Two of the most recognizable names in the power tool market are DeWalt and Black & Decker. If you’ve spent any time in a hardware store or on a jobsite then you may already have some idea of how the DeWalt stacks up vs Black and Decker.
I’ll break down how Black and Decker vs DeWalt compare with one another, take a look at their respective brand positioning, and give a brief overview of their product lineups. By the end, you should have a good grasp of each tool manufacturer and how it ought to fit into your own tool collection.
Black & Decker
Black & Decker is an American manufacturer of power tools, hardware, home improvement products, and more headquartered in Towson, Maryland. It was originally established back in 1910 as a small machine shop by S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker – two industrial tool designers and engineers.In the early years, the company made a name for itself by designing and manufacturing the hand-held electric drill with a pistol and trigger switch.
Over the next several decades, the company expanded to become a major player in the US and international markets, achieving a 20 percent market share in the U.S. by the late 1950s. It’s at this time that DeWalt and Black & Decker meet when Black & Decker purchased the company from American Machine & Foundry.
The company then underwent a period of expansion into the outdoor tool, lawn-care, garden, and home appliance niches, making it a household name synonymous with quality. This went on through the 60s, 70s, and 80s when the brand enjoyed unprecedented success and expansion.
DeWalt was founded in 1923 by Raymond E. DeWalt, the inventor of the radial arm saw. It rapidly expanded over the next several decades to become a major manufacturer of woodworking tools and equipment.
It’s then acquired by American Machine Foundry in 1949, which is later purchased by Black & Decker in 1960.
Not much changed until 1992 when Black & Decker relaunches the DeWalt brand as a high-end brand positioned to cater to professionals and contractors, while the Black & Decker brand remained the basic low-cost consumer brand.
It’s at this point where the DeWalt brand gains major popularity and becomes the household name we recognize it as today. The impressive lineup includes powerful cordless tools like drill/drivers, impact drivers, impact wrenches, saws, flashlights, and combination drill/driver/hammerdrills geared towards the high-end user. The price point is set similarly to its competitors Makita and Milwaukee, which allow it to distinguish itself from its sister company.
This rebranding was immensely successful, and lead to the turnaround of the entire Black & Decker brand including new acquisitions Porter Cable, Craftsman, and Stanley.
DeWalt vs Black & Decker Comparison
As DeWalt and Black & Decker are both under the Stanley Black and Decker umbrella, they’re positioned to target different segments of the tool market. Stanley Black and Decker’s portfolio of companies includes over a dozen subsidiaries, making it one of the largest tool manufacturers on the globe.
If you examine the chart below, from Stanley Black and Decker’s most recent investor presentation, you’ll see how they see their brands stacking up against one another.
Black & Decker is at the lowest end of the spectrum, catering to consumers at the lowest price point. Conversely, DeWalt is at the upper end of the spectrum targeting professionals and industry towards the high end of the point.
There is no overlap between the two brands, so they don’t really compete with each other directly. As you can see in the chart, the parent company has several overlapping brands which offer comparable products including Stanley, Craftsman, Irwin, and Porter-Cable. These brands all center on the same target market, which is the tradesman/professional at the middle price point.
This gives us a good idea of how Stanley Black and Decker see their own brands, and how they plan to target their lineups towards achieving their goals.
If we look at the tool lineups of the two brands we can see how they stack up against each other.
Black & Decker’s lineup includes basic homeowner tools, lawn and garden tools, workshop basics, as well as a wide variety of household appliances like vacuum cleaners, kitchen appliances, and coffee makers.
The power tools are limited to basic saws, drills, sanders, and powered screwdrivers. You won’t find any intermediate to advanced woodworking or construction tools like table saws, miter saws, rotary hammers, etc.
DeWalt’s tool lineup on the other hand is far more extensive and geared towards the professional user. Not only do they offer basic homeowner tools like drills, saws, sanders, and grinders, but they also have a wide array of contractor and woodworking type tools like compound miter saws, air tools, planers, routers, dust management systems, and demolition hammers.
As far as price goes, it’s clear that Black & Decker is priced with the casual user or basic homeowner in mind. Basic cordless drills, circular and reciprocating saws, jigsaws, and sanders are all available in the $30 to $60 price range, which is significantly less than professional tier brands.
At this price point, the brand is positioned to compete against the likes of Ryobi, Craftsman, and Worx. If you’re looking for a basic tool to complete a specific job, like shortening a section of fencing, and you don’t plan to use it daily then these tools fit the bill nicely.
DeWalt on the other hand is firmly positioned in the professional/tradesman price point similar to brands like Makita, Milwaukee, and Bosch. They offer a wide array of tools in these price points, including from basic homeowner tools to tools geared towards heavy-duty tradesman use. . Within the DeWalt lineup, there are ‘entry’ level or homeowner tier tools like the DCD777C2 20V MAX Cordless Drill all the way up to cutting edge flexvolt lineup priced at the highest end of the spectrum.
As you might expect, the level of quality across the two brands closely mirrors their price points. Black and Decker tools provide an adequate level of quality for occasional use but don’t provide the long-term durability needed for contractor use, or the precision needed for professional-level work.
DeWalt tools, on the other hand, are made with a higher level of precision in mind and are built with tighter tolerances necessary for professional-grade work.
This doesn’t mean you can’t get pro-level work from Black & Decker tools, or that DeWalt tools will automatically result in a better quality finished job. Ultimately, the skill level of the tool’s user dictates the quality of the final product, not the price of the tool.
Which Brand is Best for Me?
So, which tool brand is best for you between Black and Decker vs DeWalt?
This is a trickier question, as ultimately the question is mostly subjective, and based on your own needs and preferences.
If you’re a homeowner, with only an occasional need for your tools, then you can get away with basic tools like those made by Black & Decker. You’ll save some money upfront, but you’ll be sacrificing some performance and durability over time.
On the other hand, if you’re a craftsman, woodworker, or professional user, DeWalt tools are more suited to your needs. They’ll cost you more upfront, but offer a wider lineup of tools, including just about anything you could need for contractor-grade work.
Featured image source.