• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

which power tools are most reliable?

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
78,378
6,627
126
the Milwaukee stuff is usually very good, better than many other brands. is the chuck spinning? seems like maybe there is more to this story.

i have Rigid battery tools and have been very happy with them. i am not a contractor, but do use them a lot, we do all our own work on our house and often help friends. i do agree, that you should have a simple corded drill, they have more power and they are dead simple machines. we have a dewalt and it works great.

Used to be. Now it's all Chinese junk. As in Chinese holding company from HK owns it since 2005 and quality dropped like a rock.
 

Torn Mind

Diamond Member
Nov 25, 2012
3,381
83
91
^ Can't agree with that, The HF $27 drill is just straddling the fence between generic junk and major brand tools. Ryobi's low end is at least two shelves higher quality and their upper tier current generation, closer to three shelves where Milwaukee starts but then Milwaukee finishes another shelf higher.

Maybe for very light hobby use the HF drill would cut it, but if the budget were that tight and the jobs that undemanding, then I'd sooner recommend a corded drill which will probably last for around 50X as many uses, providing it is a 3/8" major brand drill to hit a similar price point instead of a HF or generic, or get a 1/2" used major brand from a pawn shop or garage sale. I mean 50X as many uses right away, not a factor of whether the battery craps out later, which it will.
Milwaukee and Ryobi are both made by Techtronic Industries. So the quality control is going to be around the same for both because they are subject to the same company culture.

Milwaukee is often the performance leader, but I've seen enough reviews to be wary of them if I don't need that level of performance to make a living. DeWalt just feels like the safer buy because the construction folks always seem to default to them and thus they come with superior external durability, like resistance to drops.

I remember reading long ago somewhere that Metabo is what to get if precision drilling is what someone needs.

Electric motors themselves are one of the hardest thing to screw up; they basically only die beyond repair when they experience excessive heat to the armature. I've experience two starters and a dead lawnmower that died in that way; I took the time to tear down the devices just to see the failure mode. If someone just needs holes in a 2x4 up to a 1/2 inch wide and time is not of the essence(i.e extra time pulling the drill bit in and out), that's when Harbor Freight because the choice to go to.

My experience with Ryobi comes from two leftovers by two different strangers. A garbage miter saw that can't cut straight, and an electric drill that does what it does: drill holes. The drill is fine, the miter saw needs to be bricked because the cut is not long square.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
5,017
346
126
Milwaukee and Ryobi are both made by Techtronic Industries. So the quality control is going to be around the same for both because they are subject to the same company culture.
It is true that they both have high quality control, and is one of the differences between either and HF low end products. However after quality control you still have to consider the performance of the materials used. Each tier up in durability and performance raises the cost, component by component.

Milwaukee is often the performance leader, but I've seen enough reviews to be wary of them if I don't need that level of performance to make a living.
The thing is, you buy that performance, and the durability necessary to achieve it without self destructing right away, to achieve longer life running at lower than that high performance level.

You might be able to redline a yugo and hit 75MPH but it won't last doing so. You can do that in a Camry all day long, every day, without being required to ever drive it 120MPH.

DeWalt just feels like the safer buy because the construction folks always seem to default to them and thus they come with superior external durability, like resistance to drops.
Dewalt did seem to have a lead on durability 20 years ago, have superior cordless tools at that point, but then Milwaukee caught up and both started offering prosumer grade tools to compete in that market at lower price points so it depends on which models you're comparing.

Pay $150 for a drill w/battery & charger, and you're not getting contractor grade durability, especially if a chunk of that went into it being brushless which inherently needs a sturdier case because the case is the frame for the motor assembly.

I remember reading long ago somewhere that Metabo is what to get if precision drilling is what someone needs.
It's a pretty penny to spend, when it may not survive a drop either. I'd use a drill press when something needs precision, but none of my drills have perceptible runout so should be precise enough. Drill press takes the user out of the precision equation by having a fixed linear drill motion.

Electric motors themselves are one of the hardest thing to screw up; they basically only die beyond repair when they experience excessive heat to the armature.
Cheap drills may run the motor at its max to eek out barely acceptable RPM or torque specs, use shorter lived brushes and bearings, and worse efficiency which along with slim motor output margin, leads to short runtimes before overheating, which is exaccerbated by the lower output requiring them to run longer to get the same task done.

I've experience two starters and a dead lawnmower that died in that way; I took the time to tear down the devices just to see the failure mode. If someone just needs holes in a 2x4 up to a 1/2 inch wide and time is not of the essence(i.e extra time pulling the drill bit in and out), that's when Harbor Freight because the choice to go to.
Fair enough if you just need a small # of small holes in soft wood, but a drill is useful for so much more than that if it can generate more torque and run longer before overheating, and there is still the factor of # of uses vs cost. If a drill costs 3X as much but lasts 3X as long and is useful for more tasks, it may be a better value to a lot of people.

One factor in drill performance is, can it keep up with you. It can be aggravating if a tool keeps bogging down and you're getting bored staring at it while it seems to futilely chug away while getting little done. Plus, if the motor RPM is reduced too much, it pulls less air through it and overheats faster.

Some materials lend themselves to drilling at higher RPM, or say you have a wire brush on the drill for derusting parts and it's doing more to generate heat than to remove rust and instead of the brush guiding the amount of pressure used in an intuitive way, you're alternating between putting the brush to the surface and pulling it back because the tool keeps slowing down. Ugh. Granted an angle grinder is often better for that, but a drill with smaller brushes gets into smaller areas, but not so small that a dremel tool makes sense.

My experience with Ryobi comes from two leftovers by two different strangers. A garbage miter saw that can't cut straight, and an electric drill that does what it does: drill holes. The drill is fine, the miter saw needs to be bricked because the cut is not long square.
I would only get a contractor grade miter saw. The more complex the tool, the more important it is that every component be tightest tolerances possible or else the sum of the parts is slop that only gets worse as it ages.

There is still an argument for a low-median grade tool if you hardly ever use it so it takes years for the wear to cause too much slop, but for something like a drill or impact driver, it seems such a basic and useful tool that it is easy to get a lot of use out of it if you're handy at DIY projects or repairs.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: herm0016

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
15,218
1,503
126
Check out AVE on youtube. The fellow reviews tools by taking them apart and going over how they're built.

If you're looking for pretty constant top quality stuff, Hilti is hard to beat, and hard to afford.
 
  • Like
Reactions: herm0016

Micrornd

Senior member
Mar 2, 2013
991
90
91
If you're looking for pretty constant top quality stuff, Hilti is hard to beat, and hard to afford.
It's been over 10 years since I used Hilti stuff, but unless somethings changed drastically, then their power tools are probably still made by Metabo.
 

Scarpozzi

Lifer
Jun 13, 2000
23,751
384
126
Ryobi has been my go-to for drills and impact drivers. It's hard to beat reliability for the money.

Only DeWalt for rotary saws. I spend money there for quality because they need to be precise.....though I have a Kobalt compound mitre I got for $55.

For a reciprocating saw, I have a Milwaukee. I bought a Ryobi for $59, and it did not last one day at the job site. I took it back with a same-day receipt and upgraded to the Milwaukee after convincing the manager it was defective....though I really just burned the motor out by sawing the roof off my house. (shingles and rafters). It still shouldn't have failed.
 

Greenman

Lifer
Oct 15, 1999
15,218
1,503
126
I only have two Ryobi tools, a router and an electric stapler. The depth adjuster on the router is nothing short of pathetic, it would be a better tool without it. That said, the machine works well overall, and does everything I need. The stapler is rarely used, but when it is in service it works well and consistently.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY