Home>Discussions>TOOLS & PRODUCTS>New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?
26 posts / 0 new
Last post
New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

I have been going back and forth between these three 18V Lithium battery systems.

I have also considered the Milwaukee 12V for a compact drill, it gets excellent ratings, but I'm not sure if I would be satisfied with the power. It might be worth a try for $130 though.

Right now I just want a drill or two. In the future, I'd like a jigsaw, maybe a Multi-tool if available in the line.

Any opinions?

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

Everything being equal, I'd choose Makita.

I have 3 of those, and they're good enough for me. Fast charge and charges that go a long way. Plenty of power and compact in size.

There has been a class action suit against Makita because of batteries that failed. Could be true, but after using Makita products for over 30 years, no battery failed on me.

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

I just purchased all new cordless drills. Now that the batteries are largely all the same....

Pick a manufacturer based on warranty and the ability to get a gun repaired near you. BTDT too many times.

I bought the dewalts after many years of reliable service and the sale prices before Xmas at Home burrito. I did buy the new battery style.

Also we prefer the solid cases to the cloth bags, which also steered me away from the Makita, as much as I like their stuff.

MLB Construction
Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

difficult question to answer, i've used them all but i'm stuck on dewalt now. mainly because i have about 15 of the 18V batteries. i'm in the process of switching to the 20V.

a word of advice if you choose to take my route. i now buy all my tools on ebay and i've saved a ton of money. i've purchased 4 brand new dewalt 20v batteries for about $125, retail is about $250+. i've also purchased a used dewalt 18V xrp drill for $85 (with no batery) and have been using it for a year pretty much daily without a problem. i also purchased a new (reconditioned) dewalt 20V xrp drill for $97 (with no battery). no problems with that yet either. on both drills it took me about 2 weeks of steadily checking ebay and losing out on bidding wars but the persistance obviously paid off. i've saved myself over $300 at least.

which brand to get is soooooooo up for debate. everyone has their own reasons for which one they use and why it's better than all the others. dewalt, i admit, is not the best out there but i use them daily and i have no major complaints. i guess the key thing to do is to pick which one you want, stick with and and build up a battery supply.

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

At work, we have Makita 18v, Milwaukee 12v, Festool (whatever they use), and the cheap Ridgid stuff. I have listed these in terms of respective power from most to least. I have personally given up on Yellow brand after having been burned too may times.
We also have some Ryobi cordless and a Yellow drill and impact, but they are like toys.
From my POV makita is at the top

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?


looking at your previous posts, it looks like you are on a shopping spree...Have you won the lottery?

A. Spruce
Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?
MLB Construction wrote:

i guess the key thing to do is to pick which one you want, stick with and and build up a battery supply.

I agree, you do not want 10 different battery styles and chargers fighting for outlet space in the shop, on the job, or for room in your truck. Pick one brand and battery size and stick with it.

On the note of cordless jigsaw, don't bother. I've got a DeWalt 18v, and just like the DeWalt reciprocating saw, it's not worth the time or investment, get yourself a good corded model. Battery life just isn't that good with these items, especially the harder you run it. The jigsaw, IMHO, it a pain to use and isn't all that accurate.

Something else to keep in mind with all tools is how much you're going to be using it. For the typical handy homeowner, battery tools really aren't worth the investment, sure they're nice, but if you don't use them almost daily, the batteries just aren't going to last.

As for a brand, I've always really liked my DeWalt 18v stuff and never had any problems with them. I started out with a Makita 7.2v set and loved it too, in the days before I became serious about the trade and needed more power.

If I were to do it all over again I'd probably go with Milwaukee. Their Hole Shooter drill and Sawzall are unstoppable and well built. I've used their 18v cordless stuff and to be honest, you wouldn't know much difference from their corded tools.

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

For most DIYers I recommend corded tools. Battery tools are a pain in the [email protected]@ if you don't use them often and batteries are expensive to replace. But if you are insistent on battery tools it will depend on how they are used. For wood working a 9.6 volt is more than sufficant for almost all woodworking chores. Greater power is not always the proper criteria. Personally I like Bosch followed by Makita .


Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

I know these get a lot of disrespect here, but I have a lot of Ryobi 18V One+ tools. I am not a pro, if I was I would get better tools, but for occasional use, they suffice and cost a whole lot less. Battery life is short with any of the saws, even the 4AH lithium batteries don't power them all that long, but they are OK for a birdhouse project or small repairs around the house. One issue with Ryobi saws that is a little annoying is the blankity blank safety buttons that have to be pushed before you can pull the trigger, they always seem to be in the most awkward place.

I think the issue with Ryobi is the motors are not as efficient and part of that is probably due to bearing/bushing styles. I have a 12v Makita drill, very old style, their first model and it actually had (no more batteries available and the last battery is now totally dead) as much torque as the 18v Ryobi, but as I said, its only for occasional use.

I kind of like the B&D 24v systems because they have better lawn and garden equipment. It would be nice to have one system battery for both household and lawn and garden use, but the Ryobi lawn and garden stuff has been a real disappointment to me. My daughter has a B&D 18v string trimmer that works really well by comparison to the Ryobi.

At the plant I retired from, the maintenance department had all three brands, they guys seemed to prefer the Makita first, Milwaukee a close second and Dewalt if that was all that was left. Some of them actually preferred the craftsman 19.2V over the Dewalt 18V, but the Craftsman were brand new at the time.

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?
dj1 wrote:


looking at your previous posts, it looks like you are on a shopping spree...Have you won the lottery?

Haha. I have a big project going on at home (remodeling our top floor/attic and it is spreading), and I have a little bit of Christmas money to spend, earmarked for tools. I currently have an older 18V NiCd Craftsman drill that is OK, but the batteries are heavy, big, and don't last particularly long. I also wanted to be able to expand into different tools that use the same batteries.

I have a few Black & Decker group tools (DeWalt, Delta, etc) that I like a lot - scroll saw, hammer drill, recip saw, table saw. So, I had been leaning DeWalt, but the reviews are not quite as good for their cordless stuff.


For most DIYers I recommend corded tools.

This is why I am considering the Milwaukee 12V system. The batteries are very small, very highly rated, and I don't necessarily need a ton of power. If I did need more for something, I could use my 120V drill. I use cordless drills for wood only (drilling and driving screws) - building furniture, house projects, etc.

Or, maybe I should just go with the 12V Mil impact driver and not use it for drilling at all:

Thanks, I appreciate the responses.

Re: New cordless system: Milwaukee, Makita, or DeWalt?

makita is the hands down winner.. ive owned every pro brand of cordless tool and makita has been the most reliable both for the tool but battery life as well.

milwaukee`s have plenty of power but the clutch on their drills die within 6 months of light use. their batteries are well documented for being hit or miss

dewalt brags that they make a superior drill but when they run them side by side with other makes they take a lower end model from a competitor not one in the same class. and their batteries are well documented for being unreliable.. both them and milwaukee have changed their lith ion battery tech more than 5 times in 8 years.. makita has only had to make one upgrade.

bosch makes decent gear but their compact line of drills doesnt put out the same torque as what their spec`d for.

regarding jigsaws.. dewalt makes terrible jigsaws period. unbalanced, sloppy cuts etc.. if your going to get a jigsaw go bosch or makita corded or cordless


Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.