Porter-Cable vs. DeWalt: Who Wins…
Power tools are the engine that runs any workshop whether it is a professional one run by an expert woodworker or a makeshift garage one for a DIYer.
Regardless of the kind that you run or your level of expertise, it is always vital to make sure you have the best tools. In many instances, this means buying from a highly reputable brand.
And for many power tool users, American-born brands like Porter-Cable and DeWalt are always their preferred power tool manufacturer. But, choosing between the two can still be quite challenging.
Both are highly reputable companies that make some of the best-selling power tools, and to pick between them you need to understand what they are all about and what gives each an edge.
In this piece, we highlight the story behind these two great brands and compare some of their top-rated combo kits to help you make a more informed choice between the two.
Table of Contents
- The Story 2 Great American-Born Brands
- Key Product Features
- Porter-Cable PCCK619L8 vs. DeWalt DCK955X Combo Kits
- #1. Hammer Drills
- #2. Impact Driver
- #3. Circular Saw
- #4. Reciprocating Saw
- #5. Jigsaws
- #6. Angle Grinder
- #7. Work Light
- #8. Oscillating Multi-Tool
- #9. Impact Wrench
- #10. Cut-Out Tool
The Story 2 Great American-Born Brands
Porter-Cable is one of the oldest power tools manufactures in the USA as it has been in business since 1906.
The company was founded by two brothers R.E Porter and G.G Porter and their friend F.E Cable which explains where the company gets its name. They were operating out of a garage in Syracuse, New York, and they started by investing around $2,300 on a jobbing machine.
And in 1910 the company started making readily merchandisable products beginning with a pencil sharpener, gas lamps, and an automatic tire pump.
Their products experienced significant market success and in 1914 they decided to venture into power tools starting with a line of lathes. Three years later they bought a manufacturing plant with the aim of expanding their business further.
Growth and Expansion
You cannot mention the growth and expansion of Porter-Cable without including the name Art Emmons who was their long-serving chief engineer from the 1920's until his retirement in the late 1960's.
The story begins in 1926 when Art Emmons invented Porter-Cable’s first portable electric sander that was fondly known as the Take-About sander.
And a couple of years later in 1928 Emmons also invented a compact and lightweight helical drive circular saw that went on to become the industry standard
While Emmons was still at the helm of the company’s engineering department, Porter-Cable also introduced their first portable band saw into the market in 1953. But, the company was sold to Rockwell International a few years later.
Rockwell made several changes to the company which included dropping its original name and focusing more on the production of the lower end power tools to compete with Black & Decker.
However, in the early 1980's, Pentair Inc acquired the power tool company from Rockwell and restored the original company name (Porter-Cable).
They also stopped the manufacture of consumer power tools and focused more on making tools for use by professionals. And in 1989, Porter-Cable introduces their first electric random orbital sander.
Porter-Cable continued its expansion and introduction of new tools into the 90’s. Some of its significant milestones include the introduction of their first palm-grip electric orbital random sander in 1992 and the launch of redesigned reciprocating saws in 1995.
Today, Porter-Cable is owned by Stanley Black & Decker and continues to be an industry leader in innovation and prides in making some of the most affordable consumer power tools that are now used globally.
DeWalt is also an American-born brand that began its operations in the early years of the 20th century. The company was formed as DeWalt Products Company in 1924 by Raymond DeWalt in Leola, Pennslyvania.
When it was started, DeWalt focused on making and perfecting an electric universal wood-working machine referred to as the Wonder-Worker that could be configured in 9 different ways. But, they also had a dedicated mortiser and jointer.
In 1929 the company moved to a larger and what was considered outstandingly modern plant then.
However, the actual breakthrough and boom for DeWalt came in 1941 when they were contracted by the government to make tools to support national defense and wartime machinery
Growth and Expansion
After the Second World War and the rapid expansion that DeWalt faced, it was reincorporated under DeWalt Inc in 1947 and then acquired by American Machine Foundry in 1949.
The new owners would then expand its operations into Canada in 1953 through a subsidiary but would also sell the company to Black and Decker who are the current owners in 1960.
Under the new owners, DeWalt experienced a period of stability and significant growth in their market share. And in 1992 they introduced their first line of portable electric power tools and their accessories.
A couple of years later in 1994 DeWalt also launched a system of 30 different cordless tools which had a great impact on the market. Among these tools was their famous 14.4V cordless drill/driver that was the most powerful in its class then.
