Power Tool Brands To Avoid At All Costs, According To A Construction Expert

There are some basic power tools that every homeowner needs. A power drill, for instance, is indispensable. There's a lot of leeway, though, in how powerful or durable your drill needs to be, particularly if you only use it for the odd repair or to put together IKEA furniture. However, if you're more than just a troubleshooter in the home improvement space, you're going to want tools that are built to last — to handle any job and be ready to take on a dozen more. You're going to want tools favored by professionals. House Digest spoke exclusively with Jason Pietruszka, founder of JJP Construction, to find out which power tool brands he recommends and which he avoids at all costs.

Pietruszka mentioned some popular brands on both sides of this debate but stressed that his is just one opinion. "There is a tool and a brand for everyone," he said. "Just because I wouldn't buy it, it doesn't mean it is not right for you." Also, he knows not everyone is going to be able to afford high-end power tools right out of the gate. "Don't be afraid to go buy the cheap ones first before you spring for the nice ones. We can say skip to the best of the brands, but let's be honest, we all have to start somewhere with our tools!"

Brands our expert avoids

While acknowledging that everyone's tastes are different, home remodeling contractor Jason Pietruszka, in an exclusive interview with House Digest, said three tool brands he avoids are Chicago Electric, Black+Decker, and Ryobi. "Cheap power tools have their use, don't get me wrong. They can really come in handy, and sometimes you get lucky and they last forever. But most of the time, you are buying a cheap tool for the moment."

Pietruszka said that if he was looking for inexpensive quality, he wouldn't recommend Chicago Electric. Similarly, he said that Ryobi "make[s] quality tools, but they lack power and sustainability." As for Black+Decker, he acknowledges their longstanding reputation as a reliable brand. "I do remember my dad had a drill from them that seemed to last forever. But today, they definitely don't hold up," he said. This aligns with Black+Decker's own corporate strategy, which in 1992 dedicated their professional line of power tools to the DeWalt brand, acquired in 1960. This established a clear delineation between the intended power, use, and quality of the tools produced by these two brands under the Stanley Black+Decker banner.

Brands our expert swears by

Asked by House Digest in an exclusive interview which brands of power tools he swears by, Pietruszke didn't hesitate. "I happen to be a Milwaukee guy myself," he stated. His list, he said, is "in order: Milwaukee tools, DeWalt, and Makita." He said he's had tools from all three brands for over a decade with great results. "They are all great tools that have been a perfect addition to my tool box. I have been able to count on every one of these brands and their tools to help me through projects." This ranking coincides with the ranking provided by House Digest's sister publication Slash Gear, which placed all three of Pietruszka's picks in their top five.

Elaborating further, Pietruszka says Milwaukee and DeWalt are nearly tied for first. "They perform and have very similar power in my opinion." Makita tools, too, have impressed Pietruszka not only with their power, performance, and durability but also with their cachet. "Makita ... [has] some die hard fans, but what I think is cool about them is that they have some tools that people don't even know the name of. They just call the angle grinder the Makita," he marvels. "It's a brand name but it is the name of the tool now too!" While these tools are definitely an investment, Pietruszka believes they'll last a lifetime.