The 14 Best Tool Brands for DIYers and Pros

Whether you’re a DIY user or professional, three factors are key when buying tools: performance, reliability, and value. In this article, we take a close look at the best tool brands for satisfying those demands.

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What makes a tool brand rank among the best tool brands? It’s not an easy question to answer. I’m an engineer by training and ran my own woodshop for a decade, so I have considerable experience and some pretty strong opinions on the subject.  DIY users generally want a capable, reliable tool at a reasonable price. Professionals who depend on tools for their livelihood like I did will generally spend a little more for a tool that will withstand the often harsh environment of the job site while maximizing performance.

Finding a manufacturer that meets your standards is often the first crucial step of curating a tool collection. Not only can an allegiance to a specific brand make future purchasing decisions easier, but it can also be more cost-efficient. You can snag a packaged deal when you purchase multiple tools all at once, ranging from a drill and hammer drill combo to a 300-piece mechanic’s tool set. Moreover, cordless tools from the same manufacturer and line share accessories and rechargeable batteries, saving you from picking up a battery for each new addition.

So, what is the best tool brand? While the answer might depend on who you ask, certain brands consistently top independent tool reviews. I’ve taken a closer look at a wide range of well-known tool brands by delving into their backgrounds. For each brand, I’ve also selected some of the top products that are typical of the brand’s high standards. Realistically, most people develop a couple of favorites. Continue reading to learn more about the best tool brands to help you stock your workbench and toolbox.

1. Makita

Best Tool Brands Option Makita

About the Brand: A high-quality power tool brand that’s often innovative and has a particularly strong cordless range.
Price Range: $$ to $$$$
Top Products: Makita 18V LXT Sub-Compact Brushless Cordless Recipro Saw ($259 at Amazon) and Makita 18V X2 LXT Brushless Cordless Chain Saw Kit ($464.08 at Amazon) and Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion 6-Piece Kit ($469 at The Home Depot)

The impact of Japanese brands on tool markets has been relatively recent, so it’s easy to think of them as young businesses. However, Makita has been around since 1915. The company is now a manufacturing giant, with factories in 10 countries covering the Far East, the Middle East, Europe, South and Central America, and the U.S.

Makita started as a motor repair company, introducing its first power tool (a hand-held planer) in 1958 and its first cordless tool (a drill) as far back as 1978. The company has since grown to become one of the undoubted leaders in the cordless market with an extensive collection of workshop, job site, and garden tools. These tools are not the best options for DIY users on a budget, but pricing is competitive with other professional-standard tools.

Shop for more Makita tools at:

2. Bosch

Best Tool Brands Option Bosch

About the Brand: Bosch has a strong German engineering background, producing an enormously diverse range of well-designed tools known for their reliability.
Price Range: $$ to $$$
Top Products: Bosch BLAZE 65 ft. Laser Distance Tape Measuring Tool ($39.97 at The Home Depot)and Bosch Bulldog Xtreme Rotary Hammer Power Drill ($163.11 at Amazon)

Robert Bosch founded his engineering company in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1886. The company now operates in markets as diverse as automotive, energy, home appliances, and, of course, power tools. Unusually, 92 percent of Bosch is owned by a charitable institution, which uses profits for a range of cultural, social, and scientific projects.

Bosch is credited with introducing the first hammer drill in 1932, and that tradition of invention continues with the company boasting the development of at least 100 new products every year. High manufacturing standards make them among the most reliable tools available. While undoubtedly a premium brand, many Bosch tools are within the price range of keen DIY enthusiasts.

Top Products:

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3. DeWalt

Best Tool Brands Option DeWalt

About the Brand: DeWalt’s extensive range of high-performance power tools have long been one of the top choices of contractors and tradespeople.
Price Range: $$ to $$$$
Top Products: DeWalt 20V Max SDS Rotary Hammer Drill ($288.22 at Amazon)

Back in 1924, Pennsylvania craftsman Raymond E. DeWalt took a standard chop saw and made the first radial arm saw, a tool that gained immense popularity in pro woodworking shops. DeWalt Inc. was formed in 1947. The company now has factories in a number of countries and seven manufacturing facilities in the U.S. In 2010, DeWalt became part of the Stanley Black+Decker Group.

A combination of power and durability has long made DeWalt tools among contractors’ favorites. These are definitely tools that focus on the professional user, and the prices reflect that fact. However, DeWalt’s reputation for reliability is such that these tools are also popular with DIY users who see the value as a long-term investment.

