Regardless of whether you are looking to add an angle grinder, a table saw, or anything in between to your arsenal, choosing the right one from the dozens of different power tool brands that are out there is critical. That’s the case even considering the fact that many of these brands are in fact owned by the same more limited number of parent companies.
Drawing on my long experience of using various power tools as well as other people’s experiences, I compiled a list of 15 best power tool brands – 7 primarily homeowner-oriented and 8 primarily professional-oriented – that you should consider when making a choice. If you are a DIY enthusiast, I recommend going with one of the professional brands if possible. That said, if your budget is limited, you will also be fine with one of the consumer-oriented brands.
Starting with the conclusion, for homeowners and DIYers on a budget, I would pick either Craftsman or Ryobi. For professionals, I would recommend either Makita (my personal absolute favorite) or Milwaukee. Before jumping to a conclusion, though, make sure to read through the entire article for more context.
7 Best Power Tool Brands for Homeowners
If you are a homeowner or a DIYer on a budget, chances are you are looking for tools that are affordable even at the expense of slightly lower durability compared to some of the brands geared toward professionals. You are looking for tools that will last a long time if not used extensively on a daily basis.
As mentioned in the introduction, Craftsman and Ryobi would be my top picks in that regard. That said, brands like Porter-Cable, BLACK+DECKER, Kobalt, Worx, and Skil are worth considering too. While in many regards similar, they offer slightly different tool portfolios and come in at slightly different price points.
Craftsman is the first brand from the vast portfolio of Stanley Black & Decker portfolio – one of the largest tool manufacturers in the world. The company was first started in 1927 by the retailer Sears before being sold to its current parent in 2017 for $900 million.
The deal allowed Stanley Black & Decker to take the brand over, but it also gave Sears the right to continue using its existing suppliers to manufacture the tools and market them in their own stores for the next fifteen years.
Craftsman offers a wide portfolio of corded, battery- and gas-powered tools and outdoor equipment. One of its better-known products is its string trimmers sold under the Weedwacker brand which became synonymous with the tool in general.
The company also offers a variety of hand tools and accessories including its Versa System – a practical system for organizing tools within a workshop.
Another brand well worth looking into is Ryobi. While this is a Japanese brand, just like Milwaukee which I will talk about further down, the power tools and outdoor equipment divisions of the brand are owned by Techtronic Industries.
Unlike Milwaukee, though, Ryobi is mainly used by homeowners and hobbyists. That’s because while Ryobi’s signature bright green tools are really affordable, they are also not as rugged and robust as those made by pro-oriented brands are.
All that said, it is still a very good brand of power tools and unless you spend five days a week on a dusty construction site or similar, it should be high on your list of brands to consider. You will have a wide range of both corded and cordless tools to choose from, including impact drivers and circular saws.
Porter-Cable is a very old power tool brand founded in 1906 in Syracuse, New York. As its name suggests, it was founded by R. E. Porter, G. G. Porter, and F. E. Cable. It wasn’t until a few years after its founding – 1914 – that it started producing power tools.
Today, the company makes a wide variety of power tools that, while durable, are best suited for lighter use at home or by hobbyists. It’s also worth noting that the brand is a pioneer, having introduced tools such as a portable belt sander, portable bandsaw, and helical drive circular saw to the market.
Like some other brands on this list, Porter-Cable is owned by the world’s largest tool manufacturer, Stanley Black & Decker.
4. Black & Decker
Another American power tool brand you have no doubt heard about – even if you are not a professional contractor – is Black & Decker. The company, having been started in 1910, is more than a hundred years old. It caught the world’s attention in 1917 when it invented the portable electric drill.
In 1960, as mentioned earlier, it acquired De Walt, a brand that it decided to target to professionals. The Black & Decker brand, on the other hand, went the consumer route. In terms of power tools, it focuses on manufacturing those that are most commonly used by homeowners – mainly drills, sanders, and screwdrivers.
That said, the company also has some routers and other more specialized tools in its portfolio. It also manufactures accessories and some hand tools.
In fact, expanding its consumer-oriented concept, Black & Decker also ventured outside the power tools and outdoor equipment – like lawnmowers and hedge trimmers – industry. Today, it also sells cleaning devices like vacuums and even home appliances like toasters and slow cookers.
Similar to Craftsman, Kobalt is a brand that was started by a retailer. Rather than a general one like Sears, though, it was started by the hardware store Lowe’s in 1998. In fact, the company still continues to own the Kobalt brand. The products themselves are manufactured by a variety of different companies.
