Porter-Cable vs Ryobi: Which Power Tool Brand is Better in 2023?
Porter-Cable and Ryobi are well-known power tool manufacturers. They produce everything from hand drills to power saws, and both offer lines of lithium-ion battery-powered tools. Both brands have more than 75 years of experience, with Porter-Cable boasting a history of more than 100 years in the industry. They are also preferred by DIY enthusiasts thanks to the combination of adequate power, the mobility of battery-powered devices, and reasonable prices.
While many products look similar and have similar features, there are differences. Below, we’ll look at the different product lines, typical prices of the brand’s products, and factors like warranty and reputation to determine which of the two tool manufacturers is better.
A Quick Comparison
Brief History of Porter-Cable
Porter-Cable was founded by R.E. Porte, G.G. Porter, and F.E. Cable in Syracuse in 1906. The three invested in a tool shop that they ran out of a garage. In 1914, they concentrated their efforts on manufacturing lathes, and they bought a manufacturing plant 3 years later.
It wasn’t until 1926 that the group started to concentrate its efforts on manufacturing power tools. Their first foray into this market was the Take-About Sander, which was an electric belt sander. It was followed by a helical drive circular saw, invented in 1929, and it’s a design that still pervades today.
In the 1960s, the brand underwent some detrimental changes. They were bought out by Rockwell International, who moved production to Jackson, Tennessee, where the company headquarters remain today, and introduced a range of inexpensive power tools to compete with Black + Decker. The change harmed the brand’s image.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the company, which had now been bought by Pentair Inc, reintroduced its commercial-grade tools and started to sell them in popular outlets and stores. In 2004, Porter-Cable was bought out by Stanley Black + Decker. They are still headquartered in Jackson, Tennessee, but most of the manufacturing has moved from the USA to Mexico and China.
Brief History of Ryobi
Founded in 1943, Ryobi started manufacturing diecast products in 1944. In the 1960s, the company started manufacturing printing presses and was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It wasn’t until 1968 that the Japanese manufacturer started to produce power tools.
Ryobi Tools is licensed by Techtronic Industries of Hong Kong, along with the likes of Hoover US, Dirt Devil, Vax, and AEG. In the USA, Ryobi Tools are primarily sold at Home Depot and online. The tools are available worldwide, including in the UK and Australia. The company has its headquarters in Fuchu, Hiroshima, Japan, and it has 12 manufacturing facilities across six countries.
Porter-Cable vs Ryobi: Manufacturing
Although Porter-Cable has its headquarters in the USA, very little of the company’s manufacturing is conducted there. Some reports state that some products may still be assembled in the USA, but parts and components are manufactured in Mexico and China. Porter-Cable is owned by Stanley Black + Decker, who also makes Stanley, DeWalt, and Black and Decker tools, among others, and only a very select few products from these brands are manufactured in the US.
Ryobi is a Japanese company, but its tools are licensed by Techtronic Industries of Hong Kong. The company headquarters are in Hiroshima, but the manufacturing arm of Techtronic Industries is in China, and no Ryobi Tools are manufactured in the USA.
Porter-Cable vs Ryobi: Product Line
Porter-Cable is well-known for its production of DIY-grade power tools. Porter-Cable is likely the winner here if you’re specifically looking for power, woodworking, and metalworking tools.
In particular, they manufacture and sell a range of battery-operated tools. Having pioneered the portable belt sander and the helical-drive circular saw, they continue to sell the products today.
The company’s power tools include devices with brushless motors, drills, drivers, packs that contain multiple power tools, and a host of battery-operated, wireless tools. They are well-priced, portable, and reasonably powerful, but they lack the features of high-end professional tools.
Cordless 20V lights enable you to start early or finish late, and they are beneficial when working in low-light areas. Cordless flashlights, radios, and speakers are among some of the other heavy-duty worksite equipment.
Ryobi has a broader range of products than Porter-Cable. They are known for appliances and tools like mowers, blowers, and power tools. Like Porter-Cable, they have a cordless line that has proven very popular since it is portable and convenient.
Lawn and Garden
Ryobi’s lawn and garden products include lawnmowers, chain saws, pole saws, and hedge trimmers to keep the rest of the garden in check. Most of these devices are 40V models, which operate using a 4AH rechargeable battery. The batteries are interchangeable, meaning that you can swap a single battery between more than 50 home and garden maintenance products.
Similarly, Ryobi Tools portable tools use the One+ HP compact brushless motor, and all benefit from the 18V battery. A single battery and charger will do for your whole range of power tools. The range includes drills, sanders, saws, and more. Like Porter-Cable, Ryobi’s tools are most commonly bought by homeowners rather than professionals.
Porter-Cable vs Ryobi: Warranty
The two companies are similar in many respects, but they offer different warranties.
Porter-Cable offers a three-year limited warranty on its tools.
