Hitachi battery lawn mower. Best Cordless Power Tool Brands (2023)

Best Cordless Power Tool Brands (2023)

Which is the BEST cordless power tool brand? DeWALT? Milwaukee? Ryobi? This seems like a simple question, but the answer isn’t.

I last attempted to tackle this question in early 2021, and there have been enough developments and changes in the 2-1/2 years since then to justify an update.

Here is the question that started it all:

If you had to stick to one brand for most of your tools which would it be? Taking into consideration tool reliability, power, ergonomics, batteries and number of cordless tools.

Just one brand?! DeWALT. Wait, no – Milwaukee. Metabo HPT?

Most cordless power tool brands have their distinct innovations and selling points, and tool brands continuously and fiercely compete for a spot in your tool box.

Whether the question is about the best cordless power tool brand overall, or even which one brand I would stick with, the answer depends on the user.

Are you an electrician? Plumber? Carpenter? Deck builder? DIYer? Every user’s needs are different, and there’s really no singular best brand overall.

The real question to answer is this one – which is the best cordless tool brand for you?

Instead of simply answering the title question, I will offer my opinions on each particular tool brand to help you make your own determinations.

As always, readers’ opinions are extremely valuable. What would you say to anyone looking to buy into a cordless power tool system?

The brands below are listed in alphabetical order.


Benefits: Good performance and reliability.

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Downsides: Historically, Bosch has not kept up with competitors in the USA, and some innovations are released here later than in Europe or not at all.

What I Said in 2021: Bosch makes some spectacular tools. Looking at the greater picture, their 12V and 18V platforms aren’t as compelling as competing platforms. While I was impressed with some of their past releases, there are fewer reasons to buy into either of Bosch’s cordless power tool systems today.

What’s Changed? Bosch recently launched AmpShare, where their 18V battery will soon power a range of tools from numerous partnered brands. They have been releasing new tools at a faster pace, and also seem to have abandoned the somewhat silly names given to certain tools, such as “the Freak.”

Bosch still has holes in their cordless lineup, but they’ve been filling some of the more glaring ones. I anticipate that AmpShare will greatly help with this.


Benefits: Affordable price points for DIYers.

Downsides: Limited selection.

What I Said in 2021: Craftsman has been slow to expand their V20/20V Max cordless power tool lineup, but there are some interesting entries, such as a cordless air compressor.

What’s Changed? Craftsman has steadily been expanding their line of V20 cordless power tools, but still not at anywhere close to the pace of their top competitor. Their Brushless RP tools offer higher performance.


Benefits: Excellent tools, expansive selection, comfortable ergonomics, great reliability. DeWALT has been continually expanding their 20V Max cordless power tool lineup, as well as their FlexVolt lineup, and they have also been actively expanding their 12V Max Xtreme Subcompact line.

Downsides: Sorting through some of their core options can be a little confusing. For instance, you can now choose between 20V Max brushless, 20V Max Power Detect, FlexVolt 60V Max, and 20V Max FlexVolt advantage saws.

What I Said in 2021: DeWALT continues to have a lot of “firsts.” They’re no longer playing catch-up and are once again pushing boundaries.

Quite simply put, you cannot go wrong with DeWALT cordless power tools. DeWALT’s cordless platforms continue to have a lot of strengths, and few weaknesses.

If I had to choose a “Best Cordless Power Tool Brand Overall” winner, DeWALT would face off against Milwaukee in a battle too close to easily call.

What’s Changed? DeWALT has entered the automotive tool market with new ratchets, and recently launched new rivet tools. They’ve been filling noticeable holes. DeWALT’s PowerStack batteries provide numerous benefits over older technologies.

Notable Products: Power Detect and FlexVolt Advantage lines bridge the gap between 20V Max and FlexVolt 60V Max platforms. Even so, FlexVolt still provides a power benefit that most other 18V/20V Max systems struggle to match.


Benefits: Unique tools, such as hybrid corded-cordless sanders, good quality, brand reputation.

Downsides: Very limited product selection, very high pricing.

