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Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply?

Harbor Freight or Tractor Supply?


  • Total voters
    19
  • Poll closed .

nickndfl

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#1
Which store do you prefer to purchase or shoplift your favorite chinese made tools and why?
 

Joseph

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#2
Which store do you prefer to purchase or shoplift your favorite chinese made tools and why?
Do you have a constructive alternative ?
 

Usury

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#3
Stanley Tools at Walmart. Most made in USA and Lifetime Warranty.

Either that or go to the pawnshop and find some old-school Craftsman stuff. If you look you can have this nearly as cheap as the Harbor Freight "new" stuff.
 

Joseph

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#4
Stanley Tools at Walmart. Most made in USA and Lifetime Warranty.

Either that or go to the pawnshop and find some old-school Craftsman stuff. If you look you can have this nearly as cheap as the Harbor Freight "new" stuff.
Good to know - I forgot about pawn shops
 

Goldhedge

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#5
HF because there is no TS in town.

I just go there for cartwheels and the occasional mm caliper.
 

Gold Rules

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#6
HF because there is no TS in town.

I just go there for cartwheels and the occasional mm caliper.
:s9: TS because there is no HF in either town I can get to :beerglass:
 

FlaGman

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#7
I have a couple Harbor Freights to go to locally. I buy tools and especially spray guns from them for my business. I do buy quality tools when I need to but sometimes cheap is good enough, especially for my guys.
 

searcher

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#8
Didn't take the poll............no experience with Tractor Supply and from what I've seen of Harbor Freight tools most of them are junk.

For what it's worth, here are my personal preferences:

Heavy Duty Work:

Snap-On
MATCO
MAC
S-K
K-D
Bonnie
Craftsman
Rockwell
Robinair
Fluke (meters)

Light Duty / Around the house:

Craftsman
 

phideaux

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#9
No TS near me. With their discount coupons and sidewalk sales, stuff at Harbor is so cheap, you can use it once and throw it away. I bought a decent angle grinder for $10. Still works fine. But I bought a brad nailer for $12 and it jammed for good after about 100 shots.

I do like their non-mechanical disposable stuff: nitrile gloves, sandpaper, grinding disks, whatever. Most of this stuff is made in Chinatown, so it doesn't matter much where you buy it.
 

TAEZZAR

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#10
NONE OF THE ABOVE

I learned, a long time ago, that the most expensive tool you can buy,
is a cheap tool, that will injure you and/or let you down in your hour of need.

The cheapest tool you can buy, is a quality tool
that will be there for you EVERY TIME you need it.


The bitter taste of poor quality lingers long after
the sweet taste of low price is forgotten
 

JustPassinThru

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#11
Harbor Freight, here, is like a hardware Dollar General.

No Tractor Supply here - I've been in them when I lived in other towns. They're mediocre.

We have Blain's Farm & Fleet, and Mills' Fleet/Farm. Both based in Wisconsin; both do much better than TSC. They're both big-box Man-Stores. The quality of offerings is dropping, as it is everywhere; but either is a better choice than SearsKmart or WallyWorld.

The pawnshop for used tools is the best idea yet, IMHO.
 

RichG

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#12
I voted HF. Only use for throwaway and light stuff, or the 'at least better than nothing' group. Nothing life or death. :smokin:
 

TomD

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#14
Didn't take the poll............no experience with Tractor Supply and from what I've seen of Harbor Freight tools most of them are junk.

For what it's worth, here are my personal preferences:

Heavy Duty Work:

Snap-On
MATCO
MAC
S-K
K-D
Bonnie
Craftsman
Rockwell
Robinair
Fluke (meters)

Light Duty / Around the house:

Craftsman
For power tools, Hilti is up there. I think all the major Japanese power tools from the 80's and early 90's were excellent build quality. I still have from the time frame a perfectly functioning Hitachi slide mitre & and 1/2" drill plus a heavily used Makita saw that will apparently last forever.
 

luckabuck

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#15
I do not buy Chinese cheap tools because I do not want a tool to break while I am using it causing injury and making a trip to the ER to stop the bleeding, BECAUSE I AM ON A BLOOD THINNER! People on these type meds should keep this in mind.
 

searcher

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#16
For power tools, Hilti is up there. I think all the major Japanese power tools from the 80's and early 90's were excellent build quality. I still have from the time frame a perfectly functioning Hitachi slide mitre & and 1/2" drill plus a heavily used Makita saw that will apparently last forever.
Have used Hilti saws in the shop and agree 100%. As for drills............unless I was using a drill press most of the drills I've used were air drills (especially in the field.)
 

TAEZZAR

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#17
Didn't take the poll............no experience with Tractor Supply and from what I've seen of Harbor Freight tools most of them are junk.

