Mac vs Matco (Which is Better?)

Today, premium tools of every kind are quite plentiful, and easily sourced by many means. However, in the eyes of many tradesman and industry professionals, few brands are as worthy as those that fulfill the mechanic-grade “tool truck” sector of the market. Tools of this type are designed by professionals, for professionals, with durability and practicality in mind.

Nonetheless, many consumers still find themselves questioning which particular tool truck to purchase their tools from. In fact, this debate rages in most every professional repair shop to this day, and does little to quell the confusion that is generated when attempting to decide how best to spend your money.

Two particular tool brands that are often compared are Mac Tools and Matco Tools, though many consumers remain undecided, or without preference. For this reason, we have assembled the following guide, empowering you, the consumer, to make the most educated purchasing decision possible.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of Mac and Matco tools, based upon a wide range of valuable criteria.

History 

Mac and Matco have both served as cornerstones of the tool industry for many years. Though their origins were established within a decade of each other, the story behind each of these two companies’ rise to success is extremely interesting.

The following is a brief history of Mac and Matco’s rise to prominence.

About Mac Tools

Mac Tools logo

Mac Tools’ history dates back to 1938, at which time the American automotive industry was thriving beyond imagination. Consumers were hungry for quality tools, the likes of which would allow them to work tirelessly on their beloved automobiles. To fulfill this need, seven business acquaintances joined together to form a premium tool company all on their own.

Initially known as the Mechanics Tool and Forge Company, Mac Tools grew out of a single facility located in the state of Ohio. The company’s growth was spurred on by early government contracts during WWII, and the addition of a new socket/ratchet related division, known as Clinton Tools.

Over the decades, Mac’s product line expanded to include a wealth of hand tools, as well as numerous power tools, of both a pneumatic and battery-powered design. The company officially rebranded itself Mac Tools in 1968, thereby dropping the manufacturer’s earlier Mac Allied Tools moniker.

Production continued, and a mobile sales presence was established with the notion that tools were best sold when presented to consumers at their place of business.

In 1980, Mac Tools was acquired by Stanley Tools, though the functions of both companies were kept largely separate for a couple of decades. Today, Mac Tools operates under its parent company’s ownership banner, and is a direct subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. A certain amount of overlap can now be found between Mac and Stanley’s tool lines.

At the current moment, Mac produces more than 42,000 products spanning the gamut of applications. From automotive tools, to those products designed specifically for heavy industrial applications, Mac tools has you covered. The company also offers a full line of premium tool storage solutions.

See Also: Mac vs Snap-On Tools

About Matco Tools

Matco Tools logo

Matco Tools was originally formed in 1946, as the box manufacturing division of Mac Tools. In fact, “Matco” stands for Mac Allied Tools Company, which itself, is a name once heralded by the Mac Tool Company. However, Matco has not been associated in any way with Mac Tools since the latter portion of the 1970s, as Matco and Mac eventually split from one another.

Nonetheless, Matco still adopted the “tool truck” business model, much like Mac Tools, thereby bringing tools straight to industry professionals, at their place of work. This led to a substantial rise in popularity, as Matco quickly found itself competing with the likes of Snap-On, Cornwell, and Mac Tools.

During much of the 1980s and 90s, Matco continued to expand its product catalog, eventually showcasing an enormous inventory of basic and specialty hand tools, as well as numerous power tools. With time, this lineup grew to include a range of portable, battery-operated power tools, including drills, impact guns, and grinders.

Recently, Matco has undergone a handful of ownership changes. During the latter era, Matco was predominantly owned by manufacturing powerhouse Danaher.

However, Danaher relinquished control of Matco, along with several other subsidiaries to form Fortive. This was followed by another change of ownership in 2020, at which time Matco found itself under control of Vontier.

Today, Matco still serves as a powerhouse within the domestic tool industry, serving an untold number of amateur and professional consumers on an annual basis. As recently as 2021, it was estimated that Matco offered as many as 13,000 individual products in total.

Read Also: Matco Tools vs Snap-On Tools

Manufacturing 

Many consumers consider a tool’s point of origin when contemplating how best to spend their hard earned money. In consideration of this fact, we have compiled the necessary information to provide a side-by-side comparison of Mac and Matco, in this regard.

Where Are Mac Tools Made?

