Category: Material Handling & Safety

20-Piece Poly Bins and Rails

08/21/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Hot Buys, Storage/Organization, Material Handling & Safety


Small Parts Storage Bins
Item: 20- Piece Poly Bins and Rails
Item number: 41949
Retail price: $12.99
Frequent sale price: $9.99 (with coupon)
Target price: $9.99
Item Link

This 20-piece small parts storage system is another great buy from Harbor Freight. The poly bins withstand routine shop use holding up to heavy bolts or nails. They stack neatly on a bench or can be wall mounted with the included rails. We haven't tried the wall-mounting system (we're content with them sitting on our bench), but other online reviewers attest to their ability to mount solidly on the wall. Once wall mounted, individual bins can be easily removed and reattached as needed.

They go on sale several times a year for our target price and then they're an absolute steal for a great system of organizing small parts and hardware. And of course individual bins can be used to transport your material to the work site, not a bad use in itself.

There are a lot of uses for these storage bins besides racking up your nuts and bolts. We usually have several repair projects in progress about the shop, often delayed by waiting for parts or just trying to figure out how best to complete the repair. These storage bins are great for keeping the nuts and bolts and other small parts of the "project" together while we're working on something else. How many times have you started a project, been interrupted, and then found your parts mysteriously scattered around the shop? Load a couple of these bins with the nuts and other parts you dismantle while working on the project as insurance they'll be together should you get delayed in completing.

You might consider buying a couple of sets of these when they go on sale. You'll probably find they fill up fast with your assortment of nuts, bolts, screws, and nails, and then discover that you have even more uses for them. They even hold water, although we wouldn't recommend them for parts soaking.

Bottom line: A great system for storing nuts and bolts, nails, and other small parts. These sturdy poly bins hold up to routine shop use with no complaints.


5-Pair Black and Yellow Leather Work Gloves

08/19/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Hot Buys, Material Handling & Safety


Black and Yellow Work Gloves
Item: 5-Pair Black and Yellow Leather Work Gloves
Item number: 66291
Retail price: $9.99
Frequent sale price: $5.99 (with coupon)
Target price: $5.99
Item Link

We love our roping gloves reviewed earlier but for more serious work you need a more serious work glove, and Harbor Freight offers this heavier work glove in a very cheap 5-pack. That's right, this is a FIVE-pack that at our target price puts these gloves at just over a buck a pair. You'll pay that or more for cotton "work" gloves at the big box retailers and probably end up with cut and calloused fingers. But how good are they?

These medium-duty work gloves offer great hand protection for material handling and other manual work that would otherwise leave your hands cut, abraded, or calloused. They are medium-thick leather with a canvas back. This design keeps your hands a bit cooler but most importantly prevents the gloves from being overly stiff. You still get a decent feel for the piece you're handing, unlike full leather work gloves that are stiff and somewhat more tiring even to wear. Interestingly, your hands get rather 'dirty' in these gloves; some combination of the dye and/or dirt filters through the gloves to leave your hands dirty after working in these gloves for a while. Of course you're doing serious work when you don these gloves, so a little dirt is not bad to remind you that you were working hard.;) In contrast, our preference for an all-round work glove (roping gloves, click here to read our review) leaves your hands as clean as they were when inserted into the glove, so they're a much better choice for carrying in your vehicle for loading and for all but the heaviest yard work.

We rate these conservatively as medium-duty work gloves only because once you jump into the world of real work gloves some types get noticeably heavier. They're great hand protection for heavier jobs, but they don't keep your hands clean like our recommendation for light-duty work (click here to read our review of our favorite all-round work gloves).

At around a buck a pair even the frugal Harbor Freight customer can afford to trash a pair up now and then. This makes them great for 'dirty work' that might leave concrete, epoxy, or other building materials on the gloves. They're even inexpensive enough to loan a pair to your helper when handling plywood or other materials. (Don't volunteer what you paid for the gloves and they will be impressed that you thought of them.) And at this price, leaving them accidentally at the job or dropping them down a big hole is no real loss, just as long as you have another pair handy for replacement.

If you're working professionally with these gloves, expect to go through a pair a day. But just as it's nice to start each day in clean, fresh work clothes, at a buck-a-day you get to start with the feel of clean gloves as well. They may last longer even under heavy use, but keep your expectations low commensurate with their price and you won't be disappointed.

Bottom line: A great buy on medium-duty work gloves when purchased at our target price. The canvas back leaves them supple enough for most work, while the leather palm and fingers offer good protection.


Roping Gloves

08/19/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Hot Buys, Outdoor Living, Material Handling & Safety


Roping Gloves
Item: Roping Gloves
Item number: 35166
Retail price: $7.99
Frequent sale price: $4.99
Target price: $4.99 (drops to $3.99 with 20%-off coupon)
Item Link

I buy several pair of these gloves a year. They're my favorite all-round glove for working in the yard, moving equipment, and other general work around the home and shop. The fit is reasonably good and they generally wear well, although occasionally I get a pair that split at the seams prematurely. The leather is supple enough for a good sense of feel, providing just enough distance from your work piece to keep your hands clean and protected while providing a good sense of feel for what you're handling.

By working glove standards these are soft leather gloves. For anyone who has every owned a pair of Italian leather driving gloves, you know that "soft" is a relative term (there's that Einstein stuff again). But we're working men and women when here at Harbor Freight Reviews, so we'll call them "soft leather gloves" within this context.

