Milwaukee vs DeWalt – Which Tool Brand is Better in 2020
In our years of tool-testing and working in the field, brand loyalty really rears its head whenever we talk tools. Two fiercely-competitive brands come up considerably more than most others: Milwaukee vs DeWalt.
In considering these brands, we don’t anticipate swaying anyone from their existing platform. Instead, we hope to point out which tools and aspects of each brand win over the other—currently—in the race for the best tool brand.
We’ve reviewed most of the tools below, so our recommendations come from hours of use and research. By combining performance, features, and value, we can deliver a verdict in most cases that should carry some weight.
Dewalt vs Milwaukee Drills
In what would arguably occupy the foremost position in the debate, the question of DeWalt vs Milwaukee drills comes down to several factors. First off, the DeWalt DCD997 demonstrates quite a bit more soft torque than the capable Milwaukee M18 FUEL 2806-20 hammer drill. It also holds up well under load, meaning it slows down very little once you give it a job to do. The DeWalt also drilled faster in concrete.
The Milwaukee 2806-20, however, comes uniquely optimized for high-speed drilling. It is one of only a few tools that will successfully drive a 2-9/16″ self-feed bit through 2X material in High speed. Even the best cordless drills need to drop into Low speed for that kind of work (including the DeWalt above). This could seriously improve workflow for plumbers and electricians.
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Hammer Drill Size Differences
Milwaukee also makes a much smaller hammer drill—measuring around an inch less in length than the DeWalt! Weight between the two almost matches. The 2806-20 hammer drill weighs just 4.8 pounds loaded with an XC5.0 Ah battery. The DeWalt DCD997 just edges over that by about an ounce or so with a 5Ah battery.
Milwaukee One-Key vs DeWalt Tool Connect
When comparing Milwaukee One-Key to DeWalt Tool Connect, the tables turn quickly. One-Key offers far more sophistication, maturity, and features over the latter. If tool tracking, inventory, and tool control top your list, Milwaukee handily wins this area, though DeWalt continues to improve.
What About Compact or 12V Models?
When you look at compact and 12V models, the field changes somewhat. The Milwaukee M12 line of tools far surpasses any other in the industry. If you want to get onto a 12V platform, Milwaukee makes the most sense.
For compact tools, we also feel Milwaukee edges out DeWalt. The new DeWalt Atomic line of tools promises compactness and affordability, but it doesn’t seem to go far enough in saving weight.Shop Milwaukee Drills Shop DeWalt Drills
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Impact Driver
If the above hammer drill comparison indicates anything, it’s that these tools remain fiercely competitive. When comparing the Milwaukee vs DeWalt impact driver, two things immediately jumped out. From our best impact driver comparison, we know that the Milwaukee 2857-20 impact driver shaves around an inch off the length of the DeWalt DCF887. We also know that Milwaukee has significant advantages in both speed and torque.
We do like the chuck-based LED light DeWalt uses—it illuminates the work area much more clearly. DeWalt also has a nice bit ejection feature that Milwaukee lacks.
In the end, however, if you consider the flagship models, this one seems like much less of a contest than the cordless hammer drills.Shop Milwaukee Impact Drivers Shop DeWalt Impact Drivers
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Impact Wrench
Let’s consider some other Milwaukee vs DeWalt impact wrench factors, though. First, you now have access to the Milwaukee 1-inch D-handle impact wrench. On the other side, DeWalt makes the DCF897 3/4″ impact wrench. No matter how you slice it, Milwaukee provides more and better options for maximum impact wrench power.
Switching to the mid-torque, the Milwaukee mid-torque impact wrenches provide up to 450 foot-pounds of fastening torque. Compare that to the 330 foot-pounds on the DeWalt DCF896 1/2″ impact wrench.
Milwaukee also adds more options in the area of compact “stubby” models and premium brushless 12V impact drivers. No matter how you slice it, Milwaukee takes the entire impact wrench segment in our opinion.Shop Milwaukee Impact Wrenches Shop DeWalt Impact Wrenches
DeWalt Brushless vs Milwaukee Brushless Tools and Technology
Both DeWalt and Milwaukee have long employed brushless tool technology. Milwaukee rolled out their brushless tools first, immediately taking advantage of the ability to better control drill and driver speed through electronics. DeWalt followed a couple years later.
Since then, DeWalt brushless vs Milwaukee brushless tools employ smart electronics to better control the speed and power of their tools while cutting, drilling, driving, or sawing. Milwaukee “RedLink Plus” handles these duties for Big Red, but DeWalt opts for simply referring to their “brushless motor” technology in a more generic sense.
