DeWalt DW618PK 2.25HP Wood Router Kit Review:

DWP618PK 2.25 HP KitDeWalt DW618PK Wood Router Kit Review:

After researching the different models and manufactures of wood routers. I found that the fifth bestselling wood router at this time is the DeWalt DW618, but I feel that this one should have ranked higher because of all its added features. The DW618PK 2.25 HP variable speed mid-range router combines power with an ease-of-use that makes this wood router perfect for both the home wood worker and the professional tool shop. Some of the basic features built into this router make it easy to use for the beginning hobby wood crafter, but the added advanced features on the DWP618 allows the intermediate and advanced wood worker to want this one for their tool shop as this router can handle being installed on a router table.

The features like a cam motor housing, 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets and a clear LEXAN sub-base add to its overall performance. When it comes to getting your money’s worth, my review of this mid-size wood router will show it includes a lot of extra features you don’t find on other routers in this price range. It’s incredibly affordable and has excellent reviews from other users. The DWP618 line comes with both fixed and plunge bases as a combo kit or can be purchased with just the fixed base.

 

Horse Power/ Soft Start:

When looking at any router, one of the most important features to look for is the horsepower rating of the motor; and the DWP618Pk with its 2.25 peak HP motor has you covered with its adjustable, tool-free steel cam style motor that makes quick changes between bases and setting depth measurements a breeze.
This router is equipped with a soft start feature that helps minimize the torque on the motor. A motor soft starter is a device used with AC electric motors to temporarily reduce the load on the power train and electrical current surge of the motor during start up. This feature help to reduce the stress on the router motor.

Variable Speeds:

This router is equipped with an electronic variable speed with full feedback control that goes from 8,000 and 24,000RPM. You can adjust the speed by turning the variable speed dial this allows you to better manage the tool and determine the speed that is best suited for the type of project that you are doing. The electronic speed control maintains speed under load to reduce start up twisting and prevent burning.

When set between 1 and 3, you have an RPM range of 8,000 to 14,000 that can be used with large diameter bits and cutters. When you set the dial for speeds between 4 and 6 this give an RPM range of 18,000 to 24,000 and works best for small diameter bits and cutters on softwoods, plastics and laminates. Each adjustment gives you about a 20 to 100 rpm bump up in speed.

This gives you a wide range of bit sizes and material that this wood router can handle in the shop for both a hobby wood crafter and professionals on a construction job.

Plunge vs Fixed base:DW618 Plunge base

Not sure if you need a plunge router or fixed based? What’s the difference? In my research on wood routers for this review, I found that a fixed base router is one on which you set a specific depth, and that depth stays consistent while using the tool. A router that has a plunge base gives you the ability to plunge the router bit downward into the stock to make that desired cut, and then allow you to lift the bit back out.

Well with the DW618PK combo kit you get both the plunge and fixed base. The fixed base has a locking lever and a 360 micro adjustment ring that raises the router up and down to achieve the prefect depth of cuts every time. This router was designed to be held by the two rubber handles. The ergonomics of this design are excellent. The handles attach to the router at an angle pushing the point of control closer to the base plate where it should be.

The router feels natural in your hands. Small, delicate movements are easy to do, even with a large cutter head spinning below the motor.
One basic requirement of a plunge router is that it should plunge smoothly without hanging up when moving up and down. This produces clean cuts when you lower the cutter into the work piece and out again; any type of jerking can spoil the cut. I found that the plunge action lever on the back of the Dewalt router base was exceptionally smooth and easy to use.

The 5 position adjustable turret on the right hand side allows you to take a 1/32 inch step down with each turn of the dial to control the depth. The turret on the plunge base also includes an adjustable reference needle on the right hand side and a micro-fine depth adjustment ring that turns for precise routing up to 5/128”. The rubber handled grips on either side of the plunge base makes it easy to control and comfortable for the user.

This wood router is easy to move back and forth between the two bases. Just lock it down and you are ready to go. The fixed base can be used for trimming, edging and etc., while the plunge base allows you to turn the DeWalt DW618 into a fully capable plunge router, making it large enough to tackle 90% of the projects that are done around the house or shop.
Sadly, like many of the routers on the market, this one has a split base design that uses a clamp to pull the walls of the base together to secure the motor. Split bases are notorious for allowing the motor to move vertically by just a small amount as the clamp is tightened down. The DW618’s base is less prone to this problem than most of its competitors, but it is still good woodworking practice to re-check the depth of the bit after the clamp has been secured.

DW618PK Collet and Bit Shank Size (1/4 vs 1/2):

A collet is that steel sleeve that holds a router bit in the router. The collet works with the router shaft that is directly connected to the motor and tightens down with the collet nut.
When purchasing a router you also need to consider the bit shank size. The two most common bit shank sizes that you have to choose from are 1/4″ and 1/2″, but not with the DeWalt DW618 wood router. This model comes with the ability to use both size collects and that gives you a wider range of bits that you can use on your projects. The spindle lock and single wrench changes make this easy to change out the bites.

