Their First Tool Set: A Rite of Passage

tool box 21-inch

Last month, a friend of mine in Utah decided to buy his two teenage sons each their first tool kits for Christmas. Armed with a Harbor Freight 25% Off Friends & Family coupon, he went up and down the aisles, thinking about the chores his boys might come across, at least in their early lives, and he tossed the respective tools in the basket. Needless to say, the kids were excited when they opened their presents. They weren’t expecting anything remotely like it and, let’s face it, getting a first tool set is a profound rite of passage– for a boy or a girl.

girl with drill

Kids may appear to be smaller than they actually are…

It made me think about my own daughter, Miss D, who turns 20 this spring. For the first time in her life, she’s living away from home and starting to make her own way. Having a tool kit in the apartment surely would have its uses. So, what are the essentials for a basic first tool set for her? Here’s what I came up with, and what I plan to put together for her:

Cordless Drill

cordless drill 3-8 with flashlight

This may or may not fit in the tool box of choice, but it’s essential for the home, what with all the holes and screws in their future. Cordless, of course, so she can take it anywhere without having to drag an extension cord along. I chose this 3/8″ 18-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver and Flashlight Kit for a number of reasons. 1) She won’t be needing a 1/2″ for the tasks she’ll be doing; 2) It’s got plenty of power; 3) it’s rated at “4 Stars”; 5) It’s under $30 for the set. It’s a lightweight, powerful drill with plenty of torque for around-the-house jobs.

Socket Set

socket set 21 pc 3-8 sae and metric

 

Probably just as much as the drill, I can see Miss D running into tasks that require wrenching. A 3/8″ SAE & Metric High Visibility Socket Set makes good sense because of the ease it’ll give her to tighten and loosen nuts n’ bolts. Coupled with a closed-end wrench to hold the other side, fasteners are no chore at all. This particular set is rated at “5 STARS”, has high-visibility markings so she can locate needed sockets fast, and also costs under $30. Like all Harbor Freight hand tools, this socket set has a lifetime warranty and will probably be in her tool box for the rest of her life.

Wrench Set

wrench set SAE 9 pc

I normally like using a ratchet, but when you run into a situation where it doesn’t fit, you need wrenches as a backup. Also, as I mentioned, I think closed-end wrench sets make great companions to socket sets when tightening or loosening bolts. So I’m tossing a 9-Pc SAE Wrench Set and a 9-Pc. Metric Wrench Set— together under $20– into her tool set.

Adjustable Wrench

adjustable wrench set

There are those who argue that if you have these, you don’t need the other wrenches. I don’t belong to that camp. You miss out on the advantageous grip of the closed end and I just like the grip of a stationary wrench more. On the other hand, if none of your sized wrenches fit, these make for mighty fine pinch hitters. I’m giving Miss D this Pittsburgh Adjustable Wrench Set of 4— it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. And I’ll tell her how, when you’re using an adjustable wrench, the movable jaw is located on the side towards which the rotation is being performed. This reduces the chance of backlash. At under $15, this does the trick.

Screwdrivers

screwdriver set 8 pc

 

Although Phillips screws have pretty much replaced slotted screws in the fastener world, 20-somethings planning on dwelling in apartments will inevitably come across older domains with slots, so it’s no biggie to get a 8-Pc. Combo Screwdriver Set, especially with comfortably soft handles and magnetized tips at under $10! The flatheads can also be improvised for other uses like light prying, scraping and nudging.

Claw Hammer

claw hammer blog

Back in the day, the Old Man used to hammer pretty much everything, not just nails. A good, solid 16-oz. Hammer with Fiberglass Handle is all she’ll need to hang her picture frames, Jamaican masks and balcony lights. And at under $5, it’s a no-brainer to throw this in the kit.

Tape Measure

tape measure 25 ft

Whether she’s spacing pictures on a wall, measuring space for a futon or cutting fabric to cover it, a dependable 25′ Retractable Steel Measuring Tape is a must. Carpenter’s marks every 16″ will also help her locate studs and the thumb lock holds measurements in place when she needs it. At under $5, it’ll pay for itself over and over again.

Locking Pliers

locking pliers set of 3

Thinking about how Miss D will often be alone at home while working on projects, I thought she could probably use some locking pliers. They come in handy when you need an extra hand, but only have your own two paws to work with. Extremely versatile, they can be used as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet or a clamp. I chose this set of 3 Curved Jaw Locking Pliers  ’cause they pretty much cover any size job she’ll be facing, and they come with soft rubberized handles which will make it easier to wrench loose the more stubborn nuts n’ bolts. Under $10.00 and also covered with Harbor Freight’s lifetime warranty.

Needle Nose Pliers

needle nose pliers

My daughter likes to work on crafty projects from time to time, which sometimes entails tiny manipulating tasks. Also, there’ll be the occasional task where she has to work in smaller cavities. That said, I thought it would be a good idea to throw these 5-3/4″ Needle Nose Pliers in the tool box for good measure. They’ll also be good for whenever she needs to strip and cut wire (in my day it would have been stereo speaker wire), etc. At only $2, I couldn’t even get a Quarter Pounder for that.

