Late last year, we wrote about the new Harbor Freight Icon mechanics tools, their new brand of “premium” hand tools and storage products aimed at “mechanics who demand top quality.”
Recently, Harbor Freight added several new Icon hand tools to their online catalog – breaker bars in 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive sizes in different lengths and hand styles.
In their marketing, Harbor Freight encourages customers to compare their new Icon breaker bars to Snap-on breaker bar SKUs. So, let’s take a look to see how they compare, price-wise, to breaker bars from some other hand tool brands.
1/2″ Drive 18″ Breaker Bar Price Comparison
I chose the 1/2″ drive 18″ long breaker bar for price comparison purposes. This is a plain-handled breaker bar, with no added cushion grip handle.
Harbor Freight Icon 63856 18″: $40 direct
Harbor Freight Pittsburgh Pro 18″: $10 Direct
Snap-on SN18B 18″: $124 direct, Made in USA
The Snap-on SN18B is the model Harbor Freight encourages their customers to compare the new Icon breaker bar to.
Tekton 15356 18″ Breaker Bar: $22 via Amazon
If I were shopping for a breaker bar on a limited budget, Tekton would likely be a top-3 choice. Their quality has gone up in recent years, and I’ve heard very good things about their customer service as well.
Proto J5468 18″ Breaker Bar: $42.17 via Zoro, (24″ is $37.7), Made in USA
If you want USA-made, Proto’s is only a couple of dollars more. Frequent Zoro promotions means that you can buy the USA-made Proto for less than the price of the Icon. If you want the 24″, that’s already less expensive, at least at the time of this posting.
Blackhawk by Proto 17″ 49988B: $43.02 via Amazon, Made in USA with global materials
Gearwrench 81307 15″ Breaker Bar: $24.68 via Amazon, 24″ is $43.78
Gearwrench doesn’t have an 18″ 1/2″ drive breaker bar, at least not one I could find quickly. Still, if you look at the context, or the 24″ sizing, Harbor Freight’s Icon pricing is actually higher. The Icon 25″ breaker bar is $50, compared to the current street price of $44 for Gearwrench’s 24″ breaker bear.
Husky H12BB15 15″ Breaker Bar: $22 via Home Depot
Husky doesn’t offer an 18″ breaker bar.
Kobalt 85877 18″:$23 via Lowes
This is the model that Harbor Freight lists as the “compare to” for their $10 Pittsburgh Pro breaker bar.
SK Hand Tools
SK Hand Tools 16″ 41652: $53.68 via Amazon, $51.64 + Shipping via Harry Epstein, Made in USA
SK does not make an 18″ breaker bar.
Despite being far lower priced than Snap-on’s breaker bar of similar sizing, the Harbor Freight Icon breaker bars are pricier than other popular brands’ offerings. The comparison above look at the 18″ breaker bar specifically (and similar sizes for brands that don’t offer 18″ breaker bars), but the same pattern holds for the 24″ breaker bar and 3/8″ drive tools.
Most interesting, the pricing is closely aligned with Proto’s. While the Proto breaker bars have a rougher-looking knurled handle, sometimes suggestive of lower manufacturing and retail costs, it should be pointed out that the Proto breaker bars are made in the USA, while the Harbor Freight Icon breaker bars are very likely imported.
At this time, we don’t know how much Harbor Freight’s other upcoming Icon hand tools will cost. But, I have to wonder – if they won’t be significantly discounted compared to published breaker bar prices at the time of this posting, how well will they sell against other brands in the same space?
If the Gearwrench 24″ breaker bar is priced at $44, and Harbor Freight Icon 1/2″ 25″ breaker bar at $50, in which direction are most informed customers going to go? Or will they go in other directions? For customers shopping at Harbor Freight, how many more will go for the $10 Pittsburgh Pro that will surely be positioned nearby?
At face value, the new Harbor Freight Icon breaker bars look to be nicely shaped and well-finished. Harbor Freight says they are aiming their new Icon tools at professional users, and says their new breaker bars can stand up to the toughest shop use.
