Harbor Freight Air Impact Guns - Any Good?

LukeLewis

Member
  • #1
A friend bought me a half-inch Harbor Freight Central Pneumatic air impact gun a few weeks back and I'd like to get some opinions on it. I've only used the wrench once and so far, it's been pretty good. I have a tiny Dewalt air compressor that I'm sure doesn't supply enough air to this gun, but I'm happy to report that it was able to remove some lug nuts from my car. I have no idea how tight they were, but they came off within a few seconds. The gun had to try hard though.

When I was using this gun, I was actually expecting to see more power come from it. The thing is, after I set the regulator on the air compressor to the 90 pounds that's suggested in the gun's instruction booklet, it sounded as if this tool could handle more pressure. It sounded almost decent, but it didn't really have the zing I'm so used to while listening to these types of tools.

I was just reading through a forum thread where a few folks were discussing the various models of Harbor Freight air tools. I'm assuming this Central Pneumatic was thrown in there, but I definitely know the Earthquake model was. I've actually seen videos on the Earthquake gun where it beat out a Snap-On, so that one's been proven already. I have yet to see any videos on the Central Pneumatic though. Take a look at it.

Here's a challenge for you. Take a look at this Ingersoll Rand model 231 Series Impact Wrench and tell me if the Central Pneumatic looks exactly the same. I've read that someone disassembled both of these guns and they were found to have identical parts inside. Same tolerances and everything. Now, either the Harbor Freight version is a knock-off or both of these tools are the same and they're just sold under different names.

From what I read in the forum thread, Harbor Freight air tools need more pressure than other air tools require. It was suggested that the air pressure be raised to about 130 pounds because the 90 pounds would never supply it with what it needs. I even read that people raise the air pressure all the way up to 300 pounds. I don't think my air compressor goes up that high.

The reasoning behind the increased air pressure is because the gun allegedly needs to have 90 pounds when the trigger is pulled and the tool is in use. Sitting there idle at 90 pounds isn't enough. So, to test the pressure I'll need to go to my compressor and pull the trigger of the gun. I'll need to keep an eye on the pressure gauge on the compressor to see how much it drops. Then, I'll need to adjust.

Like I said, so far this tool seems pretty good. I would like to get other's opinions on it though.

PS - Oh yeah, I have also heard that these tools need high-flow air fittings to work correctly. Is this true? If so, wouldn't the higher pressure in the tank compensate for this?
 

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KodyWallice

Member
  • #2
I've had a few friends own these Harbor Freight wrenches. There are mixed reviews. Some love them and are way proud of themselves for getting such a great deal and some say they have no power. From what I hear though, you do need to increase the air pressure for this brand. I'll mention that to these guys and let you know what happens.
 

LukeLewis

Member
  • #3
I've had a few friends own these Harbor Freight wrenches. There are mixed reviews. Some love them and are way proud of themselves for getting such a great deal and some say they have no power. From what I hear though, you do need to increase the air pressure for this brand. I'll mention that to these guys and let you know what happens.
I'd be interested in hearing what your friends say about these guns. Like I said, I've seen some comparison videos between the Harbor Freight brands and the other better known brands. From what I can tell, some of the Harbor Freight wrenches are incredible, but there's a lot of grumbling out there about them not having any power. I'm beginning to wonder if the bad reviews are fake and are coming from the competition. I wouldn't doubt that.
 
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