Milwaukee vs DeWalt – Which is the Better Power Tool Brand?

Milwaukee and DeWalt are some of the leading brands within the tool production sector. Both have tools worth trying, but they focus on different things. Milwaukee is more about power and getting the job done, whereas DeWalt emphasizes comfort and convenience.

There are two heavyweights within the power tool market that everyone tends to compare: DeWalt or Milwaukee? Both have been around since the early 1900s, and their tools are among the most popular options out there. 

However, which should you choose? 

This is what I’ll help you with today in my Milwaukee vs DeWalt comparison. You’ll learn all about their history, products, and which is the better power tool brand. 

About Milwaukee and DeWalt

Before deciding which brand to go for, it’s always a good idea to learn a bit about their histories. Since both brands have been around since the 1900s, they have quite an interesting past: let’s take a look.

A Brief History of Milwaukee and DeWalt

About Milwaukee

Milwaukee had a rough beginning, starting back in 1918 as the First World War came to an end. A man named Henry Ford sought help from a fellow called A.H Peterson, to manufacture a newer, compact, and lightweight version of the 1/4-inch power drill.

The two developed the Hole-Shooter, an ergonomic 5-pound industrial drill, which could easily be operated by one hand. Ford and Peterson were soon joined by A.F Siebert, but unfortunately, their factory caught fire and burnt to the ground. This caused a major financial setback, prompting the company to shut down indefinitely. 

Fortunately, the company got another chance in 1924 when Siebert acquired it from Peterson at an auction. He renamed it Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation and had a primary goal of reaching the sales potential of the Hole-Shooter.

Throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, Milwaukee experienced rapid growth. Launching several new tools while opening new manufacturing plants. 

About DeWalt

DeWalt’s story begins back in 1922 when a man named Raymond DeWalt developed one of the first woodworking machines. He constructed it to improve productivity at Seabrook Farms, where he was a superintendent at the time.

Fast forward two years in 1924 Raymond managed to establish DeWalt Products Company together with a manufacturing plant in Leola, Pennsylvania. One of the first products they produced was the Wonder Worker, a general woodworking machine. 

Around the 1940s, they had become a well-established company. However, it wasn’t until the Second World War where it saw significant growth, thanks to its work on government contracts.

Milwaukee and DeWalt HQ

Milwaukee HQ

Milwaukee has always been a “made in the US” style company. Even after being bought by a Hong Kong-based enterprise, its headquarters are still based in the US. 

The company, however, has a few different locations. For instance, in its Brookfield, Wisconsin offices, it does most of its research and development. 

With that said, Milwaukee manufacturers its tools and accessories globally. It has factories in Europe, the US, Mexico, and Asia. Most of its more popular tools are manufactured overseas, with the majority of its cordless power drills and circular saws coming from China.

Other tools and accessories, like its saw blades and hole saws, are produced in its Mississippi facilities, located in Jackson, Olive Branch, and Greenwood. It has three additional manufacturing plants throughout Wisconsin. Including Sun Prairie, West Bend, and Mukwonago. 

So although not all its tools come from the US, its locations in the States hold significant importance to its overall global manufacturing footprint. 

As of January 2020, the company announced a new plan to build a mega facility in West Bend, Wisconsin, to produce hand tools. Additionally, it wants to expand to other states. Including Cookeville, Tennessee, investing more than $100 million, creating 350 new jobs in the US. 

DeWalt HQ

DeWalt has its headquarters in Towson, Maryland. However, similarly to Milwaukee, they produce most of their products overseas, or it used to. 

Since 2013, the company has made strides to manufacture most of its tools and accessories in the US, but with parts and materials sourced abroad. It would acquire parts from China, Brazil, the UK, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico, as well as the US. 

Products produced with overseas parts bear a label saying, “built in the USA with global materials.” Later in 2015, they operated seven manufacturing facilities to make its tools and accessories. Located in Kentucky, Indiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, among other states. 

What’s interesting is that DeWalt’s parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, actually manufactures more of its products within the US and has about 48 facilities. 

Who Owns Milwaukee and DeWalt?

Milwaukee

In 2005, Milwaukee was acquired by a Hong Kong-based company, Techtronic Industries Co, founded in 1985. Techtronic Industries is the parent company to several other brands, including:

  • Empire.
  • Ridgid.
  • AEG.
  • Ryobi.
  • Hart Tools.
  • Stiletto.
  • Homelite.
  • Hoover US.
  • Vax.
  • Oreck.
  • Imperial Blades.
  • Dirt Devil.

As we can tell by its list of acquisitions, Techtronic Industries has a hand in almost any market. This includes power tools, measurement and layout tools, appliances, floor care, outdoor power equipment, among many others.