Under the Kobalt brand, Lowe’s offers a variety of corded and battery-powered (mostly 24V) tools, as well as hand tools like screwdrivers and so on. Its sets of tools are a staple in many households and workshops.
On the spectrum of home-use to professional, Kobalt tools lie somewhere in the middle. They are cheap enough to be attractive to homeowners. They are also good enough to have a fan base among hobbyist woodworkers. It’s not too common you will see a professional handyman or contractor with a Kobalt tool, though.
Besides being sold, obviously, at Lowe’s, Kobalt tools can also be bought on Amazon and through other retailers.
Originally started in 1926 in New Orleans, it could easily be argued that Skil is an American brand. It can be equally argued that it’s a German brand since t is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. That’s because the brand was – after a series of acquisitions and partnerships – fully acquired by Bosch in 1996. Today, the brand is owned by Chervon, a Chinese power tool manufacturer.
Without a doubt, Skil built a considerable part of its reputation through Skilsaw Model 77, a circular saw which it introduced in 1937 and that many say is “the saw that built America.” Since then, it has gone on to vastly expand its portfolio of tools and today it offers a selection comparable with all the other major manufacturers like DeWalt and Makita.
That said, it remains the strongest in the saws category – be it circular saws or table saws.
Having been created in 2004, Worx is a fairly young brand. That said, it has extensive experience with making power tools. That’s because it was started by Positec Tool Corporation, which is currently based out of Suzhou, China. Posited was founded by Don Gao in 1994 and has been manufacturing tools for other brands for almost 20 years.
Worx products can be found in Europe and North America, particularly in retailers such as Lowe’s, Walmart, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, and Costco.
In addition to regular power tools, it is also known for some “wackier” inventions like the double-headed Worx Switchdriver.
8 Best Power Tool Brands for Professionals
Continuing on, let’s zoom in on power tool brands ideal for professionals. In other words, those brands that make tools able to withstand heavy-duty daily use, oftentimes even at the roughest job sites. While these advantages come at a higher cost, the durability and quality of these brands’ products more than offset the high cost if you are making a living using power tools.
My favorite in this category – and my most favorite power tool brand in general – is Makita. Brands like Milwaukee, DeWalt, Ridgid, Metabo, Festool, Bosch, and Hilti are worth considering too depending on your specific needs.
Makita is definitely one of the best-known brands. It’s also the power tool brand that I personally use the most. The company was started by Mosaburo Makita in 1915, however, it wasn’t until 1958 that it got into the power tool business.
While it first started with a planer, it soon expanded into tools like drills. Now it offers all of the tools you might need at a construction site or in a workshop ranging from impact drivers and hammers through angle grinders, sanders, and routers all the way to reciprocating and circular saws. It also has a good selection of yard equipment and pneumatic tools in its portfolio.
Even though the tools are now manufactured all over the world rather than just in Japan, they remain to be of very high quality.
Combined with their wide selection of not only tools but also other jobsite equipment like fans and radios, I can only recommend going with the Makita cordless platform. In particular, you should be looking at their 18V tools.
Milwaukee has come a long way since the company was established in Wisconsin in 1924. The company has gone through multiple ownership changes, most recently being acquired by Techtronic Industries – the Hong Kongese owner of Ryobi and Hoover US brands among others – in 2005.
Initially, the company’s recognition grew thanks to its Hole Shooter – the world’s first lightweight, one-handed drill with a 1/4-inch chuck. Today, though, the company offers dozens of different construction tools and outdoor equipment. Perhaps most notably, Milwaukee’s Sawzall brand became synonymous with the reciprocating saw tool in general.
In addition to corded and gas-powered tools, Milwaukee offers cordless battery-powered tools across three platforms – M12 System (12 volts), M18 System (18 volts), and MX FUEL (72 volts). Many of its tools are compatible with One-Key, a platform that Milwaukee developed to help companies manage their power tool inventory and maintenance.
Just like DeWalt which we will talk about next, Milwaukee is a brand that is very popular with professional contractors and that is – in most cases – suitable even for the most rugged conditions.
Having originally been started by the inventor of the radial arm saw, Raymond E. DeWalt, in 1923, DeWalt is one of the oldest and best-known tool makers in the world.