What I Said in 2021: If you want a Festool power tool, and you want it to be cordless, you have some options. Festool made a push in 2020 to consolidate some of their cordless power tools into combo kits aimed at contractors and remodelers.

Festool’s cordless platforms are limited, presumably because they are more of a finish and fine work brand. The brand is not focused on the broader needs of users involved in construction or the trades.

Additionally, Festool’s high pricing can make the tools inaccessible to many individual users.

What’s Changed? Festool has made some questionable design choices, such as launching a cordless dust collector vacuum that can only be used with smaller low capacity batteries. There’s also a new cordless reciprocating saw, which fills a hole in their cordless lineup, but doesn’t seem to be in the spirit of the brand’s core competency – fine finishing tools.


Benefits: Competitive performance (at least), next-gen Stacked Lithium batteries, numerous innovations and tools with distinct user benefits.

Downsides: As a relatively new brand, Flex is going to be playing catch-up for a few years, in terms of product selection and market share. Their 24V battery is going to be slightly larger than 18V batteries, but not without positive traits (such as in power delivery).

Overall: Flex has expanded their line of 24V Max brushless cordless power tools at a Rapid pace. The brand recently launched new compact core tools, and a strong selection of specialty tools, such as a cordless router, sander, and Band saws.

Flex aspires to be a major player in the professional cordless power tool industry, and so far it seems they’re doing everything right to get there.


What I Said in 2021: Hart is a Walmart-exclusive brand that offers entry-priced cordless power tools that are similar to Ryobi’s most basic offerings. If you’re shopping for the lowest cost cordless power tools on the market, I’d go with Hart (or any of these other brands) over the no-name stuff on Amazon and other online marketplaces.

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What’s Changed? Hart doesn’t share product news, but it looks like they added a couple of new tools since I last checked. Hart still looks to be an entry-level cordless brand aimed at beginners or Walmart shoppers buying on impulse.

Hercules (Harbor Freight)

Benefits: Better cordless tools for Harbor Freight shoppers.

Downsides: Limited selection, young brand reputation, still Harbor Freight.

What I Said in 2021: Harbor Freight launched the Hercules cordless power tool platforms with name-brand competitors in sight. I purchased earlier samples, and while respectable, the tools lacked the fit and finish I would expect from true professional-grade cordless power tool brands.

Harbor Freight and their Hercules line have potential, but it seems they are still striving to make cheaper tools. With new brushless tools on the way, it’s possible they are trying to walk down a different path, at least as far as the Hercules lines are concerned.

Harbor Freight has the potential to disrupt the core cordless power tools market, but they still have to prove they can deliver quality.

What’s Changed? Harbor Freight has been steadily expanding their Hercules lineup of “professional” tools. The quality seems to have improved – from pretty good to almost great – and the tools now boast a 5 year limited warranty.

Harbor Freight has been bouncing between different marketing strategies, and with the latest changes they’ve been following examples set by major industry players.

The tools are not quite on even ground with those from the tool brands Harbor Freight claims Hercules compares to, but they are inching closer.


Benefits: Strong reputation, gimmick-free solutions.

Downsides: Limited retail availability, limited tool selection, high prices.

What I Said in 2021: Hilti tends to target commercial users, rather than individuals. They have a strong FOCUS on masonry tools, but also some exceptionally capable tools for working with wood, metal, and other common construction and fabrication materials.

What’s Changed? Hilti launched Nuron, a new line of 22V cordless power tools. While not as comprehensive as competing professional tool brands’ lineups, Hilti quickly converted over dozens of tools from the outgoing tool system. There are still a lot of holes that need to be filled.

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Hilti still needs to do a better job at appealing to individual tool users.


Benefits: Brushless motors, inexpensive pricing on spare/replacement batteries.

Downsides: Limited selection.

What I Said in 2021: Lowe’s Kobalt 24V max cordless power tool platform focuses on brushless-motor tools, and with reasonable and competitive pricing.

There’s not much compromise when it comes to performance, and the newer XTR tools take things to another level with respect to power and features.

