Is DeWalt a Good Brand and Are DeWalt Tools Any Good?


DeWalt is arguably the most well-known name in the tool industry. But is DeWalt a good brand? Are DeWalt tools any good? We’ve been reviewing DeWalt tools for more than a decade, and we’re reaching deep into our experience to answer those questions.


Is DeWalt a Good Brand?

Raymond DeWalt is the founder of the brand, tracing its roots all the way back to 1924. If you’re counting, that officially makes the brand 100 years old in 2024. In 1960, Black and Decker purchased the company. In 1982, Black and Decker began its big push to make DeWalt the brand for its professional power tools.

Today, DeWalt is part of the publicly traded Stanley Black and Decker group (stock symbol SWK) that includes DeWalt, Stanley, Black and Decker, Proto, Craftsman, Porter Cable, and more. The group employs more than 54,000 people and generated nearly $15.8 billion in revenue in 2023.

Mr. DeWalt is most famously known for the development of his radial arm saw. While that was a significant milestone in power tool development, the DeWalt brand now has a massive range of tools encompassing corded, cordless, pneumatic, gas, hand tools, and more.

Cordless Range

DeWalt 20V Max XR Mid-Torque Impact Wrench Review DCF891

The cordless tool division includes the massively popular 20V Max line that includes everything from core tools to trade-specific models. All told, there are more than 300 products that work on DeWalt 20V Max batteries.

Lifting the voltage, Dewalt has a 60V Max line that was also the first battery system to operate at multiple voltage levels. Primarily powering high-performance 60V Max (54V nominal) handheld power tools, FlexVolt batteries can sense what tool they’re connected to and step down to 20V Max (18V nominal). Regardless of the tool, the battery has the same watt hour capacity, it’s just a matter of which voltage it delivers.

Pro Tip: 20V Max batteries are not more powerful than 18V. Both measure 20 volts at their maximum charge capacity and settle into 18 volts as they come into their nominal state. Read more about the 20V Max vs 18V battery design here.

Dewalt 12v brushless reciprocating sawDewalt 12v brushless reciprocating saw

DeWalt also has a line of 12V Max tools. Primarily covering core applications, these are the lightest and most compact tools DeWalt offers.

Recently, DeWalt announced a high-performance cordless expansion with the PowerShift line. Designed to replace tools with small gas engines, the initial launch covers common concrete tools.

Other Competencies

dewalt-dw45rn-coil-roofing-nailer-09dewalt-dw45rn-coil-roofing-nailer-09

While its cordless tools are some of the most popular, DeWalt sells a wide range of corded and pneumatic tools as well. On the corded side, you can find some of the most popular table saws, miter saws, angle grinders, pressure washers, and more. The pneumatic line is primarily air compressors and nailers.

DeWalt Electric Start Pressure Washer FeatureDeWalt Electric Start Pressure Washer Feature

Shifting to gas power, most of DeWalt’s products are in the outdoor power equipment sector along with a handful of gas air compressors. They’ve had pressure washers for a while and more recently, commercial-grade riding lawn mowers.

Moving away from power tools, DeWalt has an expanding range of hand tools. It’s another wide-ranging part of their business with everything from screwdrivers and ratchets to clamps and tape measures, and much, much more.

DeWalt ToughSystem 2.0DeWalt ToughSystem 2.0

Then there’s storage. DeWalt has ToughSystem and TStak modular systems for Pros on the go along with tool chest, cabinets, and metal storage for organizing your shop.

Not to be missed, DeWalt runs deep in the accessories category as well. For nearly every power tool they make, there are also DeWalt accessories to cover everything you need but the building materials.

So, is DeWalt a good brand? In terms of the sheer number of available products, there’s not much they don’t have, and their focus is primarily on the professional tool user. In our opinion, DeWalt understands its market well and does an impressive job of developing the tools its user base needs along with pursuing new innovations.