Between the two, we have to say that both do an excellent job of providing speed modes, tool control, and protection. We don’t really see an advantage from one to the other except that Milwaukee Tool tends towards smaller brushless motors that take up less space. Because of this, they often produce smaller tools while providing at least similar amounts of power.
Also, as mentioned above, their One-Key system far surpasses anything DeWalt has yet to produce.
Milwaukee Chainsaw vs DeWalt
The Milwaukee chainsaw vs DeWalt chainsaw may be something of a battle for years to come. Take the Milwaukee M18 FUEL chainsaw. It has a 16-inch bar and chain and weighs 10.7 pounds before adding the battery. The DeWalt FlexVolt 16-inch chainsaw weighs a little over a pound less.
Both tools feel powerful enough to handle smaller branches and storm cleanup work. In our testing, the Milwaukee cordless chainsaw even beat out a Husqvarna 460 rancher with a sharpened blade when repeatedly cutting through 6-inch oak trunks. We then found it could tackle 14-16-inch trunks as well. Check out the video here.
Where we think DeWalt takes a lead is with respect to options. Currently, Milwaukee only has one chainsaw unless you count the pole saw available with the Milwaukee Quik-Lok attachment system. DeWalt has both the 16-inch FlexVolt model and its 20V Max 12-inch chain saw. Their 40V model is all but discontinued at this point.
Pro Chainsaw Features
Milwaukee opted to go for a more Pro-focused dual stud system for chain tensioning. They also provide onboard storage for the scrench. The DeWalt 60V chainsaw uses a tool-free chain and bar tightening knob. Pros tend to prefer the former as it doesn’t loosen or drift as easily as tool-free systems.Shop DeWalt Chainsaws Shop Milwaukee Chainsaws
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Band Saw
The question of which DeWalt vs Milwaukee band saw choice makes sense leads to a quandary. Both companies make excellent products. This also represents an area where both Milwaukee Tool and DeWalt have heavily invested.
Currently, Milwaukee has five different band saw models while DeWalt has three. Both feature deep cut and compact models, and both have models with available safety features like a dual trigger system.
Milwaukee Portable Band Saw vs DeWalt
Milwaukee Tool seems to pull away, however, in the fact that it has both an M12 cordless one-handed band saw and dual trigger options in both deep cut and compact models.
We like the available options, and Pros who need some flexibility can grab exactly what they need. Of course, if you don’t need dual-trigger capability or a one-handed solution, the playing field seems very even as performance feels comparable on both brands.Shop Milwaukee Band Saws Shop DeWalt Band Saws
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Circular Saw
If ever two companies sparred over a single tool for dominance, it would be the question of buying a DeWalt vs Milwaukee circular saw. First off, the Milwaukee M18 and DeWalt FlexVolt 60V rear handle and sidewinder saws share many physical similarities.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Sidewinder Saws
On the sidewinder side, the price for the tools almost matches as well as their physical traits. The DeWalt DCS578 shaves nearly a pound off the weight, however, making for a lighter tool overall. The Milwaukee 2732-20 has less friction on its magnesium shoe and handles 45-degree compound cuts much more easily (the guard on the DeWalt actually gets in the way). We also liked the guard a tad bit better and felt it had better sightlines.
On the DeWalt side, we felt it has a better (and larger) forward handle design. It also has slightly better tracking to keep it straight during the cut. As we said from the outset—this one really feels like a toss-up, but if we had to choose, we’d likely pick the Milwaukee 2732.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Rear Handle Saws
Like the sidewinders, the DeWalt vs Milwaukee rear handle saws dilemma suffers from the similarity of these tools. Both saws eject dust very well without a vacuum attached, and the DeWalt might fill up your tool belt if you’re not careful! Both rear handle saws have tremendous cutting power.
The base on the Milwaukee 2830-20 feels smoother, so it glides across lumber during cross and rip cuts. It also maintains slightly better sightlines. The DeWalt DCS577 has a nicer, larger handle that angles forward. It gives you a solid grip and excellent control while cutting. Both saws track really well and don’t tend to deviate easily from cutting a straight line.
If cutting sheet goods takes up a lot of your time, either of these saws aims to please. We really find it difficult to recommend one over the other. Pick one and know that it will give you tons of power and runtime.
One exception to note, however—Milwaukee currently lacks a track saw while DeWalt has their capable DCS520 and DWS520 on the corded side.Shop Milwaukee Circular Saws Shop DeWalt Circular Saws
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Vacuum
On the job site, Pros use shop vacuums and dust extractors quite often. If you work with concrete or do indoor carpentry, these tools can save your lungs, increase client satisfaction, and keep you in compliance with OSHA.
