As good as any in its class

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Review by Tedstor posted 04-25-2011 03:05 AM 33627 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
As good as any in its class As good as any in its class No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

So a few months ago, I decided I needed a thickness planer. Of course, having a tiny workspace meant I was limited to compact models. All my research indicated the higher end Dewalt and Ridgid planers gave the best results. That same research also indicated the lower end models were capable of reducing the thickness of a board, but snipe was basically inevitable unless you hyper-tweaked the tool and used an additional infeed/outfeed support table. I was dead-set on getting one of the better models, but was waiting for a bargain to come my way.

So why did I buy this lower end planer? Impulse and economics. Lowes had this planer in their scratch and dent pile for $140 (reg price is $249). Given that I could return it if I was dissatisfied, I took it home. The next day, I took it out of the previously opened box, and was pretty unhappy with what I found. The tool looked to have been abused and returned by the previous buyer. The tables were pretty banged-up and there was no blade cover to be found. However, the tool did power up nicely, and it seemed to be in decent working order. None-the-less, I didn’t want to sink $140 into a visably abused tool with missing safety features.
When I took it back to Lowes the following day, I told them about the condition of the tool. The manager asked if I could live with the tool if it were further discounted. And offered it to me for $90. The planer came home with me again.

The first thing I did was order an optional dust shute, which also doubles as a blade guard (see pic). Cost was $25. Its actaully a listed part for the Delta TP305, but this PC model is an identical copy of the Delta as far as I can tell. The shute fit like a glove. I also added an elbow shaped HVAC duct so the DC hose would hang off to one side while in operation.

Overall performance of this tool is pretty much what I expected. Out of the box, it snipes 2-3” on both ends of the board, as most planers in this class do. Holding the board while it enters and exits helps some, but is inconsistent. I did manage to eliminate the snipe by setting up an infeed/outfeed table and ran a few test pieces until I got the set-up just right. However, it was a temporary setup to plane a large batch of maple. I don’t see myself going through the trouble of doing that just to plane a board or two at a time. In those cases, I just work around the snipe as best I can. Rasing and lowering the blades is easy and fairly accurate. The scale is easy to read and fine adjustments are no problem.
Otherwise, it does what its supposed to do. Results are very smooth. Its a two blade system. Lowes had just discontinued selling the Delta TP305, so they had the Delta blades on clearance for $3.50 pr. I bought all five sets on the shelf. Again, the parts fit fine.

Changing the blades is a snap. The included tool makes it easy. Takes less than 5 minutes.

Dust collection is prime with the optional Delta shute. Works fantastically, even with my measely 3/4hp DC. Without it, this tool is a real slob.

Noise is considerable. Its flat-out loud.

Overall, I’m satisfied with my purchase, but only because I bought the unit for a firesale price and because I have a stockpile of blades I basically stole. Otherwise, I’d have held out for a better unit that doesn’t snipe so bad. The tool works as well as any in its class. The real positive stand out is the dust collection, but only after buying an additional part. At $249, I’m not sure I’d rec’d this tool, but if it could be found for under $200, and your prepared for the snipe issue, its OK. Quality seems good, PC is reputed to have good product support in the event of an issue. Parts should be easy to come by since its compatible with the Delta model. All said, I like the tool and I’m glad I got it. I still see myself upgrading when a prime opportunity presents itself. Until then, this one will do.

Technical Details (from amazon):
Powerful 15 Amp motor for superior stock removal
Quick change, two knife, solid steel cutter head mounted on ball bearings assures smooth operation and long life
Double edged, high carbon steel, reversible knives for twice the cutting life
Patented cutter elevation on four precision ground columns for superior cut stability
Poly V belt cutter head drive with rugged gearbox/chain and sprocket feed roller drive for maximum power transfer

View Tedstor's profile


1691 posts in 3486 days

12 comments so far

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4086 days

#1 posted 04-25-2011 03:21 AM

As I understand it, the Porter Cable is simply a rebadged Delta TP305. Lots of folks have those planers and are happy with them. Yes the Ridgid and Dewalt models do perform better as far as snipe is concerned, but even those are known to snipe. They just have features that make it easier to eliminate snipe…

You got a great deal, as long as it works well …

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View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4166 days

#2 posted 04-25-2011 12:20 PM

2-3 inches of snipe on both ends is a lot of waste. Fine if you can live with that, but with the price of wood, well…......

