Are you on the lookout for the best power tools? Our crew spends a lot of time testing and recommending the top brands in a wide range of categories. We’ve narrowed down ten categories that are core to the work professional contractors do day in and day out.
Of course, these aren’t the only power tools we recommend in each category, so be sure to click the headers to see more or click on the product title to learn more about that specific power tool.
Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel hammer drill earns our recommendation as the best cordless drill overall thanks to improvements in its fourth generation model. The performance picks up some ground across all three major categories. It picks up 200 in-lbs of torque, now sitting at 1400 in-lbs. The 2100 RPM top speed is an increase of 100 RPM and the hammer rate is 1000 BPM higher at 33000 BPM.
That’s not all that’s new. The fourth generation also includes kickback control for the first time. Most importantly, Milwaukee makes improvements while maintaining its compact 6.9-inch head length and with only a negligible increase in weight. In fact, this model earned our top pick as the best lightweight drill for heavy-duty use as well.
Want even more? Milwaukee’s One-Key customized controls, tracking, inventory management, and security features are on the 2906 model. If you don’t need the hammer drill function, look for the drill driver version as model 2903.
Price; $199.00 bare, $299.00 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries and a charger
If you’re looking for the best combination of performance, size, and weight, look no further than Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel impact driver in its fourth generation. Second only to Flex in our performance tests, it’s significantly smaller and lighter, plus it has an extensive platform of compatible tools that work on M18 batteries.
- Top Speed: 3900 RPM
- Max Torque: 2000 in-lbs
- Impact Rate: 4400 IPM
- Length: 4.5 in
- Weight: 2.2 lbs bare
Price: $149.00 bare, $299.00 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries and charger
When we analyzed the final results, Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt circular saw edged out the Milwaukee M18 Fuel as the best cordless circular overall. It earned perfect scores in our cutting performance and accuracy sections and high scores in most of the others. It was also the strongest sidewinder we tested and is the only option in the group that can use an AC adapter for unlimited runtime. Sweetening the deal, Metabo HPT has a lifetime warranty on the tool.
Price: $189.00 bare
Using Milwaukee’s latest generation of M18 Fuel mid-torque impact wrenches, we’re getting the performance that helps us avoid turning to high-torque models thanks to fastening torque up to 550 ft-lbs and nut-busting up to 650 ft-lbs. When you’re working on passenger vehicles, this one impact wrench can replace the need for a heavier high-torque 95% or more of the time. Even for heavy equipment and diesel mechanics, they handle a ton of the work aside from lug nuts.
At the same time, these impacts are incredibly compact for their power level, just 6 inches in length and weighing right at 5 pounds with a 5.0Ah battery. All that makes this generation of M18 Fuel models the best cordless impact wrenches in our book. They’re available in a 3/8-inch friction ring (2960), 1/2-inch friction ring (2962), or 1/2-inch pin detent styles (2962P).
Price: $249 bare tool, $479 kit with two 5.0Ah batteries (based on the 2962 friction ring)
WHY WE PICKED IT
The Hilti AG 6D-22’s performance is excellent, with a brushless motor keeping the RPMs high even under heavy pressure.
Two innovations really set it apart from the crowd, though. 360° Active Torque Control senses if the grinder makes a sudden move in any direction and automatically shuts off.
Then there’s SensTech. Sensors in the handle can detect when your hand is on the tool, even when you’re wearing gloves. When your hand leaves, the motor shuts down. It’s the only grinder we’ve seen to effectively offer the convenience of slide switch activation with the safety of a paddle switch in one tool.
Between the performance, features, and design, the Hilti Nuron AG 6D-22 is the most impressive angle grinder we’ve ever used.
