5 Tools You Should Never Buy from Harbor Freight

5 Tools You Should Never Buy from Harbor Freight

Rev up your engines,
today I’m going to talk about harbor freight
tools, now I’ve been a mechanic for 51 years
so I got a garage full of tools, you’re not
going to spend that kind of money fixing your
own car, so you want to buy certain tools
that you need, and you don’t want to pay too
much, but on the other hand you don’t want
to buy cheap junk that’s going to fall apart,
so you want to save money buying tools and
a lot of people have asked me in the past,
scotty what do you think of harbor freight
tools, well I’ve bought stuff from them for
the past few decades to tell you the truth,
and I found out some rather interesting things,
now the first is the bad, you do not want
to go too cheap when you’re buying tools,
here’s an example of a tool I got at harbor
freight tools and it was too cheap, I bought
a cut off saw for cutting off mufflers and
exhausts and body panels and stuff, and I
made a mistake and bought one of these $29
ones at harbor freight tools, and yeah I admit
it I’ve been cheap my whole life, well in
that case I went too cheap, the thing only
lasted a few months and finally when I was
sawing and it shorted out the wiring, kicked
my circuit breaker off on the house, yeah
I admit it I made a mistake, the I got this
dewalt cut off saw, no problems at all and
if you look closely you can see this is all
ground down here cuz I actually ran over it
with a ford pickup truck and it dragged it
down the street, but it still works fine,
this is a solid built saw, yeah it costs a
lot more than the cheap one did but in the
case of this it’s worth buying a good one
if you’re planning on using it for years,
and when I reach into my drill bag with drill
bits here’s another thing not to buy cheaply,
drills bits, you don’t want a set of cheap
drill bits you can see this one has snapped
right off cuz it’s just cheaply made, they
say that it’s titanium coated or whatever
but that doesn’t do anything, if the steel
inside is cheap it’s going to snap off like
this, so you see a set of drill bits and there’s
like 20 of them for $10 believe me don’t buy
them, unless your drilling into wood or something
that doesn’t have much resistance, if your
working on cars forget it, but good drill
bits, in most cases if you want a good drill
bit their going to cost $9 or more each, not
for a set of a bunch of them, and the same
goes for the drills themselves, yeah I tried
some of those cheaper harbor freight ones
and they all burnt out early, so now I got
a dewalt drill too and this thing has been
going for years and years and I never had
any problems with it at all, so I can see
your now thinking, oh scotty is just a hater
he doesn’t like them, well they do have good
products too, especially lately they’ve been
going more high end on a lot of their tools
to get mechanic like myself to go there and
buy stuff, here’s a perfect example, this
zurich zr13 scan tool is about $200 and it
does a lot of stuff, it does all the scan
tool data, trouble codes, and it will also
check your battery, check your alternator
to make sure your charging system is good,
it’s actually a really good tool, it’s one
if their new zurich lines where their trying
to make better tools for people that are serious
about fixing cars, in the past they sold a
lot of cheap scan tools that they weren’t
all that great, but now their going for higher
quality scan tools, and since if you search
on the internet for harbor freight discount
coupons, every time I buy something big from
them, hey I can always find a 20% off of one
item somewhere on the internet, if it’s a
$200 tool, hey now it’s only $180, now when
it comes to heavy duty tools I’ve used them
in the past, underneath all this stuff that
I hang on is a 20 ton press, it’s made out
of very thick steel, when I press with it
I’ve never had any problems with anything,
I’ve never found anything that I was working
on that I couldn’t press on or off with this
thing, and yeah when I compared priced before
I bought it, other places that were selling
the same rated press, those things were 3
or 4 times more expensive than this thing
was, let’s face it steel is a pretty cheap
commodity when it comes down to it, the sell
it buy the ton, they make these things in
China, yeah their made in China, I’ve had
no problems at all with them, and when it
comes to jacks, here’s a jack that I got from
harbor freight tools this daytona, you see
all those jack handles behind me, those are
all harbor freight jacks and they all still
work, some of them are 20-30 years old, again
we’re talking mainly steel and a simple hydraulic
ram jack that picks it up and down, pretty
simple technology, hey the Chinese a good
at building that stuff, I’ve been using Chinese
jacks for the last 40 years, and the only
reason I have a bunch of them is because they
keep making cars lower to the ground, so I
keep having to get jacks that are lower and
lower, so I can slide them under the car and
actually jack the car up in the air without
either damaging the bodywork and not even
being able to get it under there, so my advice
on that is get a low profile one like this
daytona, when their this low they’ll get under
just about anything, and since this one is
a heavy duty jack it also goes high enough
that even though it goes low, I’ve used it
working on f150 pickup trucks and it’s high
enough to get the tires and everything off,
let’s say you want to work on your car’s ac
system you got to have a vacuum pump, and
I bought this at harbor freight decades ago,
and sure if you look at it you can see the
plastic cover is cracked I got a strap holding
it on, but the thing still works, so it may
look beat up but it still works and it’s worked
for decades, and I paid like $60 for this
when it was on sale, and heavy duty sockets,
hey these are made out of heavy duty steel,
I never had any problems with them, the only
problem I had is my own, you can see these
are different and that’s because I lost the
other ones, and if your into welding, once
I bought one of their $99 welders, really
it was a piece of junk it didn’t work worth
beans, but a few years ago I bought one of
their $300 welders and it’s been an excellent
welder, because again you can’t go too cheap,
the $300 one man it’s a good welder, it puts
out a lot of power solid thing, but the $99
one, I should have known, when the really
good ones were like $800-900 hey I’m happy
with the $300 one it works perfectly fine,
but the $99 one, don’t go too cheap, same
thing goes with their generators, I bought
a $89 generator when it was on sale, I mean
it’s ok to run a coffee maker or something,
but then I bought a $500 one, and man that
thing is great, I could run my air compressor,
all kinds of power tools off of that thing,
hey it’s a pretty good unit, and I know we’re
all looking for the pie in the sky that we’re
going to buy a $5 lottery ticket and make
$500 million, but let’s face the facts, you
can get a good deal, but don’t think you’re
going to get a totally fantastic deal on a
tool that hardly costs anything, cuz odds
are it’s not going to be such a hot tool,
so know you know what I think of harbor freight
tools, there’s good things, and there’s bad
things, do your research before you buy them,
and you can make out quite well if you spend
a reasonable amount of money buying tools
that aren’t super expensive but their not
the cheapest thing you can get your hands
on, and since this is mechanic Monday I’m
giving away one of these harbor freight disc
brake kits, it’s the same exact one that I’ve
been using for years, to have a chance to
win place a clean non offensive comment on
the YouTube comments below, and a winner will
be chosen randomly by computer to get this
great brake kit so you can do your own brake
jobs, so if you never want to miss another
on of my new car repair videos, remember to
ring that bell!

