Harbor Freight’s YouTube Channel

One of Harbor Freight‘s lesser-known assets is the awesome, extensive HarborFreightUSA Channel on YouTube. Here you’ll find a library of over 300 videos, showcasing products from all the categories, including Automotive, Garage & Shop, Hand Tools, Power Tools, Lawn & Garden and New Items. If you’re looking for third-party opinions, this is a great source for that, too. We’ve included customer review videos showing real applications, mod projects, ideas and tips, etc.

So, if you’re looking to buy a tool, already have one and want to see all it can do, or are looking for DIY project ideas, the HFT video library’s a great place to start!

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Staying The Course

Harbor Freight Salvage Co.

Who remembers when Harbor Freight Tools was called Harbor Freight Salvage Co.? If you do, consider yourself one of the hardcore long-timers. I was searching on Google the other day, looking for any mention of the company’s former identity, when I stumbled onto this old ad that ran in the February 1988 issue of Popular Mechanics. I immediately recognized a number of items that Harbor Freight still carries and was astonished to see that, in many cases, the current prices are less than they were 25 years ago!

So I went to the site, usinflationcalculator.com, and had some fun. Check it out: The 20-Gallon Parts Washer with Pump on the top of the ad listed for $145 in 1988. According to the inflation calculator, that product should be selling for $285.31 today. The actual current Harbor Freight price? $95.99!

parts washer

Next, take a look at the 9-pc. Wobble Extension Kit for $13.95. The calculator suggests it should sell now for $27.45– but you can pick it up at Harbor Freight at just $12.99. Another example, in 1988, we were selling a 15″ Central Machinery scroll saw at $119. Today, even though inflation justifies a price tag of more than $234, we’re now carrying the Central Machinery 16″ Variable Speed Scroll Saw at just $67.99.

central machinery scroll saw

In the Popular Mechanics ad. the Central Pneumatic Air Paint Spray Gun is listed at $25.50. Instead of the inflation-adjusted 50 bucks, Harbor Freight sells it today at $24.99.

Finally, take a look at the first item in the ad: the Chicago Electric 8 volt, 120 amp portable MIG welder, on sale in 1988 for $199.95. Now, we currently don’t sell a MIG welder with exactly those specs, but if we did, the adjusted-to-2013 price would have been $393.43. What we DO sell, however, is a Chicago Electric 170 Amp 22 Volt MIG/Flux Welder for just $199.99– that’s more power that can cut into much thicker metal. And, if you look at the reviews, you’ll see it’s a real performer.

170 amp MIG welder

Finding this ad was extremely gratifying to me. It told me that, 25 years later, Harbor Freight’s mission is right on course: to deliver quality tools at the lowest possible prices and save our customers some of their hard-earned cash. And, now– with 20 MILLION satisfied customers– we will continue to make this our Number One job.

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Going Social

Harbor Freight Tools Facebook masthead

One of the more enjoyable parts of running Harbor Freight Tools is following all the chatter about the store and products– especially online on the blogs, YouTube, the forums and in the product page reviews. I love seeing customers advise each other in operating, maintaining and even modifying our tools and equipment to suit their needs, and how they monitor and alert one another to our sales and coupons. Social media is wonderful because it makes our jobs so much easier: to get the word out… to educate and inform… to show off their latest projects! Sites like The Garage Journal, Lumberjocks and WeldingWeb routinely have  threads on Harbor Freight items, and while it may not all be delirious praise, there are so many experienced, hardcore fans, I know we’re fulfilling a need. That’s gratifying. I’ll add some of their posts from time to time, sort of the “greatest hits,” so you see what I mean.

To be in even closer touch with our customers’ thoughts and wants, we’re expanding our social presence online. You can find Harbor Freight Tools on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedInPinterest, and we have our own YouTube page full of how-to videos. If you’re on our email list (sign up is at the bottom of the store’s home page), you’ll also be seeing surveys where we ask what you’d like to see us do– or do more of. I hope we hear from you!

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Harbor Freight Tools Secret Sauce

You would think that with Harbor Freight’s large fan base and continued success, other companies would try to duplicate its model. Maybe they have tried and I just didn’t recognize it. Whatever the case, Harbor Freight Tools is, far and beyond, the leading discount tool store in the US. But, why is it different?

I could give you a big spiel, but at the risk of losing you along the way, watch this short video instead. It pretty much says it all:

Let me just add that the success of Harbor Freight Tools is also largely owed to the 11,000+ dedicated employees across the country who work so hard providing the tools and service to our loyal customers. You couldn’t ask for a better team!

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What’s It All About

harbor-freight-tools-store

I have always been a child of Southern California. I was born in Los Angeles in 1960 and attended Grant High School in Van Nuys. When I was 17, my dad and I started Harbor Freight & Salvage Co., a tool mail-order business, in a small building in North Hollywood. After several years of success, it became Harbor Freight Tools; in 1985 I became president of the company and then CEO in 1999. The number of stores now is somewhere north of 430.

From the beginning, I loved selling tools and, to this day, try to learn as much as I can about them and the industry. I realized early on that folks were paying a lot more for their tools than they should. I decided to cut out the middleman and sell tools to customers directly from the factories. To this day, Harbor Freight’s mission is to deliver quality tools at the lowest possible prices.

Besides selling tools, I am greatly interested in education. In 2012 I funded the opening of a public charter school in downtown LA, Alliance Susan & Eric Smidt Technology High School. In 2013 I directed Harbor Freight to donate $1.4 million in tools to LAUSD towards adult career education. I also enjoy collecting modern art and am on the boards of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum. I am an active Democrat and have funded multiple fundraisers for Bill and Hillary Clinton as well as donated to local campaigns. Oh, and I’m a licensed jet aircraft pilot.

But my first love is still tools.

I wanted to create this blog to serve as an outlet for Harbor Freight news, deals, and any other events or thoughts I consider share-worthy. I hope you think so, too.

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