Makita vs Milwaukee vs DeWalt: Which is Best?

Makita vs Milwaukee vs DeWalt Which is Best

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Can’t decide between Makita, Milwaukee, or DeWalt? Our in-depth comparison helps you choose the top power tool brand.

You’re ready to buy some new power tools but can’t decide between the big three brands: Makita, Milwaukee, or DeWalt. You know they all make quality tools that professionals rely on, but you want to pick the brand that’s the best fit for your needs and budget.

Before you spend your hard-earned money, read our in-depth comparison to see how Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt stack up across key factors like performance, features, price, reliability, and warranty. We’ve done the research and testing so you can feel confident you’re choosing the best brand for your home improvement and DIY projects. Keep reading to find out which brand comes out on top.

Brand Overview: Getting to Know Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt

Brand Overview Getting to Know Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt
FeatureMakitaMilwaukeeDeWalt
OriginJapan (Founded 1915)USA (Founded 1924)USA (Founded 1924)
Brand FocusWide range of quality tools for pros and DIYersHeavy-duty performance, trade-focused innovationProfessional-grade tools, known for durability
Color SchemeTeal/BlueRedYellow/Black
ReputationInnovation, reliability, slightly higher price pointPowerful tools, cutting-edge technologiesWorkhorse tools, excellent value
Popular Product LinesXGT & LXT Cordless, Corded ToolsM12 & M18 FUEL Cordless, MX FUELFLEXVOLT & 20V MAX Cordless, ATOMIC

Makita

Makita
Credit: Amazon.com

Makita is known for its extensive range of power tools, especially cordless tools powered by lithium-ion batteries. Their 18v LXT battery platform powers over 200 tools for both professionals and DIYers. Makita is a leader in brushless motor technology which provides more power, longer run time, and longer tool life. They are also at the forefront of innovation with tools like their 18v drywall cut-out tool.

DeWalt

DeWalt
Credit: Amazon.com

DeWalt builds some of the most compact and lightweight power tools, ideal for tight spaces and all-day use. Their 20v MAX XR brushless tools provide pro-level power and runtime. DeWalt’s lineup covers all the bases for woodworking, drilling/driving, cutting, grinding, and more. Their tools are very ergonomic and comfortable to use for extended periods.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee
Credit: Amazon.com

Milwaukee is a favorite brand of mechanical and electrical tradespeople. Their M18 and M12 cordless systems offer high performance and durability for heavy-duty use. Milwaukee’s compact batteries, powerful motors, and innovative features set their tools apart. They are particularly well-known for leadership in plumbing tools, copper tubing cutters, band saws, and impact wrenches. Milwaukee’s heritage of tough, reliable tools at a good value still shines through today.

With all three brands frequently releasing new tools and updated models, you really can’t go wrong. But by understanding their key strengths and target users, you can determine which brand aligns closest with your needs and budget. Whichever you choose, you’ll have power tools built to deliver years of solid performance.

Flagship Tools Face Off: Drills, Saws, Drivers

Flagship Tools Face Off Drills, Saws, Drivers

Drills

DeWalt’s 20V MAX XR Brushless Hammer Drill/Driver
Credit: Amazon.com

When it comes to drills, Makita offers excellent options like their 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Hammer Driver-Drill. It has a powerful motor and long battery life, perfect for heavy-duty tasks. DeWalt’s 20V MAX XR Brushless Hammer Drill/Driver is also a top contender with similar power and runtimes. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Brushless Hammer Drill/Driver provides fast drilling speeds and an ergonomic design. Any of these would make a great choice.

Circular Saws

Makita’s 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 6-1/2
Credit: Amazon.com

Need to cut wood or metal? Makita’s 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 6-1/2” Circular Saw can slice through a range of materials. It features an ergonomic handle and electric brake for safety. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel 6-1/2” Circular Saw is a close competitor with a high-performance brushless motor and magnesium guards. DeWalt’s 20V MAX 6-1/2” Circular Saw, though slightly underpowered, is a budget-friendly option.

Impact Drivers

DeWalt’s 20V MAX XR Brushless Impact Driver
Credit: Amazon.com

When driving screws, Makita’s 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Quick-Shift Mode 4-Speed Impact Driver is fast and powerful with an impressive 4-speed transmission. Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel 18V Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/4” Hex Impact Driver also provides speed control and lots of torque. DeWalt’s 20V MAX XR Brushless Impact Driver is a great compact, lightweight driver for most tasks.

