If you are planning to outfit yourself with an impressive array of tools, you obviously want the best products that your money can buy. One of the best ways to ensure that happens is to choose and stick with the right power tool brand.
Among the most popular are Ryobi and DeWalt – one Japanese and the other American brand. With the two sharing, at least on the surface, many similarities, it can be quite difficult to pick one, though.
Continue reading to learn more about these brands including their backgrounds and product portfolios to be better equipped to make the decision.
A Brief History of Ryobi and DeWalt
Ryobi is a fairly old company, one that was founded all the way back in 1943 by Yutaka Urakami. As you might be able to tell from the man’s name, the origins of this company are Japanese. In the beginning, Ryobi was not yet called this, and instead was founded as Ryobi Seisakusho Co., Ltd.
In the early stages, the company now known as Ryobi did not start by making power tools or hand tools. Instead, it started as a company making die-cast products, with printing presses being one of their main product lines. Ryobi made the first of those in 1961.
The company saw great sales throughout the years, and when it saw an opportunity to join the power tool market in 1968, it did just that. Ryobi Seisakusho Co., Ltd. changed its name to Ryobi in 1973, at which time it quickly became known as one of the world’s leading producers of power tools, particularly with Japanese origins.
Besides power tools, the company also produces automobile components, electronics, printing equipment, outdoor equipment, and builder’s hardware.
Ryobi splits its products into two main lines, Ryobi Power Tools and Ryobi Outdoor Equipment. Interestingly, neither of those is actually produced by Ryobi. Instead, the company licenses its brand to Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong-based company.
On the other hand, we have DeWalt, which was founded in 1923 by Raymond DeWalt, thus making it about 20 years older than Ryobi. Raymond DeWalt was the man who invented the world’s first radial arm saw, and this invention quickly became one of the flagship products in the brand’s line of tools. The company grew very quickly and by 1947, it was incorporated as DeWalt Inc.
It is important to note that DeWalt was sold to The American Machine & Foundry Co. in 1949, but this parent company did not own DeWalt for long. Stanley Black & Decker purchased the brand in 1960. To this day, Stanley Black & Decker owns DeWalt. Stanley Black & Decker took an interesting approach with DeWalt, as DeWalt became Stanley Black & Decker’s line of high-quality power tools, and to this day are seen as fairly high-quality products.
DeWalt is quite large and it makes power and cordless tools, mechanic’s tools, and outdoor lawn and garden equipment as well. This brand produces hundreds upon hundreds of products. DeWalt is a slightly larger company than Ryobi, as it has roughly 13,000 employees with estimated annual revenues of roughly 4 billion dollars.
Ryobi vs. DeWalt: Which Offers Better Quality?
As mentioned in the history section, both Ryobi power tools and outdoor equipment lines are owned by Techtronic Industries, a company based in Hong Kong. Now, Ryobi does have a single manufacturing facility located in the USA, in Indiana, however, this plant only makes small accessories and not the actual tools.
Ryobi and Techtronic Industries as a whole, do have 12 manufacturing plants located around the world, with many of the factories being located in China. With that, most Ryobi power tools and outdoor equipment is made in China.
Unlike the stereotype, though, Ryobi is seen as one of the few brands that actually produces decent tools, even if they are made in China. In fact, when it comes to Chinese made tools, Ryobi is one of the most highly regarded.
With that said, Ryobi is known for producing decent tools at decent prices. They aren’t super cheap or expensive, and they are neither low nor high in quality. They are average tools mostly meant for basic and occasional use, for lighter jobs, but not the best for professional use.
On the other hand, we have DeWalt. When it comes to DeWalt, this brand is known for producing some fairly high-quality tools. This brand manufactures its tools in various countries worldwide, and these countries include Mexico, Brazil, China, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
You may be pleased to hear the DeWalt does have several production facilities located in the USA. Locations in the USA include Connecticut, Maryland, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee, and they do produce a high volume of tools. For example, the American DeWalt factories produced over 62 million tools in 2014.
Some of the highest quality DeWalt tools do come from the USA, and these include things like drills, impact drivers, reciprocating saws, and grinders. For the most part, DeWalt tools are seen as being up there with the best of them in terms of quality. Of course, DeWalt tools are not cheap, but most agree that they are worth the investment as they are ideal for heavy-duty use.
Which Offers a Better Warranty?
Considering that Ryobi tools don’t cost very much, the brand does offer decent warranties. All Ryobi power tools are covered by either a three-year or a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. Most hand tools have limited lifetime warranties. Most Ryobi outdoor tools feature a five-year warranty.
DeWalt warranties are also quite good, but exactly what kind of warranty you get depends on the exact tools you purchase. DeWalt offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on top of a three- or seven-year limited warranty. Some products – like selected hand tools – come with lifetime warranties.
With that, it seems that DeWalt offers better warranties across the board compared to Ryobi.
Ryobi vs. DeWalt: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
One thing that can be said when comparing the product portfolios here is that DeWalt does produce a much larger range of products. Ryobi produces power tools, outdoor equipment, and some accessories.
DeWalt produces all of these things too but also produces things like hand tools, work gear and clothing, jobsite radios, worksite lighting, and other such things. So, in general, DeWalt has a much larger product portfolio than Ryobi.
The fact that Ryobi does not produce any hand tools is something that may send many builders right into the arms of DeWalt. Something else worth noting here is that Ryobi does have a few cordless platforms, or in other words, tools that use batteries, specifically three types, but once again DeWalt has more cordless battery platforms to choose from.
To get a better idea of the selection that both of these brands provides its consumers with, let’s take a look at some specific product categories to compare the numbers.
As you are about to find out, not only does DeWalt make a wider array of products, but within specific power tool product categories, such as drills, for instance, DeWalt also has better selections. The exception seems to be with outdoor equipment. Ryobi appears to produce a lot more outdoor equipment than DeWalt.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Drills?
When it comes to drills, including both tool-only options and combo kits, the Ryobi website currently has 18 options available to choose from. On the other hand, DeWalt has over three to four times as many options to choose from.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Impact Drivers?
In terms of both impact drivers and impact wrenches, the Ryobi website has 16 options to choose from. On the other hand, the DeWalt website currently has well over 60 options to choose from.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Table Saws?
In terms of table saws, as far as we can tell, the Ryobi website currently has 5 options that we have been able to locate. When it comes to the official DeWalt website, you will find 8 table saws available for purchase.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Miter Saws?
The official DeWalt website currently has a total of 24 miter saws to choose from. The Ryobi website at this time only has 5 miter saws for people to choose from.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Leaf Blowers and Other Outdoor Equipment?
Ryobi features a wide selection of both push and ride-on lawnmowers, as well as accessories, whereas DeWalt has only a couple of options to choose from. The same can be said for leaf blowers, of which DeWalt has 11, compared to the 14 from Ryobi. This trend is quite consistent throughout all outdoor equipment categories.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
If you are looking for very affordable tools for basic use around the house, Ryobi is the way to go.
That said, if you want high-quality tools and are willing to spend a bit extra, DeWalt is a better brand. While it varies from product to product, in general, that applies both in terms of warranty as well as the selection of power tools.
Ryobi does produce more outdoor equipment, though. So if you are into landscaping and yard work, then this might be the better brand for you.
Yes, both Ryobi and DeWalt make tools that people seem to really like.
The difference between the two is that Ryobi seems to be better suited for work around the house and light-duty jobs, as well as for outdoor equipment. On the other hand, although DeWalt is pricier, it does have a better selection of power tools, better warranties, and a higher level of quality too.