Welcome to the inaugural Fan Friday entry! Each week we’ll feature some of the hard work our customers and biggest fans have done with and about their Harbor Freight tools. To kick things off, here’s a look at the 64 Piece Socket Set by Frank Oedeloam. This great kit is already available for just $29.99 but as Frank mentions, don’t forget to pick up a 20% off coupon to save even more!
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to chop, shred, or cut it… does it make any firewood? No, it doesn’t. Which is why you need to be there with the proper tools, so you can create the perfect fuel for your fireplace this winter season! At Harbor Freight Tools, we have plenty of options for getting the job done no matter where you’re getting your logs from. From felling dead trees to chopping wood to the ideal size, these reliable wood-cutting tools won’t leave you out in the cold.
Whether your trimming unwieldy branches or cutting a big tree down for lumber, you can make short work of anything with the powerful yet lightweight 14” Electric Chainsaw! Wet wood and dry wood both are no match for this reliable cutting tool and with the featured wrap-around hand guard and bar guard, you can cut with safety and precision. And unlike a gas powered saw, this tool emits no fumes and is easy on your ears but with the same high quality results. Also, if you’re looking to make some smaller cuts on trees and bushes, take a look at our selection of pruners. With these handy items at your disposal, you’ll have your yard looking like the perfect winter wonderland in no time.
Once you have the logs, you need to get them to a manageable size. I mean, unless you want to drive to the store, pick up some pre-packaged firewood from who knows where, and then drive all the way back home. But why go through all that hassle when you can just have a top-notch log splitter do all the work for you? The Harbor Freight log splitters come in both 7 ton and 10 ton capacities, giving you plenty of force to split any log in twain. That’s right, twain. It’s an old word for ‘two’ but I’m gonna use it! However, maybe these fan videos will do a better job explaining the awesomeness of these mighty log splitters…
If that doesn’t get you revved up for these log splitters, just take a look at this great review by GarageJournal.com:
“I used this splitter on the first day for 4 hours. I was surprised at how well it performed. I was splitting logs that were upwards of 22″ in diameter. When a log wouldn’t split because it was simply too large, I’d pull the log off and rotate it slightly. Eventually it split somewhere, even if not straight through the middle due to an odd knot. I would have given it a 4 if other electric/hydraulic splitters were around the same price, but there aren’t any that I’ve seen locally and this one is the only one which isn’t a grand or so or more.” IONH – GarageJournal.com
So now that you’re all set for the winter, the last thing you need is a way to clean up your branch and leaf covered yard. With the wind blowing and all the leaves building up, it can be a long day of raking and garbage bag-filling to get rid of it all. But with a chipper shredder, the work is cut down to a fraction of the time! And when you send those branches and leaves through the chipper shredder, you’re left with useful mulch for compost. For small jobs, the 1-1/2” Capacity Chipper Shredder is great but for those bigger limbs, pick up the 6-1/2 HP Chipper Shredder powered by a tough Predator engine.
With Autumn in the air and Winter right around the corner, it’s time to stock up on these wood and yard tools. And from cutting down trees to cleaning up after and everything in between, Harbor Freight Tools has everything you need. So while these are excellent tools to have nearby year round, they’re especially useful now so take advantage of these great prices and stock up today!
So, what is the best torque wrench for the buck? After all, there are a lot of torque wrenches to choose from, running the gamut from the really cheap to the “skip-the-cruise-this-year” price. Is it really smarter for a home wrencher to go with a $500 torque wrench?
Recently, Four Wheeler magazine decided to test the You-Get-What-You-Pay-For theory by pitting three popular 1/2″ click-type torque wrenches–
- Craftsman ($79.99)
- Snap-On ($323)
- Harbor Freight Tools’ best-selling Pittsburgh Pro 1/2 In. Drive Click-Type Torque Wrench #239 ($21.99 on sale)
– against each other for performance and value. In his How-To article, “Who Builds the Best Torque Wrench for Less,” columnist Jeff Smith took the tools to Cornerstone Metrology in Van Nuys, CA, “a company that does calibration work for both industrial and individual mechanics,” where they measured the three dial torque wrenches on a digital scale accurate to within 0.10 of a pound.
