Harbor Freight vs. The Home Depot:

3 Big Differences

Between 2 Beloved Tool Stores

How We Compared Harbor Freight vs. The Home Depot

We looked behind the scenes to understand what makes each business stand out. We took a deep dive into pricing and range and researched buyer feedback for any issues concerning supply or customer service.

Price Range: $ – $$

Harbor Freight

*BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Pros – Budget pricing of DIY tools, equipment, and consumables – Most brands not owned by Harbor Freight come directly from the manufacturer – Regular “parking lot” and “liquidation” sales, and coupons

Cons – Few “big name” brands and less pro-grade equipment – No free shipping; many returns will have a 20 percent restocking fee

Harbor Freight

Pros – Focused on high-quality, big-name brands and competitive pricing – Physical stores offer model kitchens and bathrooms, design help, plus lumber cutting and paint mixing – Shipping is often free with minimum order, as are are most returns

Cons – In almost all cases, prices are higher than at Harbor Freight – The stores can be too large and difficult to navigate unless you know what you’re looking for

The Home Depot

If you look at Harbor Freight tools vs. The Home Depot alternatives, the former usually wins by a country mile.

Harbor Freight is almost always cheaper than  The Home Depot

The Home Depot stocks DeWalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Kärcher, Makita, Ridgid, and other top brands that discerning DIYers and pros know and trust

The Home Depot has a greater focus on leading brands and high-quality equipment

Harbor Freight has great prices as long as they stock what you need. The retailer’s product range is about 7,000 items. It sounds like a lot until you compare it to The Home Depot with around 35,000 items in store and more than a million online.

The Home Depot has a bigger product range and more physical stores

If budget is the key issue, then Harbor Freight wins hands down. However, if it’s a question of quality and choice, we pick  The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

More on

Get the Newsletter

Sign up to receive the best tips and tricks, the latest news and giveaways, and the most inspiring home improvement ideas from Bob Vila, America's Handyman since 1979.