A reader wrote in with an interesting question. Which power tool brand would we choose, between Bosch and Makita?
Very briefly or even one word…
If you were small self employed professional builder, which brand would you go for. Assuming EU/UK prices (no import fees), and buying a number of wired tools (so somewhat avoids the battery debate).
Makita or Bosch?
For corded tools? I would go with a mix. There’s no reason to stick with one brand when you can mix and match corded tools such as jig saws, routers, and sanders.
But for cordless? Unfortunately, you can’t really avoid the battery debate these days. How many corded tools have either brand come out with in the past 10 years? There haven’t been too many innovations, and even where they are, older predecessor models are still available and often more recommendable even.
I feel that Makita offers more solutions for individual users. If pricing isn’t a factor, consider all of these types of tools that Bosch doesn’t offer:
Cordless outdoor power tools.
Sub-compact brushless power tools.
X2 higher-power cordless power tools.
Wireless tools and dust vac activation.
Oil impulse driver.
Class-leading impact drivers.
This is all in Makita’s 18V cordless power tool system, and they also have the XGT 40V Max system coming soon – hopefully in early 2021 as originally planned.
What advantages does Bosch offer in their cordless system that Makita doesn’t?
Wireless battery charging system.
Larger form factor batteries.
Is that it?
Bosch still has some decent 18V cordless power tool offerings, but Makita has been innovating faster and harder. Makita has greater breadth.
The one downside is in how Makita does not come out with next-gen batteries, but they have a new next-gen platform. While Bosch has next-gen batteries, they don’t yet have a lot of tools that take advantage of the greater power delivery potential. Meanwhile, Makita has their 18V X2 higher-powered tools.
My leanings could change completely, depending on what you’re looking for.
But for the individual pro user that wants to stick with one brand, Makita seems like the clearly better choice, as far as cordless power tools are concerned.
Mix in corded tools, and things can get difficult, as Bosch has some very good corded tools in their lineup. Neither brand has done much to innovate in the corded tool space in recent years. I have much more experience with corded Bosch tools, because they were simply the best options or best for-the-money choices for quite a few of my purchasing decisions.
Makita also has some good corded power tools, and unique offerings as well, and so if I had to recommend just one brand for everything, I could still point to Makita. But, that’s if corded-cordless contributed evenly to the decision, or if there was a focus on cordless power tools.
If corded power tools were to more strongly influence the decision than cordless, I’d lean more favorably towards Bosch. Barring that, I’d say Makita.
Both brands have decent quality all around. My affinity towards Bosch corded power tools stems from my personal and professional experiences with the brand. When it came time to buy tools for my own needs, I went with Bosch.
A few years back I remarked about a certain tool that I didn’t really see Makita as a fine woodworking tool brand, and that really hasn’t changed since then. Makita has their fans, but when it comes time to buy sanders, routers, or saws, Bosch dominates my preferences and seemingly the market as well.
Keep in mind that this is a Bosch vs. Makita discussion, generalizing the pros and cons of both brands, and also ignoring all other brand options.
To sum it up:
- Cordless Emphasis: Makita
- Balanced Cordless and Corded Considerations: Makita
- Corded Emphasis: Bosch
Would you choose or recommend differently?
I totally agree.
Given what he said about mostly buying wired tools, I would recommend Bosch. Their routers, jigsaws, sanders, SDS drills, tablesaws and mitre saws are highly regarded, and I would assume their European style combo mitre/table saw would be good as well.
If staying one color is important, and I was buying more than 60% of my tools wired, I would pick Bosch, and mix in some 12V and 18V drills and impact drivers.
If investing more in 18V cordless though, I would rank Makita ahead of Bosch, and for ease of purchasing decisions would recommend getting Bosch wired tools and Makita cordless.
I have loads of both Bosch and Makita, corded and cordless. I build wood and steel projects for clients. If choosing just one, then Makita without question. Next generation batteries, I don’t care, Makita batteries are rock solid. I have well over 20 Makita 18V batteries, 18 of those are 5ah, and they just perform in single battery tools and X2 tools without issue. Wireless charging, again I don’t care. People who don’t use tools on a daily basis get so caught up in the marketing crap. Things that work under hard use, have proven mechanics and electronics, will always win over wiz-bang features. Makita has just as many and some considerably better corded tools. Early version of the Makita 5007 corded circular saw is the standard by many. Bosch routers are excellent and perform perfectly for me. Makita RP2301 3-1/4HP router is a beast that I would keep over anything.
