If you are looking to upgrade your selection of tools at home or for the workplace, you obviously want the best products that your money can buy. Of course, there are many tool brands out there, and no, they aren’t all equal.
For this reason, we are here today to compare two of the very popular ones, Milwaukee and Porter-Cable. So, between them, which one should you choose?
A Brief History of Milwaukee and Porter-Cable
Milwaukee is officially known as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. This is an American company that is currently based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin, USA. What is important to note is that Milwaukee is owned by the same parent company that owns other brands such as AEG, Ryobi, Hoover, Dirt Devil, and more, a Hong Kong-based company known as Techtronic Industries.
A.H. Peterson and Albert Siebert were the original founders of the Milwaukee brand. They founded the company in 1923, making the brand quite old. At some point, Peterson left the company (after a bad fire destroyed the main production facility), and Siebert scooped up ownership. It was at that time that he changed the name to the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.
Although the company produces quite a few different types of products, it does focus very heavily on power tools. What is interesting to note is that all Milwaukee tools were designed and manufactured to meet the needs and standards of the US Navy, and to this day, many still are.
At this time, Milwaukee has an estimated 4,000 employees, and generated nearly 4 billion dollars in revenue in the last year, making it quite a large and profitable company.
On the other hand, we have Porter-Cable, which is also an American company, one that was founded by R.E. Porter, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable (hence the name of the brand), in Syracuse, New York, USA. It was founded in 1906, thus it is a few years older than Milwaukee. At this time, the Porter-Cable brand is based out of Jackson, Tennessee, USA.
Porter-Cable is a comparatively small company, with roughly 3,000 employees, and estimated annual revenues of 100 million dollars.
Although the company is not massive, it does have a noteworthy history. It is the company that invented and introduced various products to the market including the first portable belt sander, the first portable band saw, and the first helical drive circular saw.
Porter-Cable, up until 2004, was owned by the Pentair Tool Group. However, in 2004, the massive Stanley Black & Decker purchased it, and to this day, still remains the owner.
Milwaukee vs. Porter-Cable: Which Offers Better Quality?
In terms of overall tool quality, Milwaukee is known for producing fairly high-quality tools, better than most other brands, yet maybe not the very best in the world. Although Milwaukee tools may not score the best out of all brands in terms of durability or longevity, they are regarded as being functional, fairly lightweight, comfortable, and still quite tough nonetheless.
For the most part, Milwaukee tools are seen as being ideal for basic use. They are fine for DIY use, for home repairs, and for lightweight jobs. Some people may disagree, as there are some professionals who may use Milwaukee tools on a regular basis. But for the most part, people would agree that it is not the best brand to go with for professional, daily, and heavy-duty use.
However, there do not seem to be many complaints about this brand, and most people really like their cordless tools, and people also like how the fairly high-quality products come in at very decent prices.
Now, the majority of Milwaukee tools are made in China, but there are also a few production facilities located in Europe, as well as the USA, in Mississippi and Wisconsin to be precise. Even better is that over the past few years, and for the foreseeable future, Milwaukee does seem to be planning to expand its US facilities.
On the other hand, we have Porter-Cable. This is a brand known for producing average or slightly above average tools, things like power tools, some mechanic’s tools, and accessories too. In terms of quality, the story is much the same as with Milwaukee, except Milwaukee probably offers slightly higher quality products.
Just like Milwaukee, most people would agree that Porter-Cable tools are fine for DIY use, for hobbyists, and for basic lightweight use, such as repairs around the home, but they are also not seen as being ideal for heavy-duty, daily, or professional use.
Simply put, you are more likely to find Milwaukee tools on a professional jobsite than Porter-Cable tools. In case you were wondering, Porter-Cable tools are made in China.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
Milwaukee does actually offer some outstanding warranties on their products.
Milwaukee offers a limited one-, two- three-, or five-year limited warranty depending on the exact model. On some products, it even offers a limited lifetime warranty. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
On the other hand, Porter-Cable offers either a one- or three-year limited warranty on its products.
As you can see, Milwaukee clearly wins in this regard.
Milwaukee vs. Porter-Cable: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Porter-Cable does have a decent selection of power tools and power tool accessories. The selection is decent, but not huge.
On the other hand, Milwaukee does have a much larger selection of products, and this is true both within categories and across them. Milwaukee makes plenty of power tools, power tool accessories, hand tools, outdoor power equipment, jobsite lighting, jobsite apparel, safety solutions, and more.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Cordless Tools?
There is no denying the fact that while Porter-Cable does have some good cordless tools, the selection doesn’t compare to the massive portfolio that Milwaukee has.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills and Impact Drivers?
The story is the same for drills and impact drivers. Porter-Cable currently has six drills and four impact drivers available for sale, whereas the Milwaukee site, between both categories, has around 100 (and then some) products to choose from.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Wood Routers?
What is interesting to note is that Porter-Cable actually has a few more routers for sale on the website than Milwaukee does.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
Alright, so if good tool quality, a huge selection, and good warranties are what you are looking for, Milwaukee is the better brand.
However, if you just want basic tools for basic use, ones that come in at great prices, Porter-Cable might be the better choice for you.
As you can see, both of these brands have their strengths and weaknesses.
Which one you choose really comes down to what your needs are.