Porter Cable, a still well-known Stanley Black & Decker brand of power tools, air tools, and woodworking tools, hasn’t come out with anything new in quite some time.
Here’s how it all came to mind: I was scoping out new releases and came across a Bosch router template guide set that might or might not actually be new. Then I reminded myself to pop a Porter Cable router into my new Woodpeckers router table and start knocking out tasks from my project to-do list.
And then I asked out loud: What has Porter Cable been up to lately?
The answer: Nothing? I’d say that I’m sure they’re working on some great upcoming releases, but I’m honestly not so sure.
Dewalt has been cranking out all kinds of new and exciting tools, and there are lots more to come.
To be fair, the power tool teams have a lot on their plate right now. I’m sure there’s a lot of dedication to pushing Dewalt higher and further; and I’m sure their head-to-head competition with Milwaukee has added fuel to the fire.
Then there’s SBD’s acquisition of the Craftsman brand. My hope is that Stanley Black & Decker has a whole team working on new Craftsman cordless power tools and benchtop tools. There are not enough options when it comes to benchtop power tools these days.
Porter Cable makes some great tools. And their power tools are okay. I like their 20V Max drill and impact driver, but that’s about it. The other tools aren’t quite as remarkable.
Kobalt has been doing quite well with their 24V Max power tool lineup. I’ve heard nothing but praise, and despite my initial reservations I can’t really find much to criticize.
Ryobi has been dominating the DIY power tool market. They continue to innovate and have been releasing tools at an impressive rate.
Ridgid has also been pushing forward with strong momentum and great new products.
So why is it all quiet on the Porter Cable front? Has anyone else noticed? Porter Cable has had a difficult time in recent years, not quite finding its place between Black & Decker and Dewalt brands.
What’s in store for Porter Cable? I wish I could tell you. I could form what I hope would be reasonable predictions about Dewalt, and many other Stanley Black & Decker brands. But Porter Cable?
If you ask me, Porter Cable needs to become a woodworking-focused brand again and push into that territory. Why not a router table? A contractor or cabinet saw? A dust extractor and track saw? Premium saw blades? Router bits? Sanders?
SBD should push some of Porter Cable’s products, such as their cordless line, to Craftsman, and have Craftsman be the $99 Father’s Day drill kit brand.
Porter Cable needs to do more innovating, and fast. A few years ago their drill and impact driver were launched as value-priced pro-focused options. The expansion of their 20V Max lineup wasn’t quite up to the same level if you ask me. At the time, Ryobi was considered to be the main competitor. While Porter Cable might have some strong selling points, from a “big picture” standpoint they’ve been left in the dust.
The Porter Cable brand still has a lot to offer. They just have to do more to keep up with the times.
I am a finish carpenter and I love porter cable… I love their old tools the ones made in Tennessee …the dome top router and their plunge routers are the best in the industry for making accurate jigs. Speed O-Matic is the best shop router as well as the dome top still seems to have the best balance for do it all routing . With finish carpenters being a dying breed … more at home hipster carpenters time will tell if porter cable wants to stand out with that yellow brother taking up the limelight!
Didn’t they come out with a brushless impact and or drill within the last maybe 6 months?
8 months ago.
A lag this long likely means they’re hard at work converting to Craftsman. SWK spent about $1B on a brand asset (Craftsman sources everything) and needs an ROI. My guess is Lowe’s is the destination where they intend to recoup that. Stanley wouldn’t be putting more money into tooling up new PC stuff if the roadmap is full of Craftsman. They may even consider selling the PC brand as they did with Delta.
Talk about another brand that would be welcomed back into the woodworking fold. Delta lost all of its edge, except for their hybrid saw which is still “okay”. They lost the Unisaw love to Powermatic and Sawstop, and lost their band-saw crown to Laguna.
I’d love to see Porter Cable get its groove back. They need a palm-router to compete with Dewalt and Bosch, and fill out their line. PC’s are still a standard in router tables.
Not really that impressed, they just look to bulky , I normally buy Panasonic, Or Makita.
The only PC cordless tool’s I’ve encountered in the wild is the toolbag of the cable guy, and he spent the while time bitching about how his boss wouldn’t pay for something better. Some of that was just ignorance, they had a masonry bit in a non-hammering drill.
I think maybe they should let PC brand focus on particular tools. and golly if they would just move the battery platform to be the same as dewalt’s it would help.
or maybe only do corded tools. Take the PC random orbit polisher – it’s a fantastic tool and great quality. There doesn’t need to be a black and decker model nor does there need to be a dewalt model. And I’ll say dewalts other device needs to maybe go away. Specialty sanding and polishing finishing stuffs – PC brand corded only. Cordless – dewalt.