100 Replies to “5 Tools You Should Never Buy from Harbor Freight”

  1. ⬇️ Things used in this video:

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    4. Harbor Freight Tools: no link, go to the store and buy them

    5. Common Sense

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  2. Drill Bits? Sources that were awesome have gone to China….. For an excellent line of bits, with 3 sided shanks to prevent slip, and split point to prevent wandering. AND, Made in USA, AND the quality is Excellend, AND they are very reasonably priced…. about 3-8 bucks per each.
    What brand are they? Drill Hog. NOT available at Home Depot or Pearl Harbor Freight.

    What Harbor freight sold a decade or 4 ago, and today are not necessarily the same item just like CRAFTSMAN. Craftsman used to be above par quality, for well below par price…. all made in USA…. until 10 years ago… People always complain the second one of an item from any manufacturer was not as good as the last time. Anything that can HURT you in a failure, avoid cheap quality.

    You have got to SEARCH for good product these days, regardless of the brand name. DeWalt and Makita are bringing some of their tool production back to the US. IT is a slow process. The accessories tend to be imported, check to be SURE. IT is a mixed tool bag.

  3. Good video. I have several tools, etc. From harbor freight and no more than I use them they still going strong but I didn't by the super cheap ones

  4. New dewalt tools are becoming cheaply made as well and getting more expensive. Companies realize that profits are bigger if things are designed not to last.

  5. I bought one of these brake retractor kits. The darned thing was intended for mostly european cars that aren't even sold in the US. I looked at the usability chart that came with it. Most of the models I had never even heard of. The quality appeared to be okay, but I could use only a couple pieces out of the kit combined with some other tool that made it usable.

  6. LOL …. About 10 years ago I bought the same harbor freight saws all. I tried using it for about 5 minutes then went and bought the very same dewalt saws all and am still using it to this day.

  7. Your spot on , the Don of all things mechanically. Putting some paint where it ain't , you are the man. Thanks for the tutorial on Harbor freight. Their Hercules drill blows the DeWalt away in performance and durability and it's half the cost.

  8. Scotty, I go to Harbor Freight every now and then, for the past 3-4 years, but I was always curious if I bought a good tool or not. They recently had a "Parking Lot Sale", and I decided to buy one of those Rapid Jacks, since I'm over 62.5 years old, and I have my share of personal brake jobs, (family). I'm just a DIY guy. Anyway, thanks again for another great, helpful, valuable video. F.P.

  9. Hey Scotty ,
    I agree with the fact that some of these tools are worth it. I definitely feel better about their tools since I now have a local store to actually check out the quality before buying them.

  10. I think I may need to get a Scotty Kilmer video retractor kit… so I can actually get out in the garage and do some of these things!

