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26 Harbor Freight Gems That Every DIYer Needs

No frills and deep discounts are two reasons why DIYers love Harbor Freight. We suggest you add the following tools and gear to your collection ASAP!

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Hydraulic Table CartHarbor Freight

Hydraulic Table Cart

An adjustable height table cart has lots of uses around the workshop. It's great for unloading heavy items from the back of a truck or just getting things up to a comfortable working height. We've even seen some folks build a wooden bench top for them and use them as an adjustable-height workbench. These cost several hundred dollars at other places, but Harbor Freight has them for just $170 and they'll move and lift up to 500 lbs. Plus: Learn how to build your own sturdy workshop cart here.

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image_26421 standing foam matsHarbor Freight

Anti-Fatigue Foam Mats

Anti-fatigue mats are perfect for anyone with a shop of any size. Sure, you can always make your own with spare carpet pad, but if there's any chance that your shop or work space will get wet, sooner or later you'll wish that you'd used something that wasn't essentially a big sponge.

In addition to being easy on the feet and a relief to the lower back, these affordable mats are popular with DIY costumers and makers, who cut and glue them into elaborate costumes and sculptures.

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image_24768 Trailer Hitch Harbor Freight

Trailer Hitch

If you're going to be hauling materials from the lumber yard or hardware store, a trailer will let you get things done faster and more efficiently. Selecting a trailer hitch involves balancing quality and affordability, as well as an understanding of the kinds of items and trailers you'll be towing.

If you're planning on standard towing for a DIYer, you'll want to be sure to check out this dependable three-ball hitch and see if it's a good fit for your needs.

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Mini JackhammerHarbor Freight

Mini Jackhammer

Do you do concrete work for a living? A jackhammer is a must-have tool for busting up old concrete steps, walkways, and pads. The professional models are pricey, but this one's only $360. Still not a cheap tool, but should pay for itself over time (and money saved at the chiropractor).

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2 HP Dust CollectorHarbor Freight

2 HP Dust Collector

A single-stage dust collector with a 4' hose is a coveted tool in most home woodshops, because it keeps your shop cleaner and protects your lungs from the harmful effects of sawdust. You can spend a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a dust collector, but Harbor Freight sells this 2-HP model for just $200. That's more than enough sucking power for most home shops. The bag on top filters particles down to 5 microns, and the lower collection bag is clear so you can see when it needs to be changed. Check out this DIY dust-collection modification.

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Metal Cutoff SawHarbor Freight

Metal Cutoff Saw

A metal chop saw is the tool to use when you need perfectly straight or angled cuts in angle iron, rebar, or steel pipe. A 14" model is normally $150 or more at home centers, but this one works great and it's only $95. The 3-1/2HP motor slices through metal with ease. It's also fairly lightweight and easy to carry and store when not in use. Learn tips for working with metal in your DIY projects.

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portable generatorHarbor Freight

Portable Generator

If you ever work on sites that lack electric power, or if you want to make sure that your equipment doesn't draw so many amps that you're tripping breakers inside your home, then you need a portable generator. And when it's time to pick the best power generator for your needs, don't miss the great deals that Harbor Freight offers on these solid units.

Sure, for a contractor who's paying a five man crew to be onsite it may make sense to pay an extra $1,200 for a generator with identical specs, as long as it buys some peace of mind. But if your only expense is the generator itself, Harbor Freight is a no-brainer.

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Engine HoistHarbor Freight

Engine Hoist

If you work on cars, or just have lots of heavy stuff in your shop that you need to move around, this shop crane (sometimes called an 'engine hoist') is worth its weight in gold. It's easy to wheel around and the legs fold up for easier storage. Beyond engines, our editors have wheeled around all kinds of heavy stuff, including table saws and jointers, with these things. $180-220. We'll show you how to clean your engine like a pro.

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StethoscopeHarbor Freight

Stethoscope

If you like playing car doctor in your garage, this mechanic's stethoscope only costs $5. It's just what the doctor ordered for diagnosing problems under the hood such as piston slap, worn gears, and other mysterious bumps and squeaks. Just touch the probe to the non-rotating part you think might be faulty and listen. Only $4. Not for medical use.

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Furniture dollyHarbor Freight

Furniture dolly

You probably couldn't build a furniture dolly this cheap yourself. $15 gets you a heavy-duty dolly rated for 1000 lbs. This Harbor Freight moving dolly is made with hardwood and swivel casters with rubber wheels. This Harbor Freight appliance dolly also has a carpeted surface to prevent slippage and keep your furniture from getting scratched. Learn how to make your own dolly using a pallet.

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Angle GrinderHarbor Freight

Angle Grinder

If you're a typical DIYer, then a angle grinder probably isn't something you'll use very much. You can rent them at home centers, but for only $15-30, why not just buy your own? They're great for cutting, grinding, and polishing wood, metal, and concrete. They come with metal-cutting blades, but you can also outfit them with diamond blades, wire wheels and sanding disks. Don't have a use for a grinder right now? Buy one anyway; we promise you'll find one. Learn how to use an angle grinder here.

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Grinding and Cut-off Wheels Harbor Freight

Grinding and Cutoff Wheels

Harbor Freight is a fantastic source for high-use, short-lifespan tools. A great example is cutting and grinding wheels. As anyone who's used an angle grinder knows, the life expectancy of a cutting wheel is short at best. More expensive cutting wheels last a little longer, but for an average DIYer, this gain is almost unnoticeable.

Pick up your cutting discs at Harbor Freight and over the course of a few projects you'll see significant savings. This holds true for rotary tool grinding and cutting discs as wells as angle grinder cut-off wheels.