I’m sure I’ll be adding other things as I think of them down the road. Depending on your kids’ interests, talents, vocations or lifestyle, you’ll probably want to deviate from this list a bit. Where you want to follow my lead is to head on over to your local Harbor Freight Tools to gather your tool set. The quality and prices are great, and you can’t beat the warranty on the hand tools! Make sure you visit HarborFreight.com first to grab your coupons.

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10

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Whether you’re looking for a few extra stocking stuffers or you’re just on a tight budget this holiday season, Harbor Freight Tools has you covered.  You might be surprised at what you can find for under $10 with options ranging from specialty tools to entire kits! Here’s a list of the top ten most wanted items under ten bucks that are the perfect balance of practical and affordable.

  1. Multi-Use Transfer Pump (Item #: 61364) – $6.99

Transfer Pump

Need a gift for your favorite mechanic? You can’t go wrong with this handy item. The Multi-Use Transfer Pump is a versatile tool that is primarily used to fill and empty engines, change oil, and siphon gas. With the included inflation needle, the Pump can also be used to inflate tires or sports equipment like basketballs and footballs. The pump comes with a 51” long hose and all necessary attachments. Pick up this fluid maintenance tool for just $6.99.

  1. Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 12 Pack (Item #: 69795) – $6.99

cloths

Listen, anyone who works in a shop or garage can never have too many Cleaning Cloths. You just can’t. They’re like clothes hangers. You always need more. These microfiber cloths are made of a dust-trapping material that makes cleaning easy. And, best of all, they also provide a clear, scratch-free shine on your vehicle as well. Stock up on this pack of 12 for just $6.99.

  1. Multi-Tool Blade Set, 3 Pc. (Item #: 61827) – $9.99

blades

Maybe you already picked up a Multi-Tool or perhaps the person you’re buying for already has one. Whatever the case may be, this terrific 3-piece blade set is a great additional gift for under ten bucks. The set comes with three blades, one for cutting and two for scraping, that make quick work of a variety of tasks. At only $9.99, this is an affordable blade set that will greatly enhance the versatility of your multifunction power tool.

  1. 12V 250 PSI Compact Air Compressor (Item #: 4077) – $9.99

AC

More of a portable inflator than an air compressor, this compact unit tackles a variety of jobs from airing up tires quickly to inflating sports equipment in a flash. With the included cigarette lighter plug, you can power the compressor directly from your vehicle, making it a must-have for certain roadside emergencies. For only $9.99, this portable and compact Air Compressor is a great gift for any mechanic, gearhead, or grease monkey.

  1. 6” General Purpose Bi-Metal Reciprocating Saw Blade Assortment, 12 Pc. (Item #: 68045) – $9.99

62370_zzz_alt2_500

Just like with the multi-tool blades, you can’t go wrong with some replacement Reciprocating Saw Blades. This general purpose assortment comes with 12 saw blades for just $9.99, which means the recipient of these fine blades will be able to handle aggressive cutting jobs on a range of materials! With these quality blades, you’re really giving a gift that they’ll be able to use all year long.

  1. Solid Rubber Wheel Chock (Item #: 96479) – $7.99

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Here’s an important safety item that often gets overlooked. The Solid Rubber Wheel Chock is ideal for keeping vehicles in place during repair or maintenance and every automotive enthusiast should have several on hand. No matter how many someone has, they can always use more so don’t be afraid to pick one up for just $7.99!

  1. 100 Pc. Security Bit Set with Case (Item #: 68457) – $9.99

Bits

Looking for something a little more substantial? Then how about a complete set of security bits? This 100 piece set comes packed with bits for hex, hollow hex, Pozi, Torx, hollow-tip Torx, square and spline fasteners. And the whole thing comes conveniently organized in its own carrying case for easy transportation and storage. Slide this set under someone’s tree for just $9.99!

  1. 12 Pc. Assorted Length Elastic Stretch Cords (Item #: 60534) – $6.99

image_21160

Whether it’s securing tarps and covers or bundling PVC pipe or other items, these elastic tie-downs are just what you need for the task at hand. This pack contains 12 cords at assorted lengths for a variety of jobs and each include protective tips that won’t scratch surfaces. Pick up a bag of these for $6.99 and give someone the gift of security.

  1. 17 Pc. Air Tool Accessory Kit (Item #: 68236) – $8.99

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No matter if you’re buying for an experienced contractor or a novice to the DIY game, this fantastic accessory kit is both useful and durable. From connecting air tools to cleaning and dusting with compressed air, the set contains everything you need to get the most out of your air compressor. For a paltry $8.99, this terrific set will make a great gift on any budget.

  1. Automatic Battery Float Charger (Item #: 42292) – $8.99

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Here’s an item that will make a great addition to any shop or garage. The Automatic Battery Float Charger allows you to maintain the charge in a battery even while it’s in storage. This way, when you’re ready to use it again, the battery will already be charged and ready to go! Retailing for just $8.99, this is a great item for seasonal vehicles like RVs or ATVs. Keep in mind, the charger won’t charge batteries, but ensures that they maintain their current charge while not in use.