What’s Changed? Kobalt launched all-new core cordless power tools. They seemed to have all but dropped the XTR performance line of tools, except during holiday shopping seasons when the combos make a quick reappearance.

Lowe’s never seems to have a clear direction in mind for their exclusive tool brand.


Benefits: Broad 18V cordless power tool system.

Downsides: Makita has been slow to adapt to industry trends, and certain product categories are difficult to sort out with an excessive number of options. The 18V line hasn’t kept up with competing tool systems, and the new XGT line is very limited and expensive. Their revamped 12V Max cordless system has been stagnant.

What I Said in 2021: Some of Makita’s 18V LXT cordless tools are competitive, but the system has hit its limits. The new Makita XGT 40V Max platform is due to launch in the USA at some point, but the new system is not backwards compatible with their 18V cordless system.

What’s Changed? Makita has finally brought a couple of tools from the XGT line to the LXT line, but many premium features remain XGT exclusives, such as cordless drill anti-kickback tech.

Makita launched Outdoor Adventure in the USA, a new line of existing 18V tools but in an olive green color.

They have two main cordless systems – 18V LXT and 36V/40V Max XGT, and aren’t throwing their full weight behind either one.

Makita USA recently cut jobs company-wide, following their third price increase in just over a year.


Benefits: Great quality, performance, and reliability, and a strong reputation. Metabo offers more specialty tools that cater to fabrication and metalworking industries.

Downsides: Limited selection, less market availability and visibility compared to other pro-grade brands,

What I Said in 2021: Metabo has a lot of great cordless power tools, and has been expanding steadily. Its 18V cordless platform is more expansive in Europe, but an increasing number of tools have launched in the USA as well.

Metabo has embarked on a mission towards enabling a truly cordless jobsite, and each year they move closer and closer to that goal.

What’s Changed? Metabo used to do their part in driving the industry forward, but lately it seems like they’ve been falling behind. Where’s the cordless table saw, dust collection systems, air compressor, or other tools needed for the “cordless jobsite” they talked so much about over the years?

Metabo HPT (Formerly Hitachi Power Tools)

Benefits: Metabo HPT offers many excellent-quality 18V and MultiVolt cordless power tools, and occasionally innovates with unique offerings.

Downsides: Limited selection, Hitachi to Metabo HPT name-change has resulted in quite a bit of confusion. There’s added confusion between Metabo HPT and Metabo, as there is zero compatibility between the two brands’ cordless platforms.

What I Said in 2021: As a system, Metabo HPT offers a much smaller selection of cordless power tools than other brands. They have quite a few competitive and compelling tools, making the brand a potentially good choice if their strengths align with particular user needs and wants.

What’s Changed? Metabo HPT has been releasing new tools at a steady pace. Their MultiVolt cordless platform is excellent, and remains a very competitive choice. The brand needs greater market visibility; select tools are available at Lowe’s, but the retailer has done little to promote the brand or drive consumer awareness.

Notable Products: Metabo HPT’s 18V Triple Hammer impact driver remains a personal favorite.


Benefits: Great quality, reliability, and performance. Fantastic M18 (18V/20V-class) cordless power tool system and unmatched M12 (12V-class) tool selection. Milwaukee Tool is a very active innovator.

Downsides: M12 tools have a stem-style battery that inserts into the hand grip, resulting in a chunkier grip than some other brands can accomplish with slide-style batteries.

What I Said in 2021: Milwaukee seeks to be a “solutions provider,” and they charge into new markets with a disruptive ferocity. Their philosophy for the M12 cordless system has been to provide user-friendly alternatives to hand tools, and their expanding M18 system offers all the core tools pros and demanding users might need, plus many trade-specific options.

Milwaukee Tool cordless power tools can carry premium pricing, but they regularly offer very aggressive promotions in the form of free tool or battery bonus bundles.

While not the market-leader in every category, Milwaukee is an easy recommendation. Quite simply put, you can’t go wrong with Milwaukee cordless power tools.

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If I absolutely had to choose a “Best Cordless Power Tool Brand Overall” winner, Milwaukee would face off against DeWALT in a battle too close to easily call.