Then out of curiosity, they used the Pittsburgh Professional Digital Torque Adapter (#68283, $31.99) to compare their findings. Amazingly, after several measurements they found the digital adapter hit within 0.10 of a pound as well!
It comes as no surprise, the Pittsburgh torque wrench came out being the best value for the home or pro mechanic looking for a mechanical click-type torque wrench. And with Harbor Freight Tools‘ incredible lifetime warranty on all hand tools, it just doesn’t get better than that.
When imagining the emergency prepper– or survivalist (is there a difference? Not sure.)– you might think of a thick-bearded misanthrope in a rural or semi-rural environment, with a steel-reinforced cabin, a bush-camouflaged bunker, gas masks hanging from coat racks and arsenals stashed in hollowed-out redwoods– kind of like John Malkovich in “Red,” but not as eloquent. He recites the Pledge of Allegiance with his family every day in their basement and teaches his kids CB slang in case the power grid goes down.
On the most part, this perception is way off. Closer to the norm are the legions of ordinary families in all types of settings– rural, suburban and, yes, even urban– preparing for what they feel will be an inevitable disruption in society, either by social upheaval or natural disaster. They store food, water, fuel, portable wealth, clothing and blankets, alternative power, communication and first aid supplies. History has shown what can happen when the system breaks down, and these Americans don’t want to fall victim to the consequences. It’s all good fun, watching them on cable reality shows, going through their drills and stockpiling their tarps… but then something else sinks in: a lot of what they’re saying makes uncomfortable sense.
Which brings me to that survivalist of the urbane world, the Apartment Prepper . The city-dwelling survivor can prepare for emergencies, much like their more countrified brethren, save it be for some environmental modifications. One thing they do share is the need for sustainable power in the event of a crisis. If you’ve ever experienced a blackout or disaster, you know how quickly the wheels can fly off the wagon around the neighborhood.
Recently, Harbor Freight Tools delivered a Predator 420cc, 8750 Watts Max/7000 Watts Rated Portable Generator to the good people at The Apartment Prepper so they could put it to the test. They published their findings on their blog in “Setting Up a Generator”, an extremely helpful guide for a fledgling survivalist to choose and set up their generator for those SHTF moments.
First, deciding which one you need:
Every generator includes the wattage it is rated for, and the maximum watts you can use with it. In this case, the Predator Generator is ’7000 rated watts; 8750 maximum watts.’ What does this mean? This means there is a bit of calculation involved when deciding which devices you will be using with the generator. This is to make sure that the items you want to plug in are below the rated and maximum wattage ratings of the generator. The manual included a Wattage Calculation Table, along with Wattage Calculation Charts, which gave the “Running Watts” and the “Additional Startup Watts” for common household appliances. For example, you want to use a combination of appliances:
- computer with monitor, it will need 800 running watts, but 0 additional startup watts.
- A refrigerator/freezer needs 700 running watts, and 1500 startup watts.
- Window AC needs 1200 running watts and 600 additional startup watts
If you wanted to use these three things at the same time, you add 800+700+1200=2700, well under the 7000 rated watts of the Predator Generator. For the Startup Watts, you only take the highest startup watts, in this case, it’s 1500. 2700+1500=4200, which is under the 8750 maximum wattage the generator can handle.”
Great information to have when you’re getting ready to shop. They then offered several pointers on setting up before you operate the generator. These included:
- Determine a well-ventilated spot to park the generator.
- Ground the unit before you start using it.
- Get the proper fuel and oil for the unit.
- Get a battery for electric starts.
- Drain the gas and oil from the generator when not in use.
There’s obviously a lot more to each step, but I didn’t want to hijack all the good stuff. Click through to the article and prepare to be educated.
After setting up, they proceeded to test the generator on a microwave oven, and then the hijink ensued! You can read all about it on The Apartment Prepper blog site.
