What's The Difference Between Harbor Freight's Standard, Medium, & Heavy Duty Tarps?

Harbor Freight sells several top-rated, affordable items that can help with many of the projects you have going on, whether at home, in the shop, or on the worksite. Additionally, if you browse through the coupons page, sometimes you can get items for a good price, or even free depending on how much you spend. One of these items is among a selection of Harbor Freight's tarps. Tarps are useful in many areas like a mechanic's workshop and even living off-grid and are always a great find to have on hand. However, there are so many to choose from in terms of size, price, material, and even color, but what are the differences between them all?

When it comes to tarps, you'll usually see two important measurements: the size and the thickness. The size indicates the length and width of the tarp. However, a tarp's thickness is measured in mils, which is 1/1,000 of an inch. This means that the more mils a tarp has, the thicker it is. Below you'll learn the standard thickness for different Harbor Freight tarps and which type to use for specific situations.

Harbor Freight's standard tarps

If you're looking for a typical tarp that doesn't cost too much, you may want to consider a light-duty tarp. Sometimes, Harbor Freight has its cheapest ones listed as a free gift with any purchase if the coupon is available. These standard tarps are typically used to keep equipment covered and cool for a short period. They are UV, rot, and tear-resistant. However, because of their typical three or four-mil thickness, they're not able to withstand extreme weather for long periods of time.

Harbor Freight sells a variety of different sizes for its light-duty tarps, from small to x-large. Most of them are made of polyethylene — though, there are a couple that are made of mesh, which runs with a four mil thickness. There is also the option of camouflage tarps to help keep you and your supplies hidden during your hunting trips. The cheapest is a 5ft 6in by 7ft which runs $2.99, while the price you'll find for a light-duty tarp is $129.99 for a 28ft 10in by 59ft.

Harbor Freight's medium tarps

According to Harbor Freight, its medium-duty tarps are waterproof, rot proof, and resistant to sun damage. They come with a seven-mil thickness and in a few different sizes to choose from. One thing you'll notice about the difference between the standard and the medium-duty tarps is the color. Standards are typically blue unless they're mesh or camouflage, and the medium ones all come in green, so you'll know you're picking up the right thickness without too much hassle.

A medium-duty tarp is great for covering items that need a bit more protection than a standard tarp can handle. You can cover boats, machinery, caravans, and even pools with them. They also work well for covering any damage on a roof after a storm. It would be wise to keep a couple of medium-duty tarps in your home emergency kit. The smallest size is currently on clearance at $4.97, though that is subject to change as sales change, and the largest is $20.99.

Harbor Freight's heavy-duty tarps

Compared to their counterparts, heavy-duty tarps are great for bigger jobs like covering a load on the back of a truck. You may have seen instances where lighter-thickness tarps were used and immediately started getting torn apart on the interstate due to the wind speed — a heavy-duty tarp is much less likely to perform that way, especially if everything is properly tied down. They are also waterproof and resistant to mold, rot, and cracks.

When it comes to heavy-duty tarps, Harbor Freight sells a variety of thickness and material options. They come in four different sizes, just like the other tarps, but they range in thickness level from 9 mil to 12 mil. If you want something extremely durable, there are also canvas tarps — Harbor Freight has the thickness set to 10 oz per sq yard for canvas tarps. However, be aware that canvas tarps are a bit heavier than your typical polyethylene tarp and can be a bit harder to fold when the fabric becomes a bit stiff. They're also a bit more expensive, the smallest 6 ft by 8 ft size costing $27.99. However, keep in mind that if you want to purchase a giant heavy-duty all-purpose tarp it's going to cost a bit too — a 28ft 10in by 59ft tarp is $170, but it would cover a good portion of space.