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View Full Version : Harbor Freight vs. Sears Craftsman


Hulk
04-15-2008, 12:50 PM
So I need an angle grinder. Do I buy:

Harbor Freight model for $18.
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/91200-91299/91223.gif

Craftsman model for $49.
http://s7.sears.com/is/image/Sears/00926437000?qlt=90,0&resMode=sharp&op_usm=0.9,0.5,0,0

I'm usually pretty loyal to Sears, but man, this is a significant monetary difference.

Three Wheel Ben
04-15-2008, 12:53 PM
I've got the same HF one and have had no trouble.

Red_Chili
04-15-2008, 01:04 PM
Depends on how much you expect to grind. For a trail grinder, or for a one-big-job use, the HF one is fine. Even if you have to replace it. Pay attention to how many amps the motor is rated for. 4.4 is kinda light duty, 5.5 is heavier duty and will work harder.

I am partial to Ryobi, for $39 I got a grinder three years ago that rocks, a case, some wheels, and a lot of use out of it. It finally died - brushes I think - so I replaced it with a new one, $49, another case, replaceable brushes this time, rotating handle that is new, and I like it. They have a $29 4.4A version, not as usable but decent.

I am probably on the extreme end of those to whom the Chinese tools would make sense to buy. Much more usage and I really should buy a Milwaukee $99 unit.

FWIW, the same plant most likely makes the Craftsman tool these days... Sears is using Chinese stuff.

DaveInDenver
04-15-2008, 01:05 PM
I'd save the money and get the HF one between those two, a cheap Chinese-made tool is a cheap Chinese-made tool. I'd bet the Sears name is the primary difference here. I have a US-made Milwaukee (yeah, it's several years old now) and can't complain.

Convert
04-15-2008, 01:05 PM
I have the HF one also it is very loud but it built my bumper project with no problems and it came with a spare set of brushes.

FJBen
04-15-2008, 01:14 PM
Get a warranty on the HF one, then you just exchange them over and over after they break...:D

Red_Chili
04-15-2008, 01:21 PM
The only downside is how it feels in your hands, where the grip and trigger are, etc. Yes, it makes a difference.

DaveInDenver
04-15-2008, 01:25 PM
The only downside is how it feels in your hands, where the grip and trigger are, etc. Yes, it makes a difference.
That's surely true (love my Milwaukee).

OTOH, I'd bet $30 in the pocket can help an occasionally used grinder feel more comfortable...

Red_Chili
04-15-2008, 01:34 PM
Depending on the project... for $49 that Ryobi setup is both cheap AND comfortable to use.

RockRunner
04-15-2008, 02:11 PM
HF, i used it to do my whole lift last year, lots of grinding. Went through one set of brushes and it is still working today. For $18 you can't go wrong.

PS The HF comes with an extra set of brushes.

Seldom Seen
04-15-2008, 02:19 PM
'Nother option, try the Porter-Cable Service Center near Alameda and Santa Fe. They often have factory re-mans w/ warranty. I picked up a grinder for $20 when I was over there buying batteries for my drill.

Murdoc's has a bargin bin for tools. Picked up a PC Tiger Saw (sawzall) for $59.

DaveInDenver
04-15-2008, 02:33 PM
Brian, good point. I got a factory refurbished Bosch 1/2" hammer drill at Tool King for $75, which is about 1/2 price of a new one. Came with a warranty (I think it was 90 days).

BTW, dig the signature. "Tastes Like Chicken". Too bad it's not an official 509th insignia like the Roswellians want to think.

RicardoJM
04-15-2008, 02:35 PM
I have the HF. I picked it up on sale for $14. It has about 12 hours on it and not problems so far. I ran it straight for 6 hours one day grinding a couple of plates of my frame. For the money, I think it is a great value. It has the extra brushes and when/if it ever goes out on me, I will likely replace it with the same.

Corbet
04-15-2008, 02:39 PM
My HF is almost 10 years old.

I'm no longer a Sears fan. If I'm going to spend more $$$ it would probably say Milwaukee Tool on the side of it.

Shark Bait
04-15-2008, 02:40 PM
So how big of a power inverter should you put in a trail rig to run stuff like a grinder, etc.? And where is the place to get one?

DaveInDenver
04-15-2008, 02:48 PM
So how big of a power inverter should you put in a trail rig to run stuff like a grinder, etc.? And where is the place to get one?
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91223
110 volts, 60 Hz, Single phase, 570 watts, 4.5 amps; Weight: 5.0 lbs.

Dunno about where to get an inverter, maybe:
http://www.dcacpowerinverters.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=PW900-12

http://www.dcacpowerinverters.com/mmDCACPOWERINVERTERS/Images/products/PW900-12/main_PW900-12.jpg

Remember that 570W is 48A at 12VDC and so you'll need to watch your battery and alternator sizes.

