Last Updated on November 10, 2020 by builder Aaron Barnett
Before you take a trip to pick up some new tools it’s important to do your research. With so many different brands and specifications out there, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed. Even if you decide to whittle your options down to some of the biggest brands in the industry, you’re likely to find yourself torn between two of the top competitors: Makita and DeWalt.
Which brand is the most reliable and cost-effective? Which has consistently positive reviews? There’s an abundance of questions to consider and these may just be the tip of the iceberg.
If you’re in need of a comprehensive, in-depth comparison between these two hardware giants then read on to gain some clarity before you make your purchase.
Dewalt: The pros
Durability: You want to use tools that can take everything you throw at them, effortlessly and consistently. DeWalt products are great for this; they are branded as “guaranteed tough” and they don’t disappoint.
Voted one of the best brands of 2019 and used by construction workers and amateurs alike, DeWalt is one of the most reliable and durable brands on the market.
Big batteries: DeWalt provides a wide selection of cordless power tool batteries that harness the power of lithium iron.
Dewalt 20v batteries are renowned for being lightweight and having a fast charge time of less than 90 minutes. Dewalt also has a flex volt battery pack option that can deliver up to 60V if the cordless tool can take it, and scale down to lower voltages for smaller tools.
The battery’s run time of around three hours of general use means you can get down to business (even in the toughest conditions) without the strain of carrying around bulky products and still not a compromise on performance.
Bang for your buck: Despite being one of the biggest players in the business, DeWalt products remain affordable. This means that for a competitive price you can expect a high-end performance every-time.
Where is Dewalt made?
When you’re trying to distinguish quality products from poorly made ones, it’s important to understand the size, and location, of the product manufacturer. So, you may find yourself wondering, where are DeWalt tools made?
DeWalt is a global manufacturer and makes their tools in the following countries: The Czech Republic, Italy, China, The UK, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States.
Makita: The pros
Lighter products: Makita are renowned for their ergonomics with products such as their impact drivers weighing just 2.8 pounds. And lightweight circular saws that also have the best handling.
Easier to use: As well as creating compact, light-weight tools, Makita’s products are the easiest to use too. This is largely thanks to their innovative designs which make their tools easier to handle and operate.
Value for money: When it comes to saving you money, Makita rarely disappoints. Most of their retail prices are on par with DeWalt however, you can find some of their tools on sale for far less than their DeWalt counterparts.
Where are Makita tools made?
Although Makita is a Japanese manufacturer they have factories in Mexico, Romania, Germany, Dubai, Brazil, China, Thailand, the UK and the US.
Dewalt or Makita: Who makes the best cordless drill?
DeWalt cordless drills weigh more than Makita drills so If you’re handling a drill for a long period of time, Makita’s light-weight models may be a good option for you.
Although Dewalt drills tend to be more powerful their batteries do run down quicker, and do not charge as fast, as a Makita cordless drill. When buying a cordless drill it’s important to consider what battery options are available.
If you purchase a Makita or DeWalt battery, they can be used in more than 100 other high-quality tools and devices giving you better value for money. Don’t buy a battery that can only be used in one tool.
Circular saws: Makita or Dewalt?
DeWalt and Makita both offer several cordless and corded circular saws however, when it comes to the corded and cordless options, Makita cordless tools tend to do better. For more information on cordless circular saws click here.
Aside from being lightweight and offering great value for money, Makita saws cut consistently the best, and have a quick charge time while it can cut different materials with ease.
DeWalt circular saws tend to be heftier to handle with an average weight of 10.1 pounds they lack the maneuverability typically offered by other corded saws.
For more information on the best electric saw read my corded circular saw reviews.
What about wood planers?
Makita offers a range of electric wood planers with features such as two-blade cutter heads, high amp motors, and long cord lengths that are great for commercial and personal use.
Although the cut per minute rate on Makita planers is less than most of DeWalt’s planers, some of their motors work at twice the speed giving you greater power at your disposal. The best planer, is cordless and made by Makita is a must-have tool if you don’t already have one to help you quickly plane back lumber, battens, framing, and joinery units.