The company was acquired by Black & Decker in 1960. Initially struggling to gain popularity among professionals who saw Black & Decker as an “amateur brand,” the company embarked on what became a very successful rebrand. That took place in the early 1990s and positioned DeWalt as the brand of choice for professionals. Today, it is one of the flagship brands of Stanley Black & Decker, a Fortune 500 company.
Now, DeWalt’s product portfolio includes hundreds of power tools, both wired and wireless. Those include multiple models of drills and impact drivers, different types of saws, laser levels, sanders, angle grinders, and so on.
Besides that, there is also a wide variety of DeWalt accessories like drill bits, miter saw stands, toolboxes, and even hardware. The company also offers yard equipment like lawn mowers and hedge trimmers, and things like jobsite radios and fans.
Its cordless tools belong to a variety of platforms including the standard 18V, 12V MAX for compact tools, 20V MAX, and 40V MAX for outdoor equipment. The most interesting one, though, is FLEXVOLT which automatically switches between 20V and 60V depending on the tool it is placed in. As such, it is able to power the company’s 20V, 60V, and 120V tools.
Ridgid, unlike the other companies in this list, is primarily a manufacturer of tools for the plumbing and HVAC industries. Having been started in 1923 in Ohio, the best-known tools in its portfolio are its red pipe wrenches. Because of that, it’s not as widely used by handymen and construction workers as the other brands in this list.
All that said, Ridgid also offers a limited selection of power tools and so is worth mentioning here. The company makes the most widely used tools like drills, impact drivers, and saws. Many of those are produced by Techtronic Industries – the owner of Milwaukee and Ryobi.
Getting a Ridgid tool might not be the best idea if you need a wide variety of tools with interchangeable batteries. If you are only looking for the most basic power tools, the brand is a solid option, though.
5. Metabo HPT (Hitachi)
Hitachi, like Black & Decker – just to a much larger extent – is involved in way more than manufacturing power tools. In fact, it’s a conglomerate that manufactures everything from batteries and screens through construction machinery all the way to aircraft components.
Until recently, it also manufactured power tools but it sold off that division to the investment fund KKR back in 2018.
Since then, the company has been in the process of rebranding to Metabo HPT. The company offers all of the tools you would expect from a reputable manufacturer. It particularly excels in making angle grinders, cut-off saws, and other heavier-duty cutting equipment. That said, it also offers a good selection of more commonly used tools like impact drivers and drills.
Their tools are on the higher end of the price spectrum and other brands like DeWalt and Makita offer a better selection overall. In spite of that, though, if the main tool you need to use happens to be offered by Metabo HPT – and you happen to like it – there is no reason why you shouldn’t go with its platform.
Festool is a German brand that is considered to be the best power tool brand by many. The company was founded in 1925 by Gottlieb Stoll and Albert Fezer as Fezer & Stoll. This company’s tool division was later spun off into what is today known as Festool.
While today, Festool manufactures a wide variety of tools and accessories like toolboxes, its first major achievement was developing the world’s first portable chainsaw in 1927. Nowadays, the company is best known for its track saws and other woodworking tools.
Besides operating a couple of factories in Germany, Festool also makes some of its tools in the Czech Republic. Additionally, the company also operates a factory in the United States. It only makes power tool accessories, especially guide rails, there, though.
After being founded by Robert Bosch in Stuttgart in 1886, the German brand Bosch has grown to become a household name in engineering and technology. Before continuing to its power tool portfolio, a quick fun fact worth noting: unlike the other companies on this list, more than 90% of the company is owned by Robert Bosch Stiftung, a charitable organization.
Bosch’s power tools are within its “home” division which also includes gardening tools and home appliances among others. As such, they are mainly targeted at homeowners and DIYers.
That said, being more expensive – and arguably higher quality – than brands like Kobalt and Craftsman, they are perfect for the serious amateurs or even lighter semi-pros or pros. The company has also been, rightfully, putting more effort into having its tools accepted by the professional community.
In terms of tool selection, the company makes anything from impact drivers all the way to jigsaws. Most of those are based on its 18V platform, however, it also has some lighter 12V tools.
Tucked between Austria and Switzerland is a small German-speaking state Liechtenstein. Known as a tax haven within the financial community, it is also the home of Hilti, one of the world’s most reputable construction tool manufacturers.
Without a doubt, the tools that Hilti is known for the best are its electro-pneumatic rotary hammer drills. In fact, it was the first company to introduce the tool to the market with its TE 17 model back in 1967.
