When it comes to building an impressive arsenal of tools, it’s likely that you want to stick with a specific brand for all of the products you buy. It just makes life easier, especially if you are going to be getting a lot of cordless power tools.
Two of the many brands you might be considering are Black & Decker and Milwaukee.
Which of these two tool brands is better for you, though?
A Brief History of Black & Decker & Milwaukee
Black & Decker was first founded in 1910 by Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker, hence the name, Black & Decker. It was originally called “The Black & Decker Manufacturing Company.” It is currently headquartered in the USA, just north of Baltimore, Maryland.
What is important to note is that in 2010, Black & Decker merged with Stanley Works to become Stanley Black & Decker. To this day, Black & Decker remains a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker.
Black & Decker is known for making a large assortment of products including power tools, accessories, hardware, home improvement products, and fastening systems. It is interesting to note that the parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, also owns several other brands of tools including DeWalt and Craftsman.
On the other hand, we have Milwaukee, which is officially known as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. This is an American company based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. Milwaukee focuses almost all of its energy on the production of power tools. Technically, the company is owned by Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong-based company that also owns AEG, Ryobi, Hoover, Dirt Devil, and more.
A.H. Peterson and Albert Siebert first founded the company in 1923, at which time it was called the A.H. Peterson Tool Company, and a short while later, the whole company was purchased by Siebert, at which point he changed the name to the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.
Milwaukee was and is still known for being a producer of goods for the US Navy, as it built all of its products to meet the standards of this branch of the military. At this time, Milwaukee has around 4,000 employees. It generated nearly 4 billion dollars in revenue last year.
Black & Decker vs Milwaukee: Which Offers Better Quality?
First off, Black & Decker does produce some pretty decent tools. Now, what can be said is that people appear to be quite happy with their products across the board, particularly their lightweight and user-friendly power tools, the cordless ones to be even more specific.
That said, there are some notable complaints in terms of overall longevity.
Simply put, Black & Decker tools are designed for and marketed towards the average homeowner and DIY enthusiast. They are ideal for people who need some decent power tools for basic, light-duty, and occasional use.
However, do keep in mind that Black & Decker tools are regarded as being entry-level. On the positive side, this means that they come in at very low prices, something which many people like, especially those working with a limited budget.
One of the reasons why this brand can sell its tools for relatively low prices is because the vast majority of the products are made in China. However, Black & Decker does appear to be gearing up to move some of its production back to the USA.
On the other hand, we have Milwaukee, which is a brand that is highly regarded and well known for producing fairly high-quality power tools. They may not be the number one best tools in the world in terms of quality and durability, but that said, Milwaukee does still rank quite high in both of those categories.
People are not only happy with the decent level of durability of Milwaukee tools, but also with their very high level of comfort and functionality. With all of that said, Milwaukee tools are designed more so for homeowners and DIYers than anything else, although the higher-end Milwaukee tools are also sufficient for more heavy-duty and professional use.
Milwaukee does have a few production facilities in Europe, as well as four facilities in the USA – in Wisconsin and Mississippi to be exact. However, the vast majority of Milwaukee tools are made in China. Just like with Black & Decker, Milwaukee appears to be shifting production to the USA, albeit quite slowly.
When it comes down to it, Milwaukee has noticeably better tools.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
Black & Decker hand tools are covered by a limited lifetime warranty, and many power tools are covered by a two-year limited warranty. However, finding warranty info for specific tools is very difficult, so there may be more to Black & Decker warranties than meets the eye.
From what we can tell, Milwaukee offers limited one-, two-, three-, and five-year warranties, a 30-day money-back guarantee on some tools, as well as limited and lifetime warranties on other tools.
It does appear as though Milwaukee offers the better tool warranties overall. At the end of the day, you will have to compare it on a tool-by-tool basis, though.
Black & Decker vs Milwaukee: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
One thing that can be said is that Black & Decker is a much larger company, and it is safe to assume that it produces many more products. Both of these brands produce a variety of power tools, hand tools, outdoor equipment, tool storage options, and more.
Now, Milwaukee also makes jobsite apparel, or clothing in other words, which Black & Decker does not. However, on the other hand, Black & Decker produces various home appliances, things like vacuums, and even pet and healthcare-related products too, none of which Milwaukee makes.
Overall, it appears as though Black & Decker makes a larger variety of product than Milwaukee.
That said, there are some tool categories where Milwaukee has a better selection. For instance, Black & Decker has under 25 drills listed on the website, whereas Milwaukee has almost three times that number. Moreover, Milwaukee also has roughly 30 saws available for purchase, whereas Black & Decker has about half that amount.
However, when it comes to sanders, Milwaukee only has two listed on its website, whereas Black & Decker has 13. So, in terms of power tool selection, Milwaukee and Black & Decker seem to excel in specific categories, with there being no clear winner.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
If it is the warranties you are focused on, then Milwaukee is the winner, and in many tool categories, Milwaukee also has a wider selection. However, across the board, Black & Decker does produce way more products across very diverse product categories.
That said, when it comes down to it, if you are a professional who needs tools of a high-quality level, Milwaukee is probably the slightly better option to go with, but that said, technically speaking neither one of these brands designs tools exclusively for professional heavy-duty use.
Both brands are ideal for basic use and the tools are designed for lighter work, but they do also come in at lower prices than other brands.
The bottom line is that both of these brands are great if you are looking for a large selection of entry-level and mid-level tools that feature decent durability, lots of comfort and function, but won’t cost you a fortune.
These are great tools for homeowners and DIYers alike. Some of them might even be suitable for lighter professional use.