Harbor Freight Tool Shop with This Mechanic
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Harbor Freight Tool Shop with This Mechanic

Jul 07, 2023

If you do not shop for tools at Harbor Freight, then you are spending way too much on your garage tools. While Harbor Freight has had a reputation as the poor mechanic’s tool source and even been referred to as “Harbor Fright” because of some past true stories about the quality of tools they offered…times have changed and so have opinions.

Related article: New Harbor Freight Impact Wrench Torque Test Will Change Your Mind About Harbor Freight Tools

The Good and Bad of Craftsman

Many of us as kids were raised on Craftsman tools because that is what was heavily advertised at the time and what our old man turned to whenever there was a DIY job to do on the family car.

Craftsman’s stroke of genius back in the day was the guarantee that if one of their tools broke---no matter how you may have abused it---they would exchange it for free with no questions asked and hand you a new tool.

In fact, if you’ve ever been to a yard or garage sale, often you will see a buyer pick up an old, rusted tool that has seen better days and wonder what possessed them to get it. The odds are pretty good that it says “Craftsman” on it and that 50-cent yard sale tool will soon be exchanged for a brand new $20 or more.

At least that was the case not so long ago when the Sears Hardware and Tool store was still a thing.

However, Sears has gone the way of Radio Shack and other businesses and now only stores like Ace Hardware or Lowes carry some Craftsman tools. The problem, however, is that their tool selection is very limited, and many will not exchange an old tool for a new one unless it is nearly exactly the same…Craftsman vice grips as an example comes to mind. Been there, tried that, walked away missing the good ol’ days.

A New View of Harbor Freight

Back to Harbor Freight, however, if there is one consolation for the demise of Sears and tool shopping it is that today, Harbor Freight has earned some respectability in the tool selling trade.

Yes, there still are some bloody knuckle stinkers that can ruin your day or ones that have questionable performance that depends on your luck of having chosen the right box on the shelf, but all-in-all it has improved significantly, and the prices can’t be beat by bigger name brands.

Related article: The $10 Harbor Freight Tool That Can Save You From a $1,000 Scam

That all said and done, follow along with the host of the Wrenching with Kenny YouTube channel in this new episode where Kenny does a walk-through while shopping at Harbor Freight and offers his opinion on tools to choose and those to avoid.

What to Buy at Harbor Freight Tools!!!

For additional articles related to Harbor Freight, here are three for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

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Image Source: Writer’s stock images

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