Ryobi Vs. Milwaukee Power Tools: Which One Is Better?

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a DIYer just starting out, having the right tools makes a huge difference. In the hunt for the best tools possible, it is easy to shift focus to the most popular brands on the market. Two of such brands are Ryobi and Milwaukee.

But which one is the better choice for your dollar? If you are more of a DIY type looking for quality at a fair price, Ryobi is the way to go. For professionals that are willing to spend a little more on high-quality, heavy-duty tools, then Milwaukee is the better choice. It really comes down to the intended use as well as how often these tools will be used.

A Brief Overview of Ryobi and Milwaukee

Before we can get into a comparison of the two tool manufacturers, it may help to provide a little bit of historical context. Both are huge names in the power tool industry, though they came to be under entirely different pretenses.


Founded in 1943 by Yutaka Urakami, Ryobi was originally known as Ryobi Siesakusho Co., Ltd. They started out as a producer of die-cast products, though that changed a bit when printing presses started being produced in 1961.

That year was also big for Ryobi as it hit the Tokyo Stock Exchange. By 1968, they began to manufacture power tools and, by 1973, changed its name to the current incarnation that we are familiar with.

Ryobi Limited makes electronics, automobile parts, builder’s hardware, printing equipment, and power tools. It is important to note that, despite being licensed through Ryobi Limited, their power tools, and outdoor equipment are made by and licensed to Techtronic Industries.


Milwaukee, meanwhile, was started in 1924 and was called the A.H Peterson Tool Company after its founder. Based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin, the brand has had a focus on power tools. Even more interesting, they introduced the first lightweight, portable ¼-inch capacity drill for one-handed use. Back then, it was known as the “hole-shooter.”

Milwaukee is also known for introducing the Sawzall to the market. They are not as large as Ryobi, though there is one interesting thing to note. Both Milwaukee and Ryobi are owned by the massive conglomerate Techtronic Industries.

Ryobi vs. Milwaukee: A Quality Comparison

One of the most important questions about a power tool comes down to the quality of that tool. No matter if you are a professional or a DIYer, you want tools that will stand the test of time. Here is how both companies shake out.


Ryobi is largely produced in manufacturing and assembly plants based out of China. Despite that, Ryobi is considered to be one of the best power tool brands to come out of those Chinese factories.

When it comes to both quality and price, Ryobi comes in at about mid-range. There are better quality options out there and certainly cheaper choices. But for DIYers or part-time professionals, Ryobi tools are a fine choice.


While they also have manufacturing plants in China, Milwaukee also has locations in Europe and the United States. Moreover, they have been expanding their manufacturing footprint going back to 2017. They have since created 600 new jobs across 3 factories in the state of Mississippi alone.

Milwaukee is considered to be a mid-to-high-end brand. They are some of the best products in terms of quality available on the market. Their cordless products tend to have strong durability, long run times, and a lot of features. The caveat here is the cost – you can expect to pay more than you would for Ryobi tools, but the quality difference is there.

Ryobi vs. Milwaukee: How Do the Warranties Stack Up?

Regardless of who you purchase your power tools through, you want to make sure that you have some kind of guarantee. After all, when you are buying a quality power tool, you are going to pay a decent price to do so. Having said that, it is important to note the differences in warranty between the two companies.


Ryobi products all come standard with either a two- or three-year limited warranty. Given that Ryobi tools are pretty cost-effective to start, it is just icing on the cake to get that kind of warranty. Most of the hand tools that they make come with a limited lifetime warranty. Their outdoor tools, meanwhile, have a five-year limited warranty.

Not bad for a quality tool that comes with a reasonable price tag for even the most amateur DIYers.


Milwaukee also offers limited warranties, but they can depend largely on the product. You could be looking at a one-, two-, three-, or five-year limited warranty depending on the tool purchased. There are also some tools that have a 30-day moneyback guarantee attached. And there are some still that have limited lifetime warranties, too. Whatever you purchase, you are going to be covered under Milwaukee’s limited warranty. It just depends on how long that will be.

Ryobi vs. Milwaukee: Who has the Better Catalog?

Another important factor when choosing a power tool manufacturer is the depth of their portfolio. After all, it can be frustrating to go with a manufacturer that only has a few offerings. So, when it comes to their product portfolio, how do the two stack up?


Ryobi manufactures a whole lot more than just power tools. They have a line of outdoor equipment, home products (vacuums), and more. All that in addition to a comprehensive line of tools. But this is mostly just about tools, so let’s focus there. Ryobi, for instance, has about 40 different combo kits for sale, which is a solid amount.


Power tools are the focus of Milwaukee, however. When talking about those same combo kits, for instance, Milwaukee has about 10 more combo kit offerings. If you are looking for a slightly more comprehensive choice, then Milwaukee is likely the brand for finding more options.

Ryobi vs. Milwaukee: How Makes the Better Drills and Impact Drivers?

This is probably the individual tool selection that matters the most. Even most DIYers will make use of drills and impact drivers once in a while. Who has the broader selection? Which one has the better overall offerings in this category?


Though Ryobi has quite a selection of drills and impact drivers, they can’t quite compete with the number of offerings that Milwaukee has available. Where Ryobi stands out is the quality relative to price. Ryobi is a favorite of DIYers everywhere because of the quality compared to the price.

Despite the smaller selection, DIYers get great bang for their buck with Ryobi. If you are someone who has projects on the horizon but isn’t expecting daily use out of your tools, Ryobi is a great choice. Not only that, but their current selection is also more than enough to get DIYers just starting off well on their way.


Milwaukee stands out with its drill and impact driver offerings for more than a few reasons. For one, they offer a whopping 75 options for drills and drivers, 31 of which are of the cordless variety.

In addition to an already ample selection, Milwaukee makes a quality product. Even if you are a seasoned professional, you will find that Milwaukee provides more than ample durability and quality in its products. The costs reflect a higher-quality product but consider it an investment. You know that with Milwaukee tools, you won’t have to replace them any time in the near future.

Now, which is the best choice?

Which is the Better Brand?

As much as it is going to sound like a non-answer, the truth is that it all depends on what you need to get out of your tools. The average DIYer typically doesn’t need something heavy-duty when it comes to their power tools. But you never want to go too cheap and wind up with a subpar product.

For sheer value, Ryobi is probably the better choice. Not everyone is looking to spend an arm and a leg on their tools. If you are a professional, you know that spending a bit more on your tools is a worthwhile investment. But most of us are DIYers and amateurs at that.

Ryobi provides a quality selection of power tools for more than affordable prices. You can get started with a reasonable combo kit without having to break the bank to do so.

Milwaukee is better overall, though. When you remove price from the equation, Milwaukee is the better overall brand. Not only do they have a larger selection of tools, but they tend to skew towards high-end quality as well. Milwaukee is simply better in terms of longevity, power, and versatility.

Those who handle regular heavy-duty DIY projects or verge on being a professional would be better suited to go with Milwaukee. Yes, it comes at a heavier financial cost, but more than delivers in quality. Really, you can’t go wrong with either option but Milwaukee gets the overall edge.

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Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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