Harbor Freight vs Snap On Tools [Pros, Cons & Differences]

Are you looking to choose between Snap-On and Harbor Freight Tools? We’re here to help. Snap-On and Harbor Freight Tools are both great companies when it comes to tools.

In this article, we’re going to discuss the overview of both companies, their warranty, costs, pros and cons, and many more, so make sure you read until the end.

Harbor Freight Company Overview


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The Harbor Freight Tools company is a privately held tool and equipment retailer selling tools from various tool brands for over 40 years. It started in 1977 when Eric Smidt and his father, Allan Smidt, started Harbor Freight and Salvage in North Hollywood, California.

They started as a mail-order tool business that sends tools out to their customers while dealing with refunds, returned equipment, and any other complications that could happen within a typical mail-order business.

As Harbor Freight and Salvage grew as a business, they changed their name into Harbor Freight Tools in 1985 when Eric Smidt was the company president at age 25 and ran Harbor Freight Tools until 1999.

Their headquarters are located in Calabasas, California, which operates a chain of retail stores, mail orders, and e-commerce businesses. They currently have over 20,000 people in the United States and have over 1,200 locations in 48 different states.

Harbor Freight Warranty

Harbor Freight Tools have a lot of warranty rules and customer service rules to make sure you, the customer, will know if you’re eligible for a repair or a replacement item.

They have been very strict, and if you wish to avail of their warranty services, here are some of the rules, eligibility, and guidelines to follow to make sure that you get your item replaced quickly:

Returning Items Purchased Online

If somehow you’re not satisfied with the products sold by Harbor Freight tools, you may return the product within 90 days for a full refund or replacement. You need to provide proof of purchase, like your packing slip. However, shipping and handling charges are non-refundable.

Returning Items By Mail

To return items through the mail, you need to have a Return Authorization from Harbor Freight’s customer service.

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You can request authorization by calling their hotline 1-800-444-3353, Monday-Through Sunday from 6 AM to 6 PM. Be ready to provide your order number and a short description of why you’re returning the items.

Things to Know:

  • Proof of purchase is REQUIRED
  • Merchandise may be returned within 90 days of purchase
  • A valid Government-Issued ID is also needed for verification processes
  • Shipping and handling charges are non-refundable
  • Items cannot contain oil or gas
  • Products cannot be returned if opened (Tampered)
  • The manager of Harbor Freight stores has the right to reject returns of any item, regardless of receipt

Hand Tool Lifetime Warranty

Harbor Freight guarantees its customers that all their hand tools are free from defects in both material and workmanship for the product’s life.

Harbor Freight will replace any hand tools that fail to work correctly during the original purchaser’s lifetime. If the item is not available for replacement, Harbor Freight Tools has the right to substitute a similar item in its place.

Snap-On Company Overview


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Snap-On Tools or Snap-On Incorporated is an American designer, retailer, manufacturer, and marketer of high-end tools and equipment designed for professional use in the transportation industry, commonly in autos and similar engine repairs.

They boast on their quality American-steel tools that have been around for so long for about a hundred years already since the company started around 1920 by Joseph Johnson and William Seidemann.

Their operation sites are primarily found in the USA. That’s why their tools are trendy amongst Americans and some professional mechanics and car shops abroad.

Snap-On Tools Operates in cities such as:

  • Milwaukee
  • Wisconsin
  • Elizabethton
  • Tennessee
  • Elkmont
  • Alabama
  • North Carolina
  • Arkansas
  • California

Snap-On Tools Sales Strategy

“A Customer’s Time Is Too Valuable To Spend Time Shopping for Tools”

Snap-On Tools have continuously operated on the philosophy that their customer’s time is valuable. That’s why dealers and not retail stores sell Snap-On Tools.

Snap-On franchisees will visit their customers in their area of work (Car shops, Mechanics, and Anyone else that uses these tools), bring with them a wide array of tools, and sell them to their customers.

The Snap-On TechKnow Express is a van that brings a lot of tools that showcase almost all the tools that Snap-On Tools sell.

This way, the franchisee can travel and sell all their tools to the people who use similar tools every day, hoping they can get an upgrade or just purchase a new set of tools.

Racing Sponsorships

Since Snap-On Tools have gone mainstream in the last few decades, they have history sponsoring major racing events such as Penske Racing, various teams in the NASCAR Cup Series, and Xfinity Series, and IndyCar.

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Snap-On Warranty

Snap-On maintains a well-known reputation for the liabilities and warranty terms they get to keep between their customers.

According to their Terms of Sale/Warranty, they warrant the customers who use Goods in their businesses that the Goods they purchase are free from defects.

They also offer repair services to Goods, tools, and equipment that fail to give satisfactory service due to defective workmanship and material.

