I have bought a few machetes from HF and some have been a bit flimsy but usable. I bought 3 earlier in the year when they had a big sale to try them as they were just $5.99 each. Avg length, stiff blade & had a serrated edge for cutting on the top side of the blade. It even came with a cheap nylon sheath which shredded to bits trying to get the blade in it. That serrated edge is sharp as all get out and actually works great, to my surprise! Those cheap $5.99 machetes have turned out to be a very good STIFF bladed, balanced blade that is superb for heavy brush cutting. The ones similar I bought a couple of years ago are flimsy, too lightweight and not balanced enough for me to swing to whack my target without kickback.
When I am out clearing brush, I have a tall 6 gallon bucket I found on the side of the road that I keep all my bushwhacking tools in (cane blades, machetes, saws, loppers of different lengths, etc). I have one of those HF 5-gallon bucket tool bags wrapped around it to hold my different pruners. One of my FAV loppers I got at HF that is ratcheting for those thicker branches or brush. Just wished the metal they used for the handles was heavier as I bent one side on a limb that was a bit too hard, and yes, I did force the final cut. It has an extension feature to shorten/lengthen the handles (it doesn’t stay locked with the locking PLASTIC nut (not sure what you call it…having a senior moment here) but with the now bent handle, you can’t adjust the length of the handle anymore so that flaw isn’t a problem. My best ratcheting loppers are Fiskars.
Another machete I bought at TSC was a SCHRADE. It was on one of their clearance tables and it has turned out to be a VERY GOOD blade but a bit short in length but good for a lot of other applications when bushwhacking.
Yes, you get what you pay for at HF but when you’re on a tight budget, you sometimes have to get what you can afford and deal with the consequences.