If you’re trying to pick out your next power drill, you can’t go wrong picking from one of the top brands. The problem is that there are three major drill brands that are beloved by contractors and builders worldwide: DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee. All three of these brands produce top-quality tools, so how are you supposed to choose between them?
It helps if you know a little bit about each brand. Here’s what you need to know about comparing DeWalt versus Makita versus Milwaukee, what they do best, and the five best drills from these brands.
What Are the Advantages of These Brands: DeWalt vs. Milwaukee vs. Makita
There’s a good reason that the brands DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Makita are the best-known names when it comes to power drills. These three brands have dedicated decades to producing some of the best quality drills on the market. Still, each brand has unique advantages that may make one better suited to your needs over the others.
Advantages of DeWalt Drills
The DeWalt brand has been around for decades. First founded in 1923, the brand is ready to celebrate its hundredth birthday. All DeWalt tools are made in America, making it an enticing brand for people who like to shop close to home.
DeWalt specializes in cordless power tools and is especially well known for its drills and other woodworking tools. The brand prioritizes long-lasting motors and uses patented technologies such as its XR Brushless motor family and E-Clutch system to ensure its drills will last a lifetime.
Advantages of Milwaukee Drills
The Milwaukee brand is another homegrown American tool manufacturer. The company has been around almost as long as DeWalt has; its modern incarnation was founded in 1924. Many Milwaukee tools are still manufactured in the U.S., but not all of them.
When it comes to manufacturing, Milwaukee makes hundreds of tools. Unlike DeWalt, Milwaukee makes both cordless and corded tools. The brand is heavily focused on producing heavy-duty equipment for use by contractors and other high-powered users.
Advantages of Makita Drills
Makita is a Japanese power tool brand and the oldest company on this list. First founded in 1915, Makita expanded into the U.S. throughout the ’80s and ’90s. The brand is known for developing the first rechargeable battery-operated drill on the market in 1969. It also developed the first ever lithium-ion power tool in 2005.
When it comes to tools, Makita specializes. The company only produces 80 total types of cordless power tools. However, the company’s dedication to quality makes its tools, including its drills, some of the best on the market. If you’re looking for genuine innovation, you can expect to see it from Makita first.
DeWalt vs. Milwaukee vs. Makita — How Do They Compare to Others?
So how do these three brands compare to each other? Let’s break down their strengths and weaknesses.
Makita vs. DeWalt:
- Manufacturing Locations: All DeWalt tools are made in the U.S., while Makita tools are not.
- Quality: Some people feel like the average quality of DeWalt tools has declined since the brand was purchased by the company Stanley in 2010, while the quality of Makita tools has remained consistent.
- Power: DeWalt tools tend to be slightly more powerful than Makita tools.
- Innovation: Makita is known for its incredible innovation, while DeWalt focuses on standards.
Milwaukee vs. Dewalt:
- Manufacturing Locations: All of DeWalt’s tools are made in the U.S., while only some of Milwaukee’s tools are.
- Quality: Milwaukee tools have the highest average warranty length, showing the brand’s belief in the quality of its products.
- Power: Milwaukee tools are often the most powerful in their class compared to DeWalt, as they are built for contractor use.
- Innovation: Both Milwaukee and DeWalt regularly update their tools, but neither break boundaries.
Makita vs. Milwaukee:
- Manufacturing Locations: Makita drills aren’t made in the U.S., and some Milwaukee tools are.
- Quality: Milwaukee’s warranty length is longer than Makita’s, potentially demonstrating higher quality overall.
- Power: Milwaukee tools are typically more powerful than the equivalent Makita tools.
- Innovation: Makita is known for being the first on the market with massive innovations in battery-powered tools, while Milwaukee lags behind.
The 5 Best Drills from DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Makita
All three of these drill brands produce some top-quality tools. The five drills listed below are the very best of the best. Whether you’re looking for a drill from DeWalt, Milwaukee, or Makita, you can’t go wrong by picking one of the options on this list.
DeWalt DCD998B 20V Max Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver Description and Specifications
This hammer drill is one of the most powerful on the market. Its 20-volt battery and 8Ah amperage give it the power to drill through just about anything. You can expect maximum torque of more than 1,000 in-lbs. It has a lithium-ion battery and an XR Brushless motor, an all-metal three-speed transmission, and a heavy-duty nitrocarburized metal chuck that’s designed for drilling into masonry. It even has a three-mode LED for drilling in the dark.
|Tool Bag||Not included|
|Motor Type||XR Brushless|
|Max Torque||1084.7 in-lbs.|
|Weight (pounds)||9.92 lbs.|
Why the DeWalt DCD998B 20V Max Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver Is Great
Hammer drills are heavy-duty power tools that give you the extra force you need to cut through heavy materials like masonry. If you’re looking for a hammer drill for a high-impact project, the DeWalt 20V Max Li-Ion Driver is a great choice. This drill is built to provide incredible torque alongside its hammer capabilities, so you’ll have no problem getting through even the thickest of materials.
