If you’re shopping for a good air compressor, you’ve likely come across a Porter Cable brand on your search. These air compressors are sold in big box stores and Porter-Cable has been a well-known name in the tool business for many years. But their name hasn’t always been synonymous with quality. So today, we’re going to dive into the details of porter cable air compressors to answer all your questions. By the end of this article, you’ll know whether a Porter Cable compressor is right for your needs.
Are Porter-Cable Air Compressors Any Good?
Although Porter Cable had some rough years and made some poor-quality tools, their current air compressors seem to be of comparable quality and price to other similar brands on the market. In fact, they’re so similar to other big-name brands, the only difference may be the label.
So if you’re looking for an air compressor for home use that will get the job done but won’t wow any spectators, Porter-Cable is a good brand to choose from. While they don’t have a huge selection of compressors, they don’t really need one. The compressors they have available are likely to work for most homeowners without breaking the bank. And that, in our book, makes for a good compressor.
But before we talk about the compressors they have for sale, let’s get some background on the company, where the compressors are made, and their warranty information.
Who Makes Porter-Cable Air Compressors?
Porter-Cable air compressors are now made under the direction of the parent company Stanley Black & Decker. Their headquarters are located in Jackson, TN. However, like many other air compressor companies, they don’t make most of the components in the USA, despite having their headquarters here.
Porter-Cable Company Information
Porter-Cable was founded way back in 1906 in Syracuse, New York. The founders, R.E. Porter, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable, got into manufacturing power tools in 1914. In the 1920s, Chief Engineer Art Emmons invented the portable belt sander and the helical drive circular saw.
In the 1960s the company was sold and the new parent company started making low-end tools to try to compete with Black & Decker. Unfortunately, the tools had all kinds of problems and the Porter-Cable name took a hit.
The company was sold again in the 1980s and then once again to what is now Stanley Black & Decker in 2004. Now the company is headquartered in Jackson, TN, under the control of Stanley Black & Decker.
Where Are Porter Cable Air Compressors Made?
When looking at a Porter-Cable air compressor, you’ll probably see a disclaimer that says “Made in the USA from global materials.” Or something to that effect. This means that the compressor’s parts are made in other countries — usually China and/or Mexico — and then assembled in the USA at their Jackson, TN, headquarters.
If you’re looking for a genuine “Made in the USA” air compressor, Porter Cable won’t have one for you. But this is part of what makes them so cheap. If they were fully manufactured in the US, they would be significantly more expensive. That’s just the way it goes.
Porter-Cable Warranty Information
Unfortunately, Porter-Cable isn’t very clear about the warranty information on their air compressors. This usually isn’t a good sign, but a little bit of searching brings up general warranty information on Porter Cable products.
It looks like the compressors have a one-year limited warranty against material and workmanship defects, which is pretty standard for these cost-effective, home-use compressors. However, the fact that they don’t volunteer this information on the same page as the compressors on their website (or many other websites) makes me wonder.
Some other research we did showed warranty information that spelled out different warranty lengths for different compressor components. This included a three-year limited warranty on “2-stage oil-free air compressor pumps that operate at 1725 RPM.”
But, again, this is confusing language and, for all we know, this may be an old warranty.
Do Porter Cable Air Compressors Have Lifetime Warranties?
One thing is for sure: Porter-Cable air compressors do not have lifetime warranties. Then again, most compressors at this price range don’t have lifetime warranties. Most compressors in general don’t have super long warranties. They’re not like hand tools; they can last a long time without problems, but eventually, they’ll need some kind of replacement components.
Types and Sizes of Porter Cable Air Compressors Available
There are a few compressors offered by Porter-Cable. They range in size from small and portable to large versions. Let’s take a look.
Small and Portable
The smallest compressors Porter Cable has on offer are from 1.5 gallons to 4 gallons. On the lower end, they provide 2.0 CFM @ 90 PSI, and 2.6 on the higher end. The max pressure ratings range from 135 to 165 PSI. These are ideal for smaller jobs and for use around the house, since they’re lightweight and portable.
Medium and Most Popular
The medium-sized compressor from Porter-Cable is also the most popular. It’s a 6-gallon pancake compressor that has a max PSI of 150. It’s portable at only 30 pounds and can deliver 2.6 CFM @ 90 PSI. It has an oil-free pump, rubber feet, and a handle for easy transport.
Large Air Compressors
For larger compressors, Porter-Cable offers several versions ranging from 20 gallons 80 gallons. The max PSI for these compressors ranges from 135 and up. They’re capable of delivering between 4 and 11.5 CFM @ 90 PSI. They all have wheels for easy transport and many of them are available in oil-free and oil-lubricated models.
What We Like and Don’t Like About Porter-Cable Air Compressors
There are certain things that are good about Porter Cable air compressors, and some that are not so good. So this section is dedicated to the pros and cons of Porter-Cable air compressors.
What We Like: Porter Cable Pros
- Low Price – The low price of Porter-Cable air compressors is one of the major selling points. They seem to be a great combination of price and quality that’s hard to pass up.
- Trusted Brand – Porter Cable has been a big name in the tool world for many years. And, aside from a short period after the 1960s acquisition, all the tools they’ve made have been quality. Now that they’re part of the Black & Decker family, you can rest easy knowing that they’re backed by a trusted brand.
- Quality – The combination of quality and low cost come together to make a great compressor. The thousands of reviews on the popular compressors is a good indication of Porter-Cable quality.
- Small and Large Options – There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to Porter Cable compressors, but the options they have for large and small compressors cover the gamut of what you may need.
- Portability – Most of the compressors sold by Porter-Cable are small enough to carry or have wheels. Only the largest options are stationary. So you don’t have to worry about buying really long air hoses or lugging around a bulky compressor.
What We Don’t Like
- Unclear Warranty Information – The biggest con against Porter Cable compressors is the lack of information about their warranty. It seems that the compressors are covered by a limited 1-year warranty, but having to dig for this information before you buy is never a good sign.
- Noise Levels – Noise levels are one common complaint about Porter Cable air compressors. If it’s important that you have a quiet compressor, make sure to get one of the Porter-Cable options with a low decibel rating.
Are Porter Cable Air Compressors Worth It?
For those looking for a compressor for general home use, Porter Cable compressors are a very viable option. You’ll likely notice that Black & Decker and Craftsman compressors are also identical to Porter Cable because they’re all made by the same company. This means that you can expect consistent quality over all these lines, and a big company to back up any issues you may have in workmanship or construction.
Best Porter Cable Air Compressor for Home Use
This is a very highly-rated and respected compressor for home use, made in the USA with global materials. It features a max pressure of 150 PSI and an oil-free pump for low maintenance. It’s lightweight at only 30 pounds and has a carrying handle for easy transport. The low amp 120-volt motor allows for easy startup even in cold weather. It features rubber feet and a low profile for stability. And it is capable of 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI.
- 150 Max PSI for longer run times
- 2.6 SCFM @ 90 PSI & 3.5 SCFM @ 40 PSI
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Easy startup in cold weather or with an extension cord
- Low cost and good quality
- Available with an accessory kit
- Oil-free pump for low maintenance
- 2 quick connect couplers
- Great for at-home uses, such as installing trim and inflating tires