HQ Tool Suggestions


Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
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Was wondering what your guys' opinion was on some useful tools and brands. I'm always looking for hidden gem tools at garage sales, estate sales, or 2nd hand stores. I'm mainly hoping to focus on brands which are mostly guaranteed to be of worthwhile quality, so brands that are hit and miss I'm only interested in certain product line names. I'll start off on a few obvious ones.

Mitutoyo - Any measuring devices
Fluke, Keithley, HP, Siglent, Agilent, Keysight, B&K Precision, Rohde & Schwartz - Electronic measurements, testing, and power supplies
Hakko, Quick, Atten, JBC - Soldering or rework stations.
Hilti - Drills and impact drivers
Greenlee - Crimpers, cutters, electrician tools
Nichicon, JamiCON, Panasonic, Ruby - Capacitors
Omron - Electronic switches
Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Sanyo - Lithium cells
Maglite - Flashlights
Mattco, Snap-on, Mac - Sockets and wrenches
FLIR - Thermal imaging
Fiskars - Hand tools and gardening
Honda - Small engines
Morse, Starrett - Milling, blades, taps, and bits

Maybe the list will be a good reference once it's big enough. Any suggestions about brands that ooze superior quality in a certain field?

Will be adding more as they're suggested or as I think of them. Feel free to rip the brands if you've had a bad experience as well, that's what the thread is about.

Briggs & Stratton - Small engines (Quality has gone downhill recently)
 
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Popwarhomie

10+ year member
Jan 22, 2010
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Harbor freight. 👍
Talk all the shit you want about them but lifetime warranty on hand tools and they are cheap as **** and easily exchanged if needed. 🤷‍♂️

Snap on $175 for 3/8" ratchet. PITA to warranty.
Pittsburgh $19 BEFORE 20% off coupon and Lifetime warranty.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

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Chicago Electric baby! From the great land of The Peoples Republic of China. A place notoriously known for quality control!
Harbor Freight isn't all bad, but anything worth being upset when it breaks is gonna be made in Taiwan. 98% of the store is made in China.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
820
180
United States
Harbor freight. 👍
Talk all the shit you want about them but lifetime warranty on hand tools and they are cheap as **** and easily exchanged if needed. 🤷‍♂️
It's true that a lot of tools don't really need to be top notch. I mean, this has served me well in the worst situations for 5 years for example:
In general though, if you see a pittsburgh or chicago electric tool at a garage sale it's going to look like a better deal than it is unless it's dirt cheap.

Also not for nothing, this Walmart tool has done far more wire stripping than my auto-strippers just because I keep it in the glove box 24/7.
 
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THATpurpleKUSH

Smoke weed everyday
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Sep 30, 2009
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Who needs quality when big box stores have such lax return policies aka rental policies.

They are so desperate to get foot traffic in the store they will do anything to appease customers.

Before you morally upright haters talk shit- I have worked on both sides of this fence. The battle is as futile as the war on drugs. There is an allowance for these types of losses a company incurs. It's built into their book keeping. They enable it, they encourage it.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

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Apr 27, 2020
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Who needs quality when big box stores have such lax return policies aka rental policies.

They are so desperate to get foot traffic in the store they will do anything to appease customers.

Before you morally upright haters talk shit- I have worked on both sides of this fence. The battle is as futile as the war on drugs. There is an allowance for these types of losses a company incurs. It's built into their book keeping. They enable it, they encourage it.
If you can't beat em, join em eh? Correction: They absorb it, because that's the price of a return policy like that. It's like car insurance, it's price is built on the knowledge that most people aren't trying to commit insurance fraud.
 

THATpurpleKUSH

Smoke weed everyday
10+ year member
Sep 30, 2009
7,798
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Slums of the Shaolin
If you can't beat em, join em eh? Correction: They absorb it, because that's the price of a return policy like that. It's like car insurance, it's price is built on the knowledge that most people aren't trying to commit insurance fraud.
Because the insurance industry is so honest and innocent and always looks out for the consumers........


If I didnt know any better Id say you're another bobby2names account trying to make a name for yourself. You react in similar ways to certain posts and you show a similar gap in knowledge of what worked in the past vs what works today. Could be me but I'm throwing that out there.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

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Apr 27, 2020
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Because the insurance industry is so honest and innocent and always looks out for the consumers........

If I didnt know any better Id say you're another bobby2names account trying to make a name for yourself. You react in similar ways to certain posts and you show a similar gap in knowledge of what worked in the past vs what works today. Could be me but I'm throwing that out there.
Well the other side of that is that they're still making a profit obviously. In Harbor Freight's case they can offer return policies like that because a) Their products are extremely cheap and b) The hassle of returning an item usually involves going through the tool company rather than the store, which for a cheap tool eventually your time in getting the return postage cleared is worth more than the tool.

Idk who that is, but personal drama on a car audio forum sounds like a pretty shitty way to occupy one's time. I think using a hardware store as an unpaid toolbox worked in the past and also works today, but it was never not a douche move... Unpopular opinion of the year, right?
 

