The Pitch: "Holds up to 150 pounds and only leaves a pin-sized hole!"
April 2009. The Hercules Hook promises to hold heavy pictures, mirrors and even cabinets on walls. The J-shaped metal hook can be pushed into drywall without using tools or first drilling a pilot hole, and once inserted is designed to brace itself against the back of the wallboard. Although ads claim that one hook can hold up to 150 pounds, reviewers who test the Hercules Hook say even 80 pounds is too much -- even when two hooks are used together. Users also note that the hole created by the hook is a lot bigger than a pin (more like that of an ordinary finishing nail).
Within its limits, however, most users find the Hercules Hook effective and easy to use. The hooks don't work in plaster or wood, and you have to avoid the studs when inserting the hooks. In addition, the wall must have sufficient hollow space behind the drywall to allow the bent wire to turn and anchor properly. Even insulation can interfere with the Hercules Hook.
Users recommend buying the Hercules Hook from a retail store rather than online or by phone through the company. We found a lot of complaints about online sales, particularly outrageous shipping charges and unexpected credit card charges. Some users say they felt tricked into signing up for automatic monthly shipments of Hercules Hooks, and that it's very difficult to stop this once it's activated. Although a free laser level is included as an incentive to buy the hooks online, most users say the laser isn't properly aligned and isn't functional.
We found the largest number of user-written reviews and ratings of the Hercules Hook at Amazon.com, followed by InfomercialRatings.com. These comments cover the pros and cons very well. An ingenious test of the weight limits at YouTube is also very helpful, while a blogger at The Court Jester criticizes the security provided by one of the websites selling the Hercules Hook.
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More than 70 users review the Hercules Hook here, giving it an average rating of four stars out of a possible five. Users don't take the 150-pound rating seriously, and note that the hole created by the hook is bigger than a pin hole. However, most say it works well as long as the wall is drywall and has plenty of hollow space behind it. Even fiberglass insulation on an outer wall can keep the hook from turning to stabilize.
Review: Hercules Wall Hooks with Laser Marker, Contributors to Amazon.com
About 40 users give the Hercules Hook a reasonably positive average rating of four stars out of a possible five. Some praise it as effective and easy to use, while others complain that it's hard to push in, makes a bigger hole than the ads claim and doesn't work on their walls. Even a drywall wall has to have enough hollow space behind it; insulation can prevent the hook from inserting properly. Readers leaving comments suggest not buying online because of unreasonable shipping charges.
Review: Hercules Hook Reviews, Contributors to InfomercialRatings.com
This ingenious video review involves hanging a platform from two Hercules Hooks, then gently loading the author's children onto it. It holds the two youngest and lightest children, but not the third child, who weighs 83 pounds. The father notes that the hooks go in easily, and even when they pulled out due to excess weight, the wall wasn't damaged. He estimated that each hook can hold up to 40 pounds.
Review: Hanging My Kids From The Wall Using Hercules Hooks, M. Sakowski, Jan. 11, 2009
Instead of testing the Hercules Hook, Toolmonger blogger Chuck Cage asks readers about their experiences with the device. Quite a few say they've used it successfully to hold framed pictures and items as heavy as 60 pounds. However, several users speculate that even if the Hercules Hook could hold 150 pounds -- which it doesn't appear capable of doing -- the drywall itself probably couldn't support so much weight. Other readers warn against ordering online, saying they were misled into signing up for automatic, recurring shipments of the Hercules Hook; a few others say the site isn't secure. They suggest buying the hooks at a local store instead.
Review: Wacky: The Hercules Hook, Chuck Cage, April 15, 2009
Only a handful of users review the Hercules Hook here. Most praise it as easy to use, but some note that it doesn't work if the wall isn't hollow. Several users say the free laser level offered by the TV ad is junk.
Review: Hercules Hook, Contributors to As-Seen-On-TV-Reviews.net
6. The Court Jester
This brief review charges that one of the websites selling the Hercules Hook, HerculesHook.com, isn't encrypted (despite claims to the contrary). Readers add their own complaints about the HerculesHook.com site, saying the company doesn't reveal how much the credit-card charge will be, and that it's very difficult to stop the automatic shipments (and charges) once they're activated.
Review: Fraudulent Security Claims on 'Hercules Hook' Website Could Affect Consumer Confidence Online, Ben Lucier and Heather Williams, Oct. 15, 2006