Harbor Freight has traditionally been the “cheap” option. However, their Icon prices don’t fit that mold, not at all. It will be interesting to see how the Icon brand progresses, and if and how well it can compete with other brands in the mid-price-point mechanics tool market.
I think many consumers will not be informed, and will assume that the “better HF” must be a good deal, since it is at Harbor Freight, and costs less than the Snap On ( I think we can be sure it always will). Brands of comparable quality will not enter into it.
I say this from experience, this basic mistake happened to me, and with breaker bars. I have a 24 inch Tekton breaker bar (and I am happy with it for my limited use) mostly because I assumed that it would always be the lowest price if acceptable quality. Silly me, could have had the Proto for a few bucks more.
Also, please tell me the double o in “mechanics whoo demand” is original HF marketing copy, that would be awesome.
The new tools *could* very well be a good deal at that pricing; but for now, I just wanted to assemble a picture of the competitive pricing landscape.
Sorry, the whoo was all me. *fixed*, thanks!
There is plenty psychology that happens when someone is purchasing a product in store. Most HF shoppers don’t bother looking at prices of other products from other brands outside the store. They just walk in with a coupon and think they are getting a deal. HF prices are creeping upwards and while that may not be noticed by some patrons, at some point the prices may deter more “sophisticated” buyers who actually have a brain and realize there is actually no deal here.
HF is such a strange place inside, tool variety, tool quality, tool prices. They have “huge sales” every weekend now as if it’s the last. Half the store inventory is same old crap they have been selling for 10-15 years. Yet there are a few pretty decent offerings that have been improving over the last several years such as tool chests.
I have around 250 clamps in my workshop, about 10% are the inexpensive HF f-clamps you get for $3 each which work fine and do the job. Nitrile gloves are a top buy from there too. Never have I bought anything electric because I do not trust them. They can offer whatever they want under the Hercules name, but I will always buy a known name brand every time instead from Makita, Dewalt, Hitachi, Bosch.
As for breaker bars, I’ve been using a 24″ black pipe added to my ratchet handle for that purpose for years.
You mean “Everything MUST GO!” is just marketing? *shakes head at the latest flyer*
While there are many HF impulse buyers, there is perhaps a greater number of HF shoppers that do seek to inform themselves about current and potential offerings and purchase decisions.
I never paid much interest to Harbor Freight before, but if they are making genuine efforts to cater towards more than just the lowest-price bargain shoppers, we (meaning ToolGuyd) need to follow along with an active eye.
Given the pricing of good fine-tooth ratchets, I’ve always felt that a breaker bar is a worthy peace of mind addition to any toolbox. Fits in a drawer easier than a pipe, too. I paid Craftsman and Kobalt prices, though. Maybe $40 total for a USA-made Craftsman 3/8″ and imported full-polish Kobalt 1/2″. For the things I’ve needed even more oomph for, I reached for a deadblow or mallet. That’s something I try not to do with a ratchet. One day I might need a 24″ breaker, but not just yet. Given the prices I’ve seen in my search, I’d likely go with Gearwrench or Proto.
I enjoy the “Tool Disposal Notice” flyers. Such a strange way to advertise a sale…
An Ashley Furniture near me has a “Mattress Sale this Weekend” sign that is so old it’s faded. Like, you kind of loose the promotion aspect when EVERY weekend is a mattress sale. Same with Harbor Freight.
I generally just pick up specialty tools that don’t get used much or the highly rated at a low price so it’s a really good value. The icon breaker bars seem nice but for A 10% better tool it’s not worth 2.5 times the price. Then it’s worth shopping around. Hf has you when you need it asap and can’t wait
Even then sometime you take a breaker bar and add a cheater bar/pipe to that. Reminds me of my maintenance days in the Navy.
Mike (the other one)
“mechanics who demand top quality” don’t buy tools like this from Horror Fate in the first place. They go with truck brands, or something like Proto.
This is meant for weekend warriors who don’t know any better. They have dozens of brand names, likely all made by the same Chinese company, to give the impression that they are a legitimate tool store.
> This is meant for weekend warriors who don’t know any better.
Or who don’t NEED any better; no need to be elitist about it. Don’t forget that the pool of people who need top-grade tools is exceptionally small; probably .
