The wood router is one of the most versatile tools a carpenter can have these days. In fact, every woodworker, even a novice one, should have one in his shop. If you are looking for a good machine and don’t know which one to buy, we recommend the PORTER-CABLE Router, Fixed Base, 5-Speed, 3-1/4-HP (7518).
PORTER-CABLE 7518 – The Most Powerful Router You’ll Find on The Market
The PORTER-CABLE 7518 is a full-size router that comes with an above-average price tag, but it’s worth every penny, as you will see below.
Powerful, Dependable Motor
The feature that makes this router stand out is the motor power. At 3-1/4 HP and 15 Amps, this motor will cut through any kind of wood with ease. This means you will finish your jobs faster and save a lot of time on your projects. The motor is in fact powerful enough to handle cutting and boring into sheets of metal as well, with the right bit.
Although it’s extremely powerful, you’ll never have to worry about the motor overheating and burning up. The internal thermal circuitry of this PORTER-CABLE router will automatically stop the motor before reaching dangerously high temperatures. And speaking of motor damage, the unit also comes with a coil spring relief system built around it, that protects the motor from wear and tear, as well as any external damage.
One other thing you won’t have to worry about is vibration. Even at the highest speed setting, of 21,000 RPM, there is actually no vibration, thanks to the motor coil string strain relief mechanism.
Five Speeds to Choose From
Another good thing about the PORTER-CABLE machine is that it has a variable speed motor, although most routers today have this feature. The bad news is that it has only 5-speed settings that you can choose from, starting at 10,000 RPM and ending at 21,000 RPM. Depending on what material you are using it for, you can set the speed control to 10,000, 13,000, 16,000, 19,000, and 21,000 RPM.
Although 5-speed settings aren’t ideal, the PORTER-CABLE router makes up for it through it’s “Constant Response Circuitry” proprietary technology. Let’s say that you choose a lower speed setting, of 10,000 RPM, and you start using the router on hard material. It will probably underperform. This is where the “Constant Response Circuitry” comes in. It will ensure that your router will always remain at the speed you selected, thus making every trim perfect.
Easy to Adjust and Use
The motor isn’t the only thing that’s great on this router. You can adjust almost anything, from the collet size to the bit accuracy, which can go all the way to 1/64”. All adjustments use a “twist-and-lock” principle, thus making every fast and reliable.
The router also has an auto-release collet system which allows you to easily switch between bits. The collet can be changed too. Out of the box, the PORTER-CABLE 7518 comes with a 1/2” collet but it can accommodate 1/4” collet size as well, even though some might consider it too small for a machine as powerful as this.
Table Mounted or Hand Operated
Since this is a full-sized router with an extremely powerful motor, the PORTER-CABLE 7518 is a great tool to use on a router table. In fact, this is probably the best 3 hp router for table mounting you can find on the market today. This router can also be easily used as a handheld tool, thanks to the large integrated cast handles that offer enhanced stability and durability. No matter how you use it, this tool will deliver a great overall routing experience.
One other thing that makes the PORTER-CABLE 7518 a great purchase is that it was designed to last a long time. Sawdust is the number 1 enemy of all the woodworking tools. The PORTER-CABLE 7518 router has a dust-sealed switch and sealed ball bearing construction to enhance the durability and longevity of this tool.
Another feature worth mentioning is the Soft-Start, which reduces torque at start-up. This feature is great especially when you need to work using higher speed settings.
No Base Plunge, But Who Needs It?
Besides the price, there is one other downside to the PORTER-CABLE 7518: it has no plunge base unit. So, if you are looking for a router that has both a fixed and a plunge base, this product is not for you.
Even with the fixed base, you can still use this for boring holes, although trimming edges is where the PORTER-CABLE 7518 truly shines.
Even though it is a fixed base router, you can still adjust the depth to a precision of 1/64”, which is still more than most people need. Also, the router has a large enough base plate (7”) to ensure perfect stability while operating.
When it comes to accessories, just like with other routers, don’t expect a rich set. In fact, the PORTER-CABLE 7518 router only comes with a set of metal wrenches for changing the collet. The reason why manufacturers stopped offering extra bits is that you can find them in any hardware store for a very low price. You can find a complete 35 piece set for as low as $30.
Like we mentioned in the beginning, this router comes with an above-average price tag. While most routers cost less than $200, even those that have both a fixed base and a plunge base, the PORTER-CABLE 7518 costs more than $300.
The PORTER-CABLE Router, Fixed Base, 5-Speed, 3-1/4-HP (7518) should instantly become your go-to router in the workshop. This is thanks to its powerful, top of the line motor and ease of adjustment. It is, without a doubt, the toughest, most powerful router you can find on the market right now. Also, you won’t probably find another router that is so user friendly. The only downsides of the PORTER-CABLE 7518 are the price and the lack of a plunge base. But who knows, maybe PORTER-CABLE will decide to manufacture one that will be compatible with this router.