By 2001 DeWalt had over 200 electric power tools and more than 800 accessories in the market. In 2010 the company introduces their 12V max lithium-ion power tools and they expanded it the following year by introducing the 20V max lithium-ion system.
DeWalt now boasts a global market presence and several manufacturing plants across the USA and Canada.
Key Product Features
Having been in business for more than a century, Porter-Cable understands exactly what users look for in a power tool. And they make use of different features to ensure their products meet these needs. These features include:
- 20V Max System. A line of power tools that uses the 20V max lithium-ion batteries for longer run times and battery life. The system also allows you to use the same battery on different kinds of tools.
- Ergonomic Design. Most Porter-Cable tools are ergonomically designed and lightweight enough to fit the needs of the user which in most cases is a typical homeowner, hobbyists or DIYer.
- Affordable Prices. The relatively affordable price tags that are aimed to make their tools more appealing to regular consumers is one of the key elements that set Porter-Cable apart from DeWalt and many other brands
It is not always easy to sum up the features that define DeWalt power tools. And this is because most are feature-rich and make use of some impressive and advanced technologies. But, some of these amazing features include:
- 20V Max XR Line. Introduced in 2013 but has become the most popular line of DeWalt power tools. It features a line of brushless power tools that use brushless motors and the high capacity 20V max lithium-ion batteries to ensure top-notch tool performance and long battery life and runtimes.
- Tool-Connect. Tool-connect is one of those features that every DeWalt power tool user will love as it makes it easy to track tools from anywhere with real-time updates. Although it is only for those with Bluetooth-enabled batteries, it is becoming more common as more users switch to these more advanced batteries.
- Flexvolt. The first power tool battery in the world that has been designed to change the voltage automatically when the user moves it from one tool to another. The aim of this is to ensure that users always get increased power and longer runtimes regardless of the tool.
- Breakaway Blades. A common feature of the recent reciprocating saws from DeWalt. And it is an innovative blade design that allows the user to break away the used section of a blade and reinsert the unused part for a longer blade life and more cutting efficiency.
If you are going to buy your power tools from either Porter-Cable or DeWalt, it is a great idea to go for a combo kit as it is more economical.
With a combo kit, you also get all (or at least most) the power tools that you need for your projects. And for these two brands and many other leading ones the tools will use the same battery.
Porter-Cable PCCK619L8 and DeWalt DCK955X are some of the top combo kits from these leading brands. Porter-Cable's combo kit is an 8-piece one that contains, a hammer drill, impact driver, circular saw, reciprocating saw, grinder, oscillating multi-tool, jigsaw and work light.
DeWalt’s combo kit is a 9-piece one that comes with everything that you get on Porter-Cable's kit except the multi-tool but also has an impact wrench and cut-out tool.
Below we compare individual tools on these top-notch combo kits to help make your choice between the two much easier.
#1. Hammer Drills
0-350 and 0-1,500 RPM
8.25 x 7 x 3 in
0-500, 0-1,250 and 0-2,000 RPM
16 x 11 x 10.3 in
You can always trust Porter-Cable power tools to be lightweight and compact enough for easy handling as they are meant for use by the regular consumers.
This hammer drill does not disappoint as it only weighs 3.5 pounds and is just 8.25 inches long to ensure minimal user fatigue.
The drill is designed with a significantly powerful motor that delivers up to 283 units watts out and uses the 20V lithium-ion battery for longer runtimes.
Also, it is a dual speed drill that delivers 0-350 and 0-1,500 RPM, and with a 1/2-inch keyless chuck like DeWalt DCD950 to make bit changes fast and easy.
If you are looking for a powerful hammer drill that can handle almost any task, the 450 units watts out of the DeWalt DCD950 makes it a perfect pick.
This drill is not only more powerful than what Porter-Cable offers in their combo kit but it also offers triple speed ranges which are 0-500, 0-1,250 and 0-2,000 RPM for increased versatility.
The 1/2-inch chuck is the same size as what you get on Porter-Cable PCC601 but it takes things a notch higher by being self-tightening to provide superior bit-gripping strength, and with 22 clutch settings also for enhanced versatility.
With the 360-degree side handle, this is also a relatively easier hammer drill to use.
DeWalt DCD950 wins here as it is not only significantly more powerful but also offers more speed options than Porter-Cable’s drill for increased versatility.
