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  1. #1
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    Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    I was on Harbor Freight's site last night and I saw ads for Chicago Electric power tools. The name sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. Anyway, Chicago Electric drill motors and routers are so cheap even when compared to prices of tools made by other manufacturers for "hobby" or "occasional" use. (Example: Black and Decker 1/2" VSR Hammer Drill (the orange one): $54.00 at Lowe's and Home Depot, Chicago Electric 1/2" VSR Hammer Drill: $29.00 on sale, I think $39.00 regular price.)

    I know you get what you pay for most of the time. I have searched these forums for reviews or opinions and found none. Are Chicago Electric tools any good? Or are they only suitable for one or two usings?



  2. #2
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    MPM,

    "I know you get what you pay for most of the time."

    My 2 cents? I think you already answered your question! :)

    I've had/have some HFT items. Quality is an issue that I've had with them. Others swear by them (or is that at them?).
    Keystone

    One of the Original Charter Members. Circa 2000

    No longer here. Can now be found at WoW.




  3. #3
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    Bradford, Vermont, MerryCanna.
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    Hey, MPM? Is it possible that Chicago Electric reminded you of Chicago Pneumatic (CP), as in mechanic's air wrenches & such?

    I, like many of us, own a few HF tools. Nothing mission-critical. They can't under any circumstances be mistaken for great tools, but they've worked OK so far... and their prices are often shockingly low. Watch for missing characteristics when you read their writeups. For example, their 3-1/4 HP router (which would be about the size used for panel raiser bits) does NOT have speed control built in - and that is flat dangerous with biggie bits.

    -- Tim --

    Everything you are is as old as time itself.
    That stuff of which you are made has been around forever,
    and will be around forever.
    You are only the current arrangement of that stuff.

  4. #4
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    Mesa, Arizona, USA.
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    I've always been a bit leary of actually buying a "CE" tool, but I did one time when I really needed to "build some holes" in a concrete slab and foundation sill. I picked up the on-sale VSR hammer drill for about $30. I actually read the instructions that came with it and picked up some Bosch hammer drill bits rather than using regular masonry bits. Darned Bosch bits cost as much as the drill!

    I really didn't expect it to last too long, but since I didn't see any long-term extended use I figured I'd chance it. That darned thing has more than "paid for itself" and it's still ready to poke more holes. Now mind you, a Milwaukee it ain't. (I could probably turn the whole house into Swiss cheese with a Milwaukee in less time than I can poke a few holes with the HF unit, but my change purse keeps saying "thank you".)

    I do have a number of the "Central Pneumatics" air tools. They're a whole lot better than many "big name" tools and cost a whole lot less. (I have an 18g brad nailer that I picked up for $15 on sale -- it's outlasted a Porter Cable unit an acquintance bought at the same time.)

    I've also been amazed at the number of construction "pros" I've seen load up on "CE" sale items at the local HF store.

    Steve
    http://www.ApacheTrail.com/house
    Mesa, AZ

  5. #5
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    Napa Valley, California, USA.
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    >Chicago Electric. The name sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it.

    Bingo. That's why they picked that name. You can be sure it wasn't manufactured anywhere near Chicago!

    >I know you get what you pay for most of the time.

    Right again! The disappointment of poor quality lingers long after the thrill of a low price has faded away. A good tool is always better than a cheap tool.

    My .02

    ---Jerry

    You need to learn from other people's mistakes. You'll never have enough time to make them all yourself.

  6. #6
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    Swiss Cheese? I have a heavy-duty DeWalt 3/8" VSR drill motor which has a max no-load spead of 3000 RPM. *maniacal laugh* I do have to make sure I don't burn the stuffing out of my HSS metal cutting drills when using them for wood.



  7. #7
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    That's nice. Ryobi is made in Anderson, South Carolina, and I think Makita is made in Georgia. I wonder now where Chicago Electric stuff is made.

    I do have first hand cheap tool bitterness (Japanese and Chinese wrenches, drill bits, screwdrivers, etc.) I think I'll avoid the CE tools and stick with Black and Decker, DeWalt, Milwaukee, etc.



  8. #8
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    I would be very suprised if Ryobi is made in Anderson, South Carolina, and Makita is made in Georgia. I am sure that the companies have their american HQ there but I doubt that they do anything but handle the referb tools that get returned from HD and others on the buy rent a tool deal that many people pull.

    You will find that Chicago Electric are made in mainland China. Most of the top named tools thay you may know of are made in Taiwan. Almost all of Delta, All of Jet and Powermatic. The top of the product line might be "built in USA" what that means is thay assemble parts that were built in Taiwan.

    Almost all small electric's are made in ASIA anymore. Most in China or Taiwan. The difference is the quality control and inspections made by the name brand companies and the parts used. Good motors and good bearings make a big difference. Having Company personel on site watching production is also a big help in getting quality. Good designs and tooling are another major factor in good quality tools.

    None of that applies to HF or CE tools.

  9. #9
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    Sumter, SC, US.
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    RE: Chicago Electric power tools on Harbor Freight

    Lou,

    Ryobi in South Carolina and Makita in Georgia is correct for some but not all of the products. Some of the Makita stuff is still made in Japan. I would also expect both to have a presence in China but I don't know for a Fact that either is in china.


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