Best Power Tool Brand - Comparing 18 Famous Brands on 6 Ranking Factors
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Power tools are manufactured by a variety of manufacturers across the globe. Whether you are looking for an angle grinder or a cordless drill, you will always find various options in the form of different models made by different brands. It always remains an interesting question as to which is the best power tool brand?
Today’s post is focused on comparing 18 popular companies including Bosch, Dremel, Ridgid, Dewalt, Porter-Cable, Black+Decker, Craftsman, Bostitch, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Makita, Metabo HPT, WORX, Rockwell, Skil, Festool, Fein and Flex to find the best power tool brand after comparing them on different parameters and aspects as ‘best’ is a very broad term capturing different meaning for different people.
Ranking a product is simple but ranking a brand is not. While we all agree that the main ranking factor should be based on the question that who makes the best quality power tools? There is no simple answer to that because a brand is making a multitude of products and not all products enjoy same sales, popularity and reviews from customers belonging to various locations and using the tools for various applications.
In order to make a fair evaluation, we have ranked the brands on the following main factors,
1. Brand Age
2. History of Innovation
3. Product Versatility
4. Product Support
5. Cost Effectiveness
6. Popularity of Brand Name
Ranking Brands on Age
Who has been making power tools since the longest?
The more time a brand spends in the market developing and improving tools for its customers, the more mature it becomes with respect to its ability in satisfying customers.
We have chosen age of the brand as a ranking factor because age determines experience of brand in the market that serves as a marker of its capacity and ability to make consumers happy with its products and after-sales services.
So, without further due, let’s rank the 18 brands we have selected on the basis of their age counted from the year they were founded,
*Age as in 2020
Fein sits at the top of the table being the oldest power tool brand. It was founded in 1867 by Wilhelm Emil Fein, a German inventor, who created a workshop for electrical and mechanical works in Stuttgart, Germany that later grew into multinational brand we now know as Fein.
Who has been the most serial innovator in power tools?
Age alone cannot determine if a brand has remained at the top of its game over its lifetime. How many major innovations has the brand made in power tools industry is a very important factor in determining the best power tool brand.
In this regard, we have ranked brands based on how many major power tools innovations they have led since their inception. A good history of innovation is a representative of creative culture within the organization.
We have devised a scoring system to rank brands such that,
Innovation is measured in some important and common power tools with results concluded at the end.
Electric drill is considered to be the mother of all power tools because of being the simplest, earliest and the most widely used power tool. Let’s look at the top brands who developed and innovated the most in electric drill technology.
Drill drivers and hammer drills enhanced the conventional drill by adding a striking mechanism to lead power tools towards heavy duty and demolition jobs. The brands who led the way in drill driving and hammer drilling technology are as under.
Rotary hammers are the ultimate demolition tools used in rough and tough environments. Consequently, the technology that goes behind making a durable tool required lots of testing before handing over the tool to construction workers for use all day long. Here we rank the leading brands in development of the rotary hammer.
Angle grinder is a very basic power tool for all garages and workshops dealing with metal cutting. We rank the top brands who led the way in developing and innovating the angle grinder.
While circular saws have existed much earlier than the timeframe this article covers, portable and handheld circular saws are the precursors to the modern circular saws popular in power tools market today. Let’s look at the top brands who led the way in development of portable circular saw technology.
Sanding machines are very important tools in carpentry. The invention of motorized sanding machines has benefited professionals and DIYers alike. Let’s take a look at the top innovators in sanding machine technology.
Brushless wave of innovation has been made by all brands but not at the same time. Let’s look at when each of the top power tool brands introduced brushless motor technology in their tools,
If you are interested in learning more about the importance and benefits of brushless motors, you can read our post on brushless motors here that explains if brushless motors really make a difference or are just a marketing gimmick.
Some other important inventions and innovations not separately mentioned are as under,
1. In Reciprocating Saw technology, Milwaukee introduced the world’s first reciprocating saw in 1951 and made it cordless in late 1990s while Porter-Cable introduced tool-free blade change mechanism in reciprocating saws in 1995.
2. Dremel introduced the world’s first rotary tool in 1935. Bosch introduced a similar concept with their Combi-Tool in 1952.
3. Fein introduced the world’s first oscillating tool in 1985.
4. Festool introduced the world’s first transportable gas chainsaw in 1927.
5. Porter-Cable introduced the world’s first portable band saw in 1953.
6. Flex tool introduced handheld polishing tool in 1987.
7. There is no competition in the portable nailers and staplers technology as it is totally dominated by ‘Bostitch’ with the development of first coil nailers in 1965, framing nail gun in 1970, roofing nailer in 1982 and metal connecting nailer in 2002.
If you would like to learn more about the history of power tools, we have dedicated a complete post on the topic here that draws a timeline recording innovations in power tools industry that presents the birth of popular power tool brands and the major innovations made by them over the course of history.
Based on our scoring scheme described earlier, Fein has won the title for the best power tool brand for having the richest history of innovation. It is closely followed by Milwaukee and Porter-Cable. The complete scoring chart is given below.
