You’ll be surprised to learn that not only is Harbor Freight’s 1/2 inch drive breaker bar in 18-inch or 25-inch lengths actually really good, it outperforms Snap-On’s $161 dollar version hand over fist.
If you’ve ever encountered a stubborn nut that, despite you dousing that stubborn nut with penetrating fluid and manhandling it, just won’t come off, you know how important a good breaker bar is. But is Harbor Freights sub-$20 1/2 inch drive breaker bar any good? Not only is it good, it handily outperforms even Snap-On’s!
Don’t believe me? Check out this video below published by Real Tool Reviews a little over a year ago that should clear things up.
The test they go through actually pits Harbor Freight’s Pittsburgh Pro breaker bar against three others: Snap-on, Mac, and Matco, all within the same lengths of each other.
Before they get into any test, a quick visual comparison reveals that, despite what breaker bars cost, you can’t really make them any fancier than they need to be. All breaker bars have similar drive heads and all handles are fairly comfortable in the hand.
The only test they do measures how much deflection each breaker bar shows and at what amount of force is being exerted at that time using a digital torque meter.
According to their results, the Harbor Freight breaker bar gets to an astounding 298-foot-pounds before bending but returns to normal after tension is released.
In comparison, the Snap-on makes it to 281-foot-pounds before bending considerably.
The Matco hits 260 and the Mac hits 270. According to this particular test, the Harbor Freight outshined them all.
Here’s the kicker. Price. A quick look on Harbor Freight’s website shows that their 1/2 inch. Drive 25 inch professional breaker bar comes in at $19.99. Get a similar one without the fancy soft grip and that price drops to $13.99, same performance. A bargain.
Snap-on’s costs a whopping $161. For the price of the Snap-on, I can buy eight Harbor Freight ones.
And say that on the rare occurrence your Harbor Freight breaker bar…breaks. With a lifetime warranty, you can just bring the broken one into any store, with a receipt or proof of purchase, and swap your broken one for a new one. I’ve done this PLENTY of times before.
Sure, Snap-on and others might make marginally better parts at higher prices but, when it comes to plain old breaker bars, you can go with Harbor Freight’s Pittsburgh Pro one every time without sweating it.