Pittsburg Tools Review: Are Their Tools Any Good?
It’s often said that a craftsman can only be as good as his tools, which is why so many people get a little crazy about tool brands. Pittsburgh Tools is one of the newer hardware store-specific tool brands to hit the market. (It’s for Harbor Freight, by the way!) While they’re still new, people are starting to gain a love of this brand. So, what’s the deal with Pittsburgh Tools?
Pittsburgh Tools are generally seen as one of the more affordable store-specific brands, but it’s not a cheaply made brand. People agree that the quality of the tools is fairly decent, to the point where you can rely on them for typical projects. However, the Pittsburgh line struggles with selection and minor details in tool design.
If you’re looking for a new toolkit or just want to get the scoop on this up-and-coming brand, then you’ll enjoy this article. We did all the research you’ll ever need about this tool brand.
The Blow-By-Blow On Pittsburgh Tools
To make sure that we cover all of the bases on Pittsburgh and what the tool brand offers buyers, it’s best to tackle each aspect of the brand individually. That’s why we’re going to go for each of these features individually:
- Products Offered
- Design Quality
Are you ready to rock? Then let’s take a look at what each factor will offer for buyers.
Pittsburgh Tools is meant to be a professional-grade brand that focuses on hand tools rather than power tools. As far as the products go, you can expect to find standard hammers, wrenches, and screwdrivers. Once in a while, you might also get a nice hand truck or lifter, but aside from that, it’s fairly basic.
This is a good brand for generic, basic tools that you need for most home projects. Sometimes, you might also get tools that are meant for automotive uses, such as a motorcycle lift. If you’re looking for specialized items like a beveling saw or motorized tools, think again.
The cool thing about Pittsburgh Tools is that they say their tools are made in the same factories as competitors like Husky, but that they cut out the middle man. This is done to pass the savings onto the consumer, and honestly, it’s a good bargain price. Pittsburgh is noticeably more affordable than most competitors of a similar quality level.
Though Pittsburgh isn’t the cheapest tool brand out there, one can say it’s moderately priced. That alone is not too bad, especially considering how much tools cost.
Here’s where many people tend to be shocked when they learn about Pittsburgh: their warranties rule. Well, at least on paper they do. Almost all tools under this brand umbrella will have a lifetime warranty, so if you have a part that breaks, you can get an immediate replacement, no questions asked.
The one thing that I will point out is that there have been some problems actually getting their warranties redeemed in stores. So while it’s good on paper, there is a slim chance you might have a harder time in person. Usually calling customer service can help, but it’s still a snag worth noting.
Now, let’s talk about the design quality—the actual design of the tools they make. When I looked at the reviews for designs, I got a seriously strong theme for most of them:
- Basic tools are pretty well-designed, for the most part. I mean, it’s really hard to screw up a hammer design, right? Most of their tools won’t be too bad in terms of design.
- However, there still seems to be a learning curve for most of the designs that causes little details to be difficult to work with. For example, drill bits might not be labeled when it comes to sizing. Or, you might have a torque wrench that’s a little too short or a collection of tools that doesn’t come with a case. It’s a matter of it often being close but no cigar.
- One thing we do want to point out is that there have been several product recalls in recent years. So it’s clear that these tools aren’t perfect. However, no tool brand ever goes without a recall for years.
- Some people have complained about the smell coming from new Harbor Freight tools. It’s a plasticky smell that can be a little acrid at times. This is just part of their manufacturing residue and should not pose a danger to you whatsoever.
- Overall, most people don’t have much issue with the way these items are designed though. The bottom line is that this line tends to have tools that would be labeled an “A-” to “B+” if graded along the same lines as a report card. They’re not spectacular, per se, but they’ll get the job done.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Pittsburgh tools are generally fairly durable. In fact, there are quite a few professional builders that rely on them for their bigger jobs. When you pair that kind of reputation with the fact that they have golden warranties, it paints a pretty good picture when it comes to quality.
What Tool Brands Are Considered To Be Similar To Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is a brand that entered a pretty packed section of the tool world. This means that they have a serious issue when it comes to similar brands and coping with competitors. If you take a look online, you might notice that Pittsburgh Tools is often compared and contrasted to brands like the ones below:
- Blue Point
While Pittsburgh is not going to be viewed the same way as a “luxury” tool brand like Snap-On, they are still up there. You can reasonably compare them to almost any store brand that you find on the market.
Where Can You Buy Pittsburgh Tools?
Since Pittsburgh is Harbor Freight’s store brand, the answer should be obvious. The best place to go for them is at your local Harbor Freight store, since they will literally have them in stock all the time. However, there are other ways you can get your hands on Pittsburgh if you do not want to go in-store.
Harbor Freight’s website has a good selection, and Pittsburgh also can be found on major retailing sites like Amazon. If you are searching for a particular tool, you can usually find it by searching it up by name online.
Is Pittsburgh Tools A Decent Brand?
Overall, my verdict is that Pittsburgh is a great example of a brand that is going to be on the up and up. The brand has a good warranty, a nice selection of hand tools, and also keeps prices low by way of their business model. Since Pittsburgh is associated with a trusted name like Harbor Freight, it’s going to be a name that most craftsmen will feel comfortable with.
If you’re looking for an affordable brand that will give you a good start on a beginner toolset, then Pittsburgh will be a great match. However, it still is a beginner brand that is still making its break in the industry. This is not going to be the ultra-reliable work of Snap-On, nor is it going to have the type of craftsmanship that people expect from DeWalt.
The bottom line is that you need to temper your expectations with Pittsburgh Tools if you want to be happy with the brand. It’s not the best, but it’s still pretty darn good—much like a favorite chain restaurant. Whether you’re a fan of this level of quality is up to you to determine.
Where is Pittsburgh Tools made?
If you were hoping that the answer was going to be in Pittsburgh, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Pittsburgh Tools are all made in China, though the name may be a bit misleading. The truth is that most hand tools are not going to be made in the United States anymore, and it actually takes a lot of research to find brands that even make a small portion of their tools in the United States.
Is Snap-On owned by Harbor Freight?
Though Snap-On tools have long been a major “solo player” in the world of tools, the truth is that things have changed. Harbor Freight now owns the majority share of Snap-On tools as a company. With that said, it doesn’t appear that Harbor Freight is going to change much about how Snap-On tools are made or the quality of their designs.
Why are Snap-On tools so expensive?
There are several reasons why Snap-On tools come at such a high price. The most common issue is that they have to be made with specialized materials and high-precision machinery. Next up, there is also a heavy amount of research and design that goes into each iteration of a Snap-On tool. R+D costs a lot of money to do right, but it’s worth it since it means that you will be able to enjoy your tools more, for longer.
Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.
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