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irish44j
irish44j SuperDork
6/30/12 7:38 p.m.
wheelsmithy wrote: Hot Rod or somebody did a comparo on cordless impacts recently: Snap on=best money no object. HF=best (beating several higher priced ones) money being an object. We're talking like $50 compared to $500, or something like that. Wish I read that before I bought a $150 or so POS from JEGS... I'm a fan of HF, but generally ONLY when the tool will pay for itself in a job or two. Cornwell is a nice company. Then again, I once bought Snap-On jumper wires in a fit of tool truck weakness.

I currently own both, so here's my take (as someone who does not like to spend a ton of money on things):

The HF impact I have (it was the top one they had about 3 years ago) I got to lug to autocrosses and such. I've found that it's fine for doing lugnuts, but is not up to any real hardcore tasks, including large suspension bolts (like control arms) and such, especially if rust is involved. It was $60 IIRC and I don't really consider it to have been worth it, in truth.

The SnapOn impact I have I actually got secondhand from a buddy (for only $300!). The batteries were on their last lives so I had them rebuilt. This gun hasn't met anything that it can't remove with little effort. I've even done big 1" rusty lag bolts bolted into 8x8's, which I couldn't even budge with a breaker bar. I consider this to by my "best" tool in terms of reliability, usefulness, and overall awesomeness. I would gladly pay full price for a new one someday when this one finally kicks it.

That said, I own very few other tools from SnapOn or Mac, because I can't afford them and can't justify the price for most other things.

noddaz
noddaz Reader
7/1/12 7:54 p.m.

Me thinks this thread has lost it's way... lol

For my input, I have a H/F strut spring compressor...

I give it and 75% pass. Needs some bearing under the head of the through bolt because of binding. And is also a little tricky to use besides. And because compressed coil springs in a tool scare me anyway...

hotg54b
hotg54b New Reader
7/1/12 10:05 p.m.

PASS: electric chain saw - I originally needed to cut down one 12" dia tree, but ended up cutting about 6 trees from 10" to 18" in dia. This includes cutting them for logs. I still have it and still use it to cut limbs and use at a trimmer. Still has the original chain and haven't sharpend since new.

18v cordless drills - I needed to replace the battery on my expensive drill but wasn't willing to spend $100 for the batteries. So bought the HF in a pinch. Ended up buying 2 for $30 and still have them after 3 years. Batteries are starting to fail and one of them smokes after long uses, but works for my needs. I'll buy them again at these low prices.

brake bleeder - works great and gets alot of use by me and friends and family. plastic handle broke after 5 years.

FAIL: Vise - cracked after a month of use

jacks - failed after a couple of months, but it was probably due to low fluid. apparently they don't fill them up.

welder - need I say more

I've bought plenty of other odd and ends that worked fine or 1 or 2 jobs.

turbojunker
turbojunker HalfDork
7/1/12 10:48 p.m.
ditchdigger wrote: As a millwright I usually don't care what brand tools I am breaking but I will take Knipex Cobras over any of the pliers offered by american companies.

I used a pair of those the other day and I couldn't agree more.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic New Reader
7/2/12 4:02 a.m.

Keep in mind that from what I have heard, HF is so cheap because they change suppliers often and only use small companies that eventually work their way up to making more expensive tools. What was snap on grade last week might be made by children from melted down coathangers and soup cans the next.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac MegaDork
7/2/12 8:31 a.m.
Kenny_McCormic wrote: Keep in mind that from what I have heard, HF is so cheap because they change suppliers often and only use small companies that eventually work their way up to making more expensive tools. What was snap on grade last week might be made by children from melted down coathangers and soup cans the next.

Is there proof of this or is this really "from what i have heard?"

If it's the former, it's the equivalent of me telling everyone to keep in mind that Harbor freight tools are forged with the blood of puppies.

Anyways, used the $6 fluid transfer pump yesterday to change the diff and trans fluid on my Miata. It rocked. Didn't need to fish anything through the bay and wait forever for a gravity fill, and it took on average 60 seconds to pump a quart of fluid in whatever i was doing.

20 minute diff and trans fluid change FTW.

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro SuperDork
7/2/12 10:58 a.m.