This is also one of the most powerful cordless drills on the market. The 20-volt motor makes it the strongest cordless drill on this list, so if power is your top priority, this should be your go-to. Just note that the power of the drill also comes with a heavier battery; this drill weighs nearly 10 lbs.
Pros and Cons of the DeWalt DCD998B 20V Max Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver
- Three-speed transmission for drilling different materials
- Hammer drill for heavy-duty work
- High-powered battery for intense use
- Heavy, weighing nearly 10 lbs.
- Longer charge time
DeWalt DCD701B 12V Max Li-Ion Cordless 3/8” Drill Driver Description and Specifications
The DeWalt Xtreme DCD701B is compact, at just over 9” long and 6” high. It’s also lightweight at just over two pounds. The drill operates at 12 volts and can accept DeWalt 12V batteries to generate amperage of up to 3Ah. It has two transmission speeds, offering even greater flexibility alongside its small size.
|Battery Amp Hours / Amperage||Not specified|
|Weight (pounds)||2.3 lbs.|
Why the DeWalt DCD701B 12V Max Li-Ion Cordless 3/8” Drill Driver Is Great
The DeWalt Xtreme DCD701B is a compact drill excellent for being used in tight spaces. This subcompact drill is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the 20V Max hammer driver above. It’s a lightweight but sturdy drill that’s ideal for driving screws in awkward and hard-to-reach spots.
The drill’s short barrel length and low weight make it ideal for drilling in places like crawl spaces, vents, ceilings, and more. While this drill has limited power, it’s great for small tasks that would be hard to accomplish with a bigger, heavier tool. It also has DeWalt’s brushless motor, so it should hold up over years of use.
Pros and Cons of the DeWalt DCD701B 12V Max Li-Ion Cordless 3/8” Drill Driver
- Two-speed transmission for flexibility
- Fast charging
- Less power than alternatives
- Shorter battery life
- Batteries not included
Milwaukee 2606-20 18V M18 Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver Description and Specifications
The Milwaukee 2606-22CT cordless drill is a top-of-the-line model. The 18-volt drill is designed for flexible use, with the power to manage a wide variety of tasks without a struggle. The body of the drill is more than a foot long and houses a powerful brush engine with two transmission speeds. This drill can put out an impressive 800 watts, giving it some of the best torque on the cordless drill market outside of hammer drills.
|Battery Amp Hours / Amperage||4.0 Ah|
|Battery/Charger||Charger not Included|
|Max RPM||1800 RPM|
|Weight (pounds)||3.32 lb|
|Extra Features||Keyless Chuck, LED Light, Variable Speed|
Why the Milwaukee 2606-20 18V M18 Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver Is Great
It should be noted that 18-volt tools are some of the most flexible drills on the market. The Milwaukee 18V M18 drill driver is an excellent all-around tool if you’re looking for something that can handle tasks both large and small.
The larger size of the drill and the brush motor make it rugged enough to handle heavy use, but may also put people off who just want a portable drill for tasks around the house. Still, anyone who needs a heavy-duty daily driver cordless drill can trust that the Milwaukee 2606-22CT model will keep up with them. On the off chance it doesn’t, Milwaukee’s excellent five-year warranty will help you get the drill repaired.
Pros and Cons of the Milwaukee 2606-20 18V M18 Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver
- Impressive power in a compact design
- Advanced ergonomics
- High-quality motor that features rare earth magnets
- LED light
- Metal gear case and chuck
- REDLINK Intelligence system prevents abuse
- Five-year warranty
- Slightly more expensive than other drill drivers
- Battery and charger must be purchased separately
Milwaukee 2606-20 M18 18V Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver
Milwaukee 2606-20 M18 18V Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver
Milwaukee 2606-20 M18 18V Li-ion Cordless 1/2″ Drill Driver
Makita XPH14Z 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver Description and Specifications
This Makita hammer drill driver has both power and flexibility. The tool comes with a handle, giving you more control over the hammering element of the driver. It’s built with an all-metal 1/2” self-ratcheting chuck, increasing the tool’s grip on difficult materials. It also has the highest torque on this list, with a maximum of 1250 in-lbs. The 18V LXT is also built to be compact for a hammer drill with an 8” barrel, making it comparatively easy to get into tight spaces.
|Motor Type||BL Brushless|
|Weight (pounds)||5.41 lbs.|
Why the Makita XPH14Z 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver Is Great
Sometimes, you need the power and torque of a hammer drill in a smaller space. If you regularly work on projects in tight quarters but require more power, the Makita XPH14Z 18V LXT might be right for you. This drill is an excellent compromise between sheer power — with up to 1,250 in-lbs. of torque and 42 speed settings — and compact size, with a barrel just 8” long.