Few, if any, weekend mechanics will ever break or wear out a Pittsburgh tool unless they’re doing something incorrectly or attempting to use the tool for other than the intended purpose/specs (see: incorrectly). If they take care of it and don’t abuse it, they have a lifetime tool.
And, even if they break or damage the tool (regardless of who is at fault, the user or the manufacturing), there are Harbor Freight stores everywhere that they can walk in and get a free replacement off the shelf for the lifetime of the tool.
Adam , the pool of people buying quality mechanics tools is enormous, not small. Fairly sure Snap On, Mac, Matco, Proto, SK, Wright , etc, would be out of business if the pool was “exceptionally small”…
….. That is not an elitist attitude.
The people breaking the crap HF tools are the people you point out, diy warriors and , wrong, they break them all the time.
… As pointed out by Stu , you can by Proto ( made in the USA ) and other brands for little more or less then HF. .. How about helping Americans have jobs. Helping the US economy , not China’s., Buy American made.., quess what , odds are you won’t have to return it because it broke…
I agree. Good deals on US made tools are out there. I’m a diy weekend gearhead and I always prefer buying US tools if I can find good deals. Quality over quantity
Everyone can break a tool, DIYers and Pros alike. That’s partially what justifies Snap-on tool truck prices – you get top-quality tools, but also at-your-shop service, whether it’s to buy something new or have a broken tool replaced.
Compared to the general population I’m not sure the number of people who NEED truck or industrial brand tools is all that large. I think a lot of the business model for each is each is that per person a larger variety of tools is purchased. You know, mechanics (or factory maintenance) buying say a 1,000 piece tool (or 10 of them for a factory) set to start instead of the average DIY buying a 50 piece socket set….
If you want to help the US economy, quit shopping at Walmart where a large percentage of there stuff is from the pacific rim. And you wonder why Walmart is doing so well?
Even the sears craftsman brand stuff got made overseas in latter days. And some snap on stuff is imported. Dewalt is “assembled in USA” (from overseas parts).
I have a lot of harbor freight stuff as a weekend shade tree mechanic. i could never justify buying something that cost a lot more
money for occasional maintenance. I have some vintage USA tools
and i will keep them until in die. But unless i need some specialty tool, i have had good luck with the harbor hand tools. I have a lot
of tools in my tool box that hardly see the time of use day so i could
not justify buying them at high dollar rates. But at harbor on sale
with 20 percent coupon, i expand my tool box for that rainy day.
and they have a life time warranty on hand tools.
their battery tools used to be junk, but there getting better with Hercules and Bauer. But i am primarily a DeWalt guy. It all depends
on your duty cycle of use on your tools.
I remember when vice grips were proudly made in Dewitt Nebraska.
No more. Now quickly made in china.
Hell, that high tech I-phone in your pocket is made in china.
You and the rest of the apple sheep going to stop buying that?
If your a pro, buy what your conscience allows you to afford.
your a DIY, use your head, do research , and buy what you can
You were doing good until you lost all credibility calling people that chose apple “sheep”. Silly.
I agree with Adam, there are 276.1 million registered cars in the US. That means there are at least a couple hundred million people who would do just fine with a Harbor Freight tool. Sure, they could shop around and buy a Proto or something priced similar, but chances are if they’re shopping at Harbor Freight it’s because they need something RIGHT NOW. It fills that niche. And it probably is imported, but we live in a global economy, so big deal. American jobs still got that tool to the store, marketed it, and sold it. If you want, you can always slap A “Made In The USA” sticker on it, ULINE or Amazon sells them by the roll.
*Note* I don’t even shop at Harbor Freight, but for my less mechanically inclined friends/family, I wouldn’t stop them from going there.
I see this kind of uninformed post ALL the time while browsing tool forums. While the psuedo patriotism is just adorable.. its wrong. Hf employs more americans than snap on, mac, cornwell, matco, so using your logic, its LESS patriotic to buy the tool truck brands. And lets be clear.. he said the number of people who NEED top grade tools. Not those who BUY them. VAST difference. I buy tool truck tools because i WANT them, not because i NEED them. If you cant differentiate between the two, you should REALLY abstain from having this conversation. Hes correct. The absolute vast majority of wrench turners could do just as well with the (admittedly lower quality) hf offerings for most jobs. But they dont, as they enjoy paying a little bit a week for years to the tool truck guy, and anxiously waiting for his once weekly stop to exchange broken crap. I dont fault them, and the tools ARE better. But they arent NEEDED.
