Battle of the Brands: your top 3 woodworking power tool brands?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by ToolCrib posted 04-16-2007 04:57 PM 43807 views 0 times favorited 58 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ToolCrib's profile


34 posts in 5376 days

04-16-2007 04:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: battle of the brands

What are your top three favorite woodworking power tool brands… and for what specific tools?

To get your table saws turning here are the top ten power tool brands we see searched for on

1) DeWALT 20%
2) Porter Cable 14%
3) Bosch 13%
4) Makita 12%
5) Delta 10%
6) Hitachi 9%
7) Milwaukee 8%
8) Jet 7%
9) Bostitch 5%
10) Panasonic 2%

Warning! It is highly likely that I will link to this thread from the ToolCrib blog on our site! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)


-- Editor,

58 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5528 days

#1 posted 04-16-2007 05:36 PM

They have all sold me poorly designed tools! Throw away tools! Why don’t they use a switch that doesn’t fail after a few years? What happened to the quality. I would like to have a favorite…Please I would be loyal to a brand. They just seem to be getting cheaper with every new model. They now design for the market not the craft!!! ...and the salesmen just turn a profit!

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5306 days

#2 posted 04-16-2007 05:41 PM

Dennis, I couldn’t have put it any better then you did. I use to believe in a few of those names but nowadays it’s just a crapshoot, literally.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View ToolCrib's profile


34 posts in 5376 days

#3 posted 04-16-2007 05:44 PM

I couldn’t agree more.

I think whether they advertise it or not certain brands are better at certain types of tools and that even the “best” brands are selling tools that shouldn’t be on the market.

Are there brands you trust for certain types of tools?


-- Editor,

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5375 days

#4 posted 04-16-2007 06:38 PM

the response was a surprise. Since I’m all new to this I somehow had an image that the big names in powertools were “big” because of their power, well thought out designs, durability. Why did I think that they should be any different than the rest of our consuming-oriented society? My perception of woodworking carries a sense of honour to it. I guess I am a naive optimist …

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 5400 days

#5 posted 04-16-2007 08:19 PM

Guess I’ll bite.
Hitachi 18v drill 90% Need better battery, tool is fine.
Hitachi Framing gun 100%. Shot over 70# of 3 1/2 in ring shanks so far, no problems.
PC 690 router 100% 6 yrs old, never checked up.
Milwaukee Have new circ saw. only used a little. Jury still out.

I’m not brand loyal.

Is this what your lookin’ for?


-- Jimmy

View Greg3G's profile


815 posts in 5299 days

#6 posted 04-16-2007 08:39 PM

I have learned a couple of things recently. First, Craftman is not what it used to be in my Grandfather’s day. I purchased their 12” bandsaw because it rip over 6” inches thick only to find out that Sears doesn’t even sell replacement blades for it. You have to order them custom off the web.

HomeDepot won’t even honor their own website’s pricing.

I have had luck with both Porter-Cable and Dewalt. But by what I see in the Tool Reviews of various mags is that there is no longer a dominate tool company. Each has its good products and its average products.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Obi's profile


2214 posts in 5451 days

#7 posted 04-16-2007 09:04 PM

There are some items that have lasted and have earnd their sopt… Like the Skil Worm Drive Circular saw. I’ve never owned another brand and have oned 4 or 5 Skils.
Milwaukee Sawzall I’ve owned 3 all of them were sold during hard times, but never failed

Most of the searches done are from “Rookies” looking for a brand because they heard someone talk about them.

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 5302 days

#8 posted 04-16-2007 10:13 PM

I think that what has happened is name brands have become commoditized to the point where what used to be the bottom of the bunch made zillions selling cheap tools at Wal-Mart and the box stores and decided to fix their reputation by buying up the better brands who sell in relatively small bundles. Then they take the great brand… make it their upscale line… lower the quality to mass sell and put that in the box stores… It has made it so you cannot buy from a Quality manufacturer… it also makes it so if there was a well designed tool from any one of these guys that they are still making and marketing… you can get it very inexpensively. You just have to really do your homework. I like some tools from Delta, Bosch, Fein, Dewalt, Porter Cable, and Festool… But not all with the exception of Fein and Festool which seem to be outstanding in every product… Just ran into a rep from Fein… (He seemed a little stuck up) and I did meet a festool guy once who really rubbed me the wrong way. I saw a domino in action and it looks like a tool that may test my resolve to not buy from those guys due to this guys attitude. I just try to read all the reviews I can as I don’t trust magazines who always pick Bosch and Bosch seems to be their biggest advertiser.