View Tedstor's profile


1691 posts in 3486 days

#3 posted 04-25-2011 07:05 PM

Well I never said snipe was a good thing. But like taxes, its somewhat of an envitability that most of us just accept and deal with.

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4086 days

#4 posted 04-25-2011 08:07 PM

Cato, unless you are REALLY good at setting up a planer, snipe is more or less the price of admission… Admittedly that is quite a bit of loss yes, but losing a total of 6” (which honestly is a LOT compared to what I usually get with my Ryobi, doing the hand feed support method I typically get 3” on the outfeed end on every 5th or so board, other than that, it is not noticeable… ) per board if you are milling your own from waste wood, isn’t a bad deal…

Even the mighty DW735 is known to snipe. It’s a matter of scale. Yes these lower end machines tend to do it more often, and take more to stop it, but it is really not a show stopper, especially when you consider what S4S runs for these days…

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Michael J

103 posts in 4061 days

#5 posted 04-25-2011 08:38 PM

I suspected that all the Porter Cable brands are just re-branded Delta’s. When I walked into Lowe’s and saw the Delta brand replaced with Porter Cable, it seemed pretty obvious that they just slapped on different paint and stickers, but had no proof. It makes sense since Delta is owned by Porter Cable. I guess you just confirmed it.

-- Mike Minneapolis, MN

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5777 posts in 4086 days

#6 posted 04-25-2011 08:59 PM

I don’t know for a fact, but when it took me a minute to figure out that the Delta planers I saw at Lowes had Porter Cable stickers on them, I just sort of made a big assumption. But I figure it is well founded…

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View AmandasHusband's profile


58 posts in 3547 days

#7 posted 04-25-2011 09:05 PM

I have the same planer although it has the Delta stickers on it.

It is what it is. A loud cheap planer that snipes about 2½” on half/most boards I plane.

But this is a great accurate review when you take everything into consideration. It wouldn’t get 4 stars if you compared it to every planer out there. But for the price, it’s a 4 star planer.

Thank you for the review and I wish I could find some replacement knives for $3.50 a pair.

-- In this world there's two kinds of people my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 3538 days

#8 posted 04-25-2011 10:48 PM

gotta agree with all the above…I’ve spent hours on a 13” Delta portable trying to eliminate snipe…I’ve concluded that I can only “minimize” it and if I were doing this for a living, I would “step-up” to a true stationary machine with stationary tables.

But like most wood-working tools, it comes down to “math”. an inch or two waste on each end of a board (to me) is less $$$ than what it would cost me to upgrade.

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4166 days

#9 posted 04-30-2011 10:20 PM

I guess I got lucky when I set up my planer infeed and outfeed tables, because I assure you it wasn’t skill.

The DeWalt is the first planer I have ever had and I like it a lot, I guess I ought to say I love it since snipe has not yet been an issue.

View dubsaloon's profile


622 posts in 3647 days

#10 posted 09-12-2011 08:07 AM

I Thank you for this info I just bought one of these and I’m happy enough with it. I have planned by hand some 10’x6”x5” hardwood beams and I’ll live with the snipe. 3 days of planing to get a board that is almost straight apposed to 1hr and it “is” straight. snipe it is. I havn’t sen those blades on sale for $3.50 but I’d be all over them just like you. Be Blessed and safe.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View bdatkinson's profile


9 posts in 3914 days

#11 posted 01-14-2012 08:50 PM

Thanks for your informitive review. I purchased the PC305TP about a year ago, have used it several times and have been happy with the results. Thank you for writing about the additional dust shute. I will be ordering that soon.

-- Brian, bdatkinson

View Viking's profile


882 posts in 4049 days

#12 posted 01-14-2012 09:11 PM


Great score and review. All are correct in saying that snipe is just part of the game with most planers on the hobby end of the scale.


-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

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