Porter Cable has just come out with a new line of wet/dry shop vacuums. I thought that ball bearing tool storage combo was a stretch for them (here’s our in-store hands-on), but a line of vacuums kind of makes sense.
Before I even read more about the vacs, I noticed a few things that I think you will find as interesting as I did.
First, look at the size of the locks that clamp the motor assembly to the dust collection canister. They look to be large and easily toggled, perhaps even with gloved hands.
And are those side handles? Very large sticking out side handles? (Nice!)
Speaking of handles, look at the one at the top of the vac.
I ordered a Shop Vac on sale during the 2015 holiday shopping season, it’s this one that’s currently $132 at Amazon. Sure, it has a “handle,” but if you pull up on it, the motor pops out for use as a blower.
That top handle is part carrying handle, part cord wrap. On the smallest vac, you just get a large carrying handle, but it still offers built-in cord storage.
It looks like you can wrap the hose around the top of the vac, between the canister locking handles and motor bulge.
By the way, shown above is the 12-gallon vacuum. You can see the other vac sizes at the top of the page or using the product page links, below.
Looking at the specs, the different sized vacs come with different sized hose sizes. The 12 gallon Porter Cable vacuum comes standard with an 8-foot 2-1/2″ hose and 2-1/2″ wand accessories. The 12 gallon vac also features a 14-foot power cord, which is a reasonable size.
When shop vacuums, always look at the size and length of the hose, and the length of the power cord, as this helps indicate whether it’s meant for everyday use or low-cost bulk holiday sales. Although… in recent years brands have come out with better spec’d holiday specials.
I don’t think that Porter Cable intends for these to be Father’s Day or winter holiday specials, or anything of the sort. This looks to be a new push into the shop vacuum market.
I noticed a few new Stanley vacuums, but nothing like this Porter Cable launch, which includes 6 different shop vacuum sizes and styles: 3, 6, 9, 12, 16 gallon vs, and an ash vac.
Additional features, which seem to be common across all of the wet/dry vac sizes, include a blower function, and casters with accessory storage.
The smallest vac has regular casters, the larger ones have “strengthened” casters with metal yokes. The 12 and 16 gallon vacs have built-in drain ports. All have water-resistant on/off power switches. The switches look quite large and easily-pressed too.
The product pages says the vacs are made in the USA, for Porter Cable by Alton Industry Ltd. Group.
Update: These vacs are NOT made in the USA.
All of the wet/dry vacs come with a couple of the various attachments and accessories you would expect.
The ash vacuum, said to be ideal for use year round for fire places, bonfire pits, wood-burning stoves, and more, comes with a metal hose.
Here are features and specs for the 12-gallon vac, for comparison purposes:
- 6 HP motor
- 2-1/2″ x 8′ hose with easy lock connection
- 14′ power cord
- Quick locking latches
- Large water-resistant switch
- Blower function
- Drain port
- Strengthened casters with accessory storage
- 12-gallon collection capacity
- Poly [plastic] tub construction
- 100 CFM suction airflow
- 72″ sealed pressure
- 2.5″ accessory size
- 3 gallon vac (PCX18202P-3B)
- 6 gallon vac (PCX18404P-6A)
- 9 gallon vac (PCX18604P-9A)
- 12 gallon vac (PCX18604P-12A)
- 16 gallon vac (PCX18604P-16A)
- Ash vacuum (PCX18184)
Shop vacuums are definitely a “try before you can know” type of product, but I’m optimistic. From what I can tell, just looking at the vacs, Porter Cable and their manufacturing partner put a lot of thought and attention into designing the entire range of wet/dry vacuums.
The vacs look to have some nice user-friendly features, and if they perform as well as expected, they might eventually pose some serious competition to industry leaders.
Does Porter Cable have a chance at competing with the likes of Shop Vac, Craftsman, and Rigid? There are pretty big smaller players as well, such as Vacmaster.
There are a couple of new Stanley vacs that are also coming out soon, complementing Porter Cable’s lineup nicely, such as a 4.6 gallon hanging vacuum and a wheeled 14 gallon stainless steel canister vac, although both are described as being made in China.
All of the Porter Cable vacs are said to be made in the USA, which would definitely be welcomed. Update: Sorry, they’re NOT made in the USA.
I’m optimistic. If I were looking for a new wet/dry shop vacuum, I might give these Porter Cable vacs fair consideration.
One make-or-break point is whether they accept other brands’ accessories. I would not buy a shop vacuum unless it was compatible with Cleanstream HEPA filters. There’s no mention of this anywhere on the OEM’s site. I’ll see if Porter Cable can provide insight about this, and will update the post when I hear back.