Is Dewalt THE top tier brand?

I dunno, I just recently did a job for another contractor that specializes in mega million dollar factories and high rises and had to go through a 1 hour seminar and sign in/out at the guard shack, very strict policies…etc and all their guys had Dewalt drills, saws and core drills. I notice tools a lot mainly because when I take fiber…etc through a building, they are constantly around me or I’m having to step over them or around them or I’ll be waiting for something and just observe others working…Dewalt’s are heavily used in my area at least regardless of how small or large the project and contractor companies are.

Could be the Dewalt Rep for your area is really good at their job. Tool companies have Rep’s they send to job sites to talk to contractors, hand out freebies, process warranties and most importantly convince people to buy their brand. A good rep can go a long way towards steering the local market.

I could see a situation where if you work in a team of contractors you may want to have the same brand tools, at least for the cordless variety, so you can share batteries and accessories or whatnot. And from an outside observer it would look as though that brand was good since everyone uses it, but it may just be out of convenience.

I’ve personally had a harbor freight cordless drill and then upgraded to a Ryobi Li-ion several years ago. The chuck on it broke a few weeks ago and although it was probably fixable I used it as an excuse to buy a new drill/driver combo. I bought a Milwaukee M18 brushless set and man, it’s night and day different from the Ryobi. So there are definitely performance tiers, but I’d bet that Makita/DeWalt/Milwaukee all probably make similar quality tools for similar prices.

A lot of these tools are all made by the same company and often in the same factories. For example, Milwaukee, Ryobi, Ridgid and Craftsman are all made (at least in part) by Techtronic/TTI out of China.

DeWalt is part of Black & Decker.

Someone below mentioned B&D acquired Dewalt to have a range of quality. I think that is also true of the TTI range.

And even when assembled in different locations the tools may all use the motors and other parts, and those parts won’t be consistent within the same brand either. But the companies do set quality standards and choose the components carefully while knowing the trade off between quality and cost. The upshot of all that is that there isn’t that much difference between one brand and another and that difference is not consistent across their product lines.

I think most people dislike a particular brand because one tool didn’t do the job or broke and they like the brand of the next tool they get if the tool is better.

TTI owns Milwaukee and Ryobi but AFAIK they haven’t let Milwaukee’s quality slip.

I don’t think Craftsman ever did make their own tools. Somethings are easy to spot as simple rebadges. Knipex pliers and Ingersol-Rand impacts come to mind.

Mid grade as everyone else has said, but also certain models by certain manufacturers sometimes stand out. Dewalt makes decent, well priced Miter Saws, and they have some great mid quality laser levels that are bomber. Lots of their tools are maybe a little klunky but tend to last a long time.

But what I really wanted to say is…


Sorry but I have been burnt enough by Bosch. Even their blades are terrible. Never will I buy anything by them again. Maybe they were decent at one time (like others), but Bosch never, ever was in the same league as Festool or Hilti.

With increased use of rechargeable tools, contractors will settle on one brand for commonality of batteries and chargers. Corded tools get chosen based on personal preference or, "we always get Dewalt/Milwaukee/Makita, etc… If your buying on your own, read the reviews, try one out for vibration/noise/fit/adjustments/blade-bit changing and what else is important to you. I’ve got a Milwaukee 28v kit for travel. Around the house I use mostly Dewalt corded saws and drills. YMMV

I go back 20 years as the Hardware Manager at Builders Square.

Back then Milwaukee was the best among those who “knew”, but DeWalt was “sexier” because of the yellow color.

Makita was next in terms of quality i.e. contractor worthy but cheap, then Ryobi and Skill as a high end homeowner tool, and yeah the Black and Deckers were considered shit.

I think we might have also sold Bosch and Porter Cable, as well as a third new drill company that was light blue and began with a “P” but cant remember who. They were all also-rans hoping to pick up customers through various marketplace niches.

I do remember back then the pissing match was over how many “volts” a cordless drill could offer. There was 12.2v, then 14.4v was the Gold Standard, then I think Dewalt came out with an 18.8v and if you were a lower end company and could come out with a 14.4 or 18.8 but cheaper it would impress customers, through IIRC it was torque, not just voltage, that was a true measure of a drill’s ability.

My favorite story is Makita held a contest where the BS that sold the most of their power tools in the country won a pair of Super Bowl tickets plus about $1500 cash and we won, my top sales guy took the tix and the rest of us split the money.

Part of me misses those days! :smiley:

I have been a electrician since 1983. Both residential and commercial. I have used Pretty much every brand out there, and there one thing that is for sure, there isn’t just one make/brand of tools that does it all. Depending on the type of work your doing, one brand can be many times better, and even more so when it come to type of tool… you can buy. Granted, I haven’t bought a new drill since 2003… because I haven’t need to! The 18V cordless I have still kicks the as, er rear end of any brand i have seen on jobsites. True, I have gone through 3 or 4 batteries in 13 yrs. But I can drill 2" holes in 16 gauge metal all day long and not run down the batt. BUT, I need to ad that the Dewalt 18v drills that are sold at home depot, are not the same drills you can buy else where. They are…well built a lot cheaper.

