When you compare Makita vs DeWalt, there are no easy answers. As with most of our comparisons, a lot depends on your personal preferences or needs. Still, there's a lot to know about these two power tool giants that can help you decide where to spend your hard-earned money, or just walk away knowledgeable.
A Brief History of Makita and DeWalt
Makita Company History
Makita's history dates back to 1915, when it specialized in car sales and repairs. Mosaburo Makita founded the company in Nagoya, Japan.
In 1958, Makita introduced the first power tool, the Portable Planer. Later that same year, before the first circular saws and drills arrived in 1962, a portable grooving machine was introduced.
Fast forward to 1978 (disturbingly close to the year I was born) and we see Makita's first cordless tool. The 7.2V cordless drill took 10 years to develop, and by 1987 the line had 15 compatible tools. The more powerful 9.6V series has 10 tools.
In 1985, the American Makita Corporation opened a manufacturing and assembly facility in Buford, Georgia.
Well into the new millennium, Makita developed the first brushless motor fastening tool in 2004 for the defense and aerospace industries. In 2009, Makita had its first brushless impact driver, and in 2015, the 18V LXT welcomed its 100th compatible tool.
After inventing the radial arm saw, Raymond DeWalt formed the DeWalt Products Company in Leola, Pennsylvania in 1924 (some sources say 1923). His first product was the "Wonder Worker" – a saw that could be configured in 9 different ways. He also has a dedicated mortiser.
American Machine Foundry acquired DeWalt in 1949 and sold it to Black & Decker in 1960.
In 1992, DeWalt introduced the original line of portable power tools aimed at residential contractors and professional woodworkers. Two years later, they've launched 30 cordless tools and are leading the 14.4V power game. During this launch, DeWalt also claimed to have the first combo drill/driver/hammer drill.
In 2000, DeWalt acquired Momentum Laser, Inc. and Emglo Compressor Company. In 2010 they launched their first 12V max tools and switched to 20V max Li-Ion tools a year later.
Brushless motors joined the lineup in 2013, at the same time DeWalt made the move to move manufacturing back to the US while still using global materials.
DeWalt Tool Connect went live in 2015, and FlexVolt multi-voltage technology followed in 2016. A few years later, we saw the introduction of the DeWalt FlexVolt Advantage tool, which allowed 20V tools to have higher speed and torque when paired with a FlexVolt battery.
Makita v. DeWalt Ownership
Who owns Makita?
In short, Makita owns Makita. That's what they are. Makita acquired Dolmar in 1991 and they have now fully integrated it into the Makita brand name.
Makita shares trade on the over-the-counter market.
Who owns DEWALT?
DeWalt is part of SBD (Stanley Black and Decker Group). They have quite a broad portfolio of brands:
- Black & Decker
- CAM (Comprehensive Aerospace Manufacturing)
- Mac tools
- baud cable
- Powers Fasteners (now part of the DeWalt brand name)
- Nitro alcohol
- Stanley (separate divisions of Tools, Engineered Fasteners, Healthcare and Infrastructure
They also own a 20% stake in MTD Products. Stanley Black and Decker is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Makita VS DeWalt Location
Makita U.S. and Global Sites
Makita's global headquarters is located in Anjo, Japan. American Makita is located in Buford, Georgia, with headquarters in La Miranda, California.
They also have a site in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, and Dallas and Wilmer, Texas.
All in all, Makita has 10 factories in 8 different countries, including Brazil, China, Mexico, Romania, UK, Germany, Dubai, Thailand and the US.
DeWalt U.S. and Global Sites
Stanley Black and Decker, or DeWalt for short, is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland.
There are 7 manufacturing plants in the US:
- New Britain, Connecticut
- Hampstead, Maryland
- Shelbyville, Kentucky
- Greenfield, Indiana
- Chiro, South Carolina
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Jackson, Tennessee
Globally, they use components made in Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, UK and USA.