Wood routers: Makita or Dewalt?
If power and fast wood shaping capabilities are high on your list of requirements, a Makita router may be what you need. Some Makita routers come with a 3 ¼ HP Motor which runs at 15 amps, capable of tackling even the most demanding of tasks.
If you’re looking for portability too then Makita also offers other battery-powered routers with variable speed control dials. Remember, when purchasing a wood router it is important to consider specifications such as plunge depth, size, power, and shank size.
Dewalt doesn’t come close to beating Makita when it comes to wood routers in both corded and cordless options when using a wood router you want one that is the easiest to use to get accurate results.
Jobsite radios – Who does it better?
If you’re looking for portability, Makita has a great selection of lightweight Bluetooth Jobsite radios that come with long battery life and bumpers to avoid damage when you’re working or camping.
However, some Makita radios don’t come with built-in battery chargers and aren’t as loud as some other worksite radios.
If you’re looking for the most durable and the loudest Jobsite radio for your workspace (or street) you might be better off purchasing one of the speakers manufactured by Dewalt.
Some even include sub-woofers, device storage boxes, built-in chargers and many are water-resistant too and come at a good price.
For more information on the best portable radio, my full review covers every option available.
Jigsaws: DeWalt vs Makita?
However, Makita offers a lightweight, D-handled corded jigsaw with speeds between 800-2,800 SPM. Although this weighs more than the Festool, Makita’s jigsaw scores slightly higher in terms of amps, operating at 6.3 as opposed to Festool’s 3.33.
If you’re looking for a traditional, dependable corded jigsaw you might want to consider a Makita. Read my full review here.
First Festool offers barrel-grip cordless jigsaws with dust extractors and built-in splinter guards, some of which can operate at up to 3,800 strokes per minute that can dominate.
If the cordless options are more suited to your needs, you can also check out DeWalt’s range? Their models can cut through the toughest of materials and have features such as a long battery run time and front levers for a quick and easy blade change.
But Makita cordless jigsaws are still the most popular choice for people that want the best jigsaw D-handle tool.
Nibbler tools: Here’s what you should know.
When it comes to cordless tools Makita offers a 16-gauge nibbler with 18 volts of power, weighing at just 4lbs. There are actually 3 choices for a Makita nibbler.
If corded nibblers are more up your street they also offer 10 and 16-gauge models with different handles, meaning you’re more than likely to find the right tool for the task at hand.
For compressed air powered nibblers, Ingersoll and Neiko have several 18-gauge models that are durable, reliable, and cost-effective too. Dewalt has a corded nibbler but it’s fairly clunky in my opinion.
Makita’s sheet metal cutter only weighs 3.6 lbs and is the best choice.
Makita vs Dewalt: Thickness planers
DeWalt has some of the best value thickness planers on the market with features such as three-blade designs, 15amp motors, automatic carriage locks, and 20,000 RPM motors.
Makita also offers portable and quiet planers with some models only emitting a maximum of 83dB of sound.
Remember to consider factors such as the size of the planers feed table before purchasing; the majority of DeWalt and Makita planers come in at around 12 to 13 inches. I would go for the widest table giving you space for planing wider boards. Read my benchtop planer reviews for more information.
Compound miter saws
DeWalt’s cordless miter saw offers the same performance as their corded alternatives without the hassle.
They are also compatible with DeWalt FlexVolt batteries making them a cost-effective and convenient alternative.
Many DeWalt miter saws offer a range of angles and bevels but they are typically heavier than Makita saws. Makita’s top-selling miter saws come with features such as auto-start wireless systems, speeds of 4,400 RPM for smooth cuts, and dust extractors.
Although these cordless alternatives are handy, you should consider that Makita saws have smaller batteries than most DeWalt models.
But what sets Dewalt miter saws apart is the ability to be on the battery as well running it directly on the lead when you have direct power available. Rumors are Makita might do this in the near future. More info here.
