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Thread: Harbor Freight Casters

  1. #1

    Harbor Freight Casters

    Thinkin about using HF 4" casters.2 swivels w brakes and 2 rigid. on my workbench for mobility.Any thoughts.They seem sturdy enough.I really need to put the bench on wheels because of space restrictions.
    marc
    Measure twice and cut once and swear three times

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Prudhomme View Post
    Thinkin about using HF 4" casters.2 swivels w brakes and 2 rigid. on my workbench for mobility.Any thoughts.They seem sturdy enough.I really need to put the bench on wheels because of space restrictions.
    marc
    You didn't include a link to the HF casters. I looked at all they had online and didn't see any that included a double brake. That is, a brake that locks both the rolling and the swiveling. This isn't important to some people but it is to me.

    I've been very happy with the 3" casters from Hartville Tool. http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/11883 Unfortunately, they appear to be out of stock until early January. The price looks a little higher than I remember them being but they're still a good buy. You can get a 15% discount by using the code, "Woodnet 15" in the Special Instructions box upon checkout. The discount won't show up during the online transaction but when they charge your credit card it will be adjusted. The discount only applies to non-sale items. They are definitely better than the versions at Grizzly. I've used both quite a bit. Woodcraft has some that I've never used before but they look good. They appear to be identical to the ones from Hartville Tool but they have a higher weight rating and a price that's about double. I called and talked to one of their techs about this once and he told me they had a higher rating because the casters had, "Precision axles and bearings". Uh, yeah, maybe. That might very well be true or they might've just printed a higher weight rating. Ya never can tell. Here's the link...
    http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx...e=details#tabs

    I've used the Hartville casters on several very heavy tools in my shop including an 8" jointer. They always roll easily and never dent no matter how long they've sat in one place. The casters from Grizzly are good too but the weight rating isn't quite as high and mine don't roll or turn quite as easily as the Hartville casters. Also, the lock/unlock lever on the Hartville casters is larger and easier to operate with your foot.

    For my rolling lumber rack I used steel wheel casters because nothing else had the load capacity. But for your usage the poly casters will do fine. I wouldn't use anything other than poly wheels because they don't develop a, "Memory" or dent from sitting over time. Mine are all at least a few years old and function like the day they were new. I've been very happy with using all swivel casters on my tools because it makes them so much easier to move. With the swivel lock they lock securely in place. Two swivels with two fixed casters are a pain to work with in my opinion.

    Bruce

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Monroe, MI
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    11,221
    Harbor Freight has some non-locking casters which are great and only run about $4 for fixed and $5 for swivel on sale that I've used on numerous things for the shop.

    However, I agree with Bruce that you want double locking casters for your purpose. I have some ancient non-locking heavy duty steel casters that came on the table I converted into my welding table. The only way I've been able to keep it in place is to cut some plywood donuts that cradle the wheels--and they are very hard to use because the table weighs a few hundred pounds and I have to lift it up and slide them in place.


  4. #4
    Their brake system is very poor as far as grip and operate with some difficulty (at least all the locking versions at my 2 local HF stores). Save yourself the heartache and get some double locking casters at the obscene price they seem to go for. I'm almost done swapping out my bargains. The ones that are left still get cursed EVERY time I have to deal with them.

    I have used HF casters for things that are not heavy or that just need to roll around. I also modified a roller stand to provide a face with a row of small swivel casters that don't influence feed direction for the BS. They work fine in those roles. For tool or a workbench; I'd hold off till I could get ones I won't have to regret ;-)
    “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell


  5. #5
    I have some 3" hf casters under a very heavy 2'x6' bench made of mdf and they work just fine. These are nonlocking however but with the weight of the bench that has not been the issue. I probably would have opted for locking if the local store had had them in stock when I needed them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Byron, IL
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    My complaint with the HF casters I bought awhile back is that they stunk so bad I couldn't use them. You know that Harbor Freight smell inside the store?? Well that was what my shop smelled like! I tried washing them in detergent to no avail. They have been on a shelf in may garage for over a year now and they still stink.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Townsend View Post
    You know that Harbor Freight smell inside the store??
    LOL! What IS that smell? I haven't noticed that smell on mine once they are on the floor--maybe if I spent more time crawling around on the floor? Might not be the same ones though.


  8. #8
    Why do people ask about the quality of HF products? We all know the quality, it's HF and you buy it for the price not the quality.

    Castors from HF or even the borg will work but the question is how well. All castors are not equal and the ones I got from Woodcraft (double locking with red poly wheels) are a lot nicer than the ones from the borg or HF. The main differance is how smooth and quiet they are when you roll the piece around, night and day compared to the cheaper ones.

