What power tool brand/cult should altoid buy/join?

altoid

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What power tool brand should I invest in? I was thinking of choosing Ryobi based on some positive personal experiences, but am open to suggestions. I expect to start buying battery powered tools at some point, and it’d be great if they all played nice with the same batteries, each other, etc.
 

eizbaer

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I think this is a bit of a difficult question without a bit more input / thought from your side :)
As with everything, there's a Merc and a Honda of power tools as well, as you can see in here: https://forums.finalgear.com/threads/the-power-tools-thread.3556102/

Most importantly I think is the question: is this just for having some tools around the house for the occasional odd job or do you expect professional level quality (and are willing to pay the premium). Yes, there is a good middle ground here, of course (I think Ryobi could be just that). Ofc there's also people who want professional tools and are willing to pay the money despite only using the power drill twice a year to put a screw in a fencepost or something. Additionally, with the more "consumer" focused systems/batteries and makes, you also often gain a wider choice of tools - e.g. gardening tools like trimmers, lawn mowers and the like. Ofc if you go makita, you'll also find 18V kettles and coffee machines and shit like that, but I suspect that's just them meme'ing :D

All this is why I personally ended up with Einhell (no idea whether they're even in the US market). Their tools are decent (if you buy the right ones), but far from professional quality. They're also crazy cheap for what they are, batteries cost next to nothing (and are often given away for free with the purchase of a tool) and they frankly have ridiculous choice of also gardening equipment. My reasoning: I'm a hobbyist, I don't need professional level equipment. Frankly, I probably wouldn't even notice the difference (except from the more solid feel). So I don't want to pay an arm and a leg. Plus: I now have crazy many batteries that power anything I could ever need.
 

Perc

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I already mentioned this in Telegram, but might as well write down my €0,02 here:

I am heavily invested in the Makita 18V LXT system. Only issue I've ever had was the gearbox on my well-used power drill, it started jumping out of second. A new gearbox was €50 from the official reseller and took five minutes to swap in.

I would already have bought the coffee maker if I had even the slightest use case for one, but I would expect that a single cup depletes an 18V battery. It's a novelty more than anything.

I'm cheating a bit with a Ryobi hot glue gun, which is an awesome product. I would buy the Makita if they made one. I'm using it with a battery adapter so I actually haven't had to buy into a new battery ecosystem. The adaptor was €12 or so shipped from Aliexpress.

I've found that one of the reasons Ryobi is cheaper is the battery and chargers. The kits might come with 5Ah and a smaller 1.2Ah, and a charger that takes hours to charge the 5Ah. The 18V Makita kits usually come with a pair of 4-5Ah batteries (€100 ish each, usually) and a fan-cooled fast charger that tops up a 4Ah in 15 minutes or whatever. This isn't an issue if you're alone and using tools that's easy on the batteries, but if you're using tools that burn through batteries quickly such as a chainsaw or lawn mower you will want that fast charger.

Of course the world is moving to ~40V right now. Makita promised they'll keep developing the 18V platform, but I have a feeling that the new goodies will come out on the 40V system in the future.

Speaking of which, I have a Makita chainsaw that takes a pair of 18V batteries and even with 6Ah which is the biggest size they make, it runs out of steam pretty quickly. It's not lacking in brute power at all, but it burns through a pair of batteries rather quickly. I bet this is where 40V would come in handy.
 

NecroJoe

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So, Ryobi's tools and batteries are backwards compatible with each other for about 20 years, so there's 2 decades of used tools, even going back to the blue and yellow era, that can still work with their newest batteries. Ryobi's tools tend to perform within spitting distance of the "big boys", but aren't as durable.

But beyond that, you can't really go wrong with any of the big 3 brands (4, if you count Bosch,, though their line is smaller). But you may find that one specific tool or another is better from one brand...but they are all going to be OK. Like Makita's track saw has been considered the best. But Dewalt's palm router is considered the best. And Milwaukee has the best cordless nail guns.

If you really want to get into the weeds, figure out which tools are your priority. If that's not really necessary, start with whatever starter kit is on the best sale. Worst-case scenario, you might end up with a tool where a different one has a more comfortable grip, a better switch, or a *little* more power, but the differences aren't huge.

Personally, I have Milwaukee, and ryobi for lawn care stuff...but because I also have ryobi, I can get cheaper versions of tools I can't justify the Milwaukee Tax for, like a caulk gun and belt sander.
 
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Matt2000

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If I was buying right now I would get Milwaukee M18 batteries, they have the highest available capacity 18V. Probably have a Milwaukee drill and/or driver, then use adapters for everything else.

I really don’t like the Ryobi battery design and their batteries aren’t compatible with anything else due to that design, so for me their tools are only to be used with better batteries. I’ll be honest, the Ryobi tools I have don’t feel very substantial and it would annoy me if they weren’t a rare use heat gun and glue gun.

I bought into Makita years ago, I like their tools and the ability to adapt for everything else. I have a Bosch 18V vacuum and a DeWalt compressor along with the Ryobi tools that use the same batteries. I recently bought into M12 Milwaukee too for compact stuff, nice tools but the batteries can’t be used with anything else though.
 

93Flareside

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Since most brands are like appliances (only the name is kept because it has a loyal fanbase and there's only a couple of true companies that manufacture the items) you're ok with most stuff, just avoid Harbor Freight branded power tools.

Ryobi will do well for you but I will break it up like this based on my work experience.

Exterior building repair guys, siding, roofing, those type: Dewalt Power Tools
Interior building maintenance, like for commercial buildings: Milwaukee Power Tools

Me: Milwaukee, because that's what my dad has used for 40+ years in his building maintenance roll at a leather tannery. That said, what made me stick with them was the fact that I was working on a 3 story roof, dropped my M12 tool off the roof and it fell onto concrete, still worked and gave me a good 5 years of life before the battery stopped holding a charge, despite a crack in the housing showing the cell within.