Even today, Hilti’s best-known product is its hammer drills that come in its signature red boxes. That said, its portfolio includes much more than that. Still, it’s mainly heavier-duty tools useful to professionals in the construction industry, though.
Choosing the Right Power Tool Brand for You: FAQs
If you have combed through the lists above but are still left undecided, chances are the questions below will help you make your decision.
What Are the Most Important Criteria to Consider?
While the lists above are based on my overall impression of each of the brands, when choosing the right brand for you, it is important to consider different criteria and think about which of the criteria is the most important for you.
Some of the most important things to consider when picking which brand to use include:
- Price: With budget being the only truly restricting factor when it comes to picking a power tool brand, it is important that you decide roughly how much you want to spend on the tools you need. One thing to keep in mind here is the old adage “you get what you pay for.” In other words, many times in the long run it’s cheaper to buy one more expensive tool in the first place than buy a cheaper but less reliable one over and over again.
- Build quality and reliability: To a large extent, this is tied to the above. If you are a homeowner that needs to use a drill once a month, you will be able to use a cheaper but less reliable tool for years. On the other hand, if you are a contractor that squeezes the most out of his tools every day, you will need to look for brands that make tools able to withstand daily heavy-duty use.
- Product portfolio: All of the brands have basic power tools like drills and circular saws in their line-ups. That said, when it comes to more specialized tools, some brands shine more than others. As an example, while Ridgid excels in the plumbing department, Hilti excels in the concrete work department.
- Reputation and history: While not necessarily always the case, in general, brands with a longer history will have more experience making the tools you need – and thus might make some innovations that other brands will lag with.
- Warranty: Last but not least, to account for the worst – i.e. receiving a tool that’s faulty – make sure to check the warranty offered with the product you are getting. While some brands will void their warranty if the tool is used in a commercial setting, others will not. The duration of the warranty can differ slightly among brands too.
Which Power Tool Brand Is the Best?
As you can probably tell if you read through the criteria above, there is no such thing as one single best power tool brand. That said, there likely is the best power tool brand for you. To find what that is, I recommend referencing the criteria and lists above and deciding which factors are more important to you than others.
That said, chances are that if you are a professional doing general contractor work, either Makita or Milwaukee will be the best for you. If you are a homeowner or a light DIYer, a brand like Craftsman or Ryobi should work great for you.
Lastly, if you are a highly specialized contractor – plumber, let’s say – then a brand like Ridgid might be the best for you. Or, in that case, it might even be a niche brand that is not on this list.
What Power Tool Brand Do Professionals Use the Most?
Each of the professional brands listed in this article has a base of fans that swear by the brand. That said, some brands are more popular than others.
Without a doubt, the three brands that I consistently see professionals use the most are DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee.
Is It Better to Stick to a Single Power Tool Brand?
When it comes to cordless tools, then you should certainly stick to one brand as much as possible. That’s because batteries are as pricey – if not more – than the tools themselves. Sticking with one brand – and one voltage (14.4V, 18V, etc.) will allow you to buy “bare tools” without batteries and save money. That said, batteries are still consumables, so, you will have to buy new ones at one point or another.
In addition to that, by sticking with one cordless power tool brand, you will also be able to use the same charger for all your tools. In this case, some chargers even allow charging batteries of different voltages. So, you might be able to use a single charger to charge both a 14.4V and an 18V battery, for example.
Sticking to a single power tool brand is nowhere nearly as important when it comes to corded tools. All (regular) power outlets are the same after all. Even with that in mind, though, if you prefer consistency in style, color, the way a tool is operated, and so on, then you should try to stick to one brand.
When it comes to corded tools, the cost of switching to a different brand is minimal. As such, you don’t have to worry too much about picking the right brand – as long as the tool that you buy gets the job done. With cordless power tools, though, the cost of switching – i.e. buying new batteries, chargers, etc. – can be very high.
As such, it’s important to think your decision through and make sure the brand you go with offers all the tools you might need in the near or even longer-term future.
In most cases, you cannot go wrong with a power tool maker that offers a wide range of products like Makita or Milwaukee if you are a professional or Craftsman and Ryobi if you are a homeowner or light DIYer. That said, under the right set of circumstances, each of the brands listed further up is worth considering.
It’s also worth noting that just because a brand is well-known for its corded and cordless electric power tools, it doesn’t mean you have to use that brand for other types of tools as well. To learn more about the options you have, you might also want to check out my selection of the best hand tool brands, the best pneumatic tool hands, and the best drill brands.