    The ones from Woodcraft are reasonably priced and everytime I roll my workbench I appreciate the quality.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Dragin View Post
    Why do people ask about the quality of HF products? We all know the quality, it's HF and you buy it for the price not the quality.
    That blanket statement simply isn't true. There's plenty of junk but there are also plenty of gems and diamonds-in-the rough. Some of the casters are a perfect example.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    LOL! What IS that smell? I haven't noticed that smell on mine once they are on the floor--maybe if I spent more time crawling around on the floor? Might not be the same ones though.
    Believe me Matt, you didn't have to get down on the floor to smell these babies. You could smell them from across the room!

    I'm sure not all their casters smell this bad. However, before I would buy any of them, I would ask to be allowed to take them out into the fresh air and get a whiff of them first. When the whole store stinks inside, you really can't tell if they smell or not. And I totally agree that Harbor Freight does have some genuinely good stuff if you know what to look for. My 25' retractable air hose reel has served me well, and at $2.99 on sale, the electric bug swatters are great!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meiser View Post
    That blanket statement simply isn't true. There's plenty of junk but there are also plenty of gems and diamonds-in-the rough. Some of the casters are a perfect example.
    Matt, there's no point in trying to convince people who make statements like that. You can't change their mind because it's not based on a rational, informed opinion. Harbor Freight isn't going away from lack of business anytime soon so I've given up on trying to change the minds of people who don't want to shop there. From now on if someone really wants to know I'll tell them that some stuff they sell is junk, some stuff is fair to average, and some stuff is pretty decent. I won't buy anything that's of poor quality just to save some money. In the case of the casters, I don't know about the quality, (never tried them) but I do know that I wouldn't use any casters that don't have a swivel lock. That rules out the HF casters.

    Bruce

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Townsend View Post
    My complaint with the HF casters I bought awhile back is that they stunk so bad I couldn't use them. You know that Harbor Freight smell inside the store?? Well that was what my shop smelled like! I tried washing them in detergent to no avail. They have been on a shelf in may garage for over a year now and they still stink.
    I've heard people complain about, "That HF smell" before but I've never noticed that smell in my local store. It just smells like a tool store. There's nothing that stands out to me. Maybe some people are more sensitive to machine oil smells than others.

    Bruce

  13. #13
    I recently bought some casters from SES Casters on ebay for $5.00 each, plus shipping. I bought 8 for $53 including shipping to Utah. I wanted to find some decent casters and not pay $12 - $15 per caster. Anyways, I have them and they seem good quality. I have used some on a furniture dolly which I will be putting to use this week, so I don't have a total review yet. But they are heavy duty and are total lock. For $5 per caster, I figured that it was worth the risk. Not affiliated - just sharing something that I found that may help others....

    Here is the ebay link to the casters that I purchased...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Caster-3-Total-L...QQcmdZViewItem

    and here is their company site...

    http://www.sescasters.com


    Good luck.

    Brad
    Last edited by Brad Peterson; 12-10-2007 at 11:43 AM. Reason: fixed url

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Peterson View Post
    I recently bought some casters from SES Casters on ebay for $5.00 each, plus shipping. I bought 8 for $53 including shipping to Utah. I wanted to find some decent casters and not pay $12 - $15 per caster. Anyways, I have them and they seem good quality. I have used some on a furniture dolly which I will be putting to use this week, so I don't have a total review yet. But they are heavy duty and are total lock. For $5 per caster, I figured that it was worth the risk. Not affiliated - just sharing something that I found that may help others....

    Here is the ebay link to the casters that I purchased...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Caster-3-Total-L...QQcmdZViewItem

    and here is their company site...

    http://www.sescaster.com


    Good luck.

    Brad
    The company link you provided didn't work for me. But the Ebay link did. Those don't look like too bad. It would be nice to see an actual picture of the 3" casters to see how they compare in appearance to the Hartville and Woodcraft ones. One thing I noticed with theirs is that they list the bearings as, "Delrin". Isn't that basically the same as UHMW or something close to it? I don't know what the bearings on the Hartville or Woodcraft casters are made from but I didn't think they were plastic. They might be though. If I were in the market for new casters I'd look into this before I bought. They might be just like the rest but if they're the only brand with plastic bearings I'd probably steer clear of them.

    Bruce

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado Springs
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    144
    I bought some from Peachtree at the Denver woodworking show, but haven't used them, yet. They seem to be pretty good, but as with most stuff are made in China. I'm also going to try my local Fastenal store. I just try to avoid HF.
    Ed Brady
    Colorado Springs

    "If You're Lucky Enough to Live in the Mountains, You're Lucky Enough"

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