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Thread: Harbor Freight: Bauer vs Hercules

  1. #1
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    Harbor Freight: Bauer vs Hercules

    What's the difference?

    I was comparing several items and I'm not seeing much to any difference between them.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Whitesell View Post
    What's the difference?

    I was comparing several items and I'm not seeing much to any difference between them.
    The one that is more expensive must be better.
    Distraction could lead to dismemberment!

  3. #3
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    They are very similar, IMHO, but HFT markets the Hercules as "more contractor quality". I will say this, I have a bunch of the Bauer battery operated tools, including a few things I use for construction and in the shop as well as a few of the battery operated landscaping products. I have only ever been disappointed with one...and I returned it. That was the "rotozip" clone that just was not worthy. Otherwise, I'm very happy for my use. Hercules was not available when I started buying, so I've not had any personal experience with the blue tools. I actually just bought a Bauer 20v Hot Glue gun to use at the CNC the other day when I had a nice discount available. The small 20v circular saw and the 20v impact driver were workhorses when I was doing the shop build out. I felt no reason to buy "higher end" brands for those things because the use was initially targeted and now very occasional.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    They are very similar, IMHO, but HFT markets the Hercules as "more contractor quality". I will say this, I have a bunch of the Bauer battery operated tools, including a few things I use for construction and in the shop as well as a few of the battery operated landscaping products. I have only ever been disappointed with one...and I returned it. That was the "rotozip" clone that just was not worthy. Otherwise, I'm very happy for my use. Hercules was not available when I started buying, so I've not had any personal experience with the blue tools. I actually just bought a Bauer 20v Hot Glue gun to use at the CNC the other day when I had a nice discount available. The small 20v circular saw and the 20v impact driver were workhorses when I was doing the shop build out. I felt no reason to buy "higher end" brands for those things because the use was initially targeted and now very occasional.
    I haven't liked any of the rotozip options that I have ever used, actual rotozip or any clone. So that doesn't say much. In general I have avoided complex tools from HF. This would be my second largest buy and the most "complex" item I have purchased from HF. This, which I still cannot I spent $400 on one item at HF, but I am beyond pleased with its performance. The US General top/bottom 22"x26" tool box is fantastic. I cannot believe I said that either.

  5. #5
    I bought a compact router recently- a bit of bait and switch as the promotion said EVERYTHING ON SALE but at the checkout they said the Hercules one was not on sale.

    Much heavier than the other (not necessarily a good thing) and has lights- very good. Haven't really used it yet as I have multiple other ones but it seems to be a very close copy of the Makita.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Whitesell View Post
    I haven't liked any of the rotozip options that I have ever used, actual rotozip or any clone. So that doesn't say much. In general I have avoided complex tools from HF. This would be my second largest buy and the most "complex" item I have purchased from HF. This, which I still cannot I spent $400 on one item at HF, but I am beyond pleased with its performance. The US General top/bottom 22"x26" tool box is fantastic. I cannot believe I said that either.
    Which Bauer or Hercules tool(s) are you considering? And yes, their tool storage cabinets are pretty decent.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    My experience is they will drop the lowest price name after about five years and move everything left up one notch in price. Then they add a new lowest price name. I think Pitsburg is almost gone as a brand name there. General for toolchests will be gone in just.a few more years. Icon is the new name they are. pushing.
    Bill D

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    My experience is they will drop the lowest price name after about five years and move everything left up one notch in price. Then they add a new lowest price name. I think Pitsburg is almost gone as a brand name there. General for toolchests will be gone in just.a few more years. Icon is the new name they are. pushing.
    Bill D
    You don't see much Chicago Electric or Central Pnuematic much either. For that reason and many others, I don't buy things from HF where I will need or expect to need replacement parts for (such as small engine based items or battery powered items). As mentioned, I have the General toolbox. I also have a select but many hand powered tools. The Braun dual tube LED lights are great. I have 20 two tube flourscent lights in my basement. The fixtures from Lowes and HD only lasted about 2 years. The ones from Walmart (Light of America) by far lasted (outlasted) any of the Lowes/HD ones. But they are dying slowly. Lesson learned do not mix 4' LED fixtures with 4' flourscent fixtures. The light color mix is wicked on the eyes. I wouldn't buy anything battery powered. This would be my first serious electric powered tool from HF. Hence the post and my apprehension.

