Porter-Cable Restorer Review

Porter-Cable Restorer Review
Chris   November 11, 2016  
0   11  
Porter-Cable Restorer Review

A few years ago I wrote about an impressive looking tool that appeared to offer "the versatility of an angle grinder with the ability to follow the grain like a belt sander", but sadly, said tool was only a prototype. Today that tool is now available to the masses, known as the Porter-Cable Restorer, and I am happy that I am finally able to test it out and give it a review.

What is the Porter-Cable Restorer?

Is the Porter-Cable Restorer a drum sander, a wire wheel brush, a buffing wheel, a surface grinder, or what? Honestly, with the right attachment it can be all of the above. I like to think of the restorer as a better angle grinder—when it comes to surface prep—because it offers the same versatility as a grinder, on a tool that is better suited to working on large surfaces.

As mentioned, the Restorer can accept a number of different attachments (drums) that allow the tool to be used on materials like wood, metal, or cement, and switching between all of the different attachments couldn't be easier. Open a single door, which is secured with latches, and the drums can quickly be swapped out in a matter of seconds.

Porter Cable Restorer Drum Sander Review

Changing of the drums

The only accessory that requires some effort, is changing the sandpaper grits, which requires removing them from the rubber drum. I found this to be a bit of a challenge because there is no way to grip the drum to rotate the sandpaper off. My solution was to insert a screwdriver into the drum so that I could rotate the paper by hand. On the plus side, the sandpaper seems to be very well made, so you probably won't have to change them out very much.

Porter-Cable Restorer Drum Sander on Painted Wood

The Restorer In Use

In testing, I found the Restorer to do an excellent job at removing surface rust on metal, and paint or stain on wood. It would remove rust in a matter of seconds, leaving the surface clean and smooth. I had similar results when testing the restorer on wood, and the tool is easy enough to control that you shouldn't have a problem keeping it moving to prevent gouging.

To prevent heat build-up and increase the life of the sanding drums, the variable speed dial can be used to select the right speed for the job at hand. Also useful for extending drum life is using a dust collector; and let me say, the Porter-Cable Restorer does an excellent job at collecting dust. When testing the tool at removing rust I didn't have to worry about breathing in the dust, which is always nice. I only wish the dust port was a little bit longer. I used the Rockler Universal Hose and it connects nicely with the Restorer, but the hold would be better if the dust port on the Restorer was just a tad bit longer.

Metal Sanded with the Porter Cable Restorer


Amps: 3.5
Drum size: 4-inch
Diameter: 2-13/16
Speed: 1000-3200 RPM
Weight (lbs.): 4.5

I don't see the Restorer as a replacement for a finishing sander, like a random orbital sander, simply because it is easier to gouge your material because if the narrow surface area on the Restorer's attachment, but that doesn't mean it can't deliver a finish grade surface; you just need to make sure you keep it moving. I would usually turn to my belt sander when I needed to do heavy surface sanding or finish removal, but the Restorer has now taken its place.

My only issue with the Restorer is actually with the Heavy-duty Abrasive Sleeve. It comes packaged in a box that requires the sleeve to stored out-of-round, and no matter what I did, I could not get rid of the creases. When used on the Restorer, the out-of-round creases cause vibrations and jumping from the tool. I think a change in packaging for the Heavy-duty Abrasive Sleeve could solve the issue.

Porter Cable Restorer Drum and Accessories

In Conclusion

Overall I am very impressed with the Porter-Cable Restorer. Not only does it work as advertised, it seems to be solidly built, has plenty of power, and the sanding drums are of good quality. They Porter-Cable already has a selection of drums and sanding papers, and I expect they will come out with more accessories to make the Restorer an even better tool. I know a wire brush, and a buffing wheel would make great additions. At a price of only $99, I think the Restorer is a bargain. - Lowe's


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