A year ago, I was optimistic, wondering what new tools and changes would come from Harbor Freight after they announced that they would push into the professional cordless power tools market with their Hercules brand.
It has been months since their last Hercules tool release – a 12″ sliding miter saw. I spotted a 12V/20V Max dual-voltage charger, but no 12V Max tools, so perhaps they’re on the way? I reached out to Harbor Freight but have not yet heard back.
That all said, I know some of you shop there regularly. So, here’s a look at this year’s Harbor Freight Black Friday 2018 tool deals sales flyer.
The deals kick off on Friday, November 23rd, 2018.
On the first page, the Franklin 17ft multi-task ladder stands out to me, especially the “OSHA/ANSI Compliant” message. User reviews seem positive. I’m not familiar with the Harbor Freight Franklin brand, but the ladder looks like the HaulMaster that was featured in last year’s Black Friday flyer.
The Pittsburgh jack is the same price as last year. The Predator generator is $30 less than it was last year.
There’s a new Harbor Freight Yukon 46″ mobile storage cabinet with solid wood top, for $200.
Does anyone have any new experiences with the Apache “compare to Pelican” tool cases?
The Earthquake XT 12V cordless ratchet kit seems like the kind of tool that might be popular. I heard good things about that Harbor Freight sub-brand, but nothing much in the past year. Good? Bad? So-so?
Does anything catch your eye from this page?
The Hercules 12″ sliding miter saw, which was $590 “after coupon” when it was released, is now $300.
It also looks like the newest US General ball bearing tool boxes are on sale, for $400 each. You have a choice of black, red, and blue color finish.
I know that some people love Harbor Freight’s furniture dollies, but are they really that good? I can’t even find good caster wheels for that cheap.
Is that another new Harbor Freight cordless power tool brand – “Warrior”?
That Daytona 3 ton Super Duty jack sounds familiar – I believe I’ve seen it recommended before. Thoughts? It looks a lot like the popular Husky 3-ton low profile jack that Home Depot sells. Here’s a first – the Harbor Freight costs more.
For those of you that gear up at Harbor Freight, what do you think about this year’s deals?
Does anyone have any experience with their US General tool cabinets? I’ve been thinking they’d be an economical option for storage in my shop.
I had good success with mine.
I like mine a lot
Their second generation boxes are a terrific deal and would be at the top of my list at double their asking price. The drawer slides appear to be good quality, the layout is great (more shallow drawers than deep means less wasted space and less piling of tools), the drawers are deep enough to accommodate many long tools without forcing you to orient things diagonally. The wheels and drawers are reasonably beefy. All the drawers come with a nice liner material that has a good tack to it. All of the above is better than most boxes sold at the big box stores IMHO.
Some caveats…carefully unbox at the store and look for bent cabinets, particularly at the bottom where the wheels mount. The drawer latches don’t work well (don’t count on them to keep drawers shut when you move the box). The lock in turn may not lock some of the drawers. The boxes obviously do not come with creature comforts like outlets and bays for battery chargers and USB ports. The limited color selection may be an issue for some.
I have a snap on chest in my garage that’s obviously better quality but many times the cost. I needed a smaller box for my basement shop and when HF released the V2 boxes, the improved drawer layout convinced me to give it a shot. Despite the flaws, I’ve been really happy and I would do it again.
Do not unbox it at the store, you’ll be taking up aisle space and wasting an associates time. Many HFT are understaffed and having to wait around for a huge item to opened then repackaged is not fair to them.
Garage journal forums. Thousands of pages dedicated to this topic. Yes they are apparently very good
I just bought two of the 44″ and a 14.5″ side cabinet to sandwich between them. Fits perfect in my garage nook that’s 100″ wide.
I had the gen1 boxes for several years, upgraded to gen2 to get black + 4″ more depth.
I paid $429 each with coupon, I knew they’d be going to 399 for BF, but no amount of savings could sacrifice my family and holiday.