“Ever need a 10mm socket and opened your toolbox only to find a sea of random sockets rolling around in complete chaos?”
Uh, yeah, like every weekend! And in the May 2013 issue of Truckin’ – The World’s Leading Truck Publication – they tackle this very subject, pitting Harbor Freight Tools’ Pittsburgh 3 Piece SAE (#68100) and 3 Piece Metric Socket Tray/Organizers (#68102) against the other guys.
The 3-piece socket organizer fits nicely in your tool chest, and will fit most socket designs, including both regular and deep wall sockets. Holders for 1/4″, 3/8” and 1/2″ drives are also included on both the SAE and metric trays. Each 3-piece set sells for an incredibly low $7.99 and will service your needs for a lifetime!
So, what did Truckin’ magazine have to say about the Pittsburgh socket tray organizers? Good stuff, of course!
“Purchased locally from Harbor Freight, the Pittsburgh three-piece organizers were easy to read, easy to handle and accommodated a total of 168 sockets, placing it in a tie for third-highest capacity. Large impact sockets fit with no issues, the organizers feature a lifetime warranty, and both SAE and Metric sizes only put us out of pocket for $15.98– an incredible value. Overall, for weekend warriors or lifetime mechanics, the Pittsburgh socket tray/organizer is certified Truckin Tough.”
Harbor Freight customers who have already bought these trays, love them!
“I use these at home along with the metric set in my tool chest to organize my socket. The price of these is incredible when you compare it to any of the alternatives that allow you to stand up your sockets vertically. They’re built well, marked well, and do the job perfectly. Great buy!” Big Al – Ottowa, ON
“Accomplishes the same thing as other socket trays at a much lower price. They work great in the top of a tool chest or in a deep drawer… I have several sets that I use for standard/impact, 6pt/12pt, etc. and I highly recommend them.” Isaac – Pella, IA
“I am by no means a mechanic, but I love my tools and try to take care of them. My wife got a Habor Freight magazine and she found the above-shown socket organizers. She bought them for me and I have to say I’m very happy with the price and quality. These socket organizers are made with thicker plastic post for your sockets and the trays are more sturdy than the “high end” brands… trust me, for the price you can’t go wrong.” Scooter – Chowchilla, CA
To read the entire “Socket Organizer Shootout” article, pick up your copy of the May 2013 Truckin’ magazine!
When it comes to riding your motorcycle, it’s not enough that it just runs good– you gotta look good. So make sure you check out Super Streetbike’s April 2013 issue (no, not the cover, lug nut– I’m talking about YOU looking good).
On page 58 there’s a nifty article on “Helmet Painting”– a cool, inexpensive way to self-express on the road. But, as writer Brian Hatano points out, you need more than a creative idea to get your point across; it takes technique. So, he takes you through every step you probably don’t think about when imagining that wicked skull with flames and roses… namely, preparation, detail, method and materials. To get the hang of the spray gun skills, though, Brian suggests we first get the feel of it with a practice helmet:
“For practice jobs, any helmet will work, but starting with a lid in good condition will require less initial prep and give you more time to think about designs and color combinations.”
He then breaks down the process of executing a successful paint job– from disassembling the helmet to applying the clear coat– in crystal, concise detail. Great intel to have for when you’re ready to go for it.
Interesting, however, is that even though Brian was working in a shop equipped with a large air compressor, he opted instead to go with the Central Pneumatic 1/5 HP, 58 PSI Airbrush Compressor.
“Although we had a full size compressor available, we tried out the Harbor Freight Central Pneumatic 1/5th HP Airbrush Compressor and it performed better than units costing twice as much. Zac noted the quiet motor with no pulsing in the air supply.”
Constructed of sturdy anodized aluminum, the airbrush compressor is easy to clean and operate, and changing colors is a cinch. The airbrush kit works with lacquers, oils and latex-based paints to create pro-quality designs only limited by your imagination! It comes with a 22cc glass jar, 5cc metal cop and 5-ft. air hose– and, at a low $88.99, it’ll pay for itself over and over again!