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View BassBully's profile


261 posts in 5311 days

#9 posted 04-16-2007 11:18 PM

1. Porter-Cable
- Router, Drill, Jig Saw, air nailers
2. Bosch
- Rotary tools like routers and trim routers
3. Delta
- Saws

All of my Porter Cable tools are my most solidly built power tools. Their casings are tough and they perform very well. I like the quality and innovation of Bosch tools. And my Delta tools are also of good quality. I’ve never had a problem with any of them. I have a Delta Sliding Compound miter saw that they don’t sell anymore but works very well. I never buy DeWalt because my uncle is a contractor and his DeWalt tools have lasted as long as his Porter-Cable/Delta/Crafstmen tools but they are more expensive.

We as consumers are partly to blame for poor quality tools. We keep asking for more and better innovations at cheaper prices. It makes it a tough market for these manufacturers when their products are sitting next to another and the other tool is $50 less. High salaries are also to blame in a growing global economy. Especially when foreigners work at a far less wage than we do.

I can personally admit that I’ve purchased certain tools for $50 less even though they might not be the better quality tool. Obviously, simple things like switches and the like are inexcusable but you get my point.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View cheller's profile


254 posts in 5323 days

#10 posted 04-17-2007 04:19 AM

I love my Hawk scroll saw, and my Festool circular saw and I’ve gotten good use out of my PC 690 router. Milwaukee corded drill is a workhorse, and Bosch

My tool arsenal includes:
Milwaukee corded drill
Bosch random orbit sander
PC 690 router
Hawk scroll saw
Festool circular saw
several older (15-20 years) Black and Decker tools – router, palm sander, circular saw and jigsaw.
I also have a Panasonic cordless drill.

I love the Hawk scroll saw. It’s solid, easily adjusted and runs smoothly.
The Festool circular saw is well built, relatively quiet and precise another thumbs up.
The Milwaukee drill has lots of power, and is my go to drill. I particularly like the removable cord. I’ve had issues with cords at the point where they enter the tool and this eliminates the wear and tear at that point.
The random orbit sander and the router do their jobs well. I do have to get the directions out everytime I switch to the plunge base for the router, and I’m getting close to wanting a router with an easier method for bit changing, though.

I don’t use a drill enough to make a cordless drill worth it. The battery on the Panasonic died several years ago and I haven’t tracked down a replacement yet. The corded drill fills my needs.

I wouldn’t recommend the Black and Decker tools. They were a good place to start – I picked up a lot of them at a Factory store in Maine, but they don’t have the precision I’m looking for these days. I do use the circular saw and the jigsaw for home improvement type projects where precision isn’t important. One of the screw holes in the base of the router got stripped more than 10 years ago which is when I upgraded to the PC. I did actually use the palm sander today. It works and it fit in the small space I was working on. It’s the first time I’ve had it out in years, though.

-- Chelle

View coloradoclimber's profile


548 posts in 5282 days

#11 posted 04-17-2007 06:57 AM

It seems buying power tools these days is a crap shoot. Big box stores, foreign competition, throw away society, and uninformed consumers lead to lower and lower quality across the board.

Trying to avoid the false patriotism but my experience is that tools made in China tend to be lowest cost and lowest quality, tools made in the US, Western Europe, and Canada tend to be the highest cost and highest quality. Tools from countries in between seem to have quality that is somewhere in between.

It’s hard (I’d say impossible) to buy a quality tool from a big box store. Cost pressures from masses of uninformed weekend warriors, willing to accept junk as long as the price is low enough, rarely stressing the tool, and willing to throw it away when it does fail forces the high volume sellers to go offshore in search of the lowest cost products. The result is the lowest quality products.

Take Bosch for example. It appears they prototype and pilot produce in western europe and the US. Then after a bosch tool has been in the market for a year or two they move production to china. And the fit, finish, and quality suffer. This seems to be a consistent pattern with bosch. Pick up an older display model off the shelf at a big box, check the country of manufacture, then check the country of manufacture on the same tool new in the box on the shelf. If you can get an early Bosch product, say within the first couple years after introduction, you’ll probably get a quality product, after that, it’s hit or miss.