Milwaukee makes the best 1/2" right angle elc drill that there is, it’s called a hole-Hawg. Spend 8 or 9 hrs in 115 degree temps, drilling 1" holes in studs with a 18" ship auger with any other brand… it won’t last the day. I get that hole-Hawg so damn hot, I have to wear leather gloves… I can use it like that all summer long, 5 days a week, never have a problem.

When it comes to Sawzalls… it’s Milwaukee again! There just isn’t a better one out there… and I don’t care what anyone says!

When you have 50 to 75 men being paid hourly working jobs… jobs that need to get done right and fast… you sure as hell don’t buy a tool because of it’s price, you buy because it the best damn tool you can buy… for any price!! Think about it, when that cheaper tool breaks and the job stops… everyone waiting for it to be replaced… being paid by the Hr. Perhaps these little contractors buy cheap stuff, but not any big outfit does… and if they did… probably wouldn’t be around that long


Isn’t the hierarchy something like this (at least for portable power tools, and with some overlap with lower-end product ranges, and big-box store variants):

Top tier


2nd Tier (contractor grade)


Third Tier (homeowner grade)

Black & Decker

Not really, you buy whatever fits the job, works and keeps working and you use it until it breaks and every tool will break eventually regardless. There is no science that says tool A is the best damn tool rather typically the warranty/job to experience ratio would effect choice. It’s like concrete, there’s the kind that’s cracked and the kind that’s gonna crack and when you have multiple guys using it, some “new guy” will likely break it eventually. For you to have formed your opinion then you obviously know that much except your current preferred tool just hasn’t broke yet or been broken by that darn new guy. However that is only your sole experience which may differ from someone else. But that doesn’t explain why a particular brand would be so common amongst such a variety of professions. Consensus here shows Dewalt is not top tier but so far no common bond found for why it would be so common.

Perhaps it’s more like some have said, Dewalt fits in a price range where if the new guy breaks it then your company doesn’t have to file for bankruptcy and is still made decent enough for it’s average life span to justify the choice. Or perhaps it’s a monkey see, monkey do effect.

Dont the tool companies also make different qualities within the same brand.
Theyll make a 100$ tool and a $200 version and a $300 and the quality devil is hiding in the details.

Id like to know: what brand(s) would the tool expert , if paying from their own pocket, choose for a moderately careful and honest workforce. Wont break but wont walk.

There are multiple websites that offer tool reviews. This is a review of SDS rotary hammer drills. Tool Box Buzz. They give the nod to a Makita over a Hilti, with a DeWalt in third. Obviously it’s just one article, and different people weigh different factors differently … warranty, speed, comfort, workmanship, versatility, etc.

Normally the purpose of a brand is to seperate out different tiers of the same manufacturer. So typically the quality is consistent if the manufacturer wants to make a cheaper product they’d usually make it and sell it under a different brand. Like black and Decker makes drills of different qualities. They sell the cheaper ones as black and Decker and the more expensive ones as Dewalt.

Dewalt is an example of s brand with that offers cheaper versions within the brand. For example if you go shopping at home depot they will have 2-3 18v hammer drill kits. The cheapest will have a plastic chuck and the shorter life battery packs. The more expensive one will have a knurled metal check and the longer life batteries. Both are good quality but one is clearly better. This has been both good and bad for Dewalt. On one hand a brouder price range let’s more people into the brand on the other hand it hurts the brands reputation when people see or experience the cheaper version and think it represents the entire brand.

As another poster stated ‘Dewalts from Home Depot are cheaper’ which is sometimes true as home depot carries both the cheaper and more expensive version. A professional shop will only carry the better ones. You can get the top quality Dewalts at home depot you just need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

Bumps earlier list is a good breakdown to go by.

In the article the say Hilti is the better tool but Makita wins out due to price. I agree. My SDS and SDS Max roto-hammers are Makita. Dewalt has never been a real competitor in the concrete tool market, they do much better with carpentry tools

That makes more sense.

In addition to the expense of a Hilti drill, you then have to buy the Hilti bits, which have a patented design. Hilti drills will accept other bits, but only with an after market adapter, as I recall. It’s not worth it, as the Hilti bits, like their drill motors, are superior to other products. I’ve drilled everything from drywall anchor holes to a 6" core through a concrete floor with Hilti products. They are, hands down, the best in the world.

I don’t think that’s true any more. I Think all of the manufacturers have gone to SDS-Max shanks. That was originally Bosch’s.

One thing to keep in mind is that the more expensive tools get, you can actually get replacement parts and get them repaired.

I used to have an older 11.7v(?- can’t recall, but it was weird) contractor-grade Makita cordless drill, and the chuck took a dump on me, so I looked it up, ordered a new chuck, and was back in action. The neat part was that I could have bought just about ANY part of the drill separately, had I so chosen.

So for $18, I got another couple of years out of the drill, while had it been homeowner grade, it would have been done for when the chuck failed.

My BIL works on heavy equipment and goes through power tools faster than most people would. He says he’d rather go through a few cheap Ryobis and treat them as rough as needed than buy a DeWalt and get pissed when it dies. Just another POV.