    I'm looking to get a portaband saw. Bauer is $120 regular, and Hercules, $180. Next week the Hercules is on sale for $110. The horizontal bandsaw mount is on sale for $100. There is a dedicated 5" horizontal bandsaw from WEN for $340, but I think I like the idea of being able to remove it, if I needed to use it that way. There is another portaband mount but it sells for $400+ so that is out. The other portaband saw I would consider are the Dewalt and Milwaukee. The first is $320 and the latter $360. Both too rich for my wallet.

  9. #9
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    I suspect that portaband is decent...and the nice thing is that if it sucks, you can take it back. HFT has upped their game in recent years and the higher lines are certainly very similar to Craftsman, Kobal, Ryobi, PorterCable (current homeowner stuff) etc. That's a stellar sale price that nearly covers the cost of the other pieces you want, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    Something like a portaband for a homeowner is something you might buy for one job then have it just in case but seldom use it. It might run 3 hours the whole time you own it. You don't need something that will go to work every day for years. A tradesman might use a portaband daily or nearly so and he/she is not going to want to be using Harbor Freight's extended warranty too often. I hope Harbor Freight doesn't up their game (and prices) too much.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curt Harms View Post
    Something like a portaband for a homeowner is something you might buy for one job then have it just in case but seldom use it. It might run 3 hours the whole time you own it. You don't need something that will go to work every day for years. A tradesman might use a portaband daily or nearly so and he/she is not going to want to be using Harbor Freight's extended warranty too often. I hope Harbor Freight doesn't up their game (and prices) too much.
    Weel, this homeowner now has a 2HP mid-size milling machine. I expect definitely more than 3 hours. But also much less than daily use. I have grown VERY tired of arguing with tools for hours to just use them for 15 minutes. I have taken to buying tools that I can use, sans futzing with them. the HF circle saw blade sharpener gets great reviews for the quality of the sharpening it does (4-5*) but gets 0* for ability to set it up. Everything is slotted (ie., floppy) so setup is miserable. Hence why I haven't gotten one. Maybe I'll get on and make a pinned version using the milling machine someday.

  12. #12
    Hercules is their "premium" brand over Bauer. As for which you should get, it largely depends on the item in question. Sometimes they're the same quality, just different features. Sometimes the Hercules is better made. Neither is great. But they're not terrible either. If it's a tool you plan on using often, I'd avoid them and buy something nicer. But if it's a tool that will just get pulled out every now and then, they tend to be fine.

    For the most part, their tools are made in the same overseas factories that make some of the other name brands you'll find at the big box stores. Like the Hercules plunge router is almost identical to the Skil RT1322 plunge router, so I'd be willing to bet they're made at the same place with mostly the same parts, just different sticker and pigments in the plastic. And I would expect the same level of quality and durability. If you look carefully at their tools, you can often figure out which big box brand they're identical, or nearly identical to.

    Harbor Freight doesn't sell high end tools. But I've purchased a bunch of them over the years, and they've all met my expectations for them.

  13. #13
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    I have a Bauer 4x24 belt sander and jigsaw. Neither get a lot of use. However they both have done exactly what they should. No complaints. I don't have any cordless tools from HF just because I'm not sure if replacement batteries will be available down the road. I'm not sure that one line is better than the other when it comes to Hercules vs Bauer. It could strictly be price. Both are better than the Chicago Electric tools in my view. They tend to be low end basic tools that you throw away far too soon.

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