Read More: 7 Best Hammer Drills To Buy
#2. Impact Driver
0-2,800 RPM and 0-3,100 IPM
0-2,400 RPM and 0-2,700 IPM
5.75 x 6.69 x 4.13 in
Porter-Cable PCC641 uses a high-performance motor that delivers 1,450 in.lbs maximum torque which is higher than what you get from the DeWalt DC825.
Also, this powerful motor delivers speeds of 0-2,800 RPM and 0-3,100 IPM to make this impact driver an excellent choice for quick fastening applications.
The quick release 1/4-inch chuck makes bit changes fast and easy as you can do it with one hand which helps to reduce job site downtimes significantly.
And although it is heavier than DeWalt's impact driver, it is still quite a compact tool that will be great for use in tight spaces. And it is fitted with an LED to help keep these tight and dark work areas well illuminated.
Although with its 1,330 in.lbs maximum torque the DeWalt DC825 is less powerful than Porter-Cable’s impact driver, it makes up for this by being lighter and more comfortable to use.
At just 2.2 pounds, this is one of the lightest impact drivers out there. And it uses a textured anti-slip grip to improve control and ensure maximum user comfort.
This impact driver uses a frameless motor for more durability and long tool life and replaceable brushes for more serviceability.
It has a heavy-duty impact mechanism to help reduce kickback and a durable magnesium gear case and an all-metal transmission also for enhanced durability.
#3. Circular Saw
15.25 x 9.63 x 8.38 in
10.5 x 16 x 8.5 in
Porter-Cable uses a high-performance motor on this circular saw that delivers up to 4,000 RPM for fast and aggressive cutting.
The 6-1/2-inch circular saw has a highly durable carbide tooth blade with a cutting capacity of 2-1/8 inches. Although the cutting capacity is slightly smaller than what DeWalt DC390 has to offer, it is still more than enough for most cutting applications around the home.
Its beveling capacity of 0-50 degree is also a great addition to the design as it makes it ideal for making non-traditional cuts.
And with the compact size and relatively lightweight design, this circular saw also helps to minimize job site fatigue. If you also factor in the contoured over molded handle, you have an easy to control and comfortable power tool to operate.
DeWalt DC390 is all about giving you a great cutting capacity for increased versatility as it will cut 2-1/4 inches at 90 degrees and 1-5/8 inches at 45 degrees.
It also runs on a significantly powerful motor that delivers up to 3,700 RPM which is less than what you get from Porter-Cable but still quite good. Also, this motor uses replaceable brushes for increased durability and longer tool life.
The 0-50 degrees bevel capacity provides additional cutting capacity. And there is also a high strength magnesium shoe and upper guard also for increased durability.
With the vibration-dampening rubber grip handle, this is also a comfortable tool to operate, and it is also relatively lightweight as it only weighs 6.3 pounds.
#4. Reciprocating Saw
16.19 x 3.5 x 7.63 in
6.25 x 18.63 x 3.94 in
The compact and lightweight Porter-Cable PCC670 is great reciprocating saw for use in tight spaces. And it also uses a high-performance drivetrain that delivers a stroke length of 1-inch and variable speed of 0-3,000 SPM.
Also, it uses a tool-free blade release to make blade changes quick and easy for minimal job site downtimes, and it has a pivoting shoe to ensure constant contact with the material.
The variable speed trigger ensures that users will have more control when cutting a variety of materials. And there is also a contoured and over-mold handle to improve control and to make the saw more comfortable to operate.
With reciprocating saws, it is always about how deep and fast they can cut. The DeWalt DC385 offers an aggressive cutting stroke length of 1-1/8 inches that can power through almost any material.
The 0-3,000 SPM speed is similar to what the Porter-Cable PCC670 delivers but at 5.65 pounds it is a relatively heavier reciprocating saw. However, you will hardly feel the extra weight as it is still quite a comfortable saw to use thanks to the anti-slip rubber grip.
DeWalt uses a 4-position blade clamp on this reciprocating saw to allow for flush cutting. And it also has a pivoting adjustable shoe with an open top to ensure maximum visibility.
The longer stroke length gives DeWalt DC385 the win as it means that it can cut through almost any material.
12.19 x 3.75 x 10 in
11.25 x 11 x 3.88 in
If you want a jigsaw that will help you with projects that require aggressive cuts, the Porter-Cable PCC650 is a great pick thanks to the 3 orbital settings that make it easy to adjust the cut aggressiveness.
This powerful jig saw has a relatively smaller stroke length of 3/4-inch when compared to the DeWalt DC330, but it is still long enough to make it ideal for a variety of applications.
