Makita vs. Ryobi: Which Tool Brand Offers Better Overall Value?

When it comes to the inevitable comparison of Makita vs. Ryobi power tools, there’s really only one thing to consider: is it worth saving the extra money in going with Ryobi, or will it be more beneficial in the long run to spend a few extra bucks and get the quality of Makita?

In terms of performance and quality, Makita hands down makes the better tools: better construction, more powerful and efficient, better durability, longer battery life…. Just better all around.

On the other hand, it’s really hard to ignore the fact that you can typically save a lot of money by going with Ryobi. Which, we might add, is a brand that’s introduced some surprisingly quality tools over the last several years.

In this article, we’ll help you decide which is the better option for your specific DIY intentions: do you need the quality and professional performance of Makita, or can you “get by” - like thousands of DIY’ers do - with the budget performance of Ryobi.

We’ll be comparing reviews, price points, and key features of each brand’s newest line of power tools, so read on and find out for yourself.

ImageProductPrice
Makita CX200RB 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless 2-Pc. Combo Kit...TOP RATEDMakita 18V Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo
  • from $197.99
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Makita XT273R 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Compact Cordless 2-Pc. Combo Kit (2.0Ah)Makita 18V LXT LI-Ion Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo
  • $130.19
BUY ON AMAZON
Ryobi P1813 One+ 18V Lithium Ion 750 Inch Pound Cordless Hammer Drill Power Tool Kit...Ryobi 18V ONE+ Brushless Hammer Drill Kit
  • $126.46
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Ryobi P882 One+ 18v Lithium-Ion Drill and Impact Driver KitRyobi 18V ONE+ Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo
  • $179.99
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Makita XT610 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 6-pc. Combo Kit (3.0Ah)Makita 18V LXT Li-Ion 6-Piece Cordless Combo Kit
  • $589.00
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Makita XT611PT 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-pc. Combo Kit (5.0Ah)Makita 18V LXT Li-Ion Brushless 6-Piece Combo Set w/ 5.0-amp Batteries
  • from $499.00
BUY ON AMAZON
Ryobi P883 One+ 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Contractor’s Kit (8 Pieces: 1 x P704...BEST BUDGET PICKRyobi 18V ONE+ 4-tool Cordless Combo Set
  • $154.00
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Ryobi P884 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Combo Kit (6-Tools)Ryobi 18V ONE+ 6-piece Cordless Combo
  • $227.99
BUY ON AMAZON

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Brief Histories: Makita vs. Ryobi

Not surprisingly, a lot of people nowadays end up basing their purchases or loyalty to a specific company off of manufacturing policies; more and more, it seems, folks are getting fed up with seeing that “Made in China” stamp on the box of whatever it is they’re buying, and they associate it with a general lack in overall quality.

While this is true in a lot of cases, Ryobi is actually one of the “budget” brands that is able to hold their own in terms of performance, construction quality, and even durability.  (Unfortunately, we can’t really say the same anymore for brands like Black and Decker, Kobalt, and, sadly nowadays, Craftsman).

Ryobi is a daughter company owned by the massive international conglomerate Techtronic Industries, and yes, most of their stuff is manufactured in China. You can rest assured though, that in terms of budget power tool options, they’ve been the leaders of the pack ever since Craftsman started going downhill over a decade ago. (And in fact, since Ryobi is owned by the same parent company, a lot of their products come out of the same manufacturing plants as Milwaukee tools, and we all know that Milwaukee is some of the finest quality out there).

The Japanese-based Makita, on the other hand, is entirely their ‘own company’ - they don’t fall under the umbrella of any larger corporate ownership. While they definitely take advantage of outsourcing manufacturing to minimize production costs, construction quality has never at all been an issue with them - they’ve always been at the absolute forefront of reliability and performance.

Makita vs. Ryobi Tool Reviews

Ok, so this is why we’re here - let’s take a look at some actual tools.

When it comes to power tools, multi-tool combo kits generally represent the best value, and this is where budget options like Ryobi can really really save you some money.

If you’re in the market for single tools though, i.e. only a drill or only a circular saw, there’s often not enough of a price discrepancy to justify the savings you’ll get on a Ryobi, compared to the performance and reliability you’ll get with Makita.

