Review – Porter Cable Table Saw Model PCB270TS

Recently, I had ran into a problem with my old Craftsman table saw.  I decided to replace it instead of repairing it and talked about the recent purchase of the PCB270TS here.

Having used it for a couple weekends and making quite a few cuts, I’ve come to appreciate this machine. My views might not be fully objective having come from a twenty year old Craftsman, but this new saw is just fantastic.  Yes, there are a few shortcomings (which I will detail), but the pros far outweigh the cons.

To begin with, the PCB270TS assembles quick and easy.  Now if you are somewhat mechanically challenged, this process will take a bit longer as the instructions are not too fantastic.  The key is to be organized:  sort out the hardware, and use trays to keep the bits and pieces together.

There are a few (modern) features that make this a far safer table saw than the Craftsman it replaces.  Both the height adjustment and blade angle hand wheels are located on the front of the saw, and the bevel indicator is located on the surface of the table.  And there is the riving knife.  Having this device installed prevents the ripped lumber from pinching and binding the blade.  Another major safety item is the dust port that can attached to a shop vac.  It doesn’t get all the sawdust, but the vacuum does capture a large portion, especially the finer dust that floats around (and ends up in the lungs).

The integrated casters make it quite easy to move around, but a fair amount of control is required to raise and lower the saw.  If not careful when the saw is lowered, it will slam to the ground.  And there is no way that’s good for the alignments.  It is possible to leave it in the up position, but I think it would move around if sheet goods were pushed across it.

The fence does work, and it is accurate, but it’s not too substantial.  It does slide smoothly along the extruded aluminum rails, and the micro adjust wheels work fairly well.  The miter gauge has positive stops at all the popular angles, there are four nylon blocks on the bottom side that allows it to glide over the table surface.  Very little end-play can be detected.

The arbor has a locking mechanism that makes the loosening of the arbor nut a breeze.  It’s a red button located on the backside of the arbor, simply press it inwards (or towards the front), turn the nut until it locks in place.  The apply some force to loosen the nut.

But not everything is as it should be with this saw.. there are a few items that need to be re-engineered.  For example, the shroud that covers the blade for dust collection makes it very difficult to change blades.  The shroud is made of aluminum which adds to the discomfort of reaching in to remove the arbor nut.  This is made more difficult when installing a stacked dado blade.

Next are the flimsy sheet metal wings.  Their rigidity comes in part from the fence, and I’ve had a problem getting them to be 100% flat with reference to the cast iron table.  I might adapt the cast iron wings from the Craftsman to this saw to address that problem.

The last issue is more of a concern at this point, and might not really mean anything.  The trunnion is cast aluminum, and long term durability is a question mark.

So the bottom line:  It’s well worth the $600 price tag, it has a whole host of unique features that make this saw stand out from the competition.


Below are all the images in a gallery format.



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