Planner, router, other bits – corded PC. Similar cordless – Dewalt. Decontented tool sold elsewhere and the like – craftsman.
Dewalt handtools – rebrand to craftsman and make in USA .
I agree with this and hope that SBD takes this route. I have Craftsman power tools (they were cheaper and what I could have afforded at the time), but would have upgraded by now to DeWalt if there were battery compatibility. However, my Craftsman stuff still works ok, including the batteries, so there’s a cost impediment for a miser, such as myself.
Personally, when I think of PC, I think of lower-end (not to be necessarily confused with bad) / portable air tools, as well as woodworking tools, such as a router. I’d like to see PC do more on bench tools as well, since Sears has somewhat muddied Craftsman in this area.
As it is, it seems as though SBD may end up with Craftsman, PC, and DeWalt competing where there is product crossover, so something’s got to give. It will be interesting to watch.
Their retail presence is pretty good. I was just at an Advance Auto Parts and there was a PC display there.
Ive seen new products. In a years time PC has launched a full line of Cordless Nailers 18ga Brad and Crown Stapler and 16ga Finish. They launched a new compact Impact Driver and compact Hammer Drill. Around Oct they launched their new Brushless Drill and Impact lineup. Also their presence in their retail partners is growing. I’d say they have been coming out with strategic items not to rush and just throw everything into the market and waste resources. Can’t wait to see whats next.
I associate the name with router stuff. They set standards and also made an affordable but good router jig. But they are kind of vanishing. Another vote for the Kobalt saw here, that thing is great! I’m waiting for another good sale to buy their drills.
If they innovated with excellent dust collection in an affordable router, perhaps to rival festool’s dust collection, but not all the other expensive Festool bells and whistles, I’d buy it in a minute.
One of the main problems with nearly all the tools out there is really crappy dust collection. It is an afterthought for most of them. Home hobbyists care about this but most aren’t going to buy a bunch of Festool products. So do contractors who work in people’s homes, especially those in colder climates, though they buy Festool, sometimes that’s the deciding factor.
Or a simple chopsaw or sliding miter saw. Or any tool, really. I have just upgraded my dust collection system slightly, but the main problem is at the tools. I keep making jigs that the manufacturer could have thought of. Time consuming to research and build and not how I want to spend my shop hours.
Dust collection, dust collection, dust collection! Forget the bells, whistles, and fancy bluetooth radios. When is an affordable brand going to do a dust collection job to rival Festool’s?
I’ll be standing in line to buy any decent brand’s tools if this ever happens. If it were Kobalt or Ryobi that would be a game-changer. Or Porter Cable. . .
It’s been years for PC having no true brand identity, it’s sad really there are fantastic tools in their stable. I like Stuart’s thoughts about the direction the brand could/should go, there is still a lot of life left in PC should SBD put some jumper cables on.
I’ve owned and used corded PC tools since the late 1970’s. And every one of them still functions. Same for a Sioux angle corded drill or two.
Do we actually use them any longer? No. Bosch, Dewalt and Milwaukee Fuel have replaced them all. Even a few Makita “socket drivers”. And I personally use the Bosch 12v system the most.
Sometimes I wonder if there are literally too many brands under some corporate umbrellas. BD much?
And do we really want the iPhone/Android Bluetooth to control a drill ramp up?
Grumble. Mumble. Grumble.
I too have a stable of old PC corded tools – but I still use a few of them – where cordless tools have not yet made the grade. I’m thinking about tools like my 360 and 503 belt sanders, 9314 trim saw (mostly replaced by my Festool track saw) , 126 and 653 power planes, 7539 and 1502 routers, 513 lock mortiser, 121 oscillating spindle sander and 7800 drywall sander.
I’ve posted (lamented) before on the slow slide to oblivion of the PC brand. Having PC tools that pre-date their 1960 sale to Rockwell (the then aerospace giant) and many others from the Rockwell years – I was saddened (but kind of understood) when they became a second-tier brand behind Dewalt when Black &Decker acquired the brand in 2004 from Pentair. As others have said – PC was known for their professional routers, power planes, lock mortising machines, and sanders (they introduced the first-ever RO sander in 1989). Mercifully Betterley Tools still keeps the PC router motors alive and well in their line of laminate tools:
I think they need to be bought out by another company. SBD already has B&D, Craftsman, PC, and DeWalt. What’s the point? There’s a glass ceiling over PC products, where they can’t outshine the DeWalt tools. The prices on their products isn’t stellar either, considering how they’re all bare bones in the cordless front (even the brushless impact is single-speed, while the brushless drill has a plastic chuck).
