Bauer vs. Hercules: Finding the Right Power Tool for Every DIYer and Pro

We put Harbor Freight’s two power tool brands head-to-head to find out which one meets your needs.

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Bauer and Hercules are two comparatively new power tool brands in an intensely competitive market. Both are owned by low-cost tool and equipment retailer Harbor Freight. The two ranges are designed in the U.S. but manufactured internationally.

The obvious question is why a store like Harbor Freight would offer two sets of power tools that compete with each other—or do they? We set out to discover how the different power tools perform and whether there’s an overall winner in the Bauer vs. Hercules battle.

How We Compared Bauer vs. Hercules

Here at, we regularly monitor Harbor Freight so we can pass on deals and discounts to our visitors. We’ve been aware of both Bauer and Hercules brands since their introductions and have followed their development with great interest. In our view, it’s never a bad idea for DIYers and pros to have more quality tools to choose from.

For this Bauer vs. Hercules comparison we looked at the variety of products offered and who they are aimed at. When selecting our top picks, we took equivalent models from each range and compared them head-to-head.


Bauer vs. Hercules

Price Range: $ to $$ 
Our Top Picks: Bauer 20V Cordless Drill Driver With Battery and Charger—$54.99 and Bauer 7¼-Inch Corded Circular Saw —$49.99.

Bauer power tools are firmly targeted at the DIY customer and pitched against rivals like Black+Decker and Ryobi. As you might expect from Harbor Freight, the Bauer range is among the cheapest power tools available.

Bauer models offer similar features and performance to many other budget tools. There’s certainly nothing groundbreaking here. Some people feel they are built down to a cost rather than up to a standard, but we think this is largely unfair. They have received positive comments in several independent reviews and are generally popular with buyers on tool discussion forums.

It’s important to understand that Bauer is not trying to take on pro-grade brands like DeWalt and Milwaukee. Bauer tools are designed for the homeowner looking for a budget-friendly tool that will mostly be used for weekend jobs around the house and yard. They aren’t intended to be used day in and day out or on busy jobsites.


  • Performance and features are similar to big-name DIY alternatives, almost always at lower prices
  • Bauer cordless batteries have high-quality Samsung cells and are known for longevity
  • Extensive choice of cordless and corded tools plus accessories for the home, garage, and yard


  • Manufactured at several foreign locations, so although generally reliable, quality control can vary
  • Not robust enough for contractor or trade use

Shop Bauer products at Harbor Freight.


Bauer vs. Hercules

Price Range: $$ to $$$ 
Our Top Picks: Hercules 20V Cordless Drill Driver With Battery and Charger —$97.99 and Hercules 7¼-Inch Corded Circular Saw —$99.99.

The Hercules power tools are aimed at the keen amateur or professional user who would otherwise be likely to invest in DeWalt or Milwaukee products. As is Harbor Freight’s usual policy, Hercules prices are often lower than those of rivals, but there are numerous exceptions. It’s worth comparing performance and features carefully before making a decision.

At the time of writing, the Hercules brand is largely focused on power tools, accessories, and consumables for carpenters, builders, and other contractors. There are also several tools for mechanics. However, there aren’t many that are suitable for maintenance tasks around the yard or garden.

Our research shows that Hercules tools have been well received and offer good reliability. Harbor Freight is making a concerted effort to ensure Hercules comes across as a high-quality tool brand.


  • A wide range of power tools designed with the professional user in mind
  • While prices remain competitive, there is more focus on performance
  • Harbor Freight is continuing to expand its range and build a reputation for high quality


  • Some feel that the quality of drill bits, blades, and other consumables could be improved

Shop Hercules products at Harbor Freight.

Bauer offers a much larger range than Hercules

There are currently 65 tools in Bauer’s 20-volt cordless range, compared to 49 for Hercules. If corded tools and accessories are included, the figures are considerably closer: 374 for Bauer and 350 for Hercules. However, a much higher proportion of the Hercules total include options like drill bits and saw blades, giving a bit of a false impression of the number of tools available.

In many ways, this is a reflection of the different focus of the two brands. For example, Hercules offers more choice and greater power when it comes to demolition hammers. Hercules has two die grinders, and Bauer has none. The Hercules miter saw is a 12-inch model whereas the Bauer model is 10 inches.

Yet Hercules doesn’t offer any yard tools. Bauer has more tools that cater to the homeowner such as pressure washers, string trimmers, hedge trimmers, and chainsaws.

Bauer pricing is more competitive than Hercules

This is not just a question of Bauer having lower prices than Hercules. We’ve already established that Bauer is the budget tool brand aimed at DIYers, and Hercules tools are aimed at professionals. The key point here is that Bauer’s pricing is more competitive when compared to rival brands.

For example, Bauer’s popular ½-inch cordless drill/driver kit is about $55. Ryobi is considered a close rival, but its ½-inch cordless drill/driver is around 30 percent more expensive at about $80.

If we make the same comparison with Hercules we find its ½-inch cordless drill/driver kit is about $98 while the equivalent DeWalt can be found for just a buck more at $99. Additionally, that particular DeWalt comes with an extra spare battery and contractor bag.

It’s tough to beat Bauer on price. Its tools are almost invariably 20 to 30 percent cheaper than similar models from Ryobi or Black+Decker. When we compare Hercules with DeWalt and Milwaukee, it is often possible to come away with the same kind of savings but by no means is this always true.

Hercules tools should prove more durable than Bauer

It’s reasonable to say that while Harbor Freight tools have always been among the cheapest power tools on the market, they haven’t always had the best reputation for reliability or durability. Reports we’ve read in other online publications suggest it’s a situation the retailer has been keen to address.

Bauer has an increasingly positive reputation for midrange tools. They aren’t ultracheap products that are only expected to last a few months; however, they aren’t a pro-grade option either. The fact that they are now seen as serious competition for hugely popular brands like Black+Decker and Ryobi is a reflection of how far they’ve come. The brands aren’t perfect, and quality control is still an area that could be improved, but DIY enthusiasts will want to give them serious consideration.

In terms of both range and performance, Hercules tools target professional users. Harbor Freight wants us to compare them to leading brands like DeWalt and Milwaukee, which have traditionally been the contractor’s choice. To do this, Hercules power tools need to display the toughness and durability those brands are known for. It’s no easy task, but Harbor Freight seems determined to achieve those standards. As a result, we would expect Hercules tools to last longer than Bauer. This will not only appeal to professional users but also to regular DIYers and home woodworkers looking for long-term value.

Our Verdict

We’re going to sound contradictory when we say that both brands are winners in the Bauer vs. Hercules contest. It’s because they aren’t really competing with each other. DIYers will find a lot to like about the Bauer range, and not just the low cost. Contractors and tradespeople will find Hercules a viable alternative to established premium-priced tools.

Bob Beacham Avatar

Bob Beacham

Contributing Writer

Bob Beacham is an engineer by trade and has spent 35 years working on everything from auto parts to oil rigs. He is also an avid DIY enthusiast. Bob started writing for the Bob Vila team in 2020 and covers tools, outdoor equipment, and home improvement projects.