Everyone has their own idea of which tool brand is the best. So deciding on Bosch vs DeWalt tools will have a lot to do with personal opinion and, in some cases, budget. When it comes down to it, these are both highly respected tool brands with loyal customers spanning generations. This article is going to compare Bosch and DeWalt as tool brands, with some references to the tools they make.
What’s in A brand?
While both Bosch and DeWalt are names that carry a lot of weight among tool buyers, there are those who don’t feel it’s worth paying extra for top brands. All too often, I hear people say: “What’s the difference? They all come from the same factory somewhere in China any way.” I beg to differ. Having used tools for decades, both professionally and for DIY, I’ve owned countless tools from a variety of brands. Some cheap, others not so cheap.
In my many years of experience, I’ve come to respect some brands much more than others. Both DeWalt and Bosch are featured on my list of top tool brands. I’d rank Makita alongside these brands. There are several great tools brands and they all have a few things in common.
One important factor is quality control. Regardless of where a tool is made, a brand with a solid reputation has a lot to lose if they sell inferior products. Though no form of QC is perfect, and this brings me to the second important factor – warranty and service. No matter how great a product is, nothing is ever perfect. At some point, you’re going to need the support of the brand. This may be for warranty repairs, or simply general repairs and maintenance over time. I’ve found a vast difference in the type of service I’ve received, as well as the availability of spare parts. In this regard, I’ve found DeWalt to be one of the best.
Finally, we get to the actual engineering behind the products. DeWalt is an American brand and Bosch is German. I believe both nations have proven they have the goods to manufacture great quality products. When it comes down to it, I usually back DeWalt as a brand I’ve come to trust and depend on. I’m certainly not going to slam Bosch, I own a number of Bosch tools and, in some instances, they make the very best tools. The legendary Bosch Bulldog hammer drill, springs to mind.
Areas of analysis, in my comparison of Bosch & Dewalt :
- Build Quality is probably the most important, especially for contractors who work under harsh conditions. It’s usually worth digging a little deeper into your pockets for a tool that’s robust enough to take a few knocks and keep working fine for a long time.
- General Design has a lot to do with durability. Though this is also about usability, functions, and features.
- Trustworthiness is something I rate as being of great importance. Though this can only be an opinion one forms from personal experience. One bad experience, from an otherwise good tool brand, can leave some people disappointed for life. Consistently good service is, however, extremely rare these days. This is something to be revered.
- Affordability is something I look at with an open mind. Personally, I have a severe dislike for cheap junk. So I’m always willing to pay more for a brand that I know to deliver quality. I know everyone wants to save a buck where they can, myself included. It really comes down to value for money. Getting the level of quality we desire at a reasonable price.
►Founded in 1924. A subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker.
I don’t how many times I’ve written about the DeWalt history. Articles about Raymond DeWalt and how the company started are everywhere. So I’ll spare you the long history lecture. Only to say that DeWalt have been around for quite a while, the Company was registered in 1924 and have been making quality tools ever since. I suppose it should be mentioned that Raymond DeWalt was an innovative man, who came up with ideas no one else had thought of before. I think this is important to mention, because it seems to be a foundation of the DeWalt design philosophy. I absolutely love some of the truly inspirational ideas these guys have come up with over the years.
Photo of Raymond Elmer Dewalt
Okay, I suppose you’ve guessed by now; I’m a huge DeWalt fan. My admiration for the brand goes back more than 30-years. So, it think it’s fair to say that I have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about. In general, I’ve found DeWalt tools to be of a high standard in every way. Their tools are tough, certainly on a par with more expensive brands, like Milwaukee. Of all the tools I’ve owned, DeWalt and Makita, stand out as generally being the most robust.
Clever design is something that always leaves me awe-struck and this DeWalt provides bountifully. Just about every DeWalt product has some sort of gadget, or design feature, that makes them unique. They are usually the easiest tools to use, with a lot of features that help improve speed and accuracy.
I don’t think DeWalt is king of circular saws though. In fact, this is one of their weaker areas. This is not to say that DeWalt saws are junk, they just don’t seem to have those outstanding qualities that I’ve come to expect from DeWalt tools. Despite these misgivings, DeWalt miter saws have some great redeeming features. Probably the best fences and easy cam lock adjustments, are reasons to rank DeWalt table and miter saws among the best. Though Bosch has the cutting edge in this department. I’ll talk more about that when I discuss the Bosch brand.
