9 Brands Of Tools That Are Owned By Harbor Freight (& Which Are Worth Buying)

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Harbor Freight has a reputation for being a retailer of budget-friendly, low-end tools. It's true — the company has a ton of brands, most of which lag behind the likes of DeWalt and Milwaukee in performance and durability. And, while most professional tradespeople avoid Harbor Freight tools when possible, it doesn't mean that these products have no merit. In fact, Harbor Freight brands have a very specific market where their tools offer immense value. Novice professionals, homeowners, and occasional DIYers can outfit their toolboxes for less with Harbor Freight products and still complete their tasks without major breakdowns. 

To acquaint you with Harbor Freight's best tool offerings, we've compiled a list of the retailer's most desirable brands. The brands we've lined up are especially attractive if you're a homeowner or do-it-yourselfer with a lean budget, as these options were picked based on the balance they strike between price and quality. We've also scoured the web for consumer reviews and summarized them for each one so you can make an informed choice.   

Bauer, a reputable budget brand

Bauer is one of the best-known Harbor Freight brands, with a focus on power tools. Its product assortment includes cordless and corded drills, power saws, sanders, grinders, and polishers. These tools' price points are significantly lower than their top-shelf contenders from Milwaukee, DeWalt, and even Ryobi. 

But the low price tags don't necessarily mean poor quality, and Bauer tools are good options for a certain market — homeowners. Occasional DIYers who prefer not to overspend on expensive power tools can find a good balance between Bauer's robustness and price. Plus, many homeowners happily embrace Bauer's cordless tools thanks to the brand's battery offerings, which feature long runtimes, low prices, and are made by Samsung. Opting for a quality, inexpensive battery platform makes sense for non-professional users who plan on investing in multiple power tools. One major downside to Bauer tools is their short standard warranty terms. For example, where most DeWalt tools come with 3-year warranties, Bauer gives buyers a 90-day standard warranty, with lengthier options available at additional cost.

Most consumer reviews recognize Bauer as a decent budget brand. Past and current users generally commend the brand's value for money. Some even find that the short standard warranty gives buyers flexibility and a chance to lower up-front costs. However, some feel that investing in a top-tier brand tool is a better option for peace of mind — especially if you'll use the tool often enough to speed up wear and tear.

Hercules, quality at a slightly lower cost than other brands

Hercules is a Harbor Freight power tool brand with a massive selection of drills, routers, saws, grinders, and various demolition equipment. Hercules tools are considered top shelf among Harbor Freight products. For this reason, they generally cost more than their peers from Bauer or Warrior, with price tags just below top-tier brands'. For example, where the Hercules 1/2 inch brushless torque impact wrench costs $189.99, equivalent DeWalt and Milwaukee offerings cost around $220. Meanwhile, Harbor Freight's Bauer lists a similar product for just $129.99. Unlike Bauer, Hercules offers solid warranties of 3-5 years with many of its tools.

With higher-tier quality and a vast catalog of tools, Hercules tools are geared at homeowners with advanced DIY activities and professionals unwilling to pay for pricier alternatives. For example, the brand's selection of pneumatic hammers enables demolition tasks that usually come with extensive alterations, like knocking down walls. Meanwhile, Hercules's assortment of routers and power saws equip DIYers and beginners for woodworking projects. Plus, warranty lengths that match those of DeWalt and Milwaukee sweeten the deal.

Consumer reviews overwhelmingly praise Hercules, which you don't see with all Harbor Freight brands. Unlike the flimsier Bauer offerings, Hercules power tools seem to leave DIYers and pros more impressed with quality and durability. Crucially, most reviewers feel that the brand's pricing is on point, and the long warranty terms offer great value.

Quinn, hand tools at a great value

Quinn is a Harbor Freight brand that specializes in hand tools. It offers an extensive lineup of screwdrivers, wrenches, socket sets, and ratchets. You'll also find miscellaneous tools for a wide array of projects, like scissors, scrapers, putty knives, and tile cutters. Quinn's tools boast a mid-range price point. The prices are more affordable than Milwaukee's, but you'll likely pay more for Quinn products than you would for hand tools from other Harbor Freight brands, like Pittsburgh. For example, Quinn's 13-piece ratcheting combination set costs $109.99, whereas a similar Milwaukee offering is priced around $200. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh sells comparable sets for $44.

Quinn is a diverse tool brand, but its focus on ratchets and sockets gears it toward mechanics. Their mid-level pricing makes Quinn's products attractive for occasional professional users and amateur mechanics who value quality over price. That said, competing manufacturers like DeWalt may be a more suitable option for large mechanic shops. Consumers generally describe Quinn as an excellent value brand. Most find that Quinn's price is hard to beat given the tools' quality and ability to resist wear and tear over time. That said, many users acknowledge that it's far from a premium manufacturer — "just fine" seems to be the consensus.

Warrior, power tools for the budget-minded

Warrior is Harbor Freight's low-end, budget power tool brand. Its lineup comprises drills, various saw types, orbital sanders, and oscillating tools. Warrior also offers a limited range of accessories for its tools, such as drill bit sets and saw tables. All the brand's offerings are very budget-friendly — even compared to Harbor Freight's equivalents. For example, Warrior's 3/8-inch cordless driver costs just about $20, whereas a similar tool from Black + Decker will cost you about double that. The cheap cost has a downside — you only get a 90-day standard warranty with Warrior's products.

