Harbor Freight often claims that their tools are comparable to DeWalt’s. To determine the truth behind these claims, we decided to take a closer, more objective look at the numbers comparing their top competitors. In this article, we will examine the Harbor Freight Hercules 20V Max Impact Driver 63380 and the DeWalt 20V Max Impact Driver DCF888.
Harbor Freight Hercules 20V Max Impact Driver 63380
- Power supply: 20V max battery
- Speed: 0–2800 rpm
- Torque: 1500 in-lbs
- Impact rate: 0–3200 IPM
DeWalt 20V Max Impact Driver DCF888
- Power supply: 20V max battery
- Speed: 0–1000/0–2800/0–3250 RPM
- Torque: 1825 lb-in
- Impact rate: 0–3600 IPM
For a detailed breakdown of our testing methodology, please refer to our impact-driven shootout.
From the start, DeWalt has utilized XR brushless motors, while Hercules has relied on brushed motors. I always prioritize brushless motors for their superior performance, runtime, and longer lifespan.
To learn more about the differences between the two, please check out this article.
Speed Under Load
We expect impact drivers to tackle challenging tasks effortlessly, such as driving 1/4″ ledger screws into glued OSB boards. While many impact drivers can handle heavier loads, upgrading to an impact wrench may be preferable at that point.
In our test, the Hercules averaged 565 RPM, while the DeWalt lagged behind at 429 RPM. Under medium loads, the Hercules drilled 32% faster. However, DeWalt’s 3274 no-load RPM still outperforms Hercules’ 2593 RPM for lighter duty fastening.
Our tightening torque test involves driving a hardened nut onto a steel I-beam as hard as possible with each impact driver. We then measure the torque required to loosen it using a digital torque wrench.
Hercules requires 1498 in-lbs of strength to break it loose, while DeWalt needs 2237 in-lbs. This gives DeWalt a significant 49 percent power advantage.
Using our digital torque wrench and torque multiplier (providing over 250 ft-lbs of torque), we set specific torque intervals for each impact driver on the same rig where we tested tightening torque.
In this case, both Hercules and DeWalt surpassed 3000 in-lbs (250 ft-lbs) of torque but fell short of 3300 lbs in the next step.
Both the DeWalt and Hercules impact drivers weigh 2.1 pounds and 3.1 pounds respectively with a compact 2.0Ah battery pack. They are evenly matched in this aspect.
While impact drivers are generally more compact than drills, both Hercules and DeWalt excel at maintaining compact designs. However, Makita and Milwaukee offer the most compact designs in the market.
Hercules boasts a head length of 5.8 inches and a height of 7.5 inches (without batteries). DeWalt has a slightly shorter head length at 5.3 inches and a height of 7.7 inches. The head length is more restrictive when working in tight spaces, giving DeWalt the advantage here.
Hercules offers a simple system that covers the basics, including a brushed motor, single speed with variable speed trigger, LED lights, and a belt hook. However, it lacks special modes, bit pop, and one-handed drill insertion.
On the other hand, DeWalt impresses with its extensive feature set, including a brushless motor, three gear mode selection, tool connection control, diagnostics and tracking, an LED light ring around the chuck, a belt hook, one-handed drill insertion, and manufacturing in the USA using global materials.
There is no competition when it comes to the feature set.
Measured in decibels at a distance of 24 inches from the tool during use, both DeWalt and Hercules generate above 100 dB(A) under load. However, DeWalt produces a sound pressure level (SPL) of 104 dB(A), double that of Hercules’ 101 dB(A). For more details on decibel levels, please refer to this article.
Both kits come with compact batteries, which we prefer for weight savings. DeWalt includes two 2.0Ah battery packs, while Hercules provides one 2.5Ah battery pack. However, DeWalt offers additional kit options with 4.0Ah or 5.0Ah batteries, depending on the model you choose.
DeWalt also offers a wide range of battery capacities, from 3.0Ah (thin battery pack) to 12Ah FlexVolt batteries, as well as Bluetooth battery options for basic feedback and locks. Hercules offers a separate upgrade to a 5.0Ah battery.
Hercules is only available from Harbor Freight as a 1-battery kit, including a 2.5Ah battery and charger for $99.99. Additional batteries can be purchased: 2.0Ah for $19.99, 2.5Ah for $24.99, and 5.0Ah for $39.99. Harbor Freight tools are typically not eligible for Harbor Freight coupons.
On Amazon, the DeWalt bare tool costs $159, while the 2 x 5.0Ah kit is priced at $299.
If you don’t require Tool Connect, the prices are slightly lower: $129 for the bare tool, $229 for the 2 x 4.0Ah kit, and $179 for the 2 x 2.0Ah kit. Various combination kits are also available that include the DCF888 or DCF887 for added versatility.
DeWalt offers a 3-year warranty, including a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year free service agreement. Harbor Freight provides a 90-day warranty, which can be extended to 1 or 2 years for an additional fee.
Harbor Freight currently offers three tools compatible with the Hercules 20V Max battery: an impact driver, a drill, and a hammer. DeWalt, on the other hand, has over 200 tools that utilize their 20V Max battery. The difference in available tools is significant.
Value is not solely determined by price; it reflects the balance between what you get and what you pay for. While the price difference is appealing, when considering performance, features, weight, footprint, noise level, battery options, warranty, and compatibility with other tools, the DeWalt impact driver offers more value in our opinion.
However, value is subjective, and what you prioritize in an impact driver may differ from our assessment.
Verdict: DeWalt, subjectively
The Harbor Freight Hercules Impact Driver does have some impressive features and manages to keep up with DeWalt’s DCF888/DCF887 in certain areas. Additionally, the attractive price of the Hercules cannot be ignored.
However, upon closer examination of their overall performance and advantages, DeWalt’s lead proves too significant for Hercules to overcome. From the brushless motor and extensive feature set to the warranty depth and range of compatible tools, we believe that the DeWalt DCF888 offers more than just a price difference.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!