Anytime you start to talk about Harbor Freight tools you’re going to get a couple of different reactions.
Some people absolutely LOVE everything that Harbor Freight has to offer, especially when you factor in the rock bottom prices they are most well-known for.
Other folks, though, aren’t wild about the quality of Harbor Freight tools and are more than a little bit nervous about the reputation of everything that comes out of the doors that this retailer.
Regardless of where you find yourself in this mix, though, it’s not hard to get really excited about everything that the Bauer line of cordless power tools from Harbor Freight promise.
Marketed as being able to go toe to toe with cordless power tools two or three times more expensive – ranking right up there with the best from DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Bosch – it’s not hard to see why Bauer tools are so popular.
The Bauer 20 V cordless drill is by far the most popular of all the cordless power tools they offer, a game-changer in the industry and one you are definitely going to want to take a closer look at.
Compact and powerful, capable and adaptable, and about as affordable as a 20 V cordless drill can get, if you’re looking for a new cordless drill that this is where you’re going to want to spend your money.
Through the rest of this Bauer 20V drill review, we are going to dig a little bit deeper into everything that makes this tool so special. We shine a light on the things that Harbor Freight did right with this tool, the things that could be improved moving forward, who can make the most of this cordless drill, and a whole lot more.
If you’re sitting on the fence and want to know whether or not this Harbor Freight house brand cordless drill is worth purchasing you’ll need to check out the inside info we share below.
Let’s jump right in!
Who’s It For?
Harbor Freight tools are some of the most popular value options on the market today, with a wide variety of different kinds of tools – from cordless drills like this one to air tools, mechanic sets, hand tools, table saws, and so much more – available at unbeatable low prices.
The Bauer brand of cordless power tools is the “house brand” for Harbor Freight, made and branded specifically for sale out of their retail outlets and on their website.
As we highlighted above, Harbor Freight used to have a less than stellar reputation when it came to the quality of their tools – in large part because of how inexpensive they were.
Today, though, nothing could be further from the truth.
Sure, Harbor Freight tools are still super affordable. But these tools are no longer cheap knockoffs or poorly made options, but instead are quality options that you can rely on – especially if you aren’t going to be using them on a day-to-day basis the way that professional contractors or tradespeople might be.
Truth be told, the Bauer line of cordless power tools (and especially the Bauer 20 V drill) are made for weekend warriors, serious DIYers, and handyman or homeowners that need to tackle projects every now and again but don’t necessarily want to drop the kind of cash a DeWalt (or similar) drill would command.
Bauer cordless tools are really capable, super reliable, and as powerful as any other 20 V option on the market right now.
They use lithium-ion batteries that provide a lot of consistent power, have quick recharge capabilities, and save a lot of weight on your cordless power tools compared to nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries of the previous generation.
This Bauer 20 V cordless drill in particular is especially well-suited to the demands of serious DIYers and homeowners that love to tackle big home projects.
You’re going to be able to use this drill in a variety of different applications thanks to that 20 V power pack, giving you the kind of power you need to drill and drive things that even 18 V drills would have had a tough time handling.
Professional tradespeople might not reach for Bauer as often as homeowners and DIYers would, but that’s really only because the tool “ecosystem” for Bauer at Harbor Freight isn’t quite as expansive as it is with legacy brands.
Yes, Bauer currently makes about 25 different tools that are compatible with these 20 V lithium-ion batteries – but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the amount tools companies like DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, and even Ryobi have on the market right now.
Even still, some contractors or carpenters that need a powerful drill but don’t necessarily need a lot of other cordless tools will see a lot of value in this Bauer.
Plumbers and electricians that aren’t necessarily going to be using their cordless drill every day and need something they can beat up without feeling bad about are really going to be pleased with all that this Bauer option has to offer.
What We Like About the Bauer 20 V Drill
Straight out of the gate, the power of this Bauer 20 V drill is extremely impressive.
A drill and driver combination unit, you’re going to get something that puts out 450 pounds of torque but something that only weighs 2.63 pounds even with a full battery slapped into the base of the unit.
The 20 V lithium-ion battery power is going to guarantee that you get 100% drill and driver performance out of this Bauer unit whether the battery is fully charged or near completely dead. That’s a huge advantage over nickel-cadmium options of the past, batteries that used to degrade the performance of the tool as they lost battery life.
The compact nature of this Bauer drill is another big benefit we want to highlight.
Only 7 ½ inches high, 8 ¼ inches long, and 3 1/16 inch wide, this is a super-compact drill that isn’t going to fight you when you are using it in confined spaces. There’s a lot of flexibility and a lot of adaptabilities in the way you are going to be able to use this drill moving forward.