As a low-end brand within a budget equipment retailer, Warrior is an attractive option for homeowners with an occasional need for power tools. For example, someone using drills or power saws for the odd home repair job can benefit from saving lots upfront on a Warrior product. Conversely, frequent users — like tradespeople or passionate DIYers — could benefit from sturdier products and more generous warranties than Warrior's. Frequent use puts excessive strain on power tools and causes wear-related faults, so a quality build and long warranty are important attributes to consider.

Warrior users paint a mixed picture of the brand in their thoughts. Some would happily part with more money for a more reputable manufacturer. But others claim that Warrior's power tools are robust enough to take a serious daily beating for years without developing faults or deteriorating in quality.

Chicago Electric, welding equipment for occasional projects

Chicago Electric sells a range of power tools at bargain prices, but its selection of welding equipment sets the brand apart from Harbor Freight's peers. The brand's lineup includes welders, welding carts, welding tips, and protective gear like aprons, helmets, and gloves. You can save over 50% on these items with Chicago Electric compared to competing manufacturers. For example, a 170-amp MIG welder from Chicago Electric costs just $199.99. That's less than half of the price of a similar, 180-amp MIG welder from Eastwood. But where the Eastwood product comes with a standard, 3-year warranty, all Chicago Electric gets you is 90 days.

Chicago Electric products are a suitable choice for hobbyists and novice welders. Their equipment is inexpensive, easy to replace, and does a decent job with most types of metal. For those needing a more robust solution, Harbor Freight's Titanium and Vulcan brands may be a better (albeit pricier) fit.

Like many other Harbor Freight tools, Chicago Electric products get uneven reviews. Most users who could afford more respectable products wouldn't consider this brand. That said, the general sentiment is that Chicago Electric equipment is acceptable for infrequent, DIY, or novice use.

Vulcan, welders for heavier use

Vulcan is another Harbor Freight brand with a lineup of welding equipment. This assortment is far more comprehensive than Chicago Electric's. Vulcan products include welders, welding consumables, generators, and accessories like tables, clamps, and protective equipment.

The welders themselves are more suited for heavy-duty, professional use than Chicago Electric products. For example, the highest output on a Chicago Electric welder is just 170 amps, with a duty cycle of 2 minutes. Meanwhile, Vulcan welders have outputs of over 200 amps with slightly longer duty cycles of 2-3 minutes. Better performance is reflected in Vulcan's prices, which are higher than Chicago Electric's but still mid-range compared to Miller and Lincoln welders.

Most reviewers agree that Vulcan welders are well-suited for professional use and note a lack of quality issues. Some even recommend these tools over the premium Miller machines. That said, the general sentiment is that Vulcan welders are a value offering geared at budget users — much like other Harbor Freight tools.

Pierce, nail guns for a variety of tasks

Pierce is a niche Harbor Freight brand that specializes in various types of nail guns to tackle home projects. The brand's catalog includes nailers for framing, finishing, and roofing, as well as stapling hardwood. These are reputable, mid-range alternatives to the likes of Hitachi. For example, where a Hitachi 15-gauge finish nailer will likely set you back over $200, a Pierce alternative costs around $100.

Pierce nailers are a suitable budget option to tackle both weekend renovation projects and professional jobs. These tools lack the reputation of better-known nailer brands, but based on consumer feedback, they seem to do their job without serious quality issues. That said, professional users should consider extending the warranty on Pierce nailers beyond the standard 90-day term.

Consumer feedback on the Pierce brand is largely positive. Most users are happy with their Pierce nailers, which appear to handle large projects without major hiccups. That said, some reviewers complain about lengthy warm-up times, and others claim that Pierce guns struggle to drive nails into hardwood.

Central Forge, ideal for those learning the trade

Central Forge is a Harbor Freight niche hand tool brand. In the past, Central Forge was known for its vises, but Harbor Freight no longer carries these — it seems that its Central Machinery and Doyle brands have taken over this product offering. That said, you can still find Central Forge vises at Amazon and other online retailers.

Although its reputable vise line is gone, Central Forge remains a fitting option for woodworkers and forgers — especially novices minding their budgets. The brand boasts an array of competitively priced hand tools like wrecking bars, planes, and anvils. For example, a 55-pound cast-iron anvil from Central Forge costs around $70. Meanwhile, a similar anvil from PMC Supplies costs twice as much with a $140 price tag.

Reviewers can be a bit unkind to Central Forge products, with the exception of its discontinued vises. Many users complain about the anvils denting easily, which isn't surprising considering they're made of cast iron. However, some point out that the low prices make these anvils a great bargain for forgers just learning their craft.

Portland, great for home landscapers

Portland is Harbor Freight's outdoor and gardening tool brand. It's your wallet-friendly DeWalt alternative for hedge trimmers, chippers, and power washers. Where an electric DeWalt hedge trimmer will leave you about $160 poorer, the Portland option only costs around $35. The price gap accounts for reputational and warranty differences. Portland is hardly a household name like DeWalt. Moreover, its product is protected for only 90 days after the purchase, while DeWalt's tools come with a three-year warranty. So, it's not surprising that professional landscapers would opt for heavy-duty, respectable DeWalt tools and scoff at their Portland counterparts. But for homeowners with a few hedges to prune, Portland tools offer excellent value.

Consumer reviews of Portland tools are mostly favorable. There's particular praise for the brand's pole saws, which allegedly make quick work of tree limbs under 6 inches. Likewise, some users commend the brand's string trimmers for effectiveness in light gardening tasks.