Both Makita and DeWalt are major names in the power tool industry. It's impossible in the space where we have to compare Makita vs. DeWalt in every tool category, so we'll sample the most popular categories.
Overall, Makita has a reputation for being a step up in quality compared to DeWalt, and at a higher price point. However, both brands are considered well-rounded professional-grade tools.
Both brands of cordless tools come with a 3-year warranty, and DeWalt also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year service agreement. Both support the battery for 3 years.
View DeWalt's full warranty details here and Makita's details here.
Makita Vs DeWalt Hammer Drill
Both Makita and DeWalt have deep drill lines with excellent options in both the 18V/20V Max and 12V categories. In our head-to-head tests of the best cordless drills, DeWalt tends to fare better.
That said, we haven't tested Makita's XPH14 yet, so there's more to come! Here's how each brand's flagship models stack up:
| DeWalt 20V Max FlexVolt
| Makita 18V LXT
|Maximum speed||2250 rpm||2100 rpm|
|Maximum torque||Chapter 1219||1250 in-lbs|
|Blow rate||38,250 times/min||31,500 times/min|
|length||8.4 inches||7 inches|
|Weight (with battery)||5.9 lbs||6 pounds|
In terms of functionality, the DeWalt DCD999 is tool ready to connect – if you need this functionality, just add the chip. It is also a 3 speed drill compared to Makita's 2 speed. One thing to keep in mind is that the best performance will only be obtained with FlexVolt batteries, and these batteries are very powerful. If you want to save weight, you're going to have to give up some performance.
Be sure to check out our article on the best DeWalt drill bits
In contrast, Makita's XPH14 is mostly about improving performance over its predecessor while maintaining the same basic feature set and quality design. If you decide to go with the smaller 2.0Ah battery, you won't see the drastic drop in performance like with the FlexVolt Advantage.
Makita Vs DeWalt Impact Driver
The tables are turned in an impact driver and the Makita has the edge. Their flagship impact drivers tend to be more compact, lighter, and outperformed the DeWalt in our tests.
In terms of intelligence, it's a matter of preference. DeWalt utilizes the app-based Tool Connect system to customize controls, track and view diagnostics. Makita has built in several assist modes that don't require an app to use.
|DeWalt 20V Max Tool Connection DCF888|| Makita 18V LXT
|Maximum speed||3250 rpm||3600 rpm|
|Maximum torque||1825 lb-in||1600 in-lbs|
|length||5.3 inches||4.6 inches|
|weight||2.0 lbs||1.9 lbs|
Breaking down the feature set, both are 4-speed models with electronic controls. DeWalt's Tool Connect allows you to customize every setting and provides "last seen" traces and extensive diagnostic information through the app.
Makita keeps it smart with two self-tapping screw modes and a slow start assist mode. There is also a reverse rotation auto-stop mode. The button directly below the LED light is programmable to quickly switch between your two favorite modes. If you choose not to program it, it will just cycle through the four standard modes.
Makita Vs DeWalt Impact Wrench
Makita has developed a little more line of cordless impact wrenches than DeWalt, although DeWalt covers a similar range. While Makita doesn't have any air impact wrenches, DeWalt keeps their line to a minimum.
Makita's cordless lineup ranges from compact all the way up to a 3/4-inch, 1250 foot-pound beast, and a 7/16-inch hex for utility workers.
The DeWalt also runs compact down to 3/4", but it's a bit short at 1200 ft-lbs on their largest model. Like the Makita, they have a 7/16" hex head for utility work.
For smart control, DeWalt has a Tool Connect-enabled mid-torque model, while Makita has expanded its assist mode technology to several options.
Here's a quick comparison of each brand's most advanced mid-torque models:
|DEWALT 20V MAX TOOL CONNECTION DCF896|| Makita 18V LXT
|Maximum speed||2000 rpm||2200 rpm|
|Tightening torque||330 foot pounds||520 foot pounds|
|starting torque||600 foot pounds||740 foot pounds|
|length||6.95 inches||6.70 inches|
|weight||3.45 lbs||4.60 lbs|
Like we've seen on the Tool Connect impact driver, DeWalt's Smart Impact Wrench has customizable settings (3 instead of 4 this time), tracking, and diagnostics. Precision Wrench and Precision Tap assist modes help control and cut threads.
