I hope this circular saw will be the last I ever need?

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Review by paxorion posted 11-30-2014 01:37 AM 4221 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
I hope this circular saw will be the last I ever need? I hope this circular saw will be the last I ever need? No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them
If anyone were to ask me what to look for in a circular saw, I would say my must-haves are:
  1. A cast shoe
  2. Lever-locks for adjustments for easier
  3. Arbor lock for blade changes
  4. A good feel in your hands
  5. A decent price at or below $100 (at today’s prices)

This Porter Cable met all of the criteria in a very bare bones way. After about 6 months of use, it has not disappointed me. I’d consider this to be an example of the perfect non-track circular saw for me.

The Good: This saw has ample power for my usage. With a 15amp motor, it has yet to bog down on me. Granted the thickest material I have cut is ~2-3/8” of laminated MDF with a 24T Freud Diablo blade. The cast shoe is very smooth and after waxing, glides very nicely along any material. Adjustments are simple to make with the lever locks. On paper, this saw is behind on the comparable offerings from Bosch, Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, etc, but for woodworking, I find little need for any extras (e.g. additional detents, hanging hook, etc).

The Bad: The included accessories (blade, rip guide, blow-mold case) may be useful for a contractor, but I can’t help but wonder if I could have saved a few bucks getting a saw without those accessories. I still use the blow-mold case, and at the price I paid for this saw (below the lowest price I can see today), I’m not complaining.

The Ugly: No amount of jig making will make this saw a track saw. I’ve gone through and made several jigs and used after market accessories (Bora edge guides, Kreg rip cut, etc). My conclusion is that you might be able to get close with accuracy, but you’ll still be hindered by a circular saw’s dust collection potential. When it comes time to replace or upgrade this saw, I’ll definitely be looking at a track saw.

-- paxorion

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1107 posts in 2893 days

4 comments so far

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2272 days

#1 posted 11-30-2014 02:53 PM

I agree with your assessment that the mfg could probably save the buyer a few bucks by giving the buyer an option to exclude the blade and case. Most of us are going to already have a quality blade.

Still, at today’s prices, how can you go wrong. Everybody needs a circular saw.

My next purchase will be the Festool TS55 track saw, if my Skil ever dies.

Thanks for the detailed review.

-- Brad, Texas,

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3599 posts in 3335 days

#2 posted 11-30-2014 05:16 PM

I looked at the PC because I wanted to retire my trusty 40 year old Milwaukee that I got at a flea market for $10 15 years ago. I had to replace the blade and the cord and have never had any more trouble with it.

The reason I wanted to retire it is that the saw weighs as much as a cast iron cannon. It will definitely make a man of you after 8 hours of cutting.

I used some of my friends saws to see which I liked and none of them felt as solidly built as that venerable Milwaukee. I decided since I don’t do construction anymore that I would just keep the old saw.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View John's profile


246 posts in 2429 days

#3 posted 11-30-2014 07:23 PM

I have a PC saw that is probably about 15 years old. I’m a carpenter, so it has seen A LOT of use. (Not to mention I haven’t always been the nicest to it) I know its not the same model saw, but I would be confident that yours will last a very, very long time.

Thanks for the review.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

View Lee's profile


50 posts in 2044 days

#4 posted 02-22-2015 09:43 PM

I have one (PC saw) as well. It’s about two years old. Put a 60 tooth Diablo blade on it. Cut out all my caucuses out for all my kitchen cabinets (the reason why I bought the new saw, had a old Craftsman.) It did very well. No tearing, perfect cuts every time. I now use me old Craftsman for quick little jobs and my PC for sheet cutting.

-- Lee

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