INFO TO KNOW
- Best for professional use
- 6-inch configuration
- 8500 Max RPM
- 4.4 pounds (tool only)
- Available in a 5-inch configuration
- Excellent performance under load
- 360° bind-up/kickback sensors
- Combines the convenience of a slide switch and safety of a paddle switch
- Electronic brake
- Excellent ergonomics
- More expensive than other grinders in the same class
Price: Starting at $329.00 for the bare tool
- High-powered motor makes this one of the best jobsite table saws
- Features a rolling stand for maximum portability
- Has 2” dust connection ports
- Rack and pinion fence system allows for quick, accurate adjustment
- Motor: 2 hp, 15-amp, 4800 rpm
- Blade Diameter: 10 inches
- Dado Capacity: 13/16 inches
- Rip Capacity: 32-½ inches
DeWalt is a quality brand name that delivers on its promise with this table saw. The DeWalt DWE7491RS Jobsite Table Saw answers the call when portability is crucial. The rolling table design is manufactured for portability. It collapses easily but is not top-heavy and won’t roll over, making it one of the best table saws for beginners.
This saw has a powerful motor to cut through all types of wood, including pressure-treated lumber and hardwood. Its 10-inch saw blade can cut to a 3-1/8 inch depth at 90 degrees and 2-1/4 inches at 45 degrees. An optional dado throatplate allows for 8” stacked dado blades up to 13/16” inches thick, so it has all the features you need for almost any woodworking project.
Bosch GCM12SD Axial Glide Miter Saw
The Bosch GSM12SD Axial Glide miter saw provided the smoothest cutting we’d ever experienced thanks in large part to its axial glide system rather than standard rails.
Our best compound miter saw launched way back in 2010. It still beats nearly every other saw we’ve used for tall standing crown cuts and vertical base clearance. Bosch still makes this sliding miter saw and its newest models seem to focus on more maneuverable 8.5-inch saws. Those also come in both corded and cordless models.
When making this recommendation, we took into account our entire catalog of sliding compound miter saw reviews. The $599 Bosch Axial Glide remains one of the most powerful saws with the absolute best cut quality. Since it also allows for some of the highest trim clearances across the back fence it reigns as the best dual compound miter saw.
If you want to shave some weight off the Bosch GCM12SD (with only minimal capacity loss), consider the Bosch CM10GD 10-inch Glide miter saw at $589.99. You can get a lighter model with the same excellent cutting performance.
Whether you want a top handle or barrel grip style, we picked the DeWalt 20V Max XR as the best cordless jigsaw overall. Its cutting speed wasn’t as fast as some of the others, but its vibration control was better, and it kept the blade deflection down to nothing on tough cuts. For the top handle model, the lower height gave us a feeling of better control.
With both versions, the controls seem well-placed and easy to reach without having to move your grip. This was especially noticeable on the barrel grip where many of our testing team’s hands couldn’t reach the on/off switch on other models. While there are a couple of trade-offs to consider, DeWalt gave us the best overall cutting experience.
- Brushless motor
- Tool-free bevel adjustment
- Multi-stage orbital action
- Blade ejection lever
- Competitive bare tool price
- Good ergonomics
- Lower vibration than competitors
- Kit price is a little high
- Cutting speed is lower than top competitors
- Missing a couple of convenience features: vac attachment/port, lock-on button
DeWalt also has a barrel grip option. Look for model DCS335 if you prefer that version.
Price: $199 bare, $349 kit with a 5.0Ah battery and charger
The best shop vac overall has to have the best balance of everything, and Milwaukee nailed it, but not with just one vac. They created an entire modular system that lets you customize what you need. Choose from single-battery, dual-battery, or corded powerheads. Then add 6, 9, or 12-gallon canisters. From there, you can go with a standard filter, wet foam filter, or HEPA filter.
Then there’s the Air-Tip line of trade-focused accessories that are cross-compatible with almost any hose size.
While there’s not just one vac that fits every need, Milwaukee has designed a system that is far greater than any one model thanks to the sum of its parts.
Vac Prices: $249.00 – $799.00
Air-Tip Prices: $17.99 – $119.00
Coming off of the success of the Metabo HPT pancake air compressor (also called “The Tank”), the 8-gallon EC1315SM delivers more CFM and capacity. Delivering up to 225 PSI and 5 CFM (at 90 PSI), you can run 3 framing nailers or 4 roofing/siding nailers simultaneously. Running a trim crew? Connect as many as five 15-gauge or 16-gauge finish nailers and get to work! In either of these scenarios, each tool would have plenty of air to drive nails.
At $459, you get a lot of tool in this capable package. Between the wheeled portability and capacity—we find this compressor to be an all-around workhorse.