Wireless charging: No such thing. We still need to take the battery to a wired outlet. Now, if the battery could be charged remotely while using it in a tool, that would be wireless charging.
My take is 2 parts. 1) where am I – if I’m in EU I’m going to lean Bosch due to availablility and etc. It’s their home turf – not to say that makita isn’t there too. and 2) bigger issue is what do I do. main wood work and carpentry I say they are equally footed. IE pretty many any quality wood work tool I can think of both companies make and are known quality items.
Shift 1 to somwhere else. US, Asia, South america etc etc – might color the whole thing again. Bosch is sort of weakly positioned in other parts of the globe.
Shift 2 to something else – metal work, or AC fab, auto work, etc etc and that would potentially shift my outcome too. Example I’ve not seen one auto mechanic use a makita tool on a car – not to say it wouldn’t mind you their impact drvier is as good as anyones. but I don’t see it. I don’t see their impact wrench here stateside but I know they made one. etc etc.
So I guess TLDR version – without knowing the work needed and location I couldn’t make a qualified direction. If in the US why would you limit yourself to those 2 names?
I didn’t read that note nearly as thoroughly as I thought I had.
EU carpentry – Bosch all day.
Assuming most of the readers here are from North America, I wonder if this is the best place to get answers as Makita and Bosch don’t dominate like they do in other parts of the world. Especially as Senthil mentioned EU/UK prices. And the North American perspective is, and rightly so, skewed by Bosch’s horrible marketing and availability choices.
I have heard in some places Bosch is king, Makita is acceptable for professionals, and everybody else is a joke or a novelty no one has heard of (personal import)
Coincidentally all my Bosch tools are corded and all my Makita tools are 18v.
Last month I bought a 18v 5″ angle grinder and it came with a Makita 18v brochure. Wow, what an amazing number and variety of tools.
For what it’s worth the company I work for has a whole bunch of battery powered tools they use in production and they dumped Makita for Bosch a few years back. Also from what I understand the Makita battery packs have a built in logic that kills the battery completely if it over heats twice. AVE has a video on the Makita battery weaknesses.
When we switched from NiCad and NiMh battery cordless tools in the GC/Remodeling business Makita seemed like the only good choice. Milwaukee and Dewalt were lacking (back then) in their offerings and Bosch cordless was way behind in LiIon technology (at least here in the USA. )
Considering the narrow scope of the question about what to do now in the EU market – it seems more difficult when looking from this side of the pond.
For corded tools in the EU market – why not cherry pick and look at other brands too beyond just Makita and Bosch. For some tools, makers like Mafell, Fein, Festool and Metabo make some excellent items. Picking from any of these brands plus Bosch and Makita – the choice could be about price versus features.
If it is cordless tools that are the focus – then making a list of the tools you want to purchase in priority order (must have to nice to have to might be useful some day) would be a way to start. Then comparing the list to what Bosch and Makita offer in the EU and the cumulative cost – might help with the decision.
I am inextricably invested in both Brands, corded and cordless, 18v and 12v in both.
My sense of the two, with a couple exceptions, is that Makita tends to balance smooth tool performance slightly towards higher rpms while Bosch tends to balance smooth tool performance slightly towards higher torque.
With all of Bosch’s missteps and awkward marketing endeavors of late, they’re an easy target to poke fun of.
I would also give the cordless nod to Makita and probably the corded win to Bosch – but the reason this is a tough question is that neither brand is a run-away winner. They are both solid, but not necessarily market-leading (at least where red and yellow tools are sold).
This would probably be a cost-based decision for me unless one brand had a markedly superior tool that I planned to use a lot.
I tend to like the Bosch ergonomics better than all other brands, but that is a narrow victory.
I totally agree that Bosch has had awkward marketing endeavors. The “Freak?” I just wanted a good selection of the kinds of tools that I know Bosch can build. I love the way they function and feel, but their cordless selection is lacking. I gave up and finally switched to another color. Still keep my small selection of Bosch tools around and enjoy them when they fit the need.
