When people — whether businessmen or online readers — contacted about Milwaukee vs. DeWalt, we realized the answer was more complicated than most imagined. Are you asking who makes the best tools? Or are you asking about the larger company itself? To provide an answer, we felt compelled to delve into the history of Milwaukee and DeWalt, including their size, number of employees, and parent company.
We also need to look at what tools each company makes – and even where they come from. Their general reputation and core tools will also play a role in answering this question. It's important to understand where each manufacturer leads the industry and the tools and techniques they pioneered. Finally, we look at battery technology and the depth of their line of tools and accessories.
In short — we have a lot to work on when comparing Milwaukee to DeWalt. There is nothing here…
Looking for some DeWalt vs. Milwaukee head-to-head? Check out these reviews!
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Milwaukee Power Tools Company History
Before 1924, Milwaukee Tool was an American power tool manufacturer headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company has a long history of making power tools for the tradesman in the United States. Since 2005, it has been operating as a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries (TTI), a Hong Kong company established in 1985.
TTI brands include RIDGID, AEG and Ryobi (licensed), Hart Tools, Empire, Hoover, Dirt Devil, Oreck and more. As you might imagine, Milwaukee Tool makes corded and cordless power tools. They also make hand tools and accessories like saw blades and drill/driver bits.
Back in 1918, Milwaukee Tool introduced the relatively lightweight Hole-Shooter, which, according to the company, was "the first lightweight, portable, one-handed 1/4" capacity drill." They expanded further in the 1930's and made tools to US Navy standards through World War II. Milwaukee Tool has always had a reputation for quality and this probably has something to do with initiating and cementing that reputation.
1951 The Sawzall reciprocating saw is introduced. As recently as 2005, the company kickstarted the lithium-ion battery revolution—even holding several key patents in the field. It has since pioneered Bluetooth tool technology with the Milwaukee One-Key. The company recently entered the world of wireless power devices with its line of MX FUEL battery-operated tools.
Dewalt Company History
DeWalt is an American corporation, representing a global brand of power tools for the construction, manufacturing, and woodworking industries. The DeWalt brand is actually owned by Stanley Black & Decker. The parent company also owns Irwin Tools, Craftsman, Lenox, Porter-Cable, Proto, Bostitch, Vidmar, and many more.
DeWalt was officially founded in 1923 by Raymond E. DeWalt (inventor of the radial arm saw). Ultimately, the company was sold to Black & Decker in 1960. Nothing exciting happened until 2004, when Black and Decker bought Porter-Cable and merged it with DeWalt of Jackson, Tennessee.
DeWalt expanded into hand tool production in 2011 and added machine tools in 2013. Three years later, in 2016, DeWalt introduced the FlexVolt, the construction industry's first hybrid voltage battery pack. It operates in 60V Max (series) or 20V Max (parallel) mode depending on whether it is placed in a 60V FlexVolt or 20V Max tool.
Milwaukee vs DeWalt main spot
Milwaukee Tool Manufacturing
It should come as no surprise that Milwaukee Tool has a rich history of American manufacturing. The company performs most of its research and development at its offices in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Milwaukee Tool and its parent company, TTI, manufacture tools and accessories worldwide, but primarily in Asia, Mexico, Europe and the United States.
Many of its popular accessories, including reciprocating blades and hole saws, are made at its Mississippi facilities in Greenwood, Jackson and Olive Branch. Milwaukee Tool also has three manufacturing facilities in Mukwonago, West Bend and Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Together these represent a key component of the global manufacturing footprint of its power tools, power tool accessories and hand tools businesses.
In January 2020, Milwaukee Tool announced it would build a $26 million factory in West Bend, Wisconsin, to manufacture hand tools for electricians and linemen. The facility opens in 2022. They also plan to expand in Cookeville, Tennessee. In 2020 alone, the company plans to invest more than $100 million and create 350 new jobs in the United States.
Milwaukee Tools Made in the USA Products
Below is a brief summary of what Milwaukee Tool currently manufactures in the United States:
- Electrician's hand tools (pliers, cutters, screwdrivers, etc.)
