We all know Harbor Freight Tools. They are those cheap, or inexpensive if they say it, tools that most of us have used or relied on at one time or another. Sure there are plenty of tool snobs who would never admit touching one or heaven forbid, using one, but for most of us, you just can’t beat the price which is often 20%-80% lower than a name brand. And Harbor Freight knows this and that has been the basis of their business model since 1968.
But calling Harbor Freight Tools a non-name brand might be a mistake too. Sure they are not a Snap-On or Craftsman, but they are one of the nation’s fastest growing businesses with over 350 stores and they are opening new ones every month. Recently Harbor Freight invited editors from a number of Source Interlink Media titles down to their new product testing laboratory in Calabasas, California to take a look at what they are up to.
Inexpensive has a direct perception on quality and Harbor Freight is well aware of this connection. But they are set on changing it for the lines they produce. And with plenty of examples they showed where they have more features, better performance in real-world measured tests and at a shockingly better price. The durability and quality is the one thing that only the end consumer can really measure but to make sure the tools were up to the task, we saw the test laboratory where they stress and strain the products they design and develop. From putting wenches under water and running them to trying to crush and overpower floor jacks, pneumatic impact drivers were load tested and electric grinders were repeatedly strained, all of the tests were being run in comparison to market leading equipment to make sure the Harbor Freight product was at least as good, if not better.
Now from a personal perspective, I was a Harbor Freight customer as a little kid since they opened one of the first showrooms very close to where I grew up in Camarillo, California. I’d save up money and get my parents to drive me there to add another tool to my collection when my fascination with taking things apart was in full spin, then it was all I could afford. And as I got older and started making money fixing my buddies motorcycles (because I had a killer set of tools!), the best place to get a special tool was still Harbor Freight. And I still own and use plenty of those tools today. And on our visit the guys at Harbor Freight challenged us to take and use their tools and try and break them, because they wanted to know about any problems so they could fix them. That is confidence and looking to a stronger future. I’m sure you’ll start seeing more and more popping up in the Dirt Rider shop.
Worried about the quality? Well there is the lifetime guarantee on all hand tools and a 30-day 100% customer satisfaction money-back guarantee. They have over 7,000 items in categories including automotive, shop equipment, air and power tools, outdoor equipment, compressors, welding, and woodworking tools and in the last two years they boast over five million new customers. That is putting a lot of tools out there. So if you are ever strapped for cash but want to have the ability to fix you dirt bike, this is making that excuse just that much harder to use.For more information, visit www.harborfreight.com.