Still, most of the brands under this mega enterprise, cater to tradesmen and industrial users. Spanning several areas, such as construction, maintenance, and home. 

Once Milwaukee became a subsidiary, executives decided to go back to the roots and focus on solving problems for the electrical, mechanical, and plumbing trades. 

Milwaukee has always been more focused on professional trades rather than the home DIYer. While renewing its company goals, Milwaukee set out to provide “disruptive innovation,” where it sent representatives out on the job site to understand the challenges professional traders encounter. 

The corporation states that this focus triggered a revolution, a time where it could break away from what was expected and instead become a progressive problem solver. This revolutionary wave continues to this day, spanning across several tool and accessory categories.

DeWalt

Following World War II, DeWalt underwent a few changes in terms of ownership. Its expansion began in 1947, where it re-incorporated itself under DeWalt Inc. 

Later in 1949, American Machine Foundry acquired the company and began expanding its operations to Canada. Although, it wasn’t long until they were sold to Black & Decker in 1960. 

Once a name under Black & Decker, they entered a period of growth and stability as it expanded into newer markets across North America. 

As of March 2010, Black & Decker merged with Stanley Works, a Fortune 500 tool manufacturer based in the US. Stanley Works produced anything from outdoor power equipment, security products, among many other tools and accessories. 

Once it got together with Black & Decker, it changed its name to Stanley Black & Decker and currently has over 61,000 employees across 60 countries. The parent company has several well-known names under its wings, including:

  • Porter-Cable.
  • Irwin Tools.
  • Mac Tools.
  • Bostitch.
  • Lista.
  • Pengo.
  • Paladin.
  • Sonitrol.
  • Proto.

Although its a brand under Stanley Black & Decker, DeWalt continues to be at the forefront of innovation.

Dewalt vs Milwaukee – Which Company Is Bigger

It isn’t always easy giving a precise estimation of which brand is bigger when they’re under a parent company. 

Still, Milwaukee currently has between 1300 and 1400 employees in the US. However, due to its expansion plans, we can expect this number to rise significantly within the next year. Milwaukee’s parent company, on the other hand, employs more than 22,000 people. 

As for DeWalt, it’s significantly larger than Milwaukee, having about 13,000 employees. And yet again, Stanley Black & Decker, has approximately six times that, as we saw above. 

Is Milwaukee and Dewalt the Same Company? 

As we can see above, Milwaukee and DeWalt are two unique, separate entities. They have different founders and are now operating under two parent companies. 

Milwaukee vs DeWalt Products

Now that we’ve had a look at the companies themselves, it’s time to compare their products to see which is better or if they’re even comparable. 

Milwaukee vs DeWalt – Tool Reputation

Milwaukee and DeWalt have outstanding reputations in the construction sector; they’re some of the most famous names, known for producing fantastic, innovative tools. 

Saying who has a better reputation isn’t easy as it went a bit back and forth between the two over the years. For instance, roughly 10 years ago, all we saw was the infamous black and yellow color combo. DeWalt did an amazing job at brand awareness, so great that almost any home DIYer owns at least one of its tools. 

Its popularity blossomed when it launched the Pro-Level tool line, advertised for general construction. We couldn’t get enough of DeWalt. 

Roughly around the same time, Milwaukee was heading down the path of lithium-ion battery power tools. In 2008, it became heavily invested when its Big Red power tool featuring the M18 lithium-ion battery took over the market. Milwaukee soon followed it up with its M12 line, further increasing its popularity. 

As Milwaukee was powering forth in what seemed like an unstoppable force, DeWalt was falling behind, as it was yet to release a power tool with a lithium-ion battery. Its 18V XRP stem-packs batteries were famous for draining fast and requiring meticulous care not to ruin them completely. 

Fortunately, DeWalt soon hit back with its slide-packs, which received better feedback. However, it still lacked behind as Milwaukee had become the leading force in the industry. 

As DeWalt licked its wounds and watched as Milwaukee rode the wave of popularity, it planned a comeback. And soon enough, the company caught up thanks to its FlexVolt line with its 60V tools—DeWalt began making impressive strides to regain its top spot. 

So without a doubt, both DeWalt and Milwaukee represent some of the best innovations within the tool industry. Despite their setbacks and countless misses, they’re still the top choice for many tradesmen, be it electricians, constructions, and even home DIYers. 

However, before we jump to any conclusions and leave it as a draw, let’s look at some more specific comparisons.

