Porter-Cable and Ridgid usually exist on the fringes, while better-made tools from brands like DeWalt and Black + Decker steal the show.
Both brands were founded in America—Porter-Cable before Ridgid—but they do a great deal of manufacturing in China as it is cheaper. Consequently, tools from either of these brands can be very affordable. In some rare instances, Porter-Cable and Ridgid produce tools of such high quality that they can compete with major power tool manufacturers.
You’re here because these are all the options you have, whether by choice or budget constraints. Where would you find the most value if you had to pick a table saw from either Porter-Cable or Ridgid?
Porter-Cable vs. Ridgid: Origins and Claim to Fame
In 1906, R.E. Porter, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable founded Porter-Cable in Syracuse, New York (the headquarters are currently in Jacksonville, Tennessee). The company has always specialized in various power tools, power tool accessories, and mechanic’s tools. Up until 2004, it was owned by the Pentair Tools Group, which relinquished the company to Stanley’s Black + Decker (largest tool company) that same year.
Porter-Cable was the first company to create the helical-drive circular saw, portable belt sander, and portable band saw. Currently, the company has about 1,000 employees and earns $100 million every year.
After its foundation in 1923 in Ridgeville, Ohio, Ridgid would be one of the largest makers of power tools worldwide. The company later relocated its headquarters to Elyria, Ohio, and in 1966, it was acquired by Emerson Electrical, who still owns it today.
Ridgid started out making tools for plumbers, and though they’ve diversified significantly, they still manufacture plumbing tools and equipment. The company is also a well-known HVAC and construction expert with various tools on offer.
Ridgid invented the first modern pipe wrench. Currently, the company hires over 1,500 people and rakes in $400 million in annual revenue.
Between Porter-Cable and Ridgid, who makes better-quality tools? To answer that question, we need to look at manufacturing practices.
Most of the tools from both manufacturers are made in China, supposedly to keep costs down. However, it is unanimous that Ridgid table saws have better build quality.
Ridgid manufactures tools that are ‘rigid,’ or in other words, tough and durable. The trade-off is that these tools tend to be clunky, heavy, and otherwise not very functional. On the plus side, you can drop Ridgid tools several times without worrying about breaking them.
Things are slightly different for Porter-Cable. Most of their tools are average, but some are slightly above average. Build quality is certainly lower than what you get with Ridgid, but these tools are lightweight and mostly functional.
As mentioned, most of their tools come from China, but some of their higher-end offerings are produced in Germany.
Size of the Task
If the tool doesn’t match the size of the task, you’ll end up with too much power or too little of it. Ridgid tools are generally considered better for slightly heavier tasks owing to their more durable build. However, neither brand manufactures tools for heavy-duty applications.
The best you can expect to do with either a Porter-Cable or Ridgid table saw are small DIY and repair jobs. Anything beyond that may require a better, more expensive tool.
Many Ridgid tools come with limited lifetime warranties. Those that don’t are usually attached to shorter, three-year limited warranties. Both warranties offer extremely good coverage, which is an excellent assurance of the quality you’re purchasing.
As for Porter-Cable, the only warranty you can realistically expect is a one-year limited warranty. This is a clear testament to the quality of their tools. You will still be covered for the first year if the worst comes to pass, but you’re settling for a much lower-quality tool if the warranty is two years shorter than the competition.
Ridgid mostly specializes in plumbing tools and equipment. This is good and bad, depending on what you’re looking for. It’s a good thing if you’re in the market for plumbing tools—Ridgid is one of the best companies in that niche.
But, for general power tools and non-industry-specific equipment, you’re far better off with Porter-Cable. To illustrate, Ridgid only offers three drills on their website, two corded and one cordless. In comparison, Porter-Cable lists six drills, four of which are cordless and two corded.
The same applies to impact drivers, where Ridgid only lists one while Porter-Cable has four models. To be clear, Ridgid does offer a wide range of products, including electrician’s tools, hand tools, and wet/dry HVACs. However, you get way more variety with Porter-Cable, which makes up for its lack of durable tools with a diverse selection.
Which is cheaper, a Porter-Cable or Ridgid table saw? To get a definitive answer requires performing a series of comparisons, which can be time-consuming. A better approach is to list down the features you need and then check them against your preferred Porter-Cable or Ridgid model.
In almost every case, you will notice that Porter-Cable table saws are slightly cheaper, but Ridgid table saws ultimately offer better value. It’s hard to pick the less durable option unless it comes with the features you need. Nevertheless, you won’t spend very much to obtain a table saw from either of these brands.
As much as you may want to, you can’t always afford top-of-the-line tools from Bosch, DeWalt, and Black + Decker. While shopping on a budget, it’s important to understand what your table saw must have to work efficiently.
Choosing a Porter-Cable or Ridgid table saw will undoubtedly leave more money in your pocket. You can also rest assured that you will end up with a decent tool that may not be an impressive workhorse but gets the job done regardless.
Factor in as many of your needs as possible when making your choice. These table saws can serve you for years with a little bit of patience and maintenance. They are perfect for beginners who don’t want the expensive buy-in to woodworking and professionals looking for secondary table saws.