Which Is the Best Power Tool Brand?
That’s a question that may pop in any new craftsman or handyman’s mind while browsing the catalogs of Amazon or roaming the aisles of Home Depot trying to find some new power tools for their garage.
But the real question that you should be asking is; is there really a “best power tool brand”?
In short? No, there isn’t. Every brand has its own perks and drawbacks, which makes choosing the best power tool brand a matter of personal preferences, as to each his own when it comes to favorites.
See? The question isn’t as easy as it sounds. Comparing brands is way harder than comparing single products. When choosing a favorite brand, you’re not picking a single product, you’re picking an entire system, one that’s similar to a spider web in complexity. You don’t want to make the wrong choice as you may end up with big losses, both financial and personal ones, as to a handyman, tools aren’t just products, they are family.
Granted, My garage may contain tools from different brands, but life becomes much simpler if all your tools, chargers, and battery packs are working together smoothly and seamlessly, with the same label on their surface.
So, here’s a roundup of the best power tool brands, or rather the most popular ones, with the advantages and weaknesses of each one of them.
DeWalt Brand Review
A Truly American Brand
Starting with my personal favorite, the black and yellow brand. DeWalt is an American worldwide manufacturer of both power and hand tools. It began in 1923 by the creative hands of Raymond E. DeWalt. Soon after, DeWalt revolutionized the cordless power tool industry in the ’90s, and it has been providing quality products ever since.
When it comes to marketing their products, DeWalt doesn’t go the usual route. The company doesn’t rely solely on traditional marketing, where they spread their ads like the plague. Instead, they take advantage of their reputation and well-known symbol. Seriously, who doesn’t recognize DeWalt tools?
DeWalt has an ever-growing 20V Max lineup, with several 120V Max FlexVolt and 60V Max tools, and an increasing collection of specialty tools, like the threaded rod cutter and brushless framing nailer. The American manufacturer is no longer trying to expand its 20V lineup separately, but it’s focusing on expanding their entire catalog and series even further to dominate the power and hand tool industry.
While the top lineups of the company are top-notch when it comes to quality, it has a mediocre 12V lineup, which raises the need for DeWalt editions of other brands’ tools, techs, and series.
All in all, DeWalt is the symbol of quality in the tools’ world, which is why I chose it as my best power tool brand. Nevertheless, it isn’t flawless, so make sure to check the other best power tool brands before making a choice.
Milwaukee Brand Review
Innovation at Its Finest
Milwaukee is another American brand turned into an international manufacturer. The company dates back to 1924, when it started as the first repair shop to use the Hole-Shooter, the original portable, lightweight drill. It may seem like an everyday device now, but back then, that power tool was the real deal, a flagship, to say the least. Milwaukee is still a big-time innovator, even today, that’s why countless people around the world consider it to be the best power tool brand ever.
What I really dig about Milwaukee is the fact that it’s not a company that focuses on gimmicky features designed to attract the buyer’s attention without providing any actual value. Instead, it’s more of a solutions provider, one that aims at filling the market with innovative tools that people really need.
Some of Milwaukee’s innovative products include their:
- M12 tools, such as their new stapler.
- Heated jackets that kick-started a whole new product category,
- One-key customizable tools
- Remote-controllable LED work lights
And the list goes on and on.
As you can see, Milwaukee is providing real value for the money, and it’s continuously setting new standards in the power tool industry, and pushing the boundaries of what power tools are capable of.
Not only does Milwaukee excel when it comes to innovation though, but it also boasts high-quality, reliable, and durable power tools in different categories. Their 18V lineup is just amazing, and their 12V lineup is unmatched in the industry.
The only limitation when it comes to Milwaukee is their higher power 9.0Ah XC M18 battery pack, which isn’t powerful enough to power the next level of high-powered cordless tools. That basically means that we’re not getting any cordless 12-inch miter saw or table saw any time soon. Not this year, at least.
Is it too much of an issue though? Not really, because a cordless table saw isn’t a necessity, it’s a luxury that I can live without.
