We reviewed the Porter Cable Router.  Porter Cable is known for their routers being tough and a workhorse and this time is no different.

Specifications – Porter Cable Router Model – 690LR

Amps – 11
HP – 1 3/4
Volts – 120
RPM – 27,500
Height – 8″
Cord Length – 7 Ft.
Weight – 8. Lbs.

Other Features
1/4″ & 1/2″ Collets
Auto Release collet
Micrometer depth adjustment – 1/128″
100% Sealed Ball Bearings
Carrying Case

We have always liked the Porter Cable Routers, but they still need to go through our power tool review steps.   The first thing we noticed  was the case.  When we opened the case, the router was a tight fit.  We usually like a little room for bits or other items that belong with the tool.  We took the router out, unpacked everything, and tried to put it back.  Obviously it fits back into the case, but there is no room for any other related items.

At first we though it might be heavier than  the weight of 8lbs.  After picking it up we found that it was extremely light because of the machined aluminum case and base it is made from.  This is good news! You want a lighter router because you don’t want to fight the weight of the tool. Heavier tools create more force when used, and this can wear a user out.

The 1/4″ and the 1/2″ is a nice feature because most workers have both sizes of router bits.  Putting the router bits in place is a breeze.  The router comes with two wrenches that will let you tighten or loosen the collet.  This is much easier if you set the router on a workbench instead of tying to hold on to the router.  We were a little skeptical of the auto release system that keeps the bits from freezing up in the tool.  Anyone who has ever had this happens knows it is very annoying.  After setting the router up, the rest was a breeze.  There is a t-bolt that will let you adjust the height of the router, this is a snap.  Once you have the router at the proper height, you can fine tune the height using the micrometer adjustment. This is just a ring you turn with your hand.  You can adjust it up to 1/128″

We started out with some sharp bits and ran it through pine.  The router ate through that easily.  The router just laughed at us.  We went to a harder wood, oak, and then walnut.  Again, it ran through these without heating up.  Yes, we did have a sharp blade, but as a craftsman you should know that having a sharp blade is extremely important.  Well, we were bored with this testing rather quick because the router was handling everything with ease.  So we ran the router blade over a bunch of plywood, hoping the blade would dull down from the glue.  Well, the router ran through that test fine. The bits didn’t dull as quickly as we had hoped, so we filed them dull and tried the test again. Through the pine, the router ran fine. Then the oak and Walnut caused the motor to fight a little for some air.  We did have a big bit and had it set deep.  We took that bit out of the tool and it did slide out with no effort, so the auto release system seemed to work fine, but we weren’t done testing it yet!

We put the bit back in and tightened it as much as possible.  We then beat on the side of the bit to jam it in there.  We also dropped the router straight on the top of the bit and then gave it a couple whacks with a hammer.  We basically did everything possible to make sure the bit would not come out, even though no one in their right mind would do all these things.  Next, we loosened the collet, and this time the bit didn’t come right out.  We did wiggle it, and pulled with a pair of pliers and with that, the router bit came out.  This told us two things.  First, under normal wear and tear,  the auto release system should work well, and the bits should not get stuck.  Second, once the bit is in the router, it will stay in the router.  You shouldn’t have any worries about it coming out, unless you want it to.

All the other tests we ran the router through passed with flying colors.  We dropped the tool a couple different times and it held up fine.  The max height we used for the drops was 7 feet.  I was pleasantly  surprised that the base of plastic didn’t crack.

With a couple of tricks, this router was very easy to turn into a table router for use on a table saw extension. This makes the tool that much more attractive.
After using the tool for a long time, our arms felt fine.  We did not experience any vibrations what so ever.

Over all, our power tool review for the Porter Cable router is EXCELLENT. We were extremely impressed with this power tool.  This router has great power and wonderful features. Any craftsman should be proud to have this router in his/her wood shop.

Pro’s – Good power, Comes with 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets, will also accept 3/8″, Depth Adjustment, Seal power switch.
Con’s – Case is very small – tight fit for the router

Professional Power Tool Guide Rating
Value

We believe you get a good amount of power and a great quality router for a reasonable price. There are more than enough options and features to justify this router, not that it needs justification.

Performance

The 1 3/4 amp motor is more than sufficient to to rip through anything, especially with sharp blades.

Ease of Use

The Porter Cable router is extremely easy to use. The t-bolt is extremely easy to adjust heights and the micrometer adjustment makes it a snap to set the router to any height.

Features

For our Porter Cable review, this model offers a fair amount of features, such as sealed on/off switch, sealed ball bearing, 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets and an auto release collet system.

Balance

This tool has good balance. You definitely need two hands to hold and use this power tool. As soon as you turn this router on, you can feel the power, but it seems like it stays right between your two hands. Some routers we have used try to break away from your hands, not the Porter Cable.

Feel

This is an extremely solid power tool. The machined Aluminum makes the tool lighter, but still gives it a nice solid feel.

Overall

This is a must own power tool for any craftsman. If you are looking for a fixed base router, the Porter Cable router is a great piece of machinery to own. Nice solid feel, good balance, nice features and great power.