February 20, 2024

Hercules Brushless Impact Driver VS Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4

Hercules has recently released its new brushless impact driver and it has been generating a lot of buzz. The Hercules brand is sold at Harbor Freight, while Milwaukee can be found at retail outlets like Home Depot. Which should you buy? Let’s get started with our head-to-head of the Hercules Brushless Impact Driver vs Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact driver.

There’s a few things you should consider when purchasing an impact driver: power, feel, reliability, battery platform, and value. Let’s see how the Hercules Brushless impact driver stacks up versus the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact driver in each category.

Power

Power is an important feature of an impact driver. In forward, it determines how quickly you’ll be able to drive screws and bolts, as well as how large of screws and bolts you can drive. In reverse, it determines how easily you’ll be able to remove screws and bolts, particularly stuck bolts. With all of that said, having massive power in an impact driver is somewhat wasted. Having the power to remove lug nuts doesn’t mean you should be using your impact driver as an impact wrench. You’ll likely just end up snapping adapters and having a bad day.

On the power spectrum, both tools perform exceptionally. The Milwaukee is a little faster off the line, but the Hercules eventually catches up and surpasses it. Both tools have more than enough power for anything you’d ever ask an impact driver to do. If you enjoy nerding out on some numbers, check out the awesome videos done by the Torque Test Channel.

Winner: TIE. Both tools have almost an unnecessary amount of power for an impact driver. You’ll be driving screws and bolts quickly and easily with either the Hercules Brushless impact driver or the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact driver.

Feel

Feel is highly subjective, but can be an important aspect of what makes a good impact driver. How responsive the trigger is and how much vibration you feel are the two most important overall.

The triggers on both the Hercules Brushless impact driver and the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 can both be described as “fine”. The variable speed is easy enough to control and overall I have no major complaints. I find both to be a little mushy compared to some of the more refined impacts I’ve used (like Makita), but definitely not a deal breaker.

For vibration I’d give a slight edge to the Milwaukee. While the Hercules didn’t feel bad to use, the Milwaukee felt just a touch smoother. Over a long day, the M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact driver seemed to cause slightly less hand fatigue than the Hercules Brushless impact driver did.

Winner: Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4. Both tools are fine enough for feel and usability, but to my hands the Milwaukee felt a tad smoother overall.

Reliability

Reliability is super important for any power tool. Nobody wants a tool dying on the job, or having to replace it after a few short years. Both the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 and Herculess Brushless impact drivers are fairly new products, meaning real world reliability information isn’t available yet. However, Milwaukee has a long history of reliable, high-end tools. Hercules, on the other hand, has only recently entered the premium tool department.

The good news is that both tools offer a tremendous 5 year warranty. While this warranty is nothing new for Milwaukee, having a warranty that long is brand new for Hercules. One nod in Hercules favor is that if you ever need to use the warranty, you can simply bring the tool to a Harbor Freight location, making for a very easy exchange.

Winner: Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact driver. While the Hercules brushless impact driver does offer comparable warranty coverage, the lack of history behind the new Hercules platform means the Milwaukee gets the nod here. The M18 Fuel line has been around for years and has a long history of quality.

Battery Platform

The battery platform is important to consider any time you’re purchasing a new cordless power tool. If you already own batteries and chargers for one platform, it makes things simpler and cheaper to continue to buy tools that use that platform. The more tools that are available to use with that battery, the better. In addition, you want many years (ideally decades) of batteries being manufactured that are compatible with your tool. If a company stops making batteries for your tool 3 years from now, it doesn’t matter if the tool is still working fine 8 years down the road, if you can’t replace the worn out battery, the tool is worthless.

There’s really no contest for this category, Milwaukee dominates here. The M18 battery platform has over 150 tools compatible with it. From small power tools to large outdoor tools, basically every thing you can think of is covered. Milwaukee also has a long history of supporting their batteries. Their M18 line has existed for over a decade and shows no sign of stopping any time soon.

Harbor Freight, unfortunately, has a much spottier history of battery platforms for their Hercules tools. They don’t stick to them for long, and they don’t offer as many tools. Hercules right now has about 30 tools in their lineup, with basically no outdoor tools to speak of yet. On the bright side, with the new 5 year warranty on tools and batteries, it’s clear Hercules has a new found commitment to the platform. Only time will tell how that plays out, but it’s a positive sign.

Winner: Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4. While Hercules is showing a commitment to their battery platform with the new 5 year warranties, Harbor Freight simply doesn’t have the tool lineup or track record to compete with Milwaukee here.

Value

So far the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact has been holding off the Hercules Brushless impact driver fairly well, but the Hercules is about to throw its best punch.

The Hercules Brushless impact driver comes in at $69.99 for the bare tool, or $99.99 in a battery/charger combo kit. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 3 comes in at $149.99 for the bare tool and an eye-watering $299.99 for the battery charger combo kit. There’s no denying that the Hercules Brushless impact driver is dominating this section, given the performance was fairly similar.

The value extends further when you consider battery prices. If you need to purchase a lone battery replacement in the future, Harbor Freight actually has reasonable prices for stand alone batteries. The Hercules 4ah Extreme Performance battery, for example, comes in a $69.99. A 3ah high output battery from the Milwaukee lineup is a whopping $179.99. The difference is astronomical.

Winner: Hercules Brushless impact driver. There’s no question who won this round. The bare tool, bare batteries, or combo kits from Milwaukee are all double or more the cost of the Hercules equivalents. Considering performance is nearly identical, the value of the Hercules Brushless impact driver is incredibly good.

Overall

So which impact driver should you buy? The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4, or the Hercules Brushless? Fortunately, I think the answer is pretty simple.

For those who use their tools professionally, I’d buy the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Gen 4 impact driver. The slightly better feel, long history of reliability, and excellent battery platform all make it a superb buy. The high costs is just a small price of doing business for a professional.

For the average do-it-yourselfer, I’d buy the Hercules Brushless impact driver. While there is some question about platform longevity and durability, you can buy the impact driver kit (with battery and charger) and still be out the door for significantly less money than just the tool for the Milwaukee. The demands of the average home user isn’t likely to wear the tool down anytime soon, and the 5 year warranty is exceptional. Even if all you got out of the tool was 5 years, for the price, that’s still pretty darn good.

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