Masterforce is Menards’ house brand for power tools and hand tools. As a house brand, they are less expensive than the big name brands. But are Masterforce power tools good? And who makes Masterforce power tools for Menards? I did some digging to find out.
Masterforce power tools are made by Chervon, one of the 10 largest OEMs of power tools in the world. Contrary to rumor, they are not rebadged Maktec tools made by Makita.
Who makes Masterforce cordless tools?
Menards, of course, doesn’t make the Masterforce products themselves. The OEM for Masterforce power tools is a company called Chervon, not to be confused with the oil company.
While you may not have heard of Chervon specifically, the company isn’t exactly a newcomer. It is one of the 10 largest power tool manufacturers in the world, and owns and manufactures some brands you may have heard of, such as Skil. Chervon also makes power tools for other stores, including Lowe’s, and has made various Craftsman tools for Sears. Remember, of course, that the Craftsman tools at stores like Lowe’s aren’t the same as the ones at Sears anymore.
Chervon is a newer company than TTI (makers of Milwaukee, Ridgid, and Ryobi) and Stanley Black and Decker (makers of DeWalt, Craftsman, and Black and Decker), but they were founded in 1993, more than 25 years ago. They aren’t an old company, but they aren’t an upstart either. They’ve been around long enough to learn how to make a good power tool. Skil is no slouch in that market. In some circles, the Skil name is practically synonymous with circular saws.
Masterforce hand tools are made by a different company, Apex Tool Group. House brands frequently use different original equipment manufacturers for different parts of the product line.
Are Masterforce power tools good?
Masterforce power tools are good tools for the money. While their quality won’t reach that of the best tools from Milwaukee or DeWalt, Masterforce tools fall in the prosumer category. They may rival the quality of the cheapest tools from DeWalt and Milwaukee. But they really compete more directly with midrange brands like Craftsman or Ridgid. And a quarter century is more than long enough to figure out how to make a power tool that hits a given price point with quality that rivals other brands at the same price.
The price on the tools themselves may not be much lower than their bigger-name rivals, but the batteries tend to be a bit cheaper. And in the long run, that’s where the cost comes from. The tool itself can last decades, but you’ll need new batteries every few years.
If you find a good deal on Masterforce tools and live near a Menards, there’s no reason not to buy Masterforce power tools. The key to power tools is to make sure you’re buying something of reasonable quality, and ideally, sold at a store near you. That way, if your batteries die in the middle of a project, you’re not driving an hour to get replacements.
It’s best to stick with one line of tools and one battery system. If you can get a deal on Masterforce, especially on a bundle deal during or after one of the big shopping holidays, go with Masterforce, as long as you don’t have to drive too far out of your way to get batteries. You can safely assume if the price is comparable to a similar Kobalt tool at Lowe’s or Craftsman tool at Sears, the quality will be too.
Of course, when you’re talking corded tools rather than cordless, then batteries don’t matter. If the price is right and it’s a tool you need and you can live with it not being cordless, get it.
Saving money with midrange tools
If you don’t use the tool every day but want a high-end experience, one good way to save money is to buy a midrange tool like Masterforce, then use higher quality blades in it. You’ll get better results doing that than buying high-end tools and using cheap blades.
Where did the Masterforce/Makita rumor come from?
At one time, Masterforce and Makita’s budget Maktec brand used compatible batteries, from what I’ve heard. I wouldn’t know, because at that time, Menards hadn’t made it to Missouri yet. It’s possible that back then, Masterforce tools were indeed made by Makita. But that’s not the case now. For the last several years, Masterforce tools have been made by Chervon. There’s nothing wrong with them, just don’t get the idea they’re Makitas with a different label. They aren’t. If you want a Makita, buy a Makita.
I actually bought a new masterforce lithium portaband saw and only that. So I took the handle off, split out about 3/16 material between the power terminals and reversed polarity. Made a few cuts and added a few plastic pieces and boom, it now uses my dewalt 20v max lithium ion batteries !!!