I use Harbor Freight and Northern Tool + Equipment for work. I do HVAC controls work and these tools work fine. Most of the Harbor Freight stuff is fairly decent. Of course some of the Harbor Freight stuff is not great. The new Icon line and Pittsburg Pro line is very good. And all of the Northern stuff is excellent. At work, the large tools are Armstrong. The company (Apex) won’t warranty these USA made tools because the brand has been discontinued. When I call Apex Tools, they tell me they will replace the broken Armstong stuff with Gearwrench stuff. They tell me I just need to go to a Gearwrench dealer and exchange the broken tool. But when I actually go, the dealer won’t replace the tool because Gearwrench won’t pay them for shipping. I have never had these problems at Harbor Freight or Northern Tool. And these tools have never failed me. So what is the incentive to buy USA made tools?
The Harbor Freight Icon line is fine for work. The Icon tools are made in Taiwan not China. More and more of the traditional USA tools are being made overseas now. One example is the Proto wrenches at my old job were made in Taiwan, not USA. These old arguments against HF and for “USA made” tools just doesn’t work anymore.
mark j stolzoff
the same chinese companies make the power tools you use
>> This is meant for weekend warriors who don’t know any better. They have dozens of brand names, likely all made by the same Chinese company, to give the impression that they are a legitimate tool store.
Please drop the elitist bs attitude.
They are a legitimate tool store. They sell tools. People buy from them. They may not be high enough quality for what you and I want, but they are good enough for what many people do. There was a time when you could buy US made, decent quality (but still not “good enough” for a pro mechanic) from Sears.
Not true for all tools. There extra long wrenches
These are actually great. We use them at the shop all the time. Yes there not as stiff as snapon but the open end part is a life saver on many bolts. And to add there xxl long.
Is a favorite among the shop. Amazing value. Yes I work as a mechanic full time.
All of the Icon tools I have seen are made in Taiwan not China. All of the tools that I have seen that are made in Taiwan are of excellent quality. And they look to be high quality.
The quality of steel and forging is what makes a great tool not the country it was produced at.. This Taiwan vs. China is all BS
But, in some industries or for some hand tool categories, better-made products tend to come from manufacturers based in Taiwan, and some of the less expensive versions from manufacturers based in China.
I have seen some very good quality tools from both countries, but there seem to be fewer entry-priced products being made in Taiwan than China.
The observations that the Taiwan vs. China production generalizations are based on are not without merit.
You didn’t add in the 20% coupon. haha I’ve bought some stuff from HF and it’s been ok. Zero Turn Mower lift has been worth the money and that’s something you want to be able to return right away if quality isn’t good. It’s better to have HF’s then not to have. No one is forcing you to buy from them but when your in a pinch it’s a good to have if within half an hour.
Unfortunate the 20% HF coupons can’t be used with their Icon brand.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to use the 20% off coupon on anything there any longer, save their legacy products. Almost any of the new “pull a name out of our ass” brands they’ve introduced over the past 24 months is excluded from the coupon now.
Their new 25” comfort grip icon bar is almost exactly the same as the old Pittsburgh Pro 25” comfort grip and then they jack the price up outrageously. Right now both are sold side by side and I pity the fool who pays the extra $30-35 for the same breaker bar with a new name
The icon is about an inch longer, heavier in hand slightly thicker shaft, and heavier built hinge. May not be $30 more worth in improvement.. but it definitely better feeling in hand
I think it is interesting that my very old old Pittsburgh 1/2″ breaker bar looks like the new Icon 63856 bar. I got it mainly to reach the belt tensioner on my old car, but it turned out to be pretty nice breaker bar. I think I only paid $12 at the time. I
noticed the same pattern about a couple of other tools last time I was at the store.