What’s Changed? Milwaukee has continued to innovate and push forward in recent years. I expect to see the brand shake up the entire industry once they launch – and heavily advertise – next-gen power tool batteries built with pouch-style Li-ion cells.

The MX Fuel line of cordless equipment redefined what can be powered with a cordless battery, and still holds untapped potential.

Notable Products: Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel and M18 Fuel brushless power tools are often considered the gold standard.

Porter Cable

Benefits: None.

Downsides: Limited selection, limited availability.

What I Said in 2021: Porter Cable was effectively pushed out of Lowe’s when Craftsman (also a Stanley Black Decker brand) came along, and out of Walmart after TTI launched their exclusive Hart tool brand there.

Porter Cable announced a new partnership with Tractor Supply in late-2021. No new tools or developments have been announced since then.

The brand doesn’t appear to be investing any time, effort, or resources into their cordless platform.

What’s Changed? Nothing.


Benefits: Ridgid has a strong selection of core 18V cordless power tools, and some unique and innovative tools sprinkled in. The brand offers a good balance between performance and price.

The Limited Lifetime Service Agreement covers parts, service, and batteries – with some restrictions.

Downsides: Smaller selection of 18V tools compared to other brands, 12V system has been abandoned (although you can still buy replacement batteries or chargers).

What I Said in 2021: Ridgid is a good brand and they have continued to expand and enhance their 18V cordless power tool system over the years. Some of their tools offer innovations not found in other cordless systems, giving some users reason to choose Ridgid as their primary or secondary brand.

What’s Changed? Ridgid has continued to launch new 18V cordless power tools. They haven’t been as innovative as in recent years, but are still going strong. Ridgid’s 18V line continues to be exclusive to Home Depot.


Benefits: Ryobi’s 18V One platform is huge, and satisfies a broad range of user needs, from beginner DIYer to value-minded pros.

Downsides: Ryobi’s commitment to DIYer users (a great thing) also means they haven’t updated their battery system to a slide-style form factor yet. Lower-priced tools have compromised features or performance.

What I Said in 2021: Ryobi is a very customer-centric brand that is well-liked and well-regarded among their many loyal DIYer users. Some pros will use certain Ryobi tools as well, especially for specialty tasks where a tool might not see frequent use.

What’s Changed? Ryobi has expanded their line of compact brushless 18V One HP tools, and added new home, hobby, and lifestyle tools, including from a new USB Lithium line of 4V-class tools and accessories.

Ryobi tools remains exclusive to Home Depot.


Benefits: Skil’s new cordless power tool platforms offer very high bang for the buck – competitive performance and above-average features for what you pay.

Downsides: Limited selection.

What I Said in 2021: Under new ownership, Skil has refreshed their branding and launched all-new cordless power tool lineups. They’re definitely worth a chance for DIYers looking to get modern features at affordable pricing.

What’s Changed? Skil has launched more tools and updated their core 12V and 20V class offerings. They have also expanded their cordless outdoor power tool offerings. With respect to core offerings – drills, drivers, and saws – Skil tools in many cases outperform competing products while also being more affordable.

Skil is definitely worth paying attention to.

Reader Recommendations

Which cordless power tool lineup(s) did you go with? What would you recommend to someone looking to buy into a new cordless power tool system?

46 Комментарии и мнения владельцев

As you made clear in the beginning of the article, the real answer is “it depends”. I think for the average homeowner or DIYer it’s hard to go wrong as nearly any brand will cover all the common bases. I am on DeWALT 20V and Flexvolt for standard and larger tools, and Milwaukee M12 for compact mechanics tools, and I’ve been very happy with that choice. Still, there are a handful of tools I have from other brands: A Makita bandfile I purchased a couple years ago when DeWALT and Milwaukee’s were unknown, a Metabo compact recip saw which can accept jigsaw blades, etc. I like FLEX a lot. I very nearly jumped into the system during the holidays last year. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before I will do so. Their inline handle circular saw is killer and it’s only a matter of time before I’ll need a replacement for my impact driver and Flex is my top choice because of the trigger bit release. It’s no slouch in the power department either as Torque Test Channel has demonstrated.

