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Old 07-27-2008, 01:07 PM
Location: Southern California
421 posts, read 2,725,983 times
Reputation: 274


Just discovered the store Harbor Freight Tools..and I think its love at first sight

I haven't bought anything there yet but now that I need to buy some garden tools, I want to make sure they have good stuff that isn't going to break. Or is it a case of "you get what you pay for"?

If you think their tools suck, what brand would you suggest for an electric hedge trimmer and a HEAVY DUTY weed wacker?
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:22 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...
38,572 posts, read 44,648,855 times
Reputation: 106199
Personally I would not buy tools from Harbor Freight. Especially garden tools as they are from cheap overseas manufacturers. I'd stay with the popular quality brands at Home Depot, Lowes or Ace. You usually get what you pay for and I like my tools to last a long time. I have Fiskars and other brands from 15-20 years ago that are still in good working condition.
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Old 07-27-2008, 01:29 PM
Location: Southern California
421 posts, read 2,725,983 times
Reputation: 274
*sigh* I thought it might be too good to be true

My parents have bought 2 weed wackers from Home Depot that haven't even lasted a year each. Where did you get yours and what brand is it? Is it gas or electric?

I need to get rid of a lot of ivy on a steep hill. Thats where I'll be using it the most because I don't have any lawn to take care of...yipee
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Old 07-27-2008, 02:59 PM
Location: Out there somewhere...
38,572 posts, read 44,648,855 times
Reputation: 106199
I haven't used a weed whacker for 20+ years since I live in the desert and have xeriscape landscaping. The last one I did use that lasted a long tme was a "Weed Whacker" bought at Home Depot. But since that time, as you are probably well aware of, products are made of cheaper quality now, mostly overseas, and they don't lst as long. Even appliances for the homes are getting shorter life spans.
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:07 PM
3,460 posts, read 4,766,848 times
Reputation: 6677
Stihl makes good weed whackers.

Hedge trimmers from Harbor Freight would probably be ok. Their stuff is cheap, but at least you know you're getting cheap stuff. What I really hate is overpaying at Home Depot for 'quality', and still having it break after a week.

If you've got a Sears close by, I'd go there for your gardening tools.
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Old 07-27-2008, 03:41 PM
Location: Forests of Maine
29,612 posts, read 47,213,240 times
Reputation: 17354
It all depends.

I buy from Harbor Freight.

Some of their stuff is great, some is not.

Rather like Home Depot, Sears, and Walmart.

If you need a high quality wrench that you will be using four days a week for the next forty years; then buy 'Craftsman'. It may still break after a month, but the replacement policy is great.

If you need a tool, that you will only use once or twice, and you really don't want to spend lots of bucks on it; then buy from Harbor Freight.

I break tools. I use them, and commonly they break.

Nobody nowhere is making tools to last a long time. period.

If it is a tool that you will be using a lot, then it is worth spending big $$$ to get a Craftsman. It still may not last for years, but the replacement will also be a fairly good replacement.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:52 AM
4,541 posts, read 12,705,377 times
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I purchased a nice wire mesh garden wagon at Harbor Freight for a really good price. I've been happy with it. Other than that, I've never even looked at their garden tools but I've purchased other kinds of tools there.

You can find some amazing deals on stuff .. and then there's some other stuff .

I agree with beekeeper. It depends upon how much you're going to be using the tools.

How much you spend isn't always a guarantee of how long they'll last, either!
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:30 AM
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,736 posts, read 50,903,206 times
Reputation: 27264
Harbor Freight and Northern Tool are fairly similar. Some of the stuff is pretty bad, some of it is surprisingly good. Almost all of it is less expensive that the competition. The stock can be inconsistent and it absolutely pays to scope it out, wait for sales, and then get the items you want in the first hour of the sale before it is gone.

Unfortunately for you, the least impressive area of the store is the gardening section. I think we picked up a soil moisture meter there, but have passed on most other stuff. However, I picked up a 14" throat bandsaw for $200, an animal trap (have-a-heart style) for $15, full cast iron frying pan set for $10, and various tools and supplies for extremely low cost. All work like a champ. If there is one caveat, it is to steer clear of tools that depend on hardened steel. For some reason, the factories in China where these items are produced can't properly temper and harden, and the sparks from some tools indicate a softer alloy that looks good in the store, but doesn't cut or hold an edge. Cast items, however, all seem to be very sturdy and well designed. Perhaps this is a cross-over of skills from the heavy industry of the Maoist era? I've currently got my sights on a wood lathe and a small arc welder, both are simple items that depend on solid old technology.

One tip is that Harbor Freight offers an in-store no-hassle replacement policy for a few bucks. I use it when I know I'm going to be using a product hard. For example, I bought a clear water pump (less than $40) and even with the proper pre-filter, the motor seized after three months. I walked in with the pump and the guarantee, showed the melted motor fan, picked up a replacement and walked out. It was that simple. The new one has worked fine. (FWIW, I thought I had a similar guarantee at Tractor Supply on a gas powered pump, and discovered that it was just another rip-off guarantee. Guess who I'll NOT be buying equipment from in the future?)

If you want something as a toy, Harbor Freight sometimes has a radio controlled park flyer airplane for $30. The durned little thing is easier to fly than my expensive ones and more sturdy.

As for weed whackers - If you have to go for a gas powered one, get one with a four-cycle engine. Unless you are super vigilent about fresh gas, the two-cycles clog up or wear out quickly. I also put a little Lucas gas treatment in my gas can for power tools, to boost the cleaning ability of the gas. Lawn equipment has smaller parts and is more sensitive to dirt than a lot of larger engines. There is one other issue your parents might have experienced. A lot of gas powered tools sold in the recent past were not compatible with the ethanol now being added to gas. Floats, seals, lines, all can be damaged if not made of the proper materials.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:43 AM
Location: Marion, IN
8,191 posts, read 27,354,806 times
Reputation: 7070
We buy from Harbor Freight all of the time. Some of their stuff is re-manufactured and some is new. I haven't had anything break that I wasn't expecting to break. Some of their stuff is better than others. If you are like me & lose stuff all of the time it does not make sense to pay premium prices. I have never been disappointed with a purchase from there.
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:56 AM
Location: Forests of Maine
29,612 posts, read 47,213,240 times
Reputation: 17354
My last cement mixer died, I was in severe need of a replacement cement mixer. I shopped the local hardware stores and cement yards. The cheapest mixer that I could find was $600.

Then I bought one from either Harbor Freight or Northern Tool, I do not recall which company. I paid $150. It was made in China.

I have now used this new cement mixer for the past two years.

It is plastic, and mixes 1.5 cu ft at a time. I mix cement, and livestock feed, and garden potting soil in it.

It could die tomorrow [though I hope it does not], I do not think that the more expensive ones would last any better.
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