Portable tools have come a long way over the years. Not too long ago when someone said they had a cordless drill, people just laughed. Then there came a time when the laughter went away and the idea became what else can we make portable. While a job site table saw still requires a power cord, they have become extremely lighter and more portable over the years. Which brings us to the Porter Cable Job Site saw.
Manufacturer – Porter Cable
Model – PCB220TS
Average Purchase Price – $299
It’s cool to have a saw you can fold up and take from place to place, but if it doesn’t produce a great final cut, how good is it really. We decided to run this saw through a couple different test to see if this saw is really worth the $299 price tag. For starters, this price tag may seem high, but it’s actually on the low end of the price line. This saw has all the features the more expensive ones have, but you wouldn’t know it with the low price tag.
Now we are not going to bore you with a mountain of stats, you can check them out under our stats tab. However, we did want to touch on a couple important stats so you can see this is a table saw that does stack up to other saws. First this saw is powered by a 15 amp motor that turns a 10″ blade 5,000 rpms. Max rip to the right is 24.5″ and to the left is is 10″. At a 90 degree you can cut up to 3″ and a 45 degree you can cut 2.5″. Yes it does take a 1/2″ Dado. Overall pretty impressive stats for a $299 saw, but what about portability?
The saw is easy to fold and unfold for one person. To store in a truck or a shop, you can fold the whole saw up so the stand is under the saw and doesn’t protrude. If you want to wheel the saw around, you can leave the bar out and use it as a handle. However it really only works for someone under 5′ tall. A taller person will find themselves bending down when wheeling the saw around. The wheels could be a little bigger making it roll nicer when moving around, but all in all not too bad. Everything on the saw has a storage place and stays put when moving the unit around. Even the blade will full drop below the table to prevent the blade from getting damaged.
OK, the saw has good stats and is pretty portable, but how well does it cut? Raising the blade is easy, just like every other saw we have used. Turn the knob in front and raise or lower the blade. To make a bevel cut, just loosen the lock on the front and turn the knob that is located on the side of the unit. The degree markings are visible and easy to read. Our bevel cuts where accurate. The fence isn’t too bad. When we locked the front of the fence, it also locks the back of the fence. A user can adjust how tight it locks in the back. The included measuring guide below the fence is easy to read, this was also accurate. On the back of the saw there is a feed support that isn’t too bad, it could be a little longer. Two very nice and well thought out features are the blade chute and stand arm. The blade chute helps funnel all the waste material that drops below the saw, out the back of the dust ports. This is a nice feature as it helps keep the inside of the saw clean. One of the best features of this saw is the stand. As you can see by the picture, the back leg is bent out. This helps stabilize the saw when sliding larger piece of wood through the blade. This way the saw doesn’t have a tendency to tip over.
One of the biggest down sides to this saw is the blade-guard riving knife. While it does a great job and doesn’t get in the way, our model was extremely hard to take on and off. Now we are not sure if it was just our unit or the actual model. Once we took the guard system of to store it, it was extremely hard to put back on the unit, which means guess what, in a bind we would tend to by pass the safety feature. A safety feature should be one of the easiest items to use on any tool. Don’t make it easy for a user to pass on safety features. Again maybe it was just our unit.
All in all this is a great saw. For the price of $299, it is hard to beat. Lots of power and very accurate right out of the box. If you have a shop or you are a contractor and don’t want to pay the heavy prices of other portable saws, this is a great fit.
- Motor: 15 Amp
- Arbor Size: 5/8 “
- Blade Diameter: 10 “
- Blade Speed: 5000 RPM
- Max Rip To Right Of Blade: 24-1/2 “
- Max Rip To Left Of Blade: 10 “
- Depth of Cut at 45°: 2-1/2 “
- Depth of Cut at 90°: 3 “
- Max Width of Dado: 1/2 “
- Miter Gauge Groove: 3/4″
- Chip Exhaust Opening: 2-1/2 “
- Table Height: 35 “
- Table Size: 25 x 19-1/2 “
- Length: 25 “
- Width: 19.5 “
- Height: 35 “
- Weight: 73.76 lbs
- Shipping Weight: 85.46 lbs
Porter Cable Table Saw Includes
- 40 TCT Saw Blade
- Miter Gauge
- Rip Fence
- Two Blade Wrenches
- Push Stick
- Mobile Stand
Tool – 3 Year
I purchased this saw about 2 years ago for general home use. I have used it quite a bit in remodeling projects, so I can share some of my thoughts. One thing missing in your review is the miter slots actually are T slots so you can use a much better quality miter gauge with it.
Out of the box the 90 degree stop was a bit off, but easy enough to adjust – you need an engineers square. The throat plate height also needed a bit of a tweak. Everything else was perfect, but like any piece of equipment, expect that moving it and vibrations WILL cause stuff to get out of adjustment. Once set up (and moving it a half dozen times), it has remained in adjustment.
As for using a dado with it, you need a compatible throat plate which I bought through Sears Parts Direct (part number is in the manual). They should make these parts/accessories more accessible.
