Porter Cable has announced a huge expansion to their 20V Max line of lithium ion-powered cordless power tools. They launched the new cordless platform earlier in the year, starting with the PCC600 drill/driver and PCC640 impact driver, and are adding 6 new tools to the product line.
As an aside, the drill/driver and impact driver combo kit (PCCK602L2) is currently on sale for just $149 at Lowes, which is a great deal for two solid-performing tools. The same combo is $180 via Amazon. Lowes’ sale price ends 8/27/13.
Porter Cable 20V Max Linked System Expansion:
- Reciprocating Tiger Saw
- Circular saw (6-1/2″)
- Cut-off Tool/Angle Grinder
- Oscillating Multi-Tool
- Pivoting LED Flashlight
All of these new cordless tools will be sold as bare-tools, and a 4-tool combo kit will join the 2-tool drilling and driving combo kit that is already available.
In addition to the new power tools, a 20V Max 4.0Ah MaxPack battery pack (PCC685L) will soon be available as well. This is in addition to the 1.5Ah compact battery pack (PCC680L) that was launched alongside the drill/driver and impact driver.
Looking over some of the images, it seems that the 20V Max tool designs were heavily derived from Porter Cable’s 18V NiCd and Li-ion cordless tools, with the Tiger Saw reciprocating saw perhaps being an obvious exception. Not that this would be a bad thing – I am quite fond of the 18V tools I have tried or personally own (such as my PC 18V cut-off tool) – but it’s not what I anticipated. I expected for the new tools to be all-new designs, but I suppose the design team had to start somewhere.
Price-wise, the new Porter Cable 20V cordless 4-tool combo is a bit higher than Ryobi’s ($239 vs. $189), and the bare tools are about comparably priced. The 20V bare tools are priced around the same as Porter Cable’s 18V tools, or at most $10 higher.
My initial take is that the Porter Cable 20V tools seem a bit DIY-ish, similar to how their 18V cordless tools are perceived. They’re dressed up in classic Porter Cable colors, but the brand will have to work hard to prove that the tools are bred for tough jobsite demands.
As of now it looks like Porter Cable will continue to support their 18V NiCd/Li-ion and 20V Max Li-ion product lines simultaneously.
When I spoke to the Porter Cable cordless tools product manager a few months ago, he presented a convincing argument that the 20V Max tools were jobsite-tough and every bit as professional-grade as other brands’ offerings. If you can work without some of the bells and whistles found in higher-priced tools, the new 20V Max tools might serve you well while leaving your wallet a little bit fuller. Whether this was all talk remains to be seen, but I didn’t feel like I was being fed marketing fluff.
I have known about Porter Cable’s planned 20V Linked System branding for some time, and hoped that the tools featured built-in sensors that worked out of the box with Stanley Guard tool inventory and access control systems or something similar. To my disappointment, Linked System is only a play on words – it appears that the branding simply refers to how the tools are designed around Li-ion battery technology (as opposed to NiCd and Li-ion as with Porter Cable 18V tools).
Reciprocating Tiger Saw PCC670B
- 14.5″ length
- Weighs 4.4 lbs (with 4.0Ah battery)
- 1″ Stroke length
- 0-3000 SPM
- Tool-free blade changes
- Pivoting shoe for consistent contact with workpieces
- Bare tool comes with (1) 6″ wood-cutting blade
- MSRP of $60
The new Tiger Saw is compact in size and relatively lightweight, and is designed for use in tight areas. Porter Cable says that it features a high performance drivetrain for high cutting performance in wood and metal materials.
6-1/2″ Circular Saw PCC660B
- 6-1/2″ blade size
- 2-1/8″ cutting capacity (at 90°)
- 50° adjustable shoe
- 3700 RPM
- Weighs 7.2 lbs with 4.0Ah battery
- On-board wrench storage
- Bare tool comes with (1) 18T carbide-tooth blade
- MSRP of $60
What I find interesting is that this saw is left-handed, as are many if not most cordless circular saws these days, while the 18V version is a right-handed saw. Unfortunately, the thin-looking baseplate looks to have been carried over from the 18V model.
Oscillating Tool PCC710B
- Tool-free blade change system (but probably requires a hex key for when using other brands’ universal-fit accessories)
- 10,000 – 18,000 OPM
- LED worklight
- 3-position overmold comfort grip
- Bare tool comes with 20 accessories and accessory kitbox
- MSRP of $70
If you plan to buy into the Porter Cable 20V Max system and don’t already own an oscillating multi-tool, this model offers an affordable point of entry. Runtime will probably be quite short unless you use it with a MaxPack 4.0Ah high capacity battery.
Cut-off Tool / Angle Grinder PCC761B
- 8,500 RPM
- Cast metal gear housing
- 3-position side handle
- Over-molded contoured grip
- Spindle lock for easier wheel changes
- Tool-free guard attachment
- Bare tool comes with grinding guard, cutting guard, (1) grinding wheel, (2) cutting wheels
- MSRP of $50
I have had good experiences with Porter Cable’s 18V grinder, and expect for the 20V model to perform equally as well, especially if paired with the higher capacity battery. It’s a decent model for cutting, grinding, and material removal applications.
What I especially like is that the 20V grinder also comes with cut-off and grinding guards right in the box. You can buy cutting wheels shaped to fit grinding guards, but using a cut-off wheel without a proper cutting guard increases the risk of bodily injury should the wheel fail and explode during use.
- 3/4″ stroke length
- 3 orbital settings
- 0-2500 SPM
- Variable speed trigger
- Tool-free blade release
- Shoe bevels from 0° to 45°
- Built-in dust blower
- Contoured over-molded handle for comfort
- Bare tool comes with (1) 4″ wood-cutting blade
- MSRP of $60
The new jigsaw is designed for making precise, clean, and accurate cuts in a variety of wood, plastic, and metal materials.
Personally I like to use jigsaws with more solid-looking baseplates, but I also tend to work with more delicate materials.
Pivoting LED Flashlight PCC700B
- (4) LEDs deliver 120 lumens of maximum brightness output
- Pivoting head
- MSRP of $25
This is a basic LED worklight that uses 4 LEDs instead of a more powerful (and expensive) single emitter, but it looks decent for the money. The head pivots from 0 to 90°, and with the battery installed you can place the flashlight on a flat surface for hands-free illumination,
4-Tool Combo Kit PCCK614L4
The 4-tool combo kit will come with the 1/2″ drill driver, circular saw, Tiger reciprocating saw, LED flashlight, (1) compact Li-ion battery, (1) high capacity Li-ion battery, a standard charger, starter accessories, and a kit bag, for $239.
2-Tool Combo Kit PCCK602L2
The 2-tool combo kit comes with the drill/driver, impact driver, (2) compact Li-ion battery packs, standard charger, and starter accessories for $179.
The new Porter Cable 20V Max Linked System cordless power tools will be available at Lowes and independent distributors starting in November 2013.