Harbor Freight Drills Down on Drill Bits

All drill bits are not created equal—there are many different types of bits and a variety of materials used to make them. In some cases, the same drill bit can be used on different materials, but is it necessarily the best choice? It’s important to know a bit about bits to optimize the results of your respective task or project …

 

Twist Bits
These are some of the most common bits to find in the handyman’s toolbox. Used with either a hand or electric drill, the front edges cut the material and the spirals remove the debris along the length of the bit. However, there is a lot of variation with these bits. HSS (High Speed Steel) bits are generally characterized by their black color but more expensive and durable ones may contain cobalt or titanium coating (identified by the gold color). Titanium increases the hardness of the bit and facilitates a lubricating quality which is effective when drilling metals but has little impact on other materials.

Harbor Freight has several Twist Bit sets from which to choose, including the Titanium Drill Bit Set 29 Pc. These titanium drill bits run cooler, drill smoother and last up to three times longer than standard drill bits. The bits range in size from 1/16 in. to ½ in. in 64ths.

Harbor Freight also carries the 115 Pc Cobalt Drill Bit Set. These cobalt drill bits retain their hardness up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit making them ideal for drilling cast iron, heat-treated steel, stainless steel and other hard materials. With 135 degree tips, the cobalt drill bits not only last longer but also cut faster than standard high speed steel bits.

 

Brad Point Bits (a.k.a. wood or dowel bits)
These bits are best used on wood (some plastics) and are characterized by a small point at the tip of the bit. Spurs on either side cut clean, straight holes. They’re ideal for drilling holes for dowels, which is why they’re also called dowel bits. These drill bits are a staple for wood workers.

Harbor Freight offers the Brad Point Wood Drill Bit Set 7 Pc with 3/8 inch cutdown shanks. These outstanding bits resist skating and feature extra sharp flutes designed to smooth hole sides while ejecting chips faster to prevent overheating your drill. For projects utilizing either hard or soft woods, this set of brad point bits gets the job done quickly and accurately.

 

Auger Drill Bits
These bits are designed to cut large, deep and accurate flat-bottomed holes. The spiraling shaft comes to a fine, threaded point while the single spur cuts and defines the hole’s edge. The threaded center bites into the wood, pulling the bit into the timber. This pulling action makes it unsuitable for use in power drills.

Harbor Freight has several sets of auger drill bits available, starting with the Auger Bit Set 7 Pc. These 7-1/2 in. long auger bits make fast, clean holes in both soft and hard woods. The bits are made of heat-treated alloy steel that resists damage from nails. Other features include quick-change 3/8 in. dia. hex shanks and a ¼ in. bit with a ¼ in. hex shank.

Other Harbor Freight auger bits set include the 18 in. Ship Auger Bit Set 3 Pc and Stubby Auger Bit Set 6 Pc.

 

Wood Spade Bits (a.k.a. Paddle Bits, Flat Wood Bits)
The pointed tip centers the hole as the paddle-shaped blade bores large, wide holes. Sizes are clearly marked on the face of each bit. These larger bits require a fairly powerful drill and lend themselves to drilling fairly large flat-bottomed holes with a center point—works especially well when the head of a screw or bolt needs to be recessed in the lumber. The bits can cause a lot of splintering as they breakthrough the work piece but a sacrificial backing board will reduce this. These bits are not recommended for enlarging an existing hole.

Harbor Freight offers a variety of wood spade bit sets, including the Steel Spade Drill Bit Set 13 Pc. The extended spurs effortlessly cut crisp, clean holes in thick stock. Each bit is forged and heat-treated to withstand rigorous use. The ¼ inch quick-change shank works with drills and impact drivers.

Other Harbor Freight offerings include the Steel Spade Bit Set 6 Pc, Steel Large Diameter Spade Bit Set 4 Pc, and the Steel Stubby Spade Bit Set 3 Pc.

 

Masonry Bits
As the name implies, these drill bits are designed to be used on masonry material, including brick, block, stone, quarry tiles and concrete. The cutting tip is often made of tungsten carbide bonded to a spiral steel shaft. Generally, masonry bits are used in a hand drill but can also be used in a hand brace or hammer action power drill (though cheaper bits can shatter due to the action). Long masonry bits can be used for drilling through masonry walls.

