Quality tools on a budget.

Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight’s Icon hand tool lineup is growing in popularity due to its quality and price. While they’re best suited for at-home jobs, the price and warranty make them worth trying.

Many tool brands have loyal fanboys, all claiming their favorite brand makes the best tools. Ask anyone who spends thousands on Snap-on, DeWALT, MAC, or Klein. But if you’re looking for something a little more affordable, you’re likely wondering if ICON tools from Harbor Freight are worth buying.

Mechanics and professionals often make fun of specific brands, but those debates aren’t all that important for the average homeowner. So the next time you walk into a hardware store and see more options than you can imagine and big price tags, don’t get overwhelmed.

Most people are familiar with Snap-on, Craftsman, Stanley, and other household names, but Icon is a relatively new option. So, who makes Icon tools, are they built to last, and should you consider buying one? Here’s what you need to know.

Who Makes Icon Tools?

Harbor Freight

Icon are some of the most popular and affordable tools over the last few years, but finding information about the tools themselves is challenging. That’s because they’re “made” and sold by Harbor Freight in over 1,300 stores throughout 48 states.

Harbor Freight has been around since 1977 as a small family-owned business, and over the years grew into the massive chain we all know today. Many of the products sold in stores are known as “rebrands,” meaning it’s the same tool as others with a different name.

You can find tools that look nearly identical to an Icon Ratchet with another name on it, and that’s likely because they’re both made by the same company. And for those wondering, no, Icon ratchets are not made by Snap-on, even if some look exactly the same.

In terms of who makes Icon tools, that’s a difficult question to answer. From what I’ve gathered online and by talking to Harbor Freight staff, different tools come from different vendors. It looks like Kabo makes a lot of Icon wrenches, while Infar Industrial makes many others, like the ratchets.

Unfortunately, Harbor Freight doesn’t share the information publicly, and groups like Infar don’t have a list of brands they build tools for.

That said, it’s similar to how Techtronic Industries (TTI Group) builds all the power tools sold by Ryobi, Milwaukee, and Ridgid. I reached out to Harbor Freight, and if we get an answer on who exactly makes its Icon tools, I’ll update this post.

Where Are Icon Tools Made?


Icon Tools readily available and on shelves at Harbor Freight are marketed and sold in the United States. Harbor Freight is based in Calabasas, California. However, figuring out exactly where each Icon tool is made or designed is complicated.

Many enthusiasts will tell you that Icons are cheap Chinese junk, but that’s simply not true. Depending on who makes each tool, they’re likely made in Taiwan. Both Kabo Tools and Infar Industrial are based in Taiwan, both own several patents and make excellent tools.

Some tools may come from other manufacturers, but it’s hard to say who. Plus, the manufacturing process and manufacturer likely depend on each specific product, model, or year. That all said, there’s a good chance all your Icon tools are made in Taiwan or China. Then again, so are many tools that previously were “Made in America.”

Huge Lineup of Hand Tools at Harbor Freight

Harbor Freight

Now that you know a few more details about Icon and Harbor Freight, here’s more information about its extensive lineup, which is part of what makes the brand so popular lately.

Harbor Freight sells a wide selection of Icon tools and storage equipment. You can find drivers, ratchets, wrenches, sockets, pliers, screwdrivers, striking tools and hammers, specialty tools, creepers, and even heavy-duty torque wrenches.

Head into any HF store, and you’ll see the bold ICON name on all sorts of tools in various shapes and sizes, and that even includes garage lighting. Better yet, it’s all pretty affordable compared to much of the competition. For now, the company mainly offers hand tools, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see power tools soon.

Are Icon Tools Worth Buying?

Harbor Freight

Back to the original question and what you’re all probably wondering. Are Icon tools worth buying? Honestly, that depends on your wants and needs and if they’re for professional or personal use.

I think Icon tools at Harbor Freight are absolutely worth buying. The average DIY job around the house or at-home mechanic trying to change some spark plugs or replace a brake pad will have no problems with Icon.

In fact, I own several, from its excellent 1/2 inch 250 ft. lb. digital torque wrench to ratchets. I’ve used them on little jobs around the house and building ebikes, to replacing the entire front and rear suspension, coil-overs, and leaf springs on my Toyota Tacoma. They’re affordable, durable, and reliable, and help me get the job done with no fuss.

I was initially skeptical because I also owned Pittsburgh tools from Harbor Freight that broke while I was under my truck, and that’s not good. I’ve since thrown those away.

That said, I haven’t had a single problem with anything under the Icon name. Obviously, having a solid tool for a DIY job at home is important, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend thousands of dollars, either. Furthermore, I know several professional mechanics with tools from nearly every brand available, and many of them use Icon tools daily without complaint.

For example, this professional mechanic with over 20 years of experience on Reddit had nothing negative to say about Icon. Additionally, a good friend of mine is a heavy machinery mechanic that had over $20,000 worth of tools stolen from his work truck back in 2021. Over the last two years, he’s bought an extensive selection of Icon tools, uses and abuses them daily on the job, and has no complaints.

Professionals may want to go with a big-name brand and buy pricey tools from a truck or catalog, but for average at-home users, Icon is perfectly acceptable. But that’s my opinion based on experience. Even if you’re a professional, as long as a tool gets the job done, that’s all that matters. Sure, you might get a few comments from co-workers, but when you spend thousands less and can finish a job in the same amount of time, who will be the one laughing?

At the end of the day, the overall performance and sheer amount of tools you get for your hard-earned money make Icon tools an excellent value. Plus, all Icon hand tools at Harbor Freight come with a limited lifetime warranty, making replacements quick and easy.

Here are a few Icon tools worth buying.

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