Harbor Freight’s Cheap Little 4 1/2″ Angle Grinder Review

Before I start, I want to make sure everyone knows I don’t get anything from Harbor Freight for doing this.

That being said, I buy a lot of stuff from them, especially over the last several years.

They have gotten a bad reputation for selling crap tools made out of an inferior metal like substance knowingly called Chinesium and some of that bad rep is more than well deserved. I have bought stuff from them that was junk right out of the box, more than once or twice.

Whoever their shipper is needs a severe beating also.

The condition of some of the boxes and containers they have on their shelves would horrify a Denver airport baggage handler and I have personally witnessed some of those goons throwing luggage and boxes twenty feet into the hold of the airplane I was sitting in. A couple of which I noticed were mine by the way.

I’m talking boxes and crates smashed into pieces with parts falling out of them and bent pieces sticking out. I have also opened up boxes to find pieces missing, fasteners not being there and other parts bent like someone put them in a vise and crushed them on purpose.

All that being said, someone finally had enough of the complaints, terrible reviews and the cost of returning and exchanging all of the crap.

In the last couple of years, they have improved HUGELY.

They have scrapped their lowest quality line of electric tools and introduced SEVERAL new lines of affordable, quality power and hand tools.

Some of their new power tools literally compare to Snap On, DeWalt and other high end tools, and beat them, at a fraction of the price!

So while I was there the other day, doing some… some.. some… Christmas shopping, yeah, that’s the ticket, Christmas shopping, I ran into a hell of a deal.

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They had a bunch of coupons that if you spent $50.00 on anything, you could pick certain items up for $5.00.

That’s right, I paid five bucks for that little grinder, brand new in the box.

Now here is the real deal, I have been picking these things up off and on over the last few years on sale for $9.99.

That in its self is a smoking deal.

As in they HAVE to be taking a loss on them because there is absolutely no way on earth that someone could gather the parts, pay someone even pennies on the dollar to assemble them, box the thing up and ship it half way around the planet, then ship it clear across this country and put it on a shelf for ten bucks.

It’s impossible.

Are they top quality grinders?

Oh hell no.

Are they plenty good enough for the Average Joe Hobbyist/Dumbass Homeowner?

Oh hell yes!

As a matter of fact, this is number three for me and I have four of their little grinders total.

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You will notice each one has a different attachment on it. Saves time that way.

There is a secret to them though.

They won’t last very long as is right out of the box. You have to take the gear out and put lots and lots of REAL GREASE inside first. I found this out through the misfortune of a buddy who bought one and burned it up in less than a day of hard use. The gears got hot and stripped out the shaft bearing housing when the bearing seized.. The thing was literally smoking at the gear housing end.

Allow me to show you what I am talking about here.

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Notice there ain’t a lick of grease on that gear. This is as shipped, I never plugged it in to see if it even worked first. I do this before anything else to make sure the gears aren’t fucked up first. If it doesn’t spin when I plug it in then I go from there. They even come with an extra set of brushes and if it’s completely dead then all I am out is some time and a little grease. I have yet to have one not work though.

Also notice what grease there is looks like a thicker version of Vaseline.

There is actually a little needle bearing in the middle for the gear shaft and not just a bronze sleeve.

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The first thing after I inspect it is to wipe their cheap grease out and replace it with high quality, high pressure Moly/Graphite wheel bearing grease.

Lots of it.

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Then ya put it back together, a whopping four Phillips head screws and the guard,

Speaking of guards, I did find that this one was slightly mis-shapened and I couldn’t get a wheel on without some judicious hammering around the edge to open it up a bit first.

What did I expect for five bucks?

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A couple of minutes and several good whacks in the correct spots and that took care of it.

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Then I plugged it in and turned it on.

It spun up but I could tell it was a bit slow.

Trying to move with all of that grease in there.

Pretty soon it started spinning a little faster, a little faster and then started going pretty good. All at once, it just took off.

Now I’m not even going to try and tell anyone these are awesome little grinders but ever since I started doing this, I have never had a lick of trouble out of one.

It’s not like I use them constantly by any stretch of the imagination but I have gone through several of the little Flap Wheels and flat wore out a wire wheel on another one.

I can honestly say, that I have gotten my monies worth and then some several times over out of the little buggers and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

I would have absolutely no problem recommending these little grinders to anyone who needs one for around the garage or for a little cheapie around the job site too.

Just make sure you put some real grease in the gear housing and you should be good to go.

For the price of a drink at a bar or a meal at a fast food place.

That’s the kind of deal on any tool that works, that I can get behind.

 

 

15 thoughts on “Harbor Freight’s Cheap Little 4 1/2″ Angle Grinder Review

  1. If you know HB tools – and their design/limitations – you can get pretty good service from them.

    Merry Christmas to our host Phil, and to all those out there who also have busted knuckles.
    Wishing us all a great 2019 (without The MSM, The Fed, Total Economic Collapse …).

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  2. I’ve bought HF stuff over the last 30 years or so. Some was, and still is, JUNK, but some of their items are really nice.

    Their high-end tool cabs cost less than a middle-of-the-line Craftsman, and are made way better.

    I just got my flyer in the mail, and it looks like I’ll be getting that new floor jack sooner than expected, as the flyer had a 25% off any one item sticker on it!

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  3. I have one of these also, and plan on changing out the grease just as soon as I get my fat butt in gear. Like you said, this is not the top end tool, but for people like me who only use it a couple of times a year, it will last me a long time.

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  4. vaseline never makes a good sliding lube. helical gears are a special case with the shear loads involved. you are absolutely correct to check the lube used in your equipment. too much grease or to thick is just as bad as no grease. NGLI #1 synthetic EP would have been better.perhaps. I recall the military using G-IA instrument grease(just a step above vaseline) for almost every kind of bearing. but, I always go with what I have and what works for now, myself.

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  5. Brilliance on the grease solution. Thanks!

    I thought I was the only with multiples of the same tool.
    I’d rather run two bench grinders, each with a dedicated wheel, than ever spend time changing wheels to get a different grit, unless I need to replace it completely.
    I can just work down the line without stopping, from rough to buff.

    Do the same thing with cordless drills, one with a countersink or a small bit for pilot holes, and one with the driver bit.

    GMTA.
    And Old Guys Know Stuff.

    And in case we didn’t trade greetings already, Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

    Like

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