For guys like me, HF at times becomes a necessary evil. I really don’t buy many tools there, but there are times, especially with shop equipment, that my DIY situation just can’t justify a high end equivalent. They certainly have their share of junk, but as I previously covered in my “10 Best Tools You Can Buy At Harbor Freight” article, they have some gems as well.
In the October Sale Paper I got a couple days back, there are a few new items, some of which intrigue me:
1. “Professional” Flex Head Ratchets
Being the ratchet lover that I am, these are probably the most intriguing addition. Available in 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ standard length and 3/8″ and 1/2″ long versions, these 72 tooth, thin profile, comfort grip, sealed head ratchets look remarkably similar to the Snap-On dual 80’s. Now, I am in no way implying these Pittsburgh ratchets are comparable to a Dual 80 in terms of quality, but they are clearly the style HF was going for right down to the color scheme and logo style. I haven’t laid a hand on these yet, but if they feature the typical Taiwan sourced mechanism that I suspect they do, they should be nice ratchets…at the perpetual sale price of course.
2. Composite Teardrop Ratchet(s)
The previous generation of HF Composite Ratchets are pretty popular. They’re lightweight, non-conductive, and great in cold weather or around fine finished surfaces, but the arched design proved to be a little awkward at times. This rendition combines the situational benefits of composite, with a more traditional style that should be easier to accept for everyday tasks. While it’s currently only listed in a 3/8″ version, I suspect it’s 1/4″ and 1/2″ brothers will be along shortly.
3. 100 Lb. Dual Media Abrasive Blaster
Have you ever wanted to bolt together your soda and abrasive blasters to create one awkward, less than agile unit? Neither have I. This unit does allow you to switch back and forth between soda and abrasives or use a mix of the two. I can’t think of a situation where a mixture would be ideal, but there’s bound to be one……maybe.
4. Electric Outdoor Equipment
While they aren’t currently listed on the website, HF has a new line of electric (corded) outdoor power equipment that includes a Blower/Vac ($49.99), 13″ String Trimmer ($34.99), and a 22″ Hedge Trimmer ($39.99). The clever brand name of this line is “Portland” but I’m going to assume it isn’t connected to the one in Oregon. This may be fine equipment, but it would have been a lot more interesting had it been cordless.
5. 18V Drill/Driver and Impact Driver
I’m in no way saying I keep up with the latest power tool news from HF, but if these are new I can’t tell. There’s not a doubt in my mind that at some point in the not too distant future HF will step up to the plate with a solid line of cordless tools comparable to some of the higher end brands. I do however doubt that today is that day.
I look for the ratchets to be stellar performers, the blaster to be a fine performer without a clear niche, and the power tools to be a continuance of HF’s dismal reputation for power tools. Again, none of these are hands on observations, just first thoughts and opinions from someone who knows Harbor Freight well. Maybe I’m wrong. I suppose time will tell.