The beveling shoe on the saw allows you to cut 0-45 degrees bevel cuts, and it also uses a tool-free blade release to make blade changes fast and easy.
With the variable speed 0-2,500 SPM trigger, you can always be sure of getting better control over the saw for clean and accurate cuts.
Using this jigsaw should also be comfortable enough thanks to the contoured over-molded handle.
With a full 1-inch stroke length and a speed range of 0-3,000 SPM, the DeWalt DC330 will cut through almost any building material whether you are making straight or curved lines.
Besides being fast and powerful, it is also quite a convenient jigsaw thanks to the keyless lever-action blade clamp that makes blade changes quick and easy.
This jigsaw also uses an all-metal keyless shoe bevel with detents at 0, 15, 30 and 45 degrees to make it ideal for a variety of cuts.
The 4-position orbital action makes cut quality and speed control easy. And this is also a comfortable jigsaw to operate thanks to the top handle and comfortable anti-slip grip.
A longer stroke length, more bevel detents, and a relatively higher speed give the DeWalt DC330 a slight edge and so it is the winner here.
#6. Angle Grinder
15.3 x 6 x 6 in
18.1 x 39.1 x 16.7 in
The high-performance motor on the Porter-Cable PCC761 delivers speeds of up to 8,500 RPM which is 2,000 RPM more than what you get from DeWalt DC411.
These high speeds make it great for a variety of applications from aggressive cutting to material removal and finishing.
This grinder also has a cast metal gear housing that will be very useful in dissipating heat when using it for extended periods. And it uses a spindle lock to allow for quick and easy wheel changes.
Guard adjustment is also quick and easy thanks to the tool-free guard design, and this is also a comfortable power tool to use as it comes with a contoured and over-molded handle.
For those that prefer a more lightweight cut-off tool, the DeWalt DC411 is a great option because at 4.6 pounds it is at least a couple of pounds lighter than Porter-Cable’s grinder.
Apart from being lightweight, this 4-1/2-inch cut-off tool is also quite convenient to use thanks to the trigger switch design with a lock-off button that makes gripping easier and more comfortable.
Its 2-position handle makes it more comfortable to use and easier to control, and there is also quick-change wheel release that makes wheel removal quick and easy.
And you can also be confident of a smoother and quieter transmission thanks to the low-profile gear case that provides precise gear alignment while also making access to tight spaces easier.
#7. Work Light
Like with most other LED lights, the Porter-Cable PCC700 is designed to provide long runtimes, and unlike the xenon bulb on the DeWalt DW919 it does not heat up.
This work light produces a light output of 120 lumens that might not be as bright as what you get on DeWalt’s light but still provides enough light to keep most work areas well-illuminated.
Porter-Cable PCC700 is also a lightweight work light to minimize hand fatigue when you have to hold it for an extended period.
And it also has a pivoting head to make it easy to direct the light where you want it and contoured and over-molded handle for increased user comfort.
Sometimes you can be forced to work in pitch dark spaces and when this happens, you will be happy to have DeWalt DW919 with you as it will provide more than enough light.
This small work floodlight uses an extra-bright xenon bulb with a light output of 325 lumens which should be bright enough for any work environment. And it has a wide-angle beam that is brighter than the traditional flashlights.
The light also has a flexible neck design that will allow for hands-free use as you can easily direct the light where you want it, and it comes with an extra xenon bulb.
#8. Oscillating Multi-Tool
11 x 3.8 x 10.2 in
12.3 x 5.2 x 2.8 in
It is always great to have a tool that you can use for various applications like the Porter Cable PCC710 that will come in handy for almost all your projects.
This oscillating multi-tool is more compact than DeWalt DCS355B that we recommend below, and it is a variable speed of 8,000-18,000 oscillations per minute.
Also, it uses a 2-finger tool-free system that will make accessories adjustment and change fast and easy.
The power tool also has an integrated LED light to keep work area illuminated and a 3-position over mold grip that reduces vibrations for increased user comfort.
DeWalt DCS355B XR Oscillating Multi-Tool (not included in kit)
Every tool that uses a brushless motor is often more efficient, and the DeWalt DCS355B keeps up with the trend with its brushless motor that also gives it a relatively long run time.
Like the Porter Cable PCC710, it has a quick-change accessory system that makes it easy and fast for the user to change the blades and attachments.
It also has built-in LED for better visibility and a dual-grip variable speed trigger with speeds of 0-20,000 oscillations per minute.
