For avid DIY enthusiasts and tradesmen alike, quality tools are worth their weight in gold. Luckily, there is no shortage of quality tools available on today’s market. In fact, the biggest problem encountered by many consumers today revolves around determining which brand of tool to invest their money in, above all others.
Two such brands that are often compared for this reason are Porter-Cable and Ryobi, both of which are mainstays of the modern power tool market. Although each of these brands has plenty to offer, it is often difficult to discern the differences between each. For this reason, we have compiled the following guide.
What follows is a comprehensive comparison of Porter-Cable and Ryobi, based upon a range of valuable criteria.
Porter-Cable and Ryobi have both shown many successes over the years. Even though Porter-Cable’s history dates back further than Ryobi’s, each of these manufacturers have proven they can produce, and offer nothing but the most premium of products.
The following is a brief history of both Porter-Cable and Ryobi’s rise to prominence within the world of power tools.
About Porter-Cable Tools
Porter-Cable is an American-founded company that was established in 1906, in Syracuse, New York. The company started in F.E. Cable and the Porter Brother’s machine shop. At first, the company manufactured a number of simple, yet necessary items, including pencil sharpeners, automatic tire pumps, and gas lamps.
The 1920s saw Porter-Cable delved into power tool production, with the unveiling of their own line of portable belt sanders. This was quickly followed by the release of a revolutionary High-Speed Helical Gear Drive Saw, in 1928. Within the decade, Porter-Cable went from the unknown to having gained a positive reputation in the world of power tools.
Porter-Cable was purchased by Rockwell Industries in 1960 and its headquarters and primary manufacturing facilities were eventually relocated to Jackson, TN. At about the same time, Porter-Cable also broadened its product catalog, to include such power tools as the portable band saw and a high-speed orbital sander.
The acquisition by Rockwell Industries brought about changes in the dynamics of Porter-Cable’s offerings. The company began to focus its production on economically priced, consumer-grade tools to put them in closer contention with companies such as Black & Decker. The Porter-Cable name was also dropped during that time period.
The mid 1980s saw Porter-Cable being purchased by Pentair, Inc. at which time the commercial use of the Porter-Cable name was restored. Pentair, Inc. continued to focus on the production of economical consumer-grade tools, which resulted in the total eradication of the professional grade line of tools by the end of the decade.
In a twist of fate, in 2004, after years of direct competition, Porter-Cable was purchased by Black & Decker. Today, Porter-Cable is still headquartered in Jackson, TN, though much of the manufacturer’s operations take place elsewhere.
See Also: Porter-Cable vs Milwaukee
About Ryobi Tools
Ryobi Tools was founded in 1943 as Ryobi Limited. Metal die-cast items were among the early products produced by Ryobi. The brand expanded its metal die-casting operations into the realm of plastic die-cast goods in 1954. Ryobi has developed a number of interesting items throughout its history, including fishing tackle, printing presses, and door closers.
Ryobi began producing power tools in 1968. These attempts swiftly bore fruit, with customers continuing to have an interest in this developing world of home renovation. Ryobi, on the other hand, continued to develop a variety of goods, including golf clubs.
Surprisingly, Ryobi seemed to prefer selling other products than their power tool line. As a result of this, the brand was licensed to third-party producers who began producing power tools under their names.
Ryobi sold its US power tool market stake in 2000, and it eventually sold any remaining stakes in the company’s power tool section in 2018 to the Kyocera Group.
As of now, all Ryobi power tools for sale in North America are made by Techtronic Industries (TTI). Milwaukee is also a member of the TTI family.
See Also: Ryobi vs Makita Tools
Many consumers still place substantial value upon a given company’s manufacturing practices. For this reason, we have outlined such practices, as they pertain to Porter-Cable and Ryobi, allowing consumers to make an even more informed purchasing decision, than would have otherwise been possible.
The following is a brief description of Porter-Cable and Ryobi’s current manufacturing practices.
Where Are Porter-Cable Tools Made?
Initially, Porter-Cable all tools were produced in the United States. The early years saw Porter-Cable’s manufacturing facility located in Syracuse, New York. Later, following the company’s acquisition by Rockwell Industries, production was moved to Jackson, TN.
Today, this facility is used primarily as a warehouse, while the vast majority of Porter-Cable’s current product production takes place in Mexico and China.
Where Are Ryobi Tools Made?
Ryobi Tools is an Japanese-based manufacturer of power equipment. Although the company’s primary financial headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois, it also has offices throughout the world. In Japan, Ryobi runs numerous production facilities, although most of its products are made in China.
Ryobi presently has only one factory in the United States. It is located in Shelbyville, Indiana, and produces branded accessories under the Ryobi brand. In all, Ryobi has 12 manufacturing plants located in six different nations.
Read Also: Ryobi vs DeWalt (Tool Brand Comparison)
Porter-Cable and Ryobi both offer a comprehensive lineup of power tools, designed to simplify most any task. In fact, many of their offerings have even become favorites of dedicated craftsmen, from a number of trades.
What follows is a summary of Porter-Cable and Ryobi’s product catalogs.
Porter-Cable has recently popularized a new line of power tools, known as the 20V MAX series of power tools which utilize a universal battery/charging system.
Tools in this series share a common battery design, thereby promoting versatility in the workplace. This lineup of tools most notably includes drills, impact drivers, reciprocating saws, circular saws, and even work lights.
Additional power tools offered by Porter-Cable include grinders and routers, among others items that are dedicated to the woodworking profession.
Porter-Cable continues to expand upon its product lineup regularly, making it likely that consumers will be presented with a number of additional power tools of both the cordless 20V MAX and corded variety in the near future.
