The Garage Tools

Review: Harbor Freight’s Hercules 1/2 Inch High Torque Impact Wrench Might Rip

Woe be the stubborn bolt that keeps laughing in your face.
Harbor Freight's High Torque Half-Inch impact wrench
Check out this big ol' brute. Peter Nelson

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I’ve had a lot of fun reviewing Harbor Freight’s line of Hercules lithium power tools over the past year and a half. Between making my life easier with its 1/2 inch Compact unit, and having a moment of time-saving clarity while wielding its 3/8th cordless ratchet—plus a few other nifty contraptions in the pipeline—power tools really do transform any DIYer’s normal order of operations.

But I did have one complaint with the 1/2 inch Compact: It wouldn’t bust some hardware loose. Particularly, the stuff that should’ve been within the upper limits of its torque purview would stay on. The small impact had large moxie, but just not quite enough for some jobs.

Enter Hercules’ 20V Brushless Cordless 1/2 inch High Torque Impact Wrench. At first glance, one could look at its specs and call it the Mother of All Harbor Freight Impacts—MOAHFI doesn’t quite have the same ring as MOAB—but that title belongs to its more muscular sibling, the 20V Brushless Cordless 1/2 in. Ultra-Torque Impact Wrench. Still, 1,200 ft. lbs. of reported breakaway torque is nothing to scoff at, if it’s indeed accurate.

I recently pulled a shiny new example out of its packaging for some initial analysis, here are my thoughts so far.

Harbor Freight's High Torque Half-Inch impact wrench

Impressive Specs

Again, 1,200 ft. lbs. of breakaway torque ain’t nothing—that little anvil’s making more heavy hits than a mid-’90s Pantera drum track. And neither is HF’s advertised 600 ft. lbs. at 10 seconds, or 700 ft. lbs. at 30 seconds. Though, 30 seconds is an awful long time to punish fasteners.

The size and weight are on the portly size, but then, what isn’t in this tier? This unit stacks up directly with DeWalt’s 20V Max XR 1/2″ High Torque (which my colleague Hank is currently testing out) and Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel High Torque, and seems to be right around them in dimension and weight. Sans battery, the Hercules weighs six pounds. However, after doing some quick research without putting my own hands on the other units, it looks like the HF unit is dimensionally bigger. Not a big deal; a lot of the jobs you’d reserve for a unit like this are stuff that’d need loosening or tightening on the outside of the car. Well, actually, removing a crank pulley wouldn’t be doable for many applications. But then, none of them would.

I’ll definitely be looking for opportunities to try and max out the HF High Torque’s fastening and breakaway torque capabilities.

Finally, I really dig that this gun has an auto setting. I look forward to seeing how this shakes out in practice on a variety of different fasteners.

Sturdy Construction

Like every other Hercules product I’ve tested, this gun’s construction seems to be of very sturdy and impact-resistant quality. I treat my tools like tools, as I knock them over, toss them aside, scrape them on metallic surfaces and my driveway, and then some. And it seems like the High Torque can take it. 

Sure, it’ll show scrapes and scratches, but that’s a badge of honor in my book. But like my recent Autel review, I’ll come up with more creative ways to test this. Stay tuned.

What Would You Like To Know?

With that, what would you like to know about Harbor Freight’s Hercules 20V Brushless Cordless 1/2 inch High Torque Impact Wrench? Do you think it’ll stand up to abuse, as well as deliver plenty of its own abuse to stubborn nuts and bolts?