4 Tips for Shopping at Harbor Freight

harbor freight toolbox

Harbor Freight is a well known place among mechanics, carpenters, electricians, contractors, builders, do it-yourselfers, etc. Essentially anyone who needs a tool for something or likes working with their hands has gone to Harbor Freight at some point.  If you don’t know about Harbor Freight… just don’t go! Seriously once you know about it it essentially impossible not to go there.

You won’t believe some of the discounts and prices they have on tools there. Mostly everything is imported from China, but when you need a tool you need a tool.  Harbor Freight is great if you need that tool only once or some spare odds and ends.  You know like gloves, small flashlights, hammers, screwdrivers, pliers, etc.  Here are my 4 Tips for Shopping at Harbor Freight.

  1. Always use Coupons: Harbor Freight frequently circulates flyers, ads, and emails with coupons on many of their products. It would be stupid to not utilize them as much as possible. Paying regular prices for a lot of their product is too much for what you get. You can find 20% off coupons for any item in the store.  Of course a lot of items are excluded for these 20% off coupons.  Typically you can also find HF coupons in the back of magazines. You can also find coupons when you get items for Free, just for making a purchase. There are lots of mega threads for Harbor Freight coupons on forums all around the internet.  Do a search and you can print some out.  (I print them out in Black and White to save color toner.)
  2. Make a List: Inevitably if you go to Harbor Freight without a list, you will spend more than you really want to. Obviously this is how they want it, but don’t fall for this trap. Try to make a list of necessary tools, items, and equipment you need. Try not to get too distracted by things you don’t need, since there will probably be a lot.
  3. Pay with Cash: When I make a trip over to my local Harbor Freight in Parkville, I try to only pay with cash and what’s on me. If I use my card, I would probably spend a ridiculous amount of money everytime I go. This allows me to say “I will only spend this much today. I can come back and get that later if needed.” It’s easy to spend only a small amount of money for different and various items you need but easy to spend a lot on items you don’t.  If you are buying a larger item and expensive item, such as a toolbox, you can obviously break the rule and use a credit card as that would be easier (and safer) than bringing cash.
  4. Check Reviews: If you look on a lot of forums and sites around the web you can find reviews of what you should and should not buy at Harbor Freight.  I would recommend checking them out as I have found people have written reviews for almost anything there even down to small screwdrivers sets.  This has made it so that I have made good buying decisions at Harbor Freight, like my toolbox, and avoided bad items there.

I know a lot of you have a love-hate relationship with Harbor Freight, like I do, but sometimes you just need to go there.  It’s a guy thing I guess! :)

If you think my list of tips is good, please leave a comment below and let me know.  If you think something should be added about Harbor Freight also leave a comment.

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Spring Carlisle, April 27th – May 1st

Spring is officially upon us, and that means the season for car shows is just getting started.  For the gearhead, hot-rodder, car collector, tuner, and motorcyclist there is only one place to go during the Spring and Summer…. Carlisle, PA! The shows at Carlisle are like no other and people from all over the country (and other countries) go to attend the shows.  At the upcoming Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Corral there will be plenty of good motoring fun.  There will be vendors selling all sorts of parts, tools, equipment, accessories, and anything automotive.  There will be car auctions, people selling cars, swap meets, competitions etc.  To truly understand Carlisle…. you need to go there and experience it yourself!  Definitely put this on your calendar.

Spring Carlisle, the opening to the season, got started today is coming up. If you are a car guy or gal and have never been… you really must go.  You might even want to plan to go for more than one day.  To walk everything, as in the all the infields and manufactures midway,  it’s about 15 miles.  Not an easy 15 miles of walking either as it’s crowded with people.  You won’t believe everything you will see and find.  Maybe I will see you there if I get a chance to go.

 

Spring Carlisle Collector Car Swap Meet & Corral

April 27 – May 1

Adult Admission: Wednesday – Saturday $10, Sunday $5

Times: Wed-Sat 7am – 6pm, Sunday 7am – 3pm

http://www.carlisleevents.com/ce/events/spring-carlisle/

Review: Cripe Distributing

I recently made a wrench set purchase through a company called Cripe Distributing, which is an online tool vendor and Ebay store that sells overstocked tools and equipment for great prices. I thought I’d writeup a review of my experience for others

I read about Cripe on GarageJournal, which is a great online forum for garage junkies, gearheads, and craftsman of all types. I had been looking to get a set of Gearwrench X-Beam Ratcheting Wrenches or similar set for awhile. I saw that Cripe had a great deal on an 8-piece set for $35, which was a mighty good deal. I used a coupon code (RDKBS) for an additional 5% off with PayPayl orders. That brought down the price to $33.25, which was an even better deal. Including UPS ground shipping, which was $11.54, the order total came out to $44.79. I felt shipping was a little pricey, but still worth the cost.

I emailed Cripe to ask if there was anything that could be done about the shipping costs, such as mailing them in a USPS Flat-Rate box. I got a response in 1 day, which was very surprising since this was on the weekend. However, I didn’t use the customer service email I used the email the PayPal payment was sent to. I think that probably had something to do with it. Here was the email response.

we try to make our shipping costs as actual as we can…… we don’t use the shipping as a profit center like most people do
when someone overpays shipping by more then a few dollars…. we do our best to refund them…..
or
we could build the shipping into each item…. but we feel that that is unfair to the person who buys multiple items
we really do try to be as fair as possible…
you can always try our website where it figures your shipping based on your zip code…. and gives you different shipping options to choose from

I thought this was a reasonable response and is understandable.  It is annoying when ordering items through Amazon Prime I realize the shipping price is built into the price of the item.

I ordered the wrench set on February 9th and received it February 22th. The package was delivered when expected by UPS and was packaged decently. Check the pictures below.

My complaints with Cripe Distributing would be they’re ordering system and website. I setup an account on they’re website, and several days after my order was placed… there was no record of any orders. I found this strange. Also they’re website is somewhat difficult to navigate and doesn’t have the best layout and navigation, which can be annoying. On some items I’ve noticed there are key pieces of information missing. For example, I noticed on sockets sets sometimes they do not list the drive size the sockets are for. I guess it’s understandable that they don’t have the best website and software since they most likely keep costs down in order to maintain good pricing. They should provide the correct and accurate information on they’re website for products though. On a lot of items you also won’t find much of savings when you calculate shipping costs.

There are 2 ways to order through Cripe Distributing, you can order directly on they’re website or on the Ebay store. I might consider ordering from the Ebay storefront. Actually if you check Ebay, they offer different items on there and sometimes different items through they’re website. I find this equally strange and confusing.  However, Cripe does have great prices on a lot of tools so I will most likely be using them again.

PROS

  • Good customer service
  • Great pricing on tools
  • Good pacakging

CONS

  • Difficult to navigate website
  • Different products offered on website vs. Ebay
  • Shipping Costs

Overall I’m happy with Cripe and will order from them again most likely. if the price is right and shipping isn’t ridiculous.