String trimmers: Makita or Dewalt?
DeWalt offers several cordless trimmers with speeds of up to 6,000 RPM, 20V batteries, 13-inch cutting swaths, and brushless motors.
Similarly, Makita’s cordless string trimmers come with brushless motors however, they also have several different features including low-noise and a battery charge time of only 45 minutes.
Although these features are missing in many of the DeWalt models, Makita’s trimmers are even more powerful with adjustable speed ranging from 5000 – 6500 RPM.
Of course, cordless weed cutters of any brand has zero emissions and don’t require messy gas mixing.
Although some of Makita’s cordless chainsaws come in on the pricey side, they are well worth the investment.
Many offer powers of up to 36V, a 16-inch bar and they’re pretty light-weight too, making it easy to reach branches in high places whilst supporting yourself at the same time.
If battery power is important to you, DeWalt’s cordless chainsaws have greater battery storage than Makita models however, their oil tends to run out quicker.
Despite this, some come with a powerful 40 volts and some cool features such as a low-kickback design, and of course, all chainsaws have an auto-oiling system to keep the cutting chain lubricated and cool.
If you haven’t yet got a 18v Makia chainsaw, or Dewalt 20v chainsaw you’re missing out.
Finishing nailers: What’s best?
Both a battery-powered electric brad nailer and a finish nailer is a more convenient and consistent alternative to gas-powered nailers. Bottom line Dewalt makes the best bradders, and Makita makes the best-compressed air-powered finishing nailers.
Finishing nailers and bradders by DeWalt are compatible with all of DeWalt 20V batteries. Dewalt’s finishing nailers are amongst the most versatile on the market while also being able to shoot the strongest pins.
Makita bradders, much like their other tools, are recognized for their compact design, so if portability is important to you, Makita’s range may be worth exploring. And their air-powered bradder is great for repetitive consistent shooting.
For more information on the difference between a brad nailer vs finish nailer follow my link.
Table saws: Your best options
It may surprise you to know that the highest-rated cabinet table saws are not manufactured by DeWalt or Makita and are actually made by companies such as Jet, Powermatic, and SawStop.
But for most job sites or garages a portable table saw is what you will want. If you’re in need of power, effortless performance, and durability, it may be worth checking out the range of table saws these brands have on the market.
StopSaw, Dewalt, and Makita have great options. But for the money, Dewalt makes affordable high-quality table saws, with Makita only a dollar behind. You might want to consider safety though and the options SawStop and bosch have with an installed emergency flesh detecting break that could save a finger.
Palm sanders: Makita or Dewalt?
When it comes to value for money, DeWalt’s range of random orbital sanders fail to disappoint; not only are these attractively priced but they’re compact and light-weight which makes for hassle-free to work with.
If your budget is a little larger, Makita offers some of the highest-powered palm sanders you can buy.
Although some of the best ones are corded, they come with a 3.0 AMP motor and a variable speed control dial of between 4,000-12,000 RPM.
So, what about belt sanders?
If you find yourself needing to smoothen out some rough edges, belt sanders are better equipped for the job than palm sanders.
Makita generally offers a wider (and cheaper) range of belt sanders than DeWalt.
Some of their sanders are also more powerful, with motors of up to 1010 watts compared to some of DeWalt’s which only offer 800 watts.
Their sanders are generally lighter too with some weighing as little as 4.7kg. However, if you’re after a smaller belt size, DeWalt’s sanders may be better suited to your needs.
Metal chop saws: Who’s better?
Although Makita is usually the ones recognized for their ergonomics, DeWalt’s chop saws may be the winners here.
Makita’s chop saws also have an adjustable spark guard and allow for various angle cuts with fence adjustment but for Makita, they are a little clunky here.
Dewalt’s cleverly designed handles allow for comfortable use even for long periods of time.
Their powerful motors also come with circuitry that protects from power overloads and they come with a 45-degree pivot which allows for precise angle cutting that’s not available on every metal cut off saw.