Rezarf
04-15-2008, 03:05 PM
I got a DeWalt grinder at Costco years ago for a gift, I don't think it was even 60 bucks, now that is a no brainer if you go for the craftsman, but I have put mine through its paces on this trailer build.

FWIW, most of my HF stuff does its job well enough, just not great! :D

rover67
04-15-2008, 04:03 PM
i have tortured, and i mean tortured my makita for about 8 years now. no maintinance whatsoever. I have probably built 4 cars with cages, and a few trailer projects from the ground up. i love it.

Seldom Seen
04-15-2008, 04:16 PM
110 volts, 60 Hz, Single phase, 570 watts, 4.5 amps; Weight: 5.0 lbs.

Won't work, trust me I've tried.

I had a HF 2000 watt inverter (*claimed*4000 surge watt) for running tools in the field. It wouldn't start my circ. saw!! My saw needs 1800 *RUNNING* watts and 2700 *STARTING* watts, The inverter wouldn't handle it. My grinder is 7 amps, so it needs 840 running watts and 1300 starting watts, the HF inverter barely started the grinder and it seemed like it was half stepping.

I recently nabbed a 3.5K gen set from, yep you guessed it, Porter Cable :thumb: Lists for $1200, got a reman for $475 shipped. Now my tools are happy.

If'n I needed power tools for the trail, I would seriously consider heavy duty cordless tools from Dewalt or PC. Carry an x-tra battery and you're golden. If you don't think x-tra batts are enough, both Dewalt and PC make a 12v DC to 19v DC trickle charger. It ain't the fastest but it works well.

Shark Bait
04-15-2008, 04:28 PM
Then there's the blender. :lmao:

I actually saw a battery operated blender at Costco the other day. Lots of other cool camping stuff, too.

Seldom Seen
04-15-2008, 04:36 PM
Then there's the blender. :lmao:

Got that problem solved too:

http://www.gsioutdoors.com/images/products/zoom/73365_h1_g.jpg


GSI Blender (http://www.gsioutdoors.com/detail.aspx?c=15&sc2=43&p=73365&lu=%2flist.aspx%3fc%3d15%26sc2%3d43&)

Convert
04-15-2008, 07:45 PM
If'n I needed power tools for the trail, I would seriously consider heavy duty cordless tools from Dewalt or PC. Carry an x-tra battery and you're golden. If you don't think x-tra batts are enough, both Dewalt and PC make a 12v DC to 19v DC trickle charger. It ain't the fastest but it works well.

X2 we use Dewalt tools exclusively at work the cordless tools they are putting out are a cut above the rest for durability,reliability and battery life. they have some 32 volt stuff that is simply amazing

Hulk
04-15-2008, 09:16 PM
Maybe I'll stop by Home Depot and check out a Dewalt angle grinder.

I bought the 4" Harbor Freight version tonight for $17. It seemed a bit better made than the 4.5" version. I plugged both of them in. They also had a 7" version, but it seemed huge.

Jacket
04-15-2008, 09:38 PM
Wow - that's cheap! What's the amps on it? I've been ogling the $99 Milwaukee and the $89 Dewalt at Lowe's thinking those were decent deals. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong shop....

Beater
04-16-2008, 08:03 AM
run your blender on air. all residential blenders take a 1/4" drive socket adapter, as any drunken mechanic will tell you.

watts/voltage = amps for a rough formula. Remember though that most motors, depending on type of start, will pull 3 times their nominal rating in amp draw.

j

Red_Chili
04-16-2008, 08:29 AM
I have a Coleman 1200W inverter, NIB, that I could be talked out of. I just never seem to get it installed, and now the Premier Power Welder has a 110V outlet (DC) that seems to drive my grinder really well, so I doubt I will need it.

Except for trailside microwaved chili I suppose.

SteveH
04-16-2008, 12:54 PM
Harbor Freight 4.5" angle grinders are frequently on sale for $9.99 without any grinding disks or 16.99 with disks. Came with spare brushes, and I certainly didn't need a grinding disk for $7. It's noisy, but I prefer a few features on it to my Black and DEcker.

I (and buddies) have purchased the blue ones and they work great. Put a cup wirewheel in one, a slicing disk in another, and a grinder in a third one. Save time switching back and forth between grinders changing disks/bits. Toss them when the 'smoke gets out'

Check www.harborfreight.com and print out the page and bring it to the store, where they will honor the web price. Without a printed copy of the web price, they will not honor it.

leiniesred
04-17-2008, 08:10 AM
I have both.
The HF unit burned up the brushes before I could finish my solid axle swap. It comes with an extra set of brushes, because it sucks.

The craftsman is still going strong after many, many projects and the same use/abuse the HF unit failed in.

My really old makita grinders are worn, but still work fine. (They are getting pretty loud.)

You really need about 3 grinders. 1 wire cup, 1 flap wheel, and 1 grinder.

Red_Chili
04-17-2008, 09:17 AM
My Ryobi lasted through two SAS jobs, several rock sliders, and considerable bumper work before it died, so I was satisfied.