What is the Best Brand of Power Tools?

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One of the most common questions people ask, especially new woodworkers, is “what’s the best brand of power tools to buy?” That’s a reasonable question to ask, especially when you consider that most of us ultimately end up investing a lot in our tools. 

When you add cordless tools into that mix, the question becomes even more important, as it is more cost-effective to buy tools that use a common battery system, rather than having to buy batteries for every power tool you add to your collection.

However, “best” is both subjective and relative. Ask most people what the best is and they’ll usually tell you their favorite brand. While that brand might be good, the fact that they like it doesn’t make it the best, by any realistic measure. 

Defining the “Best” Power Tool Brand

If you go online and read articles entitled “10 Best Cordless Drills” or “10 Best Circular Saws,” what you’re going to get is an article that has probably been written by some young writer, or even worse, by AI. In either case, they don’t know what they’re evaluating. The young writer has probably just picked out 10 of the most popular tools on Amazon, telling you what the product listing says about it.

The thing is, like everything else, the rating system on Amazon has become corrupted. Rather than being filled with honest reviews by customers, sellers have learned that they can get high ratings by paying people to do high-ranking reviews for them. 

So, the top ten might not be as great as they are made out to be. That’s especially true when you take into account that people are much more likely to leave a negative review, complaining about a product than a positive one. So, the products that aren’t getting as high reviews may be perfectly good, and we’re only hearing from the complainers.

The only real way to evaluate tools accurately is head-to-head product testing that’s both expensive and time-consuming, making it difficult to undertake. Few “independent reviewers” have the time and resources to make such tests. But even if they did, developing such tests is difficult, often resulting in tests that don’t mirror real-life use of the product.

Ultimately, “best” is actually a relative term. Best for what? Best for who? Best under what circumstances? What might be best for a hobbyist woodworker, who is making things in their garage, for their home and family, isn’t the same as best for a professional carpenter, who has to use those tools every day to make a living.

Professional vs. Hobbyist Use

Professional carpenters give their tools rough use. A construction job site is no place for tools that aren’t extremely rugged. Tools get dropped, thrown, and stepped on. Worse, if you loan one of your tools to someone else to use, you can be sure they won’t treat it as well and take care of it like they would their own or like you would take care of that tool. It’s not theirs, so they don’t care.

One of the most important things that those professional carpenters are looking for is tools that will stand up under rough use. When they leave to go to work in the morning, they need to know that their tools are going to keep working all day. 

Cutting wood with the Dremel Moto Saw

Having a tool break down in the middle of a job is unacceptable and costs them more money than buying good tools to start with. So, they spend money on professional-grade tools, which they know will last.

The hobbyist usually can’t afford to spend that money, especially the new hobbyist. There are so many things they need, and most can’t afford to buy the most expensive thing out there. They’ll need tools that will get the job done—at a reasonable price.

Frequency of Use

When deciding what’s best, you have to take into consideration how the tool is going to be used. How often will you be using it and how hard will you use it? Some tools, like drill-drivers and circular saws get used constantly, while power planers and jigsaws might only be used once in a while. The more often you use a tool, the better quality you need, making it sensible to invest more in that tool. That doesn’t mean that you need to invest at that level for everything.

Back when I was in construction, there were times when I needed a particular tool to do a particular job; but it wasn’t something that I would use all the time. So, I’d go to a discount tool outlet and buy a low-cost tool. 

It will get that job done and might get a few others done as well. I got my money’s worth out of it, but it didn’t last forever. Eventually, that tool would break and that would be the end of it. On the other hand, if I bought a professional-grade tool to do that task, I would’ve lost all of my profits from that job, just paying for the tool.

Pruning limbs with the Imoum Cordless 6-inch Chainsaw

Buying tools that are better than what you need them for is spending money that you don’t need to spend. Put another way, it just makes sure you can’t do something else you need to do.

Brand Reputation vs. Quality

Keep in mind that “best” isn’t the same as most popular or highest rated. Companies spend years building a reputation, but that doesn’t mean they maintain that reputation with the same zeal they put into developing it. 