Not really. It still depends on what country they are sold. In my country, “Red & Yellow” tools are also sold but very unpopular due to price and limited choices. It seems like the “Red & Yellow” brands are only popular in the US. “Blue & Green” is king here in Asia and Europe, and most probably other continents except in the US. It’s the same story with iPhones and Android.
Makita. I have a few Bosch tools. They have been the only brand that has had issues a lot. From bad trigger on a recip with 2 hours in it to poor battery life on buzzy tool. Little driver was pretty good.
I’m primarily a ketchup and mustard user but makita gear is definitely the way to go from a quality control point of view and of course a much broader line.
(Building/renovating fine residential houses).
Koko The Talking Ape
I don’t know why you couldn’t buy whatever corded tool works for you and gets good reviews, but for what it’s worth, I did a fair amount of research for a corded random orbit sander, and ended up getting a Bosch, and I’ve been happy with it. I also had a Ryobi, but it ended up just gathering dust, and when it was stolen, I didn’t replace it.
A few years later I did a fair amount of research for a corded jigsaw, and again, I got a Bosch. Low vibration, plenty of power, great blade release.
But I also got a Porter Cable router, a few Japanese hands saws, some used hand planes, etc.
Sometimes its a cost or timing issue. When timber framing seemed to be taking off in our neck of the woods – I looked at buying some Mafell tools – but I demurred when I added up the price of a big power plane, chain mortiser beam saw etc. I looked at what Makita offered and that decided me. Even today the Makita 12-1/4 plane is about $2100 versus $6000 for the Mafell, The Makita chain mortiser is about $2000 versus almost $3600 for a Mafell, and the Makita beam saw is $726 versus $5244 for a Mafell. In every instance the Mafell is likely a much better tool – but as it turned out the Makita tools we bought worked out just fine and the timber framing jobs sort of dried up – so we were way ahead on cost.
Koko The Talking Ape
I can well believe it, but I’m far, far from being able to respond to construction trends. I’m still collecting basic tools (as you know!)
Anyway, Bosch tools are often great, as far as I can tell. 🙂
I used a Makita corded belt sander and corded palm sander to extreme use for weeks solid and they held up. I put up variable width solid 3/4 tongue and grove oak as paneling and wainscot in 2 large rooms.
It was from a saw mill in Barryville, NY and was only planed and not
even sanded. It was splinter city. I also sanded 3 inch butted casings with a header casing and crown over each door and window. I used gallons of minwax on saw horses outside on sunny days.
I repeated this treatment on all window and door trim on my first floor. A bearing is starting to make a noise in the belt sander.
This caused me to buy a dozen cordless
As far as cordless is concerned, this isn’t even close; Makita by a landslide. Bigger selection, much more innovation, the best ergonomics in the business, more brushless selection, more versatile platform.
Corded is pretty much a toss up leaning slightly towards Bosch, but they’re the most stagnant US lineup around IMHO.
Absolutely, Makita for cordless options.
I don’t understand why some one wants to stick to one brand of corded tool. If you don’t have to worry about battery systems & cordless tool choices, then you can just buy the best corded tool for the job no matter the brand. I have corded tools from Bosch, Makita, DeWalt, Rigid, SawStop & others. In the corded, universe, I just by the best tool for the job.
Agreed and same.
Pretty sure you meant to say barring, since “baring” is more in line with Playboy centerfolds.😜
Whoops, fixed, thank you!
I wish I could blame this one on autocorrect.
Corded. Mic and match anything.
Cordless. Makita. Far more tool selection options if you need something low-mid-high range and more availability.
One of our local hardware stores has a big Makita wall … I didn’t know they had so many different models of everything.
I don’t mind being on 2 different battery platforms. I use Dewalt 20v max and Milwaukee m12 tools. I don’t think I’d like to manage fr than 2 different brands. I’m not a pro contractor, that could possibly change my thoughts. But I’ve had no issues taking both with me to help friends and family with house stuff.
Bosch isn’t even in Second place.
35 years Reno, fire rehab and commercial construction. I’ve broken more stop gap cheap tools than I care to count, pilfered other guys tools when mine weren’t close by so I’ve ended up getting my hands on almost all the brands regularly. The following is the order of brand platform from first to last;
First : Makita & Milwaukee
Second: Dewalt……but dropping fast. Their tools are getting much cheaper.
Third : Metabo hpt(Hitachi) & Bosch(Few guys run Bosch here in the NW)
Fourth: Ryobi, I’ve made fun of these tools, but have come to terms that they can do the job, but some can’t do it in a production setting.
