Power Tool Brand Preferences (2023 Study)

Power Tool Brand Preferences Featured

Understanding consumer preferences is pivotal for businesses seeking to thrive in a highly competitive power tools market. Our recent research dives into understanding brand preferences among power tool users in the U.S., which reveals the nuanced choices and inclinations of power tool users.

Brand popularity over time

While the color of the tools that line the shelves at your local Home Depot tells a bit about the most popular power tool brands, it doesn’t reveal the whole story.

Only a selection of the top power tool brands are available at big box stores, and their popularity among professionals and homeowners has evolved over decades. We researched and compiled data for the most popular power tool brands over the past decades and include that information below.

Several trends are worth considering when reviewing popularity trends.

The rise of Dewalt and Milwaukee

Firstly, Milwaukee and Dewalt command the top spots based on several factors. Massive marketing budgets are helpful, but Dewalt and Milwaukee offer an extensive ecosystem of high-quality power tools across battery platforms and price points.

This balance of price, quality, performance, and category depth is critical in targeting the largest segments of the power tool market.

Homeowners and general professional trade workers covet Dewalt and Milwaukee power tools, including Milwaukee’s ever-popular flagship Fuel lineup and Dewalt’s 20V Max XR platform.

Store specific brands

Lowe’s-specific brands, including Kobalt and Flex, and Harbor Freight-focused brands, such as Warrior, Bauer, and Hercules, are surprisingly unpopular compared to the 12 top brands in our research. Much of this trend results from both stores being less popular with power tool users than Home Depot.

The only store specific brand to secure a spot in the top 12 was Ridgid, which is available only at Home Depot and is licensed by TTI, which also owns Milwaukee and Hart and licenses Ryobi power tools.

Enthusiast brands

Enthusiasts will also notice that the woodworker-favorite brand, Festool, doesn’t appear in the top 12. Festool’s competitively low popularity isn’t entirely a result of the sky-high prices Festool commands. Some of this trend comes down to not having shelf space across Home Depot’s store footprint and targeting a small segment of the power tool market.

While in the top 12, brands such as Metabo and Hilti own a small piece of the pie as well.

Declining brands

It’s no shock to power tool fans that Makita has had difficulties gaining popularity in the U.S., which may be a result of having a smaller marketing budget than Milwaukee, Ryobi, and Dewalt.

Makita power tools are popular with professionals, especially its powerful XGT lineup, though the company hasn’t been able to keep pace with Milwaukee, Ridgid, Ryobi, and Dewalt.

Lastly, Bosch used to be an incredibly popular power tool brand in the U.S. Its decades-long decline is sharper than Makita’s. Still, both share similar root causes – limited advertising budgets and perceptions of lack of innovation.

Note that our research focuses exclusively on the U.S. market. We presume the popularity mix would shift when considering additional regions, such as Europe and Asia, where brands, including Makita and Bosch, have a stronger presence.

Ownership by brand

51.7% of survey respondents self-selected as owning one to three Dewalt power tools, whereas 40.7% of respondents own the same number of Ryobi and Milwaukee power tools.

Moving down the ownership spectrum reveals that Ridgid and Bosch are the two least-commonly owned brands.

A gap exists between our research of the most popular power tool brands outlined in the prior section and the number of power tools owned. This mix shift comes down to the differing methodologies used to gather this data.

Our brand popularity research relies upon search interest online to proxy popularity. This general approach tells a story of which brands are most frequently searched, not which power tools consumers purchase. The power tool brands owned insights paint a clearer picture if you want to isolate consumer purchase behavior.

Brand purchasing trends

Next planned purchase

32.2% of survey respondents plan to buy Dewalt models when making their next power tool purchase, followed closely behind by Milwaukee at 25.4% of respondents.

There are several familiar brands next in line, including Ryobi, Makita, and Bosch.

No doubt purchasing behaviors are heavily influenced by brand marketing budgets. Dewalt, Milwaukee, and Ryobi are all brands within larger conglomerates that invest heavily in influencing consumer behavior. These brands are also prominently displayed at big box stores such as Home Depot.

Important features

Some interesting trends are apparent when diving deeper beyond brand preference and getting into the minds of power tool users purchasing trends.

Performance is the most important factor that power tool users focus on when purchasing new tools. This result surprised us since many power tool owners are wedded to a specific ecosystem due to the cost savings of consolidating their tools on a single platform.

While brand preference and battery platforms are critical factors, a high-quality tool that performs well is the simplest way to break brand allegiances.

Brand perceptions

Over long periods, two factors ultimately determine brand perceptions. High-quality performance is as important as how each manufacturer positions their tools via marketing strategies.

Unsurprisingly, Ryobi power tools are most frequently perceived as budget-friendly, followed next by Dewalt and Makita.

The brand mix shifts when considering power tools that are homeowner and DIY-friendly. Ryobi received high marks among our respondents, but Dewalt is far and away perceived as the most popular homeowner brand. Much of this perception is a direct result of Dewalt producing a deep lineup of power tools that consistently offer some of the best performance and durability for the price.

Several additional interesting trends exist when reviewing other brand perception categories. One perception category that stands out is the segment of respondents who were unfamiliar with a specific power tool brand.

Respondents were least familiar with Ridgid’s and Makita’s power tools. On the other side of the spectrum, only 3.4% of respondents weren’t familiar with Dewalt.

Methodology

Our brand preferences research study uses two methodologies to gain insights into power tool user preferences. We detail below the two methodologies.

Brand popularity trends methodology

We proxied brand popularity by compiling data on Google search interest in the U.S. from November 2005 to October 2023. Aggregate annual search data was attained using a combination of Google Trends and Keywords Everywhere.

Keywords included in our data set are the brand name and “power tools,” such as Milwaukee power tools and Dewalt power tools. This keyword approach helped narrow down the focus of this study, which is solely the popularity of each brand’s power tools, not each brand’s overall portfolio of tools.

Ownership, purchasing trends, and perceptions methodology

We surveyed 125 respondents in November 2023 via Survey Monkey using the qualifying criteria below. The survey was conducted via Survey Monkey with the following qualifying criteria:

  • U.S. only population
  • 18 to 65 years old
  • Own primary residence

Using an initial screening question, we narrowed the respondents down to people familiar with power tools and power tool types. Respondents who self-selected as lacking basic knowledge of power tools were excluded from the survey. In total, 118 respondents familiar with power tools completed the survey.

Results have a 9% margin of error, based on a U.S. population of 31.9 million and a 95% confidence interval.

Picture of Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton
Nathan Hamilton is the founder of DIY Gear Reviews and a recognized expert in the home and DIY space. He has over 200 bylines covering topics such as power tools, hand tools, and woodworking. Nathan is the strategic director for DIY Gear Reviews, deciding everything from the content covered to designing the testing methodologies for lab-tested reviews. He can be emailed at nhamilton@diygearreviews.com.

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