Over the past decade, the power tools market has grown exponentially. While one of the contributing factors is the global trend towards urbanization, the rise of DIY culture and popular home renovation TV shows have also played their part. These days, folks are more inclined towards taking on repair and renovation projects that were previously handed out to professional contractors. This inclination has also led to a spike in power tools sales. Today, almost every homeowner has a toolbox and at least a couple of power tools to serve as their helping hands in home projects.
The power tools market has long been dominated by two giants: Milwaukee and DeWalt, which have been competing with each other for years. But the competition has grown tougher and more complicated because many other brands have joined the game and are slowly proving themselves as relevant as the other top two brands.
In this post, we’ll discuss the major power tools brands. We have included the popular hand and power tools manufacturers in our list after carefully analyzing their features, checking their products quality and reviewing customer feedback. However, these brands are not listed in any specific order because each has at least one tool in its product lineup that is better than its competitors.
The Major Power Tools Brands
Many of the brands in the power tools market are operating as subsidiaries of a few major players. Regardless of this, here are the 5 major tool brands:
Hitachi was founded by a Japanese electrical engineer Namihei Odaira in 1910 in Ibaraki Prefecture. “Hi” means sun and “Tachi” means to rise. After the success of its first induction motor, the company became the domestic leader in electric power industry infrastructure and electric motors.
Hitachi Power Tools U.S.A was created in 1980 to manufacture a line of power tools in the United States. This power tools company gained success back in the 80s for its high-quality Pneumatic framing nailer and sliding compound miter saws. The company is still quite successful because it invests proper time and resources in developing durable tools.
In 1994, Hitachi Power Tools USA was renamed Hitachi Koki U.S.A, Ltd. The company has also recognized itself under ISO 9000 series international standards for quality assurance. Today, Hitachi Koki manufactures more than 1,000 models of electric power tools.
Some of its inventions include the sliding compound miter saw, cordless impact driver, collated automatic screwdriver, pneumatic concrete nailer, cordless screwdriver, metal stud cutter, portable rebar cutter/bender, 10-minute rapid charger, Ni-cad batteries of various voltages, and the list goes on.
Hitachi Koki’s high-speed motor technology, electronic control, and precision processing has also enabled it to produce faster, heavy-duty and durable products for professionals as well as DIYers.
DeWalt is recognizable by its yellow and black color scheme, which is also prominent in its marketing efforts. The brand has an inspiring story. Its founding director Raymond DeWalt invested his lifetime around mills and construction sites. His concern for the safety of his co-workers led him to set up special machines that provided more safety for him and his colleagues. He also designed a saw that enabled his men to be more productive without doing too much hard work.
DeWalt realized his gift for innovations, and designed and manufactured the first ever Radial Arms Machine. After some progress, in 1924, he opened a plant in Leola, Pennsylvania. It’s here that he produced his first major product, “Wonder-Worker”, an electric woodworking machine. The company became DeWalt Inc. in 1947 and expanded to Canada in 1953.
During the 60s and 70s, DeWalt Inc. introduced several new products such as grinders and metal cutting machines which laid the foundation for the development of power tools. In 1992, the company introduced a revolutionary line of power tools and accessories including screwdrivers, a selection of drills, flashlights, impact wrenches, and many others.
Today, the company is manufacturing over 200 electric power tools and more than 800 accessories, and they are still coming up with more and more products. Currently, the brand is operating as a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker.
Makita is a well-renowned brand that has factories all over the globe. It was first founded in 1915 in Japan as an Electric Motor Sales and Repair Company, which later in 1958 became the first ever company to manufacture and sell portable electric planers.
Makita’s headquarters is located in Anjo, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. However, the items are also manufactured in Germany, China, UK, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, Romania, and the United States. The brand has managed to build a strong reputation as a manufacturer of power tools. Today, you can find almost every product by Makita that is essential in housing construction.
The company manufactures, imports and distributes cordless electric-power, petrol-powered, and air-powered tools along with an extensive variety of accessories and spare parts. The brand also impresses with its customer service. Its support team’s response-time is great and it is also proven to really back up the warranty coverage on its products.
Milwaukee is a well-known manufacturer of power tools, yet very few know about its origins. In 1918, when World War I was finally winding down, Henry Ford, the person who is famous for pioneering in the automotive industry, was searching for a compact and light-weight version of a 1 ¼ inch capacity power drill. Within a crowd, a young and talented manufacturer named A.H Petersen stepped out and accepted Ford’s challenge in Wisconsin. He designed Hole-Shooter, a 5-pound fledging power tool run by a Westinghouse motor. It was the first ever industrial tool to weigh this less to be operated using a single hand only.
Afterwards Peterson along with his partner laid the foundation of A.H Petersen Company, but had to close it down due to fire. In 1924, Siebert acquired its remaining assets from a public auction and reopened the company as Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.
The company initially earned through tool-repairing. But by recognizing defects in their designs, the engineering staff started tweaking and manufacturing better and more reliable tools then what they were trying to repair. Today, Milwaukee is recognized for its lineup of high-quality products. The brand is vastly recognized by its bright red color scheme.
Craftsman is one of the most famous power tools brands and started under the banner of Sears. However, the tools were not manufactured by the company. It hired various contractors to make these tools. Amongst them was a visionary Arthur Barrows, who envisioned manufacturing an extensive range of power tools that fulfilled needs of different types of customers. He was hired by Sears in 1927 as the head of the hardware department. Barrows came up with the name “Craftsman” to set Sears apart from other brands in the power tools industry.
The company initially focused on designing and manufacturing power tools for farmers. In 1929, Craftsman marketed their first-ever electric drill, which was quite powerful and widely used in construction because of its efficiency. Soon, Barrows was replaced by Tim Dunlap who steered the brand towards manufacturing automotive and mechanical tools.
Today, Craftsman manufacturers a diverse range of power tools, workwear, and lawn and garden equipment. One of the trademark characteristics of the brand is its lifetime warranty. Each tool comes with a lifetime guarantee that owners can claim at any point in their lives. It is marketed that if you are, in any way, unsatisfied by the Craftsman tools, then you can easily return it to any Sears or Craftsman outlet in the country. You can either claim repair or a replacement. This brand is also operating under Stanley Black & Decker.
This was our take on some of the major power tool brands. While it is not a good idea to judge who makes the best power tools just by reading a list, our list will surely give you an idea of what the market perception is. All of these brands have an extensive power tools line up, and each exceeds the other in the performance of one tool or another.