Tool Review: Harbor Freight Flex Shaft Grinder

Jack Landiswith Jack Landis
GCA Technical Services Manager

You will often hear some of the gunsmiths here refer to a Foredom grinder, arguably one of the most used power tools by gunsmiths. Foredom tools are top quality which means they also have a top quality price.

In this review Jack looks at a cheaper alternative from Harbor Freight. If you are not a full-time professional gunsmith that uses tools every day, this may be a great and less expensive alternative for you.

11 Responses to Tool Review: Harbor Freight Flex Shaft Grinder

  1. Thanks Jack. I didn’t even realize H.F. had these. I have been using one of their little pneumatic rotary tools. They too are cheap, but last several years, then I get another one. They spin really fast–up to 50,000 rpm. But, like any pneumatic tool, can be slowed down (just not with a foot pedal). I’ve been doing this full time since 2010, and am on only my second one.

    However, at about $200 I might add one of the Foredom tools from A.G.I., and only use my little pneumatic where its speed is advantageous.

  2. Been using one of these for the last 6 years, almost everyday, with no problems. I use the bit assortment for HF also and they work great. I do use the Dremel cutoff wheels with the quick change arbor, a little more expensive, but they hold up a lot better. Not much fun when one of those whiz wheels fly apart.

  3. For a long time I would not use anything from Harbor Freight but when some of my then employees kept telling me that a lot of thier things were really a good buy, I started trying them. A few things have been disappointing but most are the same items as the big box stores just a different color and a fraction of the cost. Pay attention and watch what you buy and you will come out ahead.

  4. Great catch, Jack! We have a new Harbor Freight here in Sioux Falls so I will check out that unit. They also have a “bicycle lift” to hang my wife’s bike for only $9.

  5. Hi Jack.
    I totally agree except for the cheap HF abrasives.
    I have found that these will often disintegrate on the first use, scattering debris everywhere. I will stick to top quality abrasives from tool and die making supply houses.

  6. They always put out 20% off cupons, so it is a real bargain. I do agree that their accessories for it are not Dremel quality, except for the diamond bringing bits. They are good for the money.

  7. I’ve had one for a number of years, had to replace the foot pedal but it works fine, if a little under powered. Speed is different as well.

    The problem with the HF tool assortment is I get 216 rotary tools and use about 12 of them. I just order multiples of what I use on Amazon for cheap or, occasionally, specialized stuff from Brownell’s or one of the Foredom suppliers.