Cordless Drill Reviews & Impact Drivers

18V Cordless Drills

Speed Under Load
Torque
Feature Set
Weight
Footprint
Value
Final Thoughts

In the world of compact drills and hammer drills, the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill earns a look with solid speed and moderate torque to drive its performance. Despite its attractive design and pricing, the failure we experienced in testing raises red flags for this discount drill. If you're a DIYer and feel like this is the hammer drill for you, get the extended warranty and save your receipt. We do not recommend this model for Pros at any level.

Overall Score 3.3 Shootout Results

Harbor Freight Hercules Hammer Drill Review – HC92K1


Harbor Freight Hercules Hammer Drill Suffers Failure in Testing

Harbor Freight seems to be a polarizing place to shop amongst Pros. On the one hand, you’ve got the guys who won’t dare sully their toolboxes with tools from Harbor Freight. On the other hand, you’ve got the guys who couldn’t care any less about the brand name on their tools, and who would rather not spend a load of money on them. Well, we get curious about these sorts of things and put the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill in our Best Cordless Drill Shootout.

Shootout Results

In the world of compact drills and hammer drills, the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill earns a look with solid speed and moderate torque to drive its performance. Despite its attractive design and pricing, the failure we experienced in testing raises red flags for this discount drill. If you’re a DIYer and feel like this is the hammer drill for you, get the extended warranty and save your receipt. We do not recommend this model for Pros at any level.

Overall 18V Compact Drill Driver Ranking: 14th Place

Overall 18V Compact Hammer Drill Ranking: 8th Place

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Features

The Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill features a 4-pole brushed motor and 2-speed transmission. All-metal gear construction is supposed to stand up to the drill being banged around. It includes a Jacobs 1/2″ ratcheting chuck as we see on many Pro brands. An LED light rounds out the whole package.

In terms of feature sets, the Hercules hammer drill misses out on all of the modern bells and whistles that we don’t necessarily expect, especially at this drill’s price.

However, it’s also missing some of the stuff – namely a brushless motor – that we’ve come to expect from a modern cordless tool. Of course, this helps to keep the price down and Hilti gets away with having the highest in the entire shootout with a brushed motor. But it would be a mistake to start comparing Harbor Freight’s quality with Hilti’s.

Performance

Peruse our Best Drill Head to Head Review to get the specific details of how we test speed and soft torque.

Torque Testing

Our torque testing rig showed us that the Harbor Freight Hercules 20V hammer drill can crank down 125.2 in-lbs of soft torque. This fell into the bottom third of the drills we tested for raw torque output. We expected more considering Hercules specs the 3rd highest torque at 576 in-lbs.

That said, it’s still a relevant amount of torque for this class. 5 other drills/hammer drills produce a similar amount, including Makita and Milwaukee.

Speed Testing

Manufacturers intentionally gear their motor to certain results and one way they can go is to trade-off some torque to get higher speed. That seems to be the case as the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill didn’t look so bad when it came to our testing speed under load. With a 3/4″ Bosch Daredevil High-Speed Auger Bit, it held the 2nd place with a 1409 RPM average. Only DeWalt’s DCD797 was higher.

At 74% of the no-load speed we tested, it has the muscle to move up a bit size or two before you start putting any real strain on the motor.

When it came to dropping into low with a 1-1/2″ Milwaukee SwitchBlade Self-Feed Bit, the Harbor Freight Hercules 20V hammer drill averaged a 3rd-place 423 RPM. It continued to maintain a decent efficiency rating of 77%, again showing that it can go bigger before bogging down.

Finally, we timed each hammer drill as it drilled down to a 3″ depth in concrete using a 1/4″ Bosch Daredevil MultiPurpose Bit. The Hercules model lagged a bit here, but with a time that wasn’t too disappointing: 8.3 seconds. It ranks in 6th-place out of 9 even though it’s a long way the bottom 2 that posted averages over 9 seconds.

Performance Takeaways

The Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill trends more on the speedy side that muscular, though its efficiency ratings show it may have more to give. This model is going to do its best work drilling small diameter holes quickly and may force you into a bigger drill more quickly than other brands. Since there isn’t another hammer drill or drill driver option with more power on the Hercules battery, it means switching to a different altogether.

Look Out for the Elephant

In the course of our initial testing, the clutch stripped out on this hammer drill. We weren’t abusing it in any way and we were really surprised given how little load it was under compared to what the other drills tolerated. While we were able to replace it under warranty and completed the tests with a second hammer drill, we’re very concerned about the quality of the build.

Size and Weight

Harbor Freight does a nice job keeping the hammer drill’s size in check. At 7.6″ tall and 7.7″ long, it’s shorter and longer than most of its competition. We’d rather see that flip since having a smaller head length gets you into tighter spaces better than a shorter height. Still, it’s clearly compact and scores well for its overall size.

Hercules teeters on the hefty side of the middle without crossing over into it. At 3.80 pounds with its 2.5Ah battery, it avoids the 4-pound barrier that Ridgid and Masterforce cross into. However, it’s also out of sight of the 3-pound leaders.

Overall, the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill is very much a compact model. Even though it’s on the heavier side, it’s nowhere near the medium and heavy-duty model weights.

Price

Price is the #1 reason to buy power tools from Harbor Freight. At $109 for a kit with 2.5Ah battery, the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill is tempting. You can also snag the drill driver version for $99 if you don’t need light concrete drilling capabilities.

Normally, I’d say this is a killer value. However, the fact that our first model broke so easily comes into play. If you’re going to pull the trigger, do yourself a favor: buy the extended warranty and save your receipt.

Hercules doesn’t run very deep on their 20V battery platform. There are exactly three tools that work with it—this hammer drill, its drill driver brother, and an impact driver.

Your closest price option is Craftsman at $159 (2 x 2.0Ah kit) on the hammer drill side. If you just need the drill driver, consider Skil ($129.99) or Masterforce ($139) as viable options in the same ballpark.

The Bottom Line

In the world of compact drills and hammer drills, the Harbor Freight Hercules hammer drill earns a look with solid speed and moderate torque to drive its performance. Despite its attractive design and pricing, the failure we experienced in testing raises red flags for this discount drill. If you’re a DIYer and feel like this is the hammer drill for you, get the extended warranty and save your receipt. We do not recommend this model for Pros at any level.

Harbor Freight Hercules Hammer Drill Specs

  • Model Number: HC92K1
  • Chuck Size: 1/2″ Keyless
  • Max Torque: 576 in-lbs
  • Speed: 0-600 / 0-2000 RPM
  • Charge Time: 60 minutes
  • Warranty: 90-Day
  • MSRP: $109 from Harbor Freight

For more information on this drill and to see its individual results, please check out our Best Cordless Drill head to head review.

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Michael RuimermanBernard Porzio MalloyMike TreenCalvin Haden Recent comment authors
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Michael Ruimerman
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Harbor Freights’ power tools do leave abit to be desired. They have gotten alot better but are still not a replacement for Milwaukee and DeWalt. Recently there have been reviews or previews of 2 additional 20V Hercules tools to be released in the very near future but I just checked and couldn’t find them for sale yet but they are on YouTube. They have a cordless recip saw (basically a sawzall) and a cordless circular saw both accepting the same 20V battery. Also rumors of cordless impact wrench sometime around Christmas, but again that’s just a rumor…

Bernard Porzio Malloy
Guest

All of their tools have purpose. Home owner use ( occasional) .

Mike Treen
Guest

Quality and harbor freight don’t belong in the same sentence

Calvin Haden
Guest

But then it wouldn’t cost $10