10 Tool Brands You Might Not Realize Are Owned By Harbor Freight - SlashGear (2024)

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ByDaniel Feininger/

As a critical outlet for low-cost tools, there's no retailer quite like Harbor Freight. The company offered fantastic bargains to consumers since the beginning of its history in 1977 as Harbor Freight Salvage Company. The business model initially focused on bringing factory production directly to the consumer in an effort to cut out unnecessary costs. Harbor Freight still operates on this premise, with dozens of brands falling under its purview. The company doesn't make any of these products in the classical sense, but it contracts out the building process to other manufacturing facilities and then sells the gear under various brand names corresponding roughly (or specifically) to certain use cases. Daytona equipment, for instance, is a highly focused automotive workshop range that falls under Harbor Freight's umbrella. On the other hand, Icon covers a broad spectrum of applications from hand tools to storage solutions and diagnostic equipment.

Across its digital and physical shelves, Harbor Freight carries nearly any type of tool, consumable, or accessory you might need to get the job done. It's a haven for DIYers and pros alike who are looking to find excellent gear at affordable prices. As with any low-cost retailer, there are things to look out for (tips and tricks thatHarbor Freight employees probably won't tell you), but overall buyers get what they need at great discounts. These are the brands that make it possible.

[Feautred image by Michael Rivera via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC BY-SA 4.0]

ICON

Harbor Freight's premium hand tool range features the ICON branding that many Harbor Freight regulars will know and love. It was launched in 2018 with torque wrenches featuring as the first product under the moniker. The lineup quickly expanded though, with a resounding customer approval of the brand's gear. ICON now includes a variety of diagnostic tools and other shop essentials, as well as storage options, and even lighting and other shop equipment. Diagnostic scanners from the brand can test for a variety of automotive issues, and the storage solutions offered are fantastic shop floor inclusions that can make organization far less complicated.

It's thought that plenty of ICON gear is manufactured by the same source maker for many of Milwaukee's hand tools, though nothing of this sort can be confirmed. Harbor Freight has been tight-lipped thus far about where its ICON products are manufactured, but the hand tool lineup is crafted in Taiwan and the rumor mill suggests it may be Infar Industrial Co. that rolls them out.

Pittsburgh (and Pittsburgh Pro)

Harbor Freight's hand tool range isn't only focused on premium gear. While the ICON lineup represents many of the retailer's most impressive workshop and mechanic's tools, someone building a first-timer's collection or opting for a beater inclusion might choose from the storefront's other hand-tool ranges.Harbor Freight's Pittsburgh tools lineup includes many of the same hand tools as the ICON range, but they sell at a much lower price point on the whole. Pittsburgh's 53-piece ratchet and fastening set, for instance, can be bought for $20. A basic ICON flex head ratchet bit set (35 pieces) sells for double that.

The result is a range of hand tools that are perfect for those hoping to stretch their dollar a lot further. They aren't bemoaned as useless garbage by any stretch, appearing to strike the perfect balance between hearty hand tools that provide consistent effectiveness and cost-saving prices. For an upgrade, however, buyers might consider Pittsburgh Pro for its slightly higher quality and longevity, and prices that still remain relatively low.

Bauer

Bauer's contribution to the Harbor Freight storefront is prominently stylized power tools in a red and black color scheme. The primary lineup from Bauer revolves around a 20V cordless model that utilizes a common power pack across the range (with over 65 tools completing the catalog). Shoppers will find all kinds of saws, drills, impact drivers, sanders, grinders, and even lawn care tools built under the Bauer name.

These are some of Harbor Freight's least expensive power tools, and can therefore make a big impact in a DIYer's toolbox during a renovation or new enhancement project. Getting good value out of the gear you use is a major victory for homeowners and renters alike, and the low price point of the Bauer brand can help make this a reality, regardless of the project at hand. It's worth noting that most Bauer cordless tools won't perform at professional levels, and so they aren't a great pick for those who consistently use their tools on a daily basis. Cutting power, torque, and overall motor function aren't quite as good as some other brands — including others in the Harbor Freight spectrum.

Hercules

Hercules is another of Harbor Freight's power tool brands. The retailer notes "over 50 corded and cordless professional tools" in the lineup of blue and black performers. Hercules tools include a variety of grinders, demolition hammers, and even a table and miter saw for versatile job site cutting. There's the obvious additions to the range like a hammer drill and circular saws, but the range's impact driver is a particular standout. It's a high torque driver that hangs with the most impressive competitors on the market, including Dewalt and Milwaukee.

Hercules strikes a unique balance between high-performance functionality and low prices. It's yet another Harbor Freight-owned brand that stands out amongst its peers. The cordless range is another 20-volt battery platform and Harbor Freight buyers might be wise to prioritize this tool platform over the Bauer range for its improved motor performance, which includes brushless technology for excellent longevity.

Haul-Master

Not only does Harbor Freight own brands focused on equipment, workshop essentials, and hand and power tools, but the retailer also owns the Haul-Master range. It's a brand focused on trailers and other material-handling gear, and it's a mainstay in the world of truck owners and others who work with heavy equipment.