Harbor Freight provides several masonry bit options, including the Masonry Drill Bit Set 5 Pc featuring M2 high-speed steel shanks and C2 carbide tips with 6% cobalt. The 8 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 6 Pc features a superior hardening process and an enhanced flute design that helps the bits run cooler.

 

Tile and Glass Bits
The tips of these bits are designed to penetrate tile or glass, then enlarge the hole as the bit penetrates the material. The tips are usually made with tungsten carbide. The bits can be used in a hand drill but are best used with a variable speed power drill on a slow speed. Lubricants should be used to keep the tip cool when drilling.

Harbor Freight offers the Carbide Tip Glass and Tile Cutting Drill Bit Set 6 Pc featuring C-3 tungsten carbide tips and a steel shaft for drilling glass, ceramics, plastics and Formica tiles. The wide base angle provides precise, stable drilling.

 

Countersink Bits
Using a power or hand drill, these bits penetrate material and form a conical recess to accommodate the heads of countersunk screws. Countersink bits are generally designed for use on softer materials.

Harbor Freight carries the Carbon Steel Tapered Drill Bit and Countersink Set, 22 Pc. The bits are made from heat-treated steel and designed with a unique single-twist design to remove material more efficiently, resulting in cleaner holes. The set includes seven drills, seven countersinks, seven stop-collars and an individually organized wooden storage box for easy transport and organization.

 

Forstner Bits
These bits are used to form holes with flat bottoms, such as with kitchen cupboard hinges. It’s best to use a power drill with a drill stand for optimal accuracy.

Harbor Freight offers two Forstner bit sets, the 1/4 in. – 1 in. Forstner Drill Bit Set With 3/8 in. Shanks 7 Pc featuring high carbon steel construction and 3/8 in. reinforced shanks, and the 1/4 in. – 2-1/8 in. Forstner Drill Bit Set With 3/8 in. Shanks 16 Pc which includes more bits and a wood carrying case for storage.

 

That’s just the basics when it comes to drill bits. There are many other types of specialized drill bits as well, such as screwdriver bits, plug cutters and nut drivers.

For the full selection of drills bits and accessories, visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store or the Harbor Freight website.

 

 

Source Material:
DIY – different drill bits
DIY data

Torquing It to the Limit with Breaker Bars

Real Tool Reviews compares four leading brands

 

Real Tool Reviews takes breaker bars to their limit, comparing four top pro-grade brands with ½ inch drives – Pittsburgh Pro (available at Harbor Freight Tools) along with Snap-On, Matco and Mac Tools. For those of you unfamiliar with what a breaker bar is:

A breaker bar is a long non-ratcheting bar that is used with socket wrench style sockets. Breaker bars are used to break loose very tight fasteners because their additional length allows the same amount of force to generate significantly more torque than a standard length socket wrench. The use of a breaker bar also prevents damage to the ratcheting mechanism of a socket wrench. Often, after the first half turn of a fastener, the fastener is then loose enough to be turned with a socket wrench.1

Common applications include freeing lug nuts on vehicle wheels, freeing a variety of bolts in car repair and maintenance where rust is a common problem, manufacturing applications, home renovating projects and any other instance in which a bolt has become frozen in place.2

Now that we’re all up to speed on breaker bars, let’s dive into the review.

First off, length. Length is a key component of breaker bars since it’s the leverage provided that enables the user to generate significantly more torque compared to a standard wrench. Note that the Pittsburgh Pro brand is advertised as a 25-inch breaker bar and the other three as 24-inch breaker bars. The actual measurements are as follows:


Pictured top to bottom: Matco, Pittsburgh Pro, Snap-On and Mac

Length
Snap-On: 23-3/4 in.
Matco: 25-1/2 in.
Mac Tools: 24-5/8 in.
Pittsburgh Pro: 25 in.

The weight of each breaker bar was also measured.

Weight
Snap-On: 2 lbs., 3 oz.
Matco: 2 lbs., 4.5 oz.
Mac Tools: 2 lbs., 3-1/2 oz.
Pittsburgh Pro: 2 lbs., 7 oz.

Next, the drives were shown side-by-side.


Drive ends of the four brands

The Matco and Mac breaker bars have black ends while the Snap-On and Pittsburgh Pro versions have chrome ends. This really seems to be an area of preference with no discernable difference in terms of performance.

