There are more than a dozen power tool brands worth considering. However, without a doubt, two of the most popular ones in the United States are DeWalt and Milwaukee. While they both have their fan bases that can get passionate about their preferred brand, how different are they?
Continue reading to learn more about how these two brands compare and which of them is the better choice for you.
A Brief History of Milwaukee & DeWalt
Milwaukee, officially known as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, is an American company based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin.It is mainly focused on the production of power tools. In spite of its origins, the company is technically a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong company that also owns other popular brands including AEG, Ryobi, Hoover, and Dirt Devil.
The Milwaukee company was founded in 1923 by A.H. Peterson and Albert Siebert, and was first called the A.H. Peterson Tool Company, but due to a fire destroying the production facility, it saw some initial problems. After the fire, Siebert purchased the remaining shares of the company, at which point he changed the name to the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.
In the beginning, all Milwaukee tools were designed and manufactured to meet the standards of the U.S Navy. Among other tools, Milwaukee developed and produced polishers, sanders, electric hammers, and more. When WWII came around, Milwaukee became a leading supplier for the government.
At this time, Milwaukee has around 4,000 employees and nearly 4 billion dollars in annual revenue.
On the other hand, we have DeWalt, a company tracing its origins back all the way to 1923 when it was founded by Raymond DeWalt. Raymond, the same man that invented the radial arm saw, started the company in Maryland, United States.
By 1947, the company was reorganized and incorporated as DeWalt Inc. In 1949, the company was bought by the American Machine & Foundry Co. but was then sold to Black & Decker. Yes, DeWalt is a registered trademark of Black & Decker Inc., which is a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker.
In the earlier years, DeWalt was heavily focused on producing lightweight tools for basic use, but from the 1980s onwards, made a big push into the market for construction and professional builders, and therefore started producing a much wider range of tools. At this time, DeWalt is seen as the leader of the Black & Decker Professional line of tools and is marketed as such to professionals and tradesmen.
At this time, DeWalt is quite a sizeable company as it has over 13,000 employees worldwide, over half a dozen manufacturing facilities spread out across multiple continents, and estimated annual revenue of over 4 billion dollars.
Milwaukee vs. DeWalt: Which Offers Better Quality?
Now that you know the basics of these two brands, let’s take a look at how they fare in terms of quality.
Milwaukee’s Quality and Production Facilities
Starting with Milwaukee, this brand is highly regarded for producing fairly high-quality tools, although maybe not the very best in the world. The consensus is that Milwaukee tools, across the board, score quite high in terms of comfort and functionality, although they may not be the most durable or long-lasting tools around.
Most people would agree that Milwaukee tools are designed for lighter and occasional use, such as for some home repairs or DIY projects. However, most also agree that Milwaukee tools are more than sufficient for even heavier-duty professional work.
All in all, people do seem to love their cordless power tools and hand tools. Across the board, there really are not many complaints about Milwaukee, particularly considering that their tools are reasonably priced, much less expensive than some of the higher-end tool brands out there.
It is safe to assume that the low prices which this brand can sell their tools at are associated with overseas production since the majority of Milwaukee tools are being made in China.
That said, Milwaukee does also have a few production facilities in Europe, as well as four facilities in the USA – in Wisconsin and Mississippi to be exact. In fact, over the last few years, Milwaukee has been expanding its Mississippi facilities and has added hundreds of new jobs in these locations. It looks like Milwaukee might be shifting production back to the USA, albeit very slowly.
DeWalt’s Quality and Production Facilities
On the other hand, we have DeWalt, a highly trusted and regarded brand in the world of power tools, and the story here is similar to Milwaukee. DeWalt is known for producing high-quality tools with a lot of durability, longevity, and functionality.
Of course, DeWalt is marketed more towards tradesmen and professionals, as it is a part of Black & Decker’s professional and heavy-duty line of tools. It’s Black & Decker’s luxury brand, and yes, with luxury comes a high price. Some people are not big fans of Black & Decker tools due to their relatively high prices. However, most people agree that you get what you pay for, and with the high cost of DeWalt tools also comes a superior level of quality that most other brands just cannot offer.
In case you are wondering how DeWalt manages to produce such high-quality products, part of it can be attributed to its quality control across different regions. Now, DeWalt manufactures its tools in several countries worldwide, and these countries include Mexico, Brazil, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
Some of the tools made in the Global South, particularly in China, are not regarded too highly. However, the tools made in the other listed countries, particularly in the USA, are very highly regarded. In terms of USA production locations for DeWalt, these include Connecticut, Maryland, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Over 60 million DeWalt tools are produced in the USA annually. As far as the highly regarded USA made DeWalt tools go, people are especially pleased with their drills, impact drivers, reciprocating saws, and grinders, as well as their cordless tools in general.
