Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
8/29/23 8:06 p.m.

Hey Everybody,

I was tooling around Harbor Freight today and realized I haven't been to these stores enough to understand which tool and storage lines will take longer to become hammers than the others.  For instance, what is the real difference between Yukon and US General tool storage?  I get that the Icon line is the flagship there.  Meanwhile, automotive tools seem to be split into the Pittsburgh, Quinn and Icon lines.  There is an in indecipherable (to me) power tool hierarchy that would be nice to know as well as floor jacks. 

At first, I thought it might be country of origin but that is not always the case.  I thought perhaps some hierarchical chart of the various tool lines (price/quality-wise) would be helpful to those of us who have not visited more than a few times.  I'm contemplating some tool storage in my near future so feel free to talk me out of these boxes.  I would opt for non-mainland-China stuff if at all possible.  I did notice there seems to be more and more stuff from Taiwan.

Also, I'm up for a -dork status move in about seven more posts.

gixxeropa GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/29/23 8:14 p.m.

generally, in terms of quality, its pittsburgh, pittsburgh pro, quinn, then icon. then for tool boxes: yukon, us general, then icon. but since only the us general 34 inch box comes in purple that's the one i'm getting

gixxeropa GRM+ Memberand Reader
8/29/23 8:15 p.m.

fwiw ive been happy with my icon torque wrench, not as much with the pittsburgh but it was $15 and does fine torquing lug nuts on my truck

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/29/23 10:09 p.m.

I have some US General tool chests and they have been fantastic.  Seriously beefy.  I love the Icon, but I can't see spending that much when I've been this happy with US General.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) Dork
8/29/23 10:26 p.m.

I usually got a season or two out of the Pittsburgh torque wrenches, they were semi-disposable. I replaced it with an Icon the last time and I like it way better. It seems built to last, we'll see. 

93gsxturbo UltraDork
8/29/23 10:29 p.m.

You know one of the big barriers keeping me out of horrible freight tools?  As stupid as it sounds - the name.

Other than Icon, they are all terrible.

Pittsburgh - Did they do no research?  May as well have called them Toledo or Green Bay

Quinn - I dont want tools named after a doctor lady from Little House on the Prairie or that punchable brother-in-law

US General - First off - thats E36 M3ty car insurance.  Second off.  There is nothing US about it.  

Bauer - They make tools now?  My hockey skates were OK.

Harbor Freight has currently 74 brands on their website.  You know what made Sears successful?  Everything was "Craftsman" (with notable exceptions - shut up, nerds) Same with Snap-On.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/29/23 10:44 p.m.

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

Yeah, I used to say about HF that instead of their selling crap for 1/3 the price of good stuff, they should also sell good stuff for 3/4 the price of the name brands. Ultimately they started doing that, but their branding is haphazard. Should be 3 brands: Cheap, decent and good. No mas. 

93gsxturbo UltraDork
8/29/23 10:58 p.m.

Honestly they could have just bought the Craftsman name, continued to honor the legacy Craftsman warranty, got rid of the absolute bottom tier of crap they sell (or call it Companion or Allstate) and I would give them my money.  Other than COO, most of the stuff being offered by Harbor Freight is on tier with what most people remember as Craftsman quality.

Also, their prices are getting a little mental.  I needed to buy some tools for work the other day, and their stuff is on par with name brands like Milwaukee and Husky.  Even just for panache, if I am spending Milwaukee prices I will buy Milwaukee tools.  If a set of Icon sockets are 50 and Milwaukees are 60 and come with a nicer rail, I will buy the Milwaukees.  

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