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:
Most Wanted Gifts Under $25
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

TOP 5 MUST-HAVE ITEMS FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL FROM HARBOR FREIGHT TOOLS

You might think of Harbor Freight as the place to shop for vocational school but you may not be aware that Harbor Freight is a great place to shop for general back-to-school items as well. Below are five must-have items available at all Harbor Freight stores nationwide! And with Harbor Freight’s ridiculously low prices, you’ll feel a lot better before your son or daughter heads off to the University of Drastically Expensive & Burdensome Tuition, a.k.a. U of DEBT.

For moving into the dorm room, you just can’t beat the 18 In x 12-1/4 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly. It’s lightweight but can carry heavy load after heavy load.

18 In x 12.25 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly

18 In x 12-1/4 In 1000 lb. Capacity Hardwood Dolly
Item #61899

 

Things break… book shelves, chair backs, desk handles, you name it! The quick fix is right at your fingertips with the 130 Pc Tool Set with Case from Harbor Freight. From screwdrivers and pliers to a hammer and tape measure, this tool set contains 130 of the most commonly used tools and accessories. With this tool set, you can fix practically everything but a broken heart.
130 Pc Tool Set with Case

130 Pc Tool Set with Case
Item #68998

 

 

After studying hard, you’ll need a road trip to blow off some steam and refresh your knowledge-wary brain. It’s never hard to find friends to join you. The last thing you need is to get stuck somewhere with a dead battery. That’s where the 3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply comes in. With this device, you can jump start a weak or dead battery, run/charge 12VDC auto, RV, marine or other portable appliances that draw up to 10 amps or illuminate an area with the built-in worklight.

3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply

3-in-1 Jump Starter and Power Supply
Item #38391

 

A good combination lock is mandatory equipment to secure class or gym lockers, bikes, storage chests and more. Harbor Freight offers this tried and true classic featuring a solid steel alloy shackle and chrome-plated finish.

Combination Padlock

Combination Padlock
Item #92769

 

“Laptops and tablets and cell phones, oh my!” said the electrical outlet. But you don’t need a wizard to solve the power problem—you just need the 4 Outlet Power Strip from Harbor Freight Tools! Features include a heavy duty 24 in. power cord, lighted on/off switch with integrated 15 amp circuit breaker, slotted housing for wall or bench mounting and four three-prong grounded outlets.

4 Outlet Power Strip

4 Outlet Power Strip
Item #91334

 

To check out more useful back-to-school items, visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store!

2015 Father’s Day Gift Guide

fathers day 2015

When you think of the best parts of your childhood, Dad is indelibly among them. The smell of his after shave and brush of his stubble. The excitement of his coming home and throwing you in the air. The weird songs he chose to sing along to when driving or working in the garage (“Love is a burning thing…“). Yup, Dad is a large part of our favorite memories, so of course we somehow want to convey that to him come Father’s Day. And since he still likes to tinker in his garage, work on his car and stay busy, here are ten excellent suggestions from Harbor Freight Tools on what to get him.

 

3 ton steel jack low profile

This best-selling 3-ton low-profile steel jack can fit in small spaces and lift big things– and it makes the job easier, ’cause it gets the vehicle up, fast and high. Embodied with strength and durability, the heavy-duty jack rolls and maneuvers easily on concrete with its wide steel wheels, and is long enough to get way under the vehicle. A winner for anyone looking for a “heavy” jack!

 

13 drawer tool cabinet

For the man who has everything… something to put it in! Finally, Dad can consolidate his multiple toolboxes into this one durable, spacious cabinet. Made of heavy-duty industrial-strength steel, this baby can hold over 2,500 lbs. of tools and roll around the garage to assist him with whatever job he’s got cooking. You’d spend hundreds more elsewhere to get the same lifelong service this favorite tool cabinet will provide.

 

12000 winch FB

If Dad’s the kind of guy who boldly goes where no man (in their right mind) has gone before, then our Badlands 12K electric winch is the ticket. Built to be tortured and come back for more, this winch will emancipate stuck vehicles, haul downed trees and load boats. Rain? Snow? Mud? Please. Throw in the Wireless Winch Remote #61474 and Dad can Snapchat his adventures while the winch does all the work!

 

90 amp flux wire welder 61849

If you’ve noticed that, from time to time, Dad’s been in need of a welder– or if he’s expressed interest to get into welding– here is the perfect unit to get him equipped, With our best-selling 90 amp flux core welder, you get the functionality of a MIG welder without the hassle of gas. Set-up and operation are way easy, and the performance is awesome! Dad will find out soon enough how invaluable this welder is, for small repairs and in the garage. Pick up one of our Auto-Darkening Helmets #61611 while you’re at it.