Overall, Milwaukee has an impressive catalog of both corded and cordless power tools, one that’s full of innovation, creativity, and power. If high-powered cordless power tools aren’t your thing, then Milwaukee can be the best power tool brand for your garage.
Makita Brand Review
Another Innovation Beast
Just like Milwaukee, Makita started as an electrical repair shop. And just like Milwaukee, it thrives on being the best power tool brand when it comes to innovation.
Makita is a Japanese brand that was founded in 1915, but it’s more known for introducing the first rechargeable power tool, the 6500D battery-powered drill, back in 1961. Today, Makita has manufacturing facilities all over the globe.
Makita’s cordless tools are really competitive, making it a solid candidate for the crown of the best power tool brand, and it has an ever-growing catalog of durable, reliable, and powerful tools and innovations that are aimed at keeping their users happy and satisfied. Their product selection is so broad that you’d have a hard time picking your devices if you decide to go with this manufacturer. Their 18V lineup has fast-charging batteries, and their 12V max platform is revamped to match today’s standards.
Despite its many perks, Makita does have some drawbacks. For starters, this brand can be too slow in their adapting to new industry trends, such as battery fuel gauges. Besides, while the wide selection of products in different categories may seem appealing to some people, it can be a real turn-off for others as you’d have a hard time choosing what would work for you and what wouldn’t, considering that the differences between the various models can be hard to spot sometimes.
To sum it up, Makita is one of the best power tool brands when it comes to innovation, and if you don’t mind spending some time to pick suitable tools out of their wide selection, it’s definitely worth considering.
Bosch Brand Review
German Engineering at its Finest
Bosch, or Robert Bosch GmbH, is a world-renowned multinational engineering and electronics brand that operates from Gerlingen, Germany. The company dates back to 1886 when it started as the “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering,” that was founded by Robert Bosch in Stuttgart. Right off the bat, the company’s work was characterized by innovation, commitment, and hard work.
What’s unique about Bosch is that the founding father, Robert Bosch, wasn’t just an inventor, engineer, and businessman. He was also a thinker, a visionary, and a father. A combo that allowed him to not only launch his brand on solid foundations, but also to get over all the obstacles that got in the way of expansion and development.
So, behind all the emotions, engineering, and fancy quotes, how does Bosch perform in today’s industry?
Short answer? It performs pretty well, or so you can tell from their inventions.
Bosch is still offering robust core tool offerings, with some upgrades, updates, and new innovations every now and then. The thing is; it doesn’t seem to have the same sparkling fire that it had years ago. Maybe they forgot about their competition, or perhaps they simply trust in their tools and don’t care. Some of their devices weren’t even released in the US, which is a shame.
Nevertheless, Bosch is still an excellent overall brand, with tools and appliances that come in an array of shapes, sizes, and models in different categories.
Furthermore, Bosch is one of the most reliable manufacturers across the board, and they are easy to deal with under warranty. If you’ve ever used power or hand tools before, you should know by now that reliability and customer service are among the most critical criteria for devices, and Bosch gets the thumbs-up in that regard, which should give you some needed peace of mind.
Overall, if you’re looking for some reliable tools that will last for a lifetime, Bosch is one of the best power tool brands that you can consider, and it has a vast catalog that you can choose from. But if you’re looking to delve into a whole platform, maybe consider another manufacturer that’s still offering new products consistently and that releases all of its products in the US.
Ridgid Brand Review
Orange Is the New Tool
I know I’ve probably messed up the title for this one. What can I say? Maybe I’m just a simple man, just like Ridgid’s a simple brand.
Ridgid offers a great balance between performance and price, making its tools some of the most cost-efficient ones on the market. It has an excellent expanding 18V lineup that includes many innovative tools, even though it’s not as varied as the big players in the tools industry.
Why complicate things? If you just need some simple tools that won’t make a hole in your wallet, Ridgid tools are an excellent option to consider. Their catalog contains some of the most innovative tools available today, such as their recent cordless air compressor, and their products come with a limited lifetime service agreement that covers the service, parts, and batteries.
