The Bottom Line
The Porter-Cable 893PK Fixed Base & Plunge Base Router Kit is a very well-engineered woodworking tool. There are numerous touches that obviously were inspired by woodworkers, such as the dual-position switch, that allows the unit to be turned on and off near the handle and also at the top of the motor. I was also very impressed with the fine height adjustment on the fixed base, as it was quite accurate and very easy to use.
The router is much quieter than most, starts smoothly, and bit changes are easy.
This is a fantastic router, one that I would highly recommend adding to any woodworking shop.
- The motor is much quieter than most router motors
- Spindle-lock allows for bit changes with only one wrench
- Dual-position switch is very easy to operate when using router by hand or in a router table
- Long power cord is a nice touch
- The map-style owner's manual can be frustrating to use
- The fixed base height adjustment is quite accurate, & the quick release makes removing the router a simple task.
- The built-in dust collection in the plunge base is quite effective with small bits, but limited on large-diameter bits.
- On some router tables, the collet can be extended high enough to allow above-the-table bit changes.
- Ten-foot long power cord is a very nice touch.
- Single-wrench bit changes made possible by a push-button spindle lock. This makes bit changes very easy.
- The map-style owner's manual can be frustrating to use, as text isn't next to the pictures to which they refer.
- The speed adjustment dial allows speed adjustments between 10,000-23,000 RPM.
- The plunge base was redesigned for improved plunge stroke & dust collection. This base will be available in April/May 2007.
Guide Review - Porter-Cable 893PK Fixed Base & Plunge Base Router Kit
For years, Porter-Cable has enjoyed a reputation among professional contractors and woodworkers for quality, well-engineered tools. At the very least, the Porter-Cable 893PK Multi-Base Router Kit lives up to that reputation. In this case, I really think they've gone above and beyond. This is a top-notch router kit, one that other manufacturers should aspire to emulate.
Holding the unit in my hands and starting the motor the first time was a bit of a surprise. While the soft-start motor takes more than a second to get up to full speed, it does it so smoothly and quietly that I wondered if the router was really functioning properly. (Note: Keep this soft start in mind when using this router, as you should not start cutting until the router is fully running at the chosen speed.)
I used the router with a number of different sizes of bits, and the 2-1/4 HP motor handled the load with ease when using the appropriate speed for the bits.
When plunging the router with the plunge base, the thumb lock mechanism was easy to reach and did not lose it's grip while routing. The six-position depth stop was smooth, yet has a solid feel, much more so than a lot of other routers in it's class.
The height adjustment knob on the fixed base allows very accurate height adjustments as small as 1/128", yet the quick release lets the woodworker make major changes to the bit height quickly.
There are a couple of minor tweaks that Porter-Cable could address. For instance, the screws on the fixed base are #10-24 with a Phillips head, while the screws on the plunge base are #8-32 using a Flathead/Torx head. This means you need two tools to change the base plates, and must keep track of two separate sets of screws. This is not a major problem, but a minor issue that I wonder if Porter-Cable engineers may have overlooked.