Take, for instance, cordless drill combo sets. You can pick up Makita’s brand new 18V sub-compact brushless drill/impact driver combo - two of the best-rated tools on the market behind only Milwaukee’s Fuel - for only slightly more than Ryobi’s new 18V brushless hammer drill.

Have a look at the reviews below to get a better idea of what we’re talking about.

Makita vs. Ryobi: Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combos, Brushless vs. Brushed 


Makita 18V Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Makita’s current sub-compact 18V brushless line of cordless tools is one of the best overall values we’ve seen hit the power tool market in a long, long time.

Performance-wise, the tools are maybe second only to Milwaukee’s cordless Fuel lineup, but price-wise there’s no comparison whatsoever - the Milwaukee combos are over 30% more expensive.

Since they were introduced several years ago, the Makita sub-compact brushless lineup has pretty much taken over professional job sites all around the country - you’ll see them nowadays more than DeWalt, Bosch, Hitachi, and even more than Milwaukee, given the big price gap between the two.

This two-tool combo easily represents one of the best values available today in the power tool market.

Makita 18V LXT LI-Ion Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Essentially the same thing as the above combo, but these are the original ‘brushed’ motor instead of the updated, more efficient brushless. (Check out our article here on the functional differences between brushed and brushless electric motors).

For over a decade now, the 18V LXT lineup has been one of the most efficient battery platforms on the market, and combined with Makita’s excellent engineering, construction, and performance, you simply can’t go wrong with any of their power tools, especially at a price point that’s only marginally more than the Ryobi lineup, which we’ll look at below.

 

Ryobi 18V ONE+ Brushless Hammer Drill Kit

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

We haven’t had a chance yet to try out Ryobi’s new brushless hammer drill, but looking simply at the price (it’s barely cheaper than the Makita) and overall performance feedback and customer reviews, we can’t imagine it even coming close to the value of Makita.

Also, Ryobi doesn’t even make a brushless impact driver, and for the price of their hammer drill alone, for a few bucks more you could get a Makita drill/impact combo with the legendary LXT Li-Ion battery platform. For us, that one’s a no-brainer.

Ryobi 18V ONE+ Cordless Drill/Impact Driver Combo

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is Ryobi’s standard (“brushed”) ½” cordless drill/impact driver combo. A good value, and decent enough tools performance-wise, but for just a little bit more you can get the Makita drill/impact combo with the LXT battery, so like we said earlier, it’s not really worth it in our opinion to save the extra money when you could be getting a much higher quality tool.

The Verdict: For single tools or cordless drill/impact driver combos, Makita is hands down going to be the better value. Yes, Ryobi is slightly cheaper, but not nearly enough to merit walking out on the reliability, reputation, and performance of Makita.

And as far as warranty, both brands have essentially the exact same 3-year limited guarantee on all power tools - another reason to go with Makita over Ryobi, if you’re only in the market for a single tool or a drill combo.

As you’ll see here in just a second though, the real value/savings of Ryobi comes into play when you start getting into the multi tool combo sets.

Makita vs. Ryobi Reviews: Multi Tool Combo Kits

Like we’ve said a few times now, getting into the four, five, and six-tool combo sets is where you can really save some money by going with Ryobi.

Now keep in mind, these tools are not on the same level performance-wise as one another; Makita is far and away the better tool on all levels. Construction quality, materials, durability/longevity, battery life, power, efficiency - there’s really no comparison.

That’s not to say that Ryobi is garbage, though. In fact, far from it - we know plenty of folks that have gotten by for years and years with Ryobi combo kits, and have had zero problems with them whatsoever.

The only time you’ll really notice the difference in quality between Makita and Ryobi is if you’re either using your tools for really long periods of time (6 hrs or more a day), or if you’re really putting them through the wringer and working with heavy duty material.

For example, if you’re trying to drill a ⅜” hole in a piece of ½” steel with Ryobi’s 18V cordless, you’re going to be left frustrated. Likewise, if you’re trying to use a Ryobi cordless circular saw to rip long pieces of 2x4’s or plywood, you’re going to have a tough time. This is where you’ll want something better quality like Makita. (Although for those kind of jobs, you’d be much better off using corded tools instead of cordless anyway).

So bottom line, if you’re just wanting to get a set of tools to have around the house for basic, light work, you’ll be fine with Ryobi. If you’re gonna be putting in long hours or tackling more heavy duty stuff, though, by all means you ought to spend the extra money and go with Makita.