The Makita has 4 standard speed modes, 3 forward assist modes and 3 reverse assist modes.
Makita Vs DeWalt Circular Saw
Both Makita and DeWalt have a deep range of cordless circular saws available, with rear handles and rattlesnake styles on top. They also have some of the most popular wired models.
Beyond that, both brands offer corded and cordless track saws. If you don't need a full track saw, Makita goes a little deeper with a track-compatible Sidewinder.
Thanks to the FlexVolt, DeWalt's latest generation of cordless circular saws cut faster than Makita's 18V X2 in our tests. However, this performance comes at a price, and the Makita enjoys less weight and performance, which is certainly not unassailable.
Makita saws also tend to operate smoother than DeWalts, and their maximum-efficiency blades allow for better spares. If you need more capacity, Makita has a 9 1/4-inch cordless model and a 10 1/4-inch corded model.
Smart Saw Technology
DeWalt has several smart saws. Their Power Detect model offers more power with a 20V Max, 8.0Ah battery, and their FlexVolt Advantage does the same when you use a FlexVolt battery. There is also a Tool Connect ready saw coming soon.
Makita was the first to introduce AWS – the Auto-Start Wireless System. With compatible cordless tools and vacuums, pulling the tool trigger automatically activates the vacuum so you don't have to click manually.
DeWalt offers remote-control-based systems for its cordless FlexVolt vacuums and wireless tool control systems, but doesn't yet have any circular saws enabled for them.
Here's how the best cordless rattlesaws stack up:
| DeWalt 60V Max
| Makita 18V X2
|blade speed||5800 rpm||6000 rpm|
|Maximum 90º depth||2 9/16 inches||2 5/8 inches|
|bare weight||8.2 lbs||7.7 lbs|
|Dust removal port||Yes||Yes|
While DeWalt makes a line of tool-attach-ready cordless circular saws, the DCS578 model isn't one of them. However, the FlexVolt Advantage model does.
On the other hand, if dust control is important to you, the XSH07 is Makita's AWS Sidewinder. If you don't need that functionality, there is also a non-AWS model (XSH06).
Makita and DeWalt Miter Saws
DeWalt miter saws are one of the most popular miter saws, and they were the first to offer us a complete 12-inch cordless model in their FlexVolt line. From basic all the way up to dual-bevel sliding compound miter saws, DeWalt's lineup is impressive.
Makita also has an impressive line of wired and wireless products. It features a direct drive system and runs smoother than belt drive saws such as DeWalt's (and pretty much everyone else's).
Let's take a look at these two flagship cordless miter saws:
| DeWalt 120V Max
| Makita 18V X2 LXT
|blade speed||3800 rpm||4400 rpm|
|90° maximum cutting length||16 inches||15 inches|
|45º maximum cutting length||12 inches||10 1/2 inches|
|nesting crown capacity||7 1/2 inches||8 inches|
|Vertical base capacity||6 3/4 inches||6 3/4 inches|
|Cutting Line Indicator||LED lampshade||laser|
The advantage of DeWalt is that they make a 120V adapter that allows you to run their saw on AC power if you wish.
Makita includes AWS on this model along with automatic shifting to help maintain a consistent blade speed.
Makita and DeWalt air compressors
DeWalt has a wide range of compressors from 1 gallon trim models all the way to 80 gallon stationary compressors with options in between. They also have a 2 gallon cordless FlexVolt model which is one of the best cordless compressors out there.
Makita's line of air compressors isn't that deep, but what they have is really well developed. Their flagship 5.5 HP Big Bore cart model features a V-twin pump design, and they have some of the quietest compressors for the internal work.
