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Princess Auto stores

Omega Man

Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat
Staff member
I just watched a segment on Princess Auto. For those in Canada, I was wondering how shopping at a PA store was?

The featured store looked very nice and reminded me of perhaps a combination of a NAPA and Harbor Freight?

Doesn’t look like there are any on this side of the border.

I haven't been in a HF store but have seen enough videos on them and some of their products to wonder whether they were a sister company to Princess. Or maybe one just copied the other.

PA has the same kind of automotive, shop equipment, trailers, hunting equipment, etc. that HF has. Maybe a bit more agricultural supplies like livestock equipment, just because I live in the Canadian Prairies and that is a thing here. They have several aisles of Surplus stuff which is usually fun to browse - all kinds of under $5 gadgets and doodads, often failed "As Seen on TV" things, that are usually made in China and very cheap. In both ways :)

In fact, lots of stuff in PA is the impossibly cheap stuff that China pumps out, although for various things it is good enough and they also do have some brand name items too. There are some items I have seen online at HF that are identical to PA, which is why I wondered whether they have common ownership, or at least a common supply line.

This may sound like damning with faint praise for PA, but I admit I spend too much time just dropping in and seeing what they have from time to time. Would miss it if it went away.

Princess Auto is Canada’s answer to America’s Harbor Freight. They have a wide selection of tools and as mentioned above, a Surplus Section which has many bargains that one didn’t know were needed until you see them.

One of my torque wrenches (and only digital one) cost me around fifty dollars (or less) a few years ago. When mentioned this particular item to a riding acquaintance, he stated he’d never trust it as it came from P.A.. I received an email from Fort Nine (a reputable online retailer of Moto equipment) this summer with that same torque wrench on sale for $300+.

Yes a lot of their stuff comes from China but for the not professional wrenched, their tools are fine.

They also have a wonderful return policy, no questions asked. This applies to a change of mind, dissatisfaction with a product used or even once in my case, returning an unopened item almost two years after purchasing (for a full refund).

From their information, it is a totally Canadian owned and operated company.