Overall, Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt all offer high-performance power tools that should handle whatever you throw at them. At the end of the day, the right brand for you comes down to your needs, preferences, and budget. But with these flagship tools, you really can’t go wrong.

Battery Systems and Chargers Compared

Battery Systems and Chargers Compared

When it comes to cordless power tools, the battery platform is one of the most important factors to consider. All three brands offer lithium-ion batteries in a range of voltages, but there are some key differences.

FeatureMakitaMilwaukeeDeWalt
Battery Platforms*LXT (18V)
*XGT (40V Max)
*CXT (12V)
*M12 (12V)
*M18 (18V)
*MX FUEL (72V)
*20V MAX
*FLEXVOLT (20V/60V)
*ATOMIC (20V compact)
Amp Hours (Ah)Wide range (1.5Ah – 8.0Ah+)Wide range (1.5Ah – 12.0Ah+)Wide range (1.5Ah – 15.0Ah+)
Charger TechnologyRapid Optimum Charger (fan-cooled)Rapid Charger (charges both M12 and M18)Fan-cooled chargers (select models)
Unique Features*Some chargers compatible with both 18V & 12V slides
*Cross-platform adapters available
*REDLINK Intelligence (battery communication)
*One-Key Tool Technology (select models)
*FLEXVOLT batteries automatically switch voltage
*Bluetooth connectivity (select models)
CompatibilityBackward compatibility within platformsBackwards compatibility within platformsBackward compatibility within platforms

Makita Batteries and Chargers

Makita’s 18V Lithium-Ion battery platform powers over 225 cordless tools. Their higher-capacity batteries can provide all-day runtime on a single charge. Makita’s quick chargers fully recharge batteries in only 30 minutes.

Milwaukee Batteries and Chargers

Milwaukee’s M18 and M12 battery systems power over 175 tools. Their High Demand 9.0Ah battery provides all-day power and charges in only 60 minutes with their rapid charger. Milwaukee also offers a 6-port charger that can charge up to six M18 batteries at once in only 60 minutes. Convenient if you have a lot of batteries to charge!

DeWalt Batteries and Chargers

DeWalt’s 20V Max platform powers over 200 tools. Their higher-capacity FLEXVOLT batteries provide up to 12Ah of runtime and are compatible with all their 20V tools. DeWalt’s fast charger recharges most batteries in 30-60 minutes. They also offer a 6-port fast charger that can charge six batteries in only 90 minutes.

In the end, all three brands offer high-performance lithium-ion batteries and fast chargers to minimize downtime on the job site or in your workshop. However, Makita does seem to have a slight advantage with its large selection of 18V tools and fastest recharge times. Milwaukee is a close second with its wide range of M18 tools and rapid charging. And DeWalt’s FLEXVOLT system provides the most power with backward compatibility.

Any of these brands would make a great choice. But when it comes down to runtime, recharge time, and tool compatibility, Makita edges out the competition by a hair.

Innovation and Technology: Who Leads the Pack?

Innovation and Technology Who Leads the Pack

Power and Performance

When it comes to raw power and performance, Makita and DeWalt often have a slight edge over Milwaukee. Makita’s 18V LXT and DeWalt’s 20V MAX lithium-ion battery platforms are renowned for their efficiency and ability to drive even the most demanding tools. However, Milwaukee’s M18 line still ranks among the most capable, and their Output batteries provide an extra boost when needed. In the end, all three brands make professional-grade tools that pack a punch.

Advanced Electronics

Milwaukee is arguably the leader in electronic innovation with their ONE-KEY technology which provides digital tool customization and tracking through a mobile app. They were also the first to introduce a brushless motor and REDLITHIUM battery technology which provides longer run times, more power, and a longer life. Makita and DeWalt have followed suit with their own brushless tools and improved battery technology, but Milwaukee still remains slightly ahead of the curve.

Ergonomics and Design

When it comes to ergonomics, DeWalt often gets the nod with their well-balanced, comfortable tools featuring rubberized soft grip handles and trigger switches. Makita also receives high praise for the ergonomic and lightweight design of its 18V LXT tools. Milwaukee’s tools, while very capable, are sometimes criticized for their blockier, utilitarian design. However, their latest generation M18 FUEL tools have significantly improved in this area with more streamlined housings and better grip surfaces.

