Noerthern Tools vs. Harbor Freight vs. Brand Name -
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post #1 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Noerthern Tools vs. Harbor Freight vs. Brand Name

I just recently ordered a rotary tool (think Dremel 4000) and kit from Northern Tool. Was just curious if anyone has had any experiences to share about Northern Tool products? I have used some Harbor Freight stuff and found it was a good value for the money, though not the top-of-the-line tools in quality. However, I have found that I rarely need the top-of-the-line tools for the work I do.

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post #2 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 07:26 AM
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haha you might want to move this to another section of the forum to get more answers. Never bought northern tool have had a few things from harbor frieght but only for tools im gonna use once in a while or when im in the store i see something cool. My best purchase from harbor frieght was thier samller froor jack it works great and i have had it for a few years others things though like my impact gun is husky sockets and wrenches are craftsman. I just can't put all my trust into harbor freights products I will have to use on a regular basis. Btw I love your name. haha

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post #3 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 07:49 AM
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Ive had great luck with northern tools . They used to be northern Hydraulics in times past, and always treated me well and had a great product line. Harbor Freight was just as good in customer service but their imported product line at times was really lacking, although now its much improved. Their main store in camarillo calif. rocks. I was like a kid in a candy store when I was there.
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 08:53 AM
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as far as working on my XJ tech-wise, I've used HF with great success and I can honestly say that even though its cheap, whatever gets the job done is what I use.

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post #5 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 09:50 AM
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I love Harbor Freight stuff and I have never had a problem returning anything.

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post #6 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 01xjltd View Post
Harbor Freight was just as good in customer service but their imported product line at times was really lacking, although now its much improved.
Like they have some other product line!!!

Originally Posted by shawnzoman View Post
I love Harbor Freight stuff and I have never had a problem returning anything.
I like S-K. Never needed to return anything.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 09:32 PM
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I am a fan of Harbor Freight... Never had a problem with any tool I bought from them... I take that back, a ratchet I've had for like 10 years started acting up on me... I attribute that to the repeated hammer blows it took getting some sticky bolts out... It is now the full time hammer ratchet and still works for that purpose... Harbor Freight is good enough for me...
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 09:42 PM
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the $20 "dremel" type tools overheat very easily.

the real thing works a lot better.

other than that, HF is fine for many things- not all.

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post #9 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 10:31 PM
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The HF and Northern stuff is good for OCCASIONAL use. If you make a living with your tools (or do lots of repairs for your buddies), you need better tools that those. Sears, S-K, Proto, and others are better. Of course, for serious mechanics, there is Mac and Snap-On, but the key there is to get a sales rep. who will swing by your place on a regular basis, or at least when needed. Those guys tend to focus on the pro shops, where sales is certain.

I don't own an XJ any longer, but I still think they are the best of all the Jeep products ever made. My XJ was my favorite vehicle in my 50+ years of driving.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-13-2010, 10:38 PM
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I wouldn't buy anything electrical from HF. Got one of those "dremel" tools and it's worthless.
I buy extensions, breaker bars, wire brushes, organizer bins, stuff like that from hf.
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-14-2010, 07:33 AM
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I bought a grinder from them and so far has worked great for cutting off old exhausts and such. Ive had it for 3 years now. However I would not recommend there sawzall as I had to return 3 of them just to take the factory exhaust off my Camaro.They use cheap plastic gears. They didnt give me any hard time returning them though. Also I have HF's 1000 lb Engine stand, and 1 ton Engine hoist and both work like a charm.

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post #12 of 17 Old 07-14-2010, 10:41 AM
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Harbor freight and northern are great just be careful with anything electrical.

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post #13 of 17 Old 07-15-2010, 08:51 AM
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both shops are great for speciality tools. far as core tools though, I would go brand.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-15-2010, 06:06 PM
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I sometimes buy their cheap stuff and use it as a "throw away".

Use it for one job, if it still works then great. If not, then throw it away and buy another one.

I just bought a 4" angle grinder on sale for less than $20. I put a flap wheel in it and use it all the time for prepping metal for welds.

When it bites the dust, I'll throw it away and get another one (on sale). It's better than paying $$ for a name brand when you are just going to beat it up any way.

I can buy 3-4 cheap ones for the cost of one good one.

Don't get me wrong, I spend lots of money for name brand tools that I need to last.

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post #15 of 17 Old 07-16-2010, 05:02 PM
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Generally using a cheap tool makes me work harder, takes longer, and eventually fails making me angry.

Since I take alot of pride in my work, pay attention to detail so it's done right the first time and learned through experience that working smart is better than working hard...

I buy 99% of my tools with demand for high quality. A warranty is not going to get me finished any faster.

I also use many, many tools for my living so I actually KNOW the difference between crap and good stuff...if you buy all your stuff at HF and Northern Tool you probably don't even know what a tool with power actually feels like...or how much time you have wasted working that tool harder...or how many trips you have made getting another one under warranty...

but this country has become a disposable society.

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