When considering a DeWalt vs Milwaukee vacuum, our leanings tend towards DeWalt with a few notable exceptions. DeWalt has an assortment of corded and cordless vacuums and dust extractors. These include compact models to larger units with 10-gallons of capacity. For larger jobs, we like the DeWalt DXV09P which provides a good amount of power for its sub-$100 price.
Milwaukee vs DeWalt Portable Vacuum Options
On the smaller side, both Milwaukee and DeWalt have portable cordless vacuums that fit different needs. We still love the Milwaukee 0880 M18 wet/dry vacuum for its ease-of-use. Another option comes with the Milwaukee 3-in-1 backpack vacuum, which DeWalt has yet to match.
DeWalt offers some portability with its DCV581H 20V Max hybrid wet/dry vacuum. We love that this model works with either a wall outlet or a 20V battery pack. If you want portable flexibility, DeWalt takes this hands-down. DeWalt clearly has a wider range of products for those looking for either corded or cordless vacuum solutions.Shop DeWalt Vacs Shop Milwaukee Vacs
Milwaukee Miter Saw vs Dewalt
In our opinion, Milwaukee has one of the best corded miter saws on the market. It hasn’t changed in years, but the features and the build quality still dominate those not looking for portability. In the Milwaukee miter saw vs DeWalt miter saw debate, first decide what kind of tool you need.
When we wrote up our best 12-inch miter saws article, we quickly noted models that had excellent fence clearance and above-average capacity. The DeWalt DWS716XPS miter saw remains a favorite of ours. We love the LED cutline that lets you see your cut—even in broad daylight. This saw also cuts 6-1/2 in. vertical base and 6-5/8 in. of vertically nested crown molding.
What About Cordless Miter Saws?
Glad you asked! On the cordless side, we love the Milwaukee cordless 12-inch sliding miter saw. It’s 3/4 the weight of their corded saw and cuts almost as well.
The DeWalt FlexVolt DHS790 compares well. Built on the platform of the well-regarded DWS780 miter saw, this tool packs plenty of power and has an available adapter to let you run it off AC power when needed.
Finally, if you want a compact model, it’s hard to beat the cordless DeWalt DCS361B which packs the ability to cut over 175 2x4s using a single 4Ah 20V Max battery.Shop Milwaukee Miter Saws Shop DeWalt Vacs
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Tool Box
We know people love to tout their brands. With that said, both DeWalt and Milwaukee have some great-looking tool box options. The big question when looking at the DeWalt vs Milwaukee tool box question involves what kind of product you want to compare.
Comparing Milwaukee vs DeWalt Portable Tool Storage
We love the Milwaukee Packout system. It provides stackable, secure storage of tools, fasteners, and even accessories. Options include a compact toolbox, organizers for screws and nails, a compact cooler, and even a Packout radio. The system keeps expanding, and Milwaukee started offering some of their popular tool kits in Packout cases.
On the other side, we have the DeWalt ToughSystem. This includes a workshop racking system, storage boxes, and even a ToughSystem Music + Charger. For those not needing quite the level ToughSystem provides, you can opt for the TSTAK system. TSTAK also remains compatible with the Craftsman Versastack system (but not ToughSystem).
In our opinion, Milwaukee Packout seems to be growing more aggressively than the DeWalt ToughSystem, but it really goes back and forth. Both are excellent storage solutions. Which one you choose really depends on whether they have the exact features you need.
What About Actual Tool Boxes and Chests?
When it comes to actual steel toolboxes and storage chests, we love the many options provided under the Milwaukee brand. To our knowledge, both Milwaukee and DeWalt work with third-party suppliers for these products, but each specifies their requirements.
We love the Milwaukee 52″ mobile workbench as a general all-around steel tool storage solution. It provides a clampable work surface and you can get up to 1200 pounds of tools in the drawers. Currently, Milwaukee has over 15 different options for steel storage.
DeWalt has fewer innovative solutions for tool storage in this area. They do, however, have some wider tool workstations, including a 75-inch model. Milwaukee tops out at 61-inches. DeWalt also has things like a basic utility cart and narrow 41- and 26-inch models that Milwaukee lacks.
If you have very specific needs, DeWalt may accommodate you more easily. If, however, you want solid all-in-one solutions with innovative features, Milwaukee deserves a second look.
DeWalt vs Milwaukee Heated Jacket
In the DeWalt vs Milwaukee heated jacket debate, Milwaukee blows nearly everyone else off the board. The company currently has 10 heated products. These include Milwaukee heated jackets for men and women, heated vests, heated hoodies, and even heated gloves. DeWalt has a soft-shell heated jacket, but most of their heated gear seems out of stock and almost an afterthought.Shop Milwaukee Heated Gear Shop DeWalt Heated Gear