There are countless tool brands on the market in 2021. Some, like the brands below, are household names with good reputations, others…well not so much. We’ve taken the guesswork out and listed the best tool brands in 2021 based upon customer satisfaction surveys, independent research and awards.
You would have heard of most of these tool brands, but a couple may be a bit of a surprise. What they all have in common are customer trust, a quality product offering and award-winning designs and innovations.
The Best Tool Brands 2021
Below is our list of best tool brands to buy from in 2021. This list was compiled with many hours of research looking through awards, customer satisfaction surveys, independent research and curating reviews from respected authorities.
DeWalt Industrial Tool Company has been around since 1924. So, this year marks its 97th year in the industry. It’s an American worldwide manufacturer for power tools and hand tools. It’s famously known and others may strongly associate the brand with the yellow coloured tools.
Lifestory Research dubbed DeWalt as the most trusted brand when purchasing power tools in its 2020 America’s Most Trusted® Power Tools Brand Study. It garnered a perfect score of 5 Star Trust Rating with a NetTrust Quotient Score of 118.0.
The runner-ups to DeWalt, are Craftsman, Milwaukee, and Makita, which are part of this list.
Last year, DeWalt garnered 9 innovation awards from Pro Tool Innovation Awards. But 2019 can be considered as one of its greatest shining moments when the brand received a whopping 21 innovation awards from the same recognition board.
See here for the full list of DeWalt awards.
So what makes DeWalt a top brand? Well, there are factors to considered and ProMaker considered factors like the warranty duration of each product, the number of cordless power tools, whether or not there are constant innovation and tech research, annual company sales, and how long the brand has been in the industry—among others.
But, of course, there’s always taking into consideration the professional opinion of experts and consumers’ surveys.
Whenever you search for top power tool brands, DeWalt would always be included in the list; for most, if not all, it’ll always be placed on top of the list.
This brand has over 200 cordless power tools and has 3 to 7 years of warranty for its products (warranty period will vary depending on the product).
In a survey conducted by ProTools, DeWalt ranked first as one of the brands with the best ergonomics. A few of its products with ergonomics design are the:
- Dewalt Cordless Compact Drill Driver Kit
- DeWalt Brushless, Cordless Compact Driver Drill
- DEWALT Lightweight Corded Saw
- DeWalt Corded Cut-out Rotary Tool
Makita ranked fourth in Lifestory Research’s 2020 America’s Most Trusted® Power Tools Brand Study. Compared to DeWalt, it only garnered 3-Star Trust Rating with an index score of 110.2.
But it’s considered as one of the three top power tool brands in the world this 2021 by ProMaker. It ranked third with DeWalt topping the list, and Milwaukee bagging second place.
Although, it’s the oldest tool brand among the three. This month actually marks Makita’s 106th year in the industry. So it has been a household name for a long time, just like DeWalt and Milwaukee.
It’s actually a Japanese brand but most of its tools are made in the United States. It operates, as of this writing, 10 plants in eight different countries—including China, UK, and Germany.
In 2018, Makita bagged the Innovation Award from the Home Depot Awards. Its Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact was named the “Overall Winner” of the Innovation Award for best-in-class products.
Not only is Makita award-winning for its in-class products, but the brand is also highly recognized for its recycling efforts. Also in 2018, the Japanese brand bagged the Call2Recycle® 2018 Leader in Sustainability Award for its outstanding battery recycling efforts.
So if your one that highly considers environmentally-aware products, then you should definitely check out Makita products.
Makita is definitely award-winning. In 2019, it bagged a triple win for its Cordless Twin 18V (36V) 40mm SDS-MAX Rotary Demolition Hammer. It won the following:
- Industry Product of the Year at the Hire Awards of Excellence (April 2019)
- the Innovation Award at the Executive Hire Show Passionate Hire Awards (February 2019)
- Speedo Expo Product Award (February 2019, but the expo happened in October 2018)
One of the great things about Makita products is that it as a 3-year limited warranty for its Lithium-ion tools, batteries, chargers and pneumatic nailers. But it has a general product limited warranty of only a year from the date of purchase.
The third renowned power tool brand, Milwaukee Electric Tool, has been in the industry since 1924. Its name is derived from the place it was founded which is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.
In the same survey done by ProTool, Milwaukee is deemed the best, durable tool brand as well as being high-performing and being the most innovative tool.
Milwaukee tied up with Makita on the third spot in Lifestory Research’s America’s Most Trusted Power Tools Brand Study. It garnered the same Trust Rating and index score. But for the latest study for 2021, Milwaukee outranked Makita by 0.9 in the index score. Although the Trust Rating remained the same.
Among all three, as of 2020, this brand has the most number of cordless power tools with around 300 products made available in the market.
It bagged quite a number of awards in the PTIA 2020 Cordless Tools Awards. From its Tool One-Key, a software made to help the construction industry, its cordless angle grinders, band saw, to its multi-tools, its products for each category was deemed the best.
