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Milwaukee vs Makita: Which Brand is Better in 2023?

Milwaukee vs Makita

Milwaukee vs Makita

When it comes to power tools, there are a few “big names” that you can usually trust, and two of the biggest names are Milwaukee and Makita. Professionals and homeowners everywhere can’t help but ask the question, which brand is better?

It’s a tricky question to answer because the brands and their tools have changed so much over the years. To find the answer, we compared the two brands in true “head-to-head” fashion. Which one came out on top? Keep reading to discover our complete guide to Milwaukee vs Makita!

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A Quick Comparison

Image Product Details
Milwaukee Milwaukee
  • Established: 1924
  • Headquarters: Brookfield
  • Wisconsin
  • Product lines: Power tools
  • Major Subsidiaries: Techtronic Industries
  • Makita Makita
  • Established: 1915
  • Headquarters: Japan
  • Product Lines: Power tools
  • Major Subsidiaries: Makita Corporation
  • Brief History of Milwaukee

    Image Credit: Pixabay

    Milwaukee is a major player among power tools manufacturers, and this American company has been producing power tools since it was founded back in 1924.

    In the 1930s, the federal government gave the company its equipment specification rating. Milwaukee had a tall task; they had to manufacture tools to the highest standards of the United States Navy. And when the United States entered World War II, Milwaukee became a supplier for the Navy and played a part in the war effort.

    Along the way, Milwaukee began innovating its products. They helped revolutionize sanders and electric hammers, and the manufacturing boom during the war helped them gain recognition on the national stage.

    Over the years, different parent companies have owned Milwaukee. But their commitment to excellence and innovation remains unchanged nearly a century after the company began.

    Brief History of Makita

    As a company, Makita is a bit older than Milwaukee. Whereas Milwaukee was founded in 1924, Makita was founded in 1915 in Japan. Like many companies, they started by focusing on a handful of high-quality products and slowly expanded their operations.

    In 1915, Makita’s main priority was repairing and selling things like motors, lighting equipment, and transformers. While they were successful, Makita would not become the company you know until 1958.

    In 1958, Makita began marketing a portable electric planer. Following this success, they began focusing on power tools in 1959. And while they have had many innovations over the years, what put Makita on the map was the 6500D battery-powered drill introduced in 1969.

    This was the world’s first rechargeable power tool, and the company has spent decades since then perfecting its rechargeable tools. To this day, they remain one of the biggest names in rechargeable tool technology.

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    Milwaukee vs Makita: Manufacturing


    Despite being a subsidiary of a Chinese company, Milwaukee is located in America. Their headquarters are in Brookfield, Wisconsin, though their tools are manufactured worldwide.

    According to Milwaukee’s website, the company has manufacturing facilities throughout America as well as in China and Europe. This makes sense for an increasingly global economy, but it means that only some of Milwaukee’s tools are “made in America.”

    Milwaukee tools manufactured overseas still maintain the high quality the brand has been known for all these years. But if your priority is buying tools only made in America, you may need to find another company.


    Makita is very much a Japanese company, but does this mean all of their tools are manufactured in Japan?

    Not at all! The company founded the Makita Corporation of America back in 1985. They are located in Buford, GA, and produce most of the tools for American markets.

    However, the company is not limited to American manufacturing. The primary corporate headquarters is located in Anjō, Japan, and they also manufacture tools in many other countries all around the world. This includes Brazil, China, Mexico, Germany, Dubai, Thailand, and the United Kingdom facilities.

    Milwaukee vs Makita: Product Line


    Milwaukee makes a vast range of power tools. However, they are most known for certain types of tools.

    Impact Wrenches

    The company makes a range of solid impact wrenches. This includes their famous M18 Fuel line of wrenches.

    High-speed Ratchets

    Milwaukee specializes in high-speed ratchets, and they have ratchets available in different sizes.


    Milwaukee makes many nailers, including framing nailers and finish nailers.

    Circular Saws

    Milwaukee produces very reliable circular saws. They are available in both the M12 and M18 lines.


    Makita is generally known for its high-quality power tools. As major innovators in Lithium-Ion batteries, they have helped revolutionize cordless technology.


    Makita made waves when they introduced the first rechargeable power tool. They have since become an authority on Lithium-Ion batteries and introduced the first 18-volt Lithium-Ion battery.

    Cordless Tools

    Because of their focus on rechargeable batteries, Makita has also become one of the leading makers of cordless tools. If you need a tool that is lightweight and portable, Makita is a good choice.


    Makita makes great specialty hammers as part of their power tools. This includes reliable drilling and stemming hammers.

    Gardening Equipment

    You may not know that Makita creates high-quality gardening equipment. This includes eco-friendly options such as electric lawnmowers.

    person using Milwaukee 2553-22M12 Fuel Hex Impact Driver

    Milwaukee vs Makita: Price

    For better or for worse, the price is always an important consideration when it comes to power tools. So when comparing Milwaukee vs Makita, we must answer the question: which brand offers the best price?

    Honestly, there is not a significant difference between their prices. Generally speaking, Milwaukee tools are a bit more expensive than Makita. But neither company makes very many cheap products. Rather, the old rule holds true: you get what you pay for, and it’s essential to set aside a budget and buy high-quality tools.

    If you’re looking to save money, Milwaukee and Makita sell bundles that combine tools, batteries, and accessories. But once you own compatible Lithium-Ion batteries, you may be able to save more money by buying just the tool instead of the bundle.


    If you’re looking for a good Milwaukee “budget buy,” we recommend the Milwaukee M12 Drill Driver. But if you are looking for a solid premium tool, the Milwaukee M18 FUEL HOLE Right Angle Drill is a good choice.