They’re great. I did upgrade the casters to polyurethane with steel core and all 8 swivel with top brakes. No complaints here, great storage for the price. I just could not justify thousands and thousands and thousands for Tool Vault
Jamie I use mine daily in my shop and I love em. Thought I was getting a cheap get by box but now I’m trying to decide which one I’m getting next
I have the v1 26″ box and it’s great. It has so much storage capacity for such a small foot print and was a steal at the $269 parking lot sale price. I wasn’t looking for features like a work surface on top or an integrated power strip, I just wanted a solid box with lots of drawers to keep next to my workbench. This box has more than met my needs, I would absolutely look at the v2 boxes if I needed to replace it.
I’ve go the 30″ 4 drawer tech cart, paid like $120 when I got it. For the price I paid, I feel like I got a really good deal on it (knowing what tool boxes can cost). The flyer shows it on sale for $99, so even better.
Based on my experience, they are a good value and if I need to get another box or cart for the house, I’ll most likely end up with another US General.
I’m looking to pick up one of the 26” ones for school. I’ve heard lots of good reviews about us general. I’ll keep you updated if I remember to update.
I love mine. In fact I liked it so much I added the top box.
Planning on getting the Hercules miter saw. The one year warranty and the option for the extended warranty still make this saw a no-brainer. Any issue whatsoever just bring it in and the replace it no questions asked. Can’t do that with any of the big brands.
They have “lifetime” on their screwdrivers. Bought a set of pretty nice insulated screwdrivers. The small 1/8″ flat blade one that is very useful for the tiny screws on control terminals kept chipping. I think I returned it at least once a month for about 6 months before I gave up and bought a Milwaukee (noninsulated) set that I’m very happy with and have yet to return anything.
Warranties are a funny thing. On the positive side – they are meant to show that the vendor will stand behind their product – and if they are easy to exercise in the event of a need to do so they can be helpful. In a fast-paced world where models often change regularly – sometimes a warranty repair or replacement can become problematical – should you have a discontinued machine or need a part that is no longer available. In buying for commercial enterprises – I always wanted to have a tool that I knew would last and work efficiently and safely in day to day operations. Downtime associated with a broken tool and/or its repair/replacement was a real consideration – so warranties were more important if they conveyed quality – rather than easy replacement for breakdowns. For home use, however, the calculus could easily change in favor of lower priced tools with good warranties and easy replacement should a failure occur. Hopefully the Hercules miter saw will prove to be a great tool – not needing you to exercise its warranty.
It’s the ease of the warranties with Harbor Freight that make it the best. If the miter saw has any issues for any reason, you bring it in and they replace it. No spending god knows how much to ship to be repaired for Dewalt and who knows how long it will take. Also, I am a DIYer doing home woodworking. So this miter saw will work just fine.
Be aware that replacement immediately policy doesn’t extend to everything they sell. The pumps, for instance, they aren’t allowed to take returns at the store. You have to call the warranty number which means that isn’t as easy as it is with a wrench
The extended warranty is critical for the Chicago Electric branded miter saw as I’ve read several times that spare_parts_are_not_available.
BTW – I chuckle at some of the brand names that Central Purchasing LLC (aka Harbor Freight) come up with for tools made mostly in China.
Chicago Electric, Daytona, Franklin, Ames Instruments, US General, Pittsburg and Portland ?
I like Earthquake, Hercules, and Badland!
I don’t know, if someone didn’t know any tool brand names from the outside looking in, How would Milwaukee sound any different that Pittsburgh. We know, because we have been familiar with the brands and reputation for years. But as brand names alone, even the popular brands are comical.
At least with Milwaukee – the original company was established in 1924 in the city of Milwaukee. When TTI bought them out (some might say rescued them from a downward slide into oblivion) they chose to keep the name – which undoubtedly had been assigned value in the buyout. When applying names with Chicago in them – when the connection to that city is nonexistent or tenuous at best (Central Purchasing LLC is headquartered in Calabasas CA) – the motivation for creating such a name may be a bit more dubious.
It’s like GM naming slow cars after race tracks.
No the Husky low profile jack is not the same as the Daytona. The Husky is comparable to the other lower priced low profile jacks at HF. It’s a SnapOn clone so much so they tried to sue.