To determine if your Goods, purchased from Snap-On themselves, are still eligible, then you’re going to prepare the following to create a warranty request:

  1. Date and Proof of Purchase
  2. Where the Customer Purchased the Product
  3. Full Name
  4. Shipping Address
  5. Phone Number
  6. E-Mail Address
  7. Item Numbers and Appropriate Weight of the Return Package
  8. The Warranty Periods of the Returned Package

All Snap-On and Blue-Point tools carry a FULL WARRANTY. The duration of the warranty depends on the nature of the tools. The warranty only extends to the original owner and cannot be transferred.

So, suppose the original owner decides to sell their tools as a second-hand item. In that case, once it becomes sold to another customer, it loses its real warranty privileges with Snap-On.

For Snap-On Brand Hand Tools (Except Torque Wrenches) and Tool Storage Units, the warranty is a LIFETIME warranty, as long as you’re the original owner of the tool.

For Blue-Point Hand Tools, the same rules apply. As long as you’re the original owner of the tools, then you’re eligible for their lifetime warranty.


  1. Goods are labeled other than Snap-On Tools and Blue-Point
  2. Tools are subjected to abnormal use
  3. Modifications, misuse, accidental damage to tools

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Harbor Freight Tools

Using Harbor Freight Tools

In this section, we will be talking about the pros and cons of what makes Harbor Freight suitable. Here’s a video featuring a Harbor Freight Tool Haul and the Pros and Cons of their tools.

For additional info, you may watch this Harbor Freight Haul video to check and see the build qualities of their tools.

YouTube video


  • Cheap Tools– Compared to Snap-On tools, they have more affordable tools ranging from $4 for single hand tools up to $75+ on toolsets.
  • Many Tool Brands to Choose From– Unlike Snap-On tools, they sell a lot of tools from different brands, which provides a lot of variety and choices of tools to choose from.
  • Great Warranty Rules– They have reliable and trustworthy warranty rules that ensure that you can return the product by different means. From returning them by mail and returning items purchased online, you have many options to choose from.


  • Not So Durable Materials– When compared to Snap-On Tools’ library of tools, they don’t come close in terms of sales and quality. That’s their major disadvantage.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Snap-On Tools

Using Snap-On Tools

Snap-On Tools is one of the most recognized tool brands in the market, which means they have more advantages than disadvantages.

Seeing as they sponsor most professional racing teams and are widely known by experienced mechanics, we can confidently say that Snap-On Tools are a bang for the buck.

Want to see these Snap-On Tools in action? Check out this Snap-On Tool Haul to see the featured tools a customer bought from them.

YouTube video


  • Lifetime Warranty– They feature a LIFETIME warranty for their tools. Whether you own Snap-On Tools or Blue-Point Tools, as long as you still own the hand tool, you are the original owner, and then you are eligible for their warranty.
  • High-Quality Insurance Tools– Snap-On tools are made out of high-quality American steel, and they’re forged with incredible workmanship. This means their goods have lesser failure rates and slippage.
  • Sold on Your Doorstep– Since Snap-On franchisees roam around local areas, they are conveniently sold to your doorstep, or if you’re a mechanic, in car shops.
  • Trusted by Professionals– Professionals rely on this tool brand. There’s a reason why you should trust them too. Because of their great


  • Too Pricey– If you’re a small car shop business owner or a mechanic that can’t afford a high price threshold that Snap-On has, then you’re limited to second options in the market.

Harbor Freight vs. Snap-On Cost

Between Harbor Freight and Snap-On Tools, Snap-On costs more. In this section, we’re going to help you figure out the price range of standard tools sold by both stores.

Chart for Harbor Freight’s Price Range

Chart for Harbor Freight’s Price Range

Chart for Snap-On’s Price Range

Chart for Snap-On’s Price Range

We will show you graphs, tables, and data that illustrate the prices of each store’s exact type of tools.

Item Harbor Freight Price Range Snap-On Price Range
Socket Sets $13-$150 $15-$1,050
Wrench Sets $5-$200 $27-$430
Screwdriver Sets $4-$50 $9-$300

Costs for Socket Sets

Harbor Freight sells cheaper socket sets with $13 as their starting price. You can get a chrome 1/4 socket set, while a 1/2 metric impact swivel socket set would cost you about $150. However, this doesn’t match Snap-On’s prices. For $15, you can get a single 6-point metric socket, and for a socket set, you would need $1,050 to have a 25-piece socket driver set.

Costs for Wrench Sets

A universal grip wrench would cost around $5, while a whole ratcheting wrench set would cost you about $200 from Harbor Freight tools. Compare that to Snap-On Tools, where a single ratcheting wrench costs about $27, and complete sets cost about $430.