Porter-Cable also produces and markets numerous accessories to complement its line of power tools. Some of the most notable of these accessories include specialty drill bits, hole saw bits, joining biscuits, mandrels, assorted fasteners, and sanding belts and discs.
The main product line of Ryobi is quite extensive. The 18V One+ series contains 250+ tools, batteries, and accessories, making it one of the most comprehensive tool lines on the market.
This allows customers to use a larger variety of tools while still keeping down the number of batteries and chargers required. These same batteries are still able to power Ryobi’s equipment from 25 years ago.
Drills, saws, grinders, impact guns, and nail guns are some of the most common tools part of the 18V One+ series. This same battery pack that runs these tools is also compatible with a wide range of Ryobi yard equipment including hedge trimmers, string trimmers, chainsaws, and lawn mowers. Ryobi also has a variety of worksite companions available, such as radios and fans.
Ryobi also offers a range of heavy-duty 40V products for tackling the most demanding outdoor yard chores. The 40V line comprises over 75 different tools including string trimmers, chainsaws, and blowers, all of which work on “gas-like” power without requiring you to stop and fill up the tank. All 40V Lithium batteries are compatible with all chargers and goods in this line.
Read Also: Ryobi vs Milwaukee (Comparison)
Porter-Cable and Ryobi have both served as innovators within the tool industry, in their own right, making advancements and improvements to their lines for the convenience of all consumers.
The following are several of Porter-Cable and Ryobi’s most notable technological advances.
Brushless 20V Max Tools
Porter-Cable’s brushless motors optimize runtime and increase performance by running cooler and operating more efficiently compared to their brushed motor counterparts.
Combining this line of tools with the manufacturer’s 20V Max power supply system gives the consumer the toughest working tools and the most versatile power system around, increasing productivity at the same time.
As a counterpart to its line of 20V tools and batteries, Porter-Cable offers the 20V MAX Storage Bag. This bag allows consumers to store up to 10 individual batteries and is capable of fully charging two 20V MAX batteries at a time, in only 40 minutes.
Even more impressive, is the fact that the tool bag itself includes a built-in job site radio and external cord management system.
Porter-Cable has harnessed its innovative 20V MAX technology to produce much more than a simple lineup of tools. The company also produces a series of shop-duty specific tools, utilizing the same technology.
Some of the most noteworthy additions to this line include shop vacuums, heat guns, and LED spot/work lights.
18V One+ HP Brushless
The new One+ HP brushless motors from Ryobi are offered to reduce noise and vibration while also increasing performance and durability. While more expensive, tools with these brushless motors also provide a more pleasurable operating experience.
USB Lithium Power Tools
For smaller DIY jobs, Ryobi USB Lithium Power Tools provide cordless ease and mobility. This collection of tools comprises of a portable power cutter and rotary tool that all run on a USB Li-ion battery.
The small battery has a USB-C charging port and an LED charging indicator to indicate when it is ready to use. Install the battery into any lithium power tool for cordless and compact portability after it has been charged.
Link Storage Solutions
Ryobi is one of the first manufacturers to offer a new and rather simple technique for storing and organizing various power equipment. The Link Modular Storage gives customers versatility and mobility by combining shelves, bags, containers, and customizable hangers. All Ryobi power tool models in this series include universal locks that may be used on any model.
See Also: Ryobi vs Kobalt (Tool Brand Comparison)
Warranty and Service
A manufacturer’s adherence to strong customer service is of unparalleled value when attempting to determine how best to spend one’s hard earned money. For this reason, we felt it necessary to compare the warranty policies offered by Porter-Cable and Ryobi.
The following is a synopsis of Porter-Cable and Ryobi’s current warranty policies.
Porter-Cable tools are covered by a 90-day satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason, you are not satisfied with a Porter-Cable product within the first 90-days of purchase, simply return it for a full refund.
All Porter-Cable power tools are backed by a warranty policy of at least 1-year, from the date of original purchase. However, many of the company’s tools are covered by a longer 3-year limited warranty. Porter-Cable will repair, without charge, any defects due to faulty materials or workmanship for three years from the date of purchase. This warranty does not cover defects due to normal wear or misuse.
Additional tool coverages are as follows:
- 1-year service plan covering worn parts for normal use
- 2 years: electric generators, compressor pumps, and pneumatic air guns
- 1 year: pressure washers, all accessories
Ryobi continues to build its reputation for producing high-quality, long-lasting power tools by providing long warranties on its products. The majority of Ryobi’s 18V power tools are covered by a 3-year limited warranty.
This warranty states that if a tool is found to be defective in material or workmanship, it will be repaired or replaced at no cost to the user. This warranty does not cover equipment damaged as a result of mishandling or normal usage and tear.
Ryobi extends a 5-year warranty on all of their 40V Lithium-Ion battery-operated power tools.
Other Ryobi products have different warranties and terms, including the 3-year warranty on outdoor power tools and 18V ONE+ Electrostatic Sprayers. The Limited Lifetime Warranty applies to all Ryobi hand tools, RYOBI Garage Door Opener motors and belts, and other RYOBI product lines.
Porter-Cable vs Ryobi: And The Winner Is…
It is quite difficult to select between Porter-cable and Ryobi when attempting to choose the best power tool brand. However, when comparing apples to apples, Ryobi has a slight upper hand. While this is certainly not a slight toward Porter-Cable, Ryobi is known to produce somewhat heavier-grade tools.
Simply put, Porter-Cable has acquired a reputation for producing consumer-grade power tools, many of which are likely incapable of withstanding long-term frequent use. Of course, this is of little concern for the casual DIY hobbyist, who is unlikely to push their tools to the extreme.
Additionally, Ryobi is also known for its stellar customer service, which is aimed at providing complete customer satisfaction. In our opinion, this all tips the scales of favor in Ryobi’s direction.