The SnapOn jack is made in the same Chinese factory as the Daytona when HF filed that info during the trial SnapOn decided to settle out of court instead of letting everyone know it’s not made in the USA.
I’ve looked at the Apache cases in the store. They might be good enough for a lot of uses (and I might buy one sometime), but my impression was that they’re not close to Pelican, in either quality (plastic is smelly and feels cheap) or price (Pelican is something like 3x more)
I’ve got at least one of each size. They aren’t as heavy as the pelicans, and they feel like they are thinner.
I have a number of pelicans as well, and I can honestly say I never approach the structural limits of them or the harbor freight ones. The little plastic ammo boxes for three bucks aren’t terrible either.
Speaking of their furniture dollies – I DON’T like them. I bought several of them at HF one day. The casters are bad – the swivel bearings don’t work well on any of them. Tried the small and large. They all tend to bind in the swivel. I wondered if they just used BBs, lead shot or rusted steel for the ball bearings…
Does anyone know of good furniture dollies, with good casters?
Couldn’t agree more. These appear to be the larger dollies, I’ve only checked out the smaller ones. And that 1000 lb rating is probably a 4” crush rating, not a true working load rating. I did try HF’s 3” locking ball bearing casters which appeared to be better quality, but when I screwed them to a frame and put my weight on them, I found the same. Casters felt like they had rocks in them rather than ball bearings. And I think these were $6-7 each so not exactly dirt cheap, but still garbage if you intended to put any weight onto them (they were “rated” at 200 lbs). Just avoid the dollies and casters.
I opted to build my own because I wanted a flat top and locking swivels at all four corners. 4 250lb dual locking casters were about $60 shipped. I’ve used the brand before and really liked them so saving $10 somewhere else wasn’t worth it, add $10 for wood and screws and you’ve got one expensive dolly (compared to what you see in stores). But a pair of these has a 500lb machine sitting on them in storage right now and I can push it around effortlessly.
RKA – what brand are the casters that you used? I would like to get them, myself.
Be prepared for Web 1.0 circa 1999.
I used the 3” polyurethane casters with the metal brake on this page. They have a bunch of other varieties and you can get the detailed measurements on the inidividual product page if you click on the model number in the grid.
These are made in Taiwan and really nice quality. They look similar to the wood river brand from woodcraft, but I’m not sure they are the same. The wood river brand does come on sale for 2 for $30 from time to time, but my fear is they are made in China and are not the same. One tell might be to look for a plastic shield over the ball bearings that allow the swiveling function. The Taiwan made ones have it to keep dirt out, cheaper imitations will skip this detail.
I’ve ordered 2 batches of 12 each. The second time I couldn’t find a coupon code on their site for ordering (10+ units) so I called and asked and they gave me 10% and took the order over the phone. That might work for you. The company (in nevada) just takes the orders and fulfillment seems to happen through their suppliers (drop ship). This particular model ships from some place in TX. I have no idea how well or efficiently a customer service issue would be handled, since I haven’t run across that yet.
Thanks, RKA! I’ll take a look and probably order.
Conversely, if you buy your tools here, you will be throwing the tools away…
Sorry, couldn’t resist!
Harbor Freight has plenty of tools that are worth the money now, plus where I live there are 2 stores within 30 minutes of me. Great option when you just need something now to get something done.
That Earthquake ratchet is the same price as the M12 on sale right now (includes a battery). I didn’t compare the specs but I know which one I’d get and I suspect most people would agree with me. HF still has a long way to go if they’re trying to change people’s perceptions of them.
There’s no possible way to convince a HF fan ,that, those tools are sub par non pro tools. They will fight you tooth and nail. Even YT channels like “the bear” ( now that he is sponsored by HF) show all kinds of tests proving HF is as good or better then the pro level tools,even so far t say “AVE” is completely wrong about his tests on HF tools….
I’ll just say no Pro in framing, remodeling or construction uses any HF tools that I have ever seen,on any job in 34 yrs building…I don’t shop there.,but or try support pure Chinese tool companies.
I have worked in steel foundries in the US for about 10 years and have seen a lot of harbor freight tools in use. Some to better use than others.
