What tool/battery lineup should I invest in?

I need to start an entirely new collection of cordless tools (my old tools have enough dying and unavailable batteries that I have decided to start fresh.)

I would like the lineup to share the same batteries, to save money and simplify.

So. Which particular tool/battery lineup should I invest in? I need the following tools:

  • drill/driver
  • hammer drill
  • impact driver (possibly)
  • circular saw
  • jig saw
  • oscillating multitool
  • angle grinder (light duty)
  • possibly a miter saw

So, nothing exotic. I would use them for furniture building and home repair.

So far I like Milwaukee’s M18 and Bosch’s 18 volt line. But there are a lot of products in all the lines, and it is kind of a lot to compare. Any advice for me?

From your list – I would assume you are talking about buying only 18V class tools (no 12V extras) from the big 4 (Bosch, Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee).
It also looks like you have no interest in the exotic parts of some lineups aimed at plumbing, sheetmetal, drywall, concrete trades etc. You don’t seem to want a 7/16 hex driver that might put you in the Milwaukee camp. Depending on how serious you are about a cordless miter saw – that might lean you towards Makita or Dewalt. Maybe what it should get down to is putting some of the most used tools (drill / driver to start with) in your hands to see which ones feel best. Then move on to the jig saw (no 18V barrel grips that I’m aware of) and the Oscillating multi-tool. How about a recip saw – some claim to dampen vibrations better than others? If you have a full-service supplier near you (we used A W Meyer) – you will have a chance to look over a batch side by side.
For what its worth (not much) my personal collection is mostly Makita - but I more recently bought a few Milwaukee M18 (Bandsaw and 7/16 Hex Driver) tools because they fit in for certain jobs.

I have every one of those cordless tools in the DeWalt 20V Max range and have no complaints. That being said I really don’t know that they offer anything over Milwaukee, Bosch or Makita. Depending on your expected use, how ‘heavy duty’ you are really like to get, you might find that something like Ryobi or Ridgid are good options, they will have most of these tools and seem to be pretty reliable. I’m actually based in Canada and if I was starting again I might even go with the Maximum brand which is the premium line from Canadian Tire, a bit like Sears or Harbor Freight in the US I guess. You can save a fair amount with these brands and if they offer long warranty there is really no risk.

Long story short there is no right or wrong answer, most brands and tools are very similar if you are looking at normal weekend warrior type activities. I am not a pro so can’t really differentiate between them, but if I started again I would probably go for a cheaper option because one thing you do want to avoid is a variety of platforms.

Yeah Ryobi is pretty good and cheap
I have Dewalt 20v (18)
And Ryobi

Thank you sir! You are right in all your conclusions. The miter saw is something I can imagine using, but isn’t something I use right now, so that is not a big concern. I don’t need a recip saw. Sadly, I don’t know of a nearby place that will let me handle all the options.


Thanks for the input! I notice Dewalt does offer a few entry-level tools that Milwaukee does not (that I can tell.)

I have used Ryobi stuff in the past, but I don’t know now long they will last. I am ditching a perfectly good Ryobi 14 volt drill because one battery is dead and the other is dying.


Hm, that Ultimate Combo kit is really cheap. Hm…



I’m personally well invested in Porter Cable and use my tools for a living, their offerings fit all but your miter saw needs. I can honestly say my PC stuff can go head to head with the big 4 in fact on a recent deck build I was driving screws at about 5 to 4 vs Dewalt (PCCK640 vs DCF885) and interestingly my impacting didn’t engage till the last 1/4" while his was impacting started about 1" in (2 1/2" deck screws). All that said if I where starting new I’d be all in on M18.

But now I gotta say if I where to recommend a tool line for DYI work Id send you to Ryobi without any hesitation. Their newest tools look really impressive and have a massive lineup that should meet all your needs including the miter saw and of note the jobplus multi tool accepts all the Ridgid heads offering even more options to an already huge selection.

Well, since noone has said it yet, and since you included the need or desire for a miter saw, I would go with Bosch. They have really great miter saws, and I love their drill and impact driver sets that I have now. You can get $20 off order of $100 on select Bosch products on Amazon right now, and I think Dewalt as well.

Thanks! You know, that Ryobi lineup is pretty deep. I thought I knew what I needed, but now that I think about it, it WOULD be nice to have a cordless radio in the workshop. And that cordless fan… And that cordless caulk gun! Also, $250 for their six-tool Ultimate combo seems like a great deal.

Thanks for the tip. But it is looking like Ryobi tools are about half the price of Bosch, at least in combo kits. Really makes you think…

They are, I got my drill free from a work raffle, and have only truly spent money on the impact driver, which was itself a display model.

I’m with you on the cost, and I’m tempted to go Ryobi with the garage door opener and their nail guns.

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Another reason to go Ryobi is this https://www.amazon.com/Ryobi-SuperCharger-IntelliPort-Charging-P125/dp/B002OF93LG?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top I wish DeWalt made one of these. Also I know JayBates (YouTube woodworker) uses Ryobi for his hand tools and have heard no complaints from him, he certainly uses his tools way more than I am able to.

Yeah, that charger is pretty clever. It charges their ni-cad batteries too. But the reviews on Amazon say it has problems.

It (the flat Ryobi 6 port) is a sequential charger. But it’s pretty neat, it goes from battery to battery, tests the battery for faults and charge level, and then charges the battery if it needs it. When that battery is done it moves on.

Funny thing. I wanted to see what a faulty battery looked like. So I grabbed a Ryobi NiCad battery pack out of the recycle bin at HD (I asked first). When I plugged it in the charger it did indeed show it was faulty. I just left it in a port to see what the charger would do. After plugging in a few batteries and charging them I noticed a green light on the faulty battery. It was taking a charge again! I haven’t really load tested it, but it’ll run a tool.

Also my favorite tool is the light:

I have a review of it Stuart just hasn’t gotten around to posting it. It’s a little expensive and never goes on sale, but it’s really handy.

This guy http://rogueengineer.com/ is sponsored by Ryobi and is very upfront about it. He popped up on my Google news feed so I clicked on it, does some nice work. To be clear I am not a furniture maker and it hardly interests me but I found his site enjoyable to page through.

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I own makitas 18v barrel grip jigsaw. If you have Instagram check out @toolaholic or @toolpig s videos of it, it’s an awesome tool

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I’m not sure that Makita barrel-grip jigsaw ever made it to the US - but it seems hard to come by now.


I do see a Metabo:


and a Festool



and the Bosch - in 12V


You’re right, that jigsaw is not available here in the us. However I was able to order it off of the Canadian website atlasmachinery and have it shipped here. I know that may not be an option for everybody but I’m throwing it out there

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Sequential, yes. Actually I was wondering why it can’t do test and charge all the batteries at once, but I guess it might require some redundant electronics.

That light does look really cool. And literally! I hate the old work lights that got so hot they could ignite things if you weren’t careful.