I used to work for a Canadian tool store that bought a lot of stuff the same way HF does.

I was the quality control / R&D guy.

Here's how it works.

We would buy from a factory in China, the same factory that sells to Princess Auto, Harbor freight, Northern Tool, etc.

We find a new product and evaluate it and decide to buy.

We buy a container or two of something like wet tiles saws from the company in China. This company has multiple factories that make products, some factories do a better job than others.

Because this is a new product to us, they send all the product from the best factory, factory A.

We, get the stuff, it sells like mad, we need another order.

We want more profit so we tell them we will take even more but we only want to pay "X" dollars for it. The china company goes for the deal but this time they send everything from factory B, the lower quality factory.

This time, the stuff is still ok but we have some problems and some warranty issues. Talk to china, work out a cheaper deal to offset the warranty cost. China ships from factory C, worst quality factory. Massive problems, bad product, etc.

We re-negoitate the whole deal, and start the process over again.

That's the way it works folks.

Ojala
Ojala Reader
8/4/12 11:17 p.m.

I'll drag this one back up to give a big pass to the Harbor freight FWD bearing adapter kit. It is basically a Hub Shark/Hub Tamer knockoff without some of the accessories. I knew about the Hub Tamer, but the cost always scared me off, but a coupon made the kit $80. I just replaced two bearings and I cant believe how much easier and cheaper this makes a bearing job.

Travis_K
Travis_K SuperDork
8/5/12 2:26 a.m.

The good things I have from there are:

Torque wrenches

composite ratchets

sockets, both the colored ones and the normal plated ones

angle grinder (a few years old)

plug in electric impact gun

engine hoist

2 engine stands

floor jack (the medium sized low profile one, steel not aluminum)

quite a few other things too, but nothing i have used enough to know whether im impressed by the quality or not.

The only thing I have bought from there that i thought was a complete waste of money was one of the aluminum "racing" jacks. It was very badly made, and although it didnt completely fail, the rollers no longer work at all just from normal use.

Toyman01
Toyman01 PowerDork
8/5/12 6:19 a.m.

I bought one of these a month ago. Love it. 2 Ton Low Profile Heavy Duty Floor Jack Rapid Pump®

The only problem, now I need taller jack stands. It'll put a car almost 2 feet in the air.

Raze
Raze SuperDork
8/5/12 9:07 a.m.

Engine Hoist = pass

Vice (mine is newer and hasn't cracked yet) = temporary pass

Left handed drill bits = pass

Broken stud extractor (kind of worked but cutting bit is dull now after a couple uses) = 50/50 pass/fail

Vice grips = not strong enough = fail

Battery float charger = pass

mattmacklind
mattmacklind UltimaDork
8/5/12 9:10 a.m.

Back Pack pump sprayer, on sale for $19.99, it rocks. a bit off topic, but I'm just saying'.

dean1484
dean1484 UltraDork
8/5/12 9:48 a.m.

Am I the only one that finds the first image hot linked by curtis73 to be particularly offensive? I can not bring my self to hit the ! button but.. . . . . .

dean1484
dean1484 UltraDork
8/5/12 9:56 a.m.

As for HF tools.

Jack Stands = Fail. Legs bent

3/8" Air Ratchet = Win

1/2" Air Impact = Fail No power what so ever even with 2x the required CFM

4" Metal Cutting disks = Fail. They explode at random times while in use

4" Metal Grinding Disks = Fail They explode at random times while in use and have a very short life

Cheep air paint gun for latex paint and stains (not for cars) = Win for $12 it was disposable and made painting a fence and a shed a simple (almost fun) project.

I just picked up a top feed sand blasting gun. I used a friends a year or so back and it was good for what it was. We will see.

Kenny_McCormic
Kenny_McCormic Reader
8/5/12 11:51 a.m.

Forged ball joint separator= Pass. You will never go back to the caveman methods of pickle forks and hammers again. Just remember to grease the threads and the fork part so it sips under the boot easier.

Strizzo
Strizzo UberDork
8/5/12 12:38 p.m.

