While Bosch is by far one of the most popular European power tool brands, Milwaukee is a household name in the United States. Even though Bosch is considerably older, when it comes to making power tools, both of the brands have been in the business for roughly the same amount of time.
If you are trying to decide between getting a set of Bosch power tools and Milwaukee power tools, you are in the right place. In this article, I’ll look at how these two brands compare in terms of their quality, product portfolios, and other factors.
A Brief History of Bosch and Milwaukee
Milwaukee Tools is an American brand that was started in 1924 by A. F. Siebert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From the beginning, Milwaukee focused on innovative power tools such as the Hole Shooter drill, which became a must-have for workers in the automobile and metalworking industries.
Its tools became even more popular during World War II due to them meeting US Navy standards, and the company got large orders from the military. The company continued to innovate in the power tools sector and is now known for its M12 and M18 cordless systems, as well as corded power tools and hand tools.
Milwaukee is owned by Techtronic Industries, which also owns brands such as Ryobi, Hoover, and Dirt Devil.
On the other hand, Bosch is a German company that was founded by Robert Bosch in Stuttgart, Germany in 1886. Bosch got into the power tools industry in 1932 with its first power drill. Today, Bosch is a leading manufacturer of rotary and oscillating tools, power tool accessories, and many others.
Bosch vs. Milwaukee: Which Offers Better Quality?
Overall, both Milwaukee and Bosch manufacture tools of excellent quality which are both durable and perform well. That said, there are some differences in terms of where their tools are made and what their warranty is.
Customer reviews for Milwaukee tools are overwhelmingly positive, with many customers praising their robustness, battery life, and effectiveness in getting the work done. Where Milwaukee really shines, though, is in their after-sales service and repairs, which can be a big concern for tool owners.
While some Milwaukee tools are made in the US, most are nowadays manufactured in Europe or China. That said, they have an extensive after-sales support and customer service network within the USA and internationally.
Bosch is comparable to Milwaukee when it comes to its tools’ build quality and performance, but their after-sales support and customer service is, judging from customer reviews, not as good. While this may vary from country to country, many Bosch customers seem to be unhappy with the service they’ve received when something went wrong with their tools.
Most Bosch power tools are made in Malaysia, and several are made in Mexico, Taiwan, and China. Bosch also makes some of its tools in Europe – namely in Germany and Switzerland.
The one regard in which Bosch power tools shine is the quality and lifespan of their batteries.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
Milwaukee offers various limited warranties with periods ranging from one year for jobsite radios, two years for battery packs, three years warranty on impact wrenches, and up to a limited five-year warranty on its portable power tools.
Keep in mind that many power tools need regular parts replacement to keep in running condition, and replacement parts aren’t always covered in the warranty under normal wear and tear.
Bosch, on the other hand, only offers a one-year limited warranty for its power tools. While the tools will in the vast majority of cases last long in spite of the short warranty, you should certainly keep the difference in warranties in mind when making your decision.
In addition, Bosch tools come with a one-year service protection plan, which covers “free of charge electrical, safety and performance checks, lubrication and replacement of parts worn under normal use.” Obviously, the user has to get the tool to the service center on their own cost, though.
Bosch vs. Milwaukee: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Both Milwaukee and Bosch have a large catalog of tools and accessories which should be enough for most customers.
Milwaukee has 145 products in its flagship M18 battery system, with another 56 in its M12 battery system, and 10 in its powerful M28 battery system. Those tools cover fastening, drilling, metalworking, drain cleaning, woodworking, and anything else a handyman or a contractor might need. The brand is best known for its Hackzall reciprocating saw, hammer drills, and impact drivers.
Bosch has a noteworthy range of power tools as well, with 12V, 18V, and 36V cordless power tools including drills, drivers, and saws. Bosch has a particularly good selection of drill/drivers, rotary hammers, and impact drivers.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of 12V Tools?
Both Milwaukee and Bosch offer a range of 12V tools for fastening, drilling, driving, cutting, and grinding.
Milwaukee has over 55 items in its M12 series, including products like speakers and saws. Bosch has about 50 items in its 12V line, ranging from lights and laser levels all the way to drills. One thing that makes Bosch stand out, though, are its heated jackets, something not found in Milwaukee’s product offering.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Impact Drivers and Drills?
Bosch has five 18V impact drivers in its portfolio and Milwaukee has five impact drivers in its M18 line. As such, they are closely matched in this category. Bosch has eight driver/drill options in the 18V category, while Milwaukee has twelve driver/drills in its M18 product line.
One thing worth noting is that Bosch’s latest hammer drill has an option to support Bluetooth that allows the tool to be tracked/managed through Bluehound, Bosch’s asset tracking and management system. It outputs up to 755 inch-pounds of torque and 0-31,500 beats per minute.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s top offering can produce 1,200 inch-pounds of torque and 2,000 RPMs providing fast drilling even in the most demanding applications. It offers the ONE-KEY™ system that lets users customize, track, and manage their tools. If the tool is ever lost or stolen, the owner can lock it out.
Overall, Milwaukee has the edge over Bosch in both driver/drills and impact drivers, and it offers industry-leading overcharging and overheating protection as well as optimal performance based on driving load. Both offer high-tech tool management options but these will only be useful for a handful of casual users since they’re mainly aimed at industrial users or professionals.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
Since both Milwaukee and Bosch are renowned tool brands with a large market presence, you can’t go wrong with choosing either of them. If you were to ask me, I would tend to lean towards Milwaukee over Bosch, though.
While both of the makers offer a great selection of tools, Milwaukee’s tools have a reputation for toughness and for taking a beating. Their portfolio is also wider – both across different tools, as well as within a specific tool type.
When it comes to warranties, Milwaukee has Bosch beat, plus they have a higher rating overall for customer service and after-sales support. Buying a power tool is an investment, and you want to make sure the manufacturer stands behind their product.
All that said, if you are a homeowner looking for smaller, 12V tools, then Bosch might be the better brand to go with. If you are looking for corded tools, then you should simply decide on a tool-by-tool basis as there is no need to stick with one brand in that case.
Both Bosch and Milwaukee are very reputable power tool brands. While Bosch is the older of the two brands – and arguably has more engineering experience – Milwaukee is not far behind. The brands also have comparable product portfolios.
As such, which of the two brands you choose will mainly depend on your personal preference. You cannot go wrong by choosing either. But, as mentioned earlier, I would personally tend to go for Milwaukee rather than Bosch.