This review will compare three of the biggest power tool brands currently on the market in DeWalt vs Makita vs Milwaukee. We will look at each brand in detail, consider their respective histories, what range of products they produce, and how these perform in comparison to one another.
Finally, we will pose the question of which power tool brand is best between DeWalt vs Milwaukee vs Makita? This is a difficult question as in the power tool world these are the heavyweights. Particularly over the last ten years or so, Milwaukee has gone on to be considered the best of the bunch. So will they come out on top in our review?
Let us begin by looking at each of the company’s respective histories.
This is an American company that was originally founded almost 100 years ago by the inventor of the radial arm saw, Raymond E. DeWalt in Leola, Pennsylvania. After some 20 odd years it was bought out by the American Machine & Foundry Co., who some years later sold it on to Black & Decker.
Since 2013 DeWalt has been using parts manufactured in China, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, which have then been assembled in the United States.
In 2016 the company launched an innovative new battery pack that had hybrid voltage. They named this ‘FLEXVOLT’. It now produces over 200 different power tools, along with 800+ accessories.
Also an American company, Milwaukee was formed the year after DeWalt (1924) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It started as power tool repair business until they produced their very own electric hand drill that was specially designed for Ford car engineers.
The company went on to produce numerous must have power tools, including hole shooters that were used in the building of military planes during World War II. It was in 1951 when Milwaukee truly revolutionized the market when it comes to power tools.
It was then when the company unveiled their Sawzall reciprocating cutting saw. To this very day it is still a defining power tool for Milwaukee. In 2008 the company also formulated a hardening process for their accessories that meant they last twice as long as any others do.
Like Milwaukee, Makita also started out as a power tool repair business. However, unlike Milwaukee the company was founded some years earlier in Anjō, Japan. It created its first power tool in 1969 with a fully rechargeable hand drill. This was the first of its kind in the world.
After this success, the company began producing an ever increasing range of power tools and most recently expanded into gardening tools and equipment.
In 2012 the company began producing their power tools in Thailand and continues to do so until this very day.
A Tool on Tool Comparison
To determine which of these three historic power tool brands is the best, we will take a look at some of their best selling products and see how they compare against one another.
Examining a combo kit from each of the brands will give the best over all representation of the respective company as they include a variety of different power tools and accessories in a single kit.
This combo kit by DeWalt comes with a hammer drill that boasts 3 speeds, a quarter inch impact driver, a reciprocating saw, a 6.5 inch circular saw, a work light, a belt hook, 2 x 20 volt batteries, a charger, and a contractors bag.
The 20 volt hammer drill has plenty of torque and outperforms that of the Makita. With its extra speed setting it is also bulkier and heavier than that of the Makita.
The 6.5 inch circular saw comes with a carbide cutting blade as standard. This gives a finish to each and every cut that is to a professional standard. It also packs some punch power wise, but this comes at a sacrifice to its heavy weight and bulky construction.
These tools are designed to fit inside a sturdy contractors bag which means they can be easily transported from job to job.
Milwaukee 2896-26 18V M18
This 6 piece combo kit by Milwaukee includes a quarter inch impact driver, a reciprocating saw, a half inch hammer drill, a 4.5 inch angle grinder, a 6.5 inch circular saw, an LED light, 2 x 18 volt batteries, a charger, and a strong contractors bag.
The quality of the tools within this set is instantly recognizable. Not only are they sleek and light in your hand, they are also robust and long lasting. It is clear to see that Milwaukee did not cut any corners when producing these. Most importantly, the power tools within this combo kit perform really well.
The hammer drill makes light work of drilling different sized wholes in to a range of materials, including mortar. It can also be used for the likes of mixing concrete. Both that and the impact driver have a real premium feel to them.
The reciprocating saw is also a great power tool. Having been engineered to the highest level of precision, it never fails to miss a mark.
The 2 x 18 volt batteries included in this combo kit are absolutely great. They can go from flat to fully charged in under one hour and they will last a whole working day, providing they are used to a normal workload of course. They are probably the best part of the combo kit.
All of this goes inside a contractors bag that is more than robust enough to withstand all the pressure that comes its way.
Makita XT601 18V LXT
This combo kit comes with 6 different tools which includes a 6.5 inch Makita circular saw, a hammer drill with 2 speeds, a reciprocating saw, a 4.5” angle grinder, an impact driver with variable speeds, 2 x 18 volt batteries, a charger, a work light, and a robust bag to carry them all in.
The hammer drill is able to perform all the same tasks as the Milwaukee’s, although it did take longer and there was lots more strain on the battery. They wear down pretty quick when having to do tough jobs such as cutting PVC, and ripping decking.
However, the Makita’s batteries are a lot better than those that come in the DeWalt combo kit. Not only do they charge faster, they also last much longer.
The bearings inside the hammer drill are made out of nylon which helps to save weight and make it that bit lighter. However, we, and a lot of others, do not like the idea of non metal parts inside of a power tool.
The impact driver is nearly identical to the DeWalt’s, other than it having a max RPM that is slightly higher. The level of torque is the same as the DeWalt, although it is a little bit lighter and easier to work with.
The 6.5 inch circular saw comes with a bog standard cutting blade. It does not have as much power as the DeWalt but it is not quite as heavy and is definitely less bulky.
The reciprocating saw has light and sleek design that combines both finesse and power. It is much easier to use and move around your work space than the DeWalt’s is. The
The combo kit comes with a handy bag that is big enough to fit all the tools in whilst also being robust enough to take their weight.
Whilst all three are great brands (some of the biggest currently out there in the power tool world) that have produced comprehensive combo kits. There is one that is clearly better than the other two. This is an opinion that not only we have but is backed up by many other home DIYers and professional trades people across the globe.
The Milwaukee tools out perform both the DeWalt and Makita tools in pretty much all aspects. The quality of their products can be seen and felt as soon as you get them in your hands.
Whilst the Makita combo kit was a close contender, it lacked the extra bit of finesse that is provided by the Milwaukee. The batteries also lacked the power and lifespan that comes with Milwaukee’s fuel powered batteries.
That means coming last is DeWalt. Despite the company’s rich history and the fact that it is an American brand, we could not put them any higher. Not only are their batteries inferior to both the other brands, their tools were also not quite as good.