Cordless Tools: Who Makes Them?

Cordless tools have been quite a game-changer in the world of DIY construction. Never before have DIY jobs been this easy to complete, with cordless functionality enabling easy movement as you work on your projects. There are dozens of brands that offer cordless tools, with many of these brands being owned by larger companies that have their own well-known brands. It can be a bit difficult to wrap your head around the sheer number of cordless tool brands that are out there, so we are going to try and demystify things for you by talking about some of the most prominent cordless tool brands.

Tools brands

1. Bauer

Bauer is a brand owned by Harbor Freight that is meant to provide options for budget-conscious shoppers. Their cordless tools are pretty effective, and the reasonable price points make them worth a shot. They also have an extensive repair network that can help you get your tools repaired without having to go too far. This is certainly important since Bauer tools can often break down if you use them in projects that are too heavy-duty.

2. Black+Decker

This is a brand that most people are familiar with, and there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the Black and Decker brand is over a hundred years old, making portable drills since 1917. Secondly, the company has made many smart acquisitions of other brands including quite a few competitors, most of which are discussed below, thereby allowing the brand to put out countless new cordless tools every year.

Black and Decker specialize in cordless tools for amateurs and hobbyists. Their tools emphasize ease of use, with other Black and Decker subsidiaries making heavier duty machines for experts and professionals. This brand offers all the basics, including drills and screwdrivers, with some specialized tools such as sanders being thrown into the mix as well. The longevity of this brand is a sure sign that it will see a strong future in cordless tools.

3. Bosch

Starting out in the late 19th century in Stuttgart, Germany by offering ignition devices for the new automobiles that were changing transportation, Bosch eventually went on to become a huge name in cordless tools. The German company’s emphasis on high-quality products has allowed it to set the benchmark that other brands try to adhere to. One surprising fact that many people don’t know about Bosch is that it’s mostly owned by a charitable institute by the name of Robert Bosch Stiftung.

One thing that sets Bosch products apart from most of its competitors is their durability. You would have to engage in some truly heavy duty work in order to do any damage to Bosch products. Some complain that their products are a bit too expensive, but others would argue that their durability makes them more than worth it. Bosch certainly makes a case for the superiority of German cordless tools.

4. Bostitch

Bostitch is quite different from the previous brands that we have discussed in that the cordless tools it makes serve a different purpose. This brand specializes in cordless fastening tools, including cordless staple guns, riveters and glue guns. Established just before the turn of the 20th century in 1896, this Arlington, Massachusetts based brand was instrumental in the creation of the stapler as we know it today, and it also produces a wide range of office supplies to supplement its cordless tools as well.

The company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker, the company that owns the Black+Decker brand. Despite being a subsidiary, the Bostitch brand continues to have its own identity, with its parent company using it to provide cordless fastening solutions as well as products that are useful in an office setting.

5. Craftsman

The rise of department stores in early 20th Century America meant that people were starting to get used to the idea of just walking into a store and finding everything they need under one roof. As an early trendsetter in the world of department stores, Sears started creating its own line of tools under the Craftsman brand, with the tools being made by independent contractors and then sold at Sears department stores across the country.

After nearly 90 years under the Sears umbrella, Craftsman was acquired by Stanley Black and Decker. This brought a selection of cordless tools that can be used in the gardening process to Stanley Black and Decker, further diversifying the company’s offerings. Craftsman’s success at Sears meant that despite the declining profitability of the department store chain, the brand was still able to find a home for itself thanks to its popularity.

6. DeWalt

This brand is named after its founder Raymond DeWalt who established it back in 1927 after inventing the radial arm saw. It quickly established a reputation for making very high-quality power tools, and the shift to cordless power tools saw immediate success as well. An interesting period in the brand’s history was in the 1960s when both DeWalt, as well as then competitor Black and Decker, were facing difficulties in the market.

Black and Decker had developed a reputation for making tools that were not suitable for professionals, and DeWalt was being criticized during this period for the seemingly decreasing quality of its tools. Black and Decker acquired DeWalt in the 60s, and while it took a few decades to make the acquisition work out, by the 90s DeWalt had seen a resurgence in its popularity. The brand is now widely known for providing professional quality tools, bolstering Black and Decker’s own line which is more popular with amateur cordless tool users.