I agree with you on the riving knife, it is a bear to install and keep installed – it just does not feel like it is locked in securely. I also agree that the stand it a huge asset, it is much more stable than my old $100 Skil table saw with a non-portable stand.
Things I have noticed with use: A few of the plastic inserts at the end of the tubes vibrated off over time, so I recommend if you want to keep them you may want to put a gob of Goop on each of them and reinsert while you do your initial setup. Lastly, the handle on the adjustment to raise and lower the blade keeps coming off – it is very difficult to lock into place.
Was it worth the price tag? Absolutely. I previously purchased the entry level Skil for around $100 and used that quite a bit over two years, but found the smallish table, no outfeed support, cruddy miter gauge/slot, and non-rear locking fence way too limiting causing less than ideal cuts. If I had to do it over again knowing what I know, I would have purchased this saw right off the bat. The other thing you should do is buy a top notch blade (like a Freud), it makes all the difference in the world, regardless of what saw it is in.
You’ll have to forgive me for being a little leary of Porter Cable as of late. The combo kit my buddy bought last year was an absolute joke. Hope they get their stuff lined out. Seems B&D has branded them as a DIY brand a step up from B&D and a step down from Dewalt. My buddy burnt up 2 of the drills in his home shop so I’m thinking more B&D than Dewalt.
Thanks guys for the feedback.
2 drills burnt up? Not too excited about hearing that. Does sound like they are hitting the home owner. I hope what happened to PC in the past doesn’t happen to them again.
Thanks Steve for the long term view of this, very helpful. I am going to grab my glue and make sure they don’t vibrate off. Your right about the T slot, completely forgot about that. Are you using the miter gauge that came with it or did you buy a different one?
He got a 4 piece 18V combo at Lowe’s for $129. He naturally jumped all over it. I told him that the price made me suspicious. He burnt the first one up drilling the frame on an 87 Chevrolet he was building for mud runs. The 2nd one just up and died while he was building a deck. Haven’t talked to him in awhile so I don’t know how the 3rd one held up. Lowe’s replaced them both under warranty though.
Steven…..After six months I agree with you completely..Noe question re: the dado wide throat plate. I haven’t been able to locate it. Any help with it would b appreciated..
Dennis – go to searspartsdirect dot com and search for part number 2UUW. It will run you $19 as of today (mine was $13 on 10/2010). Shipping was $8 on top of that, plus tax. I remember the days where you could go to the parts counter of your local Sears and they would order it for you with no shipping charge.
Eric – missed your earlier question about the miter gauge. I picked up a top of the line Incra that is very adjustable (including the pressure on the slot so it does not wiggle side to side and slides with the amount of force you want to set it to). I picked that up on a really nice sale at Rockler. The best part is the Incra has slots in it to attach a fence extension with some wingnuts (I found a cheap all wood one somewhere) and that really improves your ability to keep the wood stable during the cut.
I’ve since used some JBWeld and thread locker on the blade raise/lower wheel and it has been rock solid. Everything is still 100% accurate without any adjustments since my initial ones. I still despise the riving knife attachment, but there is nothing you can do about that.
Great idea. I am going to have try that out. I like how it’s still accurate.
One last thing to mention – the dust port on this thing is not very useful. On my model, the port had a 1/8″ wide x 1/8″ thick ‘ring’ molded into the end of the port, as well as a little lip that stuck out. I presume this allows you to mount a bag of some kind on it. The slightly updated floor model I recently saw does not have this ‘feature’. Even so, a Shop-vac hose fits way too loosely inside the fitting. I took a dremel with a sanding drum and got rid of the outer ring, then used a Rockler 2.5″ to 2.25″ conversion port (49887 – $8.00). Now I am able to use my ShopVac with Dust Deputy dust collector – and it mounts very securely to it.
I haven’t found many of the table saws to be too good at dust collection, at least the portable ones. I might do that with my saw and a Dremel.
Steven…Thanks for the information on the throat plate. One comment on the dust deputy/shop vac combo…..one of the best investments I have ever made.
I’ve spent several hours trying to cut dados the same depth. Every time I start the cut, the height changes depth changes. I tried cranking the blade all the way down, and then up to the depth I wanted, as well as cranking all the way up and then down to what I wanted. Neither way made any difference, the depth kept changing. Any way to lock the depth?
I have a neighbor with this table saw. It had stopped working on the job and i took a look at it. They nylon bevel gears. I told him to pick them up and I would replace them for him. I have done that, but the blade will not raise up or down still. I’ve been looking for an image of the underside of the saw or a Utube video showing the replacement adjustment for the PCB220T but have not seen one. All the videos I’ve seen have been of different saws and they all have different gearing. Unfortunately I did not take pics before I removed everything. Oops, do you know of a place where I can find an image of how these gears are installed and adjusted.
The only thing I could think of is either contacting porter cable as I am sure they will send out a schematic or doing a google search on the schematic. I think google has it’s own site for schematics or maybe its just patents