3 gallon pancake compressor 61615

While the old man’s still got plenty of hot air to spare, why not make life easier for him by having one of these handy, reliable units in the garage? This 3-gallon oilless air compressor is a mighty mite for inflation, stapling, nailing, sanding, buffing, spray painting and all kinds of small pneumatic projects around the house. It takes very little space and tucks out of the way until it’s needed again. A nice addition in any home, shop or garage.

 

ladder 67646

With the ability to set up in 23 different configurations, our multi-task ladder will perform for Dad like a boss, whatever his chore. Made of super-strong aircraft-grade aluminum,  this unit can transform into 4 kinds of step ladders, 6 kinds of stair ladders, 7 types of extension ladders, 2 kinds of scaffold trestles and 4 sizes of storage ladder. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’ll make him a sandwich, but don’t quote us. As the title suggests, our multi-task ladder stretches out to 17 ft. and can easily sustain 300 lbs. And, it sells for much less than the leading competitors! (*in stores only)

 

10-inch miter saw 61971

This 10″ sliding compound miter saw will easily make a home in your Dad’s shop. For it’s size and price, he will be pleasantly surprised at how big a cut it makes. Great for plywood, baseboards, trim, molding, flooring– and with the switch of a blade, can also cut masonry and metal. With its robust 15 amp motor this power saw delivers precision cross, bevel and miter cuts. A great deal and a handy addition for Dad.

 

reciprocating saw 62370

Here’s the tool Dad will grab whenever he announces, “Stand back, Junior, and prepare to be dazzled!” Our 6″ reciprocating saw is a top-rated workhorse that cuts through heavy lumber, nails, siding, branches and roots, exhaust pipe, etc., like butter. This is the go-to tool for remodeling kitchens, tearing down porches and removing a door or window. One of the features he’ll really like is how he can control direction, making it easy to get around tricky areas. The reciprocating saw could easily become his favorite tool in the garage.

 

motorcycle lift 1000 lb cropped

If Dad’s a “Wild Hog,” here’s the item on the type of every rider’s wish list. With our motorcycle lift, he can wrench and clean his bike with ease, saving his back and knees,  and making it a lot less effort to get up for another tool. With just a pump of the foot, he can lift his bike to a comfortable level, safe and secure on the stand. This motorcycle life is strong, rugged and could easily be employed for commercial use. Throw in a couple of our Magnetic Bowls, and the old man will be in hog heaven!

 

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Speaking of wrenching, may we suggest Harbor Freight’s most complete, end-all mechanic’s tool kit. At a fraction of the cost competitors’ similar sets, this professional mechanic’s tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most-used automotive and mechanic’s tools in both SAE and metric sizes.  It’s got everything organized and clearly labeled so he won’t waste time zeroing in on the right tool or right size. Dad will not only be excited about the performance of these tools, he’ll be happy to see how many different kinds are all together in one box. As one customer put it, “Hands down, the best tool set for the money!”

Whatever you think your dad might like, chances are good you’ll find it at Harbor Freight Tools— and because of the low prices there, you’ll be able to get something really nice and look like a champ (not that you’ll ever be the champ Dad is).

 

 

 

 

A Hex-ceptional Hex Key Set!

Fasteners come in different shapes and sizes and you never know what style of hex key you’ll need to get a project completed. Luckily, you can solve all of your hex key woes with one quick purchase from Harbor Freight Tools. The 3 Piece SAE/Metrix/Torx Folding Hex Key Set (Item #: 94905) contains three hex key wrench sets for the low price of just $6.49. That means you can now handle SAE, metric, and star fasteners in a variety of sizes with ease.

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Not only are these hex keys conveniently color coded for easy identification, they’re also comfortable to use thanks to rubberized handles. Plus, with a rust-resistant black oxide finish, they’re built to last so you can rely on these hex key wrenches for many projects to come. Whether it’s building furniture or handling certain automotive repairs, this hex key set is a fantastic addition to any handyman’s toolbox. Don’t be caught without the correct hex key!

“Used these a few times for your everyday job. Then I was replacing a tire rod and had to use this for some funky set up. I cranked this hard. I though the plastic would break for sure. Nothing to lose since there’s a lifetime guarantee, but it held up and still works fine.” – by Greg P from Boston, MA

“Another quality product from our friends at HF. Yes they are a little bulky, but the comfort of the grip is totally worth the tiny bit of extra space taken up in your tool box.” – by Dokey Man from Boulder Creek, CA

Compact and reliable, these hex key wrenches fit in your pocket just as easily as your tool box or tool belt. And they’ll likely fit just about any hex key fastener you come across. So get over to your local Harbor Freight and pick this set up today!