I’m still trying to figure out how HF can advertise savings the way that they do..
The Snap On Cordless Impact wrench is around $600.
The Earthquake Cordless impact is around $169. However is on sale for $149.
How is HF able to get away advertising that you save $450 off when you buy the Earthquake model? You’re not saving $450 you’re saving $20 by buying the Earthquake.
I am hard pressed to say that the Snap On is Equivalent to the HF model. I keep seeing in the comments are “has anyone checked out X? Is it worth buying over Y?”
The prices I quoted above are just guesses, but I hope you get my point.
They are advertising that you are saving $450 over buying the SnapOn model, not $450 off the price of the HF model. Not really getting away with anything.
The roller seat is worth the $20. Mine has survived continuing by my two boys to destroy it lol
Same. they were $18 a few years ago, and i needed one for the garage one for the basement. I bought 5 because I was expecting them to fall apart. The only issue I have had with them is the acorn nuts on the casters coming undone over time. I am not a small guy either.
Now I have 3 in boxes that I keep meaning to give as Christmas presents. This year maybe 🙂
if you are comparing prices from HF now to this ad you will see that the best “deal” is the US. General 44inch cabinets at $50 off from the current listed price of $449. Some other items of note would be the pancake compressor at $39.99 versus now $44.99. the roller seat now 19.99 BF ad 19.99. Just keep that in mind when beating up old people to get in line on Friday ;p)
The Warrior brand is their bottom end stuff, aka high profit margins.
The rest looks like a lot of typical coupon prices. If you use an app you can get most of these deals right now. The only difference would be if you can use a 20% off on top of the BF sale price.
Handy site for finding the best available price. Never ever go into HF without a stack of coupons.
I treat any tools I buy at HF as one time disposable deals. For example I just picked up an oscillating tool with attachements for $25 for a small home job. Yes I’m still tempted to buy that M12 one with a free battery for $80, but I think I’d rather have the extra money in my pocket. I’m always pleasantly surprised when their tools keep on working past that one specific job.
And I’ve had a large US General box for 10 years now in my garage. For the price, heck yeah it’s great.
With regard to the ladder question, I’ve checked them out in store and it seems the only thing that’s changed over the years is the name on the package. I’ve got one that I picked up about 2 years ago and it’s been great – I’d dare say it seems to be nearly as solid (and a whole lot lighter) than a coworker’s Little Giant, and actually considerably better than the Werners HD sells for a few bucks more. $100 is the same sale price I paid, and it’s worth every penny.
Harbor Freight – why you make so many cordless platforms?!? I didn’t even get it when they launched Hercules and Bauer at the same time while already having a Chicago line (now called Warrior, maybe?), now they’re marketing stuff as Earthquake?
As far as guys knocking pro use, HF does have some stuff that’s useful. If you’re in one trade and you do the same thing with the same tools every day, you’re probably better off buying the good stuff, but as a property manager I might be remodeling an apartment one week, doing exterior maintenance/construction the next, landscaping or plumbing or doing light electrical in between. If I’m using a tool more than a couple times a month, I’m paying for features and reliability. If it’s for a job I only do once every 2-3 months, HF (or a Ryobi power tool) has me covered.
I’ve purchased a few HF power tools over the years, and I have to say while they were only a small step above “junk”, they were also only a little bit over “free” in cost.
I have a friend who travels the country for his job, and he has come to swear by HF for hand tools at least. He says they are good enough to get the job done, and when they get stolen from his truck in a hotel parking lot or jobsite, or lost by the airline, he’s only out a a few hundred dollars’ not thousands.
I’ve got a list of their Pittsburgh tools I’m interested in buying, but even though there are several stores fairly close, they are not exactly convenient to me to buy for personal use, nor do I have an account with them I can use to easily charge them to my employer for work use.
I like HF tools for that specific one time use project as well. I purchased the Bauer portaband saw for $99. I could have bought the Milwaukee or dewalt but at almost triple the cost for essentially something that will collect dust after the project is done.