Granted, the 12V lineup is very limited, and the 18V series lacks the variability that other brands provide, but they also have great benchtop and corded tool offerings that make up for that. My conclusion: This is not the best power tool brand, but for simple needs, Ridgid won’t disappoint. It has top-notch tools at mid-range prices, making it a strong candidate in the best power tool brands debate.
Ryobi Brand Review
The DIYer Brand
While most of the best power tool brands focus on manufacturing heavy-duty, jobsite power tools, Ryobi is more on the consumer side of the spectrum. It’s a DIYer-centric brand that appeals for homeowners, occasional tool users, hobbyists, and SOME pros. There’s plenty of choices to pick from, and several of its tools can be viable options for jobsite conditions.
Our take on Ryobi: This is a consumer brand that produces some pretty neat problem-solving, specialty, and innovative toolsthat would appeal for hobbyists and DIYers. It has a special place among the best power tool brands, but if you’re a professional looking for reliable tools that can be used in jobsite conditions, I don’t recommend going with Ryobi, as it’s not the best power tool brand in that category.
Stanley Brand Review
The Name Says it All
It’s common knowledge that Stanley is more of a budget option, one that handymen and craftsmen consider when they don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on their workbench. Nevertheless, Stanley tools are still pretty solid, and they would definitely give you the bang for your buck if you understand that you get exactly what you pay for.
To put things into perspective, Stanly tools sit in the middle ground, right in the sweet spot between high-end products from big players such as DeWalt and Milwaukee and those coming from full-blown budget options, such as Black and Decker.
For years, the Stanley logo has been associated with high-quality, performance, and premium materials, which explains why so many professionals and hobbyists have been opting for their tools over the last couple of decades. I really like their new Black Chrome line, which offers more than enough appeal when it comes to price, quality, and reliability, giving Stanley the edge over other brands in the budget category.
If you’re trying to fill your garage with decent tools without blowing a hole in your wallet, Stanley can definitely be the best power tool brand for you.
Craftsman Brand Review
Craftsman is Stanley’s first rival when it comes to budget power tools. The funny thing? Stanley and Craftsman are owned by the same company, the massive conglomerate Stanley Black and Decker. They are sold through different retailers, but both Stanley and Craftsman tools come from the same facilities, which, as opposed to what most people believe, aren’t located on the American soil. In other words, you can throw the “American owned and operated” notion right off the window.
As it currently stands, tools from Craftsman are pricier than their Stanley counterpart, without being any better in terms of quality. The difference in the cost can be attributed to two major features: the warranty and the brand name.
Craftsman offers one of the best warranty services in the industry. If anything happens to your power or hand tool, you can send it to the manufacturer to get a free replacement. Period. That very warranty policy proves two points; first, the people at Craftsman trust in their products, and second, they care about their customers.
Also, Craftsman has been banking for years simply on their brand name. Come on, don’t tell me you don’t sense quality and excellent “craftsmanship” when you see the craftsman logo, the symbolic representation of the finest American-made tools? The rock-solid reputation that Craftsman built during their early years has allowed them to keep benefiting from the brand name alone for decades, and for good reason too, as no one can deny the quality, performance, and premium materials they’re offering.
In a nutshell, Craftsman is the best power tool brand for warranty warriors looking for that fancy guarantee on the box from a reputable manufacturer that has been in the business for years, and the tools offered by this brand are well-worth every penny you’re paying.
Metabo Brand Review
Another German Beast
This brand got its name from the German expression for a hand drill, the “Metallbohrdreher.” Metabo is like BMW, but for tools. You get high-innovative, German engineered products made using the latest techniques for an exceptional end quality that would appeal to anyone.
Although American brands, such as DeWalt and Milwaukee (or previously-American brands, for that matter) are more commonly used by craftsmen, woodworkers, and handymen around the country, there’s no sense denying that Metabo has proven to be more innovative in more than one occasion.