I also think flex is going to be a big player. I’m pretty heavily invested in red as a sparky, with some more red mixed with corded orange stuff (wen/rigid) still filling gaps for the some of the wood/metal and automotive/mechanic tools. I’ve gotten hands on some of the younger guys flex tools and like them. My eyes are on flex when their line flushes out and I need more solutions/replacements

I’m in the same boat as you. DeWALT 20V with slow expansion in to FlexVolt are my main tools, and M12 for compacts and “go bag” stuff. I see no reason to change that setup, but I wouldn’t call it brand loyalty so much as brand inertia. Both are good brands at more reasonable than Festool or Hilti, easy to get tools and accessories for, and reliable. For oddball one-off things I have gotten in to Ryobi 18V, but definitely prefer the red or yellow if I rely on it or use it a ton. Corded tools are all over the place, you don’t have to deal with battery lock-in.

Similar here with Makita 18v and Milwaukee 12v. Makita is only lacking 21700 based (or pouch) batteries to make their LXT lineup shine. Why they hesitate, I have no idea. M12 is awesome. So many choices, so many specialty tools. Only downside is ergonomics of the chunky handle, but I have size XL hands so not a deal breaker. Oh, and the price of some M12 Fuel tools is ludicrous, more than many 18v tools.

The M12 grip isn’t great, I agree. But like you I have large hands so it’s not a big deal for me either. And for some mechanic’s tools I really like how the smaller M12 batteries fit completely inside the tool’s handle so there is no brick hanging off the back. That is a huge benefit when you have to reach the tool into tight quarters.

It’s hard as a top to bottom home builder (we are in Northern Michigan and decent subs are few and far between)to run one platform. We run mostly Metabo HPT from ground up to framing. Great rebar tools, everyone loves their circ saws, impacts and nailers over the M18 stuff. Plus the corded adapter runs better off a generator than regular corded tools. We do use the M18 concrete vibrator as well, and the concrete saw to cut out centers for our bond beams. Mechanicals are pretty much all M12. From drywall out its pretty much Bosch, both 18 and 12. We do run some 18v Makita for trim still, but I’m trying to phase out and dump the system. If Bosch does a trim router they are probably gone. Absolute top quality tools for sure, but they haven’t kept up with their 18v stuff, and I don’t feel like adding another system with the 40v. Bosch has this little 12V router that is an absolute blast. I’m not in a construction environment, so I can’t say if it’s got enough power, but it’s just so tiny and well balanced. I build a lot of plywood box shapes and use it to flush trim and 1/4 round the corners.

Suprised you skipped on Bauer cordless from HF especially seeing you included Walmart Hart among some others low budget offerings. I am firmly invested in Milwaukee. Not saying each cordless tool is the best you can get, but the wide platform if 12 18v gives an extremly wide range of options. I personally have more of their 12v than 18v tools for my various jobs. One thing I would like to see is more of the either batteries option on the tools. M12/M18 BT speaker is a great example. They could done easily that with the fan, many of the lighting options and some of the other accesories like maybe the vac. Seems redundent all the new M12 only releases on exsisting tools. Also something like the small 5- 3/8″ M12 circ saw being is such a dud it would truly benefit from an 18v power source and bring it up “speed” (rpm) considering its FUEL. My 20 yr old 18v Ni cad Makita 6 1/2 circ cuts much better

I am split Ryobi and DeWALT 20v, with a sprinkle of Milwaukee 12v. But for my friends, if they’re somewhat serious about handyman I’ll guide em red or yellow, otherwise I push Ryobi. It’s such a solid brand for the price.

I would add that where you prefer to shop should be considered. Amazon is not an authorized Milwaukee retailer and Ryobi is exclusive to Home Depot. This may impact the platform you buy into. I bought a Bosch drill/driver kit almost 10 years ago but haven’t further invested in the platform. The tools work excellently but they don’t offer nearly as wide of a selection as other brands and they do not have many tools at various tiers. I have several Ryobi tools that don’t see regular use and I would recommend each of them. I have a DeWALT circular saw and drill/driver that I also love. I will buy more Ryobi and DeWALT tools as the need arises.

