Metabo vs. Metabo HPT. Brand comparisons and confusions have come up quite a bit over the past few years.
First, a short history lesson.
Hitachi Power Tools acquired Metabo in 2015.
KKR, an investment firm, purchased Hitachi Power Tools and Metabo in 2017.
Hitachi Power Tools changed their name to Metabo HPT in 2018. After this happened, Metabo issued a statement saying this doesn’t affect them at all.
So, Hitachi Tools has been Metabo HPT for nearly 4 years now.
A reader recently left a comment to one of the name-change posts:
Metabo is Made in Germany. Metabo HTP is not it is a lower grade tool. I distribute for these tools.
Hitachi’s name change was necessary. As KKR acquired Hitachi Koki from the Hitachi company in 2017, their continued use of the brand name was governed by a licensing agreement.
Under a licensing agreement, Hitachi – and not Hitachi Power Tools – would have final say on the tools and products that could bear their name. Long-term, this could only hamper things. So, a name-change allowed for freedoms outside of external limitations and controls.
Overseas, Hitachi Koki became known as HiKoki. Here in the United States, they became Metabo HPT.
Those “in the know” understand the distinctions, but 4 years later, it’s obvious there are still a lot of confused users.
Metabo HPT and Metabo cordless power tools are NOT compatible with each other – they both have completely different battery systems.
Is Metabo HPT a “lower grade tool?” Absolutely not, and a distributor should know that.
Like most professional tools brands, such as Bosch, Dewalt, Makita, and Milwaukee, Metabo HPT has different tiers of tools, ranging from entry-priced to premium.
Metabo specializes in metalworking tools and grinders. Metabo HPT has incredibly popular air nailers.
Metabo has their Cordless Alliance System (CAS), where they make their battery system available to 3rd party power tool brands.
Metabo HPT has their unique MultiVolt system, where there are 18V tools that can use 18V and 36V battery types, and 36V tools that can be powered with the 36V battery or AC adapter.
There are great distinctions between the two companies, and few similarities aside from the now-shared name,
It is admittedly confusing for two completely separate brands to share the Metabo name in this way, and it seems that this leads some users – or dealers apparently – to create their own often inaccurate explanations.
I can understand the reason for going with Metabo HPT, as Metabo is more recognizable than HiKoki would be here. Personally, I tend to think HPT instead of Metabo HPT, as this creates better separation for me, but that’s when I don’t automatically default back to Hitachi.
I can’t speak as to which brand is definitely more popular here, but I would guess Metabo HPT, given their broader distribution, visibility, and seemingly greater focus on the USA market compared to Metabo, except maybe when it comes to angle grinders and some of their other more popular tools.
Because of this, maybe the deciding powers figured that most users might come to know Metabo or Metabo HPT, but perhaps not both.
Regardless, Metabo HPT has been moving forward over the past few years, with new and high-performing tech, and definitely not “lower grade” offerings.
There is a staggering abundance of misinformation out there, and so there might always be some confusions. Last year I had to debunk claims of Dewalt and Milwaukee Tool being the same company, and no, Harbor Freight does not own Snap-on Tools.
Metabo and Metabo HPT/HiKoki are both very popular in different categories and they seem to be popular in different worldwide regionals as well. As far as I can tell, they continue to be managed and operated completely independently.
Some confusion was bound to happen. I think that user awareness is much better now than it was 4 years ago, but I’m still seeing more misinformation than I would have expected at this point.
To make it even more confusing – Hitachi used to sell angle grinders in the US market. I have a pretty solid one that I use for the really dirty concrete grinding jobs since it was only $40, but it’s keeps on kicking. I think it was one of the those Costco “tool aisle” impulse buys.
Metabo of course is the “Kleenex” of angle grinders. I have another Bosch angle grinder that is fantastic. I bought it because I wanted it’s better safety features and more power – 10 amps, paddle switch, better handles. The old cheap Hitachi is very useful for dirty stuff that I don’t want to subject the fancy Bosch too – ha ha.
Amazing sometimes how you buy a cheap tool and abuse it and it keep going forever.
So true! I have a Craftsman 1/2″ AC powered drill – bought it from Sears as a returned item back in 1994 for a few bucks, and I can’t kill that thing.
IndianaJonesy (Matt J.)
