Porter-Cable Tools Review: Is it a Good Brand?

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When it comes to selecting tools, the brand can often be a determining factor. I’ve had the privilege of extensively using Porter-Cable products throughout my career. So, is this brand worth your investment?

Based on my firsthand experience with Porter-Cable tools, here’s a comprehensive review to help guide your decision-making.

History and Reputation

Porter-Cable has built its reputation over the years. It was established in 1906 in Syracuse, New York, by R.E. and G.G. Porter and their friend F.E. Cable. This partnership between brothers and a friend resulted in the brand’s amalgamated name, “Porter-Cable.” 

They started small by investing only a few thousand dollars in a jobbing machine and running a small tool shop in their garage. They eventually expanded to making power tools in 1914. In 1917, they were able to purchase a small production plant. 

They focused on expanding and finding new developments, and improving their products. By 1926, the company successfully invented portable electric power tools, and two years after invented the helical gear drive saw, which was a highly commended achievement in the industry. 

Porter Cable Tools

With their aim to sell more and beat Black & Decker by producing lower-end tools, they sold their company to Rockwell International in 1960. However, this shift in producing lower-end tools did not help the company. 

In 1981, Porter-Cable was sold to Pentair Tool Group (Pentair INC) and started producing higher-end tools for professionals. In 2004, Pentair INC sold Porter-Cable to Stanley Black & Decker. 

Despite the company’s transfer, Porter-Cable continues to produce high-end tools to maintain its name and reputation as a power tools manufacturer. 

Overall Quality and Value for Money

Porter-Cable is the preferred brand of homeowners, DIYers, and professionals generally because of the lower prices of their tools as compared to the other brands in the market. Although Porter-Cable tools are marketed as high-end tools, their prices are generally lower among other brands of the same quality. 

Based on my experience with their products over the years, Porter-Cable tools are easy to use with their functional design. Also, most buyers agree that Porter-Cable is suitable for lightweight use. 

Porter Cable power drill

Porter-Cable has also been a go-to option for people with a low budget but who need a decent and functional tool. 

Manufacturing

Porter-Cable has a headquarter in Tennessee, USA [1], where they manufacture their accessories. However, they expanded the manufacturing of their tools abroad, particularly in Mexico and China. 

This strategy aims to lower the costs and sell their products more competitively in the market.

Product Selection

Mostly, Porter-Cable focuses on manufacturing power tools and accessories. They produce tools that fall into two different purposes, which are woodworking tools and metalworking tools. Also, their tools fall into specific categories, as below. 

Corded Power Tools

Porter Cable has a significant selection of corded power tools such as drills, sanders, and saws. 

Porter Cable circular saw

Cordless Power Tools

Noticeably, this brand focuses more on cordless power tools. For instance, for every 2 models of corded drills, the models of cordless drills are doubled. This is the same pattern for almost all its power tool products.

The most notable feature of their cordless selection is their 20V Max Cordless battery system which is compatible with a vast range of cordless power tools

Other Products (Vacuums, Lights, Accessories)

Porter-Cable also manufactures other products, such as dust extraction vacuums, jobsite lights, and jobsite radios. These products also have selections of either corded or cordless. 

They also produce a variety of accessories for their power tools, making it convenient for their customers who need to replace a part or repair their power tools. 

Pricing

Porter-Cable is relatively affordable compared to other brands like DeWalt or Bosch. Despite their lower price, Porter-Cable products are still durable and reliable.

Porter Cable oscillating tool

Warranty

Porter-Cable products come with a basic warranty. Most of their industrial tools come with a one-year limited warranty from the day of purchase. However, some of their tools, especially the more expensive tools and larger machines, have a three-year warranty.

They will cover the repair of any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship free of charge. However, the warranty does not cover the accessories or damage caused by repairs handled by personnel other than of Porter-Cable. 

Is Porter Cable a Good Brand?

Generally, Porter-Cable is a decent brand with good value for money. Also, its quality can compare to other expensive brands. Most people agree that Porter-Cable is recommended if you are looking for the following:

Porter Cable power tools
  1. Great quality tools for a reasonable price
  2. A decent choice for corded power tools
  3. Wide range selection of corded power tools that can share the same battery system (20V Max)

How Does it Fare with Other Brands?

If you would like to closely analyze how Porter-Cable fares with other brands, here are some industry names worth comparing to them:

If you compare Porter-Cable to Black & Decker, the latter has an edge over power tools and accessories due to their vast selection of offers. However, Porter-Cable products are generally cheaper between the two brands.

Bosch Tools

Another worthy brand of comparison for Porter-Cable is Bosch. Porter-Cable products are typical for lightweight use, while Bosch products are also functional and suitable for daily use. However, Porter-Cable products are, again, cheaper.

When pitted against the reputable DeWalt, Porter-Cable is a winner in terms of price. Porter-Cable products are essentially good for their price. Whereas DeWalt is marketed as a higher-end brand in the market.

FAQ

Is Porter-Cable made by DeWalt?

No, Porter-Cable is not made by DeWalt. Although both brands are under the same umbrella, Stanley Black & Decker, these companies are separate brands.

Are Porter-Cable tools Made in China?

Yes, Porter-Cable tools are made in China. But not all their products are manufactured there. Some of their production facilities are based in Mexico, while their accessories are made in their headquarters in Tennessee, USA.

Conclusion

Finally, after careful analysis of all these Porter-Cable tools reviews and key insights from the buyers, I can recommend this brand to those looking for quality yet cheap corded and cordless power tools. 

However,  this brand may only be suitable for non-professional or lightweight use. In general, Porter-Cable tools are good value for money for their quality.

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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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