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Bolt CuttersHarbor Freight

Bolt Cutters

Here's another tool you don't need every day, but a set of bolt cutters sure comes in handy. Got an old padlock you need to open but can't find the key? Need to cut through some threaded rod, a bolt, a chain, or some chain link fencing? Bolt cutters will make short work of all of these.

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Rotary HammerHarbor Freight

Rotary Hammer

For close to the same price as renting, you can own a rotary hammer that'll easily drill holes in masonry, chisel concrete apart like a mini-jackhammer, and even drive rebar into the ground like a hot knife through butter. Rotary hammers aren't cheap, but for only $70-130 at Harbor Freight, you can purchase your own for close to the same cost as renting. Only need it for one job? Sell it on Craigslist when you're done. What's the difference between a hammer drill and a rotary hammer?

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Furniture BlanketsHarbor Freight

Furniture Blankets

Planning a move or just need to protect your furniture during a remodel? At only $5-10 each (depending on size), these furniture blankets cost less than half what moving supply companies charge. We've seen them go for as little as $3 on sale at Harbor Freight, so load up and get moving! Plus: Check out these 14 tips for moving furniture.

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Deep Well SocketsHarbor Freight

Deep Well Sockets

Unless you work on cars a lot, you probably don't need deep well sockets very often. But when you need them, you really need them! So stop borrowing your neighbor's socket set and buy this 10-piece set instead. They're available in SAE or metric in various drive sizes and a bargain at only $12. Impact-rated sockets are also available for about $25-32. Check out 6-point sockets vs. 12-point sockets.

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Right Angle DrillHarbor Freight

Right Angle Drill

Need to chew holes through a bunch of wall studs for new plumbing or electrical lines? You'll want a heavy duty right angle drill. They're not cheap at home centers – about $250. And renting costs add up quickly over the course of several days. But Harbor Freight sells them for only $150. With a two-speed gearbox and heat treated gears, this thing is a beast! Learn how to bore holes in studs.

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Micro PinnerHarbor Freight

Micro Pinner

23-gauge air nailers—sometimes call 'micro pinners'—are great for nailing on very small trim because they're less likely to split wood. The nails (a.k.a. 'pins') also don't have any heads, so you don't have to set them and fill the hole with wood putty. Premium brands go for as much as $270, but this one only costs $25. Plus: Finish Nailer Tips.

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Chain HoistHarbor Freight

Chain Hoist

Like a shop crane, a chain hoist is a great tool to have for lifting heavy objects. But the advantage of a chain hoist is that you can lift things ten feet up in the air! Which is a big help if you need to hoist something big in an auto shop or industrial warehouse. Normally an expensive item, but Harbor Freight sells one-ton hoists for $55. See more tools to use when working by yourself.

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Jack StandsHarbor Freight

Jack Stands

These are great when you need to get all four of your car wheels off the ground for things like brake jobs, replacing shocks, and other automotive tasks where you're working underneath your car for an extended period of time. Sold in three, six, and 12-ton models, Harbor Freight sells adjustable-height jack stands for just $22-45 a piece, depending on weight capacity. Plus: DIY sawhorse plans.

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Drillmaster RouterHarbor Freight

Drillmaster Router

This fixed-based router performed very well in one of our recent router tests. It's got a 2-HP motor, which is plenty powerful for most routing tasks, and comes with ¼' and ½' collets. It even has some extras like a spindle lock for quick and easy bit changes and a micro-adjustment feature.

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image_25797 Airbrush and Compressor Kit Harbor Freight

Airbrush and Compressor Kit

Perfect for learning the basics of airbrush technique, this no-frills, high-value kit provides a compressor and brush for less than half the cost of many high-end airbrushes alone. This kit is great for trying out an airbrush for DIY hobbies and detail work such as wall stencils.

If you find that you enjoy airbrushing, you may want to upgrade to a brush with finer controls, but even then you'll find that the compressor runs like a champ.

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Pneumatic StaplerHarbor Freight

Pneumatic Stapler

Need an air stapler for woodworking, crafts, carpeting, or installing upholstery on furniture? $25 gets you a 20-gauge stapler that you power with a compressor. It'll drive 7/16' crown staples all day long up to 5/8' in length. Learn how to choose an air compressor here.

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Reciprocating Saw Blades Harbor Freight

Reciprocating Saw Blades

And, while you're getting a reciprocating saw, grab some blades for it as well. This may seem obvious, but in fact not all blades are created equally. There's a huge range of factors that make picking the right blade a detailed science. And in fact, many of the various saw blades you'll find at Harbor Freight aren't great choices for precision work. But the Harbor Freight reciprocating saw blades are a good purchase.

The fine finish blades for circular saws or miter saws need to have precisely cut teeth, and a durable body. Quality blades for these saws are expensive, and are often re-sharpened rather than replaced. Reciprocating saw blades, on the other hand, are designed to be used and abused. And Harbor Freight's selection of blades is more than up to that task.

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floor jackHarbor Freight

Floor Jacks

Even those who aren't fans of Harbor Freight tools have to admit that their floor jack selection is top-notch. If you're a DIYer considering buying a floor jack and stands for home car maintenance, do not whip out that credit card until you've seen what Harbor Freight has to offer.

Notice that the jack pictured is another Pittsburgh brand product. Once again, this line isn't at the top or bottom of the price list, but offers solid quality at a very reasonable sticker price.

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image_18697 t-rex dinosaur puzzleHarbor Freight

Project Kits for Young DIYers

This balsa wood T-Rex skeleton is the kind of puzzle that builds skills and confidence at the same time. These affordably priced models are a great way to get kids started in DIY. The sticker price makes it less painful when the inevitable wreaking ball of youthful enthusiasm meets breakable parts, and the variety of options means that you can match a young person's interests, from woodworking to electronics.