Mac Tools building

Mac Tools is headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, though the company’s main distribution center is actually found in Hilliard, Ohio. Manufacturing efforts take place in a number of Stanley Black & Decker facilities across the globe, including those on both American and foreign soils. Most notably, Mac’s hardline tools are produced in Dallas, Texas.

A number of the company’s tools are now produced in China, along with a handful of other foreign countries, though the manufacturer is relatively tight-lipped regarding the point of origin of many of its tools.

Where Are Matco Tools Made?

Matco Tools factory

Matco Tools is headquartered in Stow, Ohio, though much of the company’s manufacturing efforts take place around the world. Most notably, the company operates a sizable plant in Jamestown, New York, where it manufactures a wide array of premium tool boxes. While many of Matco’s hand tools are still produced in the United States, the bulk of the company’s power tools and scan tools are manufactured overseas, predominantly in China.

Product Line

Mac and Matco are both known as front-runners in the design and production of premium power tools for the “tool truck” sector. As such, each of these two brands offers more than their fair share of stellar products and accessories.

The following is an account of some of Mac and Matco’s most renowned power tool offerings.

Mac

Mac Tools product line

At the current moment, Mac Tools offers a couple of different lines of industrial-grade power tools. The first of which is the company’s 12V Max series, while the latter is the more robust 20V Max line. Tools from either of these product lines are suitable for a number of applications, and remain highly popular with a wide range of consumers.

Tools within Mac’s 12V Max lineup are generally intended for medium-duty use, and provide class-leading power, as well as battery life.

Mac’s 12V Max lineup includes an array of drills, impact drivers, electric ratchets, drill drivers, and lights. Additionally, many of these tools can be purchased in a set and diverse combo packs, thereby providing consumers with everything they need to get the job done.

When a little extra power is required, Mac’s 20V Max series of power tools answer the call. Tools within this lineup are quite powerful in nature, and are designed with durability in mind. Some of the most noteworthy additions to this lineup include impact guns, drills, polishers, sanders, lights, and cut off tools.

Also of note is Mac’s extremely diverse line of hand tools. The company offers virtually everything that the DIY enthusiast or tradesman could ever wish for, including hammers, files, pliers, wrenches, cordless ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, pry bars and air saws such as heavy duty geared air saw, air saw and air saw blades.

Matco

Matco Tools product line

Much like the company’s fellow “tool truck” brands, Matco offers a sizable inventory of both hand and power tools. Of these tools, few are as popular as those found within Matco’s Infinium line. This line of power tools is extremely diverse, including 4 different battery configurations, as well as a wealth of individual tools, meeting the needs of most any consumer.

As mentioned, Matco’s Infinium power tools are offered in 4 individual voltage/battery configurations, including 12V, 16V, 18V, and 20V. This allows consumers to expertly match their tool to the task at hand.

While Matco’s 20V power tools are extremely powerful and can conquer most any task, many consumers opt for the use of the company’s 12V and 16V tools when working within more confined spaces.

Matco’s Infinium line includes a wide array of premium tools, specifically engineered to provide ample power wherever necessary. Additionally, tools within the Infinium line are known to exhibit long-lasting battery life.

Some of the most popular tools offered within the Infinium series include drills, impact guns, impact drivers, grinders, polishers, sanders, grease guns, rivet guns, and portable lights.

Aside from the company’s significant lineup of power tools, Matco also offers one of the most comprehensive inventories of hand tools to be found anywhere. These tools are built to last, and come backed by a lifetime warranty. Along with basic hand tools, Matco sells an endless number of automotive-specific service tools as well.

Technology 

Mac and Matco have both stood as innovators within the power tool marketplace. This tradition continues today, as each brand continues to push the envelope, in the continual pursuit of perfection. 

The following are several of each brand’s most significant technological advancements.

Mac

Mac Tools battery

20V Max Technology

Mac’s most robust line of electric power tools now utilize one of the industry’s most popular battery-pack configurations, the 20V Max power system.

If this technology sounds familiar, it should, as most associate this technology with DeWalt, which is also a subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker. Batteries within this series are extremely hearty, quite potent, and designed to provide power for lengthy periods of time without charge.

Power-Integrated Tool Storage

Like some of the company’s top competitors, Mac offers a comprehensive line of power-integrated tool boxes, which make it easier than ever to keep your power tools within arm’s reach.

These tool boxes include power outlets, allowing you to charge and store various batteries atop of your Mac tool box.

Shop Tool Tech

Along with its sizable selection of portable power tools, Mac also manufactures and sells a wide array of shop-specific tools, designed to simplify life for the average tradesman or DIY specialist.