7. Festool

Festool is another brand that was established back in the 1920s. The company’s nearly century-long history has resulted in it becoming quite competitive in the market, further suggesting that German power tools are the best of the best. Another aspect of this brand that is quite interesting is that it has not been acquired by a bigger company. Such acquisitions are more common among American companies and brands, whereas in Germany brands tend to maintain their own identity without being absorbed into larger enterprises.

This brand makes quite a few unique cordless tools, with their impact drivers and oscillators particularly standing out. Festool also makes dust extraction tools which can be remarkably effective at making DIY jobs easier since dust can often get in the way and impair visibility which can greatly increase the chances of dangerous mistakes occurring that could compromise the integrity of your project.

8. Hart Tools

While most of the brands on this list have been established for several decades if not over a century, Hart Tools is a bit of a newcomer to the cordless tool scene. Created by retail juggernaut Walmart, Hart Tools falls under the product umbrella of Techtonic which is its direct parent company. Techtonic has a reputation for making great products that are quite affordable as well.

There are several benefits that can be derived from using Hart Tools. The fact that their tools are available at Walmart means that it can be very easy to find replacement parts and get repairs done. The fact that Hart Tools offers some pretty solid products that can be purchased on a tight budget is another thing that has allowed this brand to penetrate into an otherwise impossibly saturated market.

9. Hercules

A lot of popular cordless tool brands get launched by retail companies that are looking to expand their product lines. Hercules is no exception to this, with the brand being established by Harbor Freight to offer their customers a range of cordless tools that are meant to be affordable above all else. This brand is also pretty new, but the low prices have allowed it to make somewhat of a name for itself. It’s meant to help expand Harbor Freight’s offerings beyond just Bauer, and give the chain’s customers several options when they are looking for cordless tools.

The quality of their products are often called into question, but hobbyists and amateur power tool users might not really care about such things. The low price is what is truly meant to draw in customers, but at some point Hercules, and by extension Harbor Freight, will definitely have to up their game in the quality department. There is only so much benefit that customers can derive from low prices before subpar quality starts to make the whole deal a lot less worth it.

10. Hilti

You might assume that quality power tools are only made in Germany, the US and Japan, but there is another country that has a surprisingly strong influence in the cordless tool game. This country is Liechtenstein, as the tiny country whose main claim to fame is its favorable finance laws which have turned it into a tax haven has managed to create one of the most prominent and respected power tool brands in the world.

Hilti’s products are known for being very high in quality, and their cordless drills are the go-to options for professionals around the world. Liechtenstein’s strong manufacturing sector means that their cordless tools are incredibly durable as well, something that would make their high price points more of an investment rather than an expense. It definitely holds its own when professionals debate about which brands are the best, as several professionals find Hilti to be superior to its better-known competitors.

11. Ingersoll Rand

Most of the brands in this list are quite old, but few can compare to Ingersoll rand. This brand was established way back in 1859, a date that is so far into the past that you would be shocked at how different the world was back then. Ingersoll Rand makes admirably high quality cordless tools, and the asking price isn’t too high either. This makes this brand one of the few examples of how you can make top notch power tools that won’t force customers to empty out their bank accounts if they want to buy them!

One rather surprising thing about this company is that it has resisted getting acquired for the now over 160 years that it has been active. Instead, the company has managed to expand its horizons on its own which his impressive when you see how other smaller companies got gobbled up by the competition.

12. Kobalt Tools

With Sears offering power tools under the Craftsman brand and Home Depot creating the Husky brand for its own cordless tools, Lowes needed its own brand that would help keep it competitive in the market. This brand is Kobalt, and while it is also a relative newcomer it has not been acquired by a bigger company, unlike Craftsman which is no longer owned by Sears.

This means that Kobalt has managed to provide a lot more success to Lowes than its competitors have been able to offer.  Lowes offers other power tool brands as well, but they are budget options that are not as high in quality as Kobalt. Kobalt’s establishment in 1998 created an exciting new contender in the world of power tools, and its new cordless tool line has seen a significant amount of success as well in recent years.

13. Makita

When you are looking for an excellent cordless tool brand, you would be remiss to not check out Japanese companies. Makita is the cream of the cream as far as Japanese brands are concerned. Founded by Mosaburo Makita in 1915, the company initially specialized in lights and electric motors. In 1969, Makita pretty much changed the world by launching the first power tool that could run on a battery.

