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A Harbor Freight Tools Review

If it fits in your toolbox,  Harbor Freight Tools has it. Even if it’s too big for your toolbox, Imagethey’ve probably got it ” unless your toolbox is bigger than a gas engine generator.

Harbor Freight Tools is a great one-stop shop for amateurs and professionals of every variety. Do you do it yourself? Are you an on-site handyman? Or maybe you’re just an everyday homeowner forever chasing those little improvements and never-ending repairs. Whatever your level, you know that the right tool for the right job can make all the difference in the world. Harbor Freight Tools knows how to get that right tool for you. And for the right price.

Let there be tools
Eric Smidt and his pop started the business out of North Hollywood, California in 1977. It was strictly a mail-order operation and they called it Harbor Freight Salvage. Smidt studied up and discovered all the mark-ups that went into the pricing of tools. (Smidt’s bio states that he really loved selling tools ” go figure.) He found a lot of bloat, especially in all the middlemen such as distributors, salesmen, retailers and the like.

The firm went to the source and began acquiring its stock right from the manufacturers. That made all the difference for the fledgling company, and they steadily became a leading retailer in the business, offering one of the deepest catalogs at prices the competition couldn’t touch.

Harbor Freight Tools opened its first retail store in 1980 in Lexington, Kentucky. They ran more than 100 locations by 2001, and they launched their 300th store in 2008. Today the company owns more than 400 shops, keeps up its impressive mail-order operation, and of course has one monster of a website. All of that and Harbor Freight Tools remains a family-owned business.

Tooling around

Harbor Freight Tools has one of those websites that makes you go “Wow, look at all that stuff!” Their homepage features a row of categories to narrow your choice of tools. Below that are a series of their latest coupons covering everything from gloves to welding helmets to a rolling tool cabinet.

The extensive catalog on Harbor Freight Tools is broken into 10 categories. Clicking on any of these links brings you to that category’s main page that features highlights and filters to help you drill down further. These are the main tool categories:

  • Air tools
  • Automotive and motorcycle
  • Engines and generators
  • Garage and shop
  • Hand tools
  • Household
  • Lawn and garden
  • Material handling
  • Power tools
  • Welding

Clicking on “Hand tools,” for example, displays a thorough list of every kind of hand tool they carry. They’ve got 192 sockets and ratchets, 89 pliers, 27 pry bars, 26 hex wrenches and 27 saws. In all, they boast more than 50 types of hand tools here. You can also choose to filter by price, availability (online, in stores), by sales items or by brand.

They also display featured sub-categories here, from axes and bolt cutters to clamps and files. Toward the bottom they highlight the most popular products and their latest offers. At the time of this review, you could pick up a 15″ Jumbo Adjustable Wrench for $14.99 or a 32-Piece Metric Wrench Set for $17.99.

How deep is my toolbox?

Every product category on Harbor Freight Tools is as thorough as thorough can be. They carry more than 500 power tool accessories to augment all the jigs and miters and routers on the site. And then there are all the cordless drills and grinders and mixers. And then there’s you get the idea.

Their automotive and motorcycle product line goes so far as to offer hitches and trailers. Would you believe they carry 20 winch-related products? And of course you can find a 12-ounce spray can of WD-40, too.

Show me the savings

Harbor Freight Tools means diddly unless they offer some of the best prices around ” and they’ve got that, all right. Some quick-surf shop-and-compare time proves they’ve got the stuff when it comes to the discount tools game. Some of their merchandise is even priced lower than goods on eBay. But, as they say on those infomercials: wait, there’s more!

* Monthly specials
You can always catch the monthly ad link at the top of the Harbor Freight site for the latest and greatest tools deals. These are their hot-off-the press bargains and cover hundreds of products across the entire scope of their catalog.

* Sale & Clearance
This is another link you’ll find towards the top of their page. This is the stuff of the “going fast” variety, so there’s less to choose from, but the reductions are significant. How about a drive socket for only 47 cents? Maybe you could go for a $4 hacksaw or coping saw. Many of these items have been marked down by 50%.

* The mother of coupons
This really is the best of best. Don’t miss the “Get Coupons Now” link all the way at the top of their page. These are time-limited coupons good for online shopping or store locations. Some of these latest deals save you $90 on a workbench, $40 on an industrial cut-off saw and $120 on a rotary hammer. Some of these savings go as high as 75%. These bargains are so good that Harbor Freight Tools must have run out of superlatives, so they’ve simply dubbed them “Super Coupons.”Image

Is that all there is?

Can Harbor Freight Tools do anything more to sweeten the deal? They’ve already got one of the widest selections of tools this side of the Milky Way, and they practically dare anyone to offer lower prices. What else is left?

Try a $6.99 flat-rate shipping on for size. And most orders ship out within 24 hours of being placed. They also guarantee that all their hand tools will be free from defects for the life of the product.

On top of all that, Harbor Freight Tools has one more offer you might not be able to refuse: they will beat any competitor’s price within one year of your purchase. That’s really hitting the nail on the head.


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