Some of the most noteworthy of these products include portable lights, fans, radios, and battery service accessories.

Matco

Matco battery

Compact Technology

Over the last decade, Matco has gained a reputation for producing some of the most compact battery-operated power tools in the industry.

The bulk of these tools fall within Matco’s 12V and 16V series, and are able to be used in much tighter confines than many portable power tools currently offered by the majority of manufacturers.

20V Battery Adapters

Matco engineered a creative solution to satisfy the needs of their customers when introducing their newest line of 20V batteries.

Rather than making the brand’s previous 20V batteries obsolete, Matco simply engineered a specialty adaptor to allow each type of battery to be used interchangeably. Adaptors of this type are reasonably priced, and quite handy to have on hand.

20V LI-ION 4.0AH Batteries

It appears that Matco got everything right when designing their new 20V LI-ION 4.0 AH batteries. Not only are these batteries quite robust, but they are also engineered with interchangeability in mind.

Matco designed these batteries to pull double-duty sufficing for use in both the company’s 18V and 20V Infinium power tools.

Warranty and Service

Few considerations are as valuable when purchasing one or more power tools as that which centers around a particular manufacturer’s warranty policy. In fact, many purchasing decisions come down to a comparison of warranty related coverage, for a tool is only as good as the warranty that backs it. 

For this reason, we have compiled a comparison on Mac and Matco’s warranty policies.

Mac

Mac Tools are protected by a rather comprehensive warranty, especially if purchased from an authorized franchisee. In fact, virtually all Mac-branded hand tools come backed by a limited lifetime warranty policy, which protects against any form of material or workmanship related defects. Defective tools should be returned directly to an authorized Mac Tools dealer.

In general, Mac Tools offers approximately the same warranty on power tools as any other “tool truck” brand. In most cases, this warranty is extended for a period of 12-months from the date of purchase and protects against material and workmanship-related defects.

Likewise, most Mac Tools batteries are covered for approximately 12-months following the initial purchase. 

Interestingly enough, Mac Tools also offers a 30-day return policy on all internet orders, assuming that the product in question is returned in reasonable shape, and with all originally included parts/components. All returns will be credited back to the original consumer’s account.

Consumers can also return any damaged or defective tools directly to their local Mac distributor. Due to Mac’s mobile sales approach, most tools can be swapped out on-site, though some might have to be ordered directly from the manufacturer’s website. In any event, this simplifies the matter of conducting any necessary returns.

Matco

Matco has held a long-standing reputation for providing superior customer service. This sentiment is echoed through the company’s comprehensive warranty policy, which applies in one regard or another to both Matco’s power and hand tools. This protects consumers and allows them to take peace of mind in their newly-made purchases.

Matco’s hand tool warranty is among the best in the tool industry, covering all tools of this nature for life. This warranty coverage protects against all defects in material and workmanship. If you were to experience a failure with any of the company’s hand tools, simply notify your local Matco representative for a free replacement.

In addition, Matco’s power tool warranty is also on par with that of any other “tool truck” brand in the industry. Though the exact terms of this warranty differ from one tool to the next, the bulk of Matco power tools is backed by a one-year warranty policy, while the bulk of the company’s battery packs is also warrantied similarly.

In similar regard to Mac, Matco Tools will also swap out defective or damaged tools onsite, thereby preventing you from having to ship your tools off as a matter of warranty. In most cases, a compromised tool can be warrantied within one week’s time, getting you back to work without excess hassle.

And The Winner Is…

Mac Tools logo

Without a doubt, Mac and Matco are among two of the most prestigious brands within the modern tool industry. Both carry an iconic legacy that can be traced back many decades, to a time in which the automotive repair industry was in its infancy. However, for the sake of argument, we must choose a single brand to award our “best of the best” honors.

In our opinion, we feel that Mac Tools is deserving of a slight edge over Matco, due primarily to the size and scope of each company’s inventory. While both brands offer a wide array of tools, Matco simply cannot compete with Mac in terms of inventory diversity.

Additionally, we feel that Mac seems to be poised on more stable ground for the long haul when compared to Matco. While it might seem inconsequential to some, Matco has undergone a number of ownership changes over the past decade.

Meanwhile, Mac has been owned continuously by Stanley Black & Decker for over 40-years. In a world where warranty is king, this is a point worthy of consideration now, and well into the future.

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