Cordless tools have become the in thing and here is where DeWalt has certainly made their mark. For a long time, I considered Makita cordless tools and their exceptional batteries to be the best. Now, I believe DeWalt has stolen much of their glory. The DeWalt 20V MAX cordless tool range has been around for quite a while and is the most comprehensive of any tool brand. There are well over 100 different DeWalt 20V MAX tools to choose from.
The new trend in battery technology is to increase the voltage. This gives you more power and working time per Ampere-Hour (AH). That’s obviously a good thing and this has made battery-powered tools a lot more practical. The only issue with upgrading the batteries, is that the older tools become redundant, you can’t use the new battery technology in older tools that use a lower voltage. Well, DeWalt haven’t accepted this. Leading to the development of the best battery ever invented.
The DeWalt FlexVolt battery is one of those inventions that embodies the spirit of Raymond DeWalt’s innovative approach. When moving up from 20V to 60V batteries, the DeWalt engineers thought outside the box. The new DeWalt cordless tools are about the most powerful of their kind. Some use two 60V batteries in series, making them 120V cordless tools that can also be plugged into a conventional 120V socket. While, this in itself is unique, it’s the batteries that knock convention out of the ballpark.
FlexVolt batteries are aptly named, because they adapt the voltage to the tool being used. The battery cell configuration is automatically switched to provide either 20V or 60V, depending on the what the tool requirement. This means one battery that can be used in any of their older 20V MAX tools and, of course, the newer 60V (and 120V) tools. This is technology at its finest and the only battery of its kind.
Service and spares is another reason why rate DeWalt so highly. It might just be my good luck that I’ve always found DeWalt service centers that really do their job. But, that would quite a coincidence. I’ve been using DeWalt tools for decades and that means dealing with several different certified agents. How lucky can one guy be, to always end up with a dealership that makes the grade. Apart from the service, the 3-year warranty, 90-day guarantee, and 1-year service plan is standard for all DeWalt power tools. Most of their hand tools have a lifetime warranty. When you take into account that DeWalt service agents appear to be willing to always go the extra mile, this is a warranty and guarantee that you can depend on. I’ve never had to argue or fight for my consumer rights when dealing with DeWalt.
Visit the Dewalt site to learn more about their extensive range of tools.
►Founded in 1886 by Robert Bosch. A German Company.
Bosch is an older company than DeWalt. But this is of little consequence, as Bosch only started manufacturing power tools in 1930’s. The Brand is probably most famous for auto-electrical components. They have been doing this for over a century and Bosch electrical components can seen in most modern vehicles.
“I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages.”Robert Bosch
Analyzing Bosch as a power tool brand is a little complicated. This is because they manufacture many cheap tools to rival brands like Black & Decker, even the real cheap guys, like Ryobi. They’ve also brought us some all-time winners, capable of giving any top brand a run for their money. So Bosch straddles two markets. There’s the general purpose, more DIY-type Bosch tools. Then there are a few high-end professional grade Bosch tools.
I’m fairly addicted to home renovation and building projects. It may seem crazy, but this is what I do for fun. I often take on a large building project go on for months. Now, I have some tools that are near to my heart and I want them to last a lifetime. A building site is no place for tools that you want to last. In addition to this, one normally employs casual labor for building and you never know how much skill these guys have.
For these projects, I buy a selection of cheap power tools for the duration of the project. I don’t mind what happens to these tools, as long as they get the job done. It’s in these situations that I’ve found a few gems from Bosch that have earned my complete and undying respect. Cheap Bosch drills are really tough for their price.
Though there’s a Bosch 10½” circular saw that I bought almost 20-years ago that has really blown me away. This not a refined machine by any means. It’s noisy, not too powerful, and the blade leaves much to be desired. It certainly doesn’t make very smooth cuts. It is also totally limited in terms of features. An on off trigger switch and thumb screw for bevel cuts (up to 45°) is all you get. Though for basic construction carpentry, I don’t mind some tear-out or less than perfect cuts. For this type of work, the little Bosch has proven to be a mighty workhorse. After close on two decades of total abuse and zero maintenance, this saw is still going strong. That’s what I like about cheap Bosch tools, they may not be the best, or the most sophisticated, but they do what it says on the box. More importantly, they keep doing so much longer than anyone can expect from a cheap machine.
