The PORTER-CABLE 7518 is a great tool with a ton of great features and a great addition to your workshop repertoire. As a compact router, it’s something you’re going to be using a lot, which is why it’s important to make sure that you invest in something good if you’re serious about your craft. In short, if you have a bit of extra budget to spend, then you might as well spend it on a more powerful router seeing as this is the kind of tool that you’re going to be bringing out at countless opportunities. A router is something you use for cutting grooves, for rounding off edges, for punching holes and for making decorative fluting. It can do the job of a ton of other tools and in some cases it can even make bevel cuts and slice through tough materials.
So when it’s time to stop playing around with cheap tools. When you’re finally ready to start taking your art and craft seriously and when you want to treat yourself to something a bit more premium and powerful – start with the router.
And of all the routers to start with, the PORTER-CABLE 7518 is a good bet.
How can this badboy improve your workshop?
Okay, so when you get this thing out of the box and place it on the table, there is just no denying that it looks like a coffee machine. I mean, it really looks like a coffee machine with two big handles on either side, a transparent center and a black, rounded top.
Now we’re not saying this is a bad thing in any way, it’s just that it’s not going to be the most impressive looking piece of kit in your workshop, which is something of a shame considering it might just be one of the more expensive items.
Once you’ve come to terms with that though, you’re going to be blown away by the punch that this thing is packing. This is a router than can really glide through pretty much any material and that is going to offer you a combination of power and versatility that you just don’t get from budget tools.
You notice this first when you look at the specs. This is a router that is capable of delivering 3-1/4 horsepower. Now that is a lot and it’s sure to make short work of even the rougher materials, it’s a very impressive showing and something you’re not likely to find the limitations of any time soon.
Next up, you have the amazing speed adjustments. You’re not just getting one or two speed adjustments here but can pick between five different settings ranging from 10,000RPM to 21,000RPM. That means you’ll be able to handle a wide range of different materials with no problem.
You also get all of the usual slightly higher end features. These include a soft start motor for gradually getting started and keeping your cuts smooth, along with the usual electronic feedback. The tool makes it easy to swap out bits and it’s very comfortable and easy to use.
Pros and Cons
The obvious advantages of this router then revolve around the significant power you’re getting out of the box, combined with the amazing versatility. It’s rare to find both to such an extent in a compact router and that’s really the big selling point here and the reason that you’re likely to be willing to spend a little bit more on this tool.
But in terms of the downsides, there are a few things that are lacking. One is the design which we’re not huge fans of. It looks a bit like a coffee machine and those handles just aren’t quite as ergonomic or comfortable to use in our testing. We prefer more solid, rubber handles rather than these somewhat flimsy plastic grippers.
This is a fixed base router which is great if you’re going to be using it in a table but not so good for freehand routing. It does mean you’re facing a couple of limitations in terms of how you can use it and in particular, it means that you’re not going to be able to punch holes in it quite so easily.
Overall, this is a very powerful compact router and one that can handle most jobs. It’s just a shame that the design is a little on the divisive side.