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No blanket answer, IMHO. I believe every company has their strengths & weaknesses.
I'd vote like this: P.C. for routers, sidewinder circ saws & the Porta Plane, Bosch for sanders, rotary hammers & worm drive saws, Makita for miter saws & cordless tools, Milwaukee for drills, recip saws & routers, Dewalt for their older miter saws, Panasonic for cordless drills & impact drivers, & Festool for almost anything they make, plus a bonus for being highly innovative.
All that said, there are exceptions to every catergory & just as many opinions as tools out there. The one thing I'm certain of is that there's never been as large a selection of good tools to pick from, as there is right now.
I'm a Bosch guy for cordless only because I really like the 18V drill and I got sucked into the system. If I did it today, I'd probably go with Makita Li-on.
I'm a Bosch guy for most corded tools like wormdrive, chopsaw, drills, jigs.Milwaukee for big bad right angle drills and PC for a sidewinder and sawzsall.
I try not to be a brand groupie because some companies make one tool that is clearly the best in the category or has that lone little life saving feature. I always try to buy the best regardless of cost, because, well, we all know what happens when you try to save a nickel!
It looks like this thread is turning more into 'what are you using' than 'what's your favorite'
But, I guess most of us have pretty much what we want. I'm not totally satisfied with my current set of tools but here goes:
Cordless: 18v Bosch (everything but the planer) happy with all but I too would like to get into the Makita lithium stuff. I have older 12v Makita drills too.
Circ: Bosch - don't like it. I want a Milwaukee or a Makita.
Recip: ANCIENT makita - so old it has a trigger lock - so old you gotta use an allen wrench. still rips! why replace it? I like PC's saw tiger series. I've seen a Milwaukee catch fire inside but they're still excellent, also.
Mitre: I have a steel pre-Depot Ryobi from around 1990. It's still true and still runs smoothly. Weighs 52 lbs. if I recall. I want a Makita slider or perhaps the Bosch.
Guns and Compressor: All PC right now. I don't have a framing gun at the moment. My PC was stolen and I'm probably not going to buy another as it was the only PC gun I haven't cared for.
I won't go into listing an entire inventory here, though I bet a few people would read it... Anyway I have a little of most brands and everything is fairly good.
If a man is building a tool collection, my advice is to specifiy single items in posts as he prepares to buy each item. I'm getting the most recent feedback on Ridgid framing nailers right now as that will probably be my next 3 figure purchase.
Oh and here's a bit of retro patrick trivia:
I have never owned a single yellow power tool.
I don't detest DeWalt, nor do I dislike yellow, I've just never bought anything by them.
This could change as a buddy is trying to sell me a DeWalt biscuit saw...............
PC for routers, sanders and most wood working
Bosch circular saw and Bulldog rotary hammer
Skil Magg 77 worm drive
Hilti for demo
Hitachi, Senco my air tools PC, Grip Rite for loaners
PC pancake / Emglo wheelbarrow dual dog for jobsite (it is just sooo quiet)
beginning to like CMT / Amana for router bits
Porta Plane rules, there is no other portable power plane.
Others also but can't think now need more coffee
You will never stand taller than when kneeling to help a child.
I agree PC for woodworking,Millwauke for sawsall heavy drills and now cordless tools too the 28v is awsome.
hilti ram set guns [pat]
stabilla levels and laser great warrantee and great accuracity
bosch bulldog chipper/ drill run all day no problem
I have the millwauke impact gun that I bought to justify buying the radio but you just have to have one everyone at work has diffrent ones and they all work prety good run time is the only issues that realy come up
douglas hammer feels great can swing it all day
my old stanly planes nothing like the real thing,if you cant afford lie neilson
fat max pry bar less than $20 and a really tough 3 foot peice of steel
fein multi master just so handy
Nearly everything in my trailer is yellow (Dewalt). Over all I'm very satisfied. Lately I've decided to look into different colors for cordless. My 14.4 Dewalt cordless drill has taken alot of abuse and works well. I've went through 4-5 in 12 years. The 18v is a different story. Batteries burn out, seems like it's always between gears, always gets bumped from drill to a clutched setting, keyless chuck nurels wore off first thing. I bought an 18v impact last year. It doesn't have gear settings but sometimes grinds when motor spins and the driver doesn't. Looked at it the other day and the metal housing is cracked w/ a piece missing. Nobody remembers dropping it.
I'm looking a at Bosch or Panasonic based on recent JLC articles. Any advice?
Doug M. reminded me of something I've been wondering:
How many of you use the clutch settings on your drill-drivers?
i very seldom do. if i'm driving a screw that could be easily shot too deep or torn up by the driver, i just don't use the driver. i'd rather pre-drill, countersink, and use a screwdriver.
And about screwdrivers:
In a snobbish mood a while back I bought a collection of Klien screwdrivers and I look for reasons to use them. I don't know that they're worth the money but there's something about higher priced tools that keeps me more alert about where they are - i lose them less.
Yes, I use the clutch settings all of the time. Next time I have to remount four 5' piano hinges w/ brass screws I'll call and see how long you want to use those Kliens. Although, I do have one particular hand driver that is my favorite.
You will never stand taller than when kneeling to help a child.