See the full list here.
Milwaukee has an average warranty period of 5 years (but may vary for each product). But it does offer a free repair and replacement within the 1-year warranty period, without the need for registration.
Craftsman has been around since 1927 which is now owned by Stanley Black & Decker—the same parent company of Black+Decker (7th on this list).
Craftsman tied with DeWalt in this year’s America’s Most Trusted Power Tools by Lifestory Research. Both had the same 5-star Trusting Rating and an index score of 118.6. Nevertheless, the research organization sought to crown Craftsman of this year’s title.
Last year, the Baltimore-based brand only trailed behind by 0.5, so it’s not as surprising that it finally bagged the grand title this year.
Back in 2009, the Popular Mechanics Magazine readers voted the brand as their favourite brand of hand tools in their Reader’s Choice Awards. In 2017, it bagged the prestigious Edison Awards for innovation. It’s Flex Claw Hammer wins Gold in the Tools category and the Sidewinder Tape Measure wins Bronze in the Home and Lawn Maintenance group.
By 2020, Craftsman received the Popular Mechanics 2020 Tool Awards for Best Tile Saw (CMCS4000M1 Tile Saw) and Best Socket Set (CMMT99206 Socket Set),
Bosch Power Tools just won the Best Brands Award under the category “Best Brand Overall” for 2021.
Ridgid has also been around for nearly a century— founded in 1923 in North Ridgeville, Ohio. Just like the rest in this list, this brand is also award-winning.
Just last year, it was awarded two 2020 Pro Tool Innovation Awards. One under the Cordless Press Tools (RIDGID RP 342-XL Press Tool) and the other under the Cordless Plumbing Specialty category (RIDGID StrutSlayr Strut Shear Head).
As already mentioned, Black+Decker is under the same parent company with Craftsman—Stanley Black & Decker. It was founded still in Baltimore in 1910—that’s 111 years in the industry.
Of course, as maintained throughout this list, this brand is award-winning as well. The most recent was during the 2020 PTIA Awards, its BCRTA601I Furniture Assembly Tool / Screwdriver was named the winner under the Cordless Screwdrivers category.
Its BHSB320JP spillbuster Cordless Spill + Spot Cleaner with Powered Scrub Brush also won under the Cordless Handheld Vacuums category.
Last year, its LENOX LAZER Carbide-Tipped Reciprocating Saw Blade also won the Pro Tools Innovation Award.
Black+Decker also maintained its ranking (7th) from 2020 to 2021 in Lifestory Research’s America’s Most Trusted Power Tools Study. Its index score did raise from 103.5 to 105.3. But the Trust Rating remained at 2 stars.
Other Tool Brands to Consider
- Ryobi: Ryobi is known for offering good quality tools at reasonable rates. Consumers generally find the products good value for money and very functional. They are primarily aimed at the DIY market so if you are a professional contractor it may be best to look elsewhere.
- Kobals: The latest line of power tools for Kobals (24V Max) is a noticeable improvement over previous product lines and that is why this brand makes the list of best tool brands. They have a wide range of different product types and all of them review at least reasonably well.
Tool Brands to Avoid
- Harbor Freight: These tools are incredibly cheap and the quality is a reflection of this. They review very badly and are reporting to break or degrade very quickly. They are made in China with varying levels of quality across a single product line. Do not recommend tools from this brand.
Best Tool Brand Buying Guide
Below is a list of tips to ensure you are informed enough to make the right purchase. Although all of the brands in this list of best tool brands are reputable and recognised for their quality, you can never be too careful and should always do your best to understand what something is good or not.
Make sure the tools you are looking at is made from quality materials and is precision engineered. Tools undergo a lot of stress when being used so the material choice is absolutely paramount to the longevity of the said tool.
Value for Money
As with everything there is a balancing act when it comes to quality and cost. It’s best to scope out the work and find a tool that’s fit for that particular purpose. The best tools are extremely expensive but designed for extreme use, if you’re just planning on maintaining the basics of your home, it’s unlikely you will need to spend a small fortune on a power drill. Howeverm if you opt for something too cheap, you’ll likely be buying another drill in a year or two.
This is one of the most important aspects when buying a tool and played a large part in putting together this list. Warrantees, repairs and refunds can get complicated, with the specifics often being far into the document that you probably didn’t ready anyway.
Make sure you clear up any questions you have wit the manufacturer prior to purchasing it. There can be a large range in the level of after-sales care certain brands offer, so make sure you know what you will be getting.
Power tools are complex and so are the problems that can arise from the complexity. It’s unlikely you will be able to identify the issue, let alone fix it, so good after-sales service is worth paying for.
Where are the tools made?
A good indicator of quality is the country of origin. If a tool says “Made in the USA” chances are you are buying a quality product. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the “Made in China”m which are generally low quality and cheap, but can satisfy certain consumer needs.