But now that I have used a portaband, I don’t think I can go back to using an angle grinder or a chop saw. Clean cuts, no noise, and minimal mess. So I figure this is a tool that if I burn it up, I’ll spring for a nicer one. I feel like they offer a user that isn’t to sure about spending a ton on a good tool to see if they like it and would use it
Anyone ever use those Franklin ladders? How are they? We have the original little giant one and it’s awesome.
The Braun bar LED work light is a deal. Good luck finding one.
I just got my gift cards from the Jeffrey back versus Harbor freight lawsuit and I got $750 did anyone else get their settlement yet. Now I just have to figure out what to buy. The first time I’ve ever got anything from a class action lawsuit other than just a few bucks
Harbor Freight can be hit or miss on the tools. I like how in this last year they’ve really stepped up the game though and are trying to ease that conception about their tools in general. The Vulcan and now Titanium welders are an awesome deal for someone learning how to weld. My recommendation usually was to find a good model used from Lincoln, Miller, or Hobart. For people concerned about used stuff I whole heartedly would recommend the HF stuff now, you can’t beat the pricing.
The Apache cases feel lighter duty than the regular Pelican cases to me as I have a few for firearms. However this summer the medium sized one I purchased did do it’s job. I was kayaking and had with me a Sony Alpha A7s slr and full frame 50mm lense in the case. Together thats about $2500 worth of gear to replace. I took a bad wave and tipped. Out when the Apache case with my expensive camera. Not only did it float but it kept everything completely dry which is why I bought it. I also made a lashing to the kayak so it wouldn’t get far away which worked fine. I’m not sure about drop resistance but I imagine it’d fair fine under reasonable expectations (don’t drop it off a roof and expect anything good or have a Mac truck run it over).
The ladder is the same as last years. They have just applied the new marketing they are doing to the same ladder. Instead of things have a random forgettable brand name they are attaching an actual name to things.
The Braun lights are an awesome deal. Through the coupons I’ve purchased everyone they have now. My favorite is the 390lm 18650 celled rechargeable unit that competes with a look a like from Astro tools. Followed by that is the under hood rechargeable LED bar. Finally I’m really like the 4000k 5000lumen 4ft LED shoplights they have now with an integrated pull string switch ($29.00 full price is a good deal but they have a $10 coupon off that floating around) which nobody else has even Walmart.
The Daytona jacks are amazing too. I have the yellow super heavy duty with the load balancing bar attached. I just purchased last month when there was a coupon the orange 3 ton low profile long arm reach jack as well since it has the highest lift height of any of their jacks, just nearly 24″. I may pick up the run of the mill 3 ton orange Daytona now with the coupons to keep in the vehicle as I hate scissor jacks with a passion.
The 20 ton shop press is a good deal too. They often don’t mention it but they also have a shop air / manual 50 toner too that at $699 regularly with a coupon is an awesome deal (I don’t think I could make one safely that cheap myself).
The US General tool cabinets are my go to. Even if I had Snap On tool box money sitting around I couldn’t justify it. I’d rather spend that money on actual Snap On tools I want (torque wrenches, combo wrenches, sockets). I’m not a pro mechanic abusing his box everyday nor relying on the box as a theft deterrent so I don’t need it. I hear they are actually bringing out hutches, top cabinets, and more for the 72″ units soon. I can’t wait as that’ll make me buy more storage from them.
Harbor Freight has always been my go to for tools for two other situations: 1) Special mechanic tools such as a vacuum tester, cooling system pressure testing, oil pressure gauge, fuel pressure gauge, ball joint press etc, something I’ll probably use a few times so renting isn’t economical but buying a name brand version can’t be justified if I’m only using it twice a year or three times in many years 2) Having some “cheap” corded / cordless tools around that I won’t feel bad about putting through some nasty situations or lending out to the friend or family member that exemplifies what AvE says when he mentions “the 200 pound gorilla”. “Do you have a circular saw I can borrow?” Me: “Sure use this one it works good” and then either I’ll never see it again or it comes back non functional. With my expensive Milwaukee / Dewalt / Makita tools this has happened before and I get irritated but with HF stuff it doesn’t burn as bad.