Milwaukee vs. DeWalt – General Price Point

Milwaukee and DeWalt’s general price points differ a bit but are often quite similar. Milwaukee has a higher price on average than DeWalt, which is mostly due to it being more focused on specialty tools designed for professionals. 

Another possible reason for its slightly higher price point comes down to its inclusion of higher-capacity, in all, better quality batteries than DeWalt. Where DeWalt’s batteries often wear out rather quickly, especially if you don’t care for them right, Milwaukee’s batteries have more life in them. 

DeWalt also provides more options at lower price points, which is why it’s popular with home DIYers. However, it certainly manufacturers a few high-end tools, as well, but despite this, Milwaukee is a bit pricier.

However this isn’t always the case. An example where DeWalt is slightly pricier than Milwaukee is when looking at their brushless cordless drills. At time of writing the M18 Compact Brushless 1/2-inch Drill CP Kit from Milwaukee comes in slightly more expensive than the 20V Max XR Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit from DeWalt. Still, the difference isn’t significant and this could easily flip the other way around if prices change. 

DeWalt vs Milwaukee – Warranty & Service

DeWalt

DeWalt offers a range of warranties and guarantees on its different tools and accessories. These include:

  • No break guarantee: This guarantee covers the brand’s SDS MAX High Impact Carbide and the SDS Plus 2 Cutter Masonry Drill bits. DeWalt stresses that should the drill bits fail for any reason while the anchor wear mark is still visible, it will replace it for free. 
  • Three-year limited warranty: On most tools purchased after January 1st, 2004, DeWalt includes its warranty package. This consists of three years of free repairs, a one-year free service contract—DeWalt maintains and replaces worn-out parts—and 90-day money-back guarantee.
  • Seven-year limited liability warranty: This package provides you with free repairs on any defects or faulty materials and workmanship. Additionally, you get one year of free service where, as above, DeWalt replaces any worn out parts as long as it’s caused by normal wear. Lastly, it includes a 90-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied and a free warning label replacement.
  • 30-day money-back guarantee: Footwear with this label are eligible for returns within 30 days. DeWalt claims it has a no-question policy as long as you bring your receipt.
  • Full lifetime warranty: On DeWalt’s mechanics tools, you’ll get a full lifetime warranty, meaning that it will replace any instrument should it fail. Surprisingly, DeWalt claims you don’t need proof of purchase to claim the warranty. It includes all wrenches, ratchets, sockets, and drive accessories.
  • Limited lifetime warranty: DeWalt’s hand tools come with a limited lifetime warranty, which includes repairments or replacements of faulty equipment. The warranty covers accessories such as protective eyewear and earmuffs, but it doesn’t protect against abuse or misuse.
  • Limited warranty: Compressors, heated gear, and pressure washers come with DeWalt’s one-year limited warranty. It will replace and repair any damages as long as it wasn’t subjected to abuse or improper usage. While their power tools can come with either a 3 year limited warranty or a 5 year limited warranty.

DeWalt offers a comprehensive warranty and service guarantee on almost all its tools and accessories. However, its power tools aren’t covered for long—a mere three years. Still, it’s open about its terms and conditions and provides plenty of help when needed. 

Milwaukee

When purchasing a Milwaukee tool, it automatically includes a warranty, meaning there’s no need to register it. However, you should keep your receipt so that the service can determine the product’s age and which warranty it includes. 

Milwaukee includes a five-year limited warranty with the majority of its cordless power tools; when purchasing specialty tools, you’ll receive a different guarantee, which is usually around one to three years, depending on the specific tool. 

Similar to DeWalt, one of Milwaukee’s better warranties is the one included with its hand tools. Here you’ll receive a limited lifetime warranty, meaning you can get repairs and replacements as long as you are the owner from purchase. 

On the other hand, most of its cordless outdoor power equipment only includes a three-year warranty. Some of its portable power tools carry a five-year limited warranty covering any malfunctions or defective material and workmanship. 

Milwaukee vs DeWalt – Innovation and Proprietary Technology

Both Milwaukee and DeWalt have outperformed many brands in terms of innovation and technology. However, is one outdoing the other? 

Milwaukee

At the forefront of Milwaukee’s innovation and technology, we have its disruptive innovation initiative. This company philosophy has motivated it to develop new products that perform and deliver new technology. Although, in true Milwaukee fashion, it’s mostly advertised toward the professional tradesmen. 

