In the world of power tools, Milwaukee and Dewalt stand as prominent giants. As an expert in the field, it’s essential to address the burning question: which of these two industry leaders offers the superior product?
To ensure consumers make an informed decision and don’t end up disappointed with their purchase, I conducted a comprehensive review, pitting Milwaukee against Dewalt. Let’s delve into the details and uncover which brand emerges as the top choice.
Milwaukee or Dewalt?
Features of Milwaukee and Dewalt
History and Reputation
To start off, let’s take a deep look into the histories of both the Dewalt products company and Milwaukee. As the name suggests, Milwaukee tools was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and got their start in 1924. However, it has been acquired by a Hong Kong company, Techtronic Industries, since 2005.
The switch does not impact the quality of Milwaukee engineered products. Milwaukee’s drill and Milwaukee’s batteries still adhere to the same standards they always have. Perhaps the most coveted tool, the Milwaukee Sawzall, was conceptualized in 1951 and took the industry by storm.
Going back to the beginning, Milwaukee first introduced the Hole Shooter in 1924, which was a portable and lightweight drill that was perfect for one-handed operation. At the time, most tools were heavy and required two hands for steady performance.
Since then, the Milwaukee name has been synonymous with the words heavy-duty and reliable, to become a renowned power tool brand.
The Sawzall is a reciprocating saw that many other companies have taken inspiration from when creating their own models. What also sets Milwaukee apart from its competitor is the integration of lithium-ion batteries that hold a longer battery life and is more efficient. In fact, Milwaukee holds several patents for their innovation.
After the lithium-ion batteries came the Milwaukee One-Key, which uses Bluetooth technology. To this day, Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation is a key player in corded and cordless power tools.
Dewalt is a company native to Pennsylvania. Coincidentally, the Dewalt Tools brand was also established in the same year as Milwaukee in 1924. Dewalt really impressed our contractors with their first machine. They created what was named the Dewalt Wonder Worker, and what a wonder it was.
The machine was versatile enough to perform 19 different functions when configured each of the 9 ways. The machine could perform crosscuts, bevel cuts, miter cuts and rip cuts among many others.
From there, Dewalt became a household name and the tool brand started gaining recognition around the world. In 1992, Dewalt first introduced their line of cordless tools and added 30 new models to the line in 1994. By the time they hit the 2000s, Dewalt had become a tool brand known for its top-notch cordless power tool selections with over 200 kinds available.
Dewalt also introduced their own line of innovative tools that incorporated lithium-ion batteries, but that’s not their headliner. The Dewalt brand is known for the SHOCKS vibration control system that can reduce vibrations at various speed settings for up to 50%.
Parent Companies and Employees
Both Milwaukee VS Dewalt belong to different parent companies. Let’s start by dissecting the origins of Milwaukee. As I previously mentioned, in 2005, the brand was acquired by Hong Kong’s TechTronic Industries, which was founded in 1985.
Other brands under the umbrella of TechTronic Industries include Ryobi, another excellent power tool brand, Hoover US, and Hart Tools.
At this time, Milwaukee has around 1500 employees in the US alone, but the parent company has a total of around 22,000.
You may be surprised by the big name that’s behind Dewalt. Stanley Black & Decker is the tool giant that has ownership of Dewalt and also owns other power tool brands such as Porter-Cable, Craftsman, and Lenox. But before that, Dewalt was held by the American Machine Foundry before finding its home with Black & Decker in 1960.
Dewalt is the larger company in comparison to the Milwaukee tool company, with 13,000 in its employ without considering the over 60,000 employees of Stanley Black & Decker
Manufacturing: Milwaukee and Dewalt
As an expert in the field, I can’t emphasize enough how the manufacturing of corded and portable electric power tools directly impacts their quality. In my line of work, I rely heavily on hand tools, outdoor power equipment, miter saws, and various specialized tools.
As said, Milwaukee was established in the namesake city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When it comes to comparing Dewalt vs. Milwaukee, the latter had more of a presence in the US. Most of the R&D for the brand also takes place in the USA, but the actual manufacturing of products for Milwaukee and Milwaukee’s parent company happens all over the world.
Milwaukee’s global manufacturing footprint spans various continents such as Asia, North America, and Europe. I know how much consumers appreciate American-made tools. That’s why I’ve put together a list of tools that the brand produces right here in the U.S.
Corded Sawzall reciprocating saws and its blades, hole saws, larger drills and bandsaw blades are all made in the USA. As for the cordless options such as the cordless drill and circular saw units are made overseas, but they have tried to relocate some of the manufacturing back home.
The Dewalt tool brand still uses parts sourced globally in many of their products, and this reflects in the “built in the USA with global materials” sticker label. Since 2015, Dewalt has established 7 factories to manufacture their products, with Dewalt’s parent company having a total of 48 domestically.
Price Ranges of Milwaukee and Dewalt
Both Dewalt vs Milwaukee have excellent products, but how do the prices compare? I’d always caution against simply choosing the most budget-friendly tool. It’s crucial to strike a balance between price and quality, and that’s precisely what I aim to discuss here.