Fifth: All the bright tools with angular faddish shapes. They do work in a pinch, but you can kill them running them in a commercial environment. Anywhere from 1-5 days onsite depending on the build quality, not all are built the same.
Special Notes from the top of my head: Bosch worm drive saws are excellent. Makita/Dewalt/Skil corded table saws, also excellent. Milwaukee/Makita corded routers, excellent. The new Makita Compound miter(corded & Battery) is a almost perfect. Dewalt oscillating jigsaw is fantastic and felt it did as well as my Bosch. Bosch corded concrete tools are exceptionally hard to beat.
Negatives: Makita(18v) multi tool needs alot of refining and on par with Ryobi. Flimsy and not a production tool. Since the 80s I’ve rarely killed Makitas, they just give up the ghost after 20 years. Recently a clutch burnt out on Makita drill, and I’ve had issues with that oscillating tool. I’ve had three Feins, and only given them away when I have to keep up appearances on jobsites with customers and purchase a new one. Unbelievably, I cooked a corded Milwaukee hole hog after three or so uses, I returned it and did the same thing to the next one.
Craftsman/Black and Decker made good tools until the early 90’s when they started to farm out the manufacturing of their tool motors in China.
Lastly, if I were having to choose platform right now, I’d go Milwaukee, then Makita.
That was fun to reminisce about some of my tool experiences, and i just wrote that stream of thought. Good luck out there, and enjoy ALL your experiences. You get a real short ride on this rock.
We have a couple of the makita oscillating tools, they have been abused for a really long time, years, and they keep going. I have a milwaukee oscillating tool, 18v non fuel, and it’s a pile. I got it free in a kit and it’s just, sad. Like it is constantly screaming for a quick death.
For cordless, definitely makita here for versatility.
That said, bosch does make my favorite cordless screwdriver, the GSR12V-300HXN. I love that thing. It’s incredibly light, compact and powerful. I like their 12v led lights too, and the GSR12V-300 drill. But nothing in their 18v line really stands out to me, nor do any of their other 12v tools. I do have the 12v jigsaw and multitool, but I wouldn’t want those to be my daily drivers.
All of my cordless tools are Makita, but I have a number of corded Bosch tools which have performed well over a long period of regular use.
However, I recently bought the Bosch sliding compound miter to replace my 20 year old Dewalt non slider and was dismayed to find that the rotating table was not flat. Both sides sloped toward the middle such that a square slid across from each side hit below the edge.
I checked three other machines after I discovered the one I bought was way off and they were all similarly sloped inward rather than flat, although to varying degees. Trim cut some table legs with the blade carefully adjusted to plumb and immediately noticed that they were not standing up plumb.
Contacted Bosch and after awhile the answer the Tech responded with is the Engineering Group says that is a, and I am quoting here: ‘product safety feature’! Huh?
I wonder if Bosch seems to be going down the path of great engineering but less than stellar quality control on the manufacturing end?
Anyone else experience this problem with Bosch sliding miter saw? Waiting a month or two to see if new shipment to local store has same issue.
Have to say was surprised at how many brands did not have flat tables on their miter saws. Makita’s 10″ was flat but the 12″ was not. Hands down winner was the Dewalt. Rotating table flat, wings flat. Heck even my 20 yr old Dewalt is flat. Now if they would just get rid of those ridiculously long bars and switch to the articulated arm….
Although I have and generally like Bosch stuff and think it probably makes the most sense for EU/UK buyers generally, there’s a lot of other factors that come into choosing between two brands and/or several tools from them.
I always suggest potential buyers get their hands on the tools to at least handle them before buying, or testing them in actual use if ever possible, plus messing with attaching/detaching the battery for cordless tools and trying out stuff like keyless chucks, reversal switches, speed settings, etc. etc.
I’d say ergonomics and how a tool feels in your hands plays a big part of how much you want to use it. This comes to mind whenever buying power tools since quite a few, including some otherwise nice Bosch stuff, had bulky handles or other ergonomic issues I found I didn’t like, in terms of being able to grab the tool and use it intuitively, or thinking about having to use it for lengths of time on a jobsite or for big projects.