The handles, however, have the potential of making a significant difference.


Breaker bar handles

Each breaker bar handle has a two-piece design to secure a good hold—the colored portion is comprised of hard plastic with the black portion made of a softer rubber overmold, though the Pittsburgh Pro’s black material is respectively firmer than the other three. The handle lengths vary as well.

Handle length
Snap-On: 5-1/8 in.
Matco: 6-3/4 in.
Mac Tools: 4-5/8 in.
Pittsburgh Pro: 5-3/8 in.


Handle center positions marked

Leverage is a significant factor to consider and that’s why the length of a breaker bar is so important—applying the same amount of pressure or weight on the end can generate more torque respectively. Bar length alone though does not provide the working “length” in terms of leverage—Real Tool Reviews marked the center position of each handle which is where the user’s hand would naturally rest (see picture above). Taking the handle center points into consideration, the Mac breaker bar actually had the most length from the pivot point which suggests it would provide the most torque. But the real proof comes next.


Deflection and torque testing

The review moved on to testing the deflection of each breaker bar (how much the tool bends when applying force) and the resulting torque generated. The results may surprise you …

Torque
Snap-On: 281 ft. lbs.
Matco: 266 ft. lbs.
Mac Tools: 276 ft. lbs.
Pittsburgh Pro: 298 ft. lbs.

With the performance testing completed, the final comparison was on price. That’s where the results varied the most …

Price
Snap-On: $148.47 (with tax and free shipping)
Matco: $146.67 (with tax and shipping)
Mac Tools: $121.08 (with tax and shipping)
Pittsburgh Pro: $16.84 (using 20% coupon and no shipping cost – picked up at store)

Snap-On, Matco and Mac breaker bars are between seven and nine times higher in price compared to the Pittsburgh Pro brand, yet, as the torque testing revealed, Pittsburgh Pro generated the greatest amount of torque.

In conclusion, the performance of all four was similar with the Pittsburgh Pro coming in with the highest torque generated, 32 ft. lbs. higher than the Matco breaker bar. The handles differed from brand to brand but the biggest difference was on price. The review noted that all the breaker bars tested come with a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. Pittsburgh Pro is clearly the best value.

Click here to see the Real Tools Review breaker bar video and see for yourself how the Pittsburgh Pro breaker bar provides unyielding performance while breaking down the competition on price.

1/2 in. Drive 25 in. Professional Breaker Bar
item#62729

 

Source material:
1Wikipedia
2wiseGeek

Rotating Magnetic LED Work Light

magnetic light

This Rotating Magnet LED Work Light stays put on metal surfaces via a powerful magnetic base and provides 180 lumens, making it ideal for automotive repairs, shop work and hobbies. It’s also a great emergency back-up light.

Other features include an easy on/off switch and a 360-degree swivel head that enables you to direct the beam exactly where you want it. The work light is powered by three AA batteries providing between 3 to 6 hours of run time—batteries are included.

Customers really love this work light:

Handy light to have around. Bright and easy to use in tight and difficult places. – COS Mac, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Great little light with magnet bottom and rotating head puts the light just where you need it. – Don, Bewood, NC

I use the magnetic rotating light to work on farm machinery in tight places, within the engine area, under the vehicle, and in buildings that have no lighting. This light puts out a lot of light. – Rocking Double B Ranch, Russellville, MO

I got this to help provide a small spotlight when working under the hood. It is great for that. It also helps when checking the air pressure in the dark … – Dave, Antioch, CA

Great value for this product, lots of light and the magnet holds good when I clean our pellet stove. Very good quality, will purchase more. – Lil SKI, Plattsburgh New York

Pick up one or more of the Rotating Magnetic LED Work Light at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

Rotating Magnetic LED Work Light
item#62955

Swivel Lens Headlamp

Swivel Lens Headlampswivel headlamp in use

This lightweight headlamp allows the user to work hands free without neck strain while the swivel lens can be adjusted 90 degrees up or down to light up any project. The headlamp also features an easy on/off button and is waterproof for use outdoors.

