Whether you are a DIYer or a professional woodworker, chances are you have heard of Makita and Milwaukee. In fact, we would wager that you have probably found yourself in a dilemma of whether to choose a Makita or Milwaukee power tool.
Both brands have become synonymous with high-quality power tools. But what does each brand have to offer? Let’s find out in this Milwaukee vs Makita showdown article. We will go over the histories of both brands and look at some of their best tools.
An Overview Of Makita brand
Makita Early History
While Makita is a household name in the USA, the company traces its roots to Japan. The company started as an electronic motor, transformers, and lighting equipment repair shop in Nagoya, Japan.
Started by Masaburo Makita, the repair shop eventually made its way into the manufacturing business. And in September 1935, they exported their first generators and electric motors to the Soviet Union.
The store was later incorporated in December of 1938 and later became the Makita Electric Works, Inc.
Growth and Expansion
After venturing into manufacturing, it did not take long for Makita to start producing a host of other power tools. In 1958 the company launched its first model 1000 electric hand planer, the first of its kind in Japan.
The company’s first nickel-cadmium battery tool, the model 6010D 10mm rechargeable drill, came in 1978. More growth followed with the AN5000 pneumatic nailer and AC6001 air compressor being launched in February 1981.
The 1980s was sort of a golden age for the company, with most of its expansion coming in that decade. They launched three different power tools, a grinder, drill, and circular saw, in this decade.
In the 1990’s Makita began focusing more on expanding to other markets, and new stores were opened in Poland, China, New Zealand, and Mexico. The company’s expansion and growth did not stop there, though.
Throughout its long history, it has had several milestones. These include the launch of the first lithium-ion battery-powered tool in 2005. Also, the company launched the first brushless motor power tool in 2010.
Where are Makita tools made?
Makita operates several manufacturing plants all over the world. From Brazil, China, to its homeland of Japan. In the US, the company’s manufacturing and assembly plants are located in Buford, Georgia.
This is where Makita power tools are assembled for sale in the USA.
Who owns Makita tools?
Makita Corporation, which is headquartered in Anjo, Japan, owns the Makit brand of power tools. The company also has other power tool brands under its umbrella, such as Hilti.
Makita's Notable Features
There is a reason why Makita power tools are so popular, not just in the US. The company has a long history of producing high-quality power tools. And here are some of the notable features of its power tools that have earned it a lot of praise.
- LXT Brushless Motor: Almost all Makita power tools are fitted with a brushless motor. The latter type of motor is more efficient, more powerful, and lasts longer than brushed motors. Different power tools have different sized motors ranging from 38mm to 52mm for drills and saws, respectively.
- Start protection technology: One of the more standout features of Makita tools is the start protection technology. The latter allows a power tool and its battery to communicate in real-time. This helps protect the tool from overheating, overloading, and over-discharging.
- LXT lithium-ion battery: Makita seems to have perfected the art of lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries power most of its tools. And the best part is that you can use a lithium-ion battery for multiple tools.
- Price point: One of the main reasons people love Makita tools is the price. Compared to other similarly powered competitor tools, Makita tools are relatively affordable.
An Overview Of Milwaukee brand
Early History Of Milwaukee
Apart from being the father of the American automobile manufacturing industry, Henry Ford can also be credited with Milwaukee’s start. You see, back in 1918, Henry Ford commissioned a young manufacturer from Wisconsin, A.H Petersen, to build a ¼ inch power drill.
It is fair to say Petersen exceeded expectations with his lightweight ¼ inch power drill. Weighing only 5 pounds, it was a revolutionary tool for its time. Code-named the hole-shooter, Petersen and his friend Albert F. Siebert continued perfecting it.
Unfortunately, in 1924 the company’s manufacturing plant was destroyed. But as fate would have it, this would not be the end of the company we know today. Siebert later bought the company and renamed it Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.
Milwaukee Growth and expansion
While its initial aim was to perfect the hole-shooter, the company began focusing more on the manufacture of other tools. In the 1930s, the company produced several tools, including a ¾ inch electric hammer drill and a single-horsepower grinder/sander.
This was followed up by the launch of a ½ inch right angle drill in 1949. The same year they made some improvements to their sander/grinders. And in 1951, the legendary Sawzall reciprocating saw was born.
In the 1990s, the company launched a series of miter saws and an 18-volt contractor cordless power tool. In 2005 they were at it again, becoming the first company to adopt lithium-ion batteries for their power tools.
