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Am I Skepitical Or Just Plain Stupid?


yalesmith
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I was in Sears over the weekend and I was planning to purchase a router. I wanted to get a Porter Cable combo router (fixed base, pluges) for $199 (model #693LRPK0. I noticed that sears was selling one of there craftsmen router for $109(model #17533). It was a combo router (fixed base, pluges)and had a power rating of 2.0 hP (peak). Is it me or is that to good to be true? Is craftsman brand any good? Or am I right in assuming that the router is probally crap? ]

thanks

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I think you just have to look them over closely. I know Porter Cable used to be great stuff, but I have seen low quality lines from Porter Cable, DeWalt, Hitachi, Milwalkie, etc... I don't put much faith in brand names anymore. Ya gotta inspect them and see how they are put together. Watch out for plastic parts that will wear, or if parts that lock bases in place are weak. Sometimes you pay a premium for a brand name that used to be known for quality and get junk.

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but I have seen low quality lines from Porter Cable, DeWalt, Hitachi, Milwalkie, etc...

I don't know what models you are looking at, but all of the above mentioned brands are top shelf and will last for years. I own 6 P-C routers, 1 Bosch, and a couple Milw. grinders and hole saws. P-C is definately a better tool than Craftsman. If you only use Craftsman tools occasionally, you may not notice any difference between them and other tools, but if you use a P-C or other higher quality, more expensive tool everyday, it will hold up better in the long run....better motors and bearings.

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The only craftsman tool that I have been happy with is my craftsmen table saw, it is one of their best models though. I have had bad luck with their drills and sanders. Of course craftsmen does seem to have tiers of price/quality within their own product line. When it comes to a router though I woudl definitely get something you know has helpful features and is reliable and accurate. Check out the Dewalt router combos models 618 and 616, I have the 618 pack. I have never seen another router that has an integrated through the column dust collection chute, man is that ice the have for cavities and such.

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I am not trying to trash these brands, but they have started producing lower quality lines to stay competitive. Over the last 20 years working construction I have seen low quality tools hit my jobs. Probably because my shop was trying to save $$$ on tools, and they break. These companys still make great tools, but you have to be careful if you get one of their bagain models. As for Sears, I have not had much luck with their power tools. Thats not to say they make bad tools, just my experience has not been good.

I looked up the Porter Cable Router you mentioned at Sears and compaired it to a model at Home depot. Both are $199. The model at Home Depot is a 1-3/4 HP variable speed. The PC model at Sear is a 1-1/2 HP single speed. The Sears brand appears is 1/4" collet capacity max.( 1/2" capacity is very important to me at least). I would also look at the motor on the Sears model, it says 2HP but draws lower Amps (probably a weaker tork curve at lower RPM, high tork motors tend to have higher current draw)and it is a single speed model. The weight is 2lbs lighter on the Sears model. My money would be on the Porter Cable and I think I would go for the model at Home Depot (it seems to be a better value given both are $199).

Good Luck with the search!!!! Fryguy

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everyone is trying to get the first time buyer dollars, so all brands have those cheaper first tier tools. I have found that the older tools are a little better than the newer stuff. If you are going to buy a tool, save your bucks and spend more than less, the more expensive tools have better components, aka less plastic!

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Some things i look for in a good router:

- Does it have a worklight built into it?

- Visibility, does the base and support arms block your view of the working surface?

- Ability to use guide bushings

- Ease of use, such as location of trigger, safety locks and handles etc.

Of course pay attention to, as the others pointed out, the meterial quality of the parts. Metal better then plastic always.

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I recently bought one of those 2hp Craftsmen routers, for just under $100.

It's not built as good as the 30 year Craftsmen router that I have in the router table, but the new one seems to be more than adequate. I expect it to last 5-6 years. but it may be like that ugly, noisy, Black & Decker sander I bought 20 years ago for $30... which still refuses to die.

I would think about your needs, your potential needs, and your budget... not the price.

Router bits, however, are another story. If you can buy 5 for $20, they're junk. Stay away from "metal" that's made in China or Pakistan. American, British, and German steel is usually very good, but that really depends on the manufacturers. I've also heard good things about some Korean steel.

On any product, read the fine print. I almost bought some Stanley chisels (about 3 months ago) because I saw "Sheffield, England" on the package. Then I read the fine print; "Assembled in Sheffield, England - Parts Made in China"

D~s

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I just read a review in WOOD magazine where they tested six or seven different router kits. They tested routers from Bosch, Craftsman professional, DeWalt, Makita, Porter Cable, and Skil. Skil being the low end and I think the makita was the high end ( about $100 to $270).

They rated each unit based on several different criteria including: power, how well the fixed base worked, how well the plunge base worked, control layout, and price. According to their standards the best value was the bosch kit followed closely by the craftsman professional (both about $200).

They did say though that all the routers handled what ever they threw at them, but that the more expensive routers where built better, i.e. better bearing , larger motor armature etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'll say this one time:

Plastic bearings (collars) VS. metal bearings (collars)

If you put your router thru HEAVY use, the bearing collars are the things that will go bad.

I've never seen a router motor go bad, or a baseplate break, or a handlegrip switch go bad...it's always the bearings.

And the cheaper routers have the cheaper bearings. :D

I saw a Consumer Reports where the Craftsman Pro was rated No.1, and the Craftsman home series came in dead last.

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