I have one of the heavier-duty 12A Hitachi grinders I bought used from tool rental business run by a friend that was moving away from that side of the business. Been running for almost 10 years now and is an absolute beast. Makita and Metabo always have the reputation (mostly deservedly), but I think Hitachi’s grinders might be the most undervalued ones on the market (assuming HPT has kept them similar).
I know the difference and still have to think about it when I see tools from either brand. If they had a time machine, I wonder if Metabo HPT would really choose that name again.
And in the Uk there called Hikoki, instead of Hitachi and in America it’s Metabo HPT , a bit strange how they have two different names for the same tool.
…shoukd have went with Hikoki – so fun to say…
I’ve never been accused of being “ in the know”. But I do know the Metabo HPT 36v plunge router, is a very innovative tool.
I just used the MultiVolt Plunge Router to create 36 foot of window sill out of 1×8 pine. Had no problem at all using my sill bit with a 1/2″ collet. The tool proved itself and I absolutely love it.
I understand the differences and its still stupid.
In my simple opinion:
Metabo HPT = old Hitachi power tools rebranded, Stuart talks about recent innovations, IMO nailers, cordless impacts, miter saws. Electric green color.
Metabo = old Metabo, no rebrand, known for grinders and concrete tools.! Forest green color.
Marvin L. McConoughey
Concur. This is one of the most unnecessary marketing blunders of the 21st century.
Same. It is, in my opinion, a mindbogglingly idiotic marketing blunder. And it’s not just the name itself, both product lines are green (albeit different shades), and they even chose to use the same font for the word “Metabo” for both brands. It’s like they *tried* to make it as confusing as possible.
It’s a shame they just didn’t use the Hikoki name plate and drop Metabo HPT altogether. That alone would clear up the confusion.
Not sure why, but when I look at a Hikoki and Metabo HPT tool side by side. The Hikoki branding just looks more professional. The green is a little greener too.
I have heard that some users dismiss Makita from consideration because “the name sounds too foreign.” If that’s true, and if Hitachi experienced the same, that could have influenced their decision.
Some might prefer the made-up USA-sounding names that Harbor Freight applies to stuff made in China compared to brand names like Makita and Hitachi that represent quality. Prejudice comes in all forms – but it would be nicer to live in a world where a tool is judged based on quality and performance not based on some marketers made up brand name.
Lol, that’s how we wind up with names like Flex.
There’s a lot to that, I’m sure. I work with a lot of foreign colleagues and it’s interesting how warmly everyone responds to the Chinese who adopt American names like “David” or at least something short like “Mo”. It usually makes people awkward when they struggle to pronounce or spell someone’s name. I’m the oddball that likes to give it a shot though. Lots of cultures don’t adopt an American name, but I probably would if I worked in another country.
In this case, the names are horrible and too similar. That’s saying a lot, since I love my Hitachi 12v tools. I have deep trust for any company that gives a Lifetime guarantee. Some of mine were used when I bought them and looked well used but still run like a top!
Anyway, I really like the HPT 18/36v with AC system. I’d have bought into it, but they don’t have a lot of tools and are a bit expensive too.
Good for you on pronouncing the names. My wife is Korean, when asked if she wanted an English name by immigration, she laughed and said “why?” It’s not hard to learn, and I think asking someone to change their name for your own convenience is closed-minded and selfish. I wish they had gone with Hikoki.
I’ve been using Makita since the early 80s. I had a four-inch grinder are used to put 7 1/4 inch diamond blades in cut stone with it and never worry about killing it. I always run a 7 1/4 inch corded sidewinder. My first cordless drill was a Makita I think it was like a 9.4 V. There tablesaws the portable models were the best back then too.
I found the site because I was looking for Hitachi routers. I had two of them mounted to a table and they were perfect for what I needed and fairly simple so even though being kind of a right wing redneck I always chose the quality over the prejudice. I was looking for two more and was surprised that they weren’t at the Home Depot man they used to have some really good hi Tahchee finish nailers and the old mustang sidewall staplers were tha best. Thanks for the info
i was completely unaware of the distinction between the 2 and i bet that i am in the majority here. its seems like a lunatic idea to name your tool brand using the name of another brand. who wouldn’t think that a tool brand named Dewalt ABC was NOT owned by Dewalt. why didn’t the Metabo company sue for the theft of their name and for misrepresentation?