While you’re shopping, also be sure to pick up the Central Pneumatic Quick-Change Airbrush Kit for just $11.99. This enables you to switch out paints in a flash with next-to-no downtime.
This awesome setup would also be perfect for custom painting:
- Bike frames
- R/C and other models
- Auto body detail art
- Tool boxes or cabinets
- Metal sculpting
- Signs and murals
- Cosmetic and Halloween makeup
- Spray tanning
- …and so much more!
Also, of course, if you want to support the team at the big game.
I can’t believe it’s already March. It was warm and sunny this weekend, and all the garages in the cul-de-sac were open, shop tools howling and humming on new projects as kids took to the street with bikes and razors, and wives clustered in yards, catching up on all those mysterious lady-topics. I love this time of year.
A good friend of mine recently moved into the neighborhood and, for one of his initial projects, he wanted to re-tile his three bathrooms. He also talked about renovating the patio. On my advice, he picked up a Chicago Electric 2.5 HP 10″ Industrial Tile/Brick Saw #69275 at Harbor Freight– with a 20% off coupon, the price dropped to $204. The tool would pay for itself, plus some, after just one job!
While you may be thinking the price is so low, you’ll be happy it lasts long enough to finish the one job, think again– this beast is a keeper! Built in an over-sized steel frame, it comes with a precision linear bar system for smooth operation. The two-position cutting head lets you easily adjust the blade to handle tiles or bricks of various sizes. A built-in 3-gallon-per-minute water pump and a removable, high-impact ABS water tub are also included. Designed with a heavy-duty cast alloy column and cutting head for reduced vibration, this professional grade tile saw cuts tile up to 24”. The head pivots to allow for 22.5 and 45-degree bevel cuts, and the blade is adjustable for standard tiles or bricks up to 3-1/2″ thick.
I came across this video on YouTube this morning, submitted by a customer in 2010 who bought his tile saw back in 2006, and I thought it’d be a good way to show the machine in action. (The guy who shot it uses the handle, “jojuma91″. Out of gratitude, I included a link to his YouTube page)
Strange music compilation aside, this is an excellent illustration of the saw’s consistent, stellar performance.
In the DIY forum GarageJournal.com, the topic of “wet saws” comes up from time to time. Naturally, Harbor Freight is talked about– sometimes not flatteringly, but notice how those comments are from guys who didn’t actually own them. Here are a few I thought were worth mentioning:
“I have no complaints with my HF 10 inch wet saw. I cut all the bricks at crazy odd angles for my wood fired pizza oven and then cut a ton of bricks for my patio. It’s still going strong – and was quite accurate. I then got a new blade and used it to cut my granite counter tops. I bought it on a 20% off coupon when it had already been reduced in price. It looks bad but still runs great. I normally expect HF stuff to last me a single job. The saw has exceeded that expectation.” Chris
This next comment is so full of praise, I think the guy deserves a kickback (but you didn’t hear that from me):
“Another vote here for the Harbor Freight 10″ wet saw. A buddy of mine purchased one in 2003, for $279 I think it was. We have used this saw more than we ever thought we would. He tiled about 1400 square feet of porcelain floor tile with it, and a set of marble steps, lots of diagonal cuts, border, etc. The thought was, “Hey, if it lasts through this job, it will have paid for itself, vs. renting a saw”. Saw worked great.
He then did his whole brick driveway (curved borders) with it. Came through like a champ. I then borrowed it from him, and tiled the entire main “public” area of my house, around 2,000 square feet, in porcelain, with a border stripe, all tile set on the diagonal. It took me about 2 months of evenings and weekends. The saw kept on working like a champ. When I was done with that job, I gave it back to my buddy with $100 and a case of beer.
I just borrowed it from him again last month, to tile the shop bathroom (porcelain, pics at link below). Friggin’ thing is still working great. Keep a good diamond blade in it (as with all wet saws) and it won’t let you down.