THE 12 MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS IN YOUR TOOLBOX

handy andy tool set

So, up until now you haven’t had much call to for bunch of tools (and you’re sticking to that story). But then things start happening. The bathroom faucet is dripping. The Mrs. decides it’s time to install new light fixtures. It’s the night before a birthday and you need to put a bike together. The cute divorcée next door needs a pair of big, strong hands. It’s time to be self-reliant. With just a handful of tools– and some elemental know-how that you can pick up from your dad or YouTube– believe it or not, you can personally handle most of the basic household projects that speed bump into your personal time. So, as you embark on this new journey of self-reliance, we’re here to share with you you the 12 simple-yet-powerful tools you need to have in your arsenal. No doubt, others will chime in with suggestions of their own because, well, that’s what tool guys do. The great thing about these tools is, they’re all affordable, so you can be all locked and loaded after one quick trip to Harbor freight. Here they are:

 

claw hammer

Claw Hammer

Claw Hammer

The hammer could be your favorite go-to tool. From driving in nails (or yanking them out), to starting screws and aligning holes, to full-scale demolition detail, the 16-ounce claw hammer packs just the right punch you need for the job. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself pulling it out for projects you don’t even need it for. You know, just in case. Instead of the “old school” wooden handle, we recommend you go with a fiberglass one: they absorb impact a heckuva lot better and they don’t crack or splinter. Also, when you go buy one, try a few different hammers out and feel the heft and balance in your hand. Like a bat or a bowling ball, if it feels good, it makes all the difference. Just watch out for passing patrons when you start swinging it in the store.

 

pro screwdriver 8 pc set blog

Flathead & Phillips Screwdriver Set

Screwdriver Set

Contrary to popular belief, the slotted flathead screwdriver is not dead, not yet. Therefore, it’s inevitable that you’ll need both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers in your journeys. Start out with a basic set of both. Besides slotted screws, the flathead screwdriver is also excellent for lifting the lids off paint cans, scraping off old paint and epoxy, nudging things and emancipating personal items locked in briefcases with lost keys. The Phillips screwdriver has gained more popularity, though, because it’s designed to give a user more torque than is possible with a flathead screwdriver, so when possible, go with Phillips screws.

stripped screwAlso, the last thing you want to have in the middle of a project, is a screwdriver or a screw that starts stripping before you can loosen or tighten, so make sure the following things are true:

  • Make sure the pilot hole is approximately the same size as the inside diameter of the screw threads.
  • Make sure the screwdriver head fits the screw nicely.
  • Put some weight into it when you’re turning the screw, so that it holds its place and isn’t tempted to slip its grip.
  • Make sure the screwdriver is in line with the screw as you turn. Coming at it from an angle is a sure method of stripping.

This Pittsburgh Pro screwdriver set is an excellent starting point for your tool arsenal. As jobs come your way, you may need to acquire either a larger or smaller one, but these will tackle most household projects.

 

tape measure blog

Tape Measure

Tape Measure

Whether you’re building a workbench, seeing if a big screen TV will fit on a wall, verifying the diameter of a pipe, or measuring a room, a trusty 25′ retractable tape measure is a must. In fact, since they’re so inexpensive, we’d go as far as to say buy four: one for the toolbox, one for upstairs, one for downstairs, and one for the car. I mean, who likes fetching a tape measure on the other side of the house? It also goes without saying, throw a pencil in the box as well. If you’re grabbing the tape measure, you’ll probably be grabbing one of those, too.

 

crescent wrench set blog

Adjustable Wrench Set

Adjustable Wrench

Of all the tools in your arsenal, besides your hammer, this baby will probably see the most action. Because one adjustable wrench can handle different sized nuts and bolts, it’s like having 50 wrenches in one. So you could literally be walking around the place, tightening your kid’s trike wheels, the BBQ’s frame, the microwave cart and the Gatling gun tripod without ever going back to the toolbox. When using an adjustable wrench, adjust the jaws to fit precisely over the nut, rocking the wrench slightly as you tighten, to help secure a firm fit. Also, for added strength, make sure the nut is positioned as deep as it will go into the throat of the adjustable wrench. As with the aforementioned screwdriver set, the crescent wrench set shown could take on most of whatever your honey-do list can throw at it. There may an occasion to get a bigger one along the way, but those kind of jobs are rare and far between.

 

socket set blog

Socket Set

 Socket Set

If you’re dealing with a lot of nut-n-bolt action– usually on an engine or other machinery– then it’s time to put aside the crescent wrench and pull out the “big guns”– the socket set. Socket sets can exponentially speed up a project like an ordinary crescent wrench never could. They’re so convenient and effective, in fact, you’ll actually get giddy over the chance to pull it out. This is because of the ratchet that comes with it, a mechanism that eliminates the need to remove and refit the socket on every stroke. Also, because the tool will turn the bolt when swinging in one direction, but won’t pull it back when returning.  A good basic household socket set with about a dozen or so sockets, a ratchet and an extension will prove almost always sufficient for household jobs, such as driving in lag bolts, tightening bolts or other occasional repairs, builds or tasks. Like all guys, you will love your ratchet, and will probably look for excuses to buy several. Which brings us to the Husband’s Litmus Test: If she says, “But, you already have a ratchet,” then you know, she doesn’t understand you.

