Makita vs. Milwaukee Tools For Woodworking (Features Compared)

Milwaukee and Makita are both excellent power tools, and both come with a wide range of sub products with superior quality.

The Milwaukee power tools win hands down in terms of overall features for use in heavy duty projects as well as for professional users.

Both these brands have various combination kits available in the market that can also impress you.

It all depends on your unique preferences and needs regarding power tools to make your final choice.  Let’s see Makita vs. Milwaukee , Who’s better?

About Milwaukee

milwaukee tools

Milwaukee began its brand journey in 1918 at the end of World War II. Ford was in its expansion phase during that time, and Henry Ford developed the very first power tool of Milwaukee.

Ford approached a manufacturer in Wisconsin, to create a lightweight and compact version of the quarter inch power drill. The manufacturer created a Hole-Shooter, which weighed only 5 pounds. This manufacturing unit was later called Makita Electrical Tool Corporation. 

The initial aim was to improve the design of the Hole-Shooter. However, during the early 1930’s, the company developed various tools such as the three-quarter hammer drill, which was a huge success, as well as the grinder/sander with single-horsepower.

Then in 1949, the company created their first right angle drill which was just half an inch. They also advanced their grinder/sander to include a spring clutch for smoother running.

About Makita

some of the makita tools

Makita is one of the very popular power tool brand names, which did not begin its journey in the US. The company began in Japan by Masaburo Makita. It started as a store to repair and sell lighting equipment, electric motors, and transformers.

In the initial days, the company focused on repairs. Based on this, later they got into manufacturing as the business grew. In 1935, Makita opened their first electric generators and motors in the Soviet Union. In 1938, they formed Makita Electric Works Inc. 

In 1958, they began to market their 1000 model electric hand planer, which was the very first to be manufactured in Japan. During the 1990s, Makita expanded to several other countries, such as Mexico, China, Poland, and New Zealand. In 1997, they showcased their first rechargeable driver-drill in Chicago. 

Milwaukee Features

many milwaukee tools

Just as is the case with other brands, certain features define the Milwaukee brand. These include:

  • Motor that is powerstate and brushless: This is a very efficient motor that is specially designed for supporting continuous power into the tool, to ensure consistent and high performance while minimizing heating for extended life.
  • Redlithium technology for battery: These batteries offer a longer running time with every charge. It also ensures longer battery life, thereby reducing the need for frequent battery replacements.
  • Redlink Plus Intelligence: This system offers complete system communication across battery, tool, and charger to ensure optimized performance as well as overload protection.
  • 4 mode type drive control: This is a predominant feature of the recent Milwaukee tools. It offers greater control on output speed and tool power.
  • Professional level grade construction: This includes heavy duty tools for professional usage, with high quality to handle all challenges of professional jobs.

Makita Features

makita tools

Makita has several features such as outlined below:

  • Star protection technology: This is an advanced type of communication system, which prevents overheating, overloading, as well as over discharging through allowing battery and tool to share data in real time to ensure easy monitoring.
  • Brushless motor LXT: Makita develops their tools using the brushless motor technology, which comes in different sizes, ranging from 38 mm on drills to 52 mm on saws.
  • Lithium Ion LXT battery: Lithium ion type of batteries offer 50% more runtime and can be switched across tools as well.
  • Pricing is affordable: Despite high quality as well as features, Makita tools have an affordable price quotient. They do cost less compared to similar power tools from other brands.

Hammer Drills

makita hammer drill

The Milwaukee hammer drill of model 2704-20 is one of the most powerful in this category. Its torque of 1,200 lbs is double compared to the Makita XPH10z.

The brushless type of motor provides variable speeds, ranging from 0-550 as well as 0-2,000.

The durable construction and heavy duty design is typical of the Milwaukee brand and can handle robust challenges. 

The hammer drill lends a compact design and provides excellent grip with durability.

The pros are that it is comfortable, durable, and heavy duty, while providing a removable handle on the side, with a ratcheting chuck that is completely metal. The cons are that the balance is not the most optimal. 

The Makita hammer drill has lithium ion batteries that are 18V and fast to charge. This reduces charging time and makes it more efficient.

The drill is designed ergonomically and is compact with a rubber handle. This reduces fatigue especially during usage for long periods.

The torque is just 480 in.lbs and not as much as the Milwaukee hammer drill. The speeds are from 0-600, and 0-1,900 rpm.

The technology used is called star protection, and ensures resistance to water as well as dust, ensuring long shelf life.

The afterglow and dual LED lighting keeps the work site properly illuminated. The main con here is its significantly less power. 

Impact drivers

makita impact driver

The Milwaukee 2753-20 impact driver has a torque of 1,800 lbs and offers greater driving force compared to the Makita XDT11Z.

It offers quicker driving and higher control over speed and output.

This is due to the four mode type of drive control, which delivers modes in three different speeds such as 0-2, 100, -850, and the 0-3,000 rpm. 

The impact driver from Milwaukee is more compact and lightweight as it has a weight of only 2.1 pounds. This produces less fatigue on the hands, especially when using over longer periods.

The self tapping screw mode is another highlight, which reduces issues such as stripping, breaking, as well as overdriving. The main con is that there can be wobbliness associated with the chuck. 

The Makita impact driver of model XDT11Z has a torque of 1,460 lbs, which is lesser compared to the Milwaukee one.

The speeds offered are variable such as 0-2,900 rpm as well as 0-3,500 rpm, which help it to be used across many applications.

With a length of just 5 and three-eighth inches, the impact driver is very compact.

There is also a hex chuck of quarter inches, which ensures that you can change bits easily. The main con here is the low torque output. 

Reciprocating Saws

milwaukee sawzall

The reciprocating saw of model 2720-20 from Milwaukee delivers higher cutting speeds compared to several other corded types of reciprocating saws.

It has 3,000 strokes each minute. The brushless motor is very efficient and offers similar cutting power compared to corded saws. The Redlithium battery also offers longer runtimes. 

The weight is just 7.4 pounds, which makes it lighter compared to the Makita XRJ04Z, and it is also very compact making it very comfortable to use.

The stroke length of one and one-eighth tends to be shorter compared to the saw from Makita.

However, it is still sufficient and also has an adjustable shoe, a hook and LED light integrated. The main con here is the short stroke length.

The Makita XRJ04Z is much heavier and larger compared to the Milwaukee variant.

The stroke length is at one and a quarter, which ensures more efficient and faster cutting.

It also incorporates a blade change mechanism that is toolless. This ensures quicker blade installation as well as removal, to ensure faster productivity.

It has a bigger two-finger grip for greater operator convenience.

The main con here is that it is heavier and larger in size.

Circular saws

milwaukee circular saw

The circular saw from Milwaukee of model 2730-20 comes with a circular saw that is 6.5 inches.

It’s among the fastest and its brushless motor delivers as much as 5,000 rpm ensuring quick cutting. The speed is 1,300 rpm greater than what is possible with the Makita XSS02Z. 

The heavy duty design and rugged features offer longer runtimes compared to other saws from similar brands.

The weight is just 6.8 pounds, which makes it much lighter compared to the Makita one.

The main con here is the room for improvement when it comes to the holder for the hex wrench. 

The Makita circular saw of model XSS02Z provides as much as 3,700 rpm, which is certainly lower than what is available with the Milwaukee one.

With that said, this circular saw offers quick cutting.

The maximum capacity for the bevel is 50 degrees and has been designed to cut 2x the material even at 45 degrees. 

The weight of the circular saw is 7.3 pounds, which is slightly heavier when compared to the Milwaukee one.

The star protection controls prevent overloading, overheating, as well as over-discharging.

The precision machine base offers accurate and smooth cutting.

The main con here is that the blade included tends to get dull very fast.

Angle grinders

makita angle grinder

The angle grinders from Milwaukee of model 2780-20 employ a majority of the features from their power tools.

They also include the brushless motor to deliver consistent power and higher motor shelf life.

The angle grinder of 4.5 inches employs usage of Redlink Plus Intelligence, which prevents overheating and delivers optimized performance. 

The speeds are up to 8,500 rpm, which is similar to the Makita one that ensures efficient and fast grinding.

The side handle is anti-vibrational in nature, which makes it easier to use.

The angle grinder offers easy guard adjustment as well as accessory changes.

The main con here is that the brake often makes a strange noise. 

The Makita angle grinder of model XAG03Z provides more efficiency, and delivers an optimal 8,500 rpm, which makes for quicker grinding.

The soft start unique feature provides longer life for the gear and ensures smoother starting.

The speed change on this grinder is automatic and operates even under heavy loads. 

The technology called star protection prevents overloading, overheating and offers enhanced water and dust resistance.

The slide switch along with lock-on as well as rubber soft grip provides convenience for the operator.

The LED gauge has 3 stages, which shows the level of battery charge.

The main con here is that this angle grinder can be a bit heavy.

The Verdict : Makita vs. Milwaukee

The Makita power tools are ideally suited for DIYers and homeowners.

Moreover, if you are planning to build a house, or intend to perform a complete rebuild, demo, or an add-on, or if you are a professional, then Milwaukee is certainly worth the investment.

You can select between the two based on all the features and respective tools discussed in this guide and make an informed choice. 

Photo of author

Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

2 thoughts on “Makita vs. Milwaukee Tools For Woodworking (Features Compared)”

  1. I have both Milwaukee and Makita power tools and all are fitted with brushless motors. Milwaukee has the edge in sheer power but not by much in real world usage. You mentioned that the Milwaukee circular saw has a 5000rpm rotation speed while the Makita has a rotation speed of 3700rpm. My Makita DHS 680 has a rotation speed of 5,000rpm and a automatic high torque power adjustment when it’s used on hardwood or wet lumber. I use my power tools every day for work in remodeling and find that the Makita tools are just as efficient for power and torque (I only use the high end Makita Brushless tools and all Milwaukee Fuel power tools) but I have found that Makita power tools are more ergonomic, have longer runtimes using the same 4 and 5 amp hour batteries and are a lot smoother in operation than the comparable Milwaukee tools. I also use the Milwaukee M12 Fuel platform for interior work and find that the Milwaukee M12 Fuel can’t be beaten by any other manufacturers. I have also found that the Makita warranty although shorter, Makita actually honors it’s warranty whereas Milwaukee very rarely acknowledges a warranty claim yet alone does anything to actually repair the issue. I have filled a warranty claim with Milwaukee and they just offered me a small discount to by a new tool. Milwaukee M18 Fuel gen 3 impact drivers have always had a bit retention issue where drill bits would fall out of the chuck when removing the spade bit from wood but instead of releasing an updated chuck for customers with this issue they brought out a gen 3a with dual ball bearings instead of the single ball bearing in the original gen 3. Makita has never had these issues and if there were any issues they repaired them right away (check out VCG reviews on YouTube). Anyway, that’s my opinion.


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