Last Updated on November 2, 2023 by Barry Gray
I’ve always found it somewhat interesting to compare two different brands. Seeing two brands operating within the same industry and how they either do things the same or differently tends to throw up a few surprises.
So, that’s what I’m going to do here, and this time I’ve decided to compare Festool against DeWalt. From the outset, it looks as if it’s going to be a great battle, but these comparisons don’t always work out the way you would expect at the start.
Which is Best?
Let me set one thing straight, both brands are excellent in their own right. I see them as being two of the more reliable high-performance brands on the market, and for a number of good reasons.
However, DeWalt stands out between the two brands, and I think it does so in a number of areas.
Put simply, I love the versatility that comes with their tools. That range of accessories is outstanding, and only Milwaukee can beat them in that department. Festool doesn’t even stand a chance here.
But even though I would choose DeWalt every single time, I implore you to try out something by Festool if the opportunity comes along. Almost every individual states how their tools are fantastic to use, and when that sentiment is quite universal, then I think it’s worth trying.
But for day-to-day use, go for DeWalt, and I doubt you will regret it.
The History of Festool
Founded in Germany in 1925, Festool was known initially as Fester & Stoll thanks to the two founders, Albert Fester and Gottlieb Stoll. However, by 1933, they decided to shorten their name to Festo, but the eagle-eyed will notice that it’s still not the name that you may be familiar with.
That’s because the Festool brand didn’t really appear until 2000. But even though the name itself is not that old, the company behind Festool is closing in on having existed for 100 years.
This additional name change came about thanks to a move by the company in 1992 to create a spin-off company known as Festo Tooltechnic. That spin-off company was the one that then decided in 2000 to create an arm entirely dedicated to power tools, which is where we are up to today.
Who Owns Festool?
The ownership of Festool is where things start to become slightly strange and difficult. The power tool arm is effectively run by TTS, which is a huge company. However, the overall Festool company is owned by the family of Gottlieb Stoll.
That does paint a complex and confusing picture. Yet, the main thing to know is that this company has a thing for only seeking to produce some of the best power tools in the industry.
Why Buy Festool?
So let me move on to my reasons why I think you could very well consider purchasing a Festool product. When I look closely at what they offer, I feel that several key points manage to leap out.
Exceptionally Easy to Handle
The first thing to mention is that these tools are straightforward to handle. They feel well-balanced in your hand, and it’s also clear Festool has spent time working on comfort levels as well.
Each tool has gone through a specific design process, which means they have been ergonomically designed, and that means one thing; comfort.
But they also ensure that any adjustments or safety switches are easy to operate. This partly comes down to their placement, so it takes me back to their overall approach to their design.
Festool only appears to produce tools that are exceptionally fast. This is thanks to them incorporating powerful motors capable of making those sky-high speeds, yet it doesn’t affect the overall performance of the tool in any way.
Festool aims to consistently produce a tool that can deliver the results you want and do so in the shortest possible time. Well, that’s something they certainly manage to do, and they excel at it, in my opinion.
When I’m talking about consistency, I mean how the tool operates and the end results you will achieve. It gets to the point where you have absolute trust in the tool, which bolsters your confidence.
You know what you will get when you use a tool by this brand, and there’s just no chance it will ever let you down.
Festool goes big on safety, and that’s something I really appreciate. They seek to ensure you can quickly switch off a tool or stop in its tracks when something goes wrong, which is excellent.
But it’s the array of ways in which Festool seeks to make their tools safe that’s also outstanding. They utilize the best dust extractors, chip collectors, controls to manage the machine, and high-quality safety guards to ensure their machines are safe to use.
Reasons Not to Buy Festool
But it’s not all plain sailing when purchasing a power tool by Festool. So, to be perfectly fair and honest in my assessment, this is what I have to say about the reasons why you may not want to buy this brand.
The main reason is undoubtedly the price. I cannot think of a power tool brand that costs more than Festool. However, they seek to provide the most precise tools on the market, and the research and development that goes into them is astonishing.
However, I would say the cost is the main reason you may not want to contemplate this brand.
Another problem is general availability both from a purchasing point of view and also the array of tools they produce. As a company, Festool remains on the small side, but that’s the way they want it to be.
Also, don’t expect to be inundated with accessories and any tool for any job. While they have many tools, it does pale into insignificance compared to other brands.
But those two things aside, even though I admit they are huge, I think Festool has much more going for it than against it.
The History of DeWalt
DeWalt is an all-American company founded back in 1923 by a guy called Raymond E. DeWalt. Now, that does mean that DeWalt is only two years older than Festool, yet people tend to view both companies in slightly different ways.
Initially launched in Pennsylvania, the company now has its headquarters in Maryland.
What’s interesting to note is that DeWalt focused on power tools pretty much from the very beginning. They were responsible for producing the very first radial saw arm, which was the tool that allowed them to establish themselves in the industry.
However, the company did experience a move away from power tools during WW2. At that point, they focused on helping the government produce vital products during the war years, so power tools for the general public kind of went on the back burner.
But after those years, there’s no doubt that DeWalt worked hard to gain a significant foothold in the power tool industry. Ultimately, it led to the vast company that is very familiar to so many people today.
Who Owns DeWalt?
By 1949, the DeWalt name was up for sale, ultimately being purchased by the American Machine and Foundry Co. Under their ownership, they moved back to focusing more on power tools and saw reasonable success. Actually, their degree of success was good enough for Stanley Black & Decker to swoop in and buy the company in 1960.
I should tell you that they still own the DeWalt name, and for a good reason. When it comes to power tools, there’s no doubt that DeWalt is one of the most well-known and well-recognized brands out there today.
Why Buy DeWalt?
The DeWalt brand is everywhere, and its livery is undoubtedly distinctive. However, if you have never owned a DeWalt, you might want to know why I think that’s something you need to change.
So, here are why I think DeWalt tools are so good and something you should consider purchasing.
The Array of Accessories and Tools
The first reason is simply the array of accessories and tools DeWalt has developed. They have 100s of tools and even more accessories, which means you should have no problem locating a DeWalt tool perfect for the job.
Also, getting your hands on their tools and accessories is very easy. They are certainly not as rare as those developed by Festool.
Performance and Reliability
I also see DeWalt tools as highly reliable and consistently performing to a high standard. That’s why so many contractors and professionals swear by DeWalt as a brand, as they know it will not let them down at any point.
DeWalt tries to produce tools that work to the same high standards, no matter the conditions. Honestly, I’d say that’s one thing they manage to do.
Another reason to consider DeWalt tools is their usability. They manage to produce tools packed full of features and power but do so without adding a whole lot of weight. I’m not sure how they manage that, but it does mean you can use their tools for longer without worrying about fatigue.
But I also believe DeWalt produces some of the best batteries in the power tool industry. They last for a crazy length of time, such as allowing 100s of cuts before charging, which adds to the performance linked to this brand.
Finally, with the usability aspect, setting up DeWalt tools is not rocket science. I love this about them. So often, changing bits or dealing with a problem does not require additional tools before you are ready to go again, which is excellent.
I could go on and on about DeWalt tools, but I feel those reasons listed above are the key reasons why DeWalt is one brand you need to consider.
Reasons Not to Buy DeWalt
But to keep it balanced, here is why I think some people may not want to go ahead and purchase a DeWalt tool.
They May Seem Complicated to Some
Even though the tools are easy to use, I still feel that a beginner to power tools may feel somewhat overwhelmed by them. They can feel too powerful and capable of producing results faster than you would like, and I can understand why some people would be put off using them as a result.
However, if you have had any experience with power tools, then I don’t think this would be too much of a problem.
Too Much Choice
While I love that DeWalt produces so many tools and accessories, I also understand how too many choices can make life difficult. After all, where do you even begin with all of the different bits or blades?
However, I still see this reason as being linked to the general experience. If you are unsure of the perfect tool for a specific job, then I can see how the plethora of options via DeWalt could also overwhelm you.
Overall though, I don’t see too many problems when it comes to buying a DeWalt tool. It’s undoubtedly one of my main go-to brands.
Comparing Festool and DeWalt
Regarding the price aspect, DeWalt is the winner, even though they are also regarded as more expensive than the average power tool. However, DeWalt is significantly less expensive than Festool.
Actually, when it comes to the cost, you can expect to pay three or even four times as much to own a Festool than you would with a DeWalt. That’s a huge difference, and it shows why Festool doesn’t have the same penetration in the market as DeWalt.
If we are comparing options, DeWalt has to win again. Festool just does not have the same array of tools or accessories for you to choose from.
I personally love the fact that you can think of a project, or even part of a project, and you know DeWalt will have the right tool and accessory ready for you. That feeling is somewhat lacking when it comes to Festool, even though every single tool they produce represents absolute quality.
For performance, it’s tough to say which brand is best, as I think both names excel in this area. I feel that DeWalt is a real workhorse of the power tool industry, and it’s something they have indeed built into their brand. Festool, on the other hand, is kind of known for its precision and speed.
I think both excel in their own areas and market. So, I would say it’s pretty much even between the two for performance.
The warranty is always something I pay attention to. I’ve had a number of fantastic tools over the years, but I also admit to having owned a couple of duds. So, I prefer to know how I will be covered in the eventuality that something does indeed go wrong.
Well, when it comes to comparing warranties, then Festool is the winner.
DeWalt does offer a money-back guarantee, which is always appreciated, and you will tend to get a 3-year warranty on most of their power tools. However, they do include a number of exclusions regarding their warranty.
That means it’s pretty easy to fall foul of the warranty as you won’t be covered for wear and tear, accidental damage, or anything with an apparent fault in the manufacturing process.
Festool is better when it comes to all of this. First, their customer service is out of this world. They are famous for their attention to detail, even when helping you, which is something you won’t forget.
But with Festool, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee along with a 10-year repair or replacement guarantee, which is outstanding. But it still doesn’t end there.
You get a 3-year comprehensive warranty, so Festool does cover a whole lot more with their warranty than pretty much anybody else in the industry. Also, almost every tool can qualify for an additional 2-year warranty on top of that initial 3 years.
Honestly, if you were going to choose a tool just on the warranty alone, then Festool is the brand you would go for.
Both Festool and DeWalt are excellent brands in their own right. However, if I had to choose between the two, I would opt for DeWalt.
I feel the range of options available with DeWalt is impressive, which means you will find it easier to get the best tool for the job. However, Festool makes some of the best quality tools on the market, and that’s not something you can dispute.
But from an availability perspective, as well as the money side of things, then DeWalt tends to win easily. Yet, if you want a powerful tool with that extra bit of care and attention to its development, along with some fine-tuning of what it offers, Festool is one brand I would look at.
Just prepare to spend a lot of money to take ownership of a Festool.