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4. Craftsman

Best Tool Brands Option CRAFTSMAN

About the Brand: Craftsman hand and power tools are a DIY favorite, offering great value for the price.
Price Range: $ to $$
Top Products: Craftsman 115-Piece Mechanic Tool Set ($69.99 at Sears) and Craftsman 22-in 1-Drawer Tool Box ($99.98 at Lowe’s)

Sears created the Craftsman tool brand in 1927, which was initially only available through Sears and later Kmart. The company soon expanded its production of hand tools and now also offers power tools, gardening equipment, work clothing, and footwear.

Long considered one of the great home-grown American tool brands, Craftsman manufacturing now occurs mostly in Taiwan, though automotive tool production remains in the U.S. In 2017, Stanley Black+Decker acquired the brand, though Sears retained certain rights and still sells Craftsman tools. Though critics suggest quality control is not always what it used to be, Craftsman tools still represent good value for the DIY user.

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5. Stanley Black+Decker

Best Tool Brands Option Stanley Stanley Black & Decker

About the Brand: Stanley Works is one of the world’s best-known hand tool brands, and Black+Decker is a leader in affordable power tools. While the tool brand is now called Black+Decker, the company name represents the two companies as Stanley Black+Decker.
Price Range: $ to $$
Top Products: Black+Decker 20V MAX Cordless Drill on ($47.22 at Amazon)

Frederick Trent Stanley started making door hardware back in 1843. Then, cousin Henry Stanley founded the Stanley Rule and Level company in 1857. Both companies were based in New Britain, Connecticut, merging into Stanley Works in 1920.

The original Black+Decker company was a machine shop founded in Baltimore, coincidentally also in 1920. It grew to become one of the world’s leading makers of affordable power tools for home and garden use.

In 2010, Stanley Works and Black+Decker merged and have gone on to acquire many of the best tool brands around the world, including Bostitch, Craftsman, DeWalt, Irwin Tools, and Porter Cable. However, each still retains a separate identity with its own brand values. Stanley’s core strength is still hand tools; Black+Decker’s strength is value for money for the DIY market.

Shop for more Stanley Black+Decker tools at:

6. Ridgid Tools

Best Tool Brands Option RIDGID Tools

About the Brand: Although Ridgid Tools manufactures an increasingly diverse range of products, it is perhaps best known for tough tools for plumbing and construction trades.
Price Range: $ to $$
Top Products: Ridgid 14 in. Heavy-Duty Straight Pipe Wrench ($33.97 at The Home Depot) and Ridgid 12-Gallon Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum ($99.98 at The Home Depot)

Ridgid Tools began in North Ridgeville, Ohio, in 1923 and moved to its current base in Elyria, Ohio, in 1943. Since 1966, the company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Emerson Electric.

The brand’s core products have always been durable hand tools for the construction, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing trades. Ridgid Tools also produces associated inspection devices. Most of these tools are manufactured in its U.S. facility. Additionally, the company offers a range of professionally focused power tools, though these are largely manufactured in Hong Kong.

Ridgid Tools is perhaps one of the lesser-known tool brands outside the professional market. While pricing is competitive at that level, it puts the company’s products beyond the budget of many DIY users.

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7. Kobalt

Best Tool Brands Option Kobalt

About the Brand: Kobalt is the house brand of Lowe’s and offers competitively priced tools for the midrange so-called “prosumer” market.
Price Range: $ to $$$
Top Products: Kobalt 24-Volt XTR Cordless Impact Wrench ($269 at Lowe’s), Kobalt Steel Saw Horse ($29.98 at Lowe’s), and Kobalt 21-Piece Drill Bit Set ($31.98 at Lowe’s)

Lowe’s introduced Kobalt tools in 1998 to compete with rival “house” brands from Sears and The Home Depot. Kobalt tools are made for Lowe’s by a number of different suppliers. While some manufacturing occurs in Taiwan, some production is based in the home market. The company wholly manufactures its hand tools in the U.S. and assembles some of its power tool product line in the U.S. from components sourced worldwide.

While Kobalt’s reputation perhaps isn’t at the same level as the best tool brands like Bosch, DeWalt, and Makita, it is still considered a high-quality tool producer that sits above the run-of-the-mill budget market. The term “prosumer” specifies the middle ground between DIYer and professional, and it suits Kobalt tools well.