They’re a well-regarded brand for their earlier (10+ years ago) products, but they’re just languishing now. I also want to mention that it doesn’t help their image when they come out with cheaper quality versions of their pre-existing tools (like their brushed drills, impacts, slow chargers in kits, low aH black batteries, etc).
So well regarded in fact – that tools from their 90 year history are part of a special collection at the Smithsonian. It was the first such collection for a power tool company.
I bought a Stanley FatMax 20V Hammer Drill back when they still still sold them at Walmart and Menards and now they are no longer sold in the USA and Stanley FatMax cordless are outside the USA only. I’ve seen switched to Porter Cable because I discovered like many have that the batteries are compatible with a few mods so I can use them in my B&D cordless weed trimmer, etc. I love the Porter Cable cordless for this very reason and the batteries seem as cheap or cheaper than even Black and Decker ones and more universal with less modding. It doesn’t the new brushless models are getting as good reviews as the old brush models so I picked up a refurbished PCC640. I sure hope Porter Cable stays around, but it seems maybe they are USA only now and Stanley versions are being sold overseas??? It seems there maybe some issues with new brushless motors check the Black and Decker brushless weed trimmer reviews and the new PC brushless reviews. I want Porter Cable to above Black and Decker tools and almost as good as or better than DeWalt, but it seems in some ways they are creeping them down to Black and Decker level. In other words, I’d like to see a return of the Delta Machinery era rather than the Rockwell era. 🙂
BTW PC was never owned by Delta – but both Delta and PC were acquired by Pentair in 1981 – as Rockwell International (not much if anything to do with the current Rockwell Tool Company) was starting its death throes. During the Pentair era – the brand was re-established as an independent name and they did introduce some innovative tools like the first RO sander and their 12V NiCad Magnequench drill which was really the first decent (IMO) cordless drill – much stronger than its 9.6V Makita competition – Bosch having introduced the first cordless drill in 1978 – but not selling many (as far as I know) in the US market.
Their cordless stuff is on an unofficial super clearance through Grainger.
The prices are ridiculously low already and we get a sizeable discount through work so I keep buying stuff to add on to what we already had but…
Items are disappearing from the website fast.
I hate to say it, but Stanley B&D’s strategy (excluding DeWalt) has more to do with market share than brand position. Which means that Porter Cable is likely to continue to have a muddled brand position. Too bad for those of us who remember their high quality woodworking tools. But would marketing the brand as a high quality woodworking line really make them more money? I doubt it, as much as I’d love to see them do something good with Porter Cable.
Why acquire Irwin and Lenox when they have competing lines? Because they eliminate a competitor, and get access to the retail space. I think Craftsman will likely be the same, use the name, get retail space, sell lots of tools.
The goal with these acquisitions is simple, when a consumer buys a tool, it should be one from Stanley B&D, brand doesn’t really matter, unless it’s DeWalt.
More and more DeWalt is becoming their high end brand across the board even making more and more hand tools, and air tools. That doesn’t leave much room for other brands to excel.
It’s kind of a brute force strategy, but it should be profitable. It does kind of suck for those of us who have loyalty to a brand, but, again, that loyalty is the point, and the name recognition sells tools.
Yes, name recognition. My sister was going to buy a drill and I talked her out of a Black and Decker and recommended Ryobi instead. My son-in-law has a Black and Decker drill and I just dread using it when I visit. It’s a plane trip away or I’d bring my own for sure.
I was in a hardware store and overheard a conversation with a new DIYer about a recip. saw. She said “Craftsman is the best brand, right?” several times. The guy helping her just kept on talking about the features of the one she had her eye on, that it was on sale, etc. There were much better brands right beside it, somewhat higher priced, but he said nary a word. I just bit my tongue, but was very tempted to comment.
Through name recognition, these folks end up with crappy tools and wonder why they don’t enjoy DIY. It is a joy to use my good Makita 18v drills. I do have some 12v Porter Cables, they were a Fine Woodworking Tool Guide “Best Buy” a while back. They are decent, but the batteries are old and I’ve never wanted to replace them because I ended up with the Bosch 12v on a great sale.
Didn’t they just come out with the Porter Cable Restorer and their line of tool boxes? I think this close to Father’s Day they may not release a new product for an immediate cut for the sales. I would imagine its like the Xmas season where they try to clear out old inventory before announcing anything big/updated.
