Makita Versus Milwaukee: Which Power Tool Brand Is Best?

Makita and Milwaukee are two of today’s most popular power tool manufacturers. Each offers a range of corded and cordless power tools, classic hand tools, gas-powered equipment like chainsaws, and more. Many tool buyers will choose a brand and stick to it. But how do you select between the likes of Makita and Milwaukee at the outset?
Whether you’re looking for a new tool brand or buying your first-ever pieces of equipment, picking a manufacturer is an important consideration. Because some brands have parts and accessories that are often interchangeable across their respective product line-ups, it pays to be loyal to a particular brand. So, between Makita and Milwaukee, which power tool manufacturer is the best? Let’s take a closer look at the two businesses and what they offer.

Background of the Two Companies

The Makita brand is now over a century in the making. The manufacturer was founded in Japan in 1915. Today, Makita remains headquartered in the Japanese city of Anjo, around 200 miles west of Tokyo. Makita manufactures its power tools in Japan and the U.S., as well as in Brazil, China, Dubai, Germany, Mexico, Romania, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.
Milwaukee, too, is also around a century old. Established 97 years ago, back in 1924, the American brand is now a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries, a Hong Kong-based company. While the manufacturer still makes some tools in Wisconsin, they now produce most in China and Europe.

Makita Versus Milwaukee: Product Range

Makita is well known for its cordless power tools and batteries. For example, the Japanese manufacturer produces a wide range of cordless drills, screwdrivers, impact wrenches, jigsaws, and planers. Makita also makes various classic tools, including gardening equipment, measuring implements, chainsaws, and generators, among other items.
Much the same is true of Milwaukee’s product line-up. Across its numerous factories around the world, Milwaukee produces various corded and cordless power tools, screwdrivers, knives, hand tools, pliers, and saws. Milwaukee is especially well known for its combination tool kits and specialty lighting.
Makita and Milwaukee are equally popular among both tradespeople and more casual home tool users. The two brands further sell an impressive array of accessories, storage solutions, and things like job site apparel, mostly tailored toward businesses and other professionals.

Makita Versus Milwaukee: Tool Prices

Both manufacturers have products ranging from under $50 to $2,000 or more. Across the board, Milwaukee’s tools are typically slightly more affordable. For example, customers can expect to pay around $130 for a Milwaukee 12-volt cordless 3/8-inch drill/driver kit with two 1.5Ah batteries.
By contrast, Makita’s comparable 12-volt cordless 3/8-inch brushless driver/drill kit, with two marginally higher-capacity 2.0Ah batteries, costs closer to $180. Each of these examples includes a charger. However, the more expensive Makita drill also comes with a hard case, whereas the cheaper Milwaukee product includes a fabric tool bag only.
In terms of availability, neither brand sells directly to consumers. However, most Makita tools are available from over 25 online retailers, such as Amazon, Home Depot, Toolup, and Zoro Tools. Those shopping for Milwaukee have a smaller choice of around a dozen online suppliers. However, shoppers can find them at Home Depot, Toolup, Zoro Tools, and further local sellers.

Makita Versus Milwaukee: Warranties

Whether buyers choose Makita or Milwaukee, it’s essential to pay particular attention to the warranty included with any purchase. Makita boasts an impressive range of one-year, two-year, and three-year general and limited warranties for its power tools. If a tool is faulty due to defective manufacturing, Makita will repair or replace it without charge.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee offers a similar degree of coverage for its power tools, with a small number of products also available with a warranty of up to five years. Elsewhere, Makita and Milwaukee alike promise to honor limited lifetime warranties specifically in regards to their classic hand tools.
Of course, limitations and exclusions apply to all warranties from both brands, so it’s important to read the fine print. Furthermore, once a tool’s limited warranty has expired, or to secure an extra degree of coverage in the interim, an extended warranty is advisable.

Extended Makita and Milwaukee Warranty Coverage

In the U.S., neither Makita nor Milwaukee sells extended warranties for its tools. Overseas, Milwaukee might extend their warranty if you register a product with the manufacturer soon after purchasing. However, the warranty is still limited.
In North America, Makita offers Fastlane Express Service — a complimentary, priority repair service — for select, top-of-the-range products. Yet, this isn’t available to buy for other tools in its line-up. Thankfully, extended warranty coverage is available to purchase for either manufacturers’ products via Upsie.

Extended tool warranty protection from Upsie includes coverage for:

  • Mechanical failures
  • Non-accidental damage to motors, gears, ball bearings, internal tubing, and rotors
  • Power failures
  • Power shorts
  • Internal cord replacements
By dealing directly with Upsie and sidestepping retailers, customers can save up to 70 percent compared to the cost of coverage from other warranty providers. For example, three-year power tool warranties start at less than $10. Furthermore, claims are unlimited up to the purchase value of a tool.
With no deductible to pay when making a claim, Upsie customers also get fast, affordable access to a nationwide network of specialist tool repair shops. If a tool can’t be repaired on the first claim, or the cost to do so isn’t feasible, Upsie will replace it at no extra charge.

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