That’s the thing – Hitachi acquired Metabo, and then Hitachi Power Tools and Metabo were both sold together to KKR, a separate company. After this happened, there was a need for the name change, and Hitachi Power Tools was changed to Metabo HPT.
For an analogy, this is similar to as if Stanley Black & Decker changed the Porter Cable brand name to “Dewalt PC.”
In my opinion KKR should have added HTP to the end of the already existing Metabo brand and added Metabo to the HPT to have them all called Metabo HP . So anything that was Metabo is now Metabo HPT with the same quality as the old Metabo with a name at the end because of an acquisition and now Metabo HPT also carries the newly acquired power tools also known for quality that used to be called hitachi. It seems that way to be more of a name change due to a merger that incorporates both brand names rather than two separate entities owned by the same company seperated because of quality.
I suppose then there woulda been confusion on the capabilities of the batteries of the Metabo and the Metabo HPT but IMO, that’s where you separate them with with a different TM. For instance 18v nickel batteries don’t fit 18v lithium ion batteries of the same brand so there’s a “sub name” usually to distinguish them. If the same company owns Metabo and Metabo HPT, all of it should be Metabo HPT but with different “sub names” so to speak.
IndianaJonesy (Matt J.)
The HiKoki (which I first saw on Four Eyes Woodworking’s channel, even though he’s US-based) makes so much more sense. Never got the Metabo HPT naming…it was almost as if it was designed to be confusing.
Considering the average human believes some mindnumbingly ridiculous conspiracy crap these days, it doesn’t surprise me at how unintelligent people are with information on tool companies. We all have near infinite info at our finger tips but few people care to make the effort to learn.
Hitachi was and is a great tool company, some of the best air nailers in the world. Metabo is better known rightfully in Europe and elsewhere outside the U.S.
Metabo HPT was a dumb name to choose. I said that years back when it was announced prior to happening. Regardless the tools are good. I have many Hitachi tools and have added some of the M-HPT ones as well. Their biggest mistake was huge price increases out of the gate with the name change. Very offputting. Some of those prices have come down obviously because sales weren,t going the way they wanted.
I am eyeing the 36v router since I am in the system.
It’s sad that Metabo is no longer a high quality German made tool company.
Metabo is still a high quality German tool company- they’re a different company than Metabo HPT, which is a high quality company in its own right. If you need a good grinder or specialty metalworking tool, Metabo would likely be the place to go.
I don’t know if Stuart mentioned this in a previous article, but I believe that HPT stands for Hitachi Power Tools (or maybe Hikoki Power Tools)
I don’t know if this is explicitly defined anywhere – I cannot find official clarity on the matter, but I presume the same, that HPT = HiKoki Power Tools.
High Perfomance Tools = HPT. Thats’s what I’m personally calling them.
I am learning Japanese so maybe I can add my 2 cents worth from the linguistic point of view about the term “Hikoki”. In the beginning, it was Hitachi Power Tools. I am pretty sure that’s what HPT stands for, It doesn’t hurt its marketing at all, though, to have users interpret HPT as “High Performance Tools”.
In Japanese, Hitachi Industrial Machinery, is “日立工機”, pronounced, “Hitachi Koki”. It can also mean, Hitach Power Tools, of course. It is very common in the Japanese language, for phrases to be contracted. Hence, “Hitachi Koki” is presumably contracted to “Hikoki”, written as “日工機” in the Japanese script. Here, Hitachi has been contracted to just “Hi”, pronounced “He”, or “Hee”. “Koki”, meaning industrial machinery, or power tools, is always pronounced “Kor-Key”.
However, to make matters a little bit more confusing, Hikoki itself says that the “Hi” in “Hikoki” actually represent “High”, rather than the contraction of “Hitachi”. It is helpful that both “High” and the contraction of Hitachi can be written as “Hi”. So now, the official pronunciation of “Hikoki” is “Hai-Kor-Key”.
Hitachi itself, of course. is a ginormous conglomerate headquarterd in Tokyo, indulging in products as diverse as trains, escalators, nuclear plants and supercomputers. My first TV, a B & W one was a Hitachi.
Mike (the other one)
They should have kept the Hitachi brand. It was a well known and respected name. Matabo HTP is simply confusing.
