Last Updated on March 28, 2023 by Barry Gray
Ridgid and DeWalt are clearly well-known and respected brands regarding power tools, but how do they compare against one another?
I always find it interesting to do this sort of comparison. I feel it leads me to a point where I gain a better understanding of each brand, thanks to comparing them against one of their competitors. Also, it’s interesting to see how they stack up against one another.
But by the end of comparing both brands, I want to hopefully reach some conclusion as to which brand actually produces the best tools. However, to get there, I need to go through different criteria, starting with their history.
The History of Ridgid
Formed in 1923, Ridgid started off life producing a pipe wrench that saw terrific success within the plumbing industry. Based in Ohio, their initial focus was on the production of work-saver tools, with them continuing to have substantial success, particularly within the plumbing industry for decades.
By the period just after the Second World War, Ridgid began exporting its products to a broader audience. However, in 1966, Ridgid was taken over by Emerson Electric, resulting in a greater expansion in both their markets as well as their product range.
Parent Company of Ridgid
As a brand, Ridgid is owned by Techtonic Industries, which is a massive company in its own right. Techtonic Industries also owns names, including Milwaukee Tools, Dirt Devil, and Vax.
That means Ridgid has the might of a massive company behind it, allowing them to develop new tools and market itself effectively to its target audience.
As a result, Ridgid generates sales in the region of $45 million within the United States in a single year, which is impressive.
The History of DeWalt
DeWalt was founded in the 1920s, but in Pennsylvania rather than Ohio. Established by Raymond E. DeWalt, their original focus was on developing the radial saw arm before evolving into several other tools.
By the 1940s, DeWalt was actively involved in the development of tools as part of the war effort. However, they would then revert back to their initial plan of designing and manufacturing heavy-duty tools by the end of the 1940s.
In 1949, the DeWalt company was purchased by American Machine Foundry, who remained the owners until 1960, when the company was sold again to Black & Decker. Since that day, the DeWalt name has remained as part of the line of brands owned by Black & Decker.
Parent Company of DeWalt
As mentioned, Black & Decker is the parent company of DeWalt, and they are clearly one of the world’s biggest companies of its kind. They also own the Stanley brand and Porter & Cable, so DeWalt is certainly in alongside a host of established power tool companies.
So here is where things become slightly complicated regarding the Ridgid brand. You see, they don’t technically manufacture anything.
I know this sounds strange, but Ridgid allowed Techtonic Industries to manufacture and sell tools with the Ridgid name on them. However, Emerson Electric, who owns the name remember, doesn’t produce any tools.
That does throw a bit of a spanner in the works when it comes to understanding the manufacturing approach by Ridgid. Emerson Electric does have plants in the United States, but it’s clear that no Ridgid tool is produced at any of its facilities.
So, I know you probably want to know where Ridgid tools are manufactured. The truth is, I can’t say with 100% certainty. However, most of the plants owned by Techtonic Industries are based in China, so it’s reasonable to assume that at least some parts will be made outside of the United States.
But keep in mind that Techtonic Industries does manufacture some tools in the US under other names. So, it would at least appear plausible for them to potentially manufacture Ridgid tools there as well.
When it comes to DeWalt, then they do have seven different plants across the US. It used to be the case that all of their tools, and the various components, were all manufactured in the country, but that’s no longer the case.
Instead, their manufacturing process is certainly more of a global thing. They do still manufacture various parts in the United States, but they will also use plants in the UK, Mexico, and several other countries.
However, while components can be manufactured elsewhere, the end tool is put together in the United States. That is why you will notice DeWalt tools mention that they are made in the United States but with global parts.
Ridgid takes a different approach when it comes to its tools, with a primary focus on producing highly popular plumbing tools. This was how they managed to gain a foothold in the tool market and were held in high regard.
However, they have also added several power tools to their product line. Still, it’s worth noting that they did so substantially later in the company’s history than DeWalt.
Now, they have almost any type of power tool you want, from drills to various saws and even pneumatic power tools.
Key Attributes of Ridgid Tools
Ridgid tools have certain key attributes that help them stand out in the market.
First, they make it easy to control the tool when in use, which is partly helped by dialing back the power and torque. They know that their market is more to lighter use than DeWalt, so they also feel their tools do not come with the same expectations.
But they do still perform exceptionally well within their target market and intended projects. I feel they don’t try to be something that they are not.
These tools are straightforward to both use and understand, and I like that aspect. Also, they do not carry the same range of accessories as DeWalt, so you don’t feel confused about what to do or how to get the best out of the tool.
Basically, if you have less experience with tools and clearly do not require a heavy-duty tool, then Ridgid could prove to be an attractive option.
DeWalt is undoubtedly better known for power tools than Ridgid. You just need to look at the sheer number of tools with their moniker on the side to see how big this company is.
Currently, they have over 200 tools in their 20V range, while they also have a number of other tools under their new Flexvolt range. Also, you cannot forget about more than 800 accessories either.
That means DeWalt covers every eventuality when it comes to power tools.
Key Attributes of DeWalt Tools
I think everybody will already be aware of the main attributes of DeWalt tools. These tools can withstand anything you throw at them. You can use them in all conditions, and they will still perform to the standard you expect.
Their reliability is also not in question. You can push them as much as you want, and their brushless motors will not disappoint you. It’s clear they have spent a vast amount of time researching and developing their tools, which shows how long they can last without breaking down.
But for me, it has to be the accessories aspect that is the overall key attribute. With such a wide range of accessories available, you can take a tool and use it in so many ways, thanks to the number of bits, blades, or other items designed for that tool.
With all of the accessories, it’s almost as if DeWalt is like the Swiss Army Knife of the power tool world.
Comparing the Tools – The Market
Even though Ridgid started off focusing on the plumbing market, they have changed their approach since branching out into more power tools.
However, they do share a chunk of the same market as DeWalt. I should remind you that DeWalt targets professionals and serious DIY’ers, so their tools are designed more for heavy-duty use and for you working in more challenging situations.
But Ridgid tools do tend to follow the same sort of line. But with a slight difference.
They tend to focus more on specific industries, including plumbing, HVAC, pipe fitting, and construction. They have slightly less interest in the DIY’er looking at carrying out projects at home, but their tools are still straightforward to use in those situations.
Also, Ridgid power tools could be classed as slightly less of a heavy-duty nature compared to DeWalt. That may make a difference regarding your decision about which brand to purchase.
Quality of Tools
Both DeWalt and Ridgid have a reputation for producing quality tools that are both robust and reliable.
Opinion on Ridgid Tools
People generally appear to be relatively happy with the quality and performance of Ridgid tools. However, they do feel that the options you have regarding their devices is where this company does struggle.
As I mentioned earlier, Ridgid tools are viewed by many as being for more normal use rather than heavy-duty usage. They have a slight dip in power and torque compared to DeWalt, and while they do perform well, heavy users may struggle to complete certain aspects of a project.
But then, people love the range of cordless power tools from Ridgid. They perform well, and the battery is also pretty good.
Opinion on DeWalt Tools
For many, DeWalt tools are the best tools in the industry. They are robust, tough, durable and come with so much power and torque that they can make even the most difficult tasks much more manageable.
In addition, people love the options. It’s not just with the tools either, as the range of accessories available from DeWalt is astounding.
It means you have a wide range of bits, blades, and various other things that can be attached to different tools designed to make life much easier.
Ridgid and DeWalt come with different price tags, reflecting their target market.
People expect DeWalt tools to come at a higher price, but that’s because they focus on the professional market and produce extremely robust tools. That’s not to say Ridgid tools are of a poorer quality simply because they have a lower price tag.
However, Ridgid tools are less expensive than DeWalt, and the difference between the two can sometimes be quite sizeable. But Ridgid is still not a bargain or budget tool. You won’t pick up a tool for under $100 on most occasions, but you could also save $100’s compared to a similar tool by DeWalt.