I also consider warranty and support. Not sure what Makita’s availability in retail is for the EU/UK market, but surely it’s smaller than that for Bosch as a ‘domestic’ EU brand. I’d look at reviews and feedback from previous buyers as to which company and their retailers has a better warranty program in case something ever does go wrong.
I’d also say to keep an open mind and look at other options, especially for corded tools. It is often the case that certain brands make the ‘best’ version of one particular power tool, and you can often save yourself years of headache, hassle and regret by getting that instead of limiting yourself by brand first and then only having their versions of the tools to choose from.
I thought it was more… Bosch in the EU/UK regions, because that’s their “Turf” so to speak… you get better service coverage and such… but Makita has some magical connection to the Scandinavian sector in the North for the same kinds of reasons?
I’m a DeWALT guy in North America… DeWALT and Milwaukee have almost complete dominance in North America, so being a DeWALT guy here is exactly where I should be… But some brands genuinely do have TURF in the rest of the world. Makita has some serious clout here, but it has WAY more power elsewhere. More user base, more repair centers per capita… Bosch has this in Central and Eastern Europe, and the UK. I THOUGHT Makita was more of a Scandinavia and Russia type of dominance there… Asia seems to be pretty well covered, but with some brands that are genuinely not sold in North America unless explicitly ordered for an industry… Proxxon comes to mind there.
So… Our Reader question asked UK/EU and Woodworking, best brand between Bosch and Makita? Isn’t it a straightforward Bosch GMBH as a whole, because that’s their territory? Can’t you get things from Bosch, Diablo, and Freud in the EU/UK sector that is just frankly not sold here in North America? or it’s under a different name here at least… But isn’t the SAFE bet just a flat out Bosch, out of sheer proliferation of the brand family in that section of the world?
Love my Bosch 12v tools and Lboxxes. I have a few 18v tools, but the 12v line is perfect for what I do. I have 3 stacks of Lboxxes along with drawers on Lboxx carts. Great setup for a workshop.
I’ve been acquiring Bosch tools since 2011 along with a lot of Festools. While Bosch seems to be currently lagging behind 12v and 18v offerings by Milwaukee and Dewalt, I have faith that all will be well long term . Plus, I can’t think of anything else I need that I don’t already have.
Lots of great tools by Milwaukee, Dewalt, Bosch, Makita, Rigid, and Ryobi out there. It’s a great time to be into tools. No complaints from me.
My vote is on Makita cordless and corded. I have bought a few Bosch corded tools and they are great no complaints. I have some really old Makita corded tools that are still ticking. I’ve got some of the imported 18v stuff that’s amazing. The amount of tools that run off 18v is almost untouchable by any other brand especially when you factor in the x2 stuff. Also they are making really good ope (thanks to the dolmar purchase years ago). Also the batteries they build last forever, I still have usable 18v 3.0 packs from long ago that have been very abused.
The complaint about next gen batteries such as large capacity is founded for sure. I get it it would be nice to have 8ah or bigger. Maybe they’ll make some down the road. I prefer how fast the smaller packs charge though with a rapid charger. I tend to always have a battery for each tool so I have plenty of batteries. If I think the job will go through a few I’ll take a bunch with me and with the quick charger I’m never out of juice.
I’m a Bosch fanboy for many years – however their Cordless offerings and lack of Power have required me to make exceptions.
For Carpentry, Woodworking:
I utilize mostly Bosch Corded tools.
I own and use Bosch cordless tools but as they become retired I will probably make a switch to what I use…
For Auto, Mechanical (HVAC), Electrical, Plumbing:
I have invested heavy into Milwaukee. For these categories, DeWalt still doesn’t have the needed selection.
Oh, and the original question; Bosch Corded, Makita Cordless.
For Cordless between Bosch and Makita, it’s Makita. I have quite a bit of the makita cordless lineup.
But Milwaukee is much better than either. All my Makita cordless have been retired to the shop and as backups. The milwaukee are really really superior, so that’s what goes to jobs.
The choice for cordless is obvious:
– Makita for 18V and 40V Tools: a huge range of production, garden and all types of home tools. Generally more powerfull than the Bosch counterparts.
– Bosh Professional for compact 12V Tools. The batteries go into the handle. Unique brusless small tools like their 12V Trim Router, especially the briliant 12V Planer, the new 12V Orbital Sander and others, a big variety of quite good and inexpensive screwdrivers.