A company that launches a product that becomes commonplace all around the world will certainly be a worthy contender for your power tool purchasing needs. After all, the people that did it first would probably do it best, and if you ask any professional whether Makita is a good company chances are that they would give you a strong recommendation. Makita’s tools are simply excellent, with easy usage features and a solid design that maintains structural integrity in even the most heavy duty of projects.

14. Metabo

This European company has been very active in trying to encourage completely cordless work sites, and it has been creating cordless power tools to meet this end. While the company is not as well known as other brands, it still makes excellent tools that have cordless functionality to them. Their cordless tools are very wide-ranging as well, with metalworking and fabrication tools also being offered with cordless functionality.

One thing that has prevented this company from truly making it big is their 18V standard batteries. These batteries are more commonly used in Europe, but a recent launch in the US has allowed Metabo to start creating more universal products as well. While the brand certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it, it would be unfair to not count it in this list of top cordless tool brands. It is an important player in this industry, one that is striving to make changes that will improve the way we work with power tools.

15. Metabo HPT

You might recognize the name of this brand, but rest assured that it has nothing to do with the Metabo that operates in Europe. Rather, this is the new brand name for Hitachi, a company that has a long history in this industry. Hitachi creates a lot of different products, and the company rebranded its power tool line in the US as Metabo HPT to create a new brand identity that could draw in more customers.

While the similarity of its name with the European Metabo might seem like it would be a cause for concern, both brands don’t seem to be thinking too much about it. According to them, they both operate in different markets so it’s not that much of an issue right now. Besides, Metabo HPT provides some unique cordless tools that even the original Metabo can’t compete with!

16. Milwaukee

Milwaukee is another brand that was acquired by Techtronic Industries, but its history extends far beyond that. Established in 1925, the brand quickly became a pioneer by offering innovative new cordless tool solutions for various kinds of customers. One area where it innovated the most was in portability. Milwaukee created the first truly lightweight drill, and if you’ve ever taken part in an extended project you would know that getting something lightweight is very important since it can reduce some of the strain that can come with such projects.

This brand is traditionally associated with cabled tools, but they have been branching out into cordless tools as well. It’s important to innovate in order to stay relevant in the industry, so it’s good that Milwaukee has strived to stay on top of their game rather than to rest on their laurels.

17. Porter Cable

Here we have another old school brand. Porter-Cable was established in 1906, making it one of the oldest brands on this list. It was acquired by Rockwell International in 1960, as the company was trying to compete with Black and Decker. Rockwell was then sold to Pentair Inc in 1981, which was in turn purchased by Stanley Black and Decker in 2004. Ironically, the brand that Rockwell bought to try and compete with Black and Decker ended up being purchased by that very same competitor!

Stanley Black and Decker now offer Porter Cable products as their more budget-friendly options to balance out DeWalt’s high-end offerings. It’s great for experienced professionals who might want something a little cheap which can still hold up in professional settings. The great thing about Porter Cable cordless tools is that they are very powerful despite their low price point, a combination that is rather hard to find in the industry.

18. Ridgid

After being established in Ohio in 1923, Ridgid started to offer plumbing products before branching out into power tools as well. Techtronic acquired the brand to accompany its other offerings such as Milwaukee, and its limited but unique selection of cordless tools is definitely a contender for people looking for products that are a little bit different.

This is perhaps the best brand for beginners since their tools are made to be extremely affordable and they don’t require much of a learning curve either. One problem is that replacement parts can often be hard to find for Ridgid products, but the low price point does make up for this to an extent.

19. Ryobi

Ryobi is the brand of choice for people who need powerful and durable tools but might not have enough money to spring for a DeWalt. Ryobi is the parent company of Techtronic’s most well-known and popular brand, and many professionals swear by them claiming that these products are incredible despite how affordable they are.

This brand is also often considered to be the pinnacle of Japanese power tools. The company initially didn’t offer many power tools, but a shifting market landscape meant that Techtronic quickly started to use the brand’s popularity to start launching a new line of cordless tools that have become widely respected and are often thought to be on par with far more expensive offerings from other brands.

20. SKIL

SKIL is a rare example of a company that started out in America but eventually moved to Germany to take advantage of the massive industry that existed there. The shift to Germany also had a lot to do with the brand being acquired by Bosch, although it is now owned by Chinese company Chevron.

Despite its current Chinese ownership, SKIL still has its headquarters in Stuttgart and is a unique cordless tool brand in that it is one of the only offerings coming from China that experienced power tool users would be willing to use. This brand is China’s attempt to move into the world of high-end cordless tools.

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