On a side note, I wonder how well the Porter Cable Restorer is selling. I want one pretty soon in my list of todo’s but haven’t gotten around to it. However, every time I go to Lowes it looks like they have a ton sitting on the shelves and marked down. I’m afraid now to invest in it if the whole thing bottoms out and then you’re left with no replacement abrasives and a worthless tool. It doesn’t look like its selling well or maybe people just haven’t been exposed to it yet / zero advertising and awareness.
Wellington – the folks who license the Restorer to SBD for manufacture under the Porter Cable name – say that a new version bearing the Black & Decker imprint will be available at Lowes in the second quarter of 2017. Sounds like they are going down-market with the tool.
Whats funny is I didn’t actually see it in the store until well past Jan even as long as its been “available”. Maybe its just me or the Lowes around me that didn’t have it till late. I think the rollout, announcements, and advertising have been a mess. Its a good tool and a lot of potential, too bad about management’s handling of its rollout.
Porter Cable seems to sell very well at Lowes. Every time I go in, they have new stock. PC products don’t seem to say on the self very long. A lot of other brands have dusty/discolored packaging.
Porter cable does have a fairly new 20 volt impact wrench. https://m.lowes.com/pd/PORTER-CABLE-20-Volt-Max-Volt-1-2-in-Drive-Cordless-Impact-Wrench-1/1000075205
I have a PC drill, impact driver, and recip saw. I live the drill and impact. The recip is ok. It does what I need, but if I worked with it daily I’d want something better. I wish there was a hedge trimmer available. There is a 20v hedge trimmer in the B&D and DeWalt lines. I’m regretting going PC a couple years ago for that reason. Been thinking lately about going to Ryobi, but I hate to replace the other cordless tools I have that are currently working fine.
I managed a Lowe’s Tool World for nearly two years. Last I had heard before I left the company, more Porter+Cable branded bench top tools were in the works. This development happened because even before Bosch sold Skil, Lowe’s was having trouble keeping Skil bench top tools on the shelves. A store would get one in, it would sell, then it would take weeks or months to get restocked, even when actively ordering the product.
Lowe’s acknowledged this on their internal employee website and it was stated that they would be switching to Porter Cable branded bench top tools (ex: a band saw and drill press) some time this year. I don’t exactly remember when.
My concern is the first replacement that came in before last Christmas, a PC table saw that replaced the Skil table saw as the entry level saw Lowe’s offers, is terrible, and in my opinion the stand has a dangerously narrow and unstable base. Also, the mid-tier portable Porter Cable table saw was discontinued and replaced by a Hitachi. Several of the lower power 20v MAX tools are nothing more than rebadged Black & Decker cordless tools. If the rest of the bench tools follow suit and are basically cheaply made tools with a PC logo slapped on them, PC will continue it’s slide to irrelevance.
Over the past two years I’ve seen a pretty decent Porter Cable router disappear, and the jigsaw, corded drill, and corded hammer drill all get replaced with newer, lighter, less substantial feeling tools. To be fair, they don’t seem to get returned at any greater frequency than the tools they replaced. But they seem less… durable when I pick them up and look at the build quality.
One ray of hope: if Porter Cable would use the same manufacturer and build quality for its bench top tools as it does for its floor standing drill press and band saw, it would deliver some pretty decent tools. I’m hoping for the best, but given all the evidence so far, am planning to be disappointed.
Addendum to my previous post – it looks like the PC router is either still available, or a new model has been released. But either way there is still a PC router option at Lowe’s.
Agree with the idea of repositioning the entire SBD lineup of power tools. Dewalt for a majority of cordless and overall multi-use professional tools.
PC for professional corded woodworking power tools like routers, power planers, biscuit joiners and their awesome pocket hole jig. Get them back to PRO woodworking tools and restore their reputation.
Craftsman for of course hand tools. Made in USA. And the various hobby/diy level cordless tools under the destroyed B&D brand. Just bump them up in quality a bit. Likely a pipe dream formal, the above but a guy can hope.
I meant for all the above. Darned auto correct.
Maybe they’re not as concerned about releasing a new tool every other month. The market already has way too many tools from way too many brands. It’s so oversaturated its ridiculous. I think they’re smart by staying low-key. They came out with that sanding/planer thing not too long ago. Being that sbd has so many brands along with the recent acquisitions, they probably put PC on the back burner. I As far as innovative products, Porter Cable made what many people (who actually owned one), including myself consider the best recip. saw ever. The 9740 & 9750 tiger claw. Rare bird. It was out for maybe 2 years in the early 2000’s. Then craftsman stole the design & used the same manufacturer. Only thing wrong with it was it had a hell of a shake. It was a very heavy duty recip saw. I still use mine sometimes. Definitely the most versatile saw ever made by far. Nobody has come remotely close to making a recip saw as versatile with the capabilities of the Tiger claw. Truly innovative.
