When it comes to routers, much like clamps, woodworkers can never have enough. The biggest one gets more or less permanently attached to the router table, while the all-purpose 2-1/4-hp routers are often scattered around the shop with dedicated setups.
But a third category has emerged in recent years: smaller routers for the job site, edge profiling and inlays.
"[Customers] tend to gravitate toward the smallest router that will allow them to get the job done," says Bill Harman, product manager for Porter-Cable, which recently introduced the 1-1/4-hp compact router, model 450.
The company says the motor boasts more power than its competitors' palm routers, offers the latest electronic and ergonomic features, and can get the job done in production settings.
"The 1-1/4 horsepower will give you the opportunity to do edge profiles and a lot of inlay work," says Harman. "Obviously, the 1/4" collet offers some limitations. We don't want guys thinking it is more than what it is and then all of sudden somebody is upset with the performance. But in terms of 1-1/4 horsepower, it will do 90 percent of the applications."
The router weighs about six pounds and has fixed- and plunge-base capabilities.
"The fixed-based model has a depth adjustment ring that everyone seems to prefer when we talk to users out there and it has an adjustment up to 1/64". And the sub-base, which is different from the DeWalt compact router, was made to accept all of the universal template guides on the market," says Harman.
"The plunge base is similar to many of the router kits you have today. It gives you a five-step adjustable turret stop, which, with a tool this size, lets you to do a lot of stuff. We also have electronic control and soft-start features so the router comes up to speed quickly and doesn't jerk around when it's started up."
As mentioned, DeWalt, Porter-Cable's sister company, also released a compact router, model DWP611.
"It is very similar and made off the same platform," says Harman. "The big difference is the DeWalt has variable speed and an LED light. The Porter-Cable has a round sub-base that accepts template guides."
The Porter-Cable compact router retails for about $130. The fixed/plunge base combination kit sells for about $190. The company offers a three-year limited warranty, one-year free-service contract and 90-day money-back guarantee.
The kit features a depth scale and marker (two-inch depth ability), a release-to-lock lever to maintain the designated depth setting and rubber handles for a non-slip grip.
Accessories for the compact router include a dust adaptor and straight-edge guide for the fixed and plunge bases, a circle cutting guide for the plunge base, template guides and a centering cone for sub-base alignment.
Contact: Porter-Cable. Tel: 888-848-5175. www.portercable.com
This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue.