Batteries from Harbor Freight, are they Worth it? Today we will take a look at the three levels of batteries currently available for purchase at Harbor Freight Tools.
Having been a customer of theirs for the past few years, I have used all three of these batteries…with mixed results.
In this article I will go over my own personnel experiences with using these batteries in my devices. See more below.
Are Harbor Freight Batteries any Good?
First, lets go over the Three Types of batteries they currently offer.
- Thunderbolt Magnum (Yellow) – GOOD
- Thunderbolt Alkaline (Orange) – BETTER
- Thunderbolt Edge (Blue) – BEST
Rated as Good, Better and Best. The pricing you pay for each of these options will be directly tied to the kind of performance you can expect.
Pricing & Performance
Like most things, the price you will pay will closely match the type of performance.
GOOD – Thunderbolt Heavy Duty Magnum
Made of Zinc Chloride
The Yellow Thunderbolt Heavy Duty batteries are Harbor Freights budget line of power.
They are the least expensive of all of the options and can even be picked up as a “Free Item” with coupon.
Speaking of Harbor Freight Thunderbolt Battery Coupons, to see all the current “Free Items” check out the Coupon Database here.
Advertised for use in low-drain items like LED flashlights, tv remotes, clocks and portable radios.
So far I have been pretty disappointed with this line of batteries to the point I will no longer purchase them…for any reason. While they are a super low-cost battery (or can be picked up for FREE) I just don’t have the need to have these batteries around.
- Very low-cost, can be picked up for Free on promotion
- Budget option for very low drain applications like TV remotes, clocks, low-end LED flashlights
- Even brand new these batteries may not work in devices that require higher power draw (electric trimmers, digital cameras, bright lights)
In items like electric razors and many higher power LED lights I tried them in, the batteries were just unable to run the devices to their full potential.
Sure, they might work fine in TV remotes or clocks but since that is about all I can see myself using them on, it is just not worth having a large supply of these batteries on hand.
BETTER – Thunderbolt Alkaline
Made of Alkaline
The Orange Thunder Bolt batteries are the middle of the line batteries offered by Harbor Freight. While they are considerably better vs the Yellow “Heavy Duty” batteries they don’t quite stack up to your typical Duracell or Energizer batteries.
You can find these batteries on sale with a coupon but I have never seen this line of battery ever offered as a “Free Item”
Since these are an Alkaline battery they perform much better vs the Yellow Thunderbolts (zinc chloride) mentioned above. I have used these battery successfully in trimmers, LED lights, motion lights, fire alarms without issue.
- Value priced for middle of the road performance
- With coupon these batteries are a great deal for items that will not be used frequently (toys, trail cams, flashlights, mouse, LED lights, X box controllers, etc)
- Not quite as good as a Duracell or Energizer batteries when it comes to longevity in high-drain devices.
If you are looking for a good “Value” battery these would be an excellent option. Many other users also report good results when using these batteries in trail cams and X box controllers.
BEST – Thunderbolt Edge Alkaline
Made of Alkaline
The Blue Thunderbolt Edge batteries are currently the best batteries offered by Harbor Freight and perform nearly as well as your big name brands like Duracell & Energizer.
Perfect to use in any application that calls for a standard Alkaline battery. This includes toys, digital cameras, trail cameras, x box controllers, computer mice, trimmers, LED lights, Tactical flashlights, smoke detectors etc.
I have yet to have an issue with any device when using these batteries.
- Plenty of power to run demanding electronics
- With coupon these batteries are a great value as they offer name-brand performance at a fraction of the cost
- Great in every application I have tested them in
- Available in popular sizes (AA, AAA, C, D, 9V)
- These go quick when a coupon is running and may be out of stock at your local store
Are Harbor Freight Thunderbolt Batteries any Good?
Yes, the Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt Edge line of Alkaline batteries work very well in most devices and are a great value compared to most name brands. However, the Thunderbolt Heavy Duty Magnum line of Zinc Chloride batteries are pretty poor due to a lack of quality control and power.
In my option I would stay away from the Thunderbolt Heavy Duty Magnum (Yellow) batteries as they are simply not worth the trouble of having them around.
Even as a “Free” gift they fail to provide adequate power to most electronic devices.
How do they stack up vs the competition?
To see more reviews on other Harbor Freight products, check out these articles:
• “Predator Gas Powered Earth Auger”
• “Holt Industries Grease Gun Review”
• “Pierce Brand Brad Nailer Review”
• “Pittsburgh Tool Warranty Experience”
Does Harbor Freight Sell Rechargeable Batteries?
Yes, Harbor Freight does sell a line of High Capacity NiMH Rechargeable Batteries. Advertised to be capable of being recharged up to 1000 times.
These batteries are popular for use in solar lighting applications like solar deck lights, stakes and path lighting due to their ability to be recharged.
Affordable Batteries for Solar Applications
If you don’t plan on using these batteries in self-charging solar applications then a separate battery charger will be required. HF sells a plug in version that is capable of recharging AA and AAA batteries (item# 62151,68025)
I have not personally used these batteries yet but they currently hold a 4.7 star review on the HF website with minimal complaints.
The rechargeable Thunderbolt batteries are available in all popular sizes like AA, AAA, C, D and 9V.