I wrote about the new Porter Cable quiet air compressor earlier today, and then the strangest thing happened – I saw a Porter Cable post in my social media feed.
That’s odd, I thought, as their last activity was back in November of 2018.
But no – it’s real.
Over at Instagram, they have a post promoting their 20V Max 1/2″ impact wrench, and another post about how “spring cleaning starts now.” On Facebook, they’re promoting their entry-priced 20V Max drill and impact driver combo kit.
I love the “spring cleaning” post – they are literally blowing the dust of the brand name.
That’s some very powerful symbolism, but what does it mean?
Or, is this just a small effort to keep things going?
I checked Porter Cable’s Twitter feed, and it says that their account is suspended due to rule violations. Ouch.
It will be interesting to see what comes from this, but I won’t hold my breath.
Why would Stanley Black & Decker breath new air into the Porter Cable brand, and why not? What does this new activity mean, if anything?
Iv said it before and I’ll say it again. Sb&d needs to make porter cable into a premium corded woodworking and carpentry tool brand. Their was a time when porter cable was one of if not the best brand in that category making very fine American made tools. I would like to see that again.
One thing I still hear positive about the brand is the routers. Whether that is warranted or not I’m not sure, but I think it shows a market for the brand still exists- even if the cordless line goes away.
Based on SBD’s recent history though, I’d bet they are planning to push the 20v max line into non- orange or blue regional retailers.
It would be a good way to push new craftsman tools (some of which were clearly PC 20v tools first) in an Orange building.
Mike (the other one)
I agree. It makes perfect sense for Porter Cable to focus on stationary woodworking and shop tools, like table saws, band saws, bench grinders, drill presses, lathes, etc. as well as cabled circular saws, drills, etc.
Not everything needs to be battery powered, and I think there is still a market for these kinds of tools. No need to switch out batteries or wait for them to charge.
I agree. They used to be the tools to buy for woodworking. Their routers were great. I still I’ve using mine. I also likes their air nailers. I have their Brad, finish and framer that are over twenty years old.
Same here. Great routers. I’ve also got a couple of compact PC 12v drills that are reliable, lightweight and everything I need for anything up to and including light construction.
Just came to say that porter cable (sbd) should ditch the cordless line and focus on table saws, band saws, routers/router tables, etc etc. I have a few porter cable stationary tools, and I’ve been pretty happy with them so far. But yeah drop the cordless line. There are better platforms for the price or performance
Skye A Cohen
I would push back a little and say that from a branding point of view they have poisened it too much. Similar to Delta. Indeed at one point it had that cache but there have been too many years of grocery store tool isle budget junk and the brand may still have some cache among the general public but not really among the clientele that is buying high end corded tools.
I hope I’m wrong for what it’s worth.
Most brands would never do this but if they did a little bit of eating crow and admitting they strayed from where they should be and said they were going to refocus on their historical expertise of quality and value. Then the hard part would be coming out with a bomber tool with a good warranty and reasonable price.
I would give them another shot under those circumstances.
Koko The Talking Ape
Yep. I recall people really liked their biscuit jointer, with its smooth rack-and-pinion height adjustment.
Agree completely. I still use my routers and finish nailers.
Is there hope for PC door plane?l hord any parts I can find. Also looking for carbide cutters
For the 126 – look for the PC #873096 on eBay
But be warned that the prices being asked are at least 3 times what they cost (about $90) new 10 years ago.
Also the stock steel cutter (when sharp) actually seems to produce a crisper edge than the carbide cutter.
Porter Cable has some interesting innovations, and put a lot of decent to good quality machines in the hands of woodworkers. Their biscuit joiner is fairly famous, and they made high quality routers and accessible dovetail jigs. They had some interesting tools as well, like a folding miter saw. I think that they could corner the market doing essentially what other commenters have suggested, making high quality corded tools at reasonable prices. There is a strong market for affordable jointers, planers, bandsaws, and drill presses. Would you buy Harbor Freight, or spend some more and buy Porter Cable if it was of a superior quality? I feel like they could reclaim that market, but they would likely need to leave behind their Lego-looking cordless line to do so. I’m not an expert in Porter Cable, though, so someone could chime in and let me know if I’m headed in the wrong direction here.
