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What is the best power tool brand for woodworking?
I get these kind of questions all the time. It has also been asked severally on forums and groups.
In a bid to answer this question, Lifestory Research surveyed the most trusted power tool brands in America.
I understand the curiosity. As woodworkers, it’s no longer news that power tools are a must-have in our workshops. The problem is, there are so many brands to choose from that it can be challenging to make the right decision.
Therefore, based on my research, brands I have used, and user ratings, I have narrowed down your options to 10-brands. These are the 10-brands I consider to be the best in general.
Also, behind the scenes, I looked at brands that have built a strong reputation over the years, because happy customers are a major indicator of quality of service.
After reading this article, I believe you should be able to make a good buying decision as to which brand is suitable for you based on your interest and the kind of projects you build regularly.
I have drawn up a table and categorized these 10 brands under the following criteria; durability, performance, affordability, innovation, cordless, corded and finally, a link to check out their prices.
You can take a glance and find out which brand is right for you without reading the whole article.
|Black & Decker||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Check Price|
Things To Keep in Mind
I did not list the brands in a particular order because no one size that fits all. They all have strong points and also weaknesses. What you find impressive in one, your next-door woodworker may find in another.
I may go into some specific details and background to give you a solid understanding of each brand and how they relate to your woodworking needs.
As this is going to be a long article, here is the navigation you can use to quickly jump over to different sections.
Milwaukee has made some amazing progress since the organization was set up in Wisconsin in 1924. They have experienced numerous proprietorship changes, yet their quality has remained steady. In 2005, they were acquired by Techtonic, who additionally claims Ryobi and Hoover.
Their recognition grew when they released their famous lightweight, one-handed drill, called the Hole Shooter. Today, the company now offers dozens of different construction and outdoor power equipment. They have also amassed a huge line of cordless power tools, leading the way to a cordless revolution.
They also developed a one-key solution that enables companies to maintain and manage all of their battery-powered tools efficiently.
Apart from woodworking, Milwaukee power tools have also proven useful to professional contractors.
DeWalt is a multinational company that was born out of the invention of the radial arm saw by Raymond E. DeWalt in 1923. This made many tag them as the original power tool manufacturers.
In 1960, they were acquired by Black & Decker. This takeover was marked with a significant decline for a few decades because many people considered Black & Decker as a novice in the power tool industry. A successful rebranding in the early 1990s changed that, making DeWalt the go-to brand among DIYers and professional contractors.
Dewalt’s has an array of different power tools; corded, cordless and of different models. The most innovative of their products is their FLEXVOLT Battery which automatically switches between 20V and 60V depending on the power tool it is attached to, meaning it can power almost any tool.
Established by Robert Bosch in 1886 in Stuttgart, this German organization has become familiar in many home and work environments.
Related Article: 6 German Power Tool Brands | Which is The Best For You?
What makes Bosch unique is the fact that they are 90% owned by a charitable organization, Robert Bosch Stiftung. This is ironic because you would expect a tool company to stand out based on the quality of their tools. Nevertheless, Bosch still makes quality, reliable, flexible and high-performing tools.
Just like DeWalt, they are innovators in the battery technology as they have a large portfolio of cordless tools.
As a woodworker, it is worth noting that Bosch tools are generally more expensive than their counterparts. But this is understandable as you will be paying for the extra quality.
Ridgid was established in 1923. They mainly manufacture equipment for the plumbing and HVAC industries. The most famous tools in its portfolio are its red pipe wrenches. As for power tools, they produce drills, saws and impact drivers.
Despite not being a major dealer, Ridgid power tools are still widely used among construction and woodworkers.
They do not have a sophisticated battery technology like the other brands, but by providing one of the best guarantees in the market they can compensate for that.
Ryobi, a Japanese brand, is owned by the Techtronic Industries (the same company that owns Milwaukee). These two power tool brands can be seen as two arms of the same company. While Milwaukee caters far the contractors and professionals, Ryobi is more suited for DIYers and homeowners.
Ryobi power tools may not be as robust as Milwaukee’s, but they are affordable. Maybe that’s why they are favoured by a lot of hobbyists.
It is important to note that, their tools are not designed for heavy usage ( 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). You should consider the other brands on this list if your projects involve heavy usage of power tools.
Although established in 1915, it wasn’t until 1958 before Makita started to make headway. First, it was their planer, then drills followed. Today, Makita is one of the well-known power tool brands out there.
Makita’s portfolio includes all the power tools you will ever need to set up your woodworking shop, ranging from sanders, routers, circular saws, angle grinders, hammers and impact drivers.
Makita is also known for being innovative while keeping things simple. They streamlined their cordless platform, featuring a single voltage of 18V across their tools.
Hitachi when they initially started could be considered Jack of all trades when it comes to power tools. They manufactured way more power tools than you can imagine. From batteries and screens, all the way to construction machinery and aircrafts equipment.
Ever since then, they have undergone some kind of rebranding which saw their name changed from Hitachi to Metabo HPT. Today, they are notable for producing cut-off saws, angle grinders and other heavy-duty cutting equipment.
Metabo power tools tend to be more expensive when compared to other brands, but this shouldn’t stop you from trying them out, especially if the main tool you happen to need for a particular project happens to be made by them.
Craftsman first started in 1927 by the retailer Sears. Later they were acquired by Black & Decker which they helped dominate the power tool market in the US.
Craftsman manufactures a good range of power tools, including Weedwhacker brand which everyone knows and uses. They produce both corded and battery-powered tools.
Their innovation can be seen in their Versa System, a unique system for organizing equipment, tools and accessories within a workshop. With this system, they firmly marketed themselves towards woodworkers.
I am sure you must have heard of Black & Decker. I mean who hasn’t. Even non-professional contractors know them. Founded in 1910, in 1917 their reputation grew when they invented the portable drill. Since then, they have kept on expanding.
Although DeWalt, one of its companies took the professional route, they decided to feed the DIY market. Today, Back & Decker manufactures power tools commonly used by hobbyists such as; screwdrivers, drills, sanders, routers etc.
Venturing out of only power tools, you can find cleaning equipment and home appliances in their portfolio.
Last but not least, we have Skil.
Skil was founded in 1926 in New Orleans and is now based in Stuttgart after being acquired in 1996 by the German company Bosch. Recently, they were acquired by Chevron, a Chinese power tool company. They are arguably the best American tool brand.
If you have heard of Skilsaw, that was their debut tool. The Skillsaw Model 77 was invented in 1937 and today we have a power tool company.
Skil has a portfolio of high-quality power tools with their focus being on saws.
If you need a durable high-performing saw for your next project, check out Skil.
What is The Overall Best Power Tool Brand For Woodworking?
Overall I will say, Bosch. This is the brand I have been using for 5 years. My jigsaw, router, orbital sander and table-saw are all Bosch’s.
Yes, their tools are on the high side, but their quality is unmatchable and I have found them to perfectly suit the projects I build.
Is It Mandatory To Stick To One Brand?
The best table drills are likely to be made by a different brand than the best table saws. A particular brand may make efficient cordless power tools while another brand may be better at the corded ones. The possibilities are endless.
So, it is not uncommon for a woodworker to have several power tools that are of different brands in his/her workshop.
But for cordless tools, you will save yourself the headache of having to worry about different batteries and chargers if you stick to one brand.
I will like to hear from you. Is my list fair? Which brand(s) do you use? and which brand do you think I should have included? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below.