Porter-Cable Vs. Dewalt: Which is Better?

Although most people argue that brand doesn’t really matter when shopping for something, the fact is that it does, and any professional will tell you that. That’s especially true when it comes to hand tools and power tools.

That’s why you will see most professionals in the same field use one brand more and not just any.

Now, whether you are a professional or a DIYer, you can attest that at times deciding the brand to settle for can be a real hurdle. That’s common where there exists fierce competition between two brands in terms of product quality, performance, and reliability.

Narrowing the talk to hand tools and power tools, Porter-Cable and Dewalt are perfect examples of two brands that cause buyers a dilemma. The two have a solid reputation, thanks to their relentless efforts in delivering product quality.

But which of the two comes out the winner? Well, that’s one of the most popular questions people ask. If that’s what you want to know, stick around as that’s what makes our today’s main agenda.

In this article, we are going to have a head-to-head comparison between the two most-contested brands. We will be digging deep to reveal where each outshines the other.

That way, you will find it easy to identify the brand that suits your needs the best. With that said, it’s time to set the ball rolling!

Porter-Cable Vs. Dewalt

Before we proceed any further, it’s important to note that neither of these brands is inferior. When we compare the two brands in a particular area, let’s say lifespan, it doesn’t mean that the one that falls shy is weak in that aspect.

The contest here is for the champions. Therefore, either of these brands outshines any other out there. That’s why they are the two most popular brands we have out there.

That aside, let’s begin by understanding the basics of the two brands.

Porter-Cable—History

Porter-Cable is one of the oldest members of the power industry. Her doors first swang wide open in 1906 in Syracuse, New York. The name of this company comes from those of her founders; F. E. Cable and Porter brothers (R.E and G.G)

In the year 1960, Rockwell International bought the company. Rockwell International then moved the headquarters to Jackson, Tennessee. The new owner of the company also did away with the original name and began making low-end products. This step significantly harmed the brand’s reputation.

In 1981, Pentair, Inc. bought Rockwell International. It’s at this time when the lost glory was re-discovered. It is also in this era that saw the restoration of the brand’s original name—Porter-Cable.

In 2004, Black & Decker (now Stanley Black & Decker) bought Pentair Tool Group. Currently, Porter-Cable is a brand of Stanley Black & Decker whose headquarters are in the United States.

Dewalt—History

Dewalt is also an American brand. It began as a company in 1923. Just like with the competing brand, Dewalt was named after its founder, Raymond Dewalt. The company shot to fame with the invention of a radial-arm saw by the founder. That’s where the journey of success began for Dewalt.

In 1949, American Machine & Foundry Co., Inc. acquired the Dewalt company. The owner then sold it to Black & Decker bought the company in 1960. In 1994, Black & Decker opted for product diversification as one of the competitive strategies. As of 2001, Dewalt was making over 200 different hand tools and over 800 accessories.

In 2004, Dewalt and Porter-Cable came under one name. That was after Black & Decker bought Pentair Inc., the owner of the Porter-Cable brand then. To date, Dewalt & Porter-Cable are all brands of Stanley Black & Decker.

Therefore, the competition we perceive to exist in the industry doesn’t actually do. It’s all between fans of one brand and those of the other. After all, the two brands work for the good of the umbrella organization, Stanley Black & Decker. Other popular sibling brands to Dewalt and Porter-Cable include Black & Decker, Irwin, Craftsman, Stanley, Facom, and Lenox.

Are There Any Differences Between Porter-Cable Products and Dewalt Products?

As you might have noticed, there are lots of similarities between the two products. They are all reputable brands that belong to the same company. So, does that mean they are all the same? Well, not exactly. Although the American brands are all under Stanley Black & Decker, they aren’t the same in everything.

For us to know the winner, we will pick a product from one brand. We will then choose a corresponding tool from the other brand. Using different comparison criteria, we are going to evaluate the two and see who presides over who.

From the Porter-Cable Brand, we are going to pick Porter-Cable PCCK617L6 20V MAX Cordless Drill Combo Kit. The product corresponding to that is Dewalt DCK590L2 20V Max Cordless Drill Combo Kit. We will then examine the components of each before we contrast the two products.

Porter-Cable PCCK617L6

Porter-Cable PCCK617L6

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The Porter-Cable PCCK617L6 comes as a 6-tool combo kit. The package includes a 1/4-inch hex impact driver,  reciprocating saw, 6-1/-2-inch circular saw, oscillating tool, 1/2-inch driver/drill, and a work light.

The kit also comes with other components like batteries (2), a dual USB portable charger, and a remote USB charger. Of course, you receive all these components in a high-quality contractor bag. After you buy, the manufacturer backs the kit with a 3-year limited warranty.