Years ago I gave up that rough, working-man look (or more correctly, feel) for the softer, more gentile hands of a 'surgeon.' Nothing wrong with those well-earned calluses, it's just not my style anymore. (If you don't understand the difference, you need to shake hands with more ladies. Trust me, you'll figure it out quickly, especially if you're a big guy whom they expect to have big, rough hands.) Enter soft leather roping (AKA working) gloves: they keep the hands soft and uncallused yet they don't give that clumsy feeling that thicker, less supple leather gloves produce. Of course for real heavy work a heavier pair of gloves is demanded, but I personally seldom do really heavy work. Thus, these are my all-round favorite gloves and we enthusiastically recommend them to everybody. I have different pairs with various degrees of wear-and-tear for different applications -- the old, well-worn pair are delegated to yard work, while the new, clean pairs I keep in my vehicles for unexpected materials handling (e.g. lumber or plywood pick-up).

There are a lot of better quality roping gloves on the market. You'd generally expect to pay $20 to $30 for good-quality roping gloves. If you work as a laborer or other professional who needs this type of glove for continuous use, you may want to invest in a better quality glove. For those of us who only occasionally do manual work or do only light work, these are the gloves to buy saving a lot off the cost of better-quality roping gloves.

If you like splitters from handling plywood and those rough calluses from shoveling and raking, these gloves aren't for you. But once you discover that you don't have to trash-up your hands to do work, you'll not want to go back to roughing it. And then there's the ladies . . .

Bottom line: The best all-round glove for light work around the home or shop. Sold down-right cheap when on sale at Harbor Freight. You can even use a 20%-off coupon almost stealing a pair of these soft leather gloves for just $3.99!


Mover's Dolly

08/10/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Uncategorized, Hot Buys, Material Handling & Safety


Mover's Dolly
Item: Mover's Dolly
Item number: 93888
Retail price: $14.99
Frequent sale price: $7.99 (with coupon)
Target price: $7.99
Item Link

How complex can a mover's dolly be? All it takes is a solid wood frame nailed over four ball-bearing casters and you're off and running. Add a little carpet to the top to protect your furniture and you have your basic mover's dolly. Harbor Freight's basic dolly is rated to 1,000 lbs so you can haul even the largest furniture with ease.

Warning: This dolly has hard-rubber wheels which are NOT suitable for hardwood floors and other soft surfaces that can be marred by transporting heavy objects. You should use a more expensive dolly with soft-rubber wheels for those situations or you may regret the damage left behind by using the wrong 'tool.'

This mover's dolly can find a lot of other applications in the shop as well. For example, we have our Onan genset semi-permanently sitting on one and saved a hundred dollars or so on what the actual wheel-kit for the generator would have cost. We have other heavy equipment sitting on these dollies from time-to-time when we expect to slide them around the shop frequently. Buy a couple and you'll be surprised at the applications you find for them.

Warning: If you use or store this mover's dolly near moisture such as that found on a typical concrete garage floor, expect the casters to corrode after a couple of years. They're easily restored to working condition, but you might consider adding some light oil to protect their galvanized finish.

With two warnings in one review it might seem like this is not a good buy, but it is when purchased at our target price. This inexpensive dolly can find a lot of uses around the home and shop. We use to even keep one in our van for those unexpected heavy loads. It was supplanted by our foldable aluminum platform truck which serves as a mover's dolly as well as a platform truck. The latter collapses for easy storage, is as small as the mover's dolly, and is light weight. Of course it also costs nearly 4-times as much even at our target price, and the simple mover's dolly does transport nearly 3-times the weight as the foldable aluminum platform truck.

Bottom line: This mover's dolly works well to roll heavy objects such as furniture and even shop equipment. Buy at least a pair when Harbor Freight puts them on sale at our target price.


330-Lb Capacity Foldable Aluminum Platform Truck

08/07/10 | by theprofessor [mail] | Categories: Hot Buys, Material Handling & Safety


330-lb Capacity Folding Aluminum Platform Truck
Item: 330-Lb Capacity Folding Aluminum Platform Truck
Item number: 92624
Retail price: $59.99
Frequent sale price: $39.99
Target price: $29.99 or less
Item Link

This folding aluminum platform truck has a small footprint when stowed away but can carry a hefty 330 lbs when put to action. The handle collapses down and folds onto the base, and the base itself retracts to compress its overall profile. When fully extended, the base and handle lock firmly into position. The casters glide smoothly and the handle gives sufficient leverage for pushing or pulling heavy objects. With the handle down, it doubles as a mover's dolly which is probably the best configuration for moving the heaviest objects; the hinge on the handle is the weak spot on this item, although we haven't had any problems to date.

The lightweight, compact-profile of this platform truck makes it the perfect size for keeping with your vehicle for those surprisingly heavy, unplanned purchases. It doesn't do badly on the planned big-boys either, but its real asset is in its inconspicuous stowage. Its light aluminum frame makes it easy to carry and doesn't add much to the weight of the item being transported. The flat platform is also great for moving boxes and computers around the office. This ninja of moving devices is must have item for anyone who even occasionally moves heavy objects unexpectedly to and from their vehicle.

Hint: Using one of Harbor Freight's 20%-off coupons brings the sale price down to $31.99 which is close enough to our target price to make it a "buy" without waiting for it to hit its low mark of $29.99 again. Don't know about Harbor Freight's 20%-off coupons? You should read our Notes for the Novice Shopper to learn about this and other pointers for shopping at Harbor Freight.

Bottom line: The aluminum platform compacts neatly for storage but opens up to move over 300 lbs when put to action. It's a great bargain at the target price and not a bad buy at the regular sale price either.


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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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