My buddy (co-worker) and I were in HF the other day, and noticed that they sell the same saw now, 8 years later, for the same money, and now, it comes with a folding stand, which his did not. We had a good laugh. This saw certainly doesn’t owe us anything, at this point. When it finally dies someday, it will receive an appropriate viking funeral.” Rob
“Another vote for the Harbor Freight 10″. I can’t even add up how much tile, brick and concrete it has cut in the last 5 or 6 years since I’ve had it. Just a belt and blade had to be replaced after I made the mistake of loaning it to a friend.” incubus2432
For more insight into the Chicago Electric 2.5 hp tile-brick saw, check out the customer reviews on our site!
It’s not enough just to claim having the lowest prices around. A Scion is a lot cheaper than a Lexus, but, well… Now on the other hand, if you can claim lowest price AND the same quality (or better) than the high-priced brands, now we got ourselves a ball game.
In the April 2013 issue of Car Craft (not online yet… I guess it goes along with the whole “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free” philosophy), in the Hands On section, I stumbled across an article entitled, “Testing Torque Wrenches”, by Jeff Smith. The gist of it was to compare the performance of 1/2-inch drive click torque wrenches from Craftsman ($240), Snap-on ($323) and the Pittsburgh model (#239 – $19.99) from Harbor Freight.
“Then we discovered a digital torque adapter sold by Harbor Freight (#68283). This small unit fits in between a standard 1/2-inch drive breaker bar and the socket, and using a digital strain gauge, it converts the torque applied through the adapter into a digital readout. At a typical Harbor Freight price of $39.99, we decided to include it in our test. We frankly didn’t expect this little unit to be very accurate. But the testing proved otherwise.”
After running the torque adapter through five consecutive applications of 70-lb.-ft. of torque, the average came out to be an “amazing 70.1 lb.-ft. In fact, when they tested it against a Snap-On digital torque wrench “costing far more,” the readings from the two tools were generally within 0.20 lb-ft.
As for the drive click torque wrench…
“… we also tested Harbor Freight’s 1/2-inch clicker torque wrench, and it was also very close. It also has a range of 20 to 150 lb-ft and a lifetime warranty. Accuracy after five consecutive tests at 70 lb-ft ranged from 68.8 lb-ft (-1.2) to 70.3 (+0.3), with an average error of 0.30 ft-lb over five tests. It doesn’t get much better than that for a mechanical torque wrench.”
Bottom line: You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get precision performance– and with your 20% Off Coupon, you can have the drive click torque wrench for just $16! For so much less than the competition, Harbor Freight’s 1/2-inch drive click torque wrench is the clear winner!
For a more detailed coverage of the tool test, get the April 2013 issue of Car Craft today.
Hot Rod magazine gave generous props to the Central Pneumatic Earthquake 1/2″ Impact Wrench (#68424) in the Parts & Stuff section of their January 2013 issue:
“This is the Cadillac of ½-inch impact wrenches. From Harbor Freight, known for great tools and cheap prices, the Central Pneumatic Earthquake ½-inch Impact Wrench is rated at 700 lb-ft and has three forward speeds plus reverse. It has twin hammers inside that help to make more torque easier. It has less vibration than the competition and, according to Harbor Freight, is the most powerful wrench in its class. One other cool feature is that the exhaust port is pointed away from the user, so no more blowing air in your face when using the tool.”
While I do love Hot Rod for being a renowned mag, full of informative articles, how-to’s, showcases, etc., they’ll have to go to the back of the line on this one. Harbor Freight’s Earthquake 1/2″ impact wrench is already a well-documented legend for, not only its power, durability and performance, but also the great price– just $94.99 (around $76 with a 20% off coupon)!
”Do we really need any excuse to go buy new tools for the garage? Of course we don’t, but the new Earthquake air tool from Harbor Freight gives you 700 reasons to pick one up when you need to get those stubborn, rusty fasteners off your Mustang!
“This professional class wrench (Item# 68424) delivers more power with better weight distribution, lighter materials and a more compact housing. Premium grade components with close tolerances give this tool a longer lifespan than conventional air wrenches.”