When I delved deeper into the comparison between Dewalt and Milwaukee, I found that Dewalt slightly edges out Milwaukee when it comes to offering more budget tools. This doesn’t necessarily mean Milwaukee is superior at first glance, but it’s due to their range of specialty tools.
As I also mentioned, Milwaukee Electric Tool Company specializes in the Milwaukee battery kit, which is a battery platform for cordless tools. Another great feature of this kit is that the batteries can be used interchangeably by Milwaukee and Ryobi.
There is also a Dewalt kit and Dewalt batteries are also excellent in efficiency, but they have a wider range of tools that fall into the everyday category. This is why the total price range varies just a bit between Dewalt VS Milwaukee.
In my opinion, the price gap between the two brands isn’t significant, typically ranging from 20 to 100. This difference is manageable for most buyers.
Warranty and Service
When it comes to Milwaukee versus Dewalt products, I can’t stress enough how much of a difference customer service and warranty terms can make in our reviews. As a contractor, I’ve relied on both Milwaukee drills and Dewalt drills, among other tools, and I’ve consistently received reliable results.
In order to give you a more detailed picture of what the afterservice is like for each brand, I scanned the fine print thoroughly:
Milwaukee cordless tools usually come with a 5-year warranty. The specialty tools might fall under a different category, but Milwaukee Tool company will clearly label the different periods.
I’ve personally used both brands’ hand tool options, and I’ve observed that Milwaukee offers a lifetime warranty for its hand tools, identifiable by a clear red sticker. Now that’s a testament to quality!
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Milwaukee Tool Company’s cordless outdoor power equipment has a 3-year warranty, which is also longer than many other top brands. Milwaukee is more lenient with how they implement the warranty and can accept tools without registration.
However, to avoid issues on your radial arm saw or the power drill, I’d recommend registering the product and holding onto the receipt as a precaution.
Dewalt offers shorter warranties, but they offer more than just that. For example, their cordless power tools are backed by a 3-year warranty but also a 1-year free service offer as well as a 90-day money-back guarantee. If you are looking at their line of Mechanics Tools, then you are protected by a lifetime warranty.
The handheld tools from Dewalt also feature a lifetime warranty with certain pneumatic tools carrying a whopping 7-year warranty plus the 1-year free service and a 72-hour money-back guarantee.
Tools certainly aren’t created equal, especially when comparing different brands. Let me delve deeper into the proprietary technology of Milwaukee and Dewalt. To kick things off, let’s discuss Dewalt’s Tool Connect and Milwaukee’s One-Key. Both are connection technologies, but in my opinion, One-Key comes out on top because of its broader platform.
Then, there are the brushless motors in both Dewalt and Milwaukee. Milwaukee has the RedLink Plus, and Dewalt offers just the general term — brushless motor. Just because Dewalt didn’t name their motor, it doesn’t mean it gives less superior performance.
Actually, it was quite a challenge for me to determine a clear winner. However, I’ve noticed that the brushless motor on Milwaukee tools tends to be more compact, which is a definite space saver.
Power Drills: Milwaukee and Dewalt
Power drills stand as one of Milwaukee and Dewalt’s flagship products. Given the vast array of offerings from both brands, making in-depth comparisons for every single product is quite a task.
That’s why I’ve opted for a different approach, focusing on a more generalized assessment. Specifically, I’ve chosen to examine the compact drills from each brand.
Milwaukee’s drill has a brushless motor that is incredibly durable and has a longer lifespan compared to its competitor. Dewalt’s drill has also improved the Dewalt brushless motor to last for 57% longer than previous models.
Both Dewalt’s drill and the Milwaukee drill have a gear case and vibration dampening design, although Milwaukee’s stability outranks Dewalt’s. You can also connect both drills with proprietary technology from both brands, such as the One-Key and Tool Connect.
Dewalt has a total of 14 speed settings for torque, while the Milwaukee drill has 18. Both drills come with an LED light. An LED light is very handy for low-light conditions or in darker spaces to light the way.
Next, let’s take a look at the speed of the power drills. The Dewalt drill is much faster than Milwaukee, with an RPM of 1800 while its competitor only reaches 550. Both drills offer exceptional battery life and power. The better choice will depend on your needs, so our team deems the power drill comparison for both brands a tie.
To elaborate on the power drill section, I have specifically isolated the hammer drill for a more detailed comparison. Milwaukee Tool Company creates hammer drills at a smaller size, if that’s something you’re looking for.
From my experience and observations, the most significant difference between the Dewalt hammer drill and the Milwaukee hammer drill lies in their performance.
The Milwaukee hammer drill was better at high speeds, but the Dewalt hammer drill is optimal for tougher materials such as concrete. Again, the winner for this category is highly subjective and will depend on your needs.
While DeWalt drills have certainly earned their well-known and highly regarded reputation, it’s worth noting that both brands also excel in crafting top-notch impact wrenches. In this comparison, I’ll be taking a closer look at the Milwaukee Impact Wrench and the DeWalt DCF899.
The Milwaukee is a high-torque model, which successfully beat out the Dewalt unit without much effort. An impact wrench in the job site isn’t just about power, but it plays a big part, which is why the Milwaukee model is the obvious choice on sheer power alone.