We have highlighted the battery a couple of times throughout this Bauer 20 V drill review, but it deserves a special spotlight right here as well.
The 20 V lithium-ion battery is a “slide-pack” style battery, a battery that is designed to easily attached to your drill but also designed to easily pop off and slide into a charger.
You’ll be able to hook this up to a rapid charger system (included with your Bauer purchase), charging the battery from 0% all the way up to 50% in 30 minutes – taking another hour or so to go from 50% to 100% charge.
The lithium-ion technology is next-generation, meaning it’s going to last a lot longer than early model lithium-ion batteries while maintaining power and consistency for a lot longer as well. It’s really hard to beat everything that Bauer has shoehorned into their battery technology.
As far as the clutch system is concerned, you get a 0 to 21 clutch setting configuration that lets you dial in the performance of your drill to your exact specifications. The ½ inch all-metal chuck is super high quality and easy to use, and you won’t need any tools to change out different bits for drivers.
The multi-stage trigger also lets you adjust the speed of the drill and driver on-the-fly, giving the kind of control over the performance of this Bauer 20 V drill that you expect from much more expensive contractor-level tools.
What We Don’t Like About the Bauer 20 V Drill
On the flip side of things, the only big issue we want to harp on in this Bauer 20 V drill review isn’t even something exclusive to that this drill but something that affects all of the Bauer cordless tools from the folks at Harbor Freight.
Like we mentioned earlier, this tool ecosystem isn’t super expansive.
Instead of having the hundreds and hundreds of cordless power tools running off of the same battery pack that a company like Ryobi has right now (with more tools added to their collection all the time), you’ll only be able to use these 20 V batteries from the Bauer drill with about 25 other tools.
That might not sound like much of a handicap, but when you look at getting a new cordless power tool you have to look at buying into a new cordless tool ecosystem.
The last thing you want to worry about is having half a dozen different kinds of batteries and chargers cluttering up space, keeping track of everything, and figuring out what works with what when you have a project to tackle.
- Contractor grade performance with a DIYer price tag
- Super lightweight and compact form factor
- Rapid charging lithium-ion battery technology works like a charm
- 100% toolless half-inch all-metal chuck
- Available pretty much everywhere at Harbor Freight
- Great warranty and easy return/replacement process
- These specific 20 V lithium-ion batteries won’t work with a lot of other tools
- Overall longevity of this Bauer drill is still a bit of a question mark
- Plastic components aren’t the highest quality as far as fit and finish go
Right out of the box you are going to get the Bauer 20 V drill itself, two 20 V lithium-ion batteries, a rapid charging station and power cord, and a soft-sided tool carrying case.
You’ll also find an owner manual inside the tool case with warranty information and a couple of other documents and instruction manuals you’ll want to pay attention to.
It is important that you keep your receipt on hand or create an account the next time that you are at Harbor Freight and add this tool to it. That information is going to be necessary if you have to bring back your Bauer 20 V cordless drill for any reason, either for a replacement or a refund.
Overview of Features
- 20 V lithium-ion battery technology
- Half-inch metal chuck
- 450 pounds of torque
- Measures 7.5” x 8.5” x 3 1/16”
- Weighs just 2.63 pounds
- Includes LED work light built right in
At the end of the day, anyone on the hunt for a high-quality – and high-powered – lithium-ion cordless drill will want to take a much closer look at everything the Bauer 20 V drill has to offer.
Yes, Harbor Freight still carries a little bit of that “cheap tool” stigma that they had early in their company’s history.
However, more and more people are waking up to the fact that Harbor Freight has definitely bumped up their game when it comes to the quality and caliber of their tools. This particular example, the Bauer 20 V drill, is everything you want from a cordless drill – including the unbeatable price tag!
The long-term durability of this cordless drill remains a little bit up in the air, but only because this Bauer drill is still so new to the market. It’s been out for a few years now (updated along the way) and the reviews are absolutely off the charts positive.
But Bauer doesn’t have the multi decade-long reputation that a company like DeWalt has – at least not yet, anyway.
All in all, if you are a homeowner in search of a quality drill, a DIYer that needs a drill with a little more power, or a contractor or tradesperson that needs a heavy-duty drill that you don’t mind banging around forgetting filthy every now and again than this is right up your alley.
There’s a lot to like when it comes to this Bauer cordless drill, that’s for sure. To be told, it’s pretty close to perfect especially when you factor in the price.
Hopefully, the folks at Harbor Freight continue to build on the tool ecosystem that works with these 20 V batteries. That’s the only thing holding this back right now, and it’s not even going to be a problem for the overwhelming majority of people out there.
This Bauer 20 V cordless drill comes highly recommended.