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We’ve conducted a survey among our audience to determine who produces the top tools. The answer, as expected, varies depending on various factors. For instance, the best stud finder might come from a different manufacturer than the best cordless drill. This distinction can be further broken down by trades, tool types, power sources, and more. Despite the intricate nature of this assessment, we were curious about the prevailing perceptions. Hence, here’s how our audience responded to the question, “Who Makes the Best Tools?”

If you find these results somewhat subjective, you’re absolutely correct. Some respondents offered questionable votes, and there’s evident brand loyalty at play. Therefore, it’s best taken with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, it was immensely enjoyable for us to gauge your opinions!

Before delving into the results, we compiled several intriguing statistics during our data analysis. Firstly, the following brands received votes in every category:

  • DeWalt
  • Milwaukee
  • Makita

A total of 75 different brands garnered at least one vote, with 33 of them receiving a single vote in one category. The category with the most diverse representation was Best Hand Tools, featuring 29 different brands.

Milwaukee secured the highest percentage of votes across all categories, with 26.6%. Following closely behind was DeWalt, with 10.8%.

WHO IS THE BEST TOOL BRAND OVERALL?

Milwaukee Tool

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There were no unexpected outcomes in the category for best overall tools, as the top three spots were claimed by the industry’s major players. Milwaukee emerged as the clear frontrunner, securing a commanding lead with 41% of the votes. DeWalt followed in a distant second position with 21%, while Makita trailed even further behind at 9%. Below is a breakdown of the votes received in the comments:

  • Festool (6)
  • Klein (5)
  • Flex (4)
  • Metabo HPT (4)
  • Knipex (3)
  • Bosch (2)
  • Ryobi (2)
  • Gearwrench (1)
  • Grizzly (1)
  • Hilti (1)
  • Metabo (1)
  • Skil (1)
  • Snap-On (1)

(Note: The number in parentheses indicates the total number of votes for each brand.)

It comes as no surprise to witness Milwaukee leading the pack, although the margin between it and DeWalt is wider than anticipated. However, based on the feedback across our Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube channels, it seems that they are much closer competitors in reality.

WHO MAKES THE BEST CORDLESS POWER TOOLS?

Milwaukee Tool

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When it comes to cordless tools specifically, Milwaukee once again secured the top position, capturing 46% of the votes. DeWalt experienced a slight decline from the previous category, garnering 19% of the vote, while Makita made some headway with 14%. Flex also made a notable appearance, earning 7% of the total votes. Here’s how the remaining brands fared:

  • Bosch (3)
  • Ridgid (3)
  • Festool (2)
  • Hilti (2)
  • Ryobi (2)
  • Bauer (1)
  • Metabo HPT (1)
  • Skil (1)

From a statistical perspective, it was unsurprising to witness Milwaukee maintaining its dominant lead as the top cordless tool brand, considering the results of the initial category. Similarly, it was expected that DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee would continue to occupy the top three positions. Much of this can be attributed to the extensive range of cordless tools offered by each brand. What sets Milwaukee apart from its counterparts is its focus on trade-specific tools in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) fields. Milwaukee tools are designed to offer solutions that its closest competitors may not provide.

However, it’s worth noting that Flex is gaining traction. Through our testing, we’ve found that they produce quality cordless tools targeted towards professionals. Additionally, their lifetime warranty adds significant value for those considering adopting a new system.

WHO MAKES THE BEST PNEUMATIC TOOLS?

Ingersoll Rand

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When it comes to pneumatic tools, Ingersoll Rand clinches the title with 23% of the votes, establishing itself as the top contender. Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) secured 19% of the votes, while DeWalt trailed behind with 9%. As for the remaining contenders, the votes are distributed across various brands:

  • Bostitch (4)
  • Ridgid (4)
  • Harbor Freight (3)
  • Snap-On (3)
  • Paslode (2)
  • Porter Cable (2)
  • Senco (2)
  • 3M (1)
  • Astro (1)
  • Chicago Pneumatic (1)
  • Desoutter (1)
  • Everwin (1)
  • Festool (1)
  • Hilti (1)
  • Makita (1)
  • Matco (1)
  • Milwaukee (1)
  • Nuair (1)

Ingersoll Rand’s lead in the pneumatic tools category comes as no surprise, given its exceptional range of automotive and metalworking air tools. Metabo HPT continues to perform strongly even after its rebranding from Hitachi, maintaining its well-deserved reputation for quality nailers.

