When it comes to your home, you get what you pay for. It's why, when you want your countertops to last for decades, you choose a material like quartz. That said, you don't always need a $1,000 chop saw to reframe a picture. Which is when stores like Harbor Freight — the discount hardware store known for its affordable prices —come in handy. Here are a few of our favorite picks and best buys when it's perfectly fine to go the cheap route. Don't forget to search for a coupon as well!
Harbor Freight has somewhat of a cult following and it's always fun to walk around the store and find something you need. Although their store has some serious deals and usually boasts a unbeatable Black Friday ad, you won't find the same reputable name brands of the big box stores: there's no Craftsman or Ryobi tools in sight. They do have a 90-day return policy, so if you're worried about what you're buying, rest easier.
Without further ado, here are the things I wouldn't dream of buying anywhere else:
Did you find a great project on the side of the road? Are you revamping a piece to make it more versatile? Casters at Harbor Freight come in multiple colors, sizes and are always inexpensive.
Unless you're a professional painter, and have to handle tarps every day, there's very little difference between a cheap tarp and an expensive one. These cost a lot less at Harbor Freight than they do at other hardware stores, and it's always handy to have some around for upcoming projects.
The first time you have to retile a floor or even intricate backsplash, you quickly realize that those small hand tools just aren't going to hack it. You can buy a decent tile saw for less than $200 and when all is said and done (if you have no more tile in your future), just sell it on Facebook or Craigslist. You'll make most of your money back and it will be cheaper than renting one from a big box hardware store —without any time limitations!
It doesn't matter if you intend to use these to hold screws and small bits, or if you're going to use them in the bathroom to hold hair ties or makeup. The prices speak for themselves. There are easily twenty different styles to choose from — all at prices you can actually rationalize buying a bin for every doodad you own.
The only thing that beats the prices of toolboxes and storage containers found in this store is finding one at a garage sale, but good luck finding one that isn't rusty or beat up! These can hold more than tools and also work for kitchen utensils, children's toys, art supplies and more.
My kids steal batteries out of our remote controls at an alarming rate, and I'm always scrambling to find replacements. In my opinion, Harbor Freight is still the best spot to pick up more — especially if you are as heavy users as we are.
It doesn't matter if it's a socket set, wrenches, screwdrivers or sledgehammers —these are all great bets to purchase. You can often buy them in sets and, if they aren't on sale this week, just wait until next week or look for a coupon. We guarantee they will be soon.
This magnetic can organizer is holding WD-40, but it also works for blow dryers and curling irons in the bathroom. Or, on your fridge to hold cups for your kids who repeatedly get drinks. You will also find magnetic holders that are perfect for screws, bobby pins, and even things like paper towels. Use them for their intended purpose or in a new creative way. You can't go wrong.
These might seem like an insignificant tool, but there's nothing more relaxing to my brain than tied back wires, rolled up cords — basically everything neatly in its place. Small mixed size packs from big box stores are lame. Buy what you need at a low cost and call it a day.
If you need some single-use, disposable brushes for touch ups or quick, easy jobs — or super messy jobs like stripping furniture — where quality bristles don't matter, these chip brushes are a really good option. The same 2" brush that costs only 64 cents at Harbor Freight will run you almost double that at other stores.
Angle Grinders + Cut off Wheels
Although I won't purchase a long-term, high-use electric tool, grinders are great things to pick up (and new wheels too) as most people use them intermittently and the wheels wear out fast.
Rolling Tool Cart
If you're just starting out and need a place to keep all your tools in one place, this is a great way to start. It's perfect when you have more than a toolbox's worth, but don't really have a garage in which to keep them. These rolling cabinets are perfect to roll into closets and out of the way, and look attractive enough to keep them out in the open. They also work in kitchens, offices, or craft spaces as organizers for supplies and utensils.
I've never purchased one of these myself, but ran across this post from a novice welder who needed an inexpensive option when first starting out. Apparently welding is not a cheap skill to learn, especially when it's just a hobby. This flux core welder is only $90 — not too bad when you consider equipment can run in the hundreds of dollars. If this is something you've always wanted to try, start out at Harbor Freight and keep the costs down.
So, there are my top picks. What makes me an expert? Absolutely nothing. I'm not proclaiming to be one, but I can rebuild a car engine and have gutted a house to the studs and rebuilt it from all reclaimed materials. So while I'm not one to offer professional advice, I am a pro at cutting corners and making do on an almost non-existent budget and getting the job done myself!
Do you have a favorite item to pick up from Harbor Freight? Do you have things that haven't gone over so well? Let us know below!