Dewalt DCK590L2

Dewalt DCK590L2

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If you choose to buy this model over the former, you will receive several components. Here, you are going to get a 1/2-inch drill/driver, 1/4-inch impact driver, 6-1/2-inch circular saw, reciprocating saw, LED work light, and a belt hook.

Of course, like the counterpart, it also comes in a rugged carry case. Batteries, chargers, and a few other components also come in the package.

Who Wins—Porter-Cable Vs. Dewalt

If you examine the two kits closely, you will notice that they are similar. With that in mind, we expect them to go for almost the same price. However, it’s a surprise that there is a significant difference between their prices.

Actually, the price of the Dewalt kit is almost double that of the Porter-Cable option. So, what brings about this difference? Why do we have such a significant difference in the prices of the two similar kits? Let’s dig deep to find out.

Battery Life

When buying a cordless power tool, battery life is one of the factors you should consider. A higher battery capacity will deliver more powerful performance. It will also allow you to use the tool for longer before you need to recharge the battery.

Both Porter-Cable PCCK617L6 and Dewalt DCK590L2 come with 20V batteries. But do they all perform the same way? Well, in the most straightforward terms, they don’t. What brings the difference is the quality of the juice in each battery.

The juice in Dewalt DCK590L2 is of higher quality than the one in Porter-Cable PCCK617L6. That means 20V Dewalt batteries will last longer than Porter-Cable’s. When it comes to lifespan, batteries deteriorate the more you recharge them.

Since Porter-Cable batteries require recharging more often, they have a shorter lifespan than those of the Dewalt. Dewalt batteries on the other side keep going for a long time. That means you won’t need to recharge them as often, hence a longer lifespan.

Therefore, in a nutshell, Dewalt outshines Porter-Cable when it comes to battery life/lifespan.

Product Warranty

At times reading the specification label isn’t enough to distinguish two products. When you find yourself in such a situation, consider using the product warranty as a tie-breaker. Product warranty shows the level of trust the manufacturer has in her products.

Here, consider the warranty period and what it covers. When we refer back to our two examples, Porter-Cable PCCK617L6 comes with a three-year limited warranty. However, that’s on the tool itself. For batteries, the manufacturer backs them with a 2-year warranty.

When talking about the Dewalt DCK590L2, the manufacturer also offers a 3-year warranty. However, this warranty backs the tool, batteries, and other components. As at the time of writing this article, the manufacturer also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year free service contract.

Therefore, it’s clear that the Dewalt product here comes with more favorable warranty conditions than Porter-Cable.

Quality of Materials

Another factor that sets the two brands apart is the quality of the materials. Of course, you may not notice any difference by just looking at the products from the two brands. However, there is a big difference between the two power tools.

Let’s say you pick up the 1/4-inch impact driver of the Dewalt DCK590L2, for instance, and you compare it to the 1/4-impact driver of the Porter-Cable PCCK617L6. You will notice a big difference in weight. The Dewalt impact driver will weigh more than that of the Porter-Cable.

That’s because the 1/4-inch impact driver of the Dewalt kit comes with materials of higher quality. As a result, products of the Dewalt brand usually last longer than those of the Porter-Cable. That means if you want a product that can stand up to regular use, you will have to for Dewalt.

Hence, in summary, the Dewalt brand outshines the Porter-Cable in quality of materials and product durability.

What should you choose—Porter-Cable or Dewalt?

After this comparison, you now know there are differences between the two brands. When talking about cost and affordability, Porter-Cable comes out as a clear winner.

At times, a Porter-Cable product will cost you about half the money you would pay for a corresponding Dewalt product. That makes the Porter-Cable brand an ideal option for DIYers and professionals who are on a tight budget.

However, if you want a product that will stand the test of time even under heavy abuse, you have no option but to go for a Dewalt product.

That’s because they come with more rugged construction that can stand up to heavy use. Dewalt tools also have better battery lifespan and more favorable warranty terms.

Hence, to know whether you should settle for Dewalt or Porter-Cable, ask yourself whether it’s worth paying extra bucks for better durability and more favorable warranty terms.

The Bottom Line

One area where the famous phrase—you get what you pay for—comes into effect is when choosing between Porter-Cable product and the Dewalt brand.

While Dewalt costs more, it outshines the cheaper alternative in several key performance areas. That’s why most professionals prefer Dewalt products over Porter-Cable’s.

With that said, if you are looking forward to buying a tool that will serve you well for years, consider Dewalt. The brand is the best of the best.

However, if you want a product for occasional use, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pay for it through the nose. A Porter-Cable product will serve you just fine.

Again, the more you use a product, the more it deteriorates, and the more you shorten its lifespan. That means with occasional use, a Porter-Cable product may outlast a Dewalt product that’s subjected to heavy use regularly.

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