- step position
- MX FUEL Rocket Tower Light and MX FUEL Drain Machine
- wired sawtooth
- big drill
- serrated blade
- hole saw
- Band saw blade
- Oscillating Multi-Tool Blades (Imperial)
- Imperial I-beam levels; Torpedo levels; and Rafter, Combo, and Frame squares
- Imperial Warning Tape
- Milwaukee Rafter Squares and Framing Squares
Internationally, Milwaukee Tool and its parent company, TTI, manufacture many cordless power tools and battery-operated products in overseas factories located in China, Vietnam, Mexico, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Made by DeWalt
Like most power tool companies, DeWalt manufactures most of its inventory overseas. However, the company has recently made some progress in bringing more manufacturing back to the US — at least in part. In December 2013, DeWalt announced that it would assemble certain products domestically using globally sourced components imported from Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. You've probably seen or used some of these products with the "Made in the USA Using Global Materials" label.
Fast forward to 2015 and DeWalt operates seven manufacturing plants across the country to manufacture DeWalt tools and products. These facilities are located in New Britain, Connecticut; Hampstead, Maryland; Shelbyville, Kentucky; Greenfield, Indiana; Cheero, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Jackson, Tennessee.
If you go back to the parent company, Stanley Black & Decker, the US manufacturing is much larger, claiming 48 US manufacturing plants. The company maintains these facilities in about two dozen states.
Overseas manufacturing still dominates the bulk of DeWalt's power tools, primarily in Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee headcount
For a company owned by the parent company, it can be difficult to estimate its size. DeWalt claims on its LinkedIn page that it employs more than 10,000 people across its facilities. Since all of Stanley Black & Decker's brands use about 6 times that number, 10,000 seems like a relatively believable number.
Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation currently employs more than 5,500 people in the US alone. In 2020, Milwaukee Tool invested more than $100 million in its West Bend, Wisconsin, Wisconsin facility and other facilities, and created 350 new jobs in the United States. Worldwide, Milwaukee's parent company, TTI, employs more than 22,000 people.
What parent companies are behind Milwaukee and DeWalt?
Technological Industries (TTI)
Milwaukee Tool's parent company is Techtronic Industries (TTI). TTI was established in Hong Kong in 1985, and it includes the following brands:
- Milwaukee Power Tools
- electron gun
- Rich (licensed)
- Ryobi (licensed)
- hart tool
- Emperor's Blade
- Hoover America
- dirt devil
TTI designs, manufactures and sells everything from power tools and outdoor power equipment to layout and measurement tools, appliances, and even floor care products. TTI's brands manufacture products for tradesman, consumer and industrial users in the home, construction, maintenance and industrial markets.
TTI is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the name of Chuangke Industrial Co., Ltd. (0669), with a valuation of approximately HK$87.84 (US$11.19) per share on April 3, 2023, and a market value of HK$1584.9B or US$20.2 billion. 2022 , with revenue of $7 billion and a gross margin of 39.1%, attributed its success to new product development and expansion across all categories.
Stanley Black & Decker (SBD)
Behind DeWalt is Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. SBD includes the following brands (among others):
- Black + Decker
- Owen Tools
- baud cable
- Mac tools
- Nitro alcohol
SBD, formerly known as The Stanley Works, is a Fortune 500 company headquartered in the United States. They manufacture tools, accessories and fasteners for the industrial, construction, home improvement and outdoor power equipment markets, as well as supply safety products. Headquartered in New Britain, Connecticut, Stanley Black & Decker was formed in 2010 through the merger of Stanley Works and Black & Decker.
As of 2019, Stanley Black & Decker employed approximately 61,000 people in 60 different countries. Stanley Black & Decker is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock symbol SWK, with a valuation of $90.41 per share on February 8, 2023, and a market capitalization of $13.38 billion. The company had revenue of $16.9 billion and an operating margin of 13.9%. It attributed its recent growth primarily to success in tools and storage, as well as industrial acquisitions.
Milwaukee vs. DeWalt Line Depth
When comparing the typical cost of tools between Milwaukee and DeWalt, you quickly realize that both companies make a lot of tools. Milwaukee Tool has over 200 tools in their M18 line alone and 100 or more in their M12 (12V) line. That doesn't include their newest line of MX FUEL cordless power devices (13 products and counting) or their acclaimed corded power tools and Packout modular storage system.
DeWalt has over 200 products in its 20V Max line before adding its new FlexVolt line of tools (dozens in the category to date) or its corded offerings.
