1/2" battery "bigguns" impact wrenches. Harbor Freight (Hercules) vs. Milwaukee. (long)

Oct 5, 2005
Been a Milwaukee Fuel user ever since the "Fuel" line became available, 10+ years ago? Anyway, for the last few months I've been in the market for 1/2" battery impact. Ryobi had a special a 3-4 months ago that I was really interested in, but Home Depot kept screwing me around on the price, so my interest in that line wavered. Lately, I saw the hype on the Hercules (HF) brand of impact. The ad showed it to be somewhat equal (ratings wise) to Milwaukee, so I did a little comparing. I had been in the market for the Milwaukee brand, as it fit everything else that I used for the last 10 years, but when I saw the problems that they've been having with the redesigned "b" version of their impact, especially on all the videos of them not working right out of the box, I decided to wait on that brand. The lack of QC and product testing, or lack thereof, really turned me off. I was in HF a few days ago and talked to the store manager to see if they had any BOGO deals on this impact and he said they did. Corporate had just sent out an internal email to them that if you buy the impact, charger and a battery together, they give you $20 off. I also asked about warranty work. He said warranty (at least at this time) is handled by bringing it into the store and exchanging it, unlike Milwaukee that probably "has to be sent off". Harbor Freight has a light 90-day warranty on a lot of their products, but this one is for 5 years on the impact, 3 years on the charger. Milwaukee is Chinese-built and owned. Hercules is Chinese-built and American-owned. (Really not a deal breaker or maker there)
So I went with the HF-Hercules. Luckily, I had the manger standing by the register to give me the $20 off, because it didn't ring up by itself and he had to manually change it.
I live on a farm and do mechanic work so this should come in handy. We'll see. I've also had HF balk on some of their previous warranty work. Hopefully, I won't need it.


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Apr 27, 2013
Kruse, Thanks for the info. Please keep us all updated on your tryout and review of the Hercules impact. Real world, TRUSTED sourced reviewers like yourself, are what make any consumer brand worthy of consideration by all us BITOGers.
Dec 21, 2009
Harbor freight is finally catching up, this new impact looks great. The paltry 90 day warranty really didn't do them any favors looks like they listened.

The lack of QC and product testing, or lack thereof, really turned me off.

Have you read their response? They are taking all the "bad" units back no questions asked. They agree it was a fail.
Aug 20, 2003
main reason I wouldnt buy a Hercules is the batteries.. theoretically you might already have milwaukee and their batteries.
also previously the HF 90 day warranty was major turn off... if you believe in your product no reason not to give it AT LEAST a year.
Dec 15, 2010
San Antonio,TX
I early Dec. 2022 I shopped for a battery powered 1/2" drive impart strong enough to remove the lugnuts from my Prevost bus/mh that are torqued to 450 ft/lbs. The 2 candidates were Northern Tool Milwaukee or HF Hercules. The Milwauke setup would have cost me about $450 to my door.

So, on Dec. 2, 2022 I ordered online from HF the following:

20V 8.0 Ah Extreme Performance Lithium-Ion Battery, #59245 - $69.99
20V Brushless Cordless 1/2 in. Ultra Torque Impact Wrench, #59380 - $179.99

I already had a charger. Shipping was $6.99, plus tax it was $278 to my door. Works great.

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Nov 20, 2006
MA, Mittelfranken.de
Give credit where its due, they really seem to be buying/selling better products. Some of their new air tools are from the same manufacturer that makes them for Hazet, Matco and others either complete or as knock downs that require final machining and assembly (IIRC they are made by AIRPROWU, Mighty 7 and a few others). Taiwan owns the market on these types of tools lock stock and barrel.
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Mar 21, 2004
Near the beach in Delaware
While HF is making better tools, their prices are also getting up there.

If the OP has many Milwaukee M18 tools already then he must have Milwaukee M18 batteries and charger. So you could have bought a bare tool Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" impact wrench.

The last thing I would want is another type of battery and charger.

I think the Milwaukee batteries are excellent. Not so with aftermarket for Milwaukee M18. Or Ryobi OEM. I have yet to need to replace any Milwaukee M18 battery.

I have a Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" high torque impact. Had it for several years. It's a great tool.


Nov 6, 2017
I'm a Milwaukee fan but chuckled at the "b" debacle -- they 100% deserve any bad press they get from being idiots.

The depth and breadth of the line is still their strength for me. Impacts, drills, inflators, nail guns, heat gun, grinders, lights, staplers, OPE, band saws and much more I'm forgetting.

Granted, I run both M12 and M18

I'm actually an hour from a HF but FedEx is effectively at the end of my driveway (for Milwaukee warranty returns -- they pay shipping)