And yeah, I’ve heard the mantra, “it’s made in china but it’s held to ‘company x’s’ quality standards”. I’ve worked for multiple companies that produce in china. It is harder, much harder, to get a quality product out of chinese factories. It’s not that chinese factories cant produce quality, it’s more about companies going to china to get the absolute lowest cost and as a result they force the quality out of the product.

But despite all that I’ll throw out my opinions:

Tools made in China tend to be lower cost and lower quality.
Tools made in the US and western Europe tend to be higher cost and higher quality.

Specific power tool brands I’ve had pretty good luck with:
Bosch, Milwaukee, Skil worm drive circular saws, most things porter cable, Dewalt cordless drills, older crafstman, older delta, most things powermatic

Things I’ve had mixed results on:
most everything else Dewalt, I like their miter saws, but dont much like their bench top planers. I’ve played with their biscuit joiner, it seems ok. I have a friend that swears by Makita. They seem ok but I’ve not used them enough to form a valid opinion. Ryobi table saws, I owned one for years and turned out some pretty reasonable results with it. Looking back it had a lot of deficiencies but I got a lot of good work out of it.

Things I’ve had poor luck with:
Anything Black and Decker. Anything new Craftsman. Rigid is a crap shoot, might work, might not. Anything Grizzly. Grizzly is a great company to work with, they respond quickly to questions and quality issues, they have low prices, but…. pretty much everything I’ve ever purchased Grizzly has been low quality, low cost, but low quality. Anything Ryobi in a powered hand tool. I’ve owned a few and I’ve never been very impressed. Rikon, I’ve only used one of their tools, a 6 inch stationary jointer, and it was a piece of junk.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5513 days

#12 posted 04-17-2007 01:30 PM

I recently bought a Triton 3 1/2 hp router. I’m very pleased with it. It’s well designed , & it very well constructed. The price wasn’t too bad either. I think this brand should added to the list.
The company has some other tools that also look pretty good. Triton Catalogue.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View bkhop's profile


68 posts in 5281 days

#13 posted 04-17-2007 02:10 PM

I whole-heartedly agree with the post above which mentions that we as consumers have done much of this to ourselves. The modern consumer has the mindset that cheaper is better, always. So if a consumer has the option of buying a Starrett combination square set (which would cost well over $200.00), then he’d rather buy a cheaper, foreign piece of junk for $25.00. He would possibly even know that it is a piece of junk, but looking at the considerable price difference, thinks, “Well, I could buy almost 10 of these junkers for the price of that one.”

Meanwhile, the company which makes the high-end tool has to shut its doors because not enough people are buying their tools anymore. Then, all the consumer would have left would be mediocre quality (or, in many cases, throw-away junk.) The consumer wouldn’t even have the option of buying a quality tool, even if he wanted to. So the collective mind of the consumer has forgotten what it is to have a quality tool in his hand and settles for junk, thinking that it is all the better we can produce, or that it is quality.

We have created a downward spiral trend – one that I don’t see getting better in the near future. As a consumer, I make it my practice to buy quality tools – meaning, of course, that they are more expensive – but buying tools only once. That means also that as a buyer, I have to practice patience and reserve… if I really want a new tool, I surely don’t have the luxury of just going out and getting it. I have to save for it. I have to wait for it. I have to not buy certain things in order to get what is going to last. Then I buy a quality tool that will last – and I get to support the company that is still willing to innovate new tools (instead of just copying) and produce a high-quality tool. “Buy well and buy once.”

Okay… dismounting from soapbox.

-- † Hops †

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5375 days

#14 posted 04-17-2007 02:29 PM

oh, you mean you have to work TOWARDS something? that you have to WAIT? that’s it’s not about replacing the old gadget with the new gadget every six months?? it’s not about buying a product and downloading the updates as soon as you get it out of the box? it’s not about quality vs quantity?

I really liked your soapbox speech. It is interesting how we, the consumers, can get caught in the trap and lose sight, so easily, of what matters.

Thank you. You can get on that soapbox anytime!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5513 days

#15 posted 04-17-2007 04:01 PM

Over my many years of woodworking, I’ve bought many low quality tools, & have replaced them with more low priced, low quality tools. It’s not because I’m a cheapskate, it’s all that I was able to afford at the time.

Nowadays when I need to replace a tool, I’ve been buying the best, since now I can afford the higher quality equipment.
If I had waited until I could afford some of the tools I bought, I may not have built a lot of the things I’ve made over the years.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

showing 1 through 15 of 58 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics