It’s that time again, the time for you to buy or replace one of your tools. It can be overwhelming trying to decide which company to go with. Don’t worry, I’ve taken two of the most popular power tool brands, Makita vs Milwaukee, and compared them to help you make your decision.
Before we get down into all the technical specifications, I think it is beneficial to have a little background knowledge on each of these companies to help you understand who you are buying from.
Makita vs Milwaukee – A History Lesson
Milwaukee was founded in 1924 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their first product was a ¼’’ hole shooter. Shortly after this, they began manufacturing sanders, grinders, and much more.
The success of Milwaukee as a household name is largely attributed to the manufacturing boom of WWII. Due to their unrivaled quality and durability, the U.S. Navy acquired all of its power tools from Milwaukee during the war.
Today, Milwaukee has production plants in China, Europe, and the United States. Milwaukee tools are carried on almost every construction site across America.
Milwaukee produces all your favorite tools, ranging from a simple tape measure to a table saw and everything in between.Amazon product
With a product line up of over 500 tools with 2,000+ attachments, they certainly have the tools you need. Milwaukee is estimated to do 5 billion dollars in sales in 2020, making them one of the world’s largest, and most trusted power tool manufacturers.
Makita, on the other hand, is a Japanese company founded in 1915 as an electric repair company.
Makita got their start by repairing old generators and other electric equipment. It wasn’t until 1958 when they manufactured their first power tool, the electric planer. Over the years they continued to grow, servicing the mid-level price range buyers with quality tools. Although, when you look at Makita’s pricing these days, they’re very similar to Milwaukee!
Today, they manufacture in 8 countries worldwide. Makita is known for making excellent mid-range tools for the average homeowner, DIYer, or woodworker.
They produce all sorts of power tools, cordless tools, and even gas-powered equipment such as mowers, blowers, and generators. In 2019, Makita raked in over 4 billion dollars in global sales.Amazon product
Makita vs Milwaukee Warranty Comparison
Both companies offer some kind of warranty on all their power tools, but they differ greatly in nature.
Makita offers a 3-year warranty on all their tools across the board. Regardless of the tool, it gets 3 years, that’s it.
Whereas Milwaukee has a much different mindset when it comes to warranties. Each product they sell gets a different warranty, ranging anywhere from a few months to lifetime warranties. You can navigate to their website to see a full list of each tool and the warranty they offer.
In addition, Milwaukee offers lifetime warranties on manufacturing defects on any of their products. For this reason alone, Milwaukee is the winner in the warranty category.
Makita vs Milwaukee Price Comparison
Milwaukee’s tools fall into the higher-end category of tools. In recent years, Makita has been making strides to compete with Milwaukee and has made some good progress. On average, Makita tools will be around 10 – 20% cheaper than that of Milwaukee’s lineup, although, as mentioned above, these days they’re almost the same, of not more expensive.
This price factor shouldn’t be what you make your final decision on, however. What’s more important is who you are, why you need the tool, and how you intend to use it.
Durability – How Long Do They Last?
Milwaukee’s focus has always been on making the most reliable and durable tools since the beginning of the company all the way back in 1924. It was this focus that landed them the contract with the United States Navy during WWII.
Their focus hasn’t changed to this day. They still make arguably the hardiest tools in the industry, making them the go-to tools for most construction workers and woodworkers across the country.
Makita on the other hand has primarily focused on making quality tools for an affordable price. This makes them a great option for most homeowners, but less so if durability is of any concern. Milwaukee tools are definitely the more hardy option of these two brands.
Makita vs Milwaukee Tool Comparison
It is time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Comparing every single one of these companies’ tools would just be impossible, as both manufacture hundreds of tools. I am going to break this down by putting a few of their popular 18v tools head to head, to declare a winner.
First Up – 18v Cordless Driver
The Milwaukee and the Makita 18V drivers are generally found at the same price with most vendors and are very similar overall.
The 18V Cordless Driver is a perfect example of Makita recently improving their overall product quality in order to compete with some other companies at a higher price point. Their price has gone up accordingly, though! (Makitas previous 18v model was significantly less powerful but also cheaper.)
Milwaukee M18 Compact Drill Driver
The Milwaukee M18 Compact Drill Driver is definitely one of the best in its class. It provides a maximum torque of up to 500lbs, and up to 1,800 RPMs.
- Package Dimensions: 10.693 cms (L) x 18.592 cms (W) x 24.612 cms (H)
- Product Type: Drill
- Package Quantity: 1
- Country Of Origin: United States
This driver is compact and lightweight, weighing in at only 3.5lbs with the battery attached, making it ideal for lugging it around with you all day on a job site. Milwaukee also offers a 5-year warranty on this guy, which goes a long way in telling you how much to trust their products.
Where this driver, and Milwaukee in general, really shines is in the durability. It features an all-metal gear casing and a metal chuck, giving it maximum impact durability in case of a drop.
These two features go a long way in ensuring that a simple mistake doesn’t result in a trip to the hardware store in the middle of your project. Be honest, you know you’ve been in that situation before.
Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion 1/2″ Driver
The Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion ½” Driver is not a bad choice either. Coming in at 4.2 pounds with the battery, it’s quite a bit heavier than its Milwaukee counterpart. It does offer, however, a marginally better RPM, and torque.
- Mechanical 2-speed transmission (0-500 & 0-2,000 RPM) for a wide range of drilling and...
- BL Brushless motor delivers 530 in.Lbs. Of max torque
- Efficient BL Brushless motor is electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use...
- The BL Brushless motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL motor to run cooler and...
- The electronically-controlled BL Brushless motor efficiently uses energy to match torque...
The maximum RPM is 2,000, and the maximum torque is 530 lbs. This increased rotation speed and torque are great features, but it’s lacking in the durability features you can expect from your Milwaukee drill. Makita has a 3-year limited warranty on this drill.
This driver would be a good choice for a DIYer or average user who is careful with their tools and doesn’t see themselves carrying it onto any major construction sites anytime soon.
The makita vs Milwaukee key difference here is the durability features. Although the Makita offers slightly better technical specs, those differences are minuscule. It is unlikely that you would ever be able to feel the difference on the job.
If you aren’t the most careful and are going to be dropping your drill off your roof by accident like me (Yeah… True story. Don’t judge me!), then the toughness offered by Milwaukee is what you need.
The 5-year warranty added with the all-metal casing and chuck makes the Milwaukee M18 a drill you can rely on for many years to come, no matter how rough you are with it.
Next Up – 18v Cordless Jigsaw
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Jigsaw
The Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt jigsaw offers an SPM of 3,500 to provide more precise cuts. You can take advantage of its 4-position orbital cutting to get any jigsaw task completed efficiently. It features a tool-free blade change, allowing for quick and easy adjustments on the job.
It also contains a built-in LED light, and my personal favorite, an on/off blower to keep your line clear of sawdust while you cut. Milwaukee is also offering a 5-year warranty on this saw.
- Brand New in box. The product ships with all relevant accessories
Makita 18V LXT Cordless Jigsaw
The Makita 18v LXT cordless jigsaw comes in at 2,600 SPM, with 3 orbital settings. It also features a tool-free blade change, which is incredibly useful.
- Makita-built variable speed motor delivers 0-2,600 strokes per minute for faster and more...
- 3 orbital settings plus straight cutting for use in a wide range of materials
- Tool-less blade change lever allows for faster blade installation and removal for...
- Large 2-finger variable speed trigger for added convenience
- Heavy gauge, precision machined base for smooth cutting and added durability
This saw doesn’t feature the blower to keep your line visible, which for me is a must-have! It does feature a similar LED configuration and a 3-year warranty, as expected.
Again, we can see here that Milwaukee produces a better option. It offers more features, more strokes per minute, and an additional orbital cutting position.
If all we had to focus on here was who makes the better tool, it would be a quick and easy answer… Milwaukee. Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple, we need to consider more than just the quality of the tool.
Which One Should You Buy, Makita or Milwaukee?
As promised, I told you I would help you decide which company provides more “bang for your buck.”
To do this, you need to look at two things:
- The quality of the tool you are receiving
- And the price you are paying.
Every person is different here in what they find valuable. If you are a construction professional, for example, and you need a tool that you can rely on day in and day out, year after year, then durability is going to be the main feature you should be looking for.
Alternatively, if you are a woodworking hobbyist, who will only be pulling out their tools on the weekends, then you might not need to look at durability so much. You’d want to look for the features you specifically want and weigh them against the price you are willing to pay. Make sure you check the prices of the tools though as these days, there’s not much price difference in Makita vs Milwaukee.
In our case here, Milwaukee vs Makita, it seems pretty clear that Milwaukee is the better value. While Makita does offer a similar tool, you need to consider the lifespan of that tool.
OK, so here is what we found out.
- Milwaukee offers some of the best and most reliable tools on the market, but for a higher price.
- Makita offers more middle of the road tools at a, sometimes, cheaper price point.
The biggest difference between these two companies is the hardiness of the tools. Milwaukee’s focus on durability is what makes them the preferred choice.
If you can think of any reasons one company is better than the other that I didn’t cover, or you just flat out think I am wrong, feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to have a discussion with you about it.
Monday 20th of February 2023
Milwaukee is a fine brand but from my experience it's target is really the professional contractor. They have lots of power but accuracy is not the intended goal for most. Makita is much more suitable for specific and tasks where accuracy and precision are paramount. Their tool line up is the biggest also, so as long as you have got the right tool for the job, Makita will outperform Milwaukee every time. BTW I own mostly Milwaukee tools and some Makita. Switching over little by little though.
Thursday 2nd of March 2023
Thank you for the feedback Anuar! That's a really good point, and I think you make a great compromise between all of our opinions here. Milwaukee is definitely hefty/powerful in my personal experience as well, but I also prefer Makita in my life because I mostly do smaller projects where accuracy and precision matter most (I'm a joinery snob and furniture-making enthusiast). My personal experience is limited to that, but I do know lots of people who rely on Milwaukee to get the job done. Thanks again for your great insight and ideas!
Tuesday 17th of May 2022
My favorite saw is the Milwaukee chainsaw. I like working with it.
Wednesday 9th of March 2022
Makita is far better in just about every way. As one person said you have to compare the same tools in order to get a true comparison. Like they said you took the high end Milwaukee and the middle end Makita. I can guarantee I have and used both brands for over 20 years almost daily. The Milwaukee is a fine tool and will do the job that needs to be done but to try and say it will out perform Makita in a head to head comparison is like the other person said absurd. I'm not hear to talk bad about Milwaukee by any means but I just couldn't sit by and let someone that is definitely inexperienced in this area tell lies about the much more superior brand of Makita tools.
Thursday 10th of March 2022
Appreciate your thoughts Todd!
Wednesday 24th of November 2021
Hi! your article is really helpful for me.
Friday 7th of May 2021
If you want to claim Milwaukee as the best, thats fine. However to call makita "middle of the road" only proves your ignorance. Also, aside from Milwaukee, makita is pretty well considered the 2nd best. Makita sells plenty of tools that outperform plenty of Milwaukee as well, though again, pricing will be the difference.
Friday 7th of May 2021
Thanks Joshua, always appreciate the insight! Which Makita tools do you reckon outperform Milwaukee? Would like to do a comparison on those!