While the battery life of the Makita XPH14Z 18V LXT isn’t quite as long as the DeWalt hammer drill on this list, it’s still more than long enough to handle many projects. It’s also lighter than the DeWalt, which makes it easier to maneuver.
Pros and Cons of the Makita XPH14Z 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver
- Two-speed transmission
- Efficient brushless motor
- 1,250 inch-pounds of torque
- 1/2″ self-ratcheting chuck for increased bit gripping strength and durability
- LED light to illuminate work area
- Compact and lightweight
- Weighs only 6 lbs with battery
- Rubberized soft grip
- Selector for drill and hammer drill is too loose
- Sometimes flips into hammer mode
- Motor may fail if you use it for too many heavy-duty tasks in a short period
Makita XPH14Z 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Hammer Drill Driver
Makita XFD11ZB 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver Description and Specifications
This sub-compact drill is just 7” long and weighs in at under 3 lbs. With an 18-volt motor and maximum torque of 350 in-lbs., it’s powerful for its small size. The Makita XFD11ZB 18V LXT has a keyless chuck, 40 total speed settings across two transmission speeds, and a brushless motor to help the drill last for years.
|Max Torque||350 in-lbs.|
|Weight (pounds)||2.8 lbs.|
Why the Makita XFD11ZB 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver Is Great
One of the biggest benefits of cordless drills is their ability to fit in tight spaces. The Makita XFD11ZB LXT is one of the best on the market if that’s your top criteria for a drill. It’s a great balance of torque and size for tasks around the house or home woodworking projects. You can easily maneuver it into a tight corner or inside a piece of furniture.
This drill is also more powerful than the DeWalt subcompact drill above. Its 18-volt motor gives it a little more power for tough materials. While that is reflected in the drill’s shorter battery life, you might find it a worthwhile tradeoff if you plan on using the tool for short but intense projects.
Pros and Cons of the Makita XFD11ZB 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver
- Powerful for a compact drill
- Not ideal for heavy-duty use
- Limited battery life compared to other 18-volt drills
Makita XFD11ZB 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 1/2” Drill Driver
How To Choose the Best Brand of Drill for You
When you’re trying to decide on a drill brand, you can’t go wrong with Milwaukee, Makita, and DeWalt tools. These brands have some of the best products on the market. To choose the right drill brand for you, you’ll need to consider what you want out of the power tool.
A few of the most important considerations when choosing your next power drill include:
- Do you need a drill with a compact design?
- How much battery life do you need?
- Does a fast charge time matter to you?
- How many speed settings do you need?
- Do you need impact drivers?
- How much power output do you need?
- Do you care about warranties?
When you know the answers to these questions, you can easily pick out a drill brand that will meet your needs.
DeWalt vs. Milwaukee vs. Makita: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Milwaukee Tools, also known as the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation, is owned by Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries. However, Milwaukee Tools is a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries and is still based in the U.S.
DeWalt is owned by Black & Decker, which itself is a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. Stanley Black & Decker is known for manufacturing tools and hardware. The company is still a U.S.-owned business. Stanley Black & Decker continues to have all DeWalt tools manufactured in the U.S.
DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Makita tool brands all produce some of the best cordless power tools in the world. Makita was the first company in the world to pioneer cordless power tools, and their quality has only improved in the years since.
Meanwhile, both Milwaukee and DeWalt put the time and effort into their tools to make sure every cordless power tool they produce is up to their quality standards. Makita, DeWalt, and Milwaukee are all trusted names in the power tool industry, and their cordless tools have reputations for excellence.
Hammer drills are designed to cut through masonry and other hard materials. To do so, they have one extra component compared to standard drills. A hammer drill has an interior impact mechanism that causes the drill to rapidly “hammer” at the surface it’s drilling. It works similarly to a jackhammer, just on a smaller scale.
This hammering helps pulverize the surface that is being drilled into, speeding up the process of driving a hole. Without the hammering action, the drill would have to grind through the hard material, risking major wear and tear on the bit and a much shorter battery lifespan.
Milwaukee, DeWalt, and Makita tools all produce excellent lines of mid-range power tools with excellent quality. Their drills can stand up to heavy use without suffering from damage or breaking down. All three companies also offer reliable and long-lasting warranties. If a drill from one of these brands breaks down from normal use, you can get it repaired quickly and at no cost during the warranty period.