For plumbing, electrical work or a myriad of other projects, the Swivel Lens Headlamp is indispensable! Here’s what other customers have said about it:

I do a lot of work that virtually requires 3 hands. This headlamp has already paid for itself, and I was surprised to get it at a reduced sale price. The headstrap with the crown strap makes wearing it comfortable. Lamp is also adjustable on a swivel. I had my doubts about a product at such a low price, since some headlamps cost over $40.00. I have absolutely no complaints for a great buy at much less than $5.00. – Rondo, Texarcana, AR

Allows you to work hands free and shine the light where needed.  – Cel, San Antonio

I love this product. Can’t beat the price. I use it for cleaning litter boxes and taking care of cats at night. – animallover, San Jose, CA

You can pick up the Swivel Lens Headlamp at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

Swivel Lens Headlamp
item#45807

3-In-1 Electric Blower Vacuum Mulcher

BLM 1BLM 2

Now you can tackle three yard tasks with only one tool, the Portland 3-In-1 Electric Blower Vacuum Mulcher available at Harbor Freight.

Featuring a lightweight and balanced design, you’ll experience less fatigue compared to other brands when blowing leaves and other debris. Once you have the leaves in a pile, simply convert to vacuum mode and turn those leaves into valuable mulch!

The 3-In-1 Electric Blower Vacuum Mulcher has two speed settings and a 12:1 mulch ratio.

Customers are raving about this powerful tool:

My Black & Decker died and this replacement has a few more safety features that are good to have because the unit will not start if any of the attachments are not properly attached. – leafman, Earie, PA

It was more than I expected. Cleaned up my front yard in less than an hour while filling two yard trash bags … – Ramfan1m, Lake Placid, FL

Great product, works well and is built with great quality. – Mils, Winter park, FL

I have a ton of oak leaves and pine needles in my yard and this mulcher handles it with ease … – Big Ed, Pinetop, AZ

Pick up the 3-In-1 Electric Blower Vacuum Mulcher at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

3-in-1 Electric Blower Vacuum Mulcher
item#: 62337

EZ Reach & Grab Pickup and Reaching Tool

ez 1  ez4

This handy tool extends your reach nearly 3 feet and can lift up to 5 pounds. Quickly and easily pick up items without having to uncomfortably bend down or overreach. This tool also features super suction cup grippers and a trigger lock that keeps the jaws locked on the item.

Customers don’t know how they ever got along without the EZ Reach & Grab Pickup and Reaching Tool:

When I first took it out of the box I had little faith that it would hold a slick 16 oz can. But I took it out to my shop reached up and it picked up the can and held it solidly. I tried a number of things and it held them all just fine. I even picked up quarter inch dowels off the floor with it (boy was that a surprise). – Ken P, Spokane, WA

This is the best “pick up” tool I have ever seen. I have severe back trouble that prevents me from bending over. This tool will even pick up a pill I might have dropped. I now have one in almost every room in the house for picking up anything that falls or is put on the floor. – bern, Michigan

Wife just had a knee replacement and the orthopedist recommended the device for her. Your product was better designed and significantly cheaper than those at pharmacies and stores that sell medical devices. – Frank, Martinsburg, WV

I used it to pick up screws and nails and worked awesome! – Suzanne, Alvin, TX

I use this for everything. This fall I used it for pulling leaves out of holly bushes to keep from getting my arms scratched up. I am sure I will find many more uses. – Tinkerbella, Pennsylvania

Keep one in the garage, shop, kitchen … But before you can start picking up items with the EZ Reach & Grab Pickup and Reaching Tool, you have to pick one up at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

EZ Reach & Grab Pickup and Reaching Tool
item#: 62752

5 mil Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves 100 Pc

5-mil-gloves

These gloves are ideal for professional mechanics, contractors, crafters and hobbyists! Nitrile gloves provide better chemical resistance compared to latex gloves and won’t trigger latex allergies.

The nitrile gloves provide a protective barrier against dirt, grime and oil as well as many chemicals and solvents. The gloves fit right or left hands with a comfortable fit and feel. Available in medium, large and extra-large sizes, they’re ideal for janitorial work, painting, maintenance, light shop work and even food processing.

