Oct 6, 2015

Japan's Harbor Freight: Astro Products, Part 1 of ???

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Japan's Harbor Freight:

Astro Products, Part 1 of ???


I'll just start this off by saying everything in Japan is expensive. Like almost always double the price of the same thing in America. Five slices of shitty white bread starts at .99 cents. People bitching about a gallon of milk being 4 bucks.... try 3 bucks for a quart. Gasoline...about a gallon of the regular go juice costs around $7.20. A sandblasting cabinet that goes for 250 bucks at Harbor Freight.... $500 bucks here. And that goes on down the line to all of the tools in this country. So you might say it's not fair that we can get used Tein coilovers for only $300 bucks, but what are we gonna put them in with? And that is where car life gets expensive.

But that's also where Astro Products comes in. They have (pretty) cheap tools. Are they as high quality as the others? No. I would rate them overall below Craftsman in quality. But when you need something at (pretty) cheap prices...there they are.

This particular store was in Oita City, Oita Ken, on the island of Kyushu, but they have branches all over Japan. Most of the tools are Made in China or Taiwan, but the price is lower than most tools.


I use Astro for three main reasons:

1. When I was trying to build my tool collection in Japan, I needed to get some stuff fast, and I needed to build a small collection of usable tools. I wanted decent quality, but since I was buying in bulk, I couldn't be dropping ten grand on tools. I am not a mechanic. I'm just a guy that works on his own car in his spare time. The goal was too build a decent tool collection, and as things wore out, buy KTC, Asahi, Koken, or Snap-On. The tools work great for this.

2. You need a specialty tool that won't see a lot of day in and day out use. This falls back to point 1...I am not a professional mechanic. If I need a special tool for a brake line nut, but I'm not doing brakes everyday, it doesn't need to be a rock solid, never fail tool. So if you need a O2 Sensor socket, and you aren't changing them out every day, there is no need to spend 30-50 dollars on it, when you can buy one at Astro for closer to 12 bucks.

3. Consumables and storage. Stuff like zip-ties, shrink tube, electrical tape, interior panel clips, etc. This stuff is high in Japan at the general DIY stores, but you can usually get them at way better prices at Astro. It's a bit of a drive for me, at close to 2 and a half hours, so if I'm in town for another reason, I stop in and pick up what I need.



That's Astro in a nutshell. Next time I go in, I'll try to take the GoPro and take you on a tour. Oh, and...


while I'm on the topic of tools, I have a couple of comparisons to do, and I'll start with these thumb drivers tomorrow. This is a comparison between the KTC and Astro Models for a 3/8" drive socket. See you tomorrow.

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