If you are on the hunt for the best possible tools that your money can buy, you are probably focusing on the most popular brands out there.
Two of the most popular ones include Ryobi and Milwaukee.
If you are trying to decide between the two – or whether either is ideal for you – continue reading.
A Brief History of Ryobi & Milwaukee
Ryobi was founded by Yutaka Urakami in 1943, and it was originally called Ryobi Seisakusho Co., Ltd. In the beginning, this company made die-cast products, with printing presses being produced in 1961. Also in 1961, the company was introduced to the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Ryobi began producing its own power tools in 1968, and in 1973 it changed its name to what we know it as today.
Keep in mind that Ryobi Limited produces automobile components, electronics, printing equipment, builder’s hardware, and power tools. However, both Ryobi Power Tools and Ryobi Outdoor Equipment lines, although licensed by Ryobi Limited, are licensed to and manufactured by Techtronic Industries.
What gets really interesting here is that Techtronic Industries is also the owner of Milwaukee. Ryobi is a fairly large company with somewhere around 10,000 employees and in excess of 2.25 billion dollars in yearly revenue.
Milwaukee, officially known as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, was started in 1924 by A.H Peterson and Albert Siebert, and it was originally called the A.H Peterson Tool Company. Later that same year, Siebert purchased the remaining shares and founded the Milwaukee brand.
This is an American company based in Brookfield, Wisconsin. This brand focuses specifically on the manufacturing of power tools. What is interesting to note is that Milwaukee introduced the first-ever lightweight and portable one-handed 1/4-inch capacity drill, known as the “hole-shooter,” back in its early days.
It is also the company that introduced the widely popular Sawzall to the market. Milwaukee is not a huge company, at least not as large as Ryobi. It currently has around 4,000 employees, with over 810 million dollars in annual revenue.
Ryobi vs Milwaukee: Which Offers Better Quality?
It is important to keep in mind that Ryobi Power Tools and Ryobi Outdoor Equipment lines are manufactured by Techtronic Industries Company Limited. This is a company based out of Hong Kong.
Ryobi does have 12 manufacturing locations spread out over 6 countries, but with that said, the vast majority of products are manufactured and assembled in China, particularly its power tools and outdoor equipment. The company does have 1 manufacturing location in the USA, in Indiana to be specific, although this location makes mostly accessories.
That said, although most products from this brand are made in China, they are regarded as some of the best tools to come out of Chinese factories. In terms of price and quality, both are mid-range, with tools being neither cheap nor expensive, and neither high nor low quality. They are decent tools for average use.
Just like Ryobi, seeing as Milwaukee is owned by the Chinese company, TTI, it is safe to assume that most of their products are also made in China. Yes, for the most part, most of their power tools, specifically things like circular saws, power drills, and other such power tools are made in China. However, there are some manufacturing locations in Europe, as well as the USA.
What is interesting to note is that since 2017, Milwaukee has been expanding its manufacturing footprint in the USA, with over 600 new manufacturing jobs being created in Mississippi, across their three factories in this state.
What can be said about Milwaukee tools is that they are generally regarded as being mid- to high-end tools, more towards the higher-end side of things. Although many of the products are made overseas, they are seen as some of the best products available on the market today.
This is particularly true of cordless products such as cordless drills, which are seen as having very long runtimes, high levels of durability, and plenty of features. No, Milwaukee tools are not cheap – they are definitely more expensive than Ryobi tools – but most people agree that you get what you pay for. And, with Milwaukee, you definitely do get quality products. Milwaukee is seen as being a brand suitable for professionals and tradesmen alike.
Which Offers the Better Warranty?
Ryobi products do come with some pretty good warranties, especially considering that the tools don’t cost all that much. All Ryobi power tools are covered by either a two- or three-year limited warranty. Most hand tools are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. Most Ryobi outdoor tools come with a five-year limited warranty.
When it comes to Milwaukee, this brand offers limited one-, two-, three-, and five-year warranties depending on the product. Some tools also come with a 30-day moneyback guarantee, as well as limited lifetime warranties. What kind of warranty you get depends on the exact product you purchase.
Ryobi vs Milwaukee: Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
When it comes down to it, what needs to be said is that Ryobi is more diverse in terms of the types of products it makes. Ryobi makes power tools, outdoor equipment, home products such as vacuums, and other related products too.
However, if we compare just power tools, Milwaukee does appear to have a slightly larger selection, which is also true for some specific outdoor tool categories. For instance, when it comes to combo kits, the Ryobi website currently has around 40 for sale, with Milwaukee having over 50. Milwaukee also has many more circular saws for sale than Ryobi.
It is important to note that both brands excel in specific categories, with neither being 100% better than the other. Which brand has more products is going to depend on what you are looking for.
Which Brand Offers a Better Selection of Cordless Drills and Impact Drivers?
In terms of product selection, when comparing these two brands, what can definitely be said is that Milwaukee has way more drills and drivers for sale than Ryobi. Milwaukee has over 75 drills and drivers (44 corded and 31 cordless) for sale, and although Ryobi has quite a large selection as well, it’s not quite as large as that of Milwaukee.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
Which of these two brands you should choose is going to depend on a number of factors.
If you are somebody who needs power and hand tools for home use and for DIY jobs, and you don’t want to spend a ton of money, then it is Ryobi that would probably make the better choice for you. However, if you are a professional who needs very reliable and high-quality tools for heavy-duty and daily use, and you don’t mind spending a bit of extra money, then it is Milwaukee that makes for the better choice.
If you are looking for a very diverse range of products, Ryobi is probably the better bet, but if you are looking specifically for power tools, Milwaukee is the better option.
At the end of the day, although Ryobi may not be quite as expensive or high in quality as Milwaukee, it still makes for a great brand to choose if you need decent tools at an affordable price.
However, as a tradesman, you might want to stick with the high level of quality that Milwaukee has to offer.