More yard stuff than tools but I bought a set of brass hose quick disconnects from next to the register, around here the plastic ones get brittle and crack and never really work well to begin with. tried them out yesterday and try work great, it's a different design that doesn't shut off the water when they're disconnected, so you can still use it like a regular hose without an extra adapter. The inserts seal to the end rather than the circumference so the water pressure doesn't bind it from rotating while you're using it. Best part: no leaks.

Raze
Raze SuperDork
8/5/12 7:53 p.m.
mattmacklind wrote: Back Pack pump sprayer, on sale for $19.99, it rocks. a bit off topic, but I'm just saying'.

Ooooh, good call, I use mine to spray insecticide, herbicide, and algaecide, it's amazing for $20...

pres589
pres589 Dork
8/5/12 11:26 p.m.
dean1484 wrote: Am I the only one that finds the first image hot linked by curtis73 to be particularly offensive? I can not bring my self to hit the ! button but.. . . . . .

I thought it was of very poor taste, yes.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim UberDork
8/5/12 11:41 p.m.

Pass (so far):

  • A couple of jacks (one of the racing jacks, a bigger floor jack and a bottle jack)
  • Two 1/2" rachets
  • Compressor (small one, rarely used), but it seems to work OK
  • Impact sockets

Undecided: - Air impact gun, works OK-ish but it's not really up to task for what I need it for. But I only have a small compressor at the moment

Fail: - The compression gauge. Reads between 40-60 psi lower than another made in China one purchased at Napa. That nearly had me tear into the Miata engine until I noticed that something didn't gel, and also was a big factor in selling the Celica that seemed to have a duff engine

Keven
Keven New Reader
8/6/12 6:13 p.m.

I just bought the 2.5 ton steel jack, will report back in a few months.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
8/7/12 7:55 a.m.

Pass:

  • Chicago Miter Saw
  • Oscillating saw
  • Vernier caliper
  • 12v Air Compressor

Fail:

  • pencil butane soldering torch
  • Tile saw
dculberson
dculberson Dork
8/7/12 10:05 a.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: Fail: + Tile saw

Funny, I've had the wet tile saw for years and it's been great. My brother tiled his bathrooms with it, including some mosaic tile. I give it a solid pass.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
8/7/12 11:12 a.m.

Used the 7" wet tile saw and the flooring nailer, both performed as I wanted. Sold them for 1/2 what I paid, making it WAY cheaper than renting the same stuff so I will give both of those a 'pass'.

I bought about a half dozen of those little LED flashlights, pack of 2 for $3.49 or whatever. Damn little things are BRIGHT. Pass.

Abrasives are meh, they tend to dull pretty quick, particularly the velcro backed quick change versions. Fail.

Have had 2 of the 1/4" die grinders and also the muffler cutters. Noisy but they work fine, and for the price you can't beat them. So 'pass'.

EDIT: I've used the 4" cutoff wheels, haven't shattered one and they last okay for what I've done. Pass.

The 4" grinding wheels ditto but they seem to get dull(for lack of a better word) quick but they still work. Pass.

The 4" flap discs wear down to fiber almost instantly. Fail.

The 3" muffler cutter discs cut good and last just fine. Pass.

4cylndrfury
4cylndrfury UltimaDork
8/7/12 12:57 p.m.

correction:
Fail -

Probably pass:

The cheap one wasnt square at all, and no amount of shimming or hammering or cursing or kicking or voodoo or asking nicely with cherries on top was going to get the damned thing to cut straight to save its life. It got to the point where I just hand marked each tile with a sharpie and did my best to cut the tiles freehand

Signed: the guy who hand cut 180 24x24 tiles to get 360 12x24 subway tiles because SWMBO couldnt find subway tiles of the right size and color on the shelf

dculberson
dculberson Dork
8/7/12 1:38 p.m.
4cylndrfury wrote: correction: Fail - The cheap one wasnt square at all, and no amount of shimming or hammering or cursing or kicking or voodoo or asking nicely with cherries on top was going to get the damned thing to cut straight to save its life. It got to the point where I just hand marked each tile with a sharpie and did my best to cut the tiles freehand Signed: *the guy who hand cut 180 24x24 tiles to get 360 12x24 subway tiles because SWMBO couldnt find subway tiles of the right size and color on the shelf*

That's the one I have, but I didn't have to cut 180 24" tiles so I can see how your position could cause it to fail! I don't envy that job...

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