Haul-Master's lineup includes cargo-carrying additions, too. You can mount these frames on the roof of your car or as a basket attachment that fits at the rear. A variety of options can be found within the brand's offerings, making for a versatile cargo expansion in your daily driving experience. This is particularly useful for those who often have to transport large loads of equipment around or as a detachable augmentation for supporting DIY projects around the house that demand hefty material purchases. Lumber, sheetrock, and many other materials can be loaded up with ease after installing a Haul-Master cargo addition. The brand also features step stools and tie-down equipment to round out many professional or DIY equipment needs.

Union Safe Company

Safes are another potentially surprising market that Harbor Freight's own brands have ventured into. The Union Safe Company offers a range of security measures for the home, from gun safes that keep weapons out of the hands of those not allowed to handle them to routine fireproof safes and electronic security tools. These are great for protecting sensitive documents or securing jewelry and expensive gear while you're away.

Union offers standing safes that range from small floor units to towering wardrobe-sized affairs. The brand also carries wall safes that can be installed inside a closet or elsewhere for comprehensive security. There are smaller safes for desk drawers and even biometric security boxes you can keep in your trunk for on-the-go security. And they're all priced like you'd expect of something from Harbor Freight. Indeed, there's a security option to fit any buyer's budget, regardless of their specific protection requirements.

Predator

Predator generators, pressure washers, and engines offer "the best value in power," according to Harbor Freight. Predator is yet another brand owned by the retailer and specializes in power production. As is the case with many Harbor Freight goods, these tools ring up for prices that help save some serious dollars. From job site generators to backup power production during storms or other weather events, there's a wide range of options found within the Predator range.

The brand is also a great resource for pressure washing tools that can make quick work of even the most soiled paths, driveways, and walls. Rounding out the lineup, homeowners can take advantage of Predator's water pumps to deal with clean water or wastewater, and there are mowers, trimmers, and even log splitters and chainsaws for all manner of landscaping and yard work. These tools are particularly useful for anyone who lives in a rural area or an aspiring homesteader looking to get their start on a new patch of land.

Central Forge

Woodworkers rejoice! Central Forge is a shop tool Mecca for anyone who likes to spend time honing wood products, metal gear, or even dabbling in building projects. From cold chisels and bolsters to mattocks, pickaxes, splitting mauls, and anvils, Central Forge offers a wide range of essential tools for those who ply their craft in a more creative, artisanal manner.

This is another excellent lineup of tools brought into the marketplace by Harbor Freight and it includes hand planes and wrecking bars, files, and awls. Central Forge products run the gamut of home improvement and fine crafting projects, making for a low-cost entry point into metal work, wood crafting, and demolition work in an effort to remake a portion of your home or garden. The range isn't large, consisting of just 19 tools in total,but these tools can do a huge amount of heavy lifting in just about any precision project you might be working on.

Daytona

Daytona's claim to fame revolves strictly around the automotive workplace. The brand is Harbor Freight's answer to the varied workspace needs of home mechanics everywhere. From car jacks to creepers and stands, the brand is ready to help tackle even the most demanding car rebuilding project.

Harbor Freight's Daytona lineup includes a rotating engine stand, steel vehicle dollies, and a series of hydraulic body repair kits. Not only can you lift up your car and get under the body with ease on a Daytona jack, stand, and creeper setup, but the repair kits offered by Daytona are excellent complements to a dent or frame repair task. A 4-ton and 10-ton setup can be found in Harbor Freight's stocks, providing moderate and expansive pulling, prying, and pushing force for a whole range of frame and body repair needs. The tools from Daytona are sleek and well put together, with every one of them earning a near-perfect 5/5 in customer reviews (some products, like the 3-ton low-profile floor jack have achieved this accomplishment across nearly 5,000 reviews).

Chicago Electric

Chicago Electric is another brand owned by Harbor Freightthat does considerable work for the retailer. The tool range focuses on welding and specialized project needs, like chainsaw sharpening, metal shearing, and tile cutting. Chicago Electric fits perfectly within the high-quality, low-cost model that Harbor Freight brings to the fold. The tool range is instrumental in the lives of DIYers looking to tackle highly specific projects around the house — like fixing metal components or remodeling a bathroom — but it also includes more standardized power tools, as well. One of the most important inclusions in the brand's stable might be its rotary, Dremel-style tool. The handheld rotary cutter provides a precision blade that can make small cuts in delicate or even hardened materials. It also comes with buffing and polishing heads, fine sanding attachments, and a wire wheel for precise cleanup.

Buyers can also find a quality miter saw in the lineup, as well as an electric planer and a variety of welding essentials that make for a versatile brand at a truly eye-catching price. You might also be surprised to find that Chicago Electric also makes routers, biscuit jointers, circular saws, and an impact wrench for even greater depth across its range.

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10 Tool Brands You Might Not Realize Are Owned By Harbor Freight - SlashGear (2024)
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