In need of something light-weight and portable to cut metal? DeWalt’s best angle grinders are second to none. If the power’s what you need then Makita’s corded grinders are a winner, with some of Makitas grinders reach speeds of up to 8,500 RPM.
If you’re looking for something for grinding concrete, you may be better off purchasing a corded grinder from bosch; Makita’s corded grinders are also capable of cutting through tough surfaces such as steel and concrete with ease but bosch has a better handle for taking the vibrations.
DeWalt’s corded alternatives typically weigh less than Makita’s grinders but come with slightly less power.
Portable air compressors:
If you’re looking to Makita or DeWalt for a portable big or small air compressor you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options available.
DeWalt has a greater range of compressors including pancake compressors, which are light-weight and have large tanks of up to 6 gallons.
Makita’s portable air compressors generally have smaller tanks and although their range is not as diverse as DeWalt’s, most of their compressors are more portable.
Biscuit joiners: Dewalt or Makita?
Makita biscuit joiners tend to rely more on a high RMP blade cutting speed as opposed to amps which makes for quick cutting, and a lighter tool that is easier to use than Dewalt’s.
However, if it’s a joiner’s power, amps, and value for money that you’re after, you may want to take a closer look at DeWalt’s biscuit joiner as being high on your list of priorities.
Although most tend to run on a slower RMP blade than Makita’s, they pack a bigger punch and won’t burn too big of a hole in your pocket.
What about bench grinders?
DeWalt has a range of table grinders including many eight-inch grinders with ¾ HP induction motors that run at 36,000 RMP, making them great for DIY and industrial use.
These models are reliable for sharpening most tools and they’re durable too.
They also manufacture six-inch grinders but bear in mind that these are smaller and harder to work with than their eight-inch brother.
Makita also manufactures six and eight-inch grinders but has slower speeds than the DeWalt models, spinning at just 2850 RMP this is on purpose as a slower grinding speed can be better for more delicate work.
Laser measures: Dewalt or Makita?
Dewalt’s range of laser measures are versatile and reliable with great measuring capability. Some of DeWalt’s laser measures have a range of up to 330ft, with an accuracy of 1/16” at 30ft.
Makita manufactures several measurers too however, their range is shorter with the maximum distance being around 262ft. If having a laser measurer capable of reaching long distances is important to you, you may want to consider a Dewalt measurer instead.
However, there are other brands that make the best laser measure.
What are the best laser levelers?
DeWalt’s laser levelers have some great features which include a warranty of three years, 3 x full 360-degree line to assist with leveling a full room layout, and the biggest rechargeable battery.
Although Makita has some laser levelers on the market, its features are limited compared to those manufactured by DeWalt.
Dewalt’s laser levels are accurate and have an excellent base for mounting ability but if you’re looking for a laser level with the most features, you are better off purchasing a Dewalt laser level .
What other tool brands should I consider?
There are plenty of other reputable brands on the market however, the other top competitors you should be considering are Milwaukee, Bosch, Leica, and Hitachi.
These are only a handful though, so why not consider a few others such as Stanley, Klein, and Skil if you are on more of a budget.
Does Makita make combo kits?
Yes, they do. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, this is a great option as buying a Makita toolset is cheaper than buying your tools individually.
There are several different Makita combos on offer, all containing slightly different tools ranging from cordless drills to jigsaws.
DeWalt and Makita both create high-quality tools, all of which are fit for purpose and cost-effective.
Whatever choice you make should be centered around factors such as your budget, the tasks you need to perform, and perhaps even your own preference of manufacturer.
However, with the help of this guide and the information you’ve acquired, you can approach your next purchase with peace of mind and armed to the teeth with knowledge, fully prepared to make the right investment for your own individual tool needs.
Sounds like this can be improved for the next reader.
Please share how this article can be improved?
Hi, my name is Aaron, and welcome to Banging-Toolbox.
As a builder and site supervisor, I started banging-toolbox with the goal to make the #1 building, DIY, and tool review resource on the internet.
Feel free to have a look around, and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions about DIY or building, you can find out more about me here.