Porter Cable PCE345 Review — Is this Budget Jigsaw Worth It? (2024)

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Entry-level woodworking is enjoyable if you’re endowed with the right tool. The Porter Cable PCE345 jigsaw is a great option for beginners because of its affordability. But affordability isn’t the only advantage of this jigsaw—what else does it bring to the table? To spare you the inconvenience of navigating through lengthy return processes, I’ll guide you through a comprehensive review of this corded tool, exploring its features, performance, and overall value.

What I Like

What I Don't Like

Design

This 5.4 lbs jigsaw is well-engineered to provide you with an excellent grip with its 6 amps power motor and soft rubber handle. The side of the handle features a lock button to reduce fatigue during prolonged use. Its 7-speed dial and 4 orbital action modes reaching to 3200 spm (strokes per minute) can provide impressive cutting performance.

I’ve noticed the speed-setting dial is quite close to the trigger. This proximity could lead one to inadvertently change the speed while sawing. From an expert’s standpoint, I’d recommend being extra careful when adjusting this setting to steer clear of potential mishaps. On a positive note, the jigsaw comes with a keyless blade clamp. This feature simplifies and speeds up the blade-changing process when you’re looking to switch up your wood-cutting blade.

Porter Cable PCE345 Features

Power

This Porter Cable PCE345 jigsaw packs a lot of power for clean and precise cuts. The 6 amp powerful motor with a speed of 3,200 spm guarantees fast and accurate cutting performance. It can cut through hardwood as well as light metals when used correctly. This feature minimizes downtime and makes it easy to use.

Speed & Orbital Settings

The jigsaw has a unique feature—a 7-speed orbital setting dial located quite near the trigger. It’s not often you find such a capability in a reasonably priced, standard orbital action jigsaw. These varying settings empower users, letting them choose the optimal speed for their task. Admittedly, its placement took a moment to get used to, but I believe even a beginner would get the hang of it after some consistent use.

This power tool has 4 different orbital jig saw settings which allow you to cut in a circular motion and give you better control and range in different materials. As a result, the orbital settings can get more precise cuts. 

A tip from me is to start with the lowest power and work your way up for safety. Turn the speed dial-up if it stops in the middle of cutting rigid materials.

Cutting Performance & Depth

I found that this jigsaw cuts 4 inches deep (great for woodworking). Coupled with the 6-amp motor, speed, and orbital settings feature, you can cut through a wider range of materials conveniently. This sets the PCE345 above other jigsaws within its price point making it comparable to high-end jigsaws and one of the most important tool for woodworking.

For example, the 6-amp motor PCE345 weighs less than the Dewalt DCS331M1. But, its cutting depth of 4 inches is better than Black and Decker or any other power tool in its price range. Despite not giving optimal cutting, its 7-speed setting and 4 orbital modes give it an edge over the Dewalt DCS331M1 and other power tools in its price range.

Blade Change

Like Dewalt DCS331B power toolthis model comes with an easy blade change feature. It need not require other hand tools to switch the blades. Simply pull out the blade in use and stick in the next blade. This fast and easy blade switching saves you time in the process.

Weight & Ease of Use

The Porter Cable PCE345 is very lightweight with just around 5 pounds. It also has rubber handles and a well-overmolded front. This feature makes lifting and moving it around an easy feat, comparable to top-notch cordless jigsaws. With a grip this comfortable, you could cut with swift and smooth moves.

Other Features of Porter Cable PCE345

The jigsaw sports a broad safety shoe and a protective cover. I appreciate these safety measures as they offer both protection and stability during cuts. Additionally, on the side of the orbital jigsaw, there’s a convenient lock-on button. This feature has been particularly useful, letting me operate the saw comfortably without tiring my fingers from continuously pressing the trigger.

Most jigsaws such as the Skil-4495-02 I reviewed offer exactly two or three bevel angle adjustments which could be quite limiting for newbies and DIYers. However, this powerful jigsaw offers you multiple angles – 0, 15, 30 & 45 degrees. I found this would create bevel angle cuts clean and precise. 

Finally, the Porter Cable PCE345 offers a dial integrated LED light. The light helps you brighten the cutting line and improves visibility. This feature lets you work at any time of the day or night, without compromising efficiency.

Accessories

This 6 amp motor orbital settings jigsaw comes with functional accessories. The most notable accessory is the extra pair of straight wood-cutting blades. However, the saw doesn’t come with a built-in storage compartment to house any extra cutting blade

Other accessories include a powerful wrench and an instruction manual which you should read when you buy the saw. Only accessories recommended by Porter Cable should be used with this jigsaw to reduce the risk of injury. A complete list of recommended accessories[1] and where to get them is available on the official Porter Cable website.

Warranty

Porter Cable orbital jig saw offers a 3-year limited warranty. Any defects due to bad materials or artistry within three years of purchase will be repaired or replaced for free. The manufacturer will replace bad batteries within two years of purchase. However, the warranty does not cover defects from normal wear or tool abuse. Damage to tools and accessories caused by attempted repairs by others are not part of the warranty, too. 

When I purchased the saw, I discovered that Porter Cable provides a rather comprehensive package. It includes a year of complimentary maintenance and replacement service for worn-out tools. On top of that, there’s a 90-day satisfaction guarantee that allows you to request a full refund if you find yourself dissatisfied with the saw within that time frame.

Customer Reviews

Most Porter Cable PCE345 reviews online are positive. It is rated 4.7 stars by previous Amazon buyers. Most of them are satisfied with the performance and speed of Porter Cable. It is sturdy, easy to control, and creates precise cuts. When making exact and precise cuts, the Porter Cable PCE345 jigsaw outperforms saber saws, just like any other jigsaw.

(To know how Porter Cable compares with other renowned brands, you can also check our comparison between Porter Cable and DeWalt here.)

Porter Cable PCE345 Review Conclusion

The Porter Cable PCE345 is an impressive tool overall. For a jigsaw and tool of this range, the speed it offers is remarkable. Its all-around specifications, especially the 3,200 spm made possible by the speed dial, puts it in the league of high-end saws. Beginners will value the versatility, sturdiness, and functional features of this solid jigsaw, especially for DIY projects.

For related products, you can also check out the pages below: 

Great budget jigsaws 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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