Cost for Screwdriver Sets

For a VERY low price, you can get a screwdriver set from Harbor Freight Tools for $4, and it’s a 6-piece screwdriver set with molded handles. For their “Professional” screwdriver set, it would cost you about $50.

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Snap-On’s prices are still unmatched. For as low as $9.10, you can get yourself a single flat-head screwdriver, while the sets come at a price range of $250-$300, depending on what type of screwdriver set you’ll need.

Harbor Freight? or Snap-On Tools? – Which Has Better Tools? Tool Reviews

According to Trustpilot, a website where customers and buyers can leave honest feedback, here are the reviews people leave for Harbor Freight and Snap-On Tools. We chose the best reviews to showcase their great experiences with the tools.

Harbor Freight vs. Snap-On Durability

Snap-On Tools have better materials since they use high-quality tools to ensure that tools don’t wear out quickly. If they have better materials combined with incredible workmanship, the tools have a lower risk of slippage.

Harbor Freight vs. Snap-On Price

If you’re looking for entry-level tools, then Harbor Freight is your budget-friendly option. However, Snap-On has the edge over HF in terms of build quality, but the price just doesn’t cut it. For most, it’s overly expensive.

Harbor Freight vs. Snap-On Warranty

Both have great warranty rules. They both have tremendous and reachable customer service that will always attend to your needs, and either store/brand should be good at handling your warranty requests for you.

Harbor Freight and Snap-On Wrenches

Wrenches are standard tools used by mechanics to tighten and loosen fasteners such as nuts and bolts. To make a fair wrench comparison, we will list down all the specs that come with the wrenches they sell.

Harbor Freight Wrenches

Wrenches that are sold on Harbor Freight

Specifications Description
Oversized Ergonomic Design An oversized ergonomic design makes sure that you can hold the wrench for hours upon end without making your arms feel sore.
Precision Machined Magnetic Tips Magnetic tips to make it easier to snap on the nuts and bolts when tightening and loosening fasteners.
Drive Type Printed on Handle Crown The drive type is printed on the handle crown to make sure it gets identified easily.

Snap-On Wrenches

Wrenches that are sold on Snap-On’s Website.

Specifications Description
Sizes Printed on the Wrench The sizes are printed on the handles of the wrench to make sure that you can distinguish the size at first glance.
Narrow Profile Designs The wrenches are designed to make sure it fits in narrow places.
Nickel-Chrome Plating Chrome finish for corrosion resistance.
Has an Offset Angle Design An offset angle design makes sure that you’re efficiently tightening and loosening fasteners in every turn/twist.

Harbor Freight and Snap-On Sockets

Similar to wrenches, sockets are used to tighten and loosen fasteners that are primarily found in cars. That’s why socket sets are incredible to have as a mechanic.

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Harbor Freight Sockets

Sockets and Socket Sets that are sold on Harbor Freight’s website.

Specifications Description
Chrome-Vanadium Steel The tools are made out of Chrome-Vanadium Steel.
High-Visibility Socket Markings The markings can be seen on the edge of the sockets.
Individually Stored in a Molded Case Sets come in a molded case where you can easily distinguish the socket size.

Snap-On Sockets

Sockets and socket sets that are sold on Snap-On’s website.

Specifications Description
Uses the Flank Drive Wrenching System for Optimal Grip They are optimized to have better torque when you turn the sockets that are gripped on the fasteners.
Nickel-Chrome Alloy Finish To make sure the tools are corrosion-resistant, they applied a Nickel-Chrome Alloy Finish.
6-Point Sockets These are the common sockets that are sold on Snap-On’s website.
Placed in a Storage Tray Easier storage to make sure that the sockets are preserved in pristine condition.

Related and Frequently Asked Questions – Harbor Freight & Snap-On Tools

Are Snap-On Tools warranty lifetime?

Yes. As long as you’re the original owner of the tools and want to replace them because the tools are defective due to their material and workmanship, then you’re eligible to get a warranty. Make a warranty request on Snap-On’s website by contacting their customer support.

Where can I buy Harbor Freight Tools?

You can directly go to Harbor Freight’s website and order tools and equipment over there. Make sure you keep a record of your purchases and ask for an online receipt on the way.

Why are Snap-On Tools costly?

Snap-On Tools are expensive because they pay so much attention to detail with their tools. Plus, they have been trusted by professionals, use high-quality materials, and have been around the tool selling business for over a century.

Are Harbor Freight Tools any good?

Yes. Although they’re inferior to Snap-On Tools, they still provide good tools for the price that they’re selling them for. It’s incredibly cheap yet still effective in a mechanic’s workspace.

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