To quote Stuart:
“Hitachi’s name change was necessary. As KKR acquired Hitachi Koki from the Hitachi company in 2017, their continued use of the brand name was governed by a licensing agreement.
Under a licensing agreement, Hitachi – and not Hitachi Power Tools – would have final say on the tools and products that could bare their name. Long-term, this could only hamper things. So, a name-change allowed for freedoms outside of external limitations and controls.”
My take on this is that Hitachi – a big and well-respected company would not want its name used on tools produced by a third party outside of its control.
BTW, you used bare and meant bear, a typo.
Thanks – *fixed*!
(Wasn’t a typo, was mistaken usage. I normally doublecheck these things, but in this case I was too confident in my mistake.)
Thank you for the clarification! I just recieved 2x Metabo HPT batteries from Amazon and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t fit my Metabo drill…. low and behold the HPT are completely different from Metabo! They sure fooled me!
Perhaps my inherent dislike for most all marketing departments has made me a bit of a cynic, but when I learned of the purchase then name change, it felt very drearily obvious why they created such an intentionally (my feelings) confusing name.
So marketing is tasked w getting peeps to buy their stuff from their 2 new assets. Metabo, they just have to expand their name in the US. Hitachi though…creating a new brand is pretty hard even if it was HiKoki. But if they traded off the Metabo name, it could give these tools some unrelated cache. This big box store exposure to the name will then help expand regular Metabo’s name recognition in the US (provided the new HPT does not sully its name). It’s a bit of cyclical marketing.
Adding HPT is just something to show a distinct difference while keeping any cache Hitachi had. Pretty sure marketing never even considered HPT to mean anything even if they were to come out today to say it’s actually Haute Power Tools.
I suppose what cemented this intetional confusion thought is that they did not go out of their way to allow US HPT tools to use Metabo’s CAS to create a bridge between the brands. HiKoki is clearly a different brand worldwide with its own battery so no confusion there. So why complicate manufacturing just for the US?
Anywho, there’s no bashing on the tools themselves. I have their ultra quiet air compressor and 10 gal expansion tank. This is specifically my thought on why the name Metabo HPT was chosen.
Omg, I didn’t realize my post rambled on for so long. Sorry.
Oh, believe me. You didn’t ramble… You mildly worded things verbosely…
Trust me… I’ve done…. Just… Huge magnitudes worse in the rambling department… You’re cool, it’s okay.
Your assessment is spot on. Deliberate confusion worthy of a hard pass.
I believe you meant “bear” not “bare”. Thirdish paragraph.
Thanks – *fixed*!
Honestly? Does it matter if they’re different? They’re about as separated from eachother as Dremel is from Bosch. The only real separation is what tools are released under which name. So, if Metabo doesn’t release X at all, but Metabo HPT does… That’s your entire clue sheet here. Everything that Metabo doesn’t release in your market under the Metabo name, is either released under Metabo HPT, or not at all.
There are times I wish DeWALT and SBD had a better deliniation like this one from Metabo. But SBD has so many brands under the family umbrella, what ends up happening is that you can find identical tools across 4-5 brands in the family, with their model numbers only different based on the letters used to signify the specific brand name they were released as. Holy run-on-sentence, Batman!
Quality? Okay… Let me use a Metaphor… If Caterpillar released everything in their catalog under the full company name, you would assume it’s all the same quality, right? Well… No… They, too, have acquired some other companies over the years, and are using their factories just as much as their originals. So, if they suddenly put all their product lines on a chart, then circled one branch of related things, of smaller size than everything else, and renamed them “Cat”… Would you call the new Cat line “Lower Quality” than Caterpillar? Or just see the new branding as a way to sell a specific subset of their products in a recognizeable form?
Metabo, with all the complications with splitting up what Hitachi branding did, just has a deliniation in what products are released by which brand name. No crossover, like the SBD family. So… Buy the tools you need from them. If they’re your brand, they’re your brand. The changes are all on the stock market, not the factory floors.
That’s logical thinking, but it does not guarantee against the potential for user confusion.
Years ago, I spoke to a Stanley Black & Decker associate shortly after Stanley Works and Black & Decker merged.
I asked about how things were going, and while rough, they were working towards synergy.
