Harbor Freight has announced a new Bauer 20V brushless cordless drill/driver.
The drill is priced at $60 for the tool-only, and can be kitted for as low as $90 with bundle discounts.
The new drill delivers up to 405 in-lbs of max torque, which does not compare well against Harbor Freight’s “compare to” choice of Ryobi’s 18V HP brushless drill/driver, which delivers 750 in-lbs max torque.
The Bauer has two speed settings, 0-500/0-1900 RPM. The Ryobi operates at 0-500/0-2100 RPM.
Harbor Freight describes the Bauer as having a “compact lightweight design.” A check of the specs shows that its length and height are both said to be 8-1/4″.
To be frank, I’m not impressed with Harbor Freight’s $89.97 pricing.
At the time of this posting, you can get a Metabo HPT 18V compact brushless drill kit for $78, or a more premium kit for just over $100. 2-3 months from now, we will likely see other pro cordless power tool brands’ typical $99 brushless drill kits return for the holiday shopping season.
We might also soon see seasonal discounts on the better-spec’ed “compare to” Ryobi model.
I’m happy to see Harbor Freight offer more and more brushless power tools, but this is highly competitive territory. If Harbor Freight isn’t going to compete on features or performance, they need to compete on price.
The Bauer seems to be a good buy for Bauer 20V [Max] cordless power tool users. For everyone else, I don’t think Harbor Freight and Bauer answer “why should I buy this?” with a good enough answer.
In their newsletter, Harbor Freight advertises that the Bauer delivers “up to 60% more runtime* than drill/drivers with brushed motors. *Compared to products with brushed motor, using 5Ah battery driving 3-inch screws.”
They repeat this claim on the website’s product listing. The claim is missing the asterisk, but the fine print is listed in normal font size under an Important Information heading, along with a reminder that the tool is sold without a battery and charger.
I give Harbor Freight a thumbs up for this. I still greatly dislike blanket “up to x% longer runtime!” and “up to x% more power/performance” claims for brushless motor tools, but clear qualifiers are a good practice.
I have come to believe that Harbor Freight’s Bauer brand offers serviceable tools, in my opinion, but they have a ways to go before they’re competitive. Frankly, with respect to cordless drills, if I have a limited budget and can’t wait until the next $99 “special buy” holiday season, I’d rather go with Ryobi.
I also still don’t like Harbor Freight’s “compare to” feature. They say you “save 39%” compared to Ryobi, but fail to mention the Bauer’s torque rating is 46% lower.
Price: $59.99 tool-only
A La Carte Kit Price: $59.99 + $24.99 for a charger + $24.99 for a 1.5Ah battery – $20 bundle discount = $89.97.