Ridgid vs Milwaukee

When it comes to the world of power tools, the brand choices can be staggering, which is why narrowing it down can be a challenge for DIYers and pros alike. Ridgid vs Milwaukee break down into two respected brands in their own right, and while they cater to slightly different market segments, there is actually a fair bit of overlap between the two.

I’ll break down both brands in-depth, so including their product lines, performance, and reputation, as well as how to determine which brand is the better choice for your needs.

Ridgid vs Milwaukee History


Ridgid started out as a pipe wrench manufacturer back in 1923 in North Ridgeville, Ohio. The business moved to Elyria, Ohio in 1943, and became a wholly owned subsidiary of Emerson Electric in 1966.

It became primarily focused on developing tools for the professional trades including plumbing, pipefitting, construction, and HVAC work. They were the first ones to invent the pipe wrench, and have developed a number of specialized trades tools that are still popular to this day.

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Today, their lineup is broader and less focused on the trades, as they manufacture a wide array of DIYer tier tools on top of their professional lineup.

In terms of their overall size, Ridgid is relatively small, with just 1,500 employees. The company is steadily expanding however and is constantly innovating and adding new tools to its lineup.


Milwaukee traces its origins back to the early 20th century when Henry Ford was searching for someone to fabricate a compact ¼-inch capacity power drill. The A.H. Peterson Tool Company took up the challenge and developed a great 5-pound drill known as the “Hole Shooter” that fit the bill perfectly.

A fire at their production facility nearly wiped out the business in its early years, but one of the founders was able to purchase the remaining shares and rebuild the company from the ground up.

The company developed its iconic Sawzall back in 1951, which was the first portable hacksaw with a reciprocating mechanism. Reciprocating saws still go by the generic name “Sawzall”, as the tool has become so iconic and well-known.

The brand was purchased by Techtronic Industries (TTI) in 2005, which lead to an increased focus on professional tier tools for the trades, and providing “disruptive innovation”. TTI is a huge megacorp that owns several other brands including Ryobi, Hoover, Empire, Hart, and actually licenses the Ridgid brand.

Ridgid vs Milwaukee Comparison

As both brands are sold under the TTI umbrella, they aren’t exactly direct competitors and are positioned slightly differently and marketed towards different segments.

Ridgid is targeted towards the ‘premium’ DIYer and basic tradesmen’s tools, while Milwaukee is decidedly a high-end brand targeted at serious tradesmen. Other tools in Milwaukee’s tier would be DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch.

As you would expect, tools in a higher tier come with a higher price tag. You can expect to pay more for Milwaukee’s tools that Ridgid’s, although this is not always the case, and there are some instances where the reverse is true.

Tool Lineup

If you take a cursory look at the two brands’ lineups, you’ll notice that Milwaukee offers a much wider selection than Ridgid. That’s partially to do with the brand being a ‘flagship’ brand for longer than Ridgid.

When it comes to specialty trades tools though, while Milwaukee has a respectable offering, it’s not as impressive as Ridgid’s tool lineup. Ridgid was a tradesmen’s tool manufacturer for many years and offers an impressive array of plumbing, electrician, HVAC, and pipefitting tools that you’d have a hard time finding anywhere else.

Milwaukee’s tool lineup offers a better overall selection, which means they have something for just about everyone. They have three main flagship power tool segments: M12, M18, and MX FUEL.

milwaukee saw and drill

Milwaukee’s MX FUEL lineup is clearly geared towards heavy-duty contractor use and has an impressive array of cut-off saws, demolition hammers, core drilling machines, concrete vibrators, and much more.

The M18 lineup is their flagship tool lineup and features more than 150+ tools of varying types.


When It comes to overall tool quality, there isn’t a clear-cut winner, as both brands manufacture products that will hold up to the rigors of long-term use.

If you had to pick one, I’d give the edge to Milwaukee, simply based on their excellent reputation for durability and excellence. Keep in mind Milwaukee tools do tend to come with a higher price tag than Ridgid tools, so as far as value goes, that’s a bit harder to say definitively.

Both manufacturers make a large percentage of their tools in China, although there are a decent number of both Milwaukee and Ridgid tools being manufactured in the USA.


As far as price goes, Ridgid tools are generally cheaper than Milwaukee’s. This is not the case in every situation, and you can easily find instances where the Ridgid tool is more expensive than its Milwaukee counterpart.

This is not surprising, as Milwaukee is positioned in the premium “professional tradesman” segment, whereas Ridgid is more of a premium DIYer tier tool.

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Another thing to consider in terms of price is that Milwaukee tools tend to have a higher degree of variation within the brand. That means that because their tool offering is so extensive, you can find multiple pricing tiers within the same tool type.

For example, if we take a look at their cordless hammer drills, they have a cheaper M12 hammer drill sold for about $70. Then, they have a medium-priced brushless M18 sold for about $90, and finally a high-end M18 FUEL model with all the bells-and-whistles sold for about $150.


When it comes to warranties, surprisingly, Ridgid offers the better choice. Ridgid offers an industry-leading lifetime service agreement on a large number of their power tools.

That means Ridgid will either repair or replace any eligible tool if it breaks down due to normal wear and tear for the life of the tool. This includes mechanical and electronic components such as brushes, chucks, motors, switches, gears, and even cordless batteries!

Tools eligible for the lifetime service agreement are cordless power tools, corded power tools, tile saws, bench and stationary power tools, and pneumatic tools.

Milwaukee offers five-year warranties on most of their power tools and pneumatic tools, while they offer 3-year limited warranties on their outdoor power equipment. Hand tools and mechanics’ hand tools are eligible for lifetime warranties.

Which Brand is Best For You?

When it comes to narrowing down the choice of Ridgid vs Milwaukee, there is no blanket one-size-fits-all answer. The right choice will depend on a number of factors, including how you plan to use your tools, what price point you’re comfortable with, and how important tool selection is to you.

In general, though, if you’re planning to use your tools in a professional work setting, opting for Milwaukee is a safe bet. If you’re a DIYer and looking for a good value tool lineup, then going with Ridgid makes more sense.

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Denis Gardner

I've loved tinkering and fixing things for as long as I can remember. So, naturally, I gravitated towards DIY and home improvement when I bought my first home. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or messing around with my newest tool!

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