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When deciding on what brand of cordless power tool you need, it’s important to consider the company, and its lineup of tools that share the same battery. When comparing Dewalt vs Milwaukee cordless tools, you’ll want to get the most for your money. Both companies market and position themselves as pro-like power tools. Not quite commercial or true professional grade, but meant to be used and last. They’re intended for regular use and give enough power (in whatever form) to suit most applications.

Brand snapshot

If you’re going to stick with one company’s ‘ecosystem’, it should be one you’re confident in. Both Milwaukee and Dewalt have built a long and reputable history on their power tools. They both have respectable market share and repeat customers. Milwaukee is based out of Hong Kong, and is owned by Techtronic Industries. Originally, they started up in Brookfield, Wisconsin (1924). But in today’s world, they have factories in Europe, Asia, and North America. Dewalt (1923) paints a similar picture. They are owned by Stanley Black and Decker, an American conglomerate. The Dewalt brand is essentially the upmarket pro-like version of the Black and Decker power tool brand. They brand a yellow and black color scheme that helps sell a construction-like theme.

M18 versus 20v Max

When looking looking online for Dewalt and Milwaukee cordless products, you’ll see Dewalt advertise with 20v Max battery system vs Milwaukee’s M18 system. Basically, there are five cells in each battery. The nominal voltage of each cell is 3.6 volts, so 18v. The cells have a maximum manufacturers rating of 4v, so 20v max is the marketing and branding Dewalt advertises.

Looking at what’s available, you should not immediately assume the Dewalt 20v Max lineup is the better buy. It’s essentially 18v nominal, the 20v Max is comparable at nominal power to the M18 system. So which should you choose?

Warranty offered

Well, we recommend sticking with one brand so you can use multiple batteries in multiple devices. But that may not be the best value. Dewalt advertises itself as being American quality, but interestingly enough, it’s Milwaukee that stands behind their product more. Dewalt only offers a three-year warranty on most of their cordless products. Milwaukee wins out here, as they offer a five year warranty. It’s worth mentioning that neither has warranty on its batteries (aside from material defect).

Picking your battery system

Both companies have expanded their portfolio of battery powered cordless products. There are saws, drills, leaf blowers, impact hammers, grinders, and even vacuum cleaners. If we were going to go with a particular battery ecosystem, factoring in multiple different tools, we’d choose Milwaukee. The extra 2 years of warranty and generally comparable or cheaper costs mean they are the better value, and smarter choice for bang for you buck. However, if you only see yourself buying one cordless product, when comparing Dewalt vs Milwaukee, you should compare output power and cost. For instance, looking at drills you’d want to compare torque ratings.

Milwaukee and Dewalt cordless products are largely comparable in quality/design. Both companies make reliable electric motors. And although power output can vary from either, they are functionally close enough. In terms of ergonomics and control, we feel they are largely similar as well, although we will say that it looks like customers prefers Dewalt’s design and grips better.

Look for bargains

Be on the lookout for sales and discounts if you only plan on lighter duty, occasional use, or basically don’t see yourself taking advantage of the warranty, or even just considering one purchase, Dewalt could be the better choice. They’re often discounted or on sale, and Dewalt has a fan base and make popular, innovative designs. When comparing drill and impact driver sets to Milwaukee for instance, the drill and impact driver from Dewalt offer more torque.

Whatever your needs are, it’s important to have some idea of what tools you could be using in the future. The 20v tools may not always be the best choice, or the best preforming. Look at what projects or work you want to do, and decide if you’re just interested in one tool, or multiple tools. Dewalt designs, history, and reputation can be a factor to some people.

We can’t generalize and say which brand is the more affordable option. Both companies are competitors to each other. Discount and over supply can happen. Sometimes, the Milwaukee option is cheaper, and sometimes the Dewalt product is. It’s a hard one to call, and is in real terms, a wash.

Final thoughts

In practical terms, the 20v Max is a bit deceptive and ‘salesy’. Milwaukee’s M18 system is exactly the same nominal voltage as the 20v Max batteries from Dewalt. We like getting a little more protection and warranty and prefer the five year warranty of Milwaukee to Dewalt’s three year warranty. Dewalt, however, does have innovative designs, strong power, many repeat customers.