Here are a few of Milwaukee’s innovative technologies:

  • RedLithium batteries: These are lithium-ion batteries designed to last longer, work harder, and react faster than general professional lithium-ion batteries. According to Milwaukee, they include an exclusive integration of pack design, chemistry, and circuitry, for outstanding output in any environment. They fit all M18 tools, ranging from the small to the large. You can also use Milwaukee batteries in DeWalt, but you need an adapter.
  • Force Logic: Milwaukee engineered its Force Logic technology to change the way we use high-force tools. It designed a new tool that simplified the otherwise complicated process of creating holes in rigid materials to ensure the best user experience. You can find Force Logic with all Milwaukee Knockout systems. 
  • Shockwave: Back in 2009, Milwaukee launched its Shockwave line, consisting of power tool accessories. This included driver bits, nut drivers, bit holders, and adapters designed for impact drivers. Over the years, the line grew, and it now has everything from sockets, holes saws, step drill bits, and drill bits. The accessories provide durability and superior performance.
  • One-Key: This is one of the newer additions to Milwaukee’s portfolio of innovations. It’s a digital platform, which provides you with a free-to-use inventory program to keep track of your tools and other equipment. 

As we can see, Milwaukee has some strong, innovative technologies under its belt, and I’m confident that we’ll see more in the coming years.

DeWalt

Where Milwaukee focuses on improving their tools, DeWalt is starting to expand into new territories to make life on the job site more comfortable. Here are a few of its most notable innovations:

  • FlexVolt: DeWalt’s FlexVolt batteries took the construction world by storm. The batteries include an automatic voltage-switching technology, making it possible to use in three different tools; the 20V Max, 60V Max, and 120V Max. They provide outstanding runtime and cordless power.
  • Jobsite WiFi Access Point: Not necessarily an innovation to better its tools, the DeWalt WiFi point is a superb invention to improve the conditions on a job site. It consists of a small receiver box that you can hang from the ceiling or place where it’s most convenient. From there, it will provide WiFi access from the trailer to the rest of the site. 
  • Breakaway Reciprocating Saw Blades: Anyone who’s worked with saw blades knows how frustrating it is to throw away half-used blades. To avoid this, they came up with its Breakaway blades that allow you to remove the worn-out section, reinsert, and use the unused part—you basically get two in one. 
  • Tool Connect: This resembles Milwaukee’s OneKey service. It allows you to track, manage, and customize your tools and battery inventory. You set it up on your smartphone, and from there, you can control everything through the Inventory Manager software account. It helps you eliminate the loss of accessories and detect theft. 
  • Airlock: To eliminate dangerous dust on the job site, they came up with its Airlock technology, a universal system that connects to your tools and extracts dust to minimize cleanup.

These are just some of the futuristic technologies we’ve seen from DeWalt. The company is ever-evolving, so like Milwaukee, I’m sure we’ll see plenty more in the future.

Milwaukee vs DeWalt – Extent of Product Range

Between Milwaukee and DeWalt, there are close to 1,000 tools combined. 

Milwaukee

Milwaukee alone has over 200 in its M18 lines, with an additional 100 in the M12 line. Furthermore, we have its newest MX Fuel line, which features cordless power tools and other corded power tools. 

By 1935, the company had improved even further, developing a much lighter 3/4-inch electric hammer-drill. And later, in the 1930s, Milwaukee launched a single horsepower grinder and sander that was capable of withstanding everyday abuse while only weighing 15 pounds. 

Another noteworthy invention came about in 1949, where Milwaukee introduced a clutch system, which provided a smoother operation. Then in 1951, the company launched its Sawzall reciprocating saw that still dominates its tools to date. 

Still, the two brands have been around since the early 1900s, so both have a rich history of manufacturing power tools. DeWalt has a more extensive product range only because  because Milwaukee spent a few years improving already-manufactured tools. 

DeWalt

Around 1992, DeWalt launched its first collection of portable electric power tools and accessories, designed for the professional woodworker market and residential contractors. Another significant milestone occurred in 1994 as it introduced 30 new cordless tools and accessories, including the infamous 14.4V cordless driver.

In 2011, they expanded its production to include hand tools, and already in 2013, it introduced mechanics’ tools. Later in 2016, the company launched the FlexVolt, one of the first hybrid voltage battery packs within the construction sector. 

The FlexVolt can run at either 60V Max or 20V Max mode, depending on which FlexVolt tool you use it in. This offers a new level of convenience on the worksite.  

Today, their 20V Max line has well over 200 products, and it’s now expanding thanks to the addition of the new FlexVolt line of power tools. Besides this, it boasts a long list of corded products, although I couldn’t find the exact number. 

Power tools aside, Milwaukee and DeWalt also provide a long list of accessories, which includes everything from drill bits to tape measures and safety gear. DeWalt, particularly, has a clear edge when it comes to fasteners since its parent company owns both Powers Fasteners and Infratech. 