Tied Runner Ups
Another important ranking factor for finding the best power tool brand is the variety of products a brand is making. Some brands stick to a particular category of product. For example, Bostitch has focused on making stapling and nail driving power tools and Dremel has focused on rotary tool and its accessories. On the other hand, Dewalt and Milwaukee are examples of brands who have made many different types of power tools.
For product versatility, we checked the brands in competition for their product variety for 23 different power tool products. We checked if brand’s line-up includes Reciprocating Saw, Circular Saw, Drill, Hammer Drill, Drill Driver, Miter Saw, Impact Wrench, Impact Driver, Electric Chainsaw, Gas chainsaw, Rotary Tool, Oscillating Tool, Portable Band Saw, Chop Saw, Portable air compressors, Electric Ratchet, Palm sander, Electric nail gun, Electric brad nailer, Electric framing nail gun, Angle grinder, Vacuum cleaner and Air Blower.
The results saw Craftsman, Ryobi, Makita and Metabo HPT tie at the first place as presented below.
The complete chart of product versatility is presented below. You will have to zoom in to view it clearly.
Who is offering power tools at the most affordable prices?
Another ranking factor that we have selected is cost effectiveness. It takes time, effort and creativity to make affordable and budget products.
However, keeping in view the fact that power tool specifications vary greatly even across different variants of the same brand, it becomes difficult to select one product across all the brands and compare its price.
In view of above, we selected two products to lock the variation as much as possible. The first was an angle grinder and the second a Li-ion battery.
We compared the cost of corded angle grinder of size 4.5” with 7-8.0 Amp power rating with minimum features to get a representative lowest price a brand is offering for its product. Then we calculated price per dollar for each of them to remove the effect of slight variations in power and size. The results found Porter-Cable to be the best power tool brand in cost effectiveness with Fein being the most expensive.
Festool doesn’t make corded angle grinders in bare tool form. WORX and Rockwell also didn’t have any corded angle grinders for this comparison. Dremel doesn’t make any angle grinders so it was excluded.
In second product, we compared the cost effectiveness over batteries in which we locked the specifications to 18V, 2.0 Ah with fuel gauge to show battery level. There were a few deviations made to accommodate Festool, Fein and Flex Tools into the comparison, however, cost per ampere hour was calculated to account for such variations.
Comparing the results of the two comparisons, one of the angle grinder and other of the battery, we find that Black+Decker is making top five in both categories therefore we conclude that Black+Decker is the most cost effective power tool brand. The runner up is Ridgid because its cumulative rank is better than other brands after Black+Decker.
Who stands behind its products the most?
How much support is provided by the manufacturer is another very important aspect. We took warranty terms as representative of brand’s support because a good warranty shows brand’s confidence in its products and puts you – the customer on safe side with respect to your investment in the tool. It shows how firmly does a brand stand behind its product.
While there are different warranty terms for different category of power tools manufactured by each brand, the standard warranty terms are taken as representative. It applies to majority of the power tools you are going to purchase.
Results show that majority brands are offering 03 year warranty as their standard and Metabo HPT is the clear winner as the best power tool brand for product support based on its lifetime warranty for majority of cordless power tools while Black+Decker has been placed last for offering a 02 year warranty with a lot of focus in warranty terms on the product being used only in home environment.
Complete results are presented below,
Who is the most widely known?
Our last ranking factor is popularity of the brand name in public. While a brand can have its own cult, it is of importance that a brand name is able to get itself recognized in general public. It makes a brand more trustworthy.
We selected three markers in order to compare brands on popularity,
1. Using google trends tool to find the most searched brand name worldwide as well as in the USA.
2. Survey conducted by LifeStory Research website based on over 8,000 opinions from USA on power tool brands trustworthiness.
3. Poll conducted by website Garage Tool Adviser for favorite brands.
Google trends is a convenient and reliable way of exploring popularity of any search term worldwide as well as in the USA. We compared all 18 brands on our list in Google trends and found Bosch to be the winner in worldwide popularity.
When all brands were compared for popularity in United States, Milwaukee and Dewalt were the winners.
LifeStory Research, a website based on conducting surveys and researches related to public opinions, conducted a survey in United States between January and December, 2020 based on 8,365 opinions of people regarding trustworthiness of power tools brands. It found Dewalt to be the most trustworthy power tool brand in United States followed by Craftsman.
Garage Tool Adviser, a website based on power tools reviews, conducted a poll for choosing the best power tool brand in September, 2020 that was won by Milwaukee with 25% of total votes very closely followed by Dewalt with 23% of total votes.
Based on the three chosen markers for evaluating popularity of brand name in general public, we conclude that Bosch is the most popular power tool brand worldwide while Dewalt is the most popular power tool brand in United States.
We found three interesting facts in our research that didn’t fit in our main topic, however, we think that you will find them interesting if you’ve read so far so we decided we present them at the end,
1 - Majority of the power tool brands originated in either Germany or USA.
2 - Majority of the power tool brands are now owned by other companies. Many brands are owned by same owner.
3 - Power tools industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with multinational corporations running the popular power tools brands.
With this we conclude our topic. If you think we should include another brand in this competition, do let us know in the comments.
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