Today, Metabo is a medium-sized company with several manufacturing plants based in Nürtingen and Shanghai.
Metabo’s woodworking tools are just perfect. They basically offer no-frills machines capable of getting the job done without providing too many gimmicky features that you would never use anyway. If I’m to recommend a specific lineup, I’d say get all your angle grinders from Metabo. Their grinders are impossible to kill, and they can easily outlast other models from other brands hands down, making Metabo the best power tool brand in this category.
Porter Cable Brand Review
DeWalt’s Cheaper Sibling
Porter Cable is a budget manufacturer suffering from some level of brand confusion. It has been a professional tool brand in the past, but it’s currently competing with the likes of Ryobi, which are focusing on homeowners, DIYers, and some value-minded professionals.
The cordless 20V Max lineup from Porter Cable includes a great drill and impact driver, along with several lower-featured tools intended for budget-seekers. The expansion of this lineup has been slow, and it seems that the brand has already abandoned (or neglected) the 12V Max lineup. Maybe Black and Decker, the parent company of Porter Cable, is intentionally producing all the good stuff under the DeWalt subsidiary to avoid unnecessary competition between the two.
Overall, Porter Cable power tools are pretty decent for the price, but the low pricing restricts the quality. Nevertheless, if you’re on a tight budget, Porter Cable can be the best power tool brand within its price range.
Kobalt Brand Review
Lowe’s Premium Brand
Have you ever been to Lowe’s? You’ve at least heard of it, right?
If you haven’t noticed, Lowe’s is a well-known retail company specializing in Home Improvement. It operates from Mooresville, North Carolina, and it has over 2390 home improvement and hardware stores all across North America.
Now, you may be wondering “What does a retail company have to do with too manufacturing?”
Well, in 1998, Lowe’s owners thought to themselves; “Why stop at selling tools when others are making them?” (In reference to Craftsman and Husky, owned by Sears and The Home Depot respectively)
That’s how Kobalt started, and it’s still going strong to this day, mainly because of three perks; their unbeatable 5-year warranty on most tools, their 3-year batteries, and their excellent support that’s always there to answer your questions and respond to your concerns.
Granted, Kobalt offers a lot of gimmicky tools, but should you dig deep enough, you’re bound to find some real gems in their ever-expanding catalog. Their 24V Max brushless series has proven to be sturdy, durable, and reliable, and you can easily get extra battery packs at an incredibly low price that starts at just 10 bucks.
It’s sad to see Kobalt abandoning their 20V Max and 18V lineups, but I don’t think they’re going to discontinue them entirely anytime soon, as that would be utterly unforgivable.
In conclusion, Kobalt can be the best power tool brand if you need a couple of new tools for your workbench, but does it stand strong against other manufacturers such as DeWalt and Makita? Not really. Remember, stick to the core tools when buying from Kobalt, and stay away from any gimmicky gadget or multi-tools, as it’s more of a hit or miss when it comes to those.
Honorable Mention: Festool, Fein, and Premium Specialty Tool Brands
Festool, Fein, and other specialty brands are the number one destination when you need a specific power tool that they’re known to make pretty well and even better than what their competitors are making. The only problem is that these tools are usually pricier, and these brands typically have a limited product selection. In other words, you can’t delve into a platform when going with the such of Fein and Festool.
Our verdict? Go with specialty brands if you need the best power tools in specific categories. For instance, nothing can rival Festool’s Track Saw, and no other brand could make a cordless MultiMaster oscillating multi-tool that’s as good as the one produced by Fein.
Final Thoughts: What Is the Best Power Tool Brand?
Again, I cannot make that choice for you. The ball’s in your court, so make sure to go through the strengths and weaknesses of each brand before choosing.
If you want to make an even better, more refined selection, you can check some of our reviews, guides, and tutorials, and you’ll get a better idea as to what works for what, and you’ll be able to choose the best power tool brand with ease.
What Do YOU Think?
So, which is your preferred power tool brand? Have you heard and/or tried any of the above brands?
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- Our own experience