Harbor Freight has a lot of cheap tools. Some of them are, well, cheap, and some of them offer good value for the money. Maybe don't buy the jack stands, but the company's latest hitch-mounted vise sold under its Doyle brand could be a different story. These tools have been growing in popularity as a solid truck accessory, and with HF entering the game earlier this year, it could be time to pick one up.
To be clear, HF isn't the first to come up with a tool like this. A few other companies offer something almost identical or at least an adapter to mount a vise, but the appeal of Harbor Freight anything is hard to deny. Since there aren't many of these around yet, this is the kind of thing the company could make more mainstream.
The pros to such a setup are obvious: you get a near-instant area to clamp stuff down and work on it at the back of your truck. This could be especially nice on a truck like a Ford F-150 Lighting or other vehicle with a lot of power outlets in the bed. The HF unit, similar to a few other tools like this, also has a spot for grasping pipes and square objects. Six-inch-wide replaceable jaws and a small anvil area on top round out the picture.
The downsides are made clear by the other offerings in this space. As it stands, this vise is mounted low to the ground on the hitch, which makes it lower than ideal for doing comfortable work. Different companies sell adapters that give a space to mount a vise at a more comfortable height to account for this. That being said, the HF vise as well as the others sold online can be rotated 90 degrees to cut material vertically, which may make it a little more usable.
The company claims the jaw can open as wide as 5 3/4", but that depends a lot on the truck it's mounted to. The 7,700-pound clamping force claim seems legit, though. YouTuber Justin Wheeler tested the vise in a pretty extensive video which is worth a watch if you want such a tool. He was able to clamp a tow strap down to the vise and pull another truck with it.
The true appeal of the Harbor Freight hitch vise is the company that's selling it. Sometimes HF will just have a crazy sale that makes picking up stuff like this hard to resist. Even if it only lasts a year, so what? It's cheap. Sometimes you just need a tool to get the job done or make your life a little easier, and the cheap stuff from the company can fit the bill perfectly.
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