What is the best Lithium-ion hand tool brand?

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
"Best" is a very undefined term in what it means to whom. To my dad, it meant cheapest even if it did not work. Others want the durability to drop if off a ladder. Some want the anti-theft locks as job site tools tend to grow legs.

To minimize the number of batteries and chargers, I reduced to only a couple of lines.
I chose the Milwaukee 12V line as I liked the tools. Drill, driver, stapler hacksall, ratchet drive etc. I want several more.

I chose the Makita 18V line, again for the specific tools. Mostly for the small circ saw and jigsaw. Everyone's drill and drivers are fine.

I HATE DeWalt for various reasons. Ryobi is disposable, PorterCable went to junk. Bosch is nice but the specific tools I wanted were not a match.
Reviews of the various HF tools shows them to actually be expensive for what you get. Not like the dirt cheap Chicago corded tools.
Some love their Festool. Proprietary everything and insane price. I'm surprised they can even use standard drill bits.
I have one Ridgid left. 18V driver. I kept it as it is a lot less powerful than the Makita, but more than the 12V Milwaukee. I bought it because of their warrantee, which turns out to be bogus.

A weeks weeks ago, I got a BOGO on Makita. Bought 2 batteries and a charger and got the jig saw for free. Big 5A batteries. I wish they had little 2AH 18V as there are times where a little lighter woudl be handy.

I have a Makita "white" 9/12V drill and driver. I actually like them very much except the drill has a 1/4 receiver not a chuck. So, I will probably list them on Craigs list cheap being replaced by my Milwaukee.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Oh, I went Lowes yard tools. 40 and 80V. Again, to minimize the numbers of batteries and chargers. Their blower tested the best. Chain saw, trimmer, pole saw, and several on my wish list. Makita males yard tools but insane prices. Roybi is the most versatile if you can tolerate the performance.
 

cyclopentadiene

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I have a Dewalt that i handed down to my daughter when my wife purchased a festool drill driver. Dewalt works fine but the Festool is more powerful and holds a charge longer

for now WW I had purchased the Echo hedge trimmer and leaf blower. I can huff and puff the driveway better and the hedge trimmer worked on small pieces but struggled with Holly bushes. I donated both to Hospice-resale store and purchased gas powered Stihl. Mixing gas is a pain but still the best
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Best drill/driver/impact would go to Hilti

Best value would go go Makita. I have multiple drills, impacts, reciprocating saws, drywall cutter, hedge trimmer, circular saw, vacuum, nailers and pinners plus at last count I have 14 batteries. I have never killed a Makita battery, some of mine are 10 + years old.

I have owned some Milwaukee, but the batteries keep dying. I have some Home Depot that I know carry a lifetime warranty but both the drill and batteries died at an early age and I would rather have a product that I did not have to replace even if it is at no cost.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Best drill/driver/impact would go to Hilti

Best value would go go Makita. I have multiple drills, impacts, reciprocating saws, drywall cutter, hedge trimmer, circular saw, vacuum, nailers and pinners plus at last count I have 14 batteries. I have never killed a Makita battery, some of mine are 10 + years old.

I have owned some Milwaukee, but the batteries keep dying. I have some Home Depot that I know carry a lifetime warranty but both the drill and batteries died at an early age and I would rather have a product that I did not have to replace even if it is at no cost.
Thanks Phil - I didn't think about Hilti either...
I agree with the Milwaukee battery statement... that is why I am looking at the "Fuel" line - that is supposed to make the difference...

All in all an interesting discussion and a nod to Tvrgeek - I choose "best" to make it a little subjective - again, I am looking for products people are happy with and would go back to, regardless if they are cheap or the most expensive - my 18 V Dewalt drill, impact and saw have been good, but I have to plan to purchase batteries nearly every year... that seems wrong since I am not using them like a contractor, and maybe that is the problem... dunno...
 

Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
... - my 18 V Dewalt drill, impact and saw have been good, but I have to plan to purchase batteries nearly every year...
In part I think that is the battery chemistry, although I don't recall going through batteries that quickly even in 'the olden days' (pre Li-ion). I expect that you will find that almost any Li ion battery will last better than that - especially with occasional use.
Yesh, replace ever year? I'm surprised you waited this long to change. Li ion batts will hold their charge for that long without any use (low self-discharge).
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Yesh, replace ever year? I'm surprised you waited this long to change. Li ion batts will hold their charge for that long without any use (low self-discharge).
That is one of the reasons I am considering a change - a few years ago and for a few years in a row - I bought the Black Friday deal and sold the tool and charger on Fleabay - keeping the batteries! Can't do that anymore...

But, I have so many tools -
Drill, Impact, saw, Jigsaw...
Maybe I need to invent a converter for the Li Ion to the old 18 V De Walt... hmmm...

EDIT - Someone beat me to it...

Well! This might just be my Christmas present...
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
I am heavily invested in the Ridgid line (especially after the "corporate blow out sale" mentioned above) and have used it from everything from dismantling a handicap ramp into a house to drilling out a trailer hitch lock with no problems. I like their lifetime service agreement that I've used twice over the past 3 years (some people will post negatives about this but I've had no issues) and it covers my batteries, something I've seen no other company do. I know users who have Ridgid and use them daily with no issues. This is truly a Ford Vs Chevy Vs Ram debate.
 

cpw

Charles
Corporate Member
I saw @Oka 's thread and his mention of his drills and impact drivers:

It made me post my question

I am still using Dewalt NiCad technology and am considering upgrading to Li Ion, but am not sure what brand is best. I know this is a "Ford / Chevy" debate, but I have looked at Dewalt, Makita and Milwaukee, read some reviews, but don't see a clear winner...

From what I have read, I think the Milwaukee Fuel line is probably the "strongest" (higher torque, longer lasting battery etc.) but it is significantly higher priced than the Dewalt and Makita, so I think - is it really worth it?

Opinions appreciated, but real-world recent experience with multiple models is really who I want to hear from...
I've done well with the Ryobi One+ but I am not a pro or a daily user. Probably my most used tool in that platform is the string trimmer because I use it every week while the grass is growing. I am on my second one. I think the trigger switch went bad in the first one and my BIL had already given me his when he no longer needed it. I have a drill that is on it's last legs. It's from my original blue/yellow combo set, that came with a single NiCd battery, that LOML bought me for Christmas many moons ago. I've abused that thing at times drilling multiple holes in concrete block to mount a wood rack. It's done it's due. No remorse when it finally dies.

I am running all Lithium batteries now. A friend gave me some of his blue/yellow tools, so I have two drills and two sawzalls, one of the newer brushless impact drivers (love it!), 5 ½" circular saw, a flashlight, the string trimmer, & a finish nailer. So I'm running about half blue/yellow and half green.

If I was going to re-platform now I would probably be looking at Dewalt or Milwaukee FUEL, but that is based mostly on reputation. I have no direct experience. If we had a Home Depot I might throw Ridgid in there, but we don't.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
I'm curious. Why do you want to upgrade your tools to Li-ion technology? My DeWalt drill (DW959) works fine using Ni-Cd batteries and I've had it for about 8 years. I did buy two new Ni-Cd batteries for it (DW 18V XRP).

I have 2 batteries so if the one that I'm using gets low I just switch it for the one that's charged.
 
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Henry W

HenryW
Senior User
...my 18 V Dewalt drill, impact and saw have been good, but I have to plan to purchase batteries nearly every year... that seems wrong ...
I'm curious. Why do you want to upgrade your tools to Li-ion technology? ....
Hank says he has to plan to buy new batteries every year. I haven't questioned the details on that, but that's an expense that makes no sense (in my view). Once I had my first Li-ion battery tool I saw no reason to back to Ni chemistry batteries. I believe mine were NiCd, and were inconvenient for intermittent or occasional use; they were never charged when I went to use them, due to the self discharge. I did choose to NOT leave then always on the charger, and maybe that was my mistake.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
I'm curious. Why do you want to upgrade your tools to Li-ion technology? My DeWalt drill (DW959) works fine using Ni-Cd batteries and I've had it for about 8 years. I did buy two new Ni-Cd batteries for it (DW 18V XRP).

I have 2 batteries so if the one that I'm using gets low I just switch it for the one that's charged.
Yes - what Henry said -
I do have two batteries currently, at one point in time I think I had 5, maybe more of varying capacity - these last two are at the point where they are not charged when I go to use them or simply don't last long enough when they are fully charged... so rather than spend anothe $100+ for batteries, I thought to upgrade to Li Ion technology - now, if that conversion kit works... well, I will let you know...
 

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Managing the trades there is something you notice. Each trade type or regional area tends to gravitate to certain brands. This is my subjective opinion-

Electrical, plumbing go to Milwaukee tools.
Mostly, because they offer specialty tools and are lighter because those tools can run on the 12 v battery. Most crimpers, strippers and a light screwgun. Milwaukee has more cordless specialty tools over all other brands (Rigid is only other that does this) but Milwaukee is pricier.
Dewalt tends to be the go to for Most remodelers and GC guys, they work and are available everywhere more so than all other brands.
Makita I see more in hands of Cabinet guys and specialty installers.
Ryobi offers some great things but the motor duty and build is cheaper. So, as long as it is not being treated harshly they can be good
Bosch you see in Europe more than here. They are excellent but biggest complaint is some tools are larger than the others
Hitachi - Metabo Metabo was an awesome brand until they merged with Hitachi. Biggest complaint with them is the same as Bosch they tend to be less refined in their design and size.
Rigid are good tools littler larger than some but smaller than the Hitachi-M tools. They do offer a lot of specialty tools but once again, they suffer from some regionalism, imho, because how they distribute largely tied to a big box

Festool and some of the other unusual lesser known brands are awesome and well desired, but you pay for that.....

Finally, Craftsmen- I have never used any of these but I am thinking about getting jig saw and then buy the 20 dollar battery converter so I can run on the DeWalt battery. Mostly because, I really like my Bosch corded, but it would be nice to have a cordless jig saw... just can't see spending 200 bucks on a part time use tool when I can get the Craftsman for 60 buck plus 20 for the adapter.
 
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fulldec

New User
Don
That is one of the reasons I am considering a change - a few years ago and for a few years in a row - I bought the Black Friday deal and sold the tool and charger on Fleabay - keeping the batteries! Can't do that anymore...

But, I have so many tools -
Drill, Impact, saw, Jigsaw...
Maybe I need to invent a converter for the Li Ion to the old 18 V De Walt... hmmm...

EDIT - Someone beat me to it...

Well! This might just be my Christmas present...
Hank, I think from reading this that you have a lot of old Blue Ryobi Nicad tools. if so, they run great on the 18v lion green/grey Ryobi batteries. I'm only an occasional user, but the only tool I've ever worn out was the leaf blower and it got used a lot. If the Ryobi tools are working for you, I'd just buy some new batteries and chargers. You can sometimes get a tool, battery and charger for less than a battery and charger. You can shop around for a nice-to-have tool that comes with the size battery you want and buy the set. the tool is just about a freebie. You do need a new charger(s) for the Lion chemistry (the new chargers will charge the old NiCads FWIW, but not the other way around).

Don
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Hank, I think from reading this that you have a lot of old Blue Ryobi Nicad tools. if so, they run great on the 18v lion green/grey Ryobi batteries. I'm only an occasional user, but the only tool I've ever worn out was the leaf blower and it got used a lot. If the Ryobi tools are working for you, I'd just buy some new batteries and chargers. You can sometimes get a tool, battery and charger for less than a battery and charger. You can shop around for a nice-to-have tool that comes with the size battery you want and buy the set. the tool is just about a freebie. You do need a new charger(s) for the Lion chemistry (the new chargers will charge the old NiCads FWIW, but not the other way around).