Clearly, both brands are committed to making tools for professional contractors, tradesmen, and serious DIYers alike. Both brands also cover a huge range of accessories – from blades and drills to hole saws and specialty fasteners.
DeWalt has a clear advantage in fasteners, with its parent company acquiring Powers Fasteners and Infastech in 2012.
Overall, after reviewing and using hundreds of tools from both companies, we found Milwaukee Tools to be slightly more expensive on average. This mainly has to do with its focus on professional trade tools. They also tend to include larger, more advanced batteries in their cordless kits. Pricing slopes up a bit when you realize the number of very trade specific instruments. DeWalt may offer more options for those less expensive tools. That's not to say that both companies don't make high-end tools, or that you won't find entry-level tools for users on a budget. Overall, we don't see enough differences here to really make a significant distinction.
Example Key Milwaukee vs. DeWalt pricing:
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2-Inch Impact Drill with One-Key Kit – $349
- DeWalt 20V Max XR Brushless Tool Connection Hammer Drill Kit – $369
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hammer Drill/Impact with One Key Combo Kit – $449
- DeWalt 20V Max XR Tool Connection 2 Tool Combo Kit – $499
- Milwaukee M18 Compact Brushless 1/2" Drill CP Kit – $169
- DeWalt 20V Max XR Compact Brushless Drill/Driver Kit – $179
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel Rear Handle 7-1/4″ Circular Saw Kit – $449
- DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max 7-1/4″ Worm Drive Saw (9.0Ah) – $399
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel Pipe Thread Kit – $1,699
- DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Cordless Threader Kit – $1,699
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Warranty and Service
Most of Milwaukee Tool's cordless power tools come with a 5-year warranty. Some professional tools include different warranties – but the company will note that in advance. In particular, Milwaukee hand tools and their RedStick spirit levels come with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Most of their cordless outdoor power supplies come with a 3-year warranty. Tools do not need to be registered for warranty service, but the company will use the date of manufacture in lieu of a receipt. To get the most out of your warranty, we always recommend that you register the tool and/or keep your receipt.
Milwaukee battery warranties range from one to three years, depending on the battery pack. Get more Milwaukee service and warranty information here.
DeWalt offers a 3-year limited warranty on most cordless power tools with a 1-year free service contract and a 90-day money back guarantee. We also want to point out that DeWalt backs its machine tools with a lifetime warranty. This means that if any DeWalt machine tool fails for any reason, the company will replace it — even without proof of purchase. All other DeWalt hand tools come with a limited lifetime warranty against defects. Finally, some select DeWalt air tools come with a 7-year warranty, a 1-year service agreement, and a 3-day money-back guarantee.
Using a local dealer when purchasing tools almost always results in faster and easier repairs and service. This works for DeWalt or Milwaukee Tool.
View more DeWalt warranty information here.
So let's look at brand reputation. Both Milwaukee and DeWalt have established industry reputations for making exceptional tools. We found it difficult to determine which company had a better reputation for reliability or quality. 10 years ago, we would have told you that DeWalt was the industry leader in brand awareness. Yellow-and-black has built a solid reputation as the premier brand of professional-grade tools in general construction. In fact, you see yellow and black tools everywhere.
However, once Milwaukee started down the lithium-ion power tool path—starting in 2008—things began to change. Big Red enters the market with the M18 lithium-ion battery, followed by the M12 series. Trade-centric tools like copper cutters hit the market. Soon, DeWalt found himself about 2 years behind. The company was desperate to switch to lithium-ion batteries, but its 18V XRP battery pack got off to a poor start. It eventually moved to the slide pack, but by then, Milwaukee had truly become a force to be reckoned with.
DeWalt lost its "solo" status as the top tool brand and left Milwaukee vying for Pro dominance. Now, DeWalt seems to have caught up and even made some impressive moves with its line of FlexVolt 60V tools. These two brands represent just a few of the major Pro brands on the market. However, they do seem to be making some of the most innovative tools for the construction industry.
DeWalt and Milwaukee have long embraced brushless tool technology. Milwaukee was the first to introduce their brushless tools, immediately taking advantage of the ability to better control the speed of the drill and driver through electronics. A few years later, DeWalt followed suit.