 

vice grips blog

Locking Pliers

Locking Pliers

Locking pliers are designed to provide maximum locking force and come in handy when you need an extra hand to work with. Then, when the job is done, a quick release disengages the tool for the next step. Extremely versatile, you can employ this multitasking tool as pliers, a pipe wrench, an adjustable wrench, wire cutters, a ratchet, or a clamp. The three shown here can take care of most stuff around the house and garage.

 

needle nose pliers blog

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle Nose Pliers

An valuable tool for electrical work, this little guy can be a lifesaver for projects that require you to cut, bend, re-position, grip or strip wire. They’re also used for crafts, jewelry making, computer repairs, bomb defusing and other functions . Because of their long and skinny shape, they’re particularly useful for getting into tight spots. You can also use them to pinch your bratty nephew.

 

cordless drill blog

Cordless Drill

Cordless Drill

Power tools are awesome, but most are unnecessary for the garden-variety shtuff around the house. That said, a cordless drill is a must-have component in your toolbox arsenal. It can be used for drilling holes into sheet rock and driving screws into a 2×4. So, if you’re “earthquake-proofing” furniture, installing towel bars or sawing holes in the back of your entertainment center, this is the go-to tool . When choosing a cordless drill, you want one with lots of power, which is measured by the amount of voltage in its battery. An 18v is a good size for home use, and make sure it’s got variable speeds for different jobs, and is reversible. The reversible feature will come in handy if you need to take some screws out when you realize the outhouse door needs to swing out, not in.

 

toolbox saw blog

Hand Saw

Hand Saw

Now, let’s turn to Old School. A great misconception is the idea that you need an electric saw to make cuts. All you really need is a simple hand saw in your toolkit. You don’t have to run an extension cord, you don’t have to recharge a battery, and you can catch yourself alot faster if the cut’s going awry.The image of a wooden-grip hand saw has long been the iconic symbol of the DIY craftsman. A good general-purpose hand saw is the go-to tool for trimming branches or cutting lumber for a DIY project. It’s also the one tool you want to make sure you’ve got a good pair of work gloves to wear while using.

 

magnetic torpedo level blog

Magnetic Torpedo level

Level

Whether you’re hanging pictures, putting up a curtain rod,  or affixing shelves to a wall, a straight line is absolutely crucial. You don’t want to put a bunch of nails in the wall, only to step back and see your family portraits are all askew. To get the job done right the first time, you need a level. There are some hoity-toity laser levels out there, but you can’t beat the sweet satisfaction of getting that bubble in the middle. Of course, if you enjoy getting the stinkeye from certain cohabitants,  go ahead and just keep doing it by eye. ‘Cause you’re so good at it. Seriously, get this tool, you’ll be happy you did. On the level.

 

utility knife blog

Utility Knife

Utility Knife

This tool might not put out the sexy like other tools, but we bet it’ll never gather dust at the bottom of your toolbox. You’ll find the utility knife to be a stupendous sidekick with every project: Stripping wire, cutting rope, rubber hose or plastic strapping, snipping the sealed tips off epoxy tubes, scraping paint… you get the point. When nothing else in the arsenal can help, the utility knife steps up to the plate.

 

toolbox blog

Toolbox

Toolbox

Well, duh. As time goes on, you’ll probably graduate to a tool cart, then a tool cabinet, and maybe even a wall of tool chests. In the meantime, the humble shlep-around toolbox is the perfect receptacle for carrying your basic tools to any household project. Keep it simple and solid, and it’ll never leave you, even when you need more storage.

 

No doubt, some of you think we overlooked some items you think are crucial to the ensemble. Duct tape. WD-40. The InSinkErator tool. Everyone’s needs could slightly deviate based on their home situations, but we’re standing by this list. So? Go thou, get thee tools and be useless no more.

 

A Versatile Tool Kit to Handle Nearly Any Job

There are a bunch of different kinds of Mechanic’s Tool Kits out there but not all are created equal.  Sure, you might find a measly 170 piece tool kit or maybe a laughable 206 piece tool kit, but what all of these are lacking are like… a hundred other tools!  Check out the Professional 301 Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit from Harbor Freight Tools if you’re tired of messing around with incomplete tool kits.  Obviously, these other, lesser tool kits will contain all of the obvious tools that you’ll need most often but what about those specialty tools that will get you out of a jam when you’re in the middle of an important job?  That’s where those other hundred pieces come in.  And at just $187.99 (or roughly $0.62 a tool), there will be less of your hard earned cash going out.

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This kit is pretty much like having an entire garage in a portable, easily storable case.  With a comprehensive collection of the most used automotive and mechanic’s tools, you’ll have adjustable wrenches, pliers, and sockets at your fingertips with both SAE and metric options included.  What more could you ask for??  How about ratchets, breaker bars, extensions, and universal joint adapters?  Maybe some hex keys and screwdrivers?  There are so many pieces in this jam-packed tool kit that it would probably be easier to list what it doesn’t have.  But then I’d have to make up fake mechanic’s tools because this kit has everything.