I like Milwaukee’s lights more (A/C and Battery option). I like their longer warranty, though they’ve shortened it for some of their stuff. I like packout. I like their specialty tools. But as a contractor that uses heavier cordless equipment I have to go with DeWALT. I tried Milwaukee’s chainsaw, tablesaw and 9″ cut off saw and they were great when they worked, but running them constantly for longer than 10 minutes (or less) would overheat the batteries. The tools were great, but 18v can’t handle the heat when a tool is drawing higher amperages. DeWALT’s solution of 20v/60v batteries really saves the day. Their batteries don’t last as long (at least to me they didn’t), but they don’t die in the middle of use from overheating. Their tools aren’t typically the most powerful, though they do have a couple tools that rank high, but their tools are fully capable for the tasks they were made for. I’m never wishing I had more power with anything they’ve made. If I need more power it’s generally because I need the big brother to whatever I’m using (don’t use an impact driver to put in 5″ LVL lags). You can’t go wrong with either brand but my setup is 20v/60v DeWALT Tools and 12v Milwaukee. All of it contained within Packout. If Milwaukee had done a 20v/60v switcharoo like DeWALT then I’d have gone with Milwaukee 100%.

My needs are pretty straight-forward, but after buying a Mafell FM 1000 WS as a spindle for my Shapeoko, I’m sorely tempted to get a Mafell drill as my only battery-operated power tool, and the P1CC Jigsaw as one of only a couple power tools.

The Mafell drill resembles Metabo’s, with the rotary dial above the battery being a common feature. Which would be the OEM?

Will, do you have more info on this spindle and mounting it to your CNC? I see your posts on r/hobbycnc a lot but haven’t seen much about this particular motor.

I still get requests for recommendations from family and friends – and also counsel that there is no one right answer. Each of the major brands have introduced one or more new tools that seem like they want to innovate. – but no one brand seems to me to cover 100%. On an A to Z basis I’v noticed a few new (or newish) items that look interesting as non-mainstream or innovative items: Bosch: Their Cordless T-Nailer for concrete (GNB18V-12N) DeWALT: Their Powerstack batteries Festool: nothing new that has caught my eye Mafell: Their KSS 40 and KSS 60 18m (185mm) cordless track saws Makita: Their GSX track saw (GPS01Z) and 10.25 inch saw (GSH04Z) Metabo: Cordless tapping drill (GB 18 LTX BL). cordless burnisher (600154850) and pipe sander (600192850) Metabo-HPT: cordless 36V Router (M3612DA), cordless connector nailer (NR3665DA) and duplex nailer (NR3675DD) for concrete forms Milwaukee: Garden lopper (2534-20), cable staple gun (2448-20) and fence stapler (2843-20) Ryobi: They keep impressing me with their releases in the hobbyist, home cleaning and OPE areas – although some of their newer cleaning tools seem to get mixed reviews.

@stuart Your comment about Milwaukee launching pouch-style batteries has me curious. When do you think we’ll see that happen? And will pouch-style effect M12 batteries also or only M18? I’m probably going to buy into M12 soon so don’t want to buy only to have way better batteries coming out shortly thereafter…

I don’t see how pouch style M12 batteries would work. If buying into M12, the 2.5Ah and 5Ah batteries are the latest and greatest.

That’s what I thought. What about the M18? When do you think we’ll see them introduce pouch-style batteries?

They have a new M18 battery coming out that they are calling FORGE. Their not yet released 2967 1/2″ impact is advertised as achieving its maximum torque with the aforementioned FORGE battery. Many people are speculating that it is a pouch style battery, but no one has been able to – or is allowed to – confirm that. Milwaukee is being pretty tight with details. The few retailers that had it posted have since pulled the listings down, but it seems like it is just around the corner.

