Which Power Tool Brand (suite of swappable batteries) does your team prefer and why?

Team 453 is a Ryobi team, I think because I’m a Ryobi person and it’s what I prefer and have on my own. Prior to me becoming coach we had a random mismatch of equipment. Over time we have gotten setup with all Ryobi 18v for our power tools. I don’t regret that decision because of the 18V ecosystem. It’s huge! But… What else are teams using?

And more importantly why are you using those tools? Coach preference? What was around? What was donated? I’m just curious in general.

Also if you do use power tools what would you say is the bare minimum a team should have, what’s a nice to have and what’s really not useful at all?

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Milwaukee, I haven’t seen any other brands with something equivalent to this:


We run on Milwaukee m12 because we skew young and short/small, and the lightweight tools are more ergonomic in small hands.

The new brushless drivers make it an easy choice. One of my former carpenter (apprentice in 2010-13) friends was pooh-poohing the “weak 12v stuff” until I challenged them to actually borrow my personal set for a day. They piped down afterwards.

We borrowed 972’s m12 riveter for about eight hours in 2018 for a practice day upgrade, and within a week purchased our own.

I like the small circular saw, use it a lot in handling stock of plastic and wood. There’s also a 3" cutoff grinder and a 2" throat bandsaw in the m12 range now, which both have niche but common enough to justify uses.

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One of our mentors was kind enough to go out and buy us Rigid LIon drills. 4 of them. In 3 years, every one of them is broken.

Rigid drills do not seem to be suitable.

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From the induction of 2851 to 2022, I believe the majority of the team had been using Ryobi for all hand tools. However, this year I donated two 12v Bosch drill/impact kits (lowes.com), and a Makita power drill (homedepot.com) with a few batteries for some extra oomph when drilling thicker materials.

There are two schools of thought I’ve seen. The “buy 'em cheap, kids will break 'em” and “spend money, nicer tools will last”. I personally believe in comprehensive and complete training, and investing in a premium platform that will have some sustainable features. Ryobi is a VERY good platform, and if you don’t have the money to buy new M12/M18 everything, by all means, go for Ryobi. They have lasted us years and batteries are dirt cheap.

If you have the funds, however… I HIGHLY support the purchase of Milwaukee tools (when on sale, make sure to watch HD bundles). After using the platform for about 8 months in personal use, it is one of the most premium sets of tools I have ever laid my hands on, and they will last a long while. (I have yet to use any Hilti lol) Makita is also a very quality brand. Pricey though

End of the day, if your tool does what its designed to do, that’s what matters

Our team was fortunate enough to have a sponsor donate a bunch of M12 and M18 Milwaukee tools a few years back, and those have been our go-to choice since. I’ll also echo @Jon_Stratis on that Rivet Tool, we picked one of these up last year and it’s been an excellent tool to have, even over pneumatic riveters that we’ve used.

The team does still have a number of older Bosch tools as well (we still use the adjustable angle drill in particular to get into tight spots sometimes), but the direction has definitely been towards Milwaukee.

If you’re looking for a slightly cheaper option, I’ve also personally had good experience with a number of Dewalt 20v MAX series tools.

They’re a home Depot house brand these days, unfortunately.

We’ve run m12 since 2016. Zero tool failures across a fleet of 10 drills & impacts in 7 years. Just had our second and third battery failures this year, in 16 batteries. One was clearly due to student abuse. Would absolutely recommend.

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Initially we had Rigid and DeWalt. They didn’t last. My son has Milwaukee tools and I was really impressed. Started with the M12 impact/drill combo set. Added the ratchet - favourite tool ever. M12 rivet tool and Jigsaw have been awesome investments. The portable vacuum is very useful in the pits.

We’re kind of a haphazard mix, unfortunately. We mostly have DeWalt tools, both because this is what was first bought for the team several years ago and because we had a big donation of drills and batteries of that brand. We also have a Makita impact driver that was literally found by the side of the road and we’re about to buy a Milwaukee M12 rivet tool, since we had the use of one (owned by a team parent) this year and it’s such a fantastic tool, way better than our old pneumatic riveter. So we’re mostly one brand, but we’re willing to expand as needed.

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We’re Milwaukee M12 mainly because of the rivet tool, but also now because we have some sponsorship in the form of tools from them.


I’ve been a big fan of DeWalt for a while, especially because of their annual Black Friday deals on the brushless cordless drill and battery kit (drill, 2 batteries, charger, and carry bag for $99). However the electric cordless Milwaukee rivet run is just too good. Really wish DeWalt had an equivalent. Since they don’t I think I could see us moving to Milwaukee for everything…


Milwaukee M12, because it has everything, including a rivet puller. Also one of our alumni works for the portable tools group.

We mainly use Dewalt for drill guns and impact drivers, milwaukee for speed auto ratchet and rivet gun.

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Our team went full Milwaukee a while back after using a mix and match of a variety of brands for a while. People in this thread have already highlighted the M12 rivet tool but I know another at least local favorite is the M12 Stapler used for making and repairing bumpers (among other things).

Our team is from the city of Milwaukee and has a number of alumni working at Milwaukee Tool, including myself (after our team had switched to Milwaukee if it matters). We have a strong FIRST Alumni/Mentor group here that help organize support for local FIRST teams including a massive amount of tool donations around the state, team grants, volunteering at local events, mentoring local teams, and being a presenting sponsor of the Wisconsin Regional.


We’re a mix of Dewalt, Makita, and Milwaukee as of recent. The M12/18 ecosystem is huge compared to what Dewalt or Makita have, and we’ll likely be investing more in to Milwaukee in the coming years.

1293 is a Milwaukee M18 shop. We wanted the portable bandsaw and circular saw.

Would like to shift some stuff into M12 territory, like a smaller drill and the rivet tool. That’ll require a favorable budget swing, though.

Makita LXT mostly. We do have the m12 riveter though.

We are a mix of M12 and Dewalt. The best part about the Dewalt is all of the aftermarket non-branded battery powered tools. You can get a soldering station, heat gun, hot glue gun, you name it. We currently use the above listed three, but there are tons of others.




We run DeWALT for for 20V tools and Milwaukee M12 for 12V tools.

Pretty basic reason is I can buy 3 DeWALT 20V brushless drill for the price of 1 Milwaukee. With the likelihood of them getting broken and the cost to have enough to equip our shop the economics drove the choice.

The reason we had Milwaukee m12 is because they make tools for that system that we want and cant get a DeWALT 20V equivalent like the previously mentioned rivet tool and this:

Also you can get battery convertors to between most of the systems if you need them.

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It’s coming soon!