This article aims to be a brief comparison of high-end tool brands like Makita, Dewalt and Milwaukee. It does not cover tool brands strictly intended for professionals like Festool, whose prices can be difficult to justify for non-daily use. Instead, it focuses on high-end tool brands that are both aimed at the professional and the average handyman.
Tools from different brands can sometimes offer performance and value for money that appear very similar. Because of this the most relevant reason to opt for a tool from one brand over another can sometimes seem to be the color of the tool and its overall appearance, depending on the user's preference. However, we can distinguish certain characteristics that differentiate them by digging a little deeper into the subject. For example, when deciding to start investing in a cordless tool platform, it may be helpful to consider the selection of tools it offers to ensure it will meet our needs over time.
Here are the brands covered in this article:
This brand is reputed for its drill and its rotary hammer drill. The “Bulldog” rotary hammer drill is considered to be among the best. I have a spade handle drill/mixer from this brand and it is a good tool that has plenty of power for my needs (drill holes with large forstner bits).
The founder of this American brand, Raymond DeWalt, invented the radial arm saw in 1922. This tool fell out of fashion today, but has had tremendous success in the last century and is still commonly used to some degree. Some Dewalt tools are lighter than similar tools of other brands. These tools are of a quality similar to Milwaukee and Makita, and are priced accordingly.
Milwaukee is the company that invented the reciprocating saw (sawzall) and it is probably the high-end brand that offers the best performances and value for money for these type of saw. Some of Milwaukee’s products are still manufactured in the United States.
Most brands feature 12V cordless tools that are smaller and lighter than their classic 18V or 20V cordless tool line and Milwaukee's system of 12V tools, called M12, is probably the most reputed of them. That being said, other brands also offer very good tools running on 12V batteries that can deliver more than enough current for many applications.
As for electrical cordless chainsaws, though, Makita is one step ahead of Milwaukee since it acquired Dolmar, a chainsaw brand, as well as their patents and technologies. That being said, my personal favourite brand to buy an electrical cordless chainsaw from is Ryobi, since their value for money seems better as they are much cheaper.
Ridgid is an old American brand that was in the past mostly known for its plumbing tools. In Quebec, the electrical tools from this brand are exclusively sold by Home Depot. This chain of stores often makes promotions to put forward this brand along with Ryobi, also exclusive to Home Depot. At the time of writing, for example, a battery and a charger are given when buying some Ryobi and Ridgid tools. This time I have no first-hand experience with the brand’s tools, but for what it’s worth I can say I have a good impression of them and that they seem to be of good quality.
Just like the Mastercraft, Maximum est une marque maison de la chaîne de magasins Canadian Tire. Les outils Maximum sont toutefois de meilleure qualité et leurs outils à main sont garantis à vie (mais pas ceux qui sont électriques). La marque est toutefois moins réputée que les grands noms comme Milwaukee et Makita. Tout comme le reste des outils de la chaîne Canadian Tire, il est souvent préférable de ne les acheter que lorsqu’ils sont en rabais : les prix courants chez cette chaîne s’avèrent souvent trop élevés lorsque comparés à d’autres quincailleries.
Hitachi tools changed their name to Metabo HTP (for Hitachi Power Tools) in 2018, but the company maintains that this didn't affect the quality of their tools. This brand name can however be confusing because there is another distinct brand of tools called Metabo (without the HTP).
Like most other high-end brands, Metabo HTP offers more than one line of cordless tools, two in this case. The first one consists of a classic system running on 18V batteries. The second, launched more recently, is powered by 36V batteries and features more powerful tools designed to accomplish harder tasks. Their 36V batteries are compatible with 18V tools, but the reverse is not true.
I have not invested in tools from this brand, but it seems to me that the 36V system from Metabo HTP could be particularly interesting for users who need heavy-duty cordless tools. However, systems from other brands such as Dewalt's Flexvolt, which can deliver up to 60V, may also be suitable.
My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. Jean 14 : 2-3