Ryobi offers a 5-year warranty on its 40V products but a 3-year limited warranty on its 18V One+ products. A very select range of manual tools, like hammers, include a limited lifetime warranty, but they are unusual.
Porter-Cable vs Ryobi: Customer Service
Whether your power tool breaks down, you need a replacement part for your bench saw, or you have questions about the warranty, the responsiveness of customer service can make a big difference to the overall experience with a company. Without prior experience with a brand, you can only base this on other peoples’ experiences.
The company claims to have unmatched customer service, and, to be fair, there are very few complaints about Porter-Cable’s customer service. They offer a customer service phone line, email address, 70 factory-owned customer service centers, and more than 1,000 authorized repair centers across the US.
Ryobi also has a good customer service reputation and a phone number and email address. They offer access to a national network of service centers, but you must contact the service center before visiting to ensure that they can make the required repairs to your chosen product.
Porter-Cable Vs Ryobi 6-Piece Combo Kits
A combo kit is a great way to bulk out your tool kit, which can be especially beneficial if you’re moving to a new house or need to replace lost or broken tools. The 20V Max 6-Tool Combo Kit from Porter-Cable includes an impact driver, hammer drill, reciprocating saw, circular saw, oscillating tool, and a flashlight. The kit includes two batteries and a charger, which will work with all the tools. You also get a decent storage bag that can be used to keep or transport your tools.
The circular saw could be bigger and the flashlight brighter, but the kit is generally well-powered, and each tool has its own light. The inclusion of two batteries is a good touch. Ryobi offers a similar kit. It includes the same basic tools. There’s a similar problem with the circular saw, and the Ryobi includes onboard LED lighting, two batteries, and a big. There really is very little difference between the two kits. The light is better on the Ryobi, and its battery is compatible with more devices, which makes it the marginal winner in this competition.
Our Verdict: Ryobi 6-Piece Contractor’s Kit
Porter-Cable PCCK607LB vs Ryobi P252 Cordless Drill
The Porter-Cable PCCK607LB and the Ryobi P252 are both cordless ½ inch drills. They are roughly the same price, but the Ryobi is usually cheaper than the Porter-Cable. Both devices come with two batteries, a single charger, and a storage bag. The Porter-Cable produces a maximum of 1,700 RPM and torque power of up to 400 inch-pounds. The Porter-Cable produces 1,800 RPM maximum. It has a compact 7.4-inch design and weighs just 3.3 pounds, minimizing user fatigue and ensuring a genuinely portable driver.
Overall, these two drivers have little difference in power, weight, or other features. The Ryobi tends to work out noticeably cheaper than the Porter-Cable when offers are taken into account, and this, combined with the fact that its battery is compatible with over 100 devices, makes Ryobi the slight winner here.
Our Verdict: Ryobi P252
Porter-Cable vs Ryobi Cordless Oscillating Tools
Cordless oscillating tools are mobile, convenient, and can be used for various jobs and projects. They are relatively inexpensive and lightweight and have a compact design to fit cramped spaces. Both Ryobi and Porter-Cable offer a selection of these tools, including cordless units priced similarly and with similar features.
The 20V variable speed oscillating multi-tool from Porter-Cable offers a speed ranging from 8,000 to 18,000 OPM. It has its own work light, so is suitable for use in dimly lit conditions. The kit also includes 2 blades, a sanding pad, and 8 pieces of sandpaper. It doesn’t include the battery.
Ryobi’s cordless oscillating tool includes similar tools and accessories, two blades, a sanding pad, and sandpaper. It doesn’t include the battery but is one of nearly 200 tools compatible with Ryobi’s 18V battery system. It has a slightly higher speed of 20,000 OPM and an LED work light.
Our Verdict: Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Multi-Tool
Overall Brand Reputation
As in all areas, this is a very close-run competition, but Ryobi wins out. Most of its comparable tools offer a little extra power than its Porter-Cable counterpart. You get a more speed or a slightly higher maximum power, and that extra bit can make all the difference. Ryobi also has a slightly better reputation for its tools’ performance.
Ryobi devices tend to be discounted more often, which makes them more affordable than the tools from the Porter-Cable. Considering how similar the devices tend to be, it makes Ryobi the marginal winner of this category.
Both sets of tools have a reputation for being hard-wearing and durable. The companies offer similar three-year limited warranties, and whichever you buy, you should expect them to last for several years before you consider replacing them.
Honestly, it is difficult to tell the products apart when you look at the features and power. However, Ryobi has a broader range of products, and nearly 200 runs use the same battery system. As long as you don’t have anything against the green plastic of the Ryobi design, there is really no reason to go against the Japanese manufacturer.
It is very difficult to find differences between the products offered by Ryobi and Porter-Cable. They have similar power, features, and a range of power tools. Ryobi has a broader selection, and a single 18V battery can be used with a greater variety of tools, all of which will feel familiar once you have gotten used to the brand. They tend to be a little cheaper, which gives them a very slight edge over Porter-Cable and their products.