Harbor Freight Tools

This page isn't about a specific tool but the kind of tools one needs to work on a boat. And Harbor Freight is as close to a man's heaven one can come to on Earth. It's tools and lots of tools at what one would consider unbelievably low prices.

The saying, "You get what you pay for" couldn't better describe this store and it's selection. Don't get me wrong, this place is important in the cruisers list of needed tools. But one must be aware of any tools' quality and limitations.

When we were building the boat I purchased 100's of dollars of tools from them. A huge set of large diameter sockets. They were "cheap" to say the least. I was removing the original thru hulls and took one of the large 1 1/2" sockets to do the job. To get it right I needed to cut a slot into the socket and basically ruin it. At a couple of bucks for the socket I didn't really care. A hack saw and 30 minutes later I had a socket with two slots cut into it. A breaking bar and in I slipped the socket on and with a little muscle I turned the old thru hull out. FANTASTIC!

I bought a small tubing bender. I needed it for putting in the refrigeration system we were installing. When I arrived at the time to use it, I put the 1/4" tubing in the bender. Well, I tried to put the 1/4" tubing in the bender. It wouldn't fit. I took it back to Harbor Freight which has a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee and they promptly returned my money when I showed them that the 1/4" tubing didn't work in the 1/4" slot! While I looked for other goodies I might need I watched as they returned the bender to the shelf for some other fool to buy and hopefully never use, because it would not work!

I could go on about the products I've purchased here. Most used for a bit and discarded. Some I've tried to carry with us on this cruise. One day I needed a hose cutter. I found the one I had purchased from Harbor Freight and of course the blade was rusty. I went to replace the blade and the plastic piece that contains the blade crumbles apart. This will be the last time I use that item. Before we leave it will be going in the trash.

That said; the good and bad, the short term use at a very fair price I grade Harbor Freight and their tools a C.

Grade C...