“Harbor Freight returns with another price-conscious tool that should be in every garage: the Central Pneumatic Earthquake half-inch impact wrench. You may not need this tool for everyday wrenching on the bike, but when upgrading or replacing worn out sprockets requires the removal of a countershaft sprocket nut that will not loosen by hand, you’ll appreciate this tool’s power. The Earthquake Impact Wrench is an affordable way to get the job done with a torque range of 50-500 LBS.-FT., a working pressure of 90 PSI and three forward speeds. Make dropping a tooth or two with an aftermarket front sprocket easier with this tool.”
And it’s not just the magazines. Tool hounds at home also like the Earthquake impact wrench. For example, on this thread in GarageJournal.com’s forum, several members admitted their fondness for the air tool:
“I’ve had one for a bit over a year and have used it quite a bit. I have yet to come across something that I was unable to get off with it…” strizzy
“I bought one a couple of years ago and couldn’t be happier with it. Incredible power and comfortable grip…. It’s been used and abused and just keeps on going. I’m sure keeping it lubed properly helps too. With an adapter and a Budd socket it even removed nuts from a truck that someone had swaged on with a cold chisel to make sure they NEVER came off. This thing had enough power to take them off right through the bunged up threads. I like it so much I’m thinking of buying their 3/8″ Earthquake…” Curmudgeon
“I got the 1/2″ one too. I use it every once in a while to remove some rusty hardware on my 20 year old sports car (read: bolts that have not been touched in a long time) and the Earthquake does it without any trouble. Its a great purchase even if it was double the price. But since its not…stop typing and go buy one!” sunshineFC3s
I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Earthquake impact wrench comes with:
+Precision machined to master-mechanic standards
+Most powerful wrench in its class
+Variable speed reversible
+Less vibration and lighter than the competition
+Handle-vented to direct exhaust away from user
+Twin-hammer delivers more torque to the anvil
+Three forward speeds
I know… you’re heading out the door. Don’t forget your 20% OFF COUPON!!
I had no idea what kind of following Harbor Freight Tools had when I joined the company. Now whenever I mention where I work, though, I hear, “I LOVE Harbor Freight!” Always with a big grin, as if they’re happily admitting a guilty pleasure– like watching the Ice Road Truckers marathon, or when the family goes on a trip and leaves them behind. It didn’t take long surfing the Internet to see just how widespread the love really is– way beyond the weekend tinkerers or ‘burb Dads with their “honey-do-ready” toolboxes. I quickly found a slew of niche websites whose members rely on HFT’s low priced, hard-to-find and odd hardware– not to mention the huge selection of essential tools and supplies. Numbered among these groups are survivalists and emergency preppers, solar energy enthusiasts, BBQ trailer builders, teardrop trailer builders, Pinterest crafters, RC model builders, paranormal investigators, AR builders… as well as your garden variety woodworkers, welders, car restorers, four-wheelers, motorcycle wrenchers, compulsive DIYers and all manner of tool-wielding madmen building better mousetraps.
In all of these blogs and forums the question inevitably always comes up: “I need to get a _____________.What about Harbor Freight?” Someone informs their group about a proud purchase they made of a tool cabinet, a winch or an abrasive blaster. Another member posts a photo of their latest DIY project (like the one above). A full-blown discussion ensues, more photos and links are posted, and ultimately others get inspired to “go and do likewise.” These sites also serve as war drums for whatever Harbor Freight Tools sale or coupon comes out and, truth be told, they spread the store’s advertising as much as the store itself.
It struck me that Harbor Freight Tools’ fan base, all spread out across the Internet, is like a big, open secret– each niche group sequestered from the others, each possessing information the others could use. Wouldn’t it be great if they could all come together to one forum, to exchange questions, views, projects, etc.? Dare to dream.
In the meantime, we’ll be looking at these niche groups and websites. What is it they get at Harbor Freight? What do they do with the products? What, if any, innovations have sprung from their purchases? The first group we’ll start with– the Survivalists– will be explored next week.