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!
Porter Cable Low-Profile Sander via Amazon
Product Info via Porter-Cable
It looked like there were different models with and without dust collection. Can you explain that? Or it just an accessory for vacuum hook up?
Sure. As mentioned in a previous post, the different model numbers refer to different sander kit variations.
This sander included in this kit comes with dust collection and a 5″ hook-and-loop pad. The other available sander instead includes a 5″ pad that accepts PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) sanding discs.
All of these sanders can be connected to a vacuum (1″ and 1-1/2″ hoses), but the ones that include dust collection include the dust collecting canister that is shown in the above photos. This option provides a bit of savings for those who plan on only using the sander with a vacuum dust collection system anyways.
How many openings in the base (which sandpaper 5 or 8 hole)? The first (P/C) video, makes it look like it vibrated more on low, then high, did it? How do they feel in comparison (vibration)? If the winner asks, would you do a no holds barred review? (wondering about the dust collection with and without a vac)
This sander has an 8-hole pad.
With the video, bear in mind that the tool is being dangled awkwardly at arm’s length. I noticed the vibration when reviewing the footage and attributed it to my gripping the tool poorly.
The sander felt very stable, and I have no doubts that there would be minimal vibrations if properly held against a work surface.
I would not do a no holds barred review on a tool intended for giveaway, even at the winner’s request, only because the consequences may be unpredictable.
Edit: I have confirmed that the sander does vibrate slightly more at the lowest speed settings, but this isn’t something to be concerned about, unless of course you plan on operating the sander in midair.
hopefully the winner of this tool WILL do a no holds barred review of it. that way we get the best of both worlds a review AND a giveaway of a new tool. woohoo!!
Thanks for the review. I currently have an older PC 6″ sander that has taken years of abuse. It is time to find its replacement and I will defiantly consider this model. I am curious of the build quality. Can’t wait to play with one at the local hardware store. I have always been a fan of PC’s tools, not one has let me down yet.
Saw this IBS last year, after short demo I was very impressed with start up and spin down-time. I have smaller hands and did not like the fact that I couldn’t grip between the main motor housing and the top.
The videos of the spin down time are great. I’m not sure how much time this would save me on a typical project, but if nothing else it’s a cool feature!
The spin-down also helps protect your work surface should you inadvertently set the sander down after turning it off; i.e. other sanders with slower spin-down times may gouge the work surface.