AFAIK they already do this. My garage has a Porter Cable branded drill press (good), band saw (ok) and lunchbox planer (total crap). All bought the last 6 years.
In each of those cases, I literally cross shopped with Harbor Freight and picked the PC option. (My only regret is the planer, but I’m sure the HF one would frustrate me the same way.)
It sounds more like a marketing and distribution problem if folks here are unaware these products exist.
That’s some interesting insight. I did know they made a lot of the products I mentioned above, but the quality seems hit-or-miss, as you’ve seen. Many machines that fall in most hobbyist’s price categories are very hit-or-miss, quality-wise, and I was wondering if Porter Cable may be able to bring the quality back to where my used to be and sell to compete in that market. It’s good to hear from someone that has first-hand experience with this particular situation!
There’s always tradeoffs at the hobbyist price point. The band saw and drill press I think P-C did a good job with choosing where to compromise.
For example, their bandsaw has the biggest table of any saw I could find under twice the price. It also has a bigger motor, and it can be rewired for 240V if desired.
The trade-offs were that it doesn’t come with any extras: I ended up adding a fence, a mobile base, better guide blocks, a riser block kit, and reinforcement to the base cabinet.
I actually think the saw is a great example of getting the fundamentals better than the competition and shaving off extras that a hobbyist can add as they go along.
Additionally, P-C support has been great. I called them twice to order parts for my saw – both times I got a real human who spoke native English and knew exactly what I was talking about.
Overall I think they’re doing a fine job given the constraints of the market and their position – it’s a little disheartening to hear nobody else thinks so. That means perceptions are poor and likely to lead to their death.
I should clarify: the band saw is the 14″ “Delta clone”, not the little one they recently branded. Same with the DP, I have the large floor standing model.
It’s sad that people buying current PC products are cross shopping at HF. I used to buy PC because it was the best tool.
I really hate to see the race to bottom. “Let’s see if we can compete with HF” is not what we need.
It sounds like you’re thinking P-C should be about where Powermatic is positioned in the current marketplace?
That’s a fair reimagining of the brand, but very far from what the OP said (“spend some more than HF and get Porter Cable”).
P-C’s corded shop products are positioned at hobbyist prices. People like me simply can’t afford and wouldn’t buy P-C if they were too far upmarket.
They used to be high quality, made in the US products. They formerly competed against Powermatic and Delta, Makita, Bosch, etc. Did you know they made a pocket hole machine that cost over $1,000 20 years ago? They were never an entry-level tool company; they were high end.
I think it’s a shame that they have become yet another brand that used to be quality, and is now competing against HF and Craftsman in the shallow end of the pool.
There’s lots of folks who don’t need or want to buy high end tools. I get it. But there’s *so many* brands selling affordable tools to occasional users – Ryobi, HF, Skill, Kobalt, Craftsman, Hart and so many former big-name US brands. Do we need another one? I just don’t see the value in one more brand to muddy the waters, unless the goal is sell based on the former glory of the brand.
When I started buying corded power tools some 25 years ago the best available I could find were mostly Porter Cable and some Milwaukee. All made in the USA. I still have every one of them today and expect to in another 25 years. Don’t have a single non-USA made tool from either of them and won’t. They were built to last.
I agree that they need to make good, real tools. Corded woodworking tolls would be great.
Another “race to the bottom” tier competitor to Ruobi, CMan, etc just isn’t needed. Seriously – how many weekend homeowner tool brands do we need? It’s not like SB&D having one more brand will force any kind of competition, except trying to make them even cheaper.
