On the surface, these two PORTER-CABLE orbital jig saws seem similar. But they have a couple of key differences that will impact what kind of work you can do with them. Let’s take a closer look at both to discover which one is the best for you.
PORTER-CABLE PCE345 6-Amp Orbital Jig Saw
The PCE345 jig saw from PORTER-CABLE is a powerful jig saw with all the basic features needed for day-to-day cuts in a variety of materials. It has four orbital settings plus seven speed settings to help you make smooth and straight cuts in plastics, metals, and wood. (If you plan to cut circles, you’ll want to buy the rip fence circle guide, sold separately.)
The 7-position speed dial is embedded into the large two-finger trigger in the handle. This is both convenient and a little challenging to manipulate with gloves. But the 6Amp corded electric motor keeps up with the cuts that need to be done. And you can use the lock-on button to keep the trigger depressed on big jobs. This gives your hand a rest from squeezing it.
The top speed of the PCE345 jig saw is 3200 strokes per minute, which is about average for a saw of this class. The stroke length is 13/16-inch, but PORTER-CABLE doesn’t say what the maximum depth of cut is. The saw is also capable of 45-degree bevel cuts by adjusting the shoe. But you’ll only learn about that feature in the owner’s manual.
Finally, if you need to swap blades, say from a wood saw blade to one designed for metal, you don’t need any tools to do it.
More features of the PORTER-CABLE PCE345 orbital jig saw:
- Covered by a 3-year limited warranty
- Comes with Allan wrench to make adjustments to the shoe
PORTER-CABLE PC600JS 6 Amp Orbital Jig Saw
The PORTER-CABLE PC600JS orbital jig saw has two main advantages over the PCE345 saw. It sports an LED light, plus it can do bevel cuts at 0, 15,30, and 45 degrees. You won’t need a wrench or any tools to set up the bevel cuts. This is a big step up from the PCE345 that can only handle 90 and 45-degree cuts and requires a wrench to adjust the shoe.
This ability to do fast and easy bevel cuts makes this saw better for scrollwork and cutouts. It comes with a plastic shoe cover that can be used on delicate surfaces to protect them, too. But if you want to make circular cuts, consider getting the optional rip fence, sold separately.
Other than the LED light and the quick and easy beveling, this saw is quite similar to the one we reviewed above. It has a 6Amp motor that powers out up to 3200 strokes per minute. You can choose from 4 orbital settings and 7 different speeds to get the best cut possible in wood, plastics, and metals.
While the stroke length is 13/16-inch, the company doesn’t say what the maximum depth of cut is for any material. Their only comment is that you can lock on the trigger instead of squeezing it yourself during long cuts. But another minor improvement on this jig saw is the placement of the speed control dial on the top of the saw, not embedded in the trigger. It’s much easier to adjust while wearing gloves and you’re less likely to change speeds on accident.
The 6-foot long power cord makes it less likely that you’ll need an extension cord to reach your worktable. And you can swap blades without using any tools so you don’t waste time between cuts.
More features of the PORTER-CABLE PC600JS orbital jig saw:
- Covered by a 3-year limited warranty and 1-year free service contract
- Comes with wood cutting blade, plastic shoe cover, and instructions
If you want a jig saw for basic cuts, you may appreciate the PORTER-CABLE PCE345. You can make 45-degree bevel cuts with a little adjustment to the shoe.
If you plan to do scrollwork and more advanced cuts, consider getting the PORTER-CABLE PC600JS instead. It can do a variety of bevel cuts without needing a tool to make adjustments. It also has an LED light for improved illumination of the work piece. Finally, the speed dial is in a better location as well.