Things happen and the quality that those companies are putting out can decline. If they don’t continue investing in research and development, they might lose their reputation for innovation. A lot can go wrong.

People usually “buy” names. They buy cars for the name; clothes for the name; and even tools for the name. At least with tools, that name means that the company did something to get to be so good. But the question we have to ask ourselves every time we go to buy tools is whether the brand is still as good today, as they were back then.

As a general rule of thumb, you should get what you pay for. Do you really need what you have to pay high prices for? Driving a BMW might be nice, but a VW will still get you where you’re going.

some Ryobi woodworking tools

Part of what we’re paying for, when we pay high prices, is the name. But the rest of it is on what has gone into that product we’ve bought. It costs more to make high-quality tools or high-quality anything else because better materials and parts go into it. 

A high-dollar tool might use metal for some parts, whereas a low-cost one might use plastic. They probably use better quality bearings. The motors might be brushless, eliminating that potential maintenance problem. In other words, a lot goes into making that tool more expensive, some of which does make it better.

Life Expectancy

What I mean by better, in this case, is better quality. In the world of power tools, that boils down to life expectancy. How long is that tool going to last and how much abuse will it take? Brushes and bearings are two of the biggies when it comes to power tools providing long life.

There are lots of different types and grades of bearings out there and picking a better bearing as part of the design process can add years to the life of that tool.

Besides quality, more expensive tool brands tend to offer features that lower-cost ones don’t have. Some of those features can be extremely handy, making the tool easier to use. On the other hand, some features just sit there, never getting used. Before paying good money for those features, think about whether you’ll actually use it or not. If not, why pay for it?

Cutting plywood using the Hychika Mini Circular Saw

Now let’s get down to the real question; which is better? I’ll answer that question; but I have to say, my answer is going to be qualified. I’m going to break that down into different areas of use, answering for each of them:

Overall Best

The outright best brand of power tools out there, based on price, innovation, quality, and how many professionals use them is probably Festool. If you’re looking for a power tool to give you accuracy, then Festool is the brand.

Best Professional Grade

I have to give two answers to this. I would rate Milwaukee as the best brand of professional power tools, mostly based on their power. Somehow, Milwaukee always seems to get more power out of their tools than anyone else. As a professional carpenter, that’s something I would want. I own a couple of Milwaukee tools.

On the other hand, DeWalt has developed a reputation for being the most comfortable power tool brand to work with. They’ve come a long way in the last couple of decades and a lot of professionals swear by them. My own brother-in-law uses all DeWalt tools.

Rich with power tools from different brands

Best Consumer Grade

When it comes to consumer-grade power tools, I’d have to give the prize to Ryobi. They have over 300 power tools using the same battery system, and that battery system is backwards-compatible to 1996. While Ryobi doesn’t match up to Milwaukee for sheer power; they are quality tools, which will do everything the hobbyist woodworker needs. I have several Ryobi tools in my collection.


When selecting power tools, the “best” brand is largely subjective, as it depends on the needs of every woodworker. Casual hobbyists will find great value in brands like Ryobi which offer affordability and versatility. Professionals who use tools all day seek out Milwaukee for dependable power or DeWalt for reliability and comfort. 

And for those who prioritize precision, Festool stands as the premier option. Rather than defaulting to the most popular names in the market, also make sure you weigh factors like your budget, frequency of use, and the types of projects you’ll be undertaking to determine the right tools for your workshop.

Rich Profile Pic

Rich is a second-generation woodworker, having grown up in his dad’s workshop, “making sawdust.” Fifty years later, he’s still studying and working on improving his own woodworking skills, while also helping new woodworkers “catch the bug” for the smell of fresh sawdust. While Rich has done some custom woodworking projects, his greatest thrill is helping the next generation of woodworkers along, regardless of their age. His background as an engineer and a writer just adds to his ability to teach his true passion, woodworking.

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