I always stress that people should grab the warranty when purchasing a new power tool, which applies no matter the initial cost.
In this instance, I feel you get a better deal with Ridgid regarding the warranty aspect. That’s because they generally offer a lifetime warranty when you purchase some of their power tools, and I find that fantastic.
However, that lifetime warranty is not something that happens across the board. Instead, other tools may come with a warranty covering you for the first three years, but I still find that to be more than adequate.
But the possibility of a lifetime warranty grabs my interest when it comes to Ridgid.
DeWalt does take a slightly different approach when it comes to the warranty they offer. First, they provide you with a 90-day money-back guarantee, which I like. It allows you to check that it is indeed the correct tool for your job, so you won’t feel as if you are out of pocket.
But that aside, most power tools come with a 3-year warranty as standard. They also throw in a service agreement for the first year, and they do this because of their market. Remember, they focus more on the professional trade, so the idea of having your tool serviced and repaired is undoubtedly of interest.
Why Buy Ridgid Tools?
So here’s a question I know you want the answer to, why would you buy Ridgid tools? Well, I have identified several reasons why you may feel drawn to this brand.
First, there’s the warranty you get with the tools. It’s excellent. Having a good warranty attached to the tool makes you feel the company is indeed on your side.
Also, you never know when something may go wrong with your tools, so knowing you can contact the company and they will help you out does build your confidence in the brand.
But that’s not the only reason.
Ridgid tools are known for being very reliable. Over the years, people have realized that these tools are built to last, and that’s fantastic. You get the impression that the tool will still perform as it should for years to come, and I love that with a tool.
Finally, there’s the overall design of the tool. Ridgid goes big when it comes to ergonomically designing their tools, and this becomes apparent whenever you hold one. This makes handling the tool significantly easier, and when you add that their tools are also lightweight, you see why they appeal to so many people.
Why Buy DeWalt Tools?
But what about DeWalt? I’ve previously stated on numerous occasions elsewhere on the site how I love this brand, and while there are a whole host of reasons why you should buy DeWalt, I’m going to narrow it down to just a few.
First, there’s the power. DeWalt tools are absolute beasts when it comes to power and torque. That’s one reason professionals love them so much, as they simply outperform pretty much anything else on the market.
Also, there’s just the absolute quality of their interchangeable battery. It performs well on any tool in its range and delivers a consistent level of power when in use. I feel you quickly learn to trust the tool, and there are no surprises around the corner.
And then there’s the overall quality of the tools themselves. We are talking about precision engineering from start to finish, while they also seek to draw the absolute utmost out of the tool.
This quality engineering is the reason why DeWalt tools are capable of withstanding so much punishment. You know you can take them into any condition or situation, and they will still act in the exact same way.
Those are some powerful reasons why you should consider purchasing DeWalt tools. I feel you should give them some serious thought if you plan on buying a power tool at any given time.
Which Option is Best for You?
I admit this is a tricky question to answer because we have two brands with some similarities and a number of fundamental differences. Honestly, it all comes down to a couple of key points.
If you plan on carrying out a number of large projects on a regular basis, then I would opt for DeWalt. You know their tools will be there by your side, and they won’t let you down.
But if you are a weekend DIY’er, many would argue it’s not worth pushing your budget out to afford a DeWalt tool. Instead, Ridgid would be best out of the two, thanks to it still being an excellent tool but at a fraction of the cost.
Obviously, your budget also plays a role. DeWalt tools are more expensive, but people know what they get when they pay that extra. However, if you only plan on using your tools sporadically, that could sway your decision.
DeWalt wins hands-down when it comes to add-ons. Ridgid is very restricted in that area, and DeWalt is on the verge of having too many accessories for you to then make sense of it all.
But if you love the idea of adjusting tools and using the same base tool in a number of situations or projects, then DeWalt is the one to buy.
Of the two brands, I would say DeWalt has the edge over Ridgid, and it’s all thanks to their extensive range of tools and accessories.
Both brands produce reliable tools manufactured to a high standard, but DeWalt tools are slightly more robust than Ridgid. I know their market is the professional, but I would suggest even a serious hobbyist would be better off purchasing DeWalt tools if their budget can go there.
But if you plan on only using your tools on rare occasions, I would have no problem suggesting you check out what Ridgid has to offer. I can assure you that their tools are fantastic in their own right and won’t let you down. However, you just need to be aware of their potential limitations before making that purchase.
5 thoughts on “Ridgid Vs. DeWalt (Key Attributes, Usage, Budget)”
Thanks for a great comparison of tools. I’m 68 and recently retired and decided to expand my cordless tool inventory. I purchased the DeWalt having had great luck with the product in the past. I absolutely loved the tools, with one major exception. The battery packs with the single release lever are very difficult for me to change out due to mild arthritis in my hands. The Ridgid have the two release levers on the side, change out very easily. I sold my DeWalt to my son law and purchased the Ridgid. I am more than pleased so far, very powerful tools.
I have to disagree with you on the weight and ruggedness of DeWalt over rigid. I find them a little heavier than the DeWalt, but I do not have the sub compact drill and driver and impact. The sawzall is a beast, cuts amazing. I do like the blade changeover system on the DeWalt multi tool better than the Ridgid, but the Ridgid is acceptable.
I got a great sale price on the DeWalt combination set, so I actually ended up spending a little more for the Ridgid, but we’ll worth it for my case.
I would love to get together with all the major cordless manufacturers and have them build me a set with all of my favorite features.
Thanks again for a great article,
I worked for RIDGID (The Ridge Tool Company) for a total of 28 years before retiring at the age of 65 in 2016. I started with the company as a field rep in Western Canada in 1978 and ended my career as the Far East Area Manager. My small group of Far East staff had a sales volume around 25 Million US$ alone in 2015. I believe the total RIDGID brand world sales at that time was closer to 500 Million US$ or so. Cheers, Terry Town
Sorry Barry, I have to disagree with you. As a guy that has worked as a cabinet maker for 35 years now I dont use my tools occasionally and find the Rigid tools to be up to any task that I have asked of them. I have owned Makita 7.2v, Skil 9.8v ( when they were trying to make professional tools), Dewalt 12v, Ryobi 18v, Rigid 18v and Makita 18v battery operated tools. I still have all the 18v tools although after 12
years the Ryobi has pretty much packed it in. In my experience the tool name means little, the biggest advantage you can obtain in a battery operated tool is to use the biggest battery you can comfortably use. That will affect the performance and longevity the most.
Recommending Rigid as a tool for home handymen who dont use them often was just offside.
Interesting article although I don’t think your looking at this from a professional tradesman’s lense.
As a commercial construction superintendent, I see what’s being used on a daily basis. The top most used brand by my sub trades is Milwaukee. Yes big red seems to have the market share when it comes to trade people.
For myself, I chose Ridgid as it compares very favourably for the torque and build, not to mention the lifetime warranty.
While on new commercial builds, in damp west coast weather, this is where the rubber hits the road. Name any brand and when rain and cold weather come, you’ll want a tool that can keep up. Both Milwaukee and Ridgid meet the demand.
Both Milwaukee and Ridgid stand behind their tools, Ridgid of course with their lifetime warranty (but you must register in their site within 90 days). Milwaukee seems to have an unspoken lifetime warranty and are known for repairing tools that are well worn and used.
For myself, I have to supply the tools for my immediate labour force. I have over 140 pieces of Ridgid tools purchased since 2013. Since that time, I’ve had 6 tools repaired under the LSA and zero batteries go bad.
Dewalt is rarely seen on my sights. It’s usually a millworker or electrician and they are usually complaining about battery life.
No one can argue with Dewalts wide bandwidth of tools and accessories (and the accessories are also used with other power tool brands). However, let’s talk real world experience.
Thanks again for the good article and for allowing full participation.
Thanks for the great input!
It brings a lot of value to our readers