1aespinoza

Junior Member
May 22, 2013
498
148
Pharr, Texas
Harbor Freight tools are cheap and of ok quality. That said, my go to is their oscillating multi tool. At $20 it pays for itself within one hour of use. I usually get a year out of one with heavy use. So not knocking them, just funning around.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
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Harbor Freight tools are cheap and of ok quality. That said, my go to is their oscillating multi tool. At $20 it pays for itself within one hour of use. I usually get a year out of one with heavy use. So not knocking them, just funning around.
I've always heard anything that's meant to do a bunch of things often does a bunch of things badly.. but I've also gotten decent use out of one of those redoing a glued down tile floor.
 
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1aespinoza

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May 22, 2013
498
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Pharr, Texas
Well the other side of that is that they're still making a profit obviously. In Harbor Freight's case they can offer return policies like that because a) Their products are extremely cheap and b) The hassle of returning an item usually involves going through the tool company rather than the store, which for a cheap tool eventually your time in getting the return postage cleared is worth more than the tool.

Idk who that is, but personal drama on a car audio forum sounds like a pretty shitty way to occupy one's time. I think using a hardware store as an unpaid toolbox worked in the past and also works today, but it was never not a douche move... Unpopular opinion of the year, right?
It works because it gets you back in the store. When I go for a warranty exchange, I usually pick up spare blades for my other tools, and a random doohickey because it looks like something that will make life easier. Autozone has the same policy with lifetime warranty on autoparts and tools. You always leave with more than you needed.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

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Apr 27, 2020
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It works because it gets you back in the store. When I go for a warranty exchange, I usually pick up spare blades for my other tools, and a random doohickey because it looks like something that will make life easier. Autozone has the same policy with lifetime warranty on autoparts and tools. You always leave with more than you needed.
There's a big difference between warranty exchanges for broken parts and returns. I mean if it breaks because you were giving it the 300lb gorilla routine then sure, it's got a warranty, that's what it's there for. In terms of returns like buying a specialty tool for a project and then returning it after you're done.. Naw, in that case you're going back to the store to rip someone off. Either a multi-million dollar organization or the average Joe that the employees repackaged it for and didn't label it as open box.
 

1aespinoza

Junior Member
May 22, 2013
498
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Pharr, Texas
There's a big difference between warranty exchanges for broken parts and returns. I mean if it breaks because you were giving it the 300lb gorilla routine then sure, it's got a warranty, that's what it's there for. In terms of returns like buying a specialty tool for a project and then returning it after you're done.. Naw, in that case you're going back to the store to rip someone off. Either a multi-million dollar organization or the average Joe that the employees repackaged it for and didn't label it as open box.
Yes I see that often in HD or Lowe's. Used tools in the returns desk that look to have been bought for a one time use. I agree, that is theft by deceit. My returns are purchased warranty. After all, that is the reason of purchasing said warranty. 3 months manufacturer and then one year store after that. Cannot beat that deal for only $9.
 
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MattinMO

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Dec 31, 2017
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St.louis, MO
Harbor freight is good for hand tools but imo anything powered is junk, my dad bought a “predator” gas auger when he was putting in his fence took it out the box gassed it up fired it up and stick it in the ground to get started digging post holes...the shaft sheared within seconds. He put it back in the box went back to harbor freight and said this thing I just bought an hr ago already broke and they kind of gave him a hard time.
 

MattinMO

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Dec 31, 2017
875
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St.louis, MO
I considered getting a 24 gallon air compressor from harbor freight but after reading reviews decided to get a kobalt 22 gallon from Lowe’s
 

Popwarhomie

10+ year member
Jan 22, 2010
7,921
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The predator engines are fantastic. Can't comment on the other things attached to the engines though other than the generators which are also great. The employees will tell you to buy an extended warranty with anything expensive from HF and take it back and exchange every year even not broken. They then sell them at their Parking lot sale.

The central pneumatic compressors were hit and miss though. The Mcgraw and Fortress are great though.


The Kobalt line from Lowes is the same as the "Barn star" brand from Tractor Supply and 50% cheaper at TS.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
820
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United States
Harbor freight is good for hand tools but imo anything powered is junk, my dad bought a “predator” gas auger when he was putting in his fence took it out the box gassed it up fired it up and stick it in the ground to get started digging post holes...the shaft sheared within seconds. He put it back in the box went back to harbor freight and said this thing I just bought an hr ago already broke and they kind of gave him a hard time.
Yeah, I think that electric stuff really comes down to where it was made at harbor freight. Taiwan factories care a lot more about what products they put out than Chinese ones. It's possible to get good chinese products, but the mentality seems to be whatever they can get by with goes, so you'll constantly see things like metal filings inside of a bearing channel because they weren't cleaned out first. Just half-ass stuff you wouldn't ever see in a taiwan tool.

The only hand tool I've broken from harbor freight on the first use is a pittsburgh brake line (flare nut) wrench, it sheered off one side of the teeth. The midwest brings a high demand for tools that can take some abuse with all of the brine they spray on the roads here. We ended up returning it and filing the nut down until we could hammer the next down size regular wrench on to it which did the trick. The hammering probably helped more than the extra force from the wrench of proper thickness.
 
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Lasherž

Lasherž

CarAudio.com Veteran
Apr 27, 2020
820
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United States
The predator engines are fantastic. Can't comment on the other things attached to the engines though other than the generators which are also great.
I know a few people that have used those for golf carts, they seem to be pretty reliable small engines. Project farm on youtube uses them for his oil tests as well. You reminded me also I need to add Briggs and Stratton engines to the list.
 

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