  11. Harbor Freight is really making a move to fill the space in the tool market made by Sears crapping out and selling Craftsman to B&D. Really like HF "Good. Better. Best" idea through all the tools.

  12. I have found that Harbor Freight makes really nice tool boxes, that cost 20% or less compared to the Snap On and similar boxes. No need to go in debt to the tool man when you can save so much. I also buy their nitrile disposable gloves. Agree that their drill bits are bad. I've had one of their air compressors and it is still running 10 years later.

  13. Don't buy a mass spectrometer there. Don't buy a missile guidance system there. Don't buy one of those cheap Chinese blow up dolls there. One hour later you got to blow them up again. Me love you short time!

  14. I cracked a lot of their "Impact" sockets. Never cracked any of the Chrome ones. Those cheap paint sprayers are junk too.

  15. Best value I’ve ever found at harbor freight was my 1/2” drive 32 inch breaker bar, I keep it in my car because the bar they give you never works

  16. I bought a clamp on dial indicator to check my brake rotors for run out. I used it once and now it sits in my toolbox. Other stores wanted almost $200.00 for what I bought for $39.95 at Harbor Freight. Thank goodness for HF. Their tools are improving.

  17. Dont get there hand held vacuum brake bleeder, (i think the pneumatic one might be decent havent got it yet to test) but their hand held one is complete junk, the adapters and everything are just so cheap and it was good for about 1 wheel, also i eouldnt get their tap and dies, i mesn theh work and all, so if youre very rarley tapping snd dieing, it works, if you do it any more thsn that, just spend the money and get something quality,

  18. don't need your tools scotty but i'm giving you a new fan.been watching you awhile and i like your stile.finally sub keep up the good work

  19. For a DIYer or someone who wants to learn or just needs to fix a simple thing on your car. Harbor freight is perfect. Even for a driveway mechanic if you buy the higher end stuff.

  20. Why are you always yelling? Please try to learn the art of communication! Your loud manner is offensive and damaging to the ears of those who listen to you!

  21. My son was working on an old BMW he bought. There was some small bolt on the engine that he was trying to torque. The 10mm 12 point socket from Harbor Freight cracked. The 10mm 6 point socket wouldn't fit. Took him down to Sears and bought one Craftsman 10mm 12 point socket. It needed to be thin enough to fit into the hole and strong enough not to break when adding torque. Large sockets and wrenches are okay from Harbor Freight.

  22. What a character.
    As far as drill bits go–for metal, or in the worst-case scenario, stainless steel–sure you can buy "cheap" titanium or carbide sets but they are essentially disposable. And yes, you can also use a Drill Doctor to resharpen them, which I do, but that too is hit or miss. What you really have to do is: Buy "good" and expensive Cobalt bits, drill SLOWLY (300rpm), and lubricate the whole time; because if you do not, bits overheat and BAM! there goes the drill bit.

  23. I use to buy tools from Harbor Freight that I might rarely use, and didn't see a point in buying a more expensive tool. That often didn't work out because the tool didn't last through a single use. Today many of Harbor Freight tools are built better, but again, you can't go too cheap!

  24. Love these videos. Learning a lot. I’m from New England and I love your “live free or die” on your garage. 👍 keep up the good work.

  25. Hey Scotty, thank you for yet another useful video. We all benefit from watching you, and I only just found you recently!

  26. Ratchets are something I never skimp on. I love my 80 tooth 3/8 snap on ratchets. Don’t mind dropping the cash on those, box wrenches and certain sockets. I use these a lot, so they need to be quality.

  27. The trick with Harbor Freight power tools is to buy the best one they sell. If they have a $20 or $30 dollar drill buy the more expensive one and you'll be fine.

    Also, just about everything, even some Snap-On tools are made in China these days, so no more patriotic feeling buying the expensive stuff.

  28. For the power tools, look at the cord. Skinny cord, it's a cheap toy. I bought a drill press, the heavier duty green cutoff saw, 5horse compressor, gasoline powered pump, etc. Two welders, the one Scotty has, and a wire welder, and a plasma cutter. I used the 20℅ coupons for all of this stuff. Hand tools work fine, just don't get the cheapest.

  29. Before Dewalt was it Sears Craftsman? That was my preferred choice for 40 years and some HF. I still have the 1975 1/2" air butterfly I used to the end and still works. The Harbor Freight Impact Sockets are Bullet Proof!!

  30. I agree with this. You can get very good things or at least good enough. With a good eye you will know which ones may let you down.

  31. Mechanic for 50 years? You hands sure don't look it. I met big Daddy Don Garlits once and you can see the history in his hands.

  32. Mid range priced products at harbor freight are pretty good. Definitely now the cheapest ones. Thanks Scotty, you are the best !

  33. You must have gone to the same "Acme School of Talking Loud" as Billy May's! Dang Scotty, that yelling is annoying to listen to.

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