The M12 and M18 line of power tools characterized this milestone. With over 500 tools and 3500 accessories under its name Milwaukee is a powerhouse in the power tools sector.
where are Milwaukee tools made
So, where are Milwaukee tools made? The company has several manufacturing plants scattered worldwide, most of which are in the USA. The company does have manufacturing plants in China, and Europe and some of its products are made here.
Its main facility in America is located in Brookfield, Wisconsin. It also operates plants in Greenwood, Olive Branch, and Jackson, Mississippi.
Who owns Milwaukee tools?
If you are wondering who owns Milwaukee tools? It isn’t the Milwaukee Electric tool corporation. The latter is a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries Company Limited. This is a Hong Kong-based conglomerate without power tools brands under it. Some of the notable brands include Milwaukee, Ryobi, Hoover, and Dirt Devil.
Makita's Notable Features
Just like Makita, Milwaukee power tools are popular for a reason. And the main reason is the features that come packed in each Milwaukee power tools. Here are some of the notable features.
- Power state brushless motor: Virtually all Milwaukee power tools feature the company’s power state brushless motor. It delivers constant power for consistent performance and also helps minimize overheating.
- Redlithium battery technology: Given that the company pioneered the use of lithium-ion technology, it has improved on it. Its power tools are powered by its red lithium batteries that offer a longer battery life.
- Redlink plus intelligence: To protect its power tools from overloading, Milwaukee uses what it calls the redlink plus intelligence. This provides real-time communication between power tools, batteries, and chargers.
- Four-mode drives control: This is a feature found in newer Milwaukee models designed to provide greater control over tool power and output speed.
- For professionals: Milwaukee, as a company, focuses more on the professional market. Thus their tools are designed to meet the needs of professional contractors.
Differences Between Makita and Milwaukee Tool Brands
As we have already seen, these two brands tend to serve two different market segments. While Makita is more for budget-conscious DIYers, Milwaukee is more for professional contractors. That being said, there are bound to be differences between the two.
Maintenance ultimately boils down to quality. When compared side by side, Milwaukee is the better of the two in terms of quality. However, their tools tend to be pricier and, in some cases, 40% more expensive than Makita.
Therefore, for a DIYer, it makes more sense to purchase a Makita product. In terms of maintenance, both are long-lasting. However, due to their focus on professionals, Milwaukee tools require less maintenance over time due to wear and tear.
When it comes to accessories, you will likely be spoilt for choice regardless of its brand. Both brands offer various power tools and accessories, ranging from hedge trimmers, clamps, storage units, and tool management systems.
But when you take a close look at both brands’ offerings, it becomes clear that Milwaukee has more accessories to offer.
Design-wise, both brands offer good design. However, Makita tools tend to have a minimalistic and straightforward design. This is mainly because they often lack some of the additional features found in Milwaukee tools.
The question of Makita or Milwaukee sometimes comes down to power needs. Professional contractors need more powerful tools than your average hobbyist or DIYer. As such, Milwaukee tools tend to be more powerful.
However, for most DIYers, the extra power may be somewhat of an overkill. Makita products are usually sufficiently powered for most people.
Durability is another area where Milwaukee may have the edge over Makita. However, it’s minimal and comes down to the cost of production. For their target, Makita tools are durable and last long.
Battery and charger
Both companies offer great batteries and charger combos. Furthermore, both design their batteries and chargers to communicate. This way, you cannot overcharge thanks to this communication.
In terms of charging time, some Makita batteries may take less time. Some 6.0 aH Milwaukee batteries take up to 90 minutes. This is compared to Makita 6.0 Ah batteries that take 60 minutes to charge.
As you may have already guessed, Milwaukee comes out on top in the Milwaukee vs. Makita 18v battery contest.
Ease of Use
Ease of Use is one area where Makita products shine. Almost anyone from a novice to a pro can pick up a Makita power tool and start using it. Milwaukee power tools, on the other hand, are designed more for professionals.
Newbies may find them a bit complicated. And thus, when it comes to ease of use, Makita takes the day.
In regards to safety, both brands maintain high standards of safety. However, due to their performance and build, some Milwaukee tools may not be recommended for beginners.
Customer support platform
Customer support is excellent for both brands. There are occasional complaints on both brands, especially relating to warranty. But overall, they both seem to have good customer support.
Value for money
As we have already established, Milwaukee tools are pricier compared to their Makita counterparts. Thus if you are for value for money, then Makita offers excellent value at a relatively affordable price tag.
Milwaukee offers advanced features, but you will not regret not having some of these features in most cases.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Has a Better Product Portfolio?