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8. Skil

Best Tool Brands Option Skil

About the Brand: Though its range of tools is now extensive, many consumers will recognize Skil for the Skilsaw, the powered circular saw that became so popular it has been called “the saw that built America.”
Price Range: $ to $$$
Top Products: Skil 6-1/2 Inch Cordless Circular Saw ($85.19 at Amazon) and Skilsaw 10-1/4″ Sawsquatch Worm Drive Circular Saw ($342.39 at Amazon)

Skil was founded in 1926 in Naperville, Illinois, where its U.S. headquarters is still based today. The company’s first product, the worm-drive circular saw, was incredibly popular on construction sites despite being very expensive for the time. This saw set the foundation for Skil becoming known as “the” saw company for decades, though the range now includes many different tools. Company ownership has been somewhat volatile, passing from the Skil Corporation to Emerson Electric in 1979, to Bosch in 1996, and to Chervon of China in 2016, where the company now manufactures most products.

Though it can be slightly confusing for consumers, Skil uses two brand names to differentiate target markets. Skil tools are intended for the DIY user, while those branded Skilsaw are for more professional use in construction and other trades. Specifications and prices reflect this difference.

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9. Husky Tools

Best Tool Brands Option Husky Tools

About the Brand: Husky Tools is the house brand of The Home Depot, focusing on hand tools, pneumatic tools, and a wide variety of tool storage solutions.
Price Range: $$ to $$$
Top Products: 290-Piece Mechanics Tool Set ($169 at The Home Depot)

“Husky” is sometimes used as a shortened version of Husqvarna, the well-known garden equipment manufacturer. However, Husky Tools is a completely unrelated company, originally Husky Wrench of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, founded in 1924. The brand went through various ownerships until Stanley Tool acquired it in 1986. The company then struck an exclusive deal to supply The Home Depot, which now owns the rights to the brand name.

The Home Depot has decided not to compete in the crowded power tools market, focusing instead on hand tools, compressor-driven pneumatic tools, and a wide range of cabinets and tool chests. Like Kobalt, Husky Tools satisfies the needs of the prosumer market with quality equipment that offers savings over the leading tool brands.

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10. Irwin

Best Tool Brands Option IRWIN

About the Brand: Irwin is known for a vast range of high-quality hand tools, plus accurate measuring and marking devices.
Price Range: $ to $$
Top Products: Irwin Vise-Grip Original Locking Pliers ($14.29 at Amazon) and Irwin Drill Bit Set ($129.99 at Amazon)

Irwin Industrial Tools began in Martinsville, Ohio, in 1885 when Charles Irwin started manufacturing auger bits. The company still manufactures a wide range of drill bits, in addition to saws, chisels, hammers, pliers, wrenches, snips, screwdrivers, knives, levels, and squares. Today, Irwin is a part of Stanley Black+Decker.

Initially, Irwin primary markets were professional carpenters and associated trades, and the American-made tools always had a reputation for durability and precision. Production now occurs mostly in China, and while there are critics, it seems that, in general, Irwin has preserved its reputation. These are certainly not cheap tools, but they remain a contractor standard and are popular among DIY users prepared to pay for above-average quality.

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11. Ryobi

Best Tool Brands Option RYOBI

About the Brand: Ryobi is considered an excellent innovator and particularly strong at developing cordless power tools.
Price Range: $ to $$
Top Products: Ryobi One+ Cordless Orbital Jig Saw ($94.49 at Amazon) and Ryobi One+ Cordless Leaf Blower ($137 at Amazon)

Ryobi is a diverse company. Founded near Hiroshima, Japan, in 1943, it initially made die-cast products. In 1961, it added printing presses and then began manufacturing power tools in 1968. The company is still involved in each market and has production facilities in six countries, including the U.S. Now Techtronic Industries owns Ryobi, with the headquarters in Hong Kong.

The company’s recent U.S. and European operations seem to have focused on the cordless market in the areas of power tools and lawn and garden equipment. Ryobi manufactures well-designed products with competitive performance aimed at the upper end of the home user market. Part of the company’s popularity is undoubtedly due to the fact that while it has made significant improvements in battery technology, the battery packs themselves offer backward compatibility and will still fit tools made as far back as 1996.

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12. Milwaukee

Best Tool Brands Option Milwaukee

About the Brand: Milwaukee makes a range of power tools and electrical equipment and has a reputation for durability in tough job site environments.
Price Range: $$$ to $$$$
Top Products: Milwaukee M18 FUEL Rear Handle Circular Saw (tool only for $279 at The Home Depot) and Milwaukee M18 FUEL Cut-Off Saw ($599 at Acme Tools)

Milwaukee was originally called the A.H. Petersen Tool Company and was founded in 1918 by A.H. Petersen and Albert F. Seibert. When the factory was destroyed by fire, Seibert bought the assets and formed the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company in 1924. The company always maintained high standards, and Milwaukee soon became a registered supplier to the U.S. Navy.

Milwaukee was the first company to manufacture a hammer drill that worked as an ordinary drill and introduced the reciprocating saw, or Sawzall. From the mid-1970s to 2005, the company went through various ownerships and is now part of Techtronic Industries.

Milwaukee has always been a leading electric power tool brand, only recently moving into hand tools, workwear, and storage. In terms of product quality and reliability, the brand is often compared with DeWalt. These are premium-priced tools for professional users and are also popular with DIYers looking for something more than budget brands.

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13. Metabo

The Best Tool Brands Option: Metabo

About the Brand: Metabo makes tough, powerful tools for pros and is a leader in battery technology.
Price Range: $$ to $$$$
Top Products: Metabo HPT Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool ($84 at Amazon)

Founded in 1923 in Germany, Metabo became very successful in Europe. In 2016, Hitachi purchased the company, then two years later sold its power tools business to investment firm KKR. The company is now officially known as Metabo HPT.

Although not as well-known in the U.S., the Metabo range continues to expand. Cordless models offer competitive performance thanks to lithium-ion high-density (LiHD) technology that claims to deliver up to 30 percent more power than standard power tool batteries.

Shop for more Metabo power tools at:

14. WEN

The Best Tool Brands Option: WEN

About the Brand: WEN makes low-cost tools primarily for home users, though professionals value their reliability.
Price Range: $ to $$
Top Products: WEN 2.3 Amp 8 in. 5-Speed Benchtop Drill Press ($104.68 at The Home Depot), WEN 6-Amp Electric Hand Planer ($42.79 at Amazon), and WEN ½-in 2.5-HP Variable Speed Plunge Router ($85.26 at Lowe’s)

Headquartered in Elgin, Illinois, WEN has been in business since 1951. Design, research, and development are centered in the U.S., while production is based in the Far East.

The large WEN range includes power tools, generators, and garden equipment. Though its products sometimes lack the latest innovations, WEN uses proven technologies, and its power tools are invariably durable and reliable. Among independent reviewers, WEN is often valued as the best tool brand for the money.

Shop for more WEN power tools at:

How We Chose the Best Tool Brands

There is a lot to consider when choosing the best tool brand. Selecting a brand is an important decision for DIYers and professionals, as it’s easier to use a suite of tools from one brand than spending time juggling various batteries and chargers from multiple brands. With this in mind, we carefully reviewed many of the popular tool brands.

When searching for brands to include in our list of the best tool brands, we evaluated each on its reputation for quality, availability from easy-to-find retailers, range of tool selection, and history of innovation. As not every tool user is a professional, we included brands that also offered affordable tools to meet the budgets of users who do not use tools professionally.


Q: What is the best power tool brand?

According to a 2020 survey by the research and strategy firm Lifestory, DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee are among the most trusted power tool brands. That said, it ultimately depends on which power tool you’re using and what you’re using it for. For example, auto mechanics might disagree with home improvement contractors on what impact drivers are best. The key is to ascertain your needs and budget, then balance those with well-reviewed products. Many of the brands listed above manufacture durable, reliable power tools well-suited to a variety of needs and budgets.

Q: Where are Milwaukee tools made? 

Milwaukee has manufacturing facilities in Mississippi and Wisconsin, having expanded facilities as recently as 2021. They also have manufacturing facilities in Europe and China.

Q: Where are DeWalt tools made?

DeWalt tools are made with both global and domestic parts, but it has seven manufacturing facilities in Connecticut, Maryland, Indiana, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Q: Who owns Milwaukee tools?

Milwaukee is owned by Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries, which develops, manufactures, and markets power tools. Milwaukee still maintains headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Q: Where are Craftsman tools made? 

A variety of Craftsman products are made with global materials in South Carolina, Connecticut, Missouri, and Illinois

Q: Who makes the best cordless power tools?

Familiar brands, such as DeWalt and Milwaukee are among the best, continually garnering rave reviews from homeowners and pros alike, but brands such Ryobi and Craftsman also make great cordless power tools. Check out this buyer’s guide for great power tool sets.

Q: Which power tool brand has the best batteries?

It depends on how much power, or voltage, is needed, charging time, run time, and warranty. For frequent and extended use, look for power tools that come with two batteries.

Bob Beacham Avatar

Bob Beacham

Contributing Writer

Bob Beacham is an engineer by trade and has spent 35 years working on everything from auto parts to oil rigs. He is also an avid DIY enthusiast. Bob started writing for the Bob Vila team in 2020 and covers tools, outdoor equipment, and home improvement projects.