Many people opt for American power tool brands like Milwaukee and DeWalt, however, Japanese brands are well-worth considering as well. The two that you might encounter the most often are Makita and Ryobi.
While the main difference is in the fact that one is targeted at professionals while the other is a more entry-level brand, there are more differences worth noting as well.
Continue reading to learn about those and to see which of the two brands you should go with.
A Brief History of Makita and Ryobi
Makita was founded in 1915 as an electric motor sales and repair company. In 1958 they became the first Japanese company to make and sell portable electric planers. Moving forward, Makita focused on power tools, especially in the housing construction market.
In 1989 Makita exhibited its circular saw, grinder, and drill at the World Design Exposition in Nagoya, Japan. Between 1970 and today, Makita established global distribution centers in many different countries.
Makita was the pioneer of the electric hand planer, rechargeable drill, pneumatic air nailer tool, and nickel-cadmium battery tools. They also created a renowned rotary hammer tool with anti-vibration technology and a cordless impact driver with a brushless motor.
It earned a reputation of being a front-runner when it comes to new power tool technologies.
From the start of the company, Makita has focused on taking the time to perfect the reliability and performance of their tools. Even today, many of their power tools are made in Japan and are all of the utmost quality. Perhaps the only downside is that you have to pay for that quality.
Ryobi, having been founded in 1943, is a younger company. It began with manufacturing and selling die-cast products. In 1954 it began manufacturing plastic cast products, and in 1963 it also started manufacturing door closers.
Three years later, in 1966, Ryobi entered the fishing tackle market, and then finally in 1968, it began making power tools. A few mergers and decades later, Ryobi started making and selling golfing goods.
It wasn’t until 2000 that Ryobi started selling power tools and lawn and gardening equipment in North America. The next year, Ryobi started selling in Europe, and the year after they opened up to the Oceania market.
Though most of the power tools are manufactured in China, that is not reflected in the quality of its products. By continuously expanding and focusing on perfecting their catalog of power tools, Ryobi became a powerhouse in the global power tool market.
Makita vs. Ryobi: Which Offers Better Quality?
Quality is always the leading factor when it comes to power tools. When you compare Makita and Ryobi, the clear distinction between the two is price and country of manufacturing.
China-made Ryobi is typically the less expensive choice, and with that comes a slightly inferior quality in terms of manufacturing. Japanese-made Makita products are typically better manufactured, more powerful, more efficient, have a longer battery life, survive in more unfavorable situations, and can be used for longer periods of time before breaking.
With respect to manufacturing quality, Makita is the clear winner.
Warranty: It’s a Tie
On all of their power tools and batteries, Ryobi offers a three-year limited warranty. On their power tool accessories, Ryobi offers a 90-day warranty. Makita offers a three-year limited warranty on all of their power tools, batteries, and accessories.
Since the only difference between the two warranties affects the accessories, it’s more or less a tie between the two companies when it comes to the warranty terms they offer.
Makita vs. Ryobi: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Both Makita and Ryobi have a pretty focused product portfolio.
Both companies honed-in on power tools for construction. They are especially focused on corded and cordless impact drivers and drills. For any product you see in Makita’s catalog, Ryobi will have a similar version for a lesser price.
That being said, both companies offer roughly the same line of products, so it is a tie when it comes to the depth of their product portfolio.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
Since both companies are so comparable when it comes to their product portfolio and warranty, the only real distinguishing factor is the price point and quality of craftsmanship.
As mentioned before, Ryobi is typically priced lower than Makita and therefore cannot be expected to be of a quality as high as Makita.
If you are just a hobbyist or looking to minimize the money you spend on power tools, the clear choice would be Ryobi. In most cases, Ryobi is nicer on your wallet, as long as you can live with the downsides of inferior overall quality.
If you are looking for a more reliable and robust power tool, you will need to choose Makita. If you are a contractor or find yourself in a more professional setting when it comes to using power tools, you should choose Makita.
Both Makita and Ryobi are excellent power tool manufacturers. That said, they are brands targetted at two different customer bases.
The former manufactures heavy-duty tools that are ideal for not only lighter home use, but also for use on construction sites. As such, Makita is often the brand of choice for professional contractors and higher-end hobbyists.
Ryobi, on the other hand, offers tools that are of decent quality. However, they are not well-suited for continuous use. Instead, they are well suited for hobbyists and homeowners.
In other words, if you are a homeowner looking to have a set of tools for doing things around the house, you can’t go wrong with choosing either brand.
However, if you are a professional, then you should opt for Makita. Choosing the brand will not only make you look more professional but it will also make sure your tools last longer in rougher conditions.