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The 20V MAX battery system is winding its way through the Stanley Black & Decker product chain, and what you see above represents the Porter Cable take on it, starting with the most common tools — a drill/driver and impact driver. Read on for details as well as some comparisons to the line-founding DeWalt models.

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It looks like the new DeWalt cordless drill design philosophy is making its way into the Porter-Cable line. Note in the picture above some key refinements, direct from the DeWalt drafting board: a thinner handle with TPR molded grip, a much more compact design, and a slide-type battery. Though each such design decision brings a bit of good and a bit of bad, we’re fans of all three.

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Our compressor test has finally come to a close, and here are the results. We looked at all manner of compressor tools and tests and found what we consider to be some truths and untruths about what’s handy and what is scrap. To be honest, we didn’t find any flaming bags of poo in our test, just some compressors built for different kinds of jobs and a few we didn’t really get along with for one reason or another.


As you might expect, performance testing was largely a matter of looking at the numbers. The more CFM the tool required, the more challenging it was to keep up using low CFM compressors. So an 18-gauge brad nailer might go 50 brads before it needs to cut in on a 4.2 CFM compressor, where something like the CH got somewhere around 12 brads. Did both do the job? In a word, yes.

However, there was a large difference in how fast the tank refilled and how quiet it was while doing so. Compressors like the Bosch and Makita would only kick in for a few seconds — the DeWalt and Hitachi for around 20 seconds and something like the CH would go chugging on for a full minute or so.

There was also the matter of what you were going to be doing with the compressor. For instance, intermittent or continuous tools will make a large difference in what compressor you use and how well it works. Intermittent tools like 18 gauge nailers running at 90 psi (or even framing guns) might be fine for lower CFM rigs or compressors that have a cut out of 130 or 165. This is because you aren’t using it all at once and the motor can catch up to your use by replacing pressure when you’re lining up the next shots.

But when we hooked up an air-powered drill (continuous) with a CFM rating of around 6.5, the results were, well, not good. A few seconds of pulling the trigger and every one of the tested machines was pedaling at top speed to keep up. Eventually they all spun down into gasping out whatever the pump would push. The lesson: Don’t use continuous tools higher than the CFM rating of the compressor, or they won’t perform like they should.

So to better understand where machines that seem similar on the outside really start to differ, we put up a few baseline numbers.

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About a week and change after posting our first article on the beginnings of our compressor test, we found two things. We’d missed a few brands that needed to go along with that test, and we’d have to wait a little to get them and put them through the same ringer the rest of the field endured. In that spirit, a Bostitch, a DeWalt, and a Porter Cable compressor joined the cast of competitors.

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If you own a Craftsman, Delta Shopmaster, DeVilbiss, Husky, or Porter-Cable air compressor, heads up: DeVilbiss (the actual manufacturer of these particular models) announced the recall of about 460,000 compressors due to an overheating problem that can pose a fire hazard.

The picture above (courtesy of the CPSC) shows where to check model number information, but you’ll want to visit the CPSC website (link below) to check the extensive list of affected models, which we sold at “home centers nationwide from January 2003 through December 2004.” Affected Craftsman models were sold at Sears (of course) from September 2000 through December 2005.

If you own an affected model, the CPSC says you “should immediately stop using and unplug the recalled compressors and call DeVilbiss or Sears for a free inspection and repair.”

DeVilbiss Recalls Air Compressors Due To Fire Hazard [CPSC]


Looking for a 23-gauge pin nailer to speed up trim work at home? Tool King currently offers Porter-Cable’s PIN100 — albeit in factory-reconditioned fashion — for just $70. If you’re willing to cough up another $20-$30, you can find ’em new starting around $95. But unless you’re planning on using the thing day in and day out, that $20 might be better spent on nails. Or trim paint.

Or on other tools.

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We’ve seen quite a few drill/drivers around the Toolmonger shop, but never a Porter-Cable. While we hear nothing but positives about their routers — lots of pro shops use only Porter-Cable — I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone with a P-C drill. If you have one (or even if you just have an opinion) would you dish?

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Tool Authority is offering an unbelievable (as in, we really don’t believe it!) deal on this Porter-Cable 5″ Angle Grinder, at just $70.  It’ll grind, blend welds, and help out with other fabricating tasks.

Porter-Cable 5″ Angle Grinder [Tool Authority]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


So you’re lazy — the truck only gets a few coats of wax a year.  It’s work doing it by hand, and you’re too cheap to buy a dedicated buffer.  Instead of investing in a new tool, save some dough and grab Porter-Cable’s lambswool polishing pad.  It comes with a hook-and-loop backer that fits the orbital sander you already own.

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Porter-Cable just announced their new line of 18V tools.  They’ve built the core of the line from a mixed bunch of lithium and Ni-cad tools — judging from Porter-Cable’s site, the combo kits only include the Ni-cad tools thus far.

In fact, the drill appears to be the only lithium tool in the launch — the recip, circ, hammer drill, and flashlight are all Ni-cad. There’s nothing wrong with that, as quite a few contractors out there prefer them. It’s just weird to see one Li-ion as the black sheep in a new line rollout with a “next generation of cordless power” vibe.

Still, the tools look nice, and the hammer drill produces 490 inch-pounds of torque, which is some serious power to have on hand, even if it is Ni-cad.

New 18V Line Of Power Tools [Porter-Cable]