Harbor Freight 1-ton foldable shop crane

  • Advertise with us
Review by JJohnston posted 02-14-2010 04:12 AM 19701 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Harbor Freight 1-ton foldable shop crane Harbor Freight 1-ton foldable shop crane Harbor Freight 1-ton foldable shop crane Click the pictures to enlarge them

Like many of you, I’m leery of a lot of Harbor Freight items, but I decided to take a chance on this shop crane to lift a couple of heavy machines onto their stands – an 8” parallelogram jointer and this 14” bandsaw. It’s really nothing more than a hydraulic jack and some welded steel tubing, so what could go wrong?

As recommended, I got a bottle of jack oil at the same time as the crane, and it did need to be topped off. This is normal, and I don’t consider it a negative. It took about 2 hours to assemble, working at a leisurely pace. No individual piece is more than about 40 or 50 lb. Everything attaches to the welded, trapezoidal “pelvis” at the bottom. Assembly consists of bolting casters to the pelvis and to the legs, attaching the legs to the pelvis with two pins (this is the folding mechanism – one hinge pin and one locking), bolting on the column and its braces, and bolting the boom to the ram and column. The instructions were adequate for this.

There are four positions for the extendable boom. As the boom is extended, horizontal reach and vertical lift height increase, while lift capacity goes down. The pin holes for the positions are labelled “1 ton”, “3/4 ton”, “1/2 ton” and “1/4 ton”. I used the 1/4 ton position to lift the bandsaw. I estimate the tip of the boom could probably just touch an 8’ ceiling, and the HF website says 94”.

Lift action is fine. With no load, the boom can be pumped up by hand, without the extension handle. Under load, lift is similarly easy with the handle. The let-down action is gentle and controllable.

All the casters are full swivel. This increases maneuverability, but makes control more difficult – a tradeoff I can live with. It’s just light enough that I can pull it over the pea gravel in my side yard to and from my shed, with some effort. Folded up, it’s about 5’ high and takes up about as much room as a wheelbarrow leaned up against a wall.

The biggest negative is that the legs don’t lock solidly in place when they’re folded – there’s enough play at the locking pin that they can lean either direction from vertical, and they tend to flop over on you, if you aren’t paying attention while moving it. Once you get used to it, it’s not too big a headache.

The website says it’s $179.99. I think I paid a little less at my local store, and with the 20% off coupon in the various woodworking magazines, you could pay quite a bit less.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 4140 days

6 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


118134 posts in 4426 days

#1 posted 02-14-2010 04:21 AM

That Harbor freight surprises us sometimes. Thanks for the review.


View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 4152 days

#2 posted 02-14-2010 04:49 AM


-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View mmh's profile


3680 posts in 4571 days

#3 posted 02-14-2010 04:52 AM

This looks like a handy thing to have for heavy items. I may need one to haul some logs around.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 4396 days

#4 posted 02-14-2010 05:28 AM

Thanks for this review. It is neat how you placed this review at this time. I need this lift like asap since we are getting ready to move into our larger shop and we have to transport a 500 lb planer, 300 lb saw, 450 lb saw, 600 lb sander and 350 lb shaper. So that seems like a lot of weight to heave into the back of my truck. I was thinking about buying the 2 ton lift but if the 1 ton foldable lift will work that would be ok but I would need it to extend fairly high in order to clear my tail gate. The 2 ton one is not that much more expensive. Thanks for the review because I was a little nervous about buying from harbor freight but I think I will pull the trigger.

-- .

View Glen Peterson's profile

Glen Peterson

556 posts in 3905 days

#5 posted 02-14-2010 10:02 PM

Nice Review, and I agree with your assessment of the jack. I bought the same model last month. It was on sale for $129 and they let me use the 20% off coupon as well so my total cost was $103.20 + tax. I’m not much of a HF fan, but I didn’t think I’d encounter any issues either. Like you said, the assembly was easy. I needed the jack to lift a new jointer onto the base and it worked like a charm. I just wish I had someplace to store it. Even folded it takes up a good deal of space. I might disassemble it for long term storage.

-- Glen

View Viking's profile


882 posts in 4044 days

#6 posted 03-07-2010 09:36 AM

Bought this same crane about 2 years ago when it was on sale for $99. This is one handy tool around my shop.

I have used it on many occasions to assemble heavy tools as I am one person operation at my shop which is at our ranch.

Used it recently to lift new cabinet saw onto its mobile base.

Thanks for the review.

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics