Ryobi vs Milwaukee: Which Brand Do I Prefer? (Quick Guide)

If someone asked you to pick between Ryobi and Milwaukee, which would you choose? Or in other words, which brand would you say makes better power tools?

It is safe to say that Ryobi and Milwaukee are popular brands that make great products. Homeowners, DIYers, contractors, and professional woodworkers highly recommend their power tools.

However, since you are looking to narrow down the two brands, how about taking a comparative approach to their features?

Quick Overview

Here is a quick preview of the similarities, differences, and features of the two brands:

  • Ryobi started in 1943, but Milwaukee was founded in 1924.
  • Unlike Milwaukee, Ryobi started selling die-cast products and printing presses before venturing into the power tool industry.
  • Both brands are subsidiaries of Techtronic Industries.
  • Ryobi products are inexpensive compared to Milwaukee.
  • Milwaukee power tools are more suitable for professional use, while Ryobi channels its tools to homeowners and DIYers.
  • Ryobi has a 3-year limited warranty on its power tools, but Milwaukee tools have a 5-year warranty.

Having covered their comparative details, what milestones have these two brands achieved since their establishment?

Here is a brief history of Ryobi and Milwaukee. I have also included some of their products and reasons why you should consider buying from either brand.

Read on.

Ryobi Company History

ryobi

Ryobi, then known as Ryobi Seisakusho Co., Ltd, started in Japan in 1943. A year later, it was manufacturing and selling die-cast products. And in 1954, it was manufacturing plastic die-cast products.

The brand then ventured into producing offset printing presses in 1961 and door closers in 1963. By 1966, manufacturing and selling fishing tackle was its new business.

It was not until 1968 that the company began making power tools. It acquired Towa Electric Ind. Co., Ltd in 1971, and started Ryobi Dalian Machinery Co., Ltd in 1994 to increase the production of power tools.

By 2000, Ryobi was selling its products in North America, Europe, and Oceania. Today, the brand has 12 manufacturing plants in 6 countries.

It only has one manufacturing plant in the U.S.A that is in Shelbyville, Indiana. Most of its power tools are made and assembled in China.

But who owns Ryobi? Kyocera acquired 80% of the company in 2018. However, the acquisition applies to the Asian market. The North American, Oceania, and European Ryobi brands are still under Techtronic Industries.

Ryobi Products

Since Ryobi started manufacturing power tools, it has produced several tools under its sleeves. Here are some of Ryobi’s products.

  • Ryobi Drill/Driver

Ryobi has a wide variety of drivers/drills. I believe Ryobi P1811 stands out from the rest.

It has 2-speed settings: the highest has speeds of 1,600 RPM, whereas the lowest has 440 RPM. The driver has a 340-inch pound torque power to handle different drilling jobs.

This lime green tool comes with a keyless chuck that allows a quick switch of bits. It also has a magnetic bit holder that secures everything for a better user experience.

It only weighs 2.7 pounds, compact design to access tight and hard to reach areas.

This model comes with two-18V batteries that last 45-minutes when fully charged. Besides, they only take 30-minutes to recharge.

  • Ryobi Jigsaw

One effective Ryobi jigsaw is the P5231. It has 4-orbital settings that allow users to make straight cuts or curves in wood and metal. Its motor can achieve up to 3,000 SPM.

In addition, it has a blade-saving base that improves the longevity of the jigsaw. If the jigsaw blade is wearing out, users can drop the base down to utilize any unused blades.

Ryobi P5231 has LED lighting and a built-in dust blower to improve visibility.

  • Ryobi Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws come in handy during demolition and remodeling. And for that, Ryobi P519 does a pretty good job in cutting wood, nails, metal, and PVC.

The saw has a 1-inch stroke length and can achieve 3,400 strokes per minute. The variable speed trigger enables users to control speed to match their application.

Sadly, Ryobi does not include any battery or charger in the package. You have to buy them separately.

  • Ryobi Circular Saw

Have you seen the Ryobi CSB144LZK circular saw? Well, it is both compact and powerful. It makes straight and rips cuts in wood, sheet goods, and composite lumber.

It features a 7-1/4-inch blade and a 14-amp motor. The brushless motor provides 5,000 RPM of sheer power.

Besides, it has a line-laser alignment system, an ergonomic handle, and an adjustable bevel to improve visibility, comfort, and precision, respectively.

There is a spindle lock onboard for fast blade changes and wrench storage, too.

  • Ryobi Contractor Kit

Ryobi offers contractors an option to buy several tools in one combo kit. One such product is the Ryobi P883.

It includes a work light, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw, a drill/driver, a charger, two batteries, and a bag.

The circular saw delivers accurate cuts and can be used in all weather conditions, thanks to its rubber over-mold handles. The power drill has a magnetic tray, 24-position adjustable clutch, and a tool-less bit changing system.

On the other hand, the reciprocating saw has an anti-vibration handle, variable speed trigger, rubber overgrip, and blade removal latch. These features are essential in performance and reliability.

All these tools use P102 batteries that are compatible with Ryobi One+ tools.

Why You Should Buy Ryobi Products

Here are three reasons why you should consider buying Ryobi power tools.

  • Cost-Effective

Ryobi power tools do not come with a hefty price tag, which is a huge relief for homeowners and DIYers.

When you compare the cost of Ryobi tools to Milwaukee, you’ll discover that Ryobi is the cost-effective option.

  • Battery Convenience

Did you know that you can use a single Ryobi battery to power an array of your power tools? Yes, a single interchangeable battery can charge your indoor and outdoor devices. This offers you convenience while saving money.

In addition, the brand has maintained the same battery design for years to allow compatibility between old and new models.

  • Design

Ryobi power tools feature a cordless, balanced, and lightweight design. This makes them convenient to hold for extended periods. They are also portable and small enough to work in hard-to-reach areas.

Milwaukee Company History

milwaukee

The company was founded in 1922 by business partners Albert F. Siebert and A.H Petersen. Petersen was the inventor of the Hole-Shooter, a revolutionary, compact, and portable ¼-inch power drill.

Sadly, the company had a fire tragedy in 1923 which resulted in a financial setback. But in 1924, Siebert managed to purchase the company’s assets and reopened the Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation. His goal was to realize the full sales potential of Petersen’s Hole-Shooter.

In the years that followed, the company stayed afloat by repairing tools. The move helped Milwaukee’s employees keep tabs on what their customers needed and the devices’ shortcomings. This information and research assisted in the making of a better, more robust, and durable Hole-Shooter.

The improvements on the Hole-Shooter helped Milwaukee win acceptance in the metalworking and automotive industries. In addition, it manufactured fractional horsepower motors that met speed and power specifications.

From 1930, Milwaukee Company achieved tremendous milestones. First, its newly-designed electric drill obtained an equipment specification rating. Next, it started applying navy standards while manufacturing portable tools.

By 1935, the brand introduced a ¾’’ electric hammer that could be converted into a drill. This lightweight tool was well-accepted and prompted the need for a shorter and lighter model.

In 1949, Milwaukee introduced a line of sanders that had a spring clutch for smooth action. It also invented and introduced its first ½” right-angle drill.

The brand hit the market again in 1951 when it unveiled the Sawzall reciprocating saw. This product defines the company to date. After that, the brand also unveiled Hole Haws (a large hole drilling machine), Magnum Hole-Shooter (professional pistol drill), and the first 4-1/2’’ angle grinder.

Today, the brand has 500+ power tools and 3500+ accessories. Milwaukee is committed to delivering innovative machines that use sophisticated and state-of-the-art technologies.

Since 2005, it has been under Techtronic Industries.

Milwaukee Products

Milwaukee has always had one goal – to produce the best, innovative, and heavy-duty power tools. Here are some of its products.

  • Milwaukee Cordless Drill

Milwaukee offers the Milwaukee 2606-22CT, a compact, efficient, and battery-powered drill/driver. This tool delivers 500-inch lbs. of torque which is higher than Ryobi.

In addition, its four-pole frameless motor has speeds of 1,800 RPM. It also comes with 16 + 1 clutch settings, built-in LED light, and an onboard fuel gauge.

The model has a robust design to withstand extreme working conditions. The frameless motor extends the tool’s lifespan as it demands low maintenance. The all-metal gear and case also maximize impact resistance and shock absorption.

  • Milwaukee Jigsaw

It is all about power, precision, and blade speed with the Milwaukee 2737-20. Its Power state brushless motor delivers quality cuts with its 3500 strokes per minute.

It also includes Redlink Plus intelligence, an advanced system that optimizes performance by preventing overloading.

The jigsaw also features an on/off blower, a toolless shoe bevel, variable speed, and Redlithium battery technology.

  • Milwaukee Reciprocating Saw

Milwaukee has continued to hold the bar high in making reciprocating saws since its first Sawzall in 1951.

Milwaukee 2720-21 is one of its best recipro saws. It delivers fast speeds, more power, and durability. Although it runs on a battery, it holds the power and performance of a corded model.

The reciprocating saw has a durable construction, too. A gear-protecting clutch protects it from wear and tear. The debris protection seal also guards the gear housing against water and debris.