I wonder if they just took the nicer old tools and labeled them ICON and priced them much higher. HF probably following the higher price means higher quality scheme a la the old 2-buck-chuck wine experiment or more recently the “Palessi” shoe store experiment?
Here’s the thing with all these new HF “brands” they have that are trying to raise their profile and compete with the name brands, there’s no compelling reason to buy them. They have yet to demonstrate that they are any better in form or function then their competition, their prices are about the same (sometimes higher), and their warranty is 90 days on some of it. The convenience of local stores for most people is about all they have going for them. They are investing all this effort to achieve “also ran” status in these categories. It may work and they may raise their perception in the marketplace beyond “cheap” status, it may not, time will tell, personally I’m not buying any of this stuff yet, I just don’t see a compelling reason to.
I have been a tool user all my life. Auto repair, heavy equipment repair, and industrial machine repair and maintenance. I have bought Mac, Snap On, SK, and more. I have broken Mac, Snap On, SK and more. SK made great tools when they were SK Wayne. The tools took a huge dive in the seventies when they dropped the Wayne name. Hell, Snap On was reported to have been a product produced by Easco. They all have given up some level of quality in the last 40 to 50 years. That is a by product of competition from Japan, China, and Korea. I paid $70 for a long handled 1/2″ drive ratchet from Snap On back in the early 90’s and broke a tooth or two in it shortly into its life. The Snap On truck guy was so awful about replacing it, and took 4 weeks to obtain the rebuild kit for it that I didnt see the advantage in purchasing from him at all. He was really nasty to me while rebuilding it, and i decided right then that Sears was open 7 days a week for getting replacement tools, and if…..and I mean if….Craftsman was a little lesser quality, i would at least have a tool to use the very next day. I did after all buy the tool so I could use it.
Now, about 4 years ago I purchased a Harbor Freight 21 piece 3/8″ drive socket set with ratchet to use in my job as a millwright. I told my work partner to show no mercy, but also no intentional abuse to the set as we used it daily. It performed flawlessly in our day to day, and we both commented on how pleasantly surprised we were, and frankly shocked that none had suffered breakage. I still have and use that set to this day, and have no broken pieces. That, my friend is a bargain.
I feel more than qualified in my experience to say that Harbor Freight has some tools that work just as well as the expensive brands. The Pittsburgh Professional stuff has a clearly better finish and appearance than the really cheap stuff. I, of course, have not tried every tool at Harbor Freight to speak about all, but if you pay attention to the better quality stuff they carry, you almost cant go wrong.
What good is a Snap On tool that takes weeks to be replaced, and comes with a dose of guilt on the side. Every mechanic has sacrificed both tools, and knuckles, in the pursuit of getting the job done. I have always known to some degree that I pushed a tool to, or beyond it’s limits when it broke. So here it is. Buy tools that come with a warranty, and a drive to get a replacement that doesn’t make you regret buying it, and you most likely have made a good purchase. Just my opinion.
HF is going with the theory that if it raises its prices their tools will be better. Doesn’t work that way. HF is a joke. Stick with the cheap tools that’s your thing.
GAH! I’ve broken two of the HF tool 1/2 breaker bars- you can see the casting in the head that inserts into the socket is terrible. Spend the extra $$ and get a quality tool.
Funny like some other commenters have mentioned- This is their regular “Pitsburg pro” breaker bar that they’ve re-branded to make it more appealing?
I think HF stands to benefit (profit) most from the demise of Sears. The reason for buying craftsman was the ubiquity of Sears stores everywhere that could warranty out tools without a receipt or much question, no waiting on a weekly truck visit, no worry if you travel with your tools for work there was always a Sears nearby. Now it seems HF has stores everywhere and they want to cash in on their massive presence with new labels to maximize profit and attempt to move up-market.
I saw this very thing last weekend. The breaker bar is nice, but not $50 nice. My thinking is that if you’re breaking these or other hand tools due to actual severe service, then it’s time to step up to a quality unit. Those SK’s and Protos are nice…would probably hold up well.
I would like to see side by side testing of these tools , Icon vs Snap-On, and all the rest. The same with Sears Craftsman vs SBD Craftsman.
