient method for those using Windows Outlook™ is to subscribe directly from your e-mail reader which will then place the RSS feed in a special folder. Finally, for those using Windows Vista™ or Windows 7™, you can add a Widget that receives RSS feeds directly on your Windows™ desktop. We also use this method (on one of several computers) to receive RSS feeds from various sources (e.g., news reports, stock market updates, Addiction Science Network updates) and find it quite convenient. Click on the Widget and mark “add Widget” for instructions.

All of this talk about RSS feeds and readers may sound a bit intimidating to the older crowd which is most likely the audience for a discussion forum dedicated to tool reviews, but trust me, get your kids or grand-kids (that younger generation who grew up with this technology) to set it up for you and you'll love it once you become familiar with how it works. You'll find it useful not only for keeping up with the latest commentaries here at Harbor Freight Reviews but also for other sources where you desire the latest, hottest information.

Reviewers Wanted

If you have experience with Harbor Freight products that you would like to share, join the discussion forum and reply to any of the commentaries (i.e., threads) already started, or send your review/comments to info@HarborFreightReviews.com or to "The Professor" (e-mailed through this mail system) for initiating a new topic. Feel free to repost non-copyrighted material or links to other sites reviewing Harbor Freight products. The purpose here is to have fun providing a focal point and central repository for information about Harbor Freight products, and we're not really competing with the many websites that have already informative commentaries posted by their users.

To post your comments you will need to first register. We keep all information you provide strictly confidential (i.e., name, e-mail address, username) and use it only for registration purposes on this discussion forum. Once you have registered a page will appear whenever you click on the title of the item that you would like to comment on and you can enter your remarks in a window that opens at the bottom of the new page. Because of keyword spamming, we first review the content to make sure it's a legitimate reply and not spam; we do not edit or restrict content from legitimate, registered users and we only require registration because we have been heavily spammed when we allowed comments from unregistered users.

We wholeheartedly welcome comments and participation from Harbor Freight enthusiasts. We would like to see others with an interest in Harbor Freight's tools share their experiences and product recommendations while we methodically work our way through their inventory one tool at a time. We also appreciate feedback on our reviews, even conflicting opinions from time-to-time.

Special Note Regarding Advertising

We are blinded as to the advertisements provided by Google’s Adsense program found on the bottom of most pages (i.e., we see the advertisements like you see the advertisements and have no control over their content). These revolving advertisements should be clearly indicated as such, and please do not confuse these ads with our website links or content. We neither endorse nor receive sales commissions from these advertisers. Revenue is generated when you “click on” an advertisement or a link but not through sales. We can black-list specific companies found to practice unscrupulous trade policies, and we welcome input from our readers on their experiences with companies displayed in the Google advertisements. The only places where we receive commission on sales are through our Amazon shop and our direct online sales; both are clearly indicated as such. We appreciate your patronage which helps support our work here at Harbor Freight Reviews, but our primary mission remains to provide unbiased reviews of Harbor Freight tools and related products.

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Welcome to Harbor Freight Reviews -- Reviewers Welcomed!

02/16/09 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: HFR Forum User Guide, Announcements

Link: http://HarborFreightReviews.com

Welcome to Harbor Freight Reviews™. This discussion forum is provided for those who love shopping at Harbor Freight™. The forum owner will post reviews from time-to-time of items personally purchased at Harbor Freight™, helping to guide others through the good, the bad, and the do-not-buy junk that is found throughout their brick-and-mortar stores and occasionally some items sold through their online sales outlets. The purpose is to share information on the best buys and the worse buys, on the best prices, and on availability of special discount offers such as online coupons.

If you have experience with Harbor Freight™ products that you would like to share, join the discussion forum and reply to any of the commentaries (i.e., threads) already started, or send your review/comments to info@HarborFreightReviews.com or to "The Professor" (e-mailed through this mail system) for initiating a new topic. Feel free to repost non-copyrighted material or links to other sites reviewing Harbor Freight™ products. The purpose here is to have fun:D providing a focal point and central repository for information about Harbor Freight™ products, and we're not really competing with the many websites that have already informative user-posted commentaries.

Most of the content of the Harbor Freight Reviews™ Discussion Forum is copyright 2009-2010 Beaux Arts USA. Many of the images reproduced for review and educational purposes are copyright Harbor Freight Tools™. Please share this information freely, but please acknowledge the source as the actual forum page, the Harbor Freight Reviews Discussion Forum, or as the parent website HarborFreightReviews.com. Enjoy and share but please be fair.

Finally, Harbor Freight Reviews™ is in no way affiliated with Harbor Freight™. We do not receive any commission from sales from them nor are we liable for the information provided here for educational purposes. We LOVE Harbor Freight, but we are also aware that shopping there can be tricky and we appreciate others sharing their experiences with us as well. And like many others, the 'blog' owner is dedicated to buying one of everything (on sale, of course) before it's 'game over' for this life cycle. Cheers and happy sa(i)lingB)!

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This review and discussion forum was created for those of us who love Harbor Freight(tm). It's well known to those who frequent the store that the prices are always cycling up and down, and most of us usually accept it as a personal challenge to get the lowest price possible. It's also well appreciated that some products at Harbor Freight are good, even very good, but that many others are also substandard, yes, even junk. This review and discussion forum is dedicated to the savvy Harbor Freight shopper and is intended to provide some guidance to the best and the worse buys. Similar products from other retailers will also be reviewed from time-to-time. Please be advised that everyone's experience is unique, and what works well (or doesn't work at all) for the reviewers here may or may not suit your personal needs. With this caveat and with notification that Harbor Freight Reviews assumes no liability for the accuracy of information provided here for educational purposes, enjoy the forum and good 'sa(i)ling' at Harbor Freight!

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