You’ll definitely want to keep several boxes of the gloves on hand after you see what these customers said:

Get two boxes—you will be glad you did … have used them for years. – Shooter, Kingsport, TN

Always use nitrile for disposable gloves in my shop. They last longer, take more abuse, and don’t puncture as easily as latex, especially with some liquids like naphtha and paint thinners. – Mr. B Jr., On the Island

This is a more reasonably priced version of the nitrile gloves you find anywhere else. The quality is every bit as high, but the price is better. – Jim, McLean, VA

I use for painting and working with glues or two part putty. Durable enough to stand up to these kinds of uses. – BFABGH, Savannah, GA

Pick up the 5 mil Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves 100 Pc today at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

5 mil Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves 100 Pc X-Large
item#68498

5 mil Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves 100 Pc Large
item#61360

5 mil Nitrile Powder-Free Gloves 100 Pc Medium
item#61363

3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel

3-8-in-x-50-ft-retractable-hose-reelKeep your shop, garage or other work area organized and safe with the 3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel. Mount it to the floor, wall or ceiling and set the ratchet system for the perfect hose length. Easily activate the spring-loaded release to effortlessly roll up your retractable hose. A 50 ft., 3/8 in. diameter hose rated up to 250 PSI is included.

Other features include machined brass fittings and four direction non-snag rollers to reduce hose wear.

Street Reviews commented: “Impressed with the quality, covers your entire garage at an unbelievable low price.”

Customers have also weighed in:

This hose reel is awesome! It’s made of thick gauge steel and quality parts. The HF reel looks exactly like more expensive reels but for far less money …  – RichardC, Springfield, PA

This is the second one of these I have purchased. The first I mounted overhead in the attic with the hose flange just coming through the drywall in the garage, works perfect in that there is no hose on the floor and with the 50′ hose I can use in any area of the garage or outside …  – Johnny, Richmond, KY

I’ve had mine for 2 years in service, works great. Like so much, bought one for a gift for my father’s new garage. – Father with lots of toys, Philadelphia, PA

You can pick up the 3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

3/8 in. x 50 ft. Retractable Hose Reel
item#93897

1 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane

1 Ton Capacity Shop Crane

This shop crane is a must-have for automotive work and other jobs in and around the shop or garage. With a 2000-lb. capacity, the shop crane features double bearing swivel casters that provide smooth and easy maneuvering around your work space and comes with ram, chain and hook. The boom extends from 36-1/4 in. to 50-1/4 in. and the crane adjusts from 69-5/8 in. to 82 in.

When you’re done with it, the shop crane folds away for convenient storage.

Customer’s give the 1 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane great reviews:

I’m going to use it to move things around in my home wood working shop. The thing I like the most is the storage footprint is extremely small & fits in corner. It was very easy to assemble w/o assistance! – JO, Chesapeake, VA

Does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Lifted a 200 hp outboard off the transom of my boat. – Bob the Builder, West Chester, PA

I purchased this for carrying heavy stuff like garden tools, generator, etc. in and out of my SUV. I have limited space in my garage. This crane is a very important item in my garage. It takes very little space when folded. It is very sturdy and is more than enough for my needs. – Sean, Wayland, MA

I used this lift to remove a motor out of a 67 GM convertible. Light weight and easy to handle. Meets my needs. Would recommend to a friend. – Nukeypo, Sulphur, LA

You can pick up the 1 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

1 Ton Capacity Foldable Shop Crane
item#61858

6 gal. 1.5 HP 150 PSI Professional Air Compressor

6 gal. 1.5 HP 150 PSI Professional Air Compressor

This 6 gal. air compressor features a pancake style tank for maximum stability and a full-coverage shroud to protect gauges and cooling fins. It’s designed to start easily even in cold weather.

The portable oilless air compressor delivers 2.5 CFM @ 90 PSI, 3.4 CFM @ 40 PSI. It’s ideal for powering nailers, general shop clean-up, airing tires and inflating sports equipment.

Customers have given it top marks:

We use this compressor on jobs mainly to air up tractor tires before the work day, small and easy to move. A lot of power and quick to fill tires, etc. Would recommend. – RS, Charlotte, NC

Since my recent purchase, I have used it with my nailer and inflating tires. This replaced a bigger air compressor I had for over 10 years which stopped working. – Muffinman, Hebron, CT

A must have tool in any handyman’s garage. – System Sam, Woodland Park, NJ

Very pleased so far. What I like best is that it’s been a week since I’ve used it and the tank pressure hasn’t dropped a bit. – Pat, Wilmington, NC

You can pick up the 6 gal. 1.5 HP 150 PSI Professional Air Compressor at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

6 gal. 1.5 HP 150 PSI Professional Air Compressor
item#67696