Cordless drills are essential tools that everyone must-have. They can be used in a wide range of situations, and their portability due to the lack of a cord makes them perfect for large projects that require a fair amount of moving around. Three major brands that offer excellent cordless drills are Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt.
Both professionals and hobbyists have strong opinions on which brand is better, but if you look at the facts there is a clear hierarchy that can be established. Each brand offers something that its competitors do not, yet it can often be confusing for the uneducated buyer to ascertain which brand would work best for them. We will be comparing all three to help new buyers make the right decision.
Makita has always been a good representation of Japanese prowess in the field of tool making. After starting out with light tool manufacturing, founder Mosabura Makita decided that Japan needed a heavy-duty tool manufacturer in the 60s when the world was seeing a boom in the creation of such tools. A big part of Makita’s modus operandi is its focus on innovation, with a great example of this being their development of a rechargeable battery made out of nickel and cadmium in the late 70s.
Their entire lineup of tools has developed a reputation for durability. It’s a well-known fact that you only ever need to buy a Makita cordless drill once since there is a decent chance that it will last a lifetime. Part of this comes from Makita’s dedication to the use of high-quality raw materials, as well as a very thorough and optimized manufacturing process.
While Makita’s cordless drills are generally marketed towards professionals, their tools still offer ease of use that makes them perfect for beginners as well. The resistance to heat and friction also means that newbies can make mistakes without having to worry about the damage this would do to their tool.
A unique product that Makita offers is its LXT cordless drill line. They come with extremely long-lasting batteries that are perfect for long-term projects. A major problem that some users have with cordless tools is that they frequently need to be recharged. This is not a problem that one would face with a Makita drill.
Makita doesn’t look to rest on its laurels either. Despite the heavy durability, the brand offers some of the best warranties out there, and is known for its top notch customer service in situations where a customer might want to get the warranty fulfilled.
All of these advantages come at a price, though. The high quality materials, innovative manufacturing process and immense durability come together to make Makita one of the most expensive brands on the market. Professionals will know that their tools are worth the price, but newbies might not be willing to spend this much on a tool they would probably only use occasionally.
Named after the city it was founded in in the year 1924, Milwaukee is one of the older brands that are out there and this allows it to command a fair amount of respect in the market. The Hong Kong-based conglomerate Techtronic Industries acquired the company back in 2005 which only served to increase its value and make it a globally recognized brand that is on par with some of the most popular cordless tool brands out there.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to Milwaukee tools since the brand offers over 200 different products with many of its most popular items being cordless drills. The true game-changer for the brand came in 2008 when it started offering lithium-ion batteries. This helped the brand explode to the very top of cordless tool brands, edging out some of its better-established competitors.
Pricewise it is most definitely one the more expensive side, but this is justified by the high quality of its tools. The durability matches Makita, but Milwaukee drills provide a lot more power although the drills do slow down when put under immense pressure. Another thing that gives Milwaukee the edge over Makita is the average weight of its drills, with Milwaukee managing to provide comparable durability at a lighter overall weight.
An argument can be made that Milwaukee products are geared more towards heavy duty industrial usage rather than DIY applications at home. The high price point of Milwaukee products can make them a bit impractical for regular users to buy, although hardcore hobbyists would suggest that the price is definitely worth it.
Others would disagree, however, saying that Makita products are more affordable and they are practically just as effective. It all comes down to personal preference here. Both brands offer top-notch products, but if you think that paying the higher price is justified then you are most welcome to opt for Milwaukee. Unless you are planning to do industrial-grade work, though, chances are low that you would fully utilize Milwaukee cordless drills to their full potential.
If you want an example of American prowess in tool manufacturing, you need to look no further than DeWalt. Unlike Milwaukee which was purchased by the Hong Kong-based firm Techtronics, DeWalt managed to stay truly American even after its acquisition. It was acquired by Black & Decker at the start of the 60s, and it now represents some of the highest quality products that come under the Black & Decker umbrella.
The true game-changer occurred in 2004 when DeWalt’s parent company also acquired Porter-Cable. It was through the merging of these two brands that the highest quality cordless drills on the market started being made. This merger allowed DeWalt to start creating tools that could be used by hand which was a far cry from the industrial machinery that the brand had previously been responsible for.
The combination of industrial prowess and consumer-facing optimization enabled DeWalt to truly turn the cordless drill world on its head. Despite the high quality of its tools, DeWalt was still able to outplay Milwaukee in terms of pricing, although Makita gives it a run for its money due to the astounding value of its tools. Milwaukee does get an edge in terms of warranty since the brand offers a five-year warranty which is a lot better than DeWalt’s three year guarantee. Many buyers prefer the promise of a long warranty over minor savings during the buying process, but DeWalt’s high durability and power allows it to maintain a healthy section of the market as its own.
Makita and Milwaukee remain very competitive though, going so far as to topple DeWalt’s place at the pinnacle of cordless tool manufacturing. Buyers can see the benefits in terms of price and warranty, and since the quality tends to be high regardless of which of these three brands you choose a case can be made that Makita and Milwaukee might be better options.
Still, DeWalt has a very solid lineup of tools and many would prefer sticking with their trusted American made products for one reason or another.
If you want a deeper comparison between DeWalt and Milwaukee check out our article, DeWalt Vs Milwaukee Cordless Drill: Which one’s better?