In the end, all three brands are leaders in power tool innovation, so you really can’t go wrong. But if staying on the cutting edge of advanced power tool technology is most important to you, Milwaukee and their ONE-KEY and M18 FUEL systems may have a slight advantage. For the most comfortable and ergonomic tools, DeWalt is probably your best bet. And for a combination of power, performance, and value, Makita still deserves strong consideration. The choice comes down to your specific needs and which brand you prefer.

Durability and Warranties: Which Brand Is Toughest?

Makita

Makita is known for building power tools that can take a serious beating. Their 18V Lithium-Ion cordless tools are highly durable and can last for years of heavy use. Makita also provides one of the best power tool warranties, with a 3-year limited warranty and a 1-year service contract on most of their cordless tools.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is another brand that focuses on durability and performance. Their M18 and M12 cordless tools are built to handle the toughest job site conditions. Milwaukee backs most of its tools with a 5-year limited warranty—one of the longest in the industry. They also have service centers across the U.S. and Canada if you need repairs.

DeWalt

DeWalt designs their 20V Max XR and 12V Max cordless power tools to withstand frequent, heavy-duty use. While highly durable, some users report that DeWalt’s tools may not last quite as long as Makita’s or Milwaukee’s under extreme conditions. However, DeWalt still provides a solid 3-year limited warranty and 1-year free service contract on their cordless power tools to give you peace of mind.

Overall, Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt all produce power tools built to handle tough job site environments with confidence. However, Makita and Milwaukee seem to have a slight edge over DeWalt when it comes to heavy-duty durability and longer-lasting performance. Any of these brands would be an excellent choice, but if you want tools that can take the most abuse, Makita and Milwaukee stand out.

In the end, the brand you choose comes down to your needs, preferences, and how much you’re willing to spend. But you can rest assured that with any of these top brands, you’ll get power tools built to last.

Ergonomics and Usability: Hands-on Reviews

When it comes to comfort and ease of use, there are some key differences between the brands that are worth considering.

Makita

Makita’s tools are typically very compact and lightweight, especially their cordless models. Their handles are ergonomically designed to reduce stress on your hands, and they have useful features like built-in LED lights to illuminate your work area. Makita’s cordless tools also tend to have excellent battery life so you’re not constantly swapping them out. However, some users find Makita’s variable speed triggers can be overly sensitive, and their tools may lack some of the higher-end features of other brands.

Milwaukee

Milwaukee is known for building very durable and high-performing tools that can withstand heavy use, but they do tend to be on the heavier side. Their M18 and M12 cordless lines offer a wide range of tools with excellent power and run time. Milwaukee’s tools also often come with useful features like built-in bit holders, belt clips, and carrying cases. However, their tools can be more expensive, especially for higher voltage models, and some users find them to be unwieldy for extended overhead use or in tight spaces.

DeWalt

DeWalt produces popular, well-designed tools that strike a good balance of performance, durability, and ergonomics. Their cordless tools provide plenty of power for most DIY and professional needs while still being comfortable to use for long periods. DeWalt’s FlexVolt technology also allows their higher-voltage tools to be very compact. However, DeWalt’s tools and batteries also tend to be on the pricier side, and their product lines may lack some of the specialty tools offered by other brands.

In the end, the brand that feels best in your hands and has the specific tools you need for your projects is the right choice. Any of these top tool makers would serve you well, so you can’t go wrong. Focus on your priorities and budget to find the brand that suits you.

Price and Value: Which Brand Offers More Bang for Your Buck?

Initial Cost

When comparing power tool brands, price is always a factor. Makita and DeWalt tend to cost a bit more upfront. Their tools are professional-grade, built to high standards, and last a lifetime, so you’re paying for quality. Milwaukee sits at a mid-range price point but frequently runs promotions and discounts to stay competitive.

Tool Selection

All three brands offer a wide range of cordless power tools, so you really can’t go wrong. Makita and DeWalt have a slight edge in specialized tools for woodworking, metalworking, or masonry. Milwaukee leads the pack in innovative tools like cordless vacuums, fans, and radios. For basic DIY needs, any brand will have you well covered.

Battery Platforms

The battery platform is really where the value comes in. Once you invest in a brand’s cordless tools, you’re locked into their battery system. Makita’s LXT and DeWalt’s 20V MAX are excellent, long-lasting battery platforms with lots of compatible tools. Milwaukee’s M18 line is also impressive, with innovative features like built-in battery fuel gauges. Overall, you can’t lose with any of these brands.