Milwaukee has a patent for M12 HO batteries that use 3x 18650 in the handle and 3x 21700 in the base. No reason they couldn’t substitute 3x pouch cells in the base. As long as the chemistry is the same different style cells can be wired in parallel.

M18 pouch batteries are supposedly called “Forge” batteries and Milwaukee is going to advertise the new batteries with new tools that feature increased output when paired with the Forge batteries.

The big 3 are all good, but Milwaukee seems to be leading the charge in recent years, followed by DeWALT and Makita has been slipping a little imho.

Makita has excellent tools that just need a higher power battery to be competitive. 21700 or pouch style batteries would put them right back in the running. Pouch cells could even work on 18v X2 tools where battery width is a concern.

These days I look at Makita a lot like Toyota. Top notch reliability, easy to repair is something does break, but quite slow to adopt new technology and not the top performance.

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Milwaukee is the easy choice. Simplicity, no redundant/overlapping battery systems, high performance, trade specific options, market innovation. I’d like to see DeWALT catch up in some of those areas as well as Makita but from where I’m standing it’s a no-brainer.

I ended up buying into Hercules, not only for the price point, but the location of my local Harbor Freight just works well for me. As a DIY homeowner, I often have a need for a one time use tool, and Harbor Freight fills that bill perfectly and on a budget. (Of course, I was also moving on from an old Porter Cable kit, so take that for what it’s worth.) I notice you left off Bauer, and while I haven’t bought into that platform, it does seem to have the broad selection and affordability of a Ryobi, and definitely topping Craftsman. Thanks for the post. I’m always keeping my eye out for a secondary platform, sothese insights, and user input, are invaluable.

I don’t think Hilti will ever put any emphasis an on the individual tool buyer (at least at the DIYer / prosumer level). Even small general construction contractors wouldn’t have much of a need for a complete range of Hilti power tools, given what else is available as an alternative here in the USA. They might opt for a single specific solution to perform a required task, something that Hilti has always excelled at, but I can’t imagine Hilti ever competing with the breadth of product range that Milwaukee has and therefore never providing a total power tool solution to the entire construction trade. Even in the European market, Hilti doesn’t go after the sales at the individual level. Hilti HQ is about 10 miles from my father’s house in Liechtenstein. They do have a corporate store you can visit and make purchases in. But I don’t recall ever seeing any Hilti products in the nearest Bauhaus (European chain of home improvement stores). This just isn’t their FOCUS. On another European tool note, I just came back from Goodwood Festival of Speed. Wera had a very large demo store and stand setup, rivaling some of the smaller car manufacturers stands. A company I never heard of, Red Box Tools (, also had a very large stand store constructed from shipping containers at the FoS. Interestingly, Red Box has a USA location in Georgia and does custom foam tool organizer inserts, as well as selling a variety of European tool brands (Bahco, Knipex, Facom, etc). Outside of those two, I can’t recall any other major tool brands / vendors at Goodwood.

For me, both on a personal level and business level (I own a high end European automotive restoration shop), I went with Milwaukee back in 2015 or so when I realized that Lithium Ion battery tech was now viable and superior to previous generations and could replace corded and air tools in a professional environment. So our shop is exclusively M12/M18 for cordless power tools. Unlike what is typical in the USA with mechanic employees, I don’t require or even allow my staff to bring their own tools. That said, when I’ve made recommendations to friends and family for their general purpose cordless tools (mostly for DIY home tasks), I typically push Ridgid. The Home Depot Ridgid bundle deals are great value, the lifetime warranty gives long term piece of mind especially for casual DIYers where the tool and batteries may not be used for extended periods. And the Ridgid cordless range is wide enough to cover most DIY and prosumer level tasks.

Great article Stuart. Thanks for posting it. I’m slowly moving toward M18 tools but I’m so heavily invested in air and corded premium level tools that I’ll never have the collection some do. I’m still using my 12v Bosch tools that I purchased when they used to be labeled “10.8v” They just keep working. Ryobi continues to temp me. I use their 18v yard tools in my small AZ yard. I love the brushless 18v blower. I also have three different lights and their portable compressor. Direct tools, 40% off sale, is my go to for these products. Factory blemished has never let me down. As a retired mechanic my needs are much simpler now.