When comparing the Milwaukee ONE-KEY to the DeWalt Tool Connect, the differences quickly emerge. Milwaukee ONE-KEY offers more sophistication, maturity, integration and functionality than DeWalt Tool Connect. If tool tracking, inventory and tool control are at the top of your list, Milwaukee wins this area handily, though DeWalt continues to improve.
When comparing DeWalt brushless tools and Milwaukee brushless tools, both employ smart electronics to better control the speed and power of the tool while cutting, drilling, driving or sawing. The Milwaukee RedLink Plus handles these duties for the Big Red, but DeWalt chose to simply refer to their "brushless motor" technology in a more generic sense.
Between the two, we have to say that both do an excellent job of delivering speed modes, tool control and protection. We don't really see an advantage between the two, other than Milwaukee Tool's preference for smaller brushless motors that take up less space. Because of this, they generally produce smaller tools while delivering at least similar power.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Exercise
Arguably occupying the highest position in the debate is the question of DeWalt's vs. Milwaukee drills coming down to a few factors. First, the DeWalt FlexVolt Advantage DCD999 demonstrates softer torque than the powerful 4th generation Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2904 impact drill with AutoStop technology. It also holds up well under load, meaning it won't slow down once you give it a task. The DeWalt also drills faster in concrete.
Be sure to check out our articles on the best Dewalt drill bits and the best Milwaukee drill bits.
However, the Milwaukee 2904-20 is uniquely optimized for high speed drilling. It's one of the few tools that can successfully drive a 2-9/16" self-feed drill at high speeds through 2X material. Even the best cordless drills need to drop down to low speeds to do this kind of work (including the DeWalt above). This can greatly improve the workflow of plumbers and electricians.
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Hammer Drill Size Difference
Milwaukee also makes a smaller hammer drill – about an inch shorter than the DeWalt's! The weight between the two is almost matched. The 2904 hammer drill weighs only 4.9 lbs with an XC5.0 Ah battery. With a 5Ah battery, the DeWalt DCD999 is just over an ounce or so.
How about a compact or 12V model?
The field changes when you look at compact and 12V models. The Milwaukee M12 Series tools far exceed anything else in the industry. If you want to use a 12V platform, Milwaukee is the best.
We also think Milwaukee beats DeWalt for compact 18/20V tools. The new DeWalt Atomic line of tools promises to be compact and affordable, but it doesn't seem to be enough when it comes to saving weight.
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Impact Drivers
If the above hammer comparisons indicate anything, these tools are still fiercely competitive. When comparing Milwaukee and DeWalt impact drivers, two things immediately jump out. From our best impact driver comparison, we know that the Milwaukee 2953 impact driver is about an inch less in length than the DeWalt DCF887. We also know Milwaukee has a significant advantage in both speed and torque.
We do like the chuck-based LED lights that DeWalt used—it illuminates the work area more clearly. DeWalt also has decent bit catapults that Milwaukee lacks.
In the end, however, if you consider the flagship model, this one seems to be more of a match than a cordless hammer.
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Impact Wrench
Milwaukee impact wrenches include some of the most versatile cordless wrenches we've tested. However, their M18 FUEL 2863 provides slightly lower tightening torque than the DeWalt DCF900 Impact Wrench.
Let's consider some other Milwaukee vs. DeWalt impact wrench factors, though. First off, you can now use the Milwaukee 1" D-Handle Impact Wrench and the 1" 2867 Pistol Grip Model. DeWalt, on the other hand, lacks a 1-inch model. Its biggest tool is the DCF897 3/4" Impact Wrench. No matter how you slice it, Milwaukee has more and better options for maximum impact wrench power.
When switching to medium torque, the Milwaukee Medium Torque Impact Wrench provides up to 550 foot-pounds of tightening torque. Compare that to the 330 foot-pounds of the DeWalt DCF896 1/2" Impact Wrench. If you don't need the extra torque, these tools offer a compact solution. If you need more, DeWalt does have a tightening torque of 600 Foot-pound DCF891 Impact Wrench.