DeWalt vs Milwaukee – Power Tool Comparison

Now we’ve reached the best part of the comparison: the tools. Below I’m giving you a quick run-through of their different products and how they compare:

Milwaukee vs DeWalt Impact Drivers

When it comes to Milwaukee vs DeWalt impact drivers, we see a few distinct differences in extra features and overall performance. 

For starters, the Milwaukee impact driver has its brushless powers-state motor, which is highly efficient and delivers up to 1800 inches per pound of torque. This makes the job a breeze to get through, no matter the size. 

However, with the DeWalt impact driver, you get the sleekness of the quick-change chuck, saving you time while changing bits. Surrounding the chuck, there are LED lights that illuminate the work area. Another thing that makes the operation more smooth with the DeWalt is the bit ejection feature. 

Milwaukee vs DeWalt Nail Guns

When it comes to nail guns, both Milwaukee and DeWalt have a few great options. 

DeWalt currently has two models, the DCN690 20V Max Framing Nailer and the DCN692 20V Max Framing Nailer. The DCN690 is a single-speed nail gun, while the DCN692 is dual speed. Both feature brushless motors and carry lithium-ion batteries. 

Although the Framing Nailers from DeWalt are great, they lack a bit behind Milwaukee’s. In comparison, their power is adequate, and shooting nails into hard materials can be time-consuming and tiring.

Not only is Milwaukee’s Framing Nailers more powerful, but they also offer several other conveniences that DeWalt didn’t. For instance, Milwaukee provides a larger capacity for nails, helping you get the job done quicker with fewer stops. 

The Milwaukee Framing Nailer can also shoot in 500 to 700 nails on one battery before needing a recharge, whereas the DeWalt could only do 500. 

However, the downfall of the Milwaukee is its weight. It’s a hefty tool, which can leave your arm and body tired after a long day on the job. 

DeWalt vs Milwaukee Circular Saws

With circular saws, we have the DeWalt FlexVolt and the Milwaukee 2830-20, and both are quite similar again. 

Both saws perform well at removing dust without needing a vacuum, and they have superb power.

Thanks to its smooth operation, Milwaukee takes an advantage; it glides effortlessly across the wood during rip and crosscuts. On the other hand, the DeWalt has a large, comfortable handle, providing you with a solid grip for better control. 

Milwaukee vs DeWalt Miter Saws

When it comes to the miter saws, we again see a better performance from Milwaukee but more convenience features from DeWalt. 

The Milwaukee corded miter saw is one that can go for hours, taking on hard and soft materials. Although it’s corded, it has a long reach, and it’s often the first choice for those looking for power and portability. 

DeWalt, however, features an excellent fence clearance with an above-average capacity. Additionally, it includes LED lights, allowing you to see where you’re cutting.

Milwaukee vs DeWalt Routers

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Compact Router has a lot to offer. It features a brushless motor and a long-lasting, high-capacity battery, enabling you to get more done on one charge. 

What’s a little different about this one is that it includes LED lights so that you can see your work area. The DeWalt cordless router isn’t far behind in this category. It also features LED lights to illuminate your work area. 

The DeWalt stands out thanks to its quick-release clamp, which allows coarse depth adjustments and to remove the fixed base when changing the bit. Another pro is the soft-start motor and variable speed control.

However, the Milwaukee is more powerful, capable of running between 10,000 RPM to 31,000 RPM. DeWalt only reaches up to 25,500 RPM. It’s not easy saying which one is better, but it again comes down to whether you prefer power over convenience features. 

DeWalt vs Milwaukee Power Drills

Both the DeWalt and Milwaukee pack a punch in terms of power, and they sit high on the list of the best power drills. The Milwaukee drills exceptionally fast, but the DeWalt is more compact, and with its brushless motor, it’s also lighter.

Milwaukee vs DeWalt Hammer Drills

With the hammer drills, we see a few differences. For instance, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel hammer drill displays a harder torque than the DeWalt DCD997. However, DeWalt held up better under pressure, meaning it didn’t slow down as much and thus got the job done faster. 

The Milwaukee is built for high-speed drilling; it can power through tough materials at high speed, whereas other hammer drills need to slow down. That makes it an excellent option for electricians and plumbers.

Which Is Better Milwaukee or Dewalt? 

It’s tough to say which brand is the best. Both have great features and technologies that, no matter what, will help you complete your work or project. 

Conclusion

DeWalt vs Milwaukee; a comparison of two heavyweights within the tool production sector. Both have long histories dating back to the early 1900s, and they’ve had their ups and downs. Being part of two larger parent companies, they’re thriving, leading the industry with their innovative technologies. 

Which brand do you prefer? Please leave your answer in the comments below.

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