I’m was about 70/30 Milwaukee/DeWALT as a heavy DIY’er, occasionally contract jobber. Then Ridgid/HD started offering some crazy battery/tool combo deals and in spite of my OCD about adding a third battery platform, I’ve now got some Orange and have been super happy with them. Particularly the jobsite fans, a couple of lights, and their small bandsaw.

Fully brand agnostic. No one brand is consistently good enough or reasonably priced enough to use exclusively. Brands aren’t friends you’ll never catch me fanboying about any of them.

I have invested in Bosch. i like them and the 4.0 A batteries are the size of a 2.0 A However that FREAK still not convincing me, i like the fact you can change from tips to sockets, but not sure if i will buy again, kinda big too. I saw the new impact coming out soon from Bosch, maybe i’ll give it a try, or maybe i can get the new DeWALT DCF 845, seem nice and i still have a lot of batteries from when i was invested in DeWALT stuff. Will see.

Ryobi guy. DIY stuff only. They are great for DIY for two reasons. Cheaper than a lot of pro or on-site tool lines. A huge, absolutely huge offering of not only tools, but for stuff around the house. Not only do they offer a complete lineup, but they have several options for each to meet the budget. Their HP line was enough for me to not to buy Milwaukee/DeWALT/Flex as a supplemental system. For the non tool stuff, we have things like a water pump so we can drain our decorative fountain in seconds to clean it. A misting fan, how cool is that? Lights, flashlights, air compressors, job site and leaf blowers, hedge trimmers. For furniture assembly and lightweight tools, I picked the Skil 12v line. I have an irrational love of the Skil line-up. They are great to use with well thought out features, and they keep adding more tools. Which is encouraging. Their retail outlet is Lowe’s, which keeps them to odd end cap shelves. I thought about Craftsmen. But SBD batteries are kind of expensive. That’s okay for DeWALT, but for DIY, the pricing is silly.

If I were to pick one brand, it’d have to be Ryobi for: 1) All their crazy tools, like 4V ratchet, 4V foam cutter, 18V jump starter (if the reviews are good, I’m getting one), etc. 2) Selling affordable niche tools, like the belt file and glue gun. 3) HP line for more powerful tools 4) Getting deals at DTO Besides Ryboi, my other main line is Bosch 12V (frustrated with Bosch’s slow motion introduction of new tools, but love the ones I have). I have 1 Milwaukee and 1 Makita LXT. If I were to add other systems, I’m most tempted by Metabo HPT Multi-Volt, then maybe DeWALT 12V or M12.

Great update article! Minor typo: I think “Metabo HPT has been releasing new tools at a steady base” should be “steady pace”.

Pick a battery platform and don’t look back. Red or yellow you can’t go wrong. I have all red now except for my sawzall (NiCad yellow) and my impact drill (Makita). I had a Makita drill and a yellow drill stolen so I decided I was going to pick one platform for everything else and Milwaukee won out because I am a plumber.

Years ago I decided to go in on Craftsman based off the fact their BOGO deals helped me amass a collection rather quickly. I can honestly say I have had very good results thus far. Especially once I made sure it was going to be strictly brushless where available as the majority of their brushless tools are just red DeWalts. Although, if I were to start over, I would more than likely go with either Kobalt or Ryobi.

I have Metabo HPT (great brand for construction and framing due to their gray saws, drills, drivers and nailers). Bosch 12v for trim work. A few DeWALT XR 20v tools (jigsaw and OMT). I have corded Festool stuff, but haven’t gone into their cordless. I don’t plan to, because I am happy with Bosch. Would like to say that folks love to harp on Festool being expensive, but you do get some extras for the price. Each tool comes with Systainer, which is an appropriate system for a finish tool. The batteries are quite nice as well. I find it interesting that folks will buy M18 Fuel or DeWALT XR tools with big batteries, then get Packout or ToughSystem and call Festool “cost prohibitive”.