So, the bottom line in terms of quality is that both DeWalt and Milwaukee produce tools that are ideal not only for light-duty use but also for professional daily use. While their quality is of a similar level, there are people expressing their preference for either of the brands and disregarding the other. The matter of fact is, though, that either of the brands is likely to get the job at hand done.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
The warranties which these brands offer appear to be quite similar.
Milwaukee tools come with a one-, two-, three-, or five-year limited warranty depending on the specific model. They also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. A small group of tools also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
With the large variety of tools Milwaukee makes, it is hard to generalize what warranty you will get.
The same exact thing can be said for DeWalt. This brand also makes a huge number of tools, and what kind of warranty you get depends on the exact tools in question. DeWalt offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on many of its tools. Its tools also come with a three- or seven- (and in rare instances lifetime) limited warranty.
As it appears, although the warranties which Milwaukee offers are not bad at all, DeWalt does offer slightly better protection with its tools.
Milwaukee vs. DeWalt: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Both of these brands have a very wide selection of tools, and yes, both brands focus mostly on various power tools. They both offer a fairly extensive selection of both cordless and corded drills, impact wrenches, various saws, sanders, grinders, and more.
Additionally, both Milwaukee and DeWalt also offer an extensive line of hand tools, as well as a variety of outdoor equipment as well.
Finally, they both also offer a variety of work gear, jobsite apparel, safety equipment, and other ancillary products.
To find out whether Milwaukee or DeWalt has a better selection of products, let’s take a look at a few major categories.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Impact Drivers and Wrenches?
Both brands have many impact drivers to choose from.
At this time Milwaukee has somewhere around 20 impact drivers, most of which are cordless. On the other hand, DeWalt has somewhere around two to three times the amount of impact drivers available for purchase.
In terms of impact wrenches, Milwaukee has around 50 possibilities to choose from, with DeWalt having about twice that amount.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills?
Both of these brands have countless drills on offer, too many to count. But that said, the difference in the selection here does seem to be similar as with the drivers and wrenches. Milwaukee has somewhere near 100 drills to choose from, with DeWalt having quite a few more.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Reciprocating Saws?
Milwaukee currently has somewhere just under 20 reciprocating saws available for purchase, with DeWalt featuring 24 possible options. DeWalt has just a few more products in this category, but not many more.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Chainsaws?
Although neither Milwaukee nor DeWalt excels in the area of chainsaws, both brands have a small selection to choose from. From what we can tell, Milwaukee has only 2 chainsaws to choose from that are listed on its site, as opposed to the 8 chainsaws which the DeWalt offers.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Miter Saws?
As you can probably tell by now, across the board, Milwaukee does have a more limited selection when compared to DeWalt. For instance, when it comes to miter saws, the Milwaukee website currently has 5 options available for sale, compared to the 24 miter saws which DeWalt has to offer its customers.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Table Saws?
From what we can tell based on our research of the Milwaukee website, it currently has a table saw model for sale, as opposed to the 8 models which the DeWalt website currently features.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Angle Grinders?
At this time, Milwaukee has somewhere over 20 different angle grinders available for purchase, whereas DeWalt has nearly 40 models to choose from on its site.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Leaf Blowers, Hedge Trimmers, and Other Outdoor Equipment?
The Milwaukee website currently has 3 different models of leaf blowers for sale, compared to the 10+ options which DeWalt offers.
In terms of hedge trimmers and string trimmers, the Milwaukee website currently has 3 available options, compared to the 30+ options which DeWalt offers.
hen it comes to outdoor equipment, just like with all of the other tools and products, DeWalt has many more products to select from.
Milwaukee vs. DeWalt: What Proprietary Technologies Do Their Tools Use?
From what we can tell, although Milwaukee is not a bad brand by any means, it does not use any special or proprietary technologies worth mentioning. The website does mention proprietary materials, but finding anything conclusive has not proven fruitful. That said, Milwaukee has made some big advancements in the field of carbide technology.
DeWalt does utilize some pretty neat proprietary technology in their products. One of the most recent developments is DeWalt’s line of FLEXVOLT battery-powered tools. This is a technology that allows a single battery to be used for 20 Volt Max, 60 Volt Max, and 120 Volt Max powers tools. DeWalt is also using new nanotechnology to offer lighter, more durable, and longer-lasting tools than before.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
There are several factors to consider here.
If quality and product selection are the main driving factors behind your purchase, then DeWalt is the better option to go with. However, if you need reasonably priced tools for either light-duty or some professional use, Milwaukee is probably your best bet.
The bottom line is that both of these brands make good tools, although DeWalt tools are generally a bit higher in quality, but of course, also more expensive. Which brand you choose comes down to what your needs are.