  • Milwaukee Circular Saw

The Milwaukee 2732-20 is one of the best circular saws, and it exceeds Ryobi’s circular saw. It uses a brushless motor that has speeds of 5,800 RPM and higher. With these speeds, the 7-1/4’’ circular saw can cut through hard materials easily.

The saw has an electric brake that maximizes safety. Moreover, the included battery offers 50% more power while running 50% cooler to deliver unrivaled runtime.

  • Milwaukee Contractor Kit

Like Ryobi, Milwaukee also produces contractor kits. Milwaukee 2696-26 comes with a hammer drill/driver, a reciprocating saw, a hex impact driver, a grinder, a circular saw, and a work light.

All tools in the kit work like a charm.

The ¼” hex impact achieves 1400 in-lbs of torque with its 4-pole frameless motor. The ½” hammer drill delivers 550 in-lbs of torque and 1700 RPM.

The circular saw has a powerful 3,500 RPM motor, while the grinder has cutting and grinding speeds of 9,000 RPM.

If you are looking to upgrade your power tools, consider purchasing this kit.

Why You Should Buy Milwaukee Power Tools

There are three reasons why you should purchase Milwaukee power tools.

  • Long-Life Batteries

Milwaukee batteries offer longer runtime. Take the M18 and MX fuel lines that use Redlithium Batteries. The batteries have power and a greater lifespan. Compared to other standard 18V batteries, Redlithium batteries last 40% longer.

The batteries have patented designs that protect them from water, vibration, extreme temperature, and impact from falling.

  • Innovation

Milwaukee does not cease to amaze with its innovative features. Lately, Milwaukee tools have 4-pole brushed motors that contain rare-earth, permanent magnets.

These magnets create a stronger magnetic field, which results in stable, reliable, durable, and energy-efficient power tools.

Milwaukee tools also feature Redlink Intelligence, an electric system that boosts communication between the motor and the battery. It optimizes the performance of the device, increases safety, and prevents damage.

  • High-Quality

Milwaukee has a stellar reputation for delivering innovative, heavy-duty professional tools. Their productions lines, such as the M18, M12, M18 Fuel, and MX Fuel, offered nothing short of heavy-duty and performance.

My Recommendation

It’s clear that Ryobi and Milwaukee have exceptional power tools. With over 70 years of experience, they produce products that meet customers’ needs and expectations.

Choosing between the two brands is tricky, and it solely depends on what you love and prefer.

Nevertheless, I recommend Ryobi power tools for beginners, DIYers, and homeowners. Milwaukee, on the other hand, is more suitable for professional use.

What to Consider When Choosing Between Ryobi and Milwaukee

Before you settle on either brand, here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Quality

Consider the quality of a power tool before buying. It ought to meet your woodwork demands.

Although both brands are under TTI, Milwaukee power tools are mid-to-high-end. They offer longer runtime, have plenty of innovative features, and are more durable. Therefore, if you are a professional, this is the brand to choose.

Ryobi, on the other hand, manufactures quality products that are fit for average use. It works best with hobbyists and homeowners who do not need the tools daily.

  • Warranty

Ryobi offers a 3-year warranty on power tools and a 90-day warranty on accessories and batteries.

Milwaukee offers a better warranty as a 5-year warranty backs its power tools.

  • Product Portfolio

Battery compatibility is a significant factor that markets Ryobi and Milwaukee. A single battery from their production line can power various tools, which is convenient.

But to choose between the two, you have to consider their product portfolio. Ryobi manufactures home products, outdoor equipment, and power tools. So, if you need a variety of equipment other than power tools, I recommend Ryobi.

However, if you only need a variety of power tools, Milwaukee has a more extensive selection.

  • Price

How much do you want to spend on a power tool? If your budget is tight, Ryobi is the best option.  But if you have no trouble spending more dollars on quality, choose Milwaukee.

Summary

After reading this guide, how would you answer the questions posed in the introduction? Which brand takes the win?

Both companies have indeed come a long way to get to where they are.

But I believe that Milwaukee pays close attention to the needs of professional woodworkers. This is why their tools are innovative, heavy-duty, superior, and durable.

How about Ryobi? Their power tools are consumer-grade and cost less. They can withstand the average usage of a DIYer or a homeowner.

Related Questions

Are Ryobi Batteries Interchangeable with Milwaukee?

No. Ryobi batteries are compatible with Ryobi product tools in the same line-up. Ryobi 18V tools are compatible with Ryobi 18V batteries, whether the product is indoor or outdoor equipment.

They are, however, not interchangeable with Milwaukee 18V tools.

Is Ryobi a Chinese Company?

No, Ryobi is of Japanese origin but is currently under the Kyocera Group. However, most of its power tools are manufactured and assembled in China.

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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