Warranties and Service

Power tools are a big investment, so consider the warranty and customer service. Makita and DeWalt offer 3-year limited warranties on most tools, while Milwaukee backs their tools with a 5-year warranty. However, DeWalt is known for outstanding service, with lots of service centers and a satisfaction guarantee. Makita also gets very high marks for support. Milwaukee’s service seems on par, though some users report longer turnaround times.

In the end, you need to weigh your needs and budget to determine the best value for you. While Makita and DeWalt are premium brands, Milwaukee gives you a lot for your money. And with frequent sales, you can often find any of these professional-caliber tools at a steal. For most DIYers and pros, you really can’t make a bad choice. Pick a brand, invest in their cordless platform, and you’ll have power tools that should last a lifetime.

The Verdict: Makita vs Milwaukee vs DeWalt

After comparing these top power tool brands across factors like performance, durability, innovation, and value, which comes out on top? The choice ultimately comes down to your needs and preferences as a DIYer or professional.

If raw power and performance are most important, Makita’s cordless tools are hard to beat. Their brushless motor technology and high-output batteries provide serious torque for demanding applications. However, you’ll pay a premium for that level of power.

If you’re on a budget but still want pro-level quality, Milwaukee offers the best value. Their M12 and M18 cordless systems have a tool for every task at lower price points. Milwaukee is also an industry leader in cordless innovation, constantly pushing the envelope with new tools and technologies.

For the widest selection of cordless and corded tools, as well as legendary reliability, DeWalt is a great all-round choice. Their 20V MAX battery platform powers over 200 tools, so you’ll never run out of options. DeWalt’s tools are also typically more affordable than Makita’s while still delivering professional performance.

In the end, any of these brands would make an excellent choice for a home workshop or job site. My recommendation would be:

  • Choose Makita if you need the most powerful, high-performance tools and are willing to pay more.
  • Go with Milwaukee for the best balance of performance, innovation, and value. Their M12 and M18 lines have everything a DIYer could need at a lower cost.
  • Pick DeWalt for the largest selection, solid performance, and proven reliability at reasonable prices. Their 20V platform is a versatile, long-lasting system.

Whichever brand you prefer, you really can’t go wrong. Give their tools a try—you’ll be joining legions of loyal customers who swear by them.

FAQs: Answering Common Questions on Makita vs Milwaukee vs DeWalt

You probably have some questions about these top power tool brands. Here are answers to the most frequently asked ones:

How do I choose between Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt?

The best way is to consider what specific tools you need and how much you can spend. Makita is a good all-round brand that provides high quality for the price. Milwaukee is ideal if you need high-performance tools for construction. DeWalt is a trusted brand that offers affordability and durability.

Which brand is the most durable?

All three brands are very durable, but DeWalt is probably the most rugged. Their tools are built to withstand intense job site conditions. Milwaukee also makes extremely durable tools, especially their M18 line. Makita is a bit more lightweight but still holds up well under heavy use.

Which is better for DIY or home use?

For DIYers and homeowners, Makita and DeWalt are great options. They offer a range of tools for tasks like woodworking, drilling, cutting, and sanding that are easy to use and affordably priced. Milwaukee also has some good DIY tools but is geared more toward professional contractors.

Are Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt interchangeable?

The tools and batteries within each brand’s line are interchangeable. However, you can’t use Makita batteries in Milwaukee tools or DeWalt batteries in Makita tools. So once you invest in a particular brand, you’re typically locked into their battery platform. The good news is that all three brands have large cordless tool and battery selections.

In the end, you can’t go wrong with any of these reputable brands. Consider your needs and budget, check out the specs and reviews, and go with the one that feels right for you. And if you do start with one brand but want to switch later, you can always buy bare tools without batteries to use with your existing set. The choice is yours!

Conclusion

So there you have it – the good, the bad, and the ugly on Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt power tools. Now you’re equipped with the insider info to decide which brand is the best match for your needs and budget. Trust your gut, weigh the pros and cons, and don’t stress too much – there’s really no outright “winner” here. Any of these brands can get the job done if you pick the right tools.

At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. Choose the one with the features and performance that appeal to you the most. And don’t forget the value of holding the tools in your hand before you buy. Once you settle on a brand, you’ll build up a solid collection of battery-powered tools over time. Then you’ll be all set to take on your next DIY adventure!

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