Moving from the broad question of whether DeWalt is a good brand, let’s zoom in at whether the tools are any good, starting with the cordless power tools.

Cordless

In each of the cordless lines, we generally find DeWalt’s designs are quite competent. However, you need to consider what level you’re buying at. On the high end, DeWalt cordless tools are excellent. Core products often compete near the top of the charts in terms of performance and design. There are also trade-specific tools that help Pros cut the cord, kick the gas can, or even untether from hydraulics.

There are areas here and there where there’s room to grow, though. One example is in the reciprocating saws. They typically lag behind in vibration control and the lack of selectable orbital action means they’re cutting slower in wood applications.

As you expect, moving into the mid-range, you give up some performance and features—there’s nothing unusual about that.

At the entry level, DeWalt has a number of products that tickle DIYers’ desire to own a professional brand. For example, the DCD771 drill set is a perennial best-seller thanks to its $99 price tag that includes the drill, two batteries, and a charger. Around the holidays, you can often find combo kits that rival DIY powerhouse Ryobi in terms of price. However, those tools often have brushed motors, lower performance, fewer features, and come with lower capacity batteries than what you would get by moving further up DeWalt’s lineup.

Are DeWalt cordless tools any good? DeWalt is a professional brand, and sticking with the mid-range and premium cordless tools will ensure you have the performance and features to get the job done as a Pro.

Corded and Pneumatic

DeWalt Grinder Shrouds in useDeWalt Grinder Shrouds in use

Taking a step over to more traditional power sources, DeWalt’s corded tools are very popular. The quality tends to be excellent, and the prices are usually competitive with other brands targeting professional users. Our team doesn’t hesitate to pick up a corded DeWalt grinder or worry about the accuracy of its miter saws and table saws.

Likewise, DeWalt’s pneumatic tools are sound. While Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) still enjoys the highest reputation among pneumatic nailers, DeWalt certainly has a core group of Pros who rely on them to perform day in and day out.

When it comes to corded and pneumatic power sources, we believe DeWalt tools as very good and don’t see any reason to shy away.

Lawn Care and Landscaping

DeWalt Prototype Lawn Mower Catches Fire At Equip Expo 2022DeWalt Prototype Lawn Mower Catches Fire At Equip Expo 2022

Let’s turn our gaze to outdoor power equipment. On the gas side, MTD is part of the Stanley Black and Decker group, so there’s a deep competency to draw from on lawn care development. From what we’ve been able to see, the commercial zero-turn lawn mowers seem well-built and certainly look good on paper. Locally, we haven’t seen any adoption away from brands such as Scag, Gravely, and Hustler, though.

The most innovative part of the commercial ZT business is the Ascent battery-powered zero-turn. We’ve been able to get up close with this model and it looks well-though-out. As it rolls out and begins to compete in the emerging professional electrified OPE sector, we’ll see if it can get the attention of crews making the conversion from gas.

Cordless lawn care products are generally good on the handheld side. The current generation of hedge trimmers, string trimmers, and chainsaws are solid. A recent upgrade to the flagship 60V leaf blower has put DeWalt in better contention there as well.

The walk-behind mowers have had some trouble gaining traction, though. DeWalt still lags behind its competition in that department.

Pressure washers are essentially an engine/motor, pump, and frame. As long as you understand whether you’re buying commercial or residential grade on the first two components, there’s not much to worry about. DeWalt does have an innovative electric model that’s compelling, though. Using a roll cage exterior frame with internal storage for most of the components (only the hose stores outside), it’s a uniquely compact design.

The Bottom Line

Is DeWalt a good brand, and do they make good tools? We believe the answer is yes to both questions. It’s one of the broadest brands around when it comes to the number of tools they make, and they cover a wide range of price points with some solid deals around the holidays. In terms of quality, we don’t have any complaints. There’s still some room to improve some of the existing products. However, DeWalt develops legit innovation and is a great fit for professional tool users across every trade.


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