When looking at high-end Bosch tools, there’s one area where the brand is the outright champion. Bosch pioneered the technology used in modern rotary hammer drills. When it comes to industrial grade drilling and chiseling equipment, I believe Bosch has been the world leader from the beginning. I mentioned the Bulldog rotary hammer drill earlier and want elaborate on this. These are rotary hammer drills at their finest. The entry level (11255VSR) SDS-Plus 1” rotary hammer drill is quite affordable, lightweight, and exceptionally easy to use, at least for a drill of this nature.
As you move up the range, the drills become more expensive, as one would expect. They also become more capable. Top of the line Bosch hammer drills can chew through the hardest concrete like few others can. One common trait that runs through the entire Bulldog drill range, is uncompromised durability. The reason why these drills have been so popular for so many years is their super-tough nature.
Another Bosch product that is destined for the power tool hall of fame has to be the GCM12SD sliding compound miter saw. It’s one of those saws that left saying only one thing after reviewing it: Wow! Second to Festool miter saws, this must be the best ever. Since it costs less than a third of any Festool equivalent, I’d say that’s a double wow. The real genius behind this saw is the axial glide system that does away with the cumbersome rails that are the norm for sliding saws. It really is a work of complete genius.
In the world of battery tools, Bosch is certainly not one of the top brands. As with any Bosch product, their cordless tools are good quality and don’t break too easily. They just don’t have a very extensive lineup of tools and their batteries aren’t the best. Battery working time for Bosch cordless tools seems to compare more with cheap bands. If I were to compare Bosch cordless vs DeWalt, it would be a no-brainer. DeWalt cordless tools are the undisputed champions.
When it comes to warranty and service, I can’t rate Bosch as highly as DeWalt. Although Bosch service is everywhere, this is mostly for auto repairs. Tools seem to take second place. Their warranties vary for different products, never as good as DeWalt. I wouldn’t say that Bosch service is lousy. More like pretty average. DeWalt warranty and service is exceptional and most brands would have to take second place when pitted against DeWalt customer care.
Final Verdict — Bosch vs DeWalt
If anyone were to ask me which is my number one tool brand, I probably wouldn’t hesitate in saying DeWalt. Though this is more a general statement. By default I’d say: when in doubt go with DeWalt. That’s not to say that all DeWalt tools are top of their class. It’s just that you can’t really go wrong with the brand and their service is outstanding. At least, this has been my experience.
The issue many will have when considering DeWalt tools could be the price. In the context of affordable DIY tools, DeWalt is expensive. However, comparing DeWalt to high-end industrial tools, they are among the more affordable options. This mean that you’ll find DeWalt tools on many jobsites as well as home shops. I’m one of those DIY tool users that see DeWalt as a reasonably affordable brand if you want tools that rank alongside the best in the world.
Bosch tools are a bit of an enigma. As a cheaper brand for homeowners, Bosch can easily take top spot. Then they have their absolute winners, like the tools I mentioned above. Though high-end Bosch tools are equally expensive when compared to DeWalt. Like they say, you get what you pay for. For their respective categories, I think both Bosch and DeWalt offer great value. Well-engineered tools, with a wonderful balance of quality vs price.
Addendum, from Editor
— Note from Editor : The history of Bosch is fascinating, which we didn’t get to in this article but I urge you to visit the Bosch site and revel in the beautiful historical photos and learn all about the evolution of the brand.
I started doing research, looking for brand photos to accompany the text, next thing you know, I was completely enraptured in the philosophy of Robert Bosch, a very moral man, with many convictions to be admired, at least for me.
1952 : Bosch “Combi” Electric Tool
►Visit the Bosch site and see their full range of power tools available.
Bosch is a brand that truly knows how to connect with their customers. You can order brochures of the history of Bosch — for FREE! Just fill out the form and they will send it to you.
And, wait there’s more — you can download a document of the chronicle/timeline of Bosch — AND, you can also listen to a 2-part audiobook on Robert Bosch — for FREE.
Go directly to the page containing all of the things mentioned above. And no, there’s no gimmick. No trickery. I’m simply sharing this information for those of you who want to know more. Personally, I think it’s fantastic. I’ve never seen a corporation that does such a great job with curating their history. And one more thing, if that wasn’t enough, they have videos on their history, yes, it’s true. Watch the video below, the first in a series of 4, on the HISTORY OF BOSCH. Watch the rest of the series here, on the Bosch site.
VIDEO | History of Bosch