    For Makita, one of the best budget buys is the Makita 18V Impact Driver XDT13Z. But if you have the budget for a premium tool, we recommend the Makita Impact Driver Kit XDT111.

    Milwaukee vs Makita: Warranty

    With any power tool, it’s vital to get a good warranty. Fortunately, both Milwaukee and Makita offer solid warranty programs.


    All of Milwaukee’s tools automatically come with a warranty, and no registration is required. They offer free repairs and replacements and cover defects in product materials and workmanship.


    With Makita products, you can get a refund or a replacement up to 30 days after purchase. Additionally, Makita products come with a 1-year limited warranty covering defects in product materials and workmanship. Additionally, certain Makita tools may offer longer warranties.

    Makita XVJ03Z Lithium-Ion Cordless Jig Saw

    Milwaukee vs Makita: Customer Service

    Customer service is the cornerstone of any successful company, and while both companies make similar tools, there is a big difference in the quality of their customer service.


    Makita generally provides solid customer service. Users mostly praised their responsiveness and attentiveness to customer needs. On top of that, most customers praised their products for their user-friendly designs.


    Many users have reported issues with Milwaukee’s customer service. They reported difficulty reaching Milwaukee and slow (or no) responses to any messages. Other users have reported issues with taking advantage of their product warranties.

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    Head-to-Head:  Cordless Combo Kit

    Milwaukee 2896-26 18V M18 Fuel  vs Makita XT610 18V LXT Li-Ion 

    Milwaukee 2896-26 18V M18 Fuel Cordless 6-tool Combo Kit vs Makita XT610 18V LXT Li-Ion Cordless 6-piece Combo kit
    L: Milwaukee 2896-26 18V M18 Fuel Cordless 6-tool Combo Kit L:Makita XT610

    These are good products to compare because you get the same with each kit. But which kit is better for buyers?

    The first thing you will notice is that the Milwaukee kit costs significantly more than the Makita product. So, does the performance of these tools justify the price increase? That’s a matter of perspective. The Milwaukee kit performs better than the Makita kit, but your mileage may vary on whether this higher price tag is worth it.

    Surprisingly, the Makita battery life was worse than the Milwaukee battery life. So, if working for longer periods is a high priority for you, the Milwaukee kit may be worth it.

    Our Verdict:

    If you’ve got the cash to spare, we recommend going with the Milwaukee kit over the Makita kit. It offers better performance and battery life, which is the mark of a reliable cordless tool.

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    Head-to-Head: Drill Driver

    Milwaukee M18 Compact vs. Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion 1/2″ 

    Milwaukee M18 Compact Drill Driver vs. Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion 1_2″ Driver

    Milwaukee and Makita both make solid drill drivers. But which driver is the best for the needs of the average handyman?

    On paper, the Makita driver may look like the better choice. After all, its technical specs are superior (if only by a hair). But in practice, we found the performances to be very similar. Where Milwaukee shines is in sheer durability; between the two tools, we can guarantee that the Milwaukee tool is going to last longer and can survive more wear and tear.

    Our Verdict:

    Once again, we have to give the nod to Milwaukee. It’s not that the Makita tool is bad. It will serve most of your needs and is better than the average driver. But the Milwaukee has similar performance while giving you a more durable product. At the end of the day, we’ll always go with the tool that gives us additional years of value.

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    Head-to-Head: Jigsaw

    Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt vs. Makita 18V LXT Cordless 

    Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Jigsaw vs. Makita 18V LXT Cordless Jigsaw

    A jigsaw is a very specialized tool, and it takes a lot of work for a manufacturer to get things “just right.” Fortunately, both Milwaukee and Makita have created solid jigsaws. But which one is the better choice?

    In a continuation of the theme, the Milwaukee tool is the better choice.  While each jigsaw comes with a convenient LED light, the Milwaukee comes with an on/off blower, whereas the Makita does not. Also, Milwaukee has a 5-year warranty, while the Makita only offers a 3-year warranty.

    On top of that, the Milwaukee jigsaw has a 3,500 SPM and four positions, while the Makita has only 2,600 SPM and three positions.

    Our Verdict

    It feels a bit repetitive for us to keep giving the nod to Milwaukee. But once again, they came out ahead when we started comparing their tools to what Makita offers.

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    Overall Brand Reputation

    Many factors give these brands their reputation. Here, we’ll take a closer look at these factors to decide which one comes out on top.


    Edge: Milwaukee

    Again, there is nothing “wrong” with the performance of Makita’s tools. But each time we compared a Makita tool and a Milwaukee tool, the Milwaukee tool offered superior performance. If having the best performance from your tools is a major priority, we recommend sticking with Milwaukee brand power tools.


    Edge: Makita

    Another thing that we quickly discovered was that Makita products typically had a better price. Simply put, if you are shopping on a budget, Makita is a great choice. While Makita almost always has the better price, Milwaukee almost always has the better performance.


    Edge: Milwaukee

    For the most part, we found that Milwaukee products were more durable than Makita products. This is primarily a matter of the design and materials used for Milwaukee’s tools. Additionally, Milwaukee tools often have a better warranty on certain tools than Makita.


    Edge: Tie

    Earlier, we noted how the Milwaukee brand typically has more durable products. But when it comes to the actual design of these products, we found it to be a tie between the two brands. Most of the tools for each brand are aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic, and you’ll be proud to show off what you bought to your friends and family.

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    By now, the answer is clear: Milwaukee is the better choice. Both companies make solid power tools, but Milwaukee gives better performance, better warranties, and more durable products.

    The Makita brand is more affordable, and you’ll get plenty of great use out of their products. However, if you have a bit of extra cash, we think you’ll find Milwaukee’s tools to be the better choice every time.

    See Also: Makita CXT vs LXT: What’s the Difference?


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