Makita and Milwaukee both offer an impressive selection of products. But which of the two brands has a better product portfolio? This is a tough question to answer. However, Milwaukee narrowly edges out Makita.
Milwaukee cordless tools can handle tougher jobs without straining. However, there is the issue of the hefty price tag.
Which offers a better warranty?
The two companies have vastly different warranty policies. Makita offers a three-year warranty on all of its power tools and accessories. Milwaukee, on the other hand, has a warranty policy dependent on each tool.
Therefore some tools come with a three-year warranty while others feature a limited lifetime warranty. The warranty period can range from one year to a lifetime for Milwaukee tools. In our opinion, Milwaukee again edges out Makita in the warranty department.
Which offers better quality?
When it comes to product quality, there is no debating the quality of both companies. Milwaukee produces the best construction drills on the market. Makita, on the other hand, has the best big bore air compressors.
The question of quality comes down to a person’s needs. Professional contractors will obviously be drawn to Milwaukee products. Most hobbyists and DIYers find the cheaper Makita tools to be more than sufficient.
Which buyers do they cater to?
As already stated, Milwaukee tools are significantly pricier than Makita tools. The reason being they are targeted at professional contractors. Makita, on the other hand, targets the average user of power tools.
Which of the Two Brands Should You Choose?
If you are on a budget looking for good quality power tools, Makita is the brand for you. But if you are a professional, we recommend going with a Milwaukee tool.
Metal chops saws: Makita or Milwaukee?
Milwaukee metal chop saws excel at making precise cuts. Featuring powerful brushless motors, they can cut through the toughest of metals. Where Makita metal chop saws shine, on their part, is in cut depth.
Some Makita metal chop saws have a maximum cut depth of 4.5 inches, which is quite impressive. Ultimately, your selection will depend on your needs. Makita metal chop saws offer impressive cut depth.
On the other hand, Milwaukee metal chop saws offer fantastic precision and accuracy.
Which table saws are better: Makita or Milwaukee
Milwaukee is known for its powerful cordless table saws. These are excellent options for professionals. Some of the features you can expect include quick-change guards and a vacuum adapter.
Makita electric table saws are also powerful and are capable of blade speeds of up to 38kg. For a workshop, a Makita table can be an ideal option. However, for a professional who has to be on the move with their equipment, Milwaukee table saws are better.
Cordless chainsaws, Makita or Milwaukee
One area where Milwaukee seems to have a big edge over the competition is in the battery department. Milwaukee cordless chainsaws are famed for their long battery life. However, most budget-friendly Makita chainsaws perform at the same level as a 32 cc gas chainsaw.
One notable con with most Milwaukee cordless chainsaws is that the oil tends to run out quicker than Makita models.
Miter saws: Makita or Milwaukee
Miter saws are usually either corded or cordless. Capable of delivering up to 400 cuts per charge, cordless Milwaukee miter saws are exceptional. Makita miter saws aren’t left behind, though, as they deliver a long battery life with automatic speed change.
When it comes to corded models, Makita models are easier to use. However, their springs tend to become soft with frequent change. This means you will have to change them more frequently.
Jigsaws: Makita vs. Milwaukee
When it comes to jigsaws, both companies again have a decent selection. Makita jigsaws typically have low vibrations compared to their competitors. Milwaukee jigsaws, on the other hand, come with additional features such as a vacuum attachment.
The difference comes at a price. Milwaukee jigsaws tend to be pricier. Thus you may want to stick with Makita jigsaws if you are on a budget.
Makita circular saws vs. Milwaukee circular saws
On average, Milwaukee circulars saws are usually more lightweight and offer more features. Some of the features you get include a tilt lock handle for better maneuverability. Makita circular saws on their part are easier to use and require little maintenance.
Makita wood planers vs. Milwaukee wood planers
The wood planers contest between the two brands is an interesting one. Milwaukee wood planers are some of the most versatile. They can use Bosch as well as Makita blades, but their batteries tend to run down quicker.
Makita wood planers, on the other hand, are durable and lightweight. But what gives them an edge over Milwaukee is their more extended battery life.
Several brands dominate the power tools market, and Makita and Milwaukee are among the top ten best. Nonetheless, the two cater to different client segments. While Makita caters to the more budget-minded audience, Milwaukee is for professionals.
Thus, it is not easy to say which brand comes on top of the other. While quality-wise, Milwaukee can stake a claim as being the better of the two, Makita offers value for money. For most people, the quality difference may not be enough to justify the hefty Milwaukee price tag.