With the Porter Cable low-profile sander giveaway ending in a few days, we thought that it might be a good opportunity to get some light hands-on time with the tool. Despite our superficial evaluation, we are thoroughly impressed with the features and build quality of the sander.
While we would love to do a thorough no-holds-barred review of the sander, we’re adhering to a thou shalt not break in another’s tool policy. In other words, we will leave it to the lucky giveaway winner to have the pleasure of sullying the sander for the first time.
The 5″ Porter Cable sander was compared to a 5″ Ridgid sander, and the difference in height was more than we expected. The Ridgid sander was roughly measured to be about 5-3/4″ in height, and the Porter-Cable sander about 4-1/4″. Low-profile indeed! The two sanders were close enough in weight that we could not differentiate one as being heavier than the other.
We liked the large grip of the sander, as well as the low center of gravity its low profile provides, but we could also see that it might take one or two uses to get used to. Conceptually, this low-profile grip should help provide better sanding control and ultimately a better finish.
The on-off switch is conveniently positioned. While it could be a bit larger, it does the job. The variable speed control is responsive, although its position makes the number settings slightly difficult to read.
The sander’s low-profile design is not its only selling point as it also packs in quite a few high-end features. For more details about these other features, take a look at our introductory post about the tool, or Porter Cable’s product page.
The hard (as opposed to soft cloth) dust collector is made from what appears to be a dense micro-porous foam, and looks like it may be rinsable. The dust collector locks into place over a lubricated O-ring for a leak-free seal. The tool of course also accepts a vacuum connection.
What really impressed us most about the tool was its quick start-up and rapid slow-down times. While we were aware that the sander employs a mechanical brake to slow the motor, seeing it in action for the first time was rather surprising. While Porter Cable claims that the spin-down time is reduced by 73%, we did not expect the brake to be as effective as it proved to be.
Following are video clips demonstrating just how quickly the sander reaches full speed and how quickly it can be stopped, with the first video being of the Porter-Cable sander and the second of a Ridgid sander for comparison. For each demo the sanders were started and then stopped first on the lowest speed setting and then the highest.
This beast of a sander (we mean that in a good way), will set you back about $130, unless of course you’re the lucky giveaway winner. Don’t forget – the giveaway ends in six days, which is still plenty of time for you to leave a comment to be eligible to win!