“I bought this tool set to be able to drive out to repair a vehicle or to have tools when going to car shows and long hauls. It has just about everything you would need for most jobs on any vehicle. I recommend this tool kit for anyone who also wants to start off as a mechanic or for someone who just needs a bigger set for the house.” – By Matt from Copperas Cove, Tx

“This set is awesome! I was very impressed with everything it included. You definitely get more than you would anywhere else. I would recommend this set as a gift for yourself or friends/family. My brother is going to fill his shorts when he sees this set for his birthday!” – By Everyone’s favorite fix-it-up guy* from Littleton, Co

(*We at Harbor Freight Tools cannot confirm the validity of this reviewer being everyone’s favorite fix-it-up guy)

“I purchased this set 2 years ago as a “cheap set for the house”. After moving my shop to my house, I decided to unpack it from its case and organize it in larger tool chests. When organizing it, I was amazed at what I actually bought!! This set is complete and high quality. If you’re looking for a professional set at a “cheap set for the house” price, this is the set for you. Although this set is complete, you might want to scroll around the hand tool section and check out the ratcheting wrenches. They’re an awesome compliment to this set.” – By Louis from Jessup, Pa

So while a 200 piece tool kit might sound impressive (especially at the price some places charge), it pales in comparison to the 301 Piece Mechanic’s Tool Kit from Harbor Freight.  And best of all, it’s a great kit even if you’re not a mechanic.  Home repairs, workshop projects, hobbies and more can all be tackled with this tacklebox of a tool kit.  …Okay, that one wasn’t very good but you get the idea!  Check out this great kit and be ready for anything!

Fan Friday Review – 64 Piece Socket Set

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!

Performance Metrics

It’s National Metric Day… so, let’s measure up and celebrate by taking advantage of the great metric tool deals at Harbor Freight!

deep wall socket set - metric

 

Take, for example, the Pittsburgh 13-Pc. High Visibility 1/2″ Drive Metric Deep Wall Impact Socket Set (say THAT three time real fast!). There’s a reason why customers gave this high-quality socket set 5 STARS! The deep wall design allows you to reach fasteners on longer studs while the hard-core construction stands up to the demands of the most brutal impact drivers. Reach even fasteners on long studs– and, each piece is clearly marked to make size selection fast and easy! Priced at only $23.99, this will be your go-to socket set for years to come! Here’s what customers have to say:

“I bought this set and use it almost every weekend on my personal cars, family’s, and friend’s cars. I LOVE the fact that it comes with a 30mm and 32mm socket that I can use as a Axle nut socket also. For the price that I bought it for equals the price of a single axle nut socket. Can find a better set for the price anywhere else!”  Peter – Columbia Heights, MN

“I bought these mainly because the sale price was so attractive; we have 1/2 deep impacts in the shop, but I figured I’d save a trip to the other toolbox when I need the 17mm for VW or Audi lug bolts. The entire set of 13 sockets cost me significantly less than just one socket from the tool truck. I wound up beating the snot out of these doing front-end work on a dump truck, and they withstood much harder use than I had ever intended to subject them to. These sockets are very sturdy, but the fit on the fastener is very good as well. These are a real bargain, I recommend them to both amateurs and professionals.”  Bill – Scranton, PA

 

ratcheting combo wrench set - metric

And speaking of 5 STARS, feast your eyes on the Pittsburgh 7-Pc. Metric Ratchet Combo Wrench Set. Made of the same durable chrome vanadium steel as the deep wall socket set, the ratchet ends give a generous 5-degree turning radius for working in tight areas. The fixed side features a 15° offset head for added torque when turning. Comes with a custom storage case to keep wrenches organized and quickly accessible. Priced at only $23.99.

“I purchased this set because I didn’t feel like spending a fortune on a name brand set that was smaller than this. Ihave to say… WOW!! Worth every penny!! Not one skip and gets into all the tight spaces! I do a lot of work on automobiles of all sorts, and that implies a lot of torque and on these high torque applications, no skipping or binding whatsoever!!”  JeepGuy – Long Island, NY

“My wife got me a Channellock set in SAE sizes, but we have a Toyota and a Kia so I needed metric. The SAE set gets used for mowers, etc., and this set is for the cars. Guess what? IT IS IDENTICAL to the Channellock set in EVERY WAY except for the brand name on it. The fit and finish is very high quality. I used these to replace the rear struts and springs on my Toyota, though it was widely advised that I wouldn’t be able to remove certain lower mounting bolts without an impact wrench. I used an HF breaker bar (the 1/2″ drive one) with an HF 17mm impact socket, and using the 17mm open-end from this set holding onto the other end of the bolt to keep it from turning. Came off with no problem , though it was the original strut and had been exposed to Michigan road salt for 19 years!”  Joe Louis – West Michigan

 

21 pc SAE metric socket set

Finally, there’s the 5-STAR Pittsburgh 21 Piece High Visibility 3/8 In. Drive SAE/Metric Socket Set. OK, so we fudged a bit, throwing in a partially SAE-populated product, but hey… with this set, there’ll be no whining! These wrenches are constructed of tough chrome vanadium for strength and durability. They’re also triple-chrome-plated and etched with high visibility markings for quick grabs. The set comes complete with a quick-release ratchet with reversible 72-tooth gearing and a cushion grip. All for just $19.99! And what are the customers saying?