For what it's worth, here are my personal preferences:

Heavy Duty Work:

Snap-On
MATCO
MAC
S-K
K-D
Bonnie
Craftsman
Rockwell
Robinair
Fluke (meters)

Light Duty / Around the house:

Craftsman
Good list, I just need to add Milwaukee tools, they are strong tools with a great warranty.
I have a 20 year old reciprocating saw (Sawzall) that the trigger failed. I took it to the local Milwaukee dealer for repair. They wanted a deposit to send it to Milwaukee, as the warranty was over years ago. I told them that I understood Milwaukee to evaluate the condition of a tool & if the tool has been respected, the warranty is still in effect. After some conversation, they called Milwaukee & described the condition of mt saw.
My saw was sent without a deposit & repaired under warranty, $0, including freight.
It sure left me with a good feeling about Milwaukee Tools :s9:
 

phideaux

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#18
What's wrong with DeWalt and Porter Cable:questionmark: :biggrin:
 
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#19
always buy the best quality tool that you can afford.
I disagree. ..because it depends on the situation.

For the average person in society , who may do intermitent work on their lawnmower , atv ,etc...theres no need for them
to go buy a set of snap on sockets, wrenches , toolboxes, etc..when they can buy that stuff for 80% less at harbor freight . Your average
person in society isnt a mechanic and doesnt need the very best tools they can afford to do the intermintnent jobs they will encounter around the house.


quick story.

about 5 years ago, I wanted to get a plasma cutter . The brand named ones like Lincoln , were $1400 .

I did some research and found out tha China was making a 3 in 1 , plasma cutter, welder, tig welder , about the size of a large lunchbox and weighing
about 18 lbs ,,,,these units use mosfets to generate their power, which makes the units lightweght .

I went on ebay and bought one for $500 delivered to my door. this was 5 years ago,and the unit still works great

For the casual user in society , it may make more sense for them to do what I did above .

Now, if I was a person whos livlihood was to weld bridges and cut 1" steel on a weekly basis , then the $500 chinese unit may not be the best route to go.
 

JustPassinThru

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#20
I disagree. ..because it depends on the situation.

For the average person in society , who may do intermitent work on their lawnmower , atv ,etc...theres no need for them
to go buy a set of snap on sockets, wrenches , toolboxes, etc..when they can buy that stuff for 80% less at harbor freight . Your average
person in society isnt a mechanic and doesnt need the very best tools they can afford to do the intermintnent jobs they will encounter around the house.
As someone else noted, the most costly tool there is, will be the lowest-priced tool.

I had to learn this the hard way - when I was teaching myself mechanics out of need, 35 years ago, I bought the cheap wrenches...and rounded nuts and broke a finger. Then, having no money to start with, I had to PAY someone to burn out the damaged fasteners.

Some of the tools I have, were from my father's toolkit. Some of his, were from his stepfather, who was a machinist.

And the tools I buy today, are going to be good tools; and someone can get use out of them when I'm gone. It's not about how often you use the tools, but how much you need to do what you're doing, when you're doing it. If it MATTERS that that bolt come out or get snugged down, and not be damaged...the lifetime-warranty tool is the only tool.
 

Solo

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#22
I disagree. ..because it depends on the situation.

For the average person in society , who may do intermitent work on their lawnmower , atv ,etc...theres no need for them
to go buy a set of snap on sockets, wrenches , toolboxes, etc..when they can buy that stuff for 80% less at harbor freight .
I somewhat agree with this as most folks don't use their tools often enough to justify paying up for quality. However having said that I find that I usually pay up for tools even if I know I won't use them again for some time. Personally I have mostly craftsman stuff (a great deal of it is 20+ years old at this point), but I have scored S-K and SnapOn stuff at yard sales before and always check to see if I have the socket or wrench from the better manufacturer before I reach for the craftsman tools.

Sometimes the tool you use can make a world of difference in quality when it comes to the repair itself. For example, even though I'm still a rookie when it comes to circuit board repair (I like to tinker around with full-size late 70s/early 80s arcade games [space invaders, robotron, etc.]), having a better soldering iron makes it much easier for me as opposed to using a $6 harbor freight iron. Sure if I was good at it a cheapie would work well, but I'm still fairly green when it comes to board repair so having a better iron makes it much easier to fix things and avoid lifting traces and burning ICs.

As for pawn shops I used to shop them for power tools, but I have found that often times they price tools for 10 or 20% less than what the item would cost new at homedepot. I have seen better deals on hand tools, but the last time I checked a couple out while looking for power tools and a tool box I was shocked by how much they wanted for tools that had clearly been used and abused.
 
