Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 15A Circular Saw Review

The new Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 7-1/4″ 15 amp heavy-duty circular saw packs in plenty of quality features and performance at a pretty fair price that both DIY and pro users will appreciate. Things like a long 10 ft cord, hard molded carry case, and a powerful 15 amp motor are just some of the goodies that are included.

Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 15A circular saw rip guide

The new Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 7-1/4″ 15 amp heavy-duty circular saw packs in plenty of quality features and performance at a pretty fair price that both DIY and pro users will appreciate. Things like a long 10 ft cord, hard molded carry case, and a powerful 15 amp motor are just some of the goodies that are included.


Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 15A Circular Saw Features

The Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 7-1/4″ 15 amp Heavy-Duty Circular Saw arrived at our facility in a good size cardboard box. Inside the box we found that the saw is housed within a rigid plastic carry case. This case has spaces inside to secure the included rip fence and store the arbor bolt wrench. We like the idea of including the carry case since it is a great way to store the saw and protect it during transit and when it is not in use. This particular case comes with plenty of room on the top shell, so you’re not forced to be exact when wrapping up the power cord. The PC15TCSMK Circular saw has a number of features that make it a good choice if you are in the market for a sub-$100 dollar tool. For starters, the saw is rated to 15 amps which is about as heavy duty in power as you can get for a sidewinder. To make sure that the power gets to the saw, the engineers thoughtfully included an all-weather, heavy-gauge power cord that is 10 feet long. The long cord will make it possible that when you are cutting lengthwise down a piece of 8 foot long plywood, the end of the cord might not get caught when you are trying to finish your cut at the other end.

Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 15A circular saw bevelThe saw itself has a good balance to it and it weighs in between a half a pound to over a pound less than many similarly equipped saws on the market. The weight savings can be attributed to the cast magnesium shoe which gives a ridged base yet reduces weight. The shoe is coated with a slick finish to make sure the saw glides over whatever you are trying to cut. The main body of the saw is made of gray plastic with black overmold grips. The blade guard is made of aluminum, but is constructed in such a way as to ensure a slim profile and give excellent sight lines. The depth of cut lever and the angle levers each have large ends that make them easy to manipulate and the bevel gauge actually has indents at 22.5 and 45 degrees so that it is easy to set for common angles. To make blade changes a breeze, there is a spindle lock button. The only trick is to make sure to keep the case handy since that is where the wrench is stored. We think that a saw mounted wrench might have been a better route to make sure the wrench is always with the saw, especially on professional tools that tend to eat through blades more than usual. All in all, the ergonomics of this saw are comfortable, intuitive and easy to use.

Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 15A circular saw depth
Easy to adjust depth of cut scale

Testing and Use

The first test for the Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 7-1/4″ 15 amp Heavy-Duty Circular Saw was to take our digital laser tachometer and verify the 5,600 RPM motor speed. Our results were within 4% of the manufacturer’s claim with an average reading of 5375 RPM, which is an acceptable variance. Our real world testing of this saw was done out in the field and involved cutting pressure treated lumber and 3/4″ plywood. The Porter Cable PC15TCSMK came with fresh 24 tooth carbide tipped blade for our testing which was perfect of cutting some PT material. We made numerous cross cuts through pressure treated 2×6’s, 2×8’s and 4×4’s as we built up a wood foundation for a storage shed. In all the cuts the saw never bound up or even gave a hint of a struggle. We did notice the built-in blower feature which helped to keep saw dust out of our sight path as we followed both the guide and the blade on our pencil line.


Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 15A circular saw cutting

Since the saw included a rip fence, we also gave that a try. We set the fence to give a 2″ wide cut in the plywood and started at the end of the sheet. As we started cutting, we found that the saw wanted to bind up slightly and the cut was not as fluid as when the rip fence was not installed. Upon examination, it seemed to us that the rip fence was just slightly out of square from the blade. We suspected this is what was causing the binding. With just our hands we were able to straighten the fence back into square and we tried the cut again with better success. One other small annoyance with the rip fence was that, when we used thumb screw to hold the setting of the fence, we bent the rip fence bar. While the saw is good, the included rip fence is not so hearty and came across as a “required” throw in that won’t hold up to any serious use or abuse.

Conclusion

From our testing of the Porter Cable PC15TCSMK 7-1/4″ 15 amp Heavy-Duty Circular Saw we determined it is a pretty good saw for the money. With plenty of power, easy to use depth of cut and bevel angle adjustments, and a convenient carry case, most folks would do well to consider this saw if they are in the market for a sub-$100 dollar circular saw. For our Performance rating we gave the saw a 7/10 since it does well to pack in handy features and light weight but we wish the rip fence was a little better quality. For our Value rating we gave the saw a 7/10 as it competes well with other offerings in this price range.

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