Many reviews on youtube of the pittsburgh pro vs snap on.
The hard part is knowing who to trust. I’ve seen examples of dubious comparisons and testing.
I spoke with a middle-aged woman recently who had just bought a Harbor Freight electrical tool. It was a major purchase and I suggested she think about returning it and look at better brands at the big box stores since they might cost just a bit more, especially on sale, but would be much better quality.
Nope. She said that Harbor Freight had many excellent brands that got good reviews. She seemed to put them on par with other brands. She was not clear on how it’s all HF brand and especially electrical tools cannot compare even with Ryobi or Kobalt. She grew up around tools on a farm, and this was not her first tool purchase.
After hearing her strong opinions, it’s likely she buys all her other tools there, including hand tools. As I read this and the comments, some psychology becomes clear. If HF sells brands on par with Snap-On, etc., they must have quality items in their store. It may not even matter if they sell many of the “pro-grade” brands, it’s just another way of marketing/positioning the store itself.
That’s the psycho-magic of their ads and in-store displays. They are constantly putting their name next to Snap-on, Klein, DeWalt, etc… The more your eyes see two things together, the more your brain correlates them. It’s no accident, and it’s very smart of them to do it that way, like it or not.
I like this post because I know I’ve fallen for the feeling like I’m getting a good deal, for admittedly crappier quality, but I’ve never had the stuff break. I’m no professional.
If they want to step up their game and get rid of their cheap reputation why not start carrying some made in USA tools? I think this would make everyone feel a little better about spending more money for a tool. At least I would suspect that it was actually higher quality. As it is I see no reason to take a chance on their new marketing approach. And I think it is ridiculous to compare to Snap-On. Does anyone really believe they quality would be comparable? I don’t think it would even be close.
The only thing I can see them comparing to snap on is their yellow Daytona jack. Snap on actually sued them because it’s the same jack. Both are made overseas and I would bet that they’re both made by the same oem
And Snap on lost
If they went heavy into USA stuff they would have to drop the “Harbor” from their name.
HF’s hand tools are hit or miss. I love their impact sockets, and they are decently cheap. I have broken 1/2″, 3/4″ breaker bars, ratchets, and tons of (at least 30) regular sockets from HF. How do you break a 3/4″ breaker bar by hand? I broke 2 of them at the joint trying to get a 43mm axle nut off my Ram. I believe item 98270. I ended up using a 1/2″ craftsman ratchet with a cheater bar, and that worked. I was 90% sure I was going to break that ratchet. To be fair, I have broken other sockets and a few ratchets from other brands too, but significantly fewer. Maybe 2 or 3?
I also have had problems with HF’s box end wrenches where the fit was not up to par. Stick it on a bolt, and you could see that it was going to round it off because the tolerance wasn’t there. I rounded a few off before I checked 🙁
Sure, HF replaces broken stuff if you have the receipt, but you have to drive there. I’d rather not break it. Driving around costs money and time.
My experience is that the hand tools are fine unless you are really cranking on them. If it is a one-time use tool, or for light duty, go ahead. If you are going to keep them for a decade and use them decently often, look elsewhere.
It isn’t a hand tool, but I also really like their $20 grinder item 60372. Lasts for a while, but not forever. For $20, it works fine for grinding metal all day.
I have the $20 Pittsburgh Pro one, $16 after 20% off coupon. No idea why anyone would drop $50 on the icon when you can do the same thing with the same quality for $16.
Came here to second this, Item #62729 is a great breaker bar with a rubberized handle. My 2017 Mustang has a 150 ft/lb torque spec on the lugs which is hard to believe, but the HF has served well in limited duty removal. Mainly use in conjunction with my Dewalt impact wrench as it cannot quite break the wheel locks solo. I keep it in my trunk and I’d imagine it doubles as a great self defense weapon as well.
Everyone is missing the point. There is a hole in the market for craftsman level tools. HF is just trying to fill it. I have several Bauer products and they have been great and I have a Hercules grinder and it works like my Dewalt. The icon stuff is very nice stuff maybe alittle high priced for now. I see them dropping it evently.