I guess that I’ll chime in too – with hopes that SBD resurrects the brand for something akin to what the brand was before it was acquired by Black & Decker and made into the weaker sister to Dewalt. Like others in my age group – who own several corded PC tools from when they were owned by Rockwell International (the now defunct aerospace giant) we recall their preeminent position in producing quality woodworking tools. They were the company that brought us the first random orbit sander (I have one), great power planes (I have 2), powerful routers and sanders (I have several) – and at one time was the backbone (20 tools in all) of my corded power tool shop . It would be sad to see them relegated to the dustbin of history – the path that they were certainly headed. SBD certainly has the resources to resurrect the brand – and has gaps in their tool lineup where some good US engineering and manufacturing (even it has to be in Asia to compete) should be welcome. When Rockwell owned both Delta and Porter Cable – Delta focused on stationary woodworking machinery while Porter Cable delivered portable power tools. SBD seems to have little to offer in the stationary tool or timber framing tool arenas – but perhaps could under the Porter Cable brand. I’m hoping that this current flurry is not a fool’s gold flash in the pan and they realy do something to reinvigorate PC.
I’d love to see the 4-1/2” circular saw and the 500-series belt sander brought back to life, even though I have no use for either one right now.
I still grab that (9314) 4-1/2 in saw (now has a Forrest WWII blade mounted) from time to time – but use my track saw more often, I keep the gear case on it greased up – and also give my “locomotive-style” sander some TLC from time to time. Despite having many other routers (Bosch and Dewalt), my PC 7539 plunge router is still what I grab when I need to hog out lots of material.
Back in the business when I sold up and retired – we were still using a rather ancient PC lock mortising machine from time to time for clients who wanted the antique look of mortised-in lock sets. We also had quite a few PC/Betterley specialty routers – leftover from the days when laminate countertops were the norm.
I think a stationary tool and router path may be best for PC. There are lots of names out there but none are marketplace dominating, unlike the cordless market.
Side note I just started getting craftsman emails talking about US made tools. Thing is I didn’t sign up recently, and the last emails I got were back in the craftsman club days. I wonder if the dusted off the old email lists.
I live in England, I think Porter cable were good well made tools, I’ve got a Porter cable 3 inch belt sander, that I bought in America over 25 years ago, it still work’s OK, to be fair I think they lost there way a bit, I do think if they want to get into the cordless tool market now, it will be difficult because there’s so many good tools in the market already I think they should focus on hi quality stationery tools, like job site table saw, that kind of thing.
I don’t understand why they stopped making their Armadillo handheld belt sander and why no other company makes something similar. As a finish carpenter that tool is fantastic.
So what you’re saying is there’s a chance? You mean I don’t need to trade in all my PC stuff for some new hotness?
PC was the platform I chose when I first got tools. So I’m already invested in their 20v line. Even with what was supposed to be their impending doom, I flirted with scooping up their brushless offering just to have it. The brushed set I have now has not failed me once, so I never felt the need to upgrade.
This might go back to what the site owner said, and is a move by PC to other store brands and online while SBD focuses DeWalt and Craftsman in the big box stores?
I’ve got several PC 20v tools too. I appreciate the sentiments that “PC should just return to quality corded tools”, but there’s really nothing wrong with their 20v stuff – it’s identical to a lot of Craftsman but hasn’t benefitted from all the extra additions since Craftsman’s launch.
Coloring those new Craftsman tools grey and returning the favor so PC can sell in a new channel… seems clever to me! Seriously, why not?
Also, blowing the dust off PC is just too rich.
The only thing I can add about PC is their 6092 router, its a classic. Up there along with the Skill worm drive circular saw.
To Stuart- Maybe an idea down the road is a “Top 10 Tools of All Time” from your perspective.
“Of all time” might be a bit too difficult to narrow things down, but at any given time I bet I could settle on 10 frequently-used favorites. Thanks – will give it some thought!
Some tools may have reigned-supreme in their day and/or represented real innovation. Often that only lasts for some time – but then fades as new innovation comes along. IMO power tool build quality has diminished quite a bit for many top-of-the-line power tools made since the 1950’s onward. That may be a lament of old age (my 80+ years) or just nostalgic misremembering – but I truly think that manufacturers have made a value-engineering calculation. I think it assumes that consumers want a balance of lower prices and reasonable longevity, willing to sacrifice some build quality because they believe the march of innovative progress may soon obsolete their purchases.
I can say that for its day my Black & Decker SuperSawCat circular saw – with electronic blade brake – was a best in class tool – and may be the best corded circular saw ever built based on build-quality. But while I still have it – I now usually grab a cordless saw based on its much greater convenience.
The same can be said for my old Leica M3 and M4 film cameras on which fit and finish plus functionality for their day were superb. The Canon digital camera that I currently use, is not even close to the old Leicas in build quality – but is way more convenient to use and certainly fit for my current purpose.
Those B&D sawcats were great saws I think they are still made today under the dewalt name, people don’t realize Black and Decker made pro grade tools that were really good
The current Dewalt is not exactly a clone of the old B&D Super Sawcat. The shoe (at least on the 364K that I tried) was not as good nor was blade visability or cutline markers
Dating myself a bit……
DW 14.4 or 18 volt “system concept”
Makita 9.6v stick batteries
B & D sawcat (morphed to DW)
MKE holehawg or B & D RA w/ clutch
Festool – Domino PC/DW biscuit joiners
DW 2 or 3 blade planers w/ locking head
Passlode cordless nailers
Hitachi slide/fixed miter saws
My 0.02. They should focus on stationary tools for hobbyists and prosumers. I would have no qualms buying their products again, but, it is probably cheaper for SBD to churn out batches of reskinned DW BD battery tools … even if I have no idea who buy them or why, in this cordless tool saturated market.
About time. I Heard customers complaining all the time at lowes that they couldnt find the Porter cable tools they needed to complete their sets. I have friends that still only want only Porter cable.
Regardless as to whether Porter Cable sees fresh attention or not, I very highly doubt that we’ll ever see their cordless tools back at Lowe’s.
Lowe’s now has Kobalt, Craftsman, Flex, Skil, Dewalt, Metabo HPT, and the Bosch Freak. I don’t think there’s any room for Porter Cable, at least not given their price level and market positioning.
I wish they would bring back the 743K framing saw. Used ones still go for a premium.
Mike (the other one)
SBD would be wise to take Porter-Cable back to its roots as a woodworking power tool brand, with a focus on stationary power tools, and cabled circular saws, jig saws, drills, etc.
DeWalt is aimed at contractors working on a jobsite, but Porter-Cable can be marketed to workshop users, who don’t need everything to be battery powered. This way the two brands wouldn’t step on each other’s toes, and can still share common consumables (blades, bits, etc (sourced from Lenox and Irwin).
This would also allow Craftsman to complement Porter-Cable instead of competing internally with them. Their cordless tools are taking the place of Porter-Cable cordless tools anyway.
Black and Decker is now a bit of a pointless brand, and maybe should just focus on toasters and coffee makers, since their power tools are more or less disposable.
The Craftsman Experiment is over. Nobody wants it. Let’s put it in Ace or Tractor Supply and Lowes can shrug it off as a “well….we tried” moment. I can almost believe more people would buy Porter Cable. I feel that if they were going to breathe more life into Porter Cable their marketing team would make more noise. Yes, they are removing dust from the name but if this were to be a resurrection of some sort I believe they would push harder to garnish more attention. This is barely a blip on the radar. It’s very easy to speculate numerous big things in regards to the endless possibility that is the rebirth of PC. We all want good things for Porter Cable because we like the brand. We respect the brand. We dont like to see the things we enjoy go away. But where would a Porter Cable reemergence fit in? Lowes? Home Depot? Or as the house brand of a digital retailer? Would they be a full line of tools? Hand tools? Power tools? Corded? Cordless? Or both? Or nothing at all? Is this just a way to take a minute amount of attention away from the Flex release that is imminent. A marketing play……
Nothing since 2018 and their instagram page has added two more posts for a 20v 1/2 inch Impact Wrench over the last two days. Wondering where they are trying to go? It’s not brushless, but has a 4.0ah battery.
I have their Drill, Impact Driver, Jigsaw, and 6.5 Circular saw, with 3 batteries. So I’m not necessarily committed completely. Every tool review site that has had PC in a shootout has shown PC usually finishing near the bottom of the heap across all categories but price. So suffice to say, PC cordless has fallen from SBD’s mid tier to an entry level product replacing B&D.
So yeah…… more than likely gonna switch up a grade as Chervon’s SKIL and TTI’s Ryobi are better entry level products.