Milwaukee Company HistoryIf you’re one of the bunch who prefers to support American companies, then Milwaukee is of course is your option here. The company was founded in 1924 in – you guessed it – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and they started out primarily as an electric tool repair business until they made it big with a small electric hand cordless drill/power drill that they originally designed for Henry Ford.
Makita Company HistoryMakita, on the other hand, is a Japanese-born company that coincidentally also started as an electric repair company. Truthfully, they probably ought to be regarded as the biggest innovators in the power tool industry – they were the first to introduce cordless tools way back in the late 70s. So even though DeWalt may have revolutionized the cordless market in the early 90s, they certainly weren’t the first to think of or engineer them. Nowadays, both brands are massive conglomerates with manufacturing facilities all over the globe. Even though Milwaukee is headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, the company is actually owned by Techtronic – a massive Hong-Kong based investment enterprise. Manufacturing-wise, as we said, both brands have production/assembly facilities across the globe. The majority of Milwaukee’s manufacturing is outsourced to China, while Makita has facilities in nine countries, including Japan (where it’s headquartered), Germany, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.
Milwaukee & Makita Parent Companies
Techtronic Industries (TTI)Techtronic Industries is the parent company of Milwaukee. They own a wide variety of brands:
- Imperial Blades
- Dirt Devil
MakitaMakita is just Makita. It’s one of the few remaining power tool brands that is not owned by a larger company. Makita did acquire the Dolmar brand, increasing its already-impressive line of outdoor power tools.
Product Line DepthsBoth Milwaukee and Makita sell a wide variety of products. Below, you’ll find what each brand’s product line consists of.
Milwaukee Product LinesMilwaukee sells power tools, outdoor power equipment, lighting, hand tools, storage, job site apparel, site lighting, and accessories. Here are some of the specific types of products you can purchase from Milwaukee:
- Cordless Kits
- Track Saws
- Orbital Detail Sanders
- Dust Extractors
- Hammer Drills
- Impact Drivers
- Belt Sanders
- Pruning Saws
- Hedge Trimmers
- String Trimmers
- Lighting Testers
- Soft Storage
- Plastic Storage
- Knee Pads
- & More
Makita Product LinesMakita sells corded, cordless, and gas-powered products. While they may not sell as many products as Milwaukee, that doesn’t mean they won’t have what you need. For the average consumer, you can find everything that you need. Here are some of the specific types of products you can purchase from Makita:
- Hedge Trimmers
- Lawn Mowers
- Pole Saws
- Circular Saws
- Miter Saws
- Metal Cutting Saws
- Hammer Drills
- Impact Wrenches
- Area Work Lights
- Random Orbit Sanders
- & More
Brand Reputation & Cost of ToolsMilwaukee’s tools fall into the higher-end category of tools. Recently, Makita has been making the effort to compete with Milwaukee and has made some good progress. On average, Makita power tools are around 10 – 20% cheaper than Milwaukee’s tools. I don’t recommend that you let the price make your decision for you. However, I understand that you need to make the best decision for you. Milwaukee has almost always focused on making the most durable and reliable power tools. Arguably, Milwaukee products are the toughest tools in the industry. This makes them the go-to power tools for woodworkers and construction workers across the country. The Makita brand primarily focused on offering quality tools at an affordable price. This makes Makita products a great option for most homeowners or anyone who won’t be using cordless tools heavily. Milwaukee tools are definitely the way to go if you’re looking for more hardy tools.
Tool Comparison: Milwaukee vs. MakitaSo, tool-wise, is Milwaukee better than Makita? Well, to put it frankly, yeah, they are. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?), the question is, how much better are they? Are they really worth the eye-opening difference in price? Let’s take a close look and find out. Below, we’ll do a head-to-head comparison of Milwaukee power tools.
Milwaukee vs Makita DrillsDrills are arguably one of the most popular tools, which is why I’m putting it first. Which brand makes the better drill can’t be easily answered because it comes down to several different factors. The Makita GPH01 demonstrates quite a bit more soft torque than the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2804-20 hammer drill. The GPH01 also slows down very little in comparison to the M18 FUEL 2804-20. It also drilled faster in concrete. However, the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2804-20 is uniquely optimized for high-speed drilling. It is one of only a few tools that can successfully drive a 2-9/16″ self-feed bit through 2X material at a high speed. Milwaukee does make a smaller hammer drill that measures a1/4-inch less in length than the Makita XGT model. The biggest difference weight between the two is weight. The 2804-20 hammer drill weighs around 4.8 pounds and is loaded with an XC5.0 Ah battery. The Makita XGT GPH01 weighs around 5.8 pounds with its 40V Max 2.5Ah battery.