Met a guy one in crutches. He and a friend were working the pinion nut off a diff. Breaker bar and a 4′ chunk of pipe. Pipe shattered…he landed or fell or something and ended up cutting open a good portion of his leg. Permanent nerve damage, etc. Cheap tools break. Good tools break if abused.
Harbor Freight is trying to rebrand to fill the void left by Craftsman. Only way I see this working is if they drop the price and not sell it at their stores.
Not that this is proof of anything, but I was working with another tech trying to get a 2 inch plug pulled out from a large natural gas compressor to repair a leak. We managed to break his Proto breaker bar on the attempt. My Pittsburgh Pro breaker bar is the one that finally got it off (after 20 minutes of digging chunks of his Proto out of the hole) also my Pittsburgh 24 inch adjustable will fit 2 1/2 inch unions, whereas my company issued Proto 24″ only goes to 2 3/8″ which is just really annoying. Now, I have a set of the Pittsburgh cast wrenches (the 20 dollar set) and they are garbage, but the drop forged Pittsburgh Pro (60 dollar set) wrenches are every bit as good as the Snap On set he has. I am a fan of cheap tools because I like to have extras on hand, I carry 3 of everything in my truck, he spends more money on tools and has no back up options.
HF fills an interesting corner for me. It’s very close to the house, like walking distance. Super handy if the truck is down because I failed to the right tools for some repair that I jumped in on. No other hardware store is that close. Bonus points for being in the same mini-mall as a car parts store.
This means that I bought a big breaker bar from harbor freight. It did the job. I couldn’t believe how much it flexed before that bolt finally broke loose. Red loctite is no joke people.
I’ve got lots of impact sockets from HF and I believe my SAE deep well set it also HF. I can’t say that I’ve ever broken a socket.
I HATE their combination wrenches. They slip, flex, and generally suck, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t in the kitchen tool drawer. The urchins have to ask to use tools from the garage, but the drawer is a free for all.
Notice the head on that Tekton.
I have one similar and I really like that style.
I think the Proto breaker looks great when I’m jumping up and down on it with my full body weight.
I bought a HF Pittsburgh Pro 24″ breaker bar while in Georgia and never used it. I was removing a pittman arm nut that was torqued to 150 ft-lbf and and at the first turn, the breaker bar head sheared right off. I then grabbed my bent handle 1/2″ Snap-on flex head and it removed the nut with no effort. The HF bar had a lifetime warranty but I’ll pass on it. I paid $15 for it and got what I paid for.
Sorry, it was their 25″ breaker bar, not 24″.
I have the Proto 24″, it’s a phenomenal value.
Regarding the knurled handle of the Proto, at least in my case, the knurlings are not rough on the hands at all. It looks like they applied the knurling and then rolled over the knurling to knock down the sharp corners. Frankly, I would prefer that it be a little grippier.
I bought the HF Icon ratcheting wrench set, SAE and Metric . I own a Harley repair/restoration shop and depend on my tools 7 days a week.
Having owned them for 6 months now, I have decided to return to HF and buy the entire line. I own tools made by Snapon, MAC, and many others, however the Icon tools are a better tool for me. They feel great in the hand, they’re durable, and they’re affordable.
I’m extremely hard on my tools so I break tools all the time including the expensive ones. The icon wrenches are simply badass.
That being said, the other brands that HF carries are disposable junk.
It would be really nice if a “certified” test center would just test a comparable set of tools and actually show the breaking point of the breaker bars, number of times it can be used before failure, etc.
Only then could we make truly educated decisions about cost/quality.
Maybe we should petition Consumer’s Union to do it.
Consider that Snap On tools sell because truck dealers pay for their truck inventory and own it. They also sell on a truck account that offers time payments. Most other brands are cash and carry. Time payments provide for more product exposure as the dealer visits regularly to collect payments due on the truck account. Dealer visits also reduce time away from the job for warranty for mechanics working against a clock to make a living. Hats and other freebies come out of the truck dealers wallet. Snap On sells and supports their superior tools on the job. Snap On is the way to go for Pro Quality tools. It also seems to be the compare to standard, has more sizes and on and on.