Milwaukee has also added more options in the compact "stubby" model and advanced brushless 12V impact drivers. In our opinion, no matter how you slice it, Milwaukee has the entire impact wrench market.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Circular Saw
If ever there were two companies fighting over a single tool for dominance, it was the question of buying a DeWalt vs Milwaukee circular saw. First, there are many physical similarities between the Milwaukee M18 and the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V rear handle and rattlesaw.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Diamondbacks Saw
When it comes to Diamondbacks, the price of the tools pretty much matches their physical characteristics. However, the DeWalt FlexVolt DCS578 saw is nearly a pound lighter, resulting in an overall lighter tool. The Milwaukee 2732 circular saw has less friction on its magnesium boots and handles 45-degree compound cuts more easily (the guard on the DeWalt actually gets in the way). We also prefer the guard, feeling it has better line of sight.
On the DeWalt side, we feel it has a better (and larger) handlebar design. It also has better tracking to keep straight lines during cutting. As we've said from the beginning – this one really feels like a toss-up, but if we had to choose, we'd probably go with the Milwaukee 2732.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Rear Handle Saw
Like the Rattlesnake, the DeWalt FlexVolt vs Milwaukee rear handlesaw dilemma is affected by the similarity of these tools. Both saws do a good job of removing dust without a vacuum, and the DeWalt can fill up your tool belt if you're not careful! Both rear handle saws have tremendous cutting capacity.
The base of the Milwaukee 2830 Rear Handsaw has a smoother feel so it glides through the wood when making crosscuts and lengthwise cuts. It also maintains a slightly better line of sight. The DeWalt DCS577 Worm Drive Saw has a better, larger handle that slopes forward. It gives you a firm grip and excellent control while cutting. Both saws track very well and don't easily deviate from a straight line of cut.
If cutting lumber goods takes up a lot of your time, any one of these saws is designed to please you. We really find it hard to recommend one of these. Pick one and know it will give you a ton of features and uptime.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Track Saw
Until recently, the decision was an easy one. Then, the release of the Milwaukee Track Saw (Model 2831) changed everything. This track saw is probably the company's most anticipated tool yet, with all the features we expect from such a tool. You get a 6 1/2 inch blade diameter that can hold up to 5600 RPM and can cut hardwoods like 2 inch oak or walnut without bogging down the blade. Milwaukee also has an extensive range of blades for cutting a variety of materials. They are available in 31, 55 and 106 inch rail options with connectors to create custom lengths.
The powerful DeWalt FlexVolt DCS520 Track Saw delivers up to 4000 RPM and cuts tougher materials with more care. DeWalt offers tracks up to 102 inches. You can also use the DeWalt DWS520 if you prefer a wired solution.
The bare metal pricing is almost an exact match, but DeWalt tends to beat Milwaukee on the kit pricing. Both brands also include one of the main storage cases with these tools (Milwaukee's Packout and DeWalt's Tough System).
Milwaukee Miter Saw vs DeWalt
In our opinion, Milwaukee has one of the best cord miter saws on the market. It hasn't changed in years, but features and build quality still dominate those not looking for portability. In the Milwaukee vs. DeWalt miter saw debate, start by deciding which tool you need.
When we wrote our best 12-inch miter saw article, we quickly noticed models with excellent fence clearance and above-average capacity. The DeWalt DWS716XPS Miter Saw remains our favorite. We love the LED cutting wire, which lets you see the cut even in broad daylight. The saw can also cut 6-1/2" vertical bases and 6-5/8" vertical nested crown moldings.
How about a cordless miter saw?
Glad you asked! On the cordless side, we like the Milwaukee Cordless 12-Inch Sliding Miter Saw. It's 3/4 the weight of their wire saw and cuts about as well.
The DeWalt FlexVolt DHS790 is better. Built on the platform of the acclaimed DWS780 miter saw, the tool has plenty of power and has an adapter available that lets you run it on AC power if needed. You can also get the single-battery DeWalt DCS781 FlexVolt 12" miter saw, which doesn't have the optional corded 120V adapter.
Finally, if you want a compact model, it's hard to beat the cordless DeWalt DCS361B, capable of cutting 175 2x4s from a single 4Ah 20V Max battery. Milwaukee also has a more compact 2733 7-1/4" Double Miter Saw. DeWalt is pricing the smaller saw $100 or more more than Milwaukee.
wrap it all up
Ok, we introduced the company's history, dynamics, technology and products. After that, it really comes down to doing some research of your own and seeing who you want to support with your hard earned money. The Milwaukee vs. DeWalt debate can get heated at times. However, from our perspective, we see two companies that are helping to make the industry a better place to work. Competition breeds tool innovation—which almost always helps serve consumers better.