Makita & DeWalt Lawn Care
OPE is big business, and both Makita and DeWalt have invested heavily in it. Stanley Black and Decker has a wider range on the Craftsman line, but DeWalt has 20V Max tools for contractors and small lawns as well as the more confident FlexVolt 60V Max line. They've had a 40V Max range for a few years, but seem to have fallen behind the FlexVolt.
Of all the major power tool brands, Makita is the most capable and comprehensive when it comes to OPE. They have a very wide range of tools on 18V and 18V X2 platforms, as well as professional grade gas equipment with MM4 4-stroke technology.
What makes Makita's cordless OPEs so impressive is the way they are intentionally marketed. For example, they own more lawnmowers and mowers than most people. The goal is to provide solutions for every user, from someone who cares for a small lawn to a commercial lawn caregiver.
Makita Vs DeWalt Batteries and Chargers
Makita has a good line of 12V tools, but their main focus is 18V. They come in 2.0Ah, 3.0Ah, 4.0Ah, 5.0Ah and 6.0Ah batteries, with 2.0Ah and 5.0Ah leading the way in most kits.
Makita boosts power with the 18V X2 series. Using two 18V batteries and connecting them in series to the tool, they can generate 36V power without having to purchase another battery system. So far, Makita has stuck to using 18650 cells in their batteries and has not followed the crowd to use the larger 21700 cells.
For larger outdoor power equipment and heavy duty tools, Makita introduces the XGT 40V Max tool. The new line already has around 50 tools by 2022 and should grow rapidly.
Makita tends to include Rapid Optimum chargers in their 18V kits. These fan-cooled chargers take a 5.0Ah battery from empty to full in as little as 45 minutes and are available in single-port and dual-port versions.
DeWalt has a burgeoning 12V line that was recently revitalized with brushless motors. However, their main thrust is the 20V Max and 60V Max FlexVolt series. DeWalt also has their line of Atomic tools, which are known for their compact size, but for some reason don't always match the compact nature of their 12V Xtreme tools.
20V Max batteries are available in 1.5Ah, 2.0Ah, 4.0Ah, 5.0Ah, 6.0Ah, 8.0Ah and 10Ah. The 2.0Ah and 5.0Ah battery packs dominate the kit, while the 8.0Ah battery highlights the 20V max power sense line, and the 10.0Ah battery pack appears with the lawn care products.
The FlexVolt battery can switch between 20V Max and 60V Max depending on the tool you plug it in. They are available in 2.0/6.0Ah, 3.0/9.0Ah and 4.0/12.0Ah sizes. They need to run the FlexVolt tools, and the FlexVolt Advantage tools get a big boost from that.
Most kits come with a standard single-port charger. Available upgrades include a two-port standard charger, several single-port fast chargers, and a four-port fast charger. DeWalt also has a four-port charging station that charges the battery when plugged in.
18V or 20V Max and 40V Max with 60V FlexVolt?
While there is much debate on the forums, 18V and 20V Max batteries are identical – just marketed differently. A fully charged battery has a voltage of 20 volts. When you start using it, the voltage drops rapidly to the nominal 18 volt reading. (Similarly, a 12V battery has a maximum voltage of 12 volts and 10.8 volts once it's down to nominal.)
Therefore, DeWalt and Makita batteries use voltages that exactly match their 18V and 20V Max tools. Everything changes when it comes to larger products.
Makita needed a way to handle larger power tools and equipment, similar to the DeWalt FLexVolt. Their response came in the form of the XGT platform and 40V Max tools. The XGT is also capable of running two batteries at 80V max when needed (think cordless electric cutters and 2" SDS-Max rotary hammers).
Watch a video on 18V vs 20V Max here.
Makita Vs DeWalt: What's Your Phone?
The Makita vs. DeWalt debate is certainly an interesting one, and there are good reasons to pick either one. So what?
Let us know which brand you think is better and why in the comments below.