This category always presents an intriguing analysis once the results are tallied, owing to the multitude of brands vying for dominance in the space. Moreover, there are numerous areas of specialization to consider, including mechanics, fabricators, contractors, and more. That being said, there are a few questionable votes in the mix, leaving room for contemplation on their validity.

WHO MAKES THE BEST HAND TOOLS?

Knipex

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The general hand tool category encompasses a vast array of tools catering to every trade. Knipex emerged victorious, securing 20% of the votes. Milwaukee demonstrated a strong performance with 14% of the votes, closely followed by Klein at 13%. Snap-On and Wera each garnered 5% of the votes. Additionally, numerous other brands were represented:

  • Craftsman (4)
  • Gearwrench (4)
  • Proto (4)
  • Mac Tools (3)
  • Crescent (2)
  • Channellock (2)
  • Irwin (2)
  • Stanley (2)
  • Stiletto (2)
  • Tekton (2)
  • DeWalt (1)
  • Estwing (1)
  • Facom (1)
  • Festool (1)
  • Goodyear (1)
  • Hazet (1)
  • Husky (1)
  • Lee Valley (1)
  • Makita (1)
  • SK Hand Tools (1)
  • Stahlwille (1)
  • Wiha (1)

This year’s voting saw a tighter competition compared to the previous year. Knipex’s reputation for crafting excellent hand tools was evident in its win, while Klein performed as expected, given its widespread popularity among electricians. After a somewhat lackluster showing in the best hand tools category last year, Milwaukee made a significant leap to claim the second position. What surprised us was the abundance of brands that made an appearance, including automotive brands, value brands, and several renowned names.

WHO MAKES THE BEST CONCRETE TOOLS?

Bosch

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The concrete industry is vast, and this year, Bosch emerged with the highest percentage of votes, securing a solid 25% of them. Milwaukee followed closely behind with 20%, while Hilti trailed just behind at 19%. DeWalt and Marshalltown both had commendable showings, each garnering 8% of the votes. Here’s a breakdown of the remaining votes:

  • Makita (4)
  • Kraft (2)
  • Festool (1)
  • Anvil (1)
  • Goldblatt (1)
  • Hercules (1)
  • Level 5 (1)
  • Skil (1)
  • Stihl (1)
  • Sutton (1)
  • USG (1)

Bosch manufactures excellent concrete tools, performing strongly in the rotary hammer sector. Their dust extractors also receive favorable reviews. However, it was somewhat surprising to see Milwaukee surpass Hilti this year, particularly considering Milwaukee only received one vote in the best concrete tools category last year. Nevertheless, when it comes to concrete and masonry, these three brands stand out as powerhouses.

WHO MAKES THE BEST TOOLS FOR ELECTRICIANS?

Klein Tools

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When examining tools tailored for electricians, Klein dominates the field, securing a significant lead with 54% of the votes. Milwaukee follows closely behind in second place with 24%, while Knipex demonstrates a commendable performance with 8%.

The remaining votes were distributed as follows:

  • DeWalt (3)
  • Greenlee (2)
  • Makita (2)
  • Wiha (2)
  • Festool (1)
  • Flex (1)
  • Fluke (1)
  • Hilti (1)

It’s hardly surprising to see Klein leading this vote, given their extensive history in producing electrical tools since 1857. Milwaukee is steadily making strides, offering an impressive array of cordless electrical tools, including compact cordless threaders and dieless crimpers, alongside their range of other cordless hydraulic and hand tools. With Knipex already establishing a solid presence in the hand tools category, their relevance in the electrical trade comes as no surprise.

What’s intriguing is that these same three brands maintain their positions in the same order as last year’s results. While the percentages may vary slightly, the ranking remains unchanged.

WHO MAKES THE BEST TOOLS FOR PLUMBERS?

