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New Harbor Freight Impact Wrench Torque Test Will Change Your Mind About Harbor Freight Tools

Here’s a must-watch impact wrench performance test that pits comparable models of Harbor Freight against Milwaukee and DeWalt power tools that reveals some surprising results that just might change your mind the next time you shop for an impact wrench.

Why You Need an Impact Wrench

One of the most useful tools a DIY mechanic can take a lesson about from experienced mechanics is the wisdom of investing in an impact wrench. An impact wrench not only saves a significant amount of physical wrenching time, but more importantly can save your knuckles, hands, arms and shoulders from repetitive and/or long-term stress/strain injuries.

In fact, it is also an arguable point that the impact mechanism of a power wrench is less likely to result in a broken bolt than someone physically applying increasing torque slowly on a rusted, frozen bolt using a long breaking bar and socket.

However, this does not mean that every wrenching job requires or needs a power tool. One of the most common mistakes is to use a too powerful impact-type tool on the wrong type of bolt or screw and wind up over-torquing and stripping a fastener.

If you’ve ever had difficulty taking the lug nuts off of your car’s tires, chances are that the tech who put your new tires on used his impact wrench incorrectly to save time leaving you with a new problem.

Related article: How Service Centers Damage Your Brakes with a Simple Tire Change

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Related article: Avoid This Common Car Repair Scam with a Simple Touch Test

Impact Wrench Shopping

If you follow past forum comments about Harbor Freight impact wrenches you might be tempted to decide to stick with the traditional name-brand impact wrenches despite their higher prices. Even if you don’t follow forum comments about Harbor Freight, the odds are you have heard some “Never Again” horror stories that appear to support the adage of “You get what you pay for” ---which is not without proven merit when it comes to many HF tools.

However, in some tool areas, you will find more recent forum comments changing their tone.

One good example is that of wrenches and sockets. For a long time, it was the notorious Pittsburgh brand found in Harbor Freight that drew much of the scorn. But today, HF has added a much-improved ICON brand to their offering of hand and impact tools that forum commenters are swearing by to be as just as good…if not better…than the traditional higher-priced hand tools.

As turns out, this move by Harbor Freight to offer better tools at a better price appears to be extending to some popular power tools. As an example, a recent review of a new HF Ultra Torque Impact Wrench by the Torque Test Channel YouTube channel shows some impressive performance results at prices that are impossible for name-brand competitors to beat.

That all said, here’s the video posted below that is well worth watching before deciding on buying your next impact wrench power tool.

Harbor Freight Dethroning Milwaukee & DeWalt w/ New Ultra Torque Impact Wrench?

And finally…

While the same (or nearly the same) performance at a significantly lower price is attractive, you will also need to take into consideration the reliability of the impact wrench and its expected lifespan.

Reviews of power tools by HF tend to support that much of the time, reliability and lifetime expectations are frenetic---it is your luck good or bad whether you wind up with one that lasts a year or just a few uses. In either case, it is better to hedge your protection with any power tool by checking the warranty conditions, weighing the pros and cons of an added protection policy plan, and whether or not you are willing to go back and forth returning a bum tool until you get a better-built one.

For additional articles about Harbor Freight tools, here are two for your consideration:

Harbor Freight's Dirty Little Secret Revealed Helps DIY Mechanics

Mechanic Responds to Harbor Freight Tool Shaming

COMING UP NEXT: Consumer Reports Lists These Used Two-Row Midsized SUVs as the Best in Fuel Economy

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pixabay


Creigh Gordon (not verified)    August 23, 2022 - 11:46AM

As a no-longer-professional mechanic, I think HF is great. But I am willing to spend more on any tool with a cutting edge. Even the best are barely good enough.