I recall that we tried the 9750 – because it promised to be able to get its blades into spots that our Milwaukee’s couldn’t go. But as you said the thing (maybe because of that extra gearing) shook your arm off. My old inventory says we may have one – possibly in the back of a tool room. When I left – the guys were mostly using Makita AVT recip saws
This is what they show as new products on their website which maybe a little out of date – http://www.deltaportercable.com/Products/NewProducts.aspx
You can’t find the PCC690L charger anywhere online where it is in stock.
I just hope I don’t wind up with more orphaned cordless like the Stanley FatMax FMC620LA. I know a lot of people were PO’d when PC went from 18V to 20V battery but that was B&D not necessarily PC to use existing battery design. I was reading on another forum on PC routers looking for parts in the UK that they said PC says they don’t sell outside the USA. It seems to me as far as the 20V former PC cordless goes it now seems it’s Stanley outside the USA.
I was reflecting back on this – and if your recent(since the beginning of April) posts are an indication of who’s been innovating, running promotions/sales, introducing new tools, outputting press releases etc. then Porter Cable is indeed lagging. In the last 2 months, Toolguyd had 12 posts about Dewalt products, 8 on Milwaukee, 3 on Ryobi 1 on Bosch and 1 on Makita – but only this editorial piece about PC. From this and other news I read and can infer from, I take it that TTI-Milwaukee and SBD-Dewalt may be locked in a continuing competition for our tool-buying dollars – and their market shares. Maybe – as others have alluded to – SBD does not want to dilute their efforts with Dewalt – or cannibalize sales – by promoting PC just right now.
Despite everything you say about PC. I have the same impact and compact drill from 2014 and there still killing it. I use my tools on a daily basis rain or shine. They just keep on keeping on. Where as my Father has went through 2 or 3 sets of Dewalt 18 volt. There the only tools out there that offer a 3 year warranty and 2 year battery warranty. Ive heard some people dislike them ,but for the price you honestly can beat them. I have every cordless tool that PC makes and yes some of the tools could use some improvements. There new Brushless line is awesome. My tools do the same job as the competitors with great consistency.
Looks like Porter Cable came out with a new 20V cordless wet/dry vaccuum and one reviewer Tool Craze says it’s better than the dewalt version.
I saw it on YouTube when I learned about the folding miter saw – https://toolguyd.com/porter-cable-miter-saw-pcxb115ms-folds-over-for-storage/ .
It’s on my preview post queue, but keeps getting pushed down by topics of higher perceived interest.
The PC PCC795B, compared to Dewalt DCV581H (https://toolguyd.com/dewalt-cordless-vacuum-dcv581h-review/), has a less than 10% higher on-paper CFM rating. But its hose is longer, and from images it has more bends and folds at the vac adapter end, which could affect suction and air volume.
The Dewalt has an AC cord and 18V and 20V Max compatibility.
Porter Cable’s 20V Max lineup is limited, and is currently capped at a 4.0Ah battery pack.
The PC model is different than Dewalt’s, and I think it would be a long stretch to describe it as being “better,” based on 34 vs 31 CFM rating.
The PC has a longer hose, but how long of a hose do you need with a handheld portable vac? I’ve never found the Dewalt’s hose to be lacking.
The Dewalt is equipped with a HEPA-rated filter. The PC is only described as having a “washable cartridge filter.”
The Dewalt is arguably better. While it’s good to see an expansion to Porter Cable’s lineup, there’s nothing distinguishable about the vacuum, other than it being the sole battery-powered vac available to PC 20V Max users.
Found your post because I was looking if there were rumors of new tools coming out for the 20 max line. LOVE my PC tools… use them all the time around the barn for repairs and around the house. Have never let me down.
I have some of the latest cordless PC tools but now there not being sold in lowes anymore, who else is going to carry them is PC going to be obsolete. I like mine wanted to stay with there but if there not going to be around not buying anymore
You should still be able to find PC tools, batteries, and accessories online.
Personally, I wouldn’t expand further into the brand, there hasn’t been any new innovation or new tools in a long while.
Very demise of a great brand. Lately they have been discontinuing lines like the router and belt sander which were benchmark tools. I think they had an opportunity to go into the professional/high end woodworker market. But powermatic, jet festooned and sawshop are very strong players and continue to improve. In the meantime I love my unisaw.