Now, SBD brands are distinct, but with joint efforts and cross-pollinated products.
Other companies have greater separation between brands, such as how Milwaukee Tool seems to operate completely independently from TTI North America, which designs and develops for Ryobi and Ridgid at Home Depot.
Apex Tool Group has Crescent and Crescent Wiss/HK Porter/Lufkin/etc, and then you also have Gearwrench outside of that. There’s blurring and separation where needed.
Confusion arises here, with Metabo and Metabo HPT, because they have similar names despite complete brand separation.
I don’t think it was anticipated. The brands are completely different, and so different users might only be exposed to one brand or the other, but not both.
But, let’s say there’s a conversation on social media, here, on a forum, or elsewhere. One person might ask about one brand, let’s say Metabo, and another might only have experience with Metabo HPT. Someone might leave that conversation misinformed.
Milwaukee has M18 Fuel, Dewalt has XR, Atomic, and FlexVolt Advantage, Bosch has Profactor. End users are accustomed to seeing a top-level brand and different product families.
Was there always the potential for confusion? Yes. How information spreads online has exacerbated things.
I often see some ridiculous claims online. While I might shake my head at inaccuracies, others might take what they read to be true and propagate the misinformation elsewhere.
I don’t think the tool-related misinformation I come across is intentionally propagated, it’s simply the nature of hearsay that’s inappropriately treated as if it were factual.
Metabo vs. Metabo HPT can be confusing, and I have seen online conversations that spread the confusion. The goal of this post is help correct and clarify. “Does it really matter if they’re different?” Yes, and I feel it’s important for tool users to understand the differences.
On the level of user confusion, we agree 100%, my only real reason for commenting on it mattering is to those who are making the distinction between where they manufacture each product. That is where I find it stops mattering. You regularly publish posts about who owns what brand, and that can easily be put in one of the menus at the top, for easy reference at any time.
The difference between Metabo HPT here, and the name of Hitachi elsewhere (HiKoki/Hitachi Koki) may well simply be a regional difference for the identical tool. You explained so in the article. But we have to be honest here… Country of Origin arguments end up pretty moot with all the umbrella companies that own so many brands these days. Companies can be 100% North American, and still own a company in Japan, or Malaysia, using their factories regularly for lower cost materials or manufacturing.
I’ve been a pretty vocal opponent of COO arguments in the past, and that’s really all I was concerned with. You can care where your tools are made, if we’re talking about countries with war crime records on their hands as an example. But to say one country is universally better than another for manufacturing is just not true anymore, and it has been that way longer than my actual lifespan. I am, myself, quite guilty of being a Global tool user. DeWALT and Dremel power tools, unnamed Austrian and Swiss made Jewellery Tools, China/Asia cold/drop forged sockets, wrenches, hand tools, etc. And my Tech is almost all made in the Asian electronics sector. If I didn’t speak up about the importance of acknowledging how globalized the world is, I really would be a hypocrite.
I do apologize for not clarifying though. And for the length of this response. I need to choose my words more clearly, we’ve discussed that several times… I need more practice at balancing clarification with rambling.
Metabo HPT is a terrible name. Almost anything else would have been better.
There’s a reason Bosch doesn’t sell its green tool line in the US. No confusion=no hurt sales numbers.
while Metabo is known for metal and conc tools – huge range of grinders – if you’ve not been watching they have been expanding their woodworking tool actively – saws, sanders, OMT.
They should remove the Metabo name.
Ask the German Metabo company and they will say the same.
“Metabo specializes in metalworking tools and grinders. ”
Metabo has greatly expanded their woodworking line, and even has a lawnmower now. They still make great metal tools, but certainly not limited to that.
I recently requested a Metabo drill kit for my job and it’s awesome. The company purchasing agent called it an “off brand”. Ha!
Metabo (not HPT) is a German based tool brand but not all of their tools are made in Germany. The tools made in Germany are much more expensive. And worth the extra money. Imho. Hitachi really needs to drop Metabo from its name branding.
I have to ask becouse I still have a hard time figuring out if I can use the 36v flex battery from the hikoki miter saw I have, on the metabo rear handle circular saw? I really want it, but I’m afraid the battery platform does not work on both tools?
Please help ^^
You cannot use Hikoki or Metabo HPT batteries with Metabo tools.