If you are reading this, you obviously love tools. A Harbor Freight recently opened up here in my home town and it has been all the talk recently. It is basically a dollar store for men, cheaply produced products at cheap prices. They go there in droves and spend a lot of time in shopping and looking around. My Dad recently has now become addicted and goes there at least twice a week. Even if you only spend $20 there , you come out with a great sense of value. You can get an entire impact socket set for $9.99, a reciprocating saw for $22.99, a pancake compressor for $59 and even a 3-D Empire State Building puzzle for $2.97. The list goes on and on, even I am addicted and find myself leaving there with totally useless stuff like a big box of wing nuts or box of cotter pins. I wouldn’t really go as far as getting a power tool from there, but we did get a multi-tool for review.
Recently I bought a Snap-On flashlight and gloves at Costco. I spent $40, as I carefully inspected the Snap-On packaging. I noticed it was just licensed by Snap-On and both of the products were just cheaply made Chinese junk, branded with Snap-On logos. I could have got the exact same thing from Harbor Freight for under $5. I couldn’t believe my eyes, Snap-On had sold out and I just paid $30 to have a Snap-On name slapped on some cheap Chinese products. I had no sense of value from this purchase and I just felt like I got bent over. That left a bad taste in my mouth and now will avoid the brand.
Harbor Freight however is not about fancy brand names, it is about good deals, you know up front that you are buying cheaply produced goods, but not overpaying for it. I bought a few tow slings there the other day for $10 and felt like I got a great deal, leaving with a smile. I might only use them once or twice, but for $10 are good to have. Bottom line is Harbor Freight tells you how it is. No fancy marketing smoke and mirror scheme. Yes, the tools are cheap and the quality is cheap, but the value to the consumer is unmatched. A $39 Harbor Freight drill is not going to compare to a high end $200+ modern brushless drill. But for $39 it will usually get the job done and might even last a few more jobs. For the person that uses a drill maybe once a month it is great deal.
Anyone Remember Thorsen tools? They were a good USA made tool back in the day. For years now the name Thorsen, has been disgraced by selling Chinese junk. Now you see their tools in a bargain bin for $1.99 at a local hardware store. Todays economy is a tough place, especially for tool manufactuers. Work is hard to find and people don’t have the extra cash to spend for a premium brand unless it really is a premium tool and their trade requires it. The brands that are selling out will only lose consumer confidence and places like Harbor Freight will flourish. Where else can you get new moving blankets for $3? And for the record some of Harbor Freights products are made in the USA.