Last edited:

Usury

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#23
As for pawn shops I used to shop them for power tools, but I have found that often times they price tools for 10 or 20% less than what the item would cost new at homedepot. I have seen better deals on hand tools, but the last time I checked a couple out while looking for power tools and a tool box I was shocked by how much they wanted for tools that had clearly been used and abused.
I'd probably be more leery of buying used POWER tools. However, remember that the pawnshops prices on most EVERYTHING are usually extremely negotiable. I went into one looking for a quality 24-26" long 3/4" breaker bar and the guy was gonna give me 50% off the sticker price if I bought the snap-on in the counter. I could have had it for probably 1/4 of the new price. I ended up going with the craftsman instead at 1/10 the price but still a good quality tool at significantly less than "new" price. Plus for metal tools, what can really go wrong? And if they're craftsman, even if they do break, got to the Sears store and exchange for a new one.
 

searcher

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#24
I somewhat agree with this as most folks don't use their tools often enough to justify paying up for quality. However having said that I find that I usually pay up for tools even if I know I won't use them again for some time. Personally I have mostly craftsman stuff (a great deal of it is 20+ years old at this point), but I have scored S-K and SnapOn stuff at yard sales before and always check to see if I have the socket or wrench from the better manufacturer before I reach for the craftsman tools.

Sometimes the tool you use can make a world of difference in quality when it comes to the repair itself. For example, even though I'm still a rookie when it comes to circuit board repair (I like to tinker around with full-size late 70s/early 80s arcade games [space invaders, robotron, etc.]), having a better soldering iron makes it much easier for me as opposed to using a $6 harbor freight iron. Sure if I was good at it a cheapie would work well, but I'm still fairly green when it comes to board repair so having a better iron makes it much easier to fix things and avoid lifting traces and burning ICs.

As for pawn shops I used to shop them for power tools, but I have found that often times they price tools for 10 or 20% less than what the item would cost new at homedepot. I have seen better deals on hand tools, but the last time I checked a couple out while looking for power tools and a tool box I was shocked by how much they wanted for tools that had clearly been used and abused.
Always liked Weller for soldering irons.

On a different note...........There are several ways I've used to buy tools over the years. Obviously new is at the top of the list, but can be pretty expensive with the better brands. Used is a good way - especially if you can buy from a mechanic or machinist who is either retiring or simply getting out of the business. There is also buying from a shop that's closing. Another way is to buy repoed tools. If you know a tool guy (Snap-on, MATC0, MAC, Cornwell, etc) you can talk to him/her about buying tools that were repoed after someone couldn't pay their bill. Happens a lot more than people realize and I've gotten some good deals that way. And you could ask the tool guy to keep you in mind when he gets repo stuff. In a lot of cases the tool has been just about paid off and you might be able to get it for a song. The tool guy doesn't want it. He wants the cash. JM2C
 

hoarder

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#25
In 2004 I sold 85% of my tools. I had just about everything, air compressor, several welders, Pressure washer, table saw, drill press, bench grinder, mechanical tools carpentry tools, plumbing tools, welders tools, tile tools, you name it. My tools were mostly US made and good quality. I was burned out on projects and since I was making money hand over fist in real estate I figured I'd buy my stuff new the rest of my life.
Fast forward years later I realized that the quality of everything from trucks to ATV's to boats were now being made much poorer quality than 15 years age and buying new was not the way to go. Besides, real estate wasn't profitable anymore.
So I've slowly been replacing the tools I sold, partly with pawn shop and yard sale used US made tools and partly with Harbor Freight junk (no Tractor Supply here). Most of the Harbor Freight stuff is junk, but for the most part a good investment since they paid for themselves the first time I used them.

Keep the reciept at HF and buy only just prior to using it for a big job. If you buy something because it's on sale and then use it 4 months later it might not last the first job and you're stuck with it.

Remember the adage "You can't compete with mass production" when repairing things. Sometimes this is true. Unfortunately most things are being mass produced in China so repairing non-Chinese stuff is worth the effort.
 
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#26
As someone else noted, the most costly tool there is, will be the lowest-priced tool.

I had to learn this the hard way - when I was teaching myself mechanics out of need, 35 years ago, I bought the cheap wrenches...and rounded nuts and broke a finger. Then, having no money to start with, I had to PAY someone to burn out the damaged fasteners.

Some of the tools I have, were from my father's toolkit. Some of his, were from his stepfather, who was a machinist.

And the tools I buy today, are going to be good tools; and someone can get use out of them when I'm gone. It's not about how often you use the tools, but how much you need to do what you're doing, when you're doing it. If it MATTERS that that bolt come out or get snugged down, and not be damaged...the lifetime-warranty tool is the only tool.
I just cant agree with the " buy the most expensive tools you can afford " mantra.

I could afford { if I wanted} to purchase a $ 2000 air compessor , but my $120 a compressor does the jobs needed here at my house .

Why should I spend $2000 to just pump up some tires and run some air tools , when the job gets done for $120 ? thata just reckess spending IMHO


It kinda reminds me of that other incorrect saying of " you get what you pay for " .

These types of absoloute statements are never correct in all situations.
 

CiscoKid

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#27
Always liked Weller for soldering irons.
Weller makes a good iron, but you have to step up to the blue/green handle models and avoid the red handles unless you like cold solder joints. I make and repair tube amps so I do a fair bit of soldering. As for the OP question - Tractor Supply. I never buy tools there (I buy real tools), but you will find me there once or twice a week picking up horse or pig feed.