“I rarely used 1/4 drive sockets, picked these up just to round out my tool collection. Now I’m reaching for this set every time I have a bolt under 14mm! The ratchet is comfy and good quality, and a big plus is having all the sockets in order on the plastic holder rather than scattered in the bottom of a tool box. One hint, I used a silver paint-pen to write the socket size on the holder. Easier to find it fast. Really like these, especially for the price!”  Joel – SW Ohio

“I bought this set mainly for small things here and there at work. I work in a collision shop as a painter and occasinally I need to loosen bolts, nuts etc. This set is great. Beats paying hundreds for those name brand sets off the tool trucks. I am thinking of buying another set to keep at home. They have a pretty solid, sturdy feel.”  Burbs – Shelby Twp., MI

Don’t forget to snag your Harbor Freight Tools 20% Off Coupon before you head out the door!

And be sure to ask the clerk where they keep the metric screwdriver sets and a metric crescent wrenches. They love that.

Firebird Restoration Tools: Harbor Freight vs. the Competition – Pt. 1

While I’ve been posting the progress of the ’67 Firebird’s restoration these past weeks, it occurred to me some of you might be thinking, “Well, so what? That’s what tools are for.” This is true. But the proposition that Harbor Freight’s  tools are rugged, reliable and capable is beside the point. The purpose of this exercise (besides showing you a sexy car) is to demonstrate how someone can execute something as meaningful and professional as restore a classic car while spending a lot less money– or getting a lot more value for the money– for the tools to do it. That’s a pretty big deal.

So to better illustrate the point, I’ll compare the prices of the tools used on the project with similar (if not exact) products the competitors advertise. The competitors I chose were Craftsman, Northern Tool, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Grainger. It should be noted that exact matches weren’t always found, so I substituted the closest comparison available. I don’t think this compromises the test, however, because we’re only talking about differences in size and shape, not function.

In the first segment, we’ll be looking at the Harbor Freight tools used in the vehicle’s disassembly video:

 

This solidly-built, steel tool cart is the perfect rolling workstation for wrenchers, able to hold 700 lbs of tools and easily roll around the garage.  Standing at over 41″ high and 37″ wide, there’s tons of space, and with 5 drawers, a bottom shelf, a covered tray on top, side slots and more, it will keep you fully armed at your spot without having to go “fetch” a tool.

  • Craftsman – 3-Drawer GRIPLATCH Utility Cart – $349.99
  • Northern Tool Excel – 5-Drawer Rolling Metal Tool Cart  – $399.99
  • Home Depot – Excel 600 lb. 4-Drawer Steel Tool Cart – $369.99
  • Lowe’s – Task Force 400 lb. 6-Drawer Steel Tool Chest – $189.00
  • Grainger – Westward 250 lb. 4-Drawer Utility Cart – $572.50

The huge, industrial-quality tool set contains a comprehensive collection of the most used automotive and mechanic’s tools, including adjustable wrenches, ratchets, breaker bars, pliers, sockets in SAE and metric, extensions and universal joint adapters. This treasure trove of tools is built to last!

  • Craftsman – 309-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $249.99
  • Northern Tool – 305-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $299.99
  • Home Depot – Husky 264-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $198.00
  • Lowe’s – Kobalt 227-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $199.98
  • Grainger – Craftsman Industrial 273-pc. Mechanics Tool Set – $985.00

 

This little 2-1/2 lb. air ratchet delivers up to 50 lbs. of torque! The slim design allows mechanics get to fasteners in cramped and hard-to-reach spots that standard impact wrenches can’t hope to go! Features easy reversible action.
  • Craftsman – 3/8″ Ratchet Wrench – $34.99
  • Northern Tool – Northern Industrial 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $29.99
  • Home Depot – Campbell Hausfeld 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $32.68
  • Lowe’s – Campbell Hausfeld 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $48.38
  • Grainger – Westward 3/8″ Air Ratchet Wrench – $79.00

 

Central Pneumatic 1/4" Mini Air Ratchet
This thing fits everywhere! Only 5″ long, the compact 1/4″‘ air ratchet wrench is ideal for tight work spaces like under dashboards or in engine bays. Designed to work with all 1/4” drive sockets, this rugged air tool has a die-cast aluminum body and a black oxide-coated head that resists corrosion. It’s got just the right amount of torque for tightening small bolts.
  • Craftsman – 1/4″ Mini Air Ratchet – $49.99
  • Northern Tool – AirCat Mini 1/4″ Air Ratchet – $99.99
  • Home Depot – Black Bull 1/4″ Air Ratchet – $21.97
  • Lowe’s – N/A
  • Grainger – Westward 1/4″ Air Ratchet – $69.75

So as you can see, when you buy at Harbor Freight Tools, you really are getting the best of both worlds– great tools at ridiculously low prices!

Join us next week when we’ll review the tools employed to remove the engine!