Don
Don, I have the 18V DeWalt tools, but since I found that Lithium-Ion Battery Adapter Kit, that will likely be my $100 expenditure for this year. Maybe hydrogen powered tools will be available when these wear out! ha ha
 

fulldec

New User
Don
Don, I have the 18V DeWalt tools, but since I found that Lithium-Ion Battery Adapter Kit, that will likely be my $100 expenditure for this year. Maybe hydrogen powered tools will be available when these wear out! ha ha
Ok, got ya. I lost track over several visits to the thread. Makes sense.
 

Mrfixit71

Board of Directors, Treasurer
Rich
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have Milwaukee Fuel 18 battery powered tools and am very happy with them. They are not cheap, but I shopped the sales and found I could get them for about the same price as Dewalt. I've had them for about 4 years now.
 

UncleJoe

Joe
Senior User
Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Festool. I am not sure you could go wrong on any of these brands. I own several Festool products and they are simply great but for cordless I got into the Milwaukee Fuel line a few years ago and I am hooked. I have no experience with customer service from the other brands and it may be great, but I dropped my impact driver from a tall ladder to a concrete floor years ago and cracked the metal nose housing. I could hear gears rattling inside. I went to Milwaukee's website to see about getting the parts to replace all the broken stuff it looked like a tedious procedure to get everything inside lined back up and reassembled so I thought about just sending it in for repair. As I was filling out a repair request I was reminded of the warrantee. I emailed Milwaukee told them the whole story. I was expecting to pay for the repair and wondering if it would just be cheaper to buy a new one. The technician told me mine was under warranty and emailed me a free shipping label. I explained this was my fault and he said no problem. I sent it in and a week or so later I got back a brand new impact driver that actually had a few new model improvements my old model did not have. All at no charge and they paid the shipping which pretty much made me a Milwaukee customer for life. Now I don't have any experience with the other companies and they may be the same when it comes to customer service but you wanted real examples of experience and this is mine.

For what its worth I just got their Installers drill driver and I love that thing. Very nice fit and feel and weight and the addition of the right angle driver makes working in tight spaces a joy.
 

Hmerkle

Hank
Corporate Member
Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Festool. I am not sure you could go wrong on any of these brands. I own several Festool products and they are simply great but for cordless I got into the Milwaukee Fuel line a few years ago and I am hooked. I have no experience with customer service from the other brands and it may be great, but I dropped my impact driver from a tall ladder to a concrete floor years ago and cracked the metal nose housing. I could hear gears rattling inside. I went to Milwaukee's website to see about getting the parts to replace all the broken stuff it looked like a tedious procedure to get everything inside lined back up and reassembled so I thought about just sending it in for repair. As I was filling out a repair request I was reminded of the warrantee. I emailed Milwaukee told them the whole story. I was expecting to pay for the repair and wondering if it would just be cheaper to buy a new one. The technician told me mine was under warranty and emailed me a free shipping label. I explained this was my fault and he said no problem. I sent it in and a week or so later I got back a brand new impact driver that actually had a few new model improvements my old model did not have. All at no charge and they paid the shipping which pretty much made me a Milwaukee customer for life. Now I don't have any experience with the other companies and they may be the same when it comes to customer service but you wanted real examples of experience and this is mine.

For what its worth I just got their Installers drill driver and I love that thing. Very nice fit and feel and weight and the addition of the right angle driver makes working in tight spaces a joy.
Thank you - that is the kind of feedback I am looking for, but I think your opening statement (and someone else's, maybe Henry?) pointed out "You probably can't go wrong with any of them"

Thank you for pointing out the 12 volt "Installers drill driver" I don't think it suites me for what I am looking at right now, but I picture it as a lighter tool and it seems to have a lot of capability!
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
Yes - what Henry said -
I do have two batteries currently, at one point in time I think I had 5, maybe more of varying capacity - these last two are at the point where they are not charged when I go to use them or simply don't last long enough when they are fully charged... so rather than spend anothe $100+ for batteries, I thought to upgrade to Li Ion technology - now, if that conversion kit works... well, I will let you know...
 

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