With this multi-tool, you can also use oscillating tool accessories from most other brands thanks to its universal accessory adapter.
#9. Impact Wrench
1,650 RPM and 2,500 IPM
9.9 x 3 x 7 in
1,650 RPM and 2,600 IPM
8.63 x 12.63 x 4.13 in
Porter-Cable PCC740B 1/2 inch Impact Wrench (not included in kit)
The powerful motor on this impact wrench produces a maximum torque of 330 ft-lbs which is 30 ft-lbs more than what you get with the DeWalt DW059.
This impact wrench also produces a maximum of 1,650 RPM which makes it ideal for driving large fasteners and doing it quickly. And it has a fully variable speed trigger for precision control.
Its 1/2-inch hog ring makes socket changes quick and easy. There is also a built-in LED to improve visibility when working in dark spaces and a comfortable over mold grip.
Most regular impact wrench users seem to prefer the more convenient rocker-switch design as it makes it easy to switch between forward and reverse modes. And so the fact that the DeWalt DW059 uses it makes it a great buy.
The impact wrench delivers up to 300 ft-lbs maximum torque and with a speed rating of 1,650 RPM and 2,600 IPM. Also, it uses a heavy-duty impact mechanism to direct the torque to the fasteners with no kickback.
And it is made with magnesium gear case and an all-metal transmission to ensure a long tool life. Using it is also more comfortable thanks to the comfort grip
#10. Cut-Out Tool
1/4 in, 1/8 in
1/4 in, 1/8 in
11.1 x 4.7 x 4 in
Porter-Cable PC18SS Cordless Rotary Saw (not included in kit)
Porter-Cable does not seem to have a lot of options when it comes to the cordless cut-out tools, but their PC18SS rotary saw seems good enough to compete with DeWalt DC550.
This power tool will accept both 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch shank bits for increased flexibility and user convenience just like the DeWalt cut-out tool.
Also, the 26,000 RPM speed and 2.5-pound weight are similar to what you get on the DeWalt DC550. And so the choice between these two will depend mostly on brand-preferences as they are almost identical.
However, this rotary saw also includes a detachable vacuum port to make dust management easy.
DeWalt DC550 is powered by a powerful motor that delivers speeds of up to 26,000 RPM for more cutting power and speed.
The cut-out tool has a dust sealed switch that is designed to provide durability and a longer switch life. And it also allows for tool-free bit change for fast and easy bit changing.
With the compact and ergonomic design of this powerful tool, it will also be more comfortable to use and easy to control even when using it for extended periods.
And like the Porter-Cable PC18SS, it will accept both the 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch shank bits.
- Hammer Drill: More power and speed options mean DeWalt is the winner.
- Impact Driver: Higher maximum torque and speeds give Porter-Cable the win.
- Circular Saw: Better cutting capacity and relatively lighter weight mean DeWalt wins.
- Reciprocating Saw: Longer stroke length results in a win for DeWalt.
- Jig Saw: The longer stroke length, more bevel detents, and higher speed give DeWalt the upper hand.
- Cut-Off Tool/Grinder: Higher speed and a more ergonomic and compact design give Porter-Cable the win.
- Work Light: The brighter Xenon bulb gives DeWalt a clear win here.
- Oscillating Multi-Tool: Porter-Cable wins because their multi-tool is high performing and DeWalt does not have one on their combo kit.
- Impact Wrench: DeWalt wins as Porter-Cable does not include an impact wrench in their combo kit.
- Cut-Out Tool: DeWalt wins as Porter-Cable does not include a cut-out tool in their combo kit.
It is clear that DeWalt DCK955X outperforms Porter-Cable PCCK619L8 on our combo kit showdown with 7 wins from a possible 10 compared to the latter’s 3 wins.
But, because both brands are under the same parent company (Stanley Black & Decker), you can be confident that you will still have a great set of tools regardless of what you buy.
Also, both brands back their combo kits with a 3-year limited warranty. And if the price if your key concern or consideration when choosing between the two, the Porter-Cable PCCK619L8 is the more affordable option.
Buying a combo kit is always a good decision, but the wiser thing is always to buy from highly reputable names like Porter-Cable and DeWalt as you can be more confident with the quality.
And while the choice between the two will ultimately depend on your budget and personal preferences and experiences, our detailed combo kit comparison above will help you make a more informed pick.
Last Updated on March 4, 2020 by Tom Bradly