Makita 18V LXT Li-Ion 6-Piece Cordless Combo Kit

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Makita’s rock solid, legendary 18V LXT cordless platform in a 6-tool combo set. What’s to say about this? There’s absolutely no questioning the quality and performance of the tools, it’s honestly just a matter of whether or not you feel you’ll get your money’s worth out of the set.

If you’re looking to buy a cordless set that you plan on using for like, the next ten years (or more), and have a decent garage workspace and know that you’ll get your use out of them, by all means if you can afford it, go with this Makita lineup over Ryobi. If you’re any kind of serious DIY-er, you’ll quickly come to appreciate the comfort, power, and efficiency of the 18V LXT platform.

The 6-piece set comes with a 6 ½” circular saw, a hammer drill, impact driver, 4 ½” angle grinder/cut-off wheel (a really great multi-use tool that you’ll get tons of use out of), reciprocating saw, LED portable work light, and two of the 3.0-amp 18V LXT batteries (with charger).

Makita 18V LXT Li-Ion Brushless 6-Piece Combo Set w/ 5.0-amp Batteries

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

To put it simply, this is one hell of a combo power tool set.

All the same tools as the 18V LXT kit aboce, but this one has Makita’s new brushless motors, which, to put it simply, absolutely rock.

And by the way, brushless motors are not a marketing gimmick - they really do offer a huge increase in performance, motor efficiency, and battery life (up to 50% more in fact, according to Makita). (Check out our article here on brushless vs. brushed motors).

The only thing that sucks, of course, is that they cost a decent deal more than their older ‘brushed’ cousins - if you want to get in on this absolutely pro-quality set, be ready to drop almost a cool grand.

Oh and one more thing, this kit comes with 5.0-amp batteries instead of 3.0-amp - you’ll literally be using the tools for days on end before needing a re-charge.

Our TOP Value Pick: Ryobi 18V ONE+ 4-tool Cordless Combo Set

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re not a hardcore DIY’er and you don’t really plan on doing a ton of work and/or using and abusing the heck out of your tools, you cannot beat the value of this 4-piece cordless set.

It comes with your standard ½” drill, a 6 ½” circular saw, a reciprocating saw, portable LED work light, and two 18V batteries with the charger - everything you’ll ever need for basic, light work in the home and garage, at a price that still drops our jaws to this day.

And don’t get us wrong - these are not junk tools by any stretch of the imagination. My father has been using the Ryobi 18V ONE+ platform for probably going on a decade, and has never had an issue with the tools. And that’s saying quite a lot, because he definitely puts his time in out in the garage.

Ryobi 18V ONE+ 6-piece Cordless Combo

Last update on 2019-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

All the same tools as the 4-piece combo, but with an ultra-handy multi tool and ¼” impact driver added on - two very useful tools that you’ll definitely get your use out of.

Comes with the same two 18V battery platform and charger.

The Verdict: We’ll go ahead and reiterate what we’ve already said a couple times now: Unless you plan on getting TONS of use out of your cordless tools, or if you really plan on putting them to the test with a massive renovation project and/or using them for six or more hours a day, it’s very hard to ignore the incredible price of the Ryobi combos. And not to mention, they’re actually decent quality tools that offer the same warranty as Makita.

The Bottom Line - Makita vs. Ryobi

Okie-dokie then, so what’s the final say?

If you’re only looking to pick up a cordless drill, or a drill/impact driver combo, for us there’s not enough of a price discrepancy between Ryobi and Makita to skip out on the performance that you’ll get with Makita - spend the couple extra dollars and get yourself the nicer drill. (Preferably, the new sub-compact brushless combo).

On the other hand, we can’t emphasize enough the insane value that you can get with a Ryobi four or six-tool combo. If you have realistic expectations of what the tools are built for (light, standard DIY work), you can save yourself a chunk of change by going with them over Makita.

Oh and one final thing that we didn’t mention earlier, you do have a couple more options in terms of combo tool kits if you’re not looking to get one of the full-blown four or six-piece sets.

For example, Ryobi has their cordless drill/circular saw combo with a battery and charger - the two most used/most common power tools on earth - that you can pick up for next to nothing.

Also, Makita’s best-value  (cheapest) combo set is available as a 3-piece kit, where you can get a cordless drill, impact driver, and reciprocating saw with the rock solid 18V LXT battery platform.

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