Milwaukee vs Makita Impact DriversIf the above hammer drill comparison indicates anything, it’s that these brands remain very competitive with their tools. When comparing the Milwaukee vs Makita impact drivers, two things immediately stand out. The third-generation Milwaukee 2857-20 impact driver adds just a millimeter of length to the Makita XDT16 impact driver. I would like to mention that Milwaukee has slight advantages when it comes to torque and speed. I do like the controls of the Makita since you get various driving and torque modes. Overall, I prefer the Milwaukee, but there isn’t really much of a difference, so we’ll say for this category, it’s a toss-up.
Milwaukee vs Makita Circular SawsMakita and Milwaukee have different approaches when it comes to making circular saws. While Milwaukee makes its circular saws to have maximum torque and power, Makita emphasizes the weight and power ratio. This can yield great results when you’re using the tool all day. Additionally, Makita tends to favor ergonomics and lower weight. Because of this, I’m going to give this category to Makita.
Milwaukee vs Makita Miter SawsMilwaukee makes one of my favorite corded sliding miter saws, the Milwaukee 6955. There haven’t been any new versions of this tool, and they haven’t changed anything on the design in years. However, the build quality and features still dominate for those not looking for a portable miter saw. When deciding between a miter saw from either company, you want to first understand the projects you usually encounter. You want to do this because it will help you determine the size of the miter saw you need. From there, take a look at the features.
When it comes to cordless miter saws, we love Milwaukee’s 2739 cordless 12-inch sliding miter saw. It’s 3/4 the weight of the corded versions, and it provides a similar amount of power.The Makita XSL07PT Cordless Miter Saw is another favorite of mine. It has no blade wobble, a long run-time, and plenty of power. This saw also cuts 5-1/4 in. of speed base upright. There is one downside that I would like to mention. It has an aluminum miter plate that wears down over time, and this can lead to inaccurate miter stops. If you’re looking for portability, definitely go with Makita. If you don’t mind a larger miter saw that doesn’t need to be moved around a lot, go with Milwaukee.
Warranty ComparisonsBoth Makita and Milwaukee offer warranties on all of their power tools. However, it’s important to note that the warranties differ greatly. Makita offers a 3-year warranty on all of their products. It doesn’t matter what kind of tool you purchase there is a 3-year warranty, and that’s it. Milwaukee has a different mindset when it comes to its product warranties. Each product has different warranties. One product may have a warranty that lasts and few months, another may have a warranty for a few years, and another product may have a lifetime warranty. You can go to the Milwaukee website to see all of the tools they offer and the warranty that comes with them. In addition to that, Milwaukee offers lifetime warranties on any manufacturing defects. For this alone, Milwaukee is the winner when it comes to warranties.
The Bottom LineSo, is Milwaukee better than Makita? I think we’ve answered that one pretty obviously. Now, are they worth their price tag? Oof. Not in our opinion. For the average, typical do-it-yourselfer, we can’t recommend going out and spending that kind of money on a power tool or cordless tool kit. For the purposes of probably 90% of homeowners/DIY’ers, the Makita power tool line-up will provide more than enough cordless power tools for what you need. Now, if you’re building a house, or doing a complete demo/rebuild/add-on, or you’re a professional looking for tools to bring with you to the job site every day, then by all means, we recommend making the investment and going with Milwaukee – far and away the better tools. Just not something that the average joe will get enough use out of to justify the price.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Makita and Milwaukee the same company?No, Makita and Milwaukee are not the same company. In fact, they have different parent companies.
Is Milwaukee good quality?Milwaukee is often seen as one of the best tool brands that you can purchase today. They offer both brushless and brushed options, and the quality is great for both DIYers and professionals.
Are Makita tools worth buying?Some Makita tool tests have found that their tools underperform when compared to other top tool brands. However, Makita offers great value for its tools.
Are Makita tools as good as Milwaukee tools?For the most part, Makita has several tools that are right on par with Milwaukee tools, but there are some Milwaukee tools that are of higher quality than the Makita version.
Is Makita better than Milwaukee for cordless hand tools?
There isn’t a direct answer to this question. Milwaukee tools are good quality and perform well. Makita tools are cheaper but can get the job done. However, one is technically better performance-wise. But Makita may be better for you if you’re just performing tasks around the house. Milwaukee makes excellent tools for heavy-duty projects and jobs, but if you don’t need that, why pay the extra money?