Milwaukee Tool

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Two formidable brands in the plumbing realm, Milwaukee and Ridgid, emerged as dominant forces in this year’s voting for the best plumbing tools. Milwaukee clinched the top spot with 41% of the vote, while Ridgid closely followed with 38%. DeWalt lagged behind significantly, securing only 6% of the votes.

The remaining votes were allocated as follows:

  • Makita (3)
  • Klein (2)
  • Lenox (2)
  • Bosch (1)
  • Festool (1)
  • Flex (1)
  • Harbor Freight (1)
  • Hilti (1)
  • Jet (1)

Milwaukee and Ridgid’s commanding performance underscores their esteemed reputation within the plumbing industry. Milwaukee’s dominance is attributed primarily to its innovative cordless tools, including PEX expanders and cordless threaders, complemented by an expanding range of hand tools and exceptional core tools catering to various plumbing needs. Ridgid, on the other hand, is renowned for its plumbing hand tools, chain vices, and an array of heavy-duty pipe threaders, inspection systems, and other robust tools that plumbers rely on.

WHO MAKES THE BEST MECHANICS TOOLS?

Snap-On

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The competition was intense in the poll for the best mechanics tools, with Snap-On emerging victorious with 31% of the votes. Milwaukee made a strong showing, securing second place with 27%—a significant increase from last year. Gearwrench claimed the third spot with 10%.

The breakdown of the remaining votes is as follows:

  • DeWalt (5)
  • Mac Tools (5)
  • Craftsman (3)
  • Proto (3)
  • Bosch (2)
  • Hazet (2)
  • Makita (2)
  • Tekton (2)
  • Carlyle (1)
  • Flex (1)
  • Ko-ken (1)
  • Sidechrome (1)

Snap-On holds a prominent position as the favored tool truck brand, making regular stops at shops nationwide. However, being at the top also makes one a target, and Snap-On is certainly feeling the pressure from Milwaukee’s aggressive push into the automotive industry. Milwaukee’s significant improvement from earning just 1% of the votes last year underscores its growing presence in the market. Additionally, Gearwrench’s ascent into the top three marks a notable achievement, thanks to its excellent line of hand tools offered at competitive prices compared to the tool truck brands.

WHO MAKES THE BEST WOODWORKING TOOLS?

Festool

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None of us at Pro Tool Reviews anticipated Festool would land anywhere other than the top spot in the best woodworking tools category. And indeed, it claimed the top position with 26% of the votes. However, the industry’s major players, often referred to as the Big 3, are making significant strides in this domain. DeWalt secured 19% of the votes, while Makita and Milwaukee each garnered 12%. Bosch trailed a bit behind, holding onto 6% of the votes.

The breakdown of the remaining votes is as follows:

  • Ridgid (3)
  • Stanley (3)
  • Fein (2)
  • Flex (2)
  • Kreg (2)
  • Powermatic (2)
  • Delta (1)
  • Felder (1)
  • Freud (1)
  • Grizzly (1)
  • Jet (1)
  • Lie Nielsen (1)
  • Metabo HPT (1)
  • Ryobi (1)
  • Skil (1)
  • Woodpecker (1)

For serious woodworkers with no budget constraints, Festool remains the preferred choice. Renowned for its exceptional ergonomics in sanders, legendary Kapex miter saw, innovative Domino, and purpose-built CT dust extractors, Festool is synonymous with high-quality craftsmanship. However, for those with budgetary considerations, the Big 3 offer quality alternatives, including a wide range of cordless woodworking tools. It’s worth noting that Bosch shouldn’t be overlooked either; their woodworking line is solid, boasting some of the best miter saws and wood routers available.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s hardly unexpected to observe the frequent voting of top Pro brands. While this survey doesn’t offer an objective test to definitively determine who produces the best tools, it does provide valuable insights into the prevailing market perceptions.

As you might imagine, even within the Pro Tool Reviews office, there’s ample disagreement among the team. Each of our Pros, specializing in diverse trades, has their own favorite and indispensable tools that they wouldn’t part with. Consequently, their responses to these questions are just as diverse as yours.

We extend our gratitude to all who took the time to participate in this survey!

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