There are also impact drivers, which I will also discuss into this section. Again, the Milwaukee models edge out the Dewalt impact drivers when we look at performance, speed, and torque. However, the Dewalt impact driver also has its merits in the form of LED lights and an ejection function that isn’t seen in Milwaukee.
Circular Saw: Milwaukee and Dewalt
As a professional woodworker and contractor myself, I have a deep appreciation for the utility of circular saw tools. Naturally, we were compelled to investigate how different brands approach the manufacturing of power tools in this category. Milwaukee circular saws have particularly caught my attention due to their durable design and consistent performance.
While they can generate a fair amount of dust during operation, the inclusion of an effective dust port in their machines makes it relatively easy to maintain a clean workspace.
Dewalt circular saws generally have a very comfortable grip, and Dewalt claims this feature as one of their best. While you may not prioritize the handle grip, it’s a feature that has more of an effect during use than you would think.
Personally, operating the Dewalt circular saw units was notably more enjoyable, and I found that I could work for longer periods without feeling fatigued.
I’ve noticed that some of my colleagues lean towards a comfier grip, while others appreciate the smooth operation of the Milwaukee unit, which lets them finish tasks faster. Ultimately, the best choice really comes down to individual preference.
The power level of circular saw units from both brands was pretty on par, with some handheld models slightly less powerful than larger corded models.
Miter Saw: Milwaukee and Dewalt
In terms of miter saw models, I gravitate towards Milwaukee without a second thought. Why? The design, having stood the test of time, offers convenience, ample power, and outstanding build quality. The adage holds: why fix something that isn’t broken?
That said, a clear downside of the Milwaukee miter saws is their portability. They’re considerably bulkier, heavier, and more unwieldy compared to some of Dewalt’s offerings.
Therefore, if portability is of value to you, I highly recommend delving into the cordless range. The sliding miters from Milwaukee are incredible, but Dewalt stands up to the competition with plenty of power and products with a more compact body. The winner of this category is a question of power vs portability rather than performance.
A few things to look for when deciding on a combo kit is one battery that works with all the products of the same brand. Look for ones that come with extra batteries so you can get to work while one is charging.
A Milwaukee kit will often come with the One-Key feature, which is something our contractors rave about. Unfortunately, the Milwaukee kit combo is usually pricier than that of Dewalt.
For Dewalt, look for a hybrid voltage battery pack, which can switch between voltage systems depending on where you are and what you need.
Products Offered: Milwaukee and Dewalt
Does one brand create products the other one doesn’t have? If this is the case, then you might not have a choice between Milwaukee and Dewalt.
The inventory for both brands exceeds 1000 tools in total. Milwaukee is known for its M18, M12, and MX lines and has come a long way since the hole shooter. One tool from its M18 line is the M18 Milwaukee Chainsaw.
With corded and cordless power tool options the number reaches over 300. The Sawzall is by far Milwaukee’s greatest invention, but their other tools such as the hammer drill, grinder, excellent drum sander, and plenty of hand tools are also noteworthy.
Dewalt launched its portable line back in 1992 but has since created many significant products such as the FlexVolt, and a variety of power and hand tools. Together, Dewalt also has an extensive roster of hundreds of tools that exceed Milwaukee’s number. Milwaukee got its first big customer in Henry Ford , and has since put mountains of effort into perfecting their existing line.
Dewalt focused their attention on producing a wider variety of products, which is why they have a more extensive line. Keep in mind that both brands also offer plenty of accessories woodworkers and contractors need, such as measuring tapes and even safety equipment.
The winner of this category will depend on what customers value. If you want variety, then Dewalt is the best option. For those that want quality in models that have proven their work over time, then Milwaukee is the answer.
As I’ve mentioned before, both of these tool brands enjoy a well-deserved reputation among their loyal customer base. They both provide a range of comparable features at competitive price points, each incorporating their own proprietary technologies into their products.
Dewalt tools have a signature yellow and black color combo that is a tell-tale sign of a Dewalt product from afar. Milwaukee has a teal color that has also become associated with the brand.
Both companies have come a long way since Milwaukee Tool introduced the hole shooters and Dewalt created their portable line, and customers consistently rate both brands with 4 and 5-star reviews for quality, dependability, and performance.
(Despite the good reviews, there are injury-related reports involving some of their miter saw units. For more info, check this Dewalt miter saw recall article next!)
Is Milwaukee better than Dewalt?
No, Milwaukee is not better than Dewalt. Whether one brand is better than another is a subjective topic, but if you’re looking at an overall rating, Milwaukee and Dewalt are pretty on par with winners in different categories.
Milwaukee specializes in better technology and features, but Dewalt has better price tags, a wider range of products and manufactures domestically.
Are Milwaukee power tools better than Dewalt?
Does Dewalt own Milwaukee?
Overall Winner: Dewalt
It was a neck-and-neck race, but when comparing Dewalt and Milwaukee, I’d have to give the edge to Dewalt. They clinch the top spot with their broader product range, consistently solid construction and quality, and a slightly more budget-friendly price tag.
Furthermore, their comprehensive warranty packages speak volumes about the quality and confidence they have in their tools.
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