I've worked with a couple of exterior guys who have used both Bosch and Rigid and they both work fine for 8 hour daily use, just like the Dewalt and Milwaukee stuff. When I was doing seamless gutter work, Ryobi was still the Black & Decker type brand, good enough if you're a weekend warrior type, dad doing home stuff here and there. Seeing how Mighty Car Mods guys basically love that brand and they seem to do auto repair day in and day out, I'd say Ryobi has come up in the world, like a Kia/Hyundai. The biggest problem 10 years ago was their trigger assemblies crapping out, tools were fine, but they stopped working and getting a new trigger was impossible from the brand at the time.

I still have my Milwaukee 18V hammer drill from 2010 and it's still working today, after spending a summer 8-10hrs a day drilling screws for gutter mounting, the original batteries are still working, but naturally the lifetime is shorter, so I do have a bigger battery for it, but for my uses these days, I rarely charge it and it works every time, currently I'm replacing wood siding on my garage and it's worked fine for that. Even my grandfathers Black and Decker circular saw I inhereted is doing fine. Albeit with the usual wire tape on the cable because inevitably, you always slice the cable. :D
 

CraigB

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I have Ryobi at the track and at home (and take them with me to race tracks). We've been using them since they were blue and yellow.

Things I like about them: Home Depot carries them and has a couple great sales each year (Christmas, Father's Day, etc.). There's also a website that carries returns, refurbished and blem units (https://www.directtoolsoutlet.com/). Like mentioned before, it's all backwards compatible. The tools will do the job, but they aren't the most powerful.

Things I don't like: Home Depot is the only one that carries them. I've been out on a job, needed a new tool and had to go out of my way to find a Home Depot to pick it up. I've never killed one, but they also seem less put together than say a Milwaukee or DeWalt. And there's just some jobs it's better to use a corded tool rather than the less powerful Ryobi equivalent. I have a cheap corded Ryobi hammer drill that runs circles around it's battery compatriot.

I have used Milwaukee and DeWalt, they do seem to be better in terms of power and construction, but cost is always a factor.
 

jack_christie

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I think you need to consider the reviews for the tools you want and don't rule out having a second brand.

I have some Ryobi tools, but was thinking of getting a basic Multi Tool, but when I looked at any site the reviews were brutal. There is a dearer option but not in stock anywhere and +220% online.

Always check manufacture site for new models versus whats in the local shops. Sometimes local shops have older models or limited range.

Maybe choose batteries that work well with adapters.
 
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altoid

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Hi, frenz!

TL;DR: Milwaukee M12 by way of Rotary Tool, High Performance Jig Saw, and REDLITHIUM™ XC6.0 Battery in a bundle.

After (entirely too) much deliberating, I chose to begin my spiraling descent down the abyss of power tools with the Milwaukee M12 system. Here are the things that swayed me in the end:

- They make a fair bit of stuff, and I don’t exactly have any super specific needs at the moment.
- Just about no one seems to have any complaints about Milwaukee’s quality on the whole.
- In fact, there’s ample anecdata that they’re actually on the better side of things.
- The prices aren’t horrendous at all. Sure, it’s not cheap stuff, but it’s not a multiple of any other major brand either.
- The tools themselves appear well designed and generally aren’t bulky.
- One of my closest friends lives nearby and has just headed down the same path after serious research, so a bit of sharing might occur, which isn’t nothing. In fact, the aforementioned bundle doesn’t come with a charger, and I was able to avoid buying one separately as he has an extra he’s letting me have.

I’d almost gone with Ryobi instead, since I’m barely even a hobbyist, and my most used tools are just good ol’ hex L-keys, but looking at size differences of some of the tools—namely their jig saws—made me rethink that, as I’m still an apartment dweller with some space limitations.

Thank you all for responding, both here and on Telegram! I really mean it—I read all the replies and considered them along with anecdata I collected in other places. Much wubz! ❤️

@eizbaer My apologies, but I read your post and completely failed to even look at the linked thread. Oops. Now I’m too scared to do so, in case it changes my mind…

@Perc I too expect to end up with a Ryobi tool or two, as they have a pretty ridiculously wide range. Good to know that adapters exist (and work!), even if I end up having to buy an M18 battery.

@NecroJoe Yeah, I feel like Milwaukee + Ryobi might end up being my life as well. I feel like it’s not too bad unless I end up with one battery each from five brands…

@Matt2000 I couldn’t really justify M18 at this point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if eventual home ownership changes that.

@93Flareside Yay Team Milwaukee!

@CraigB Yeah, the endless walls of green at my local Home Depot nearly had me sold on their own. It’s a rather strong presence, ha.

@jack_christie Availability definitely played a role in my choice. I expect to have my tools in two days, and in today’s Supply Chain Issues™ world that’s hugely valuable.
 

altoid

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Oh yeah, I should maybe share what I got. In addition to the above bundle, I got this heavily discounted one, which contains:

- 1/2 in. hammer drill/driver
- 1/4 in. impact driver
- 3/8 in. High Speed Ratchet
- 3/8in. Stubby Impact Wrench

These are all from their fancier FUEL line, and the torque of each is so, so much higher than anything I’ve ever experienced before—even just empty in my hand. I gratuitously used the impact driver for a little screw that absolutely didn’t need it, just to give it a whirl, and boy it’s nice to operate good tools.
 

Matt2000

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I ordered the M12 rotary red Dremel last night, a combination of a 15% coupon for eBay and their 7x + 300 nectar reward points means I got it for less than anywhere else online, with free postage to boot. Should be here later today.
 
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