DW618PK-6Adjusting Cutting Depth (Wrench vs Tool Free):

The next thing to consider when purchasing a good quality router that is being used every day in the shop is the cutting depth. This tool has a 360 micro fine adjustment ring that enables it to control bit depth changes to within 1/64”and an extended 8 slot collet for greater bit contact with the router shank that makes it easier to tighten and loosen the bits. You have up to 1.5” depth travel with the standard base and 2” with Plunge base. This creates a smooth and secure operation at all times.

These adjustments are achieved on the DeWalt DW618 wood router due to its large, low pressure easy to use spindle lock button that allows single wrench bit changes. The depth ring and clamping mechanism combined in this tool are to ensures that the motor remains locked in position.
The hex wrench for bit changes is included with the router or combo kit. The nice thing about this mid-size router is the placement of the Spindle lock button in the front. This button has a problem with not coming out far enough when inside the bases to make bit changes quicker and that it is a spring loaded button that must be held in WHILE you are turning the wrench with the other hand.

The extra 1/16’ that you have to work around might be a red flag for some users, but other didn’t seem to find it much of an issue at all.

DeWalt DW618 Wood Router Additional Features:DW618PK-7

The clear round fixed base on this router model improves stability, but also increases the visibility for the wood worker during any edging or radius cuts and the spring-loaded quick release tabs on both sides allow for fast and easy base removal.

The DW618Pk 2.25HP router motor has a cut out channel on the back side that makes it easy to line up with the locking needles on the plunge base; this gives you the ability to have the power switch and the power cord on the left or the right hand side. The lightweight Aluminum motor housing and base construction provides long term durability.

DW618-4The shroud on the power switch for dust protection may be an unimportant detail on the spec list. The fact that it covers a cool, toggle type power switch is not. The toggle switch design does its part to give the router an industrial feel. It’s fun to play with and works flawlessly.
A through-the-column dust collection that collects 95% of the dust and provides superior bit visibility while routing any type of wood, but this is a bit limiting in design as it really doesn’t remove dust all that well.

What type of router table can this model use?
While you can use the DW618PK on a router table as it has the power, it was not engineered for that task. The base has to mount under the table very securely and you want internal air flow. The problem with this model is that the motor now flows the wrong way. The motor will blow as much dust as it can up and out of the cutter opening, but any dust that fails to blow away will eventually find its way into the motor. The series does, however, include a dedicated router table base with the necessary features if you still want to install it on a router table.

Can you make circles with this router?
Yes with a circle cutting jig that is sold separately. I found that you can also purchase a metal edge guide that extends 3-Inches from edge of the material. Although it is sold as an accessory for the fixed base, it also can be used with the plunge base as well with mounts on the side designed to attach the guide, but these are not included in this kit.

DeWalt DW618PK 2.25HP Wood Router Dimensions:

Weight: 7.2lbs (fixed base) 10.1 lbs. (plunge base)
Height: 10.8 inches

Accessories (bits):

Some of the different accessories that can be purchased separately for this model are the DNP618 Edge Guide for Fixed Base Compact Routers, the DW6913 Router Edge Guide with Fine Adjustment and Vacuum Adapter and a variety bits to create different cuts.

The DW6183 D-Handle Base adjusts vertically for constant switch/cord location with an adjustable, tool-free steel motor cam lock that makes depth adjustment and base changes quick and a quick release motor latches for fast and easy motor pack removal for bit and base changes.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic grips to relieve hand and arm fatigueDW618PK-4
  • Detachable Power Cord
  • Low center or gravity, excellent ergonomics
  • Conveniently located sealed toggle switch
  • Powerful – able to handle all types of wood
  • Smooth and clean cut quality even with low to mid quality type bits
  • Lexan sub-base ensures durability and visibility
  • Adjustable clamp design
  • Variable speed Dial
  • Optional accessories that extend performance and flexibility
  • Dust Collection
  • 3 Year Warranty

Cons:

  • Not cordless, but the 8 foot 18 gauge cord will give you plenty of length for any wood shop or job site.
  • No edge guide, but that can be purchase separately
  • No centering tool, included must be purchased separately
  • Collet nut can be a little difficult to reach but not too bad
  • Adjustment ring can have a problem with slipping as it doesn’t lock in, but this can be fixed by readjusting a second time.

Consumer Ratings:

The consumer reviews and rating that I found seem to really praise the DeWalt DWP618 wood router, but like with all routers this one has its share of problems that I pointed throughout the review. The next closest competitor is the Bosch 1617 system. Many of the woodworking sites for all levels of woodcrafters seem to give this router the edge over the Bosch 1617EVSPK and feel that the Porter Cable 890 series doesn’t even come close to what the DW618 can do in a head to head comparison except for maybe mounting on a table.

How much would you expect to pay?

This router combo kit is an incredible value as you don’t need to purchase the plunge base separately, but it does require purchasing bits and extra guides as do all routers on the market. I found the best price for this DeWalt DWP618 Wood Router Combo kit is on Amazon.

Summary:

This would be a perfect fit for that beginning weekend wood crafter who wants to learn how to add some special touches or take their wood working projects to the next level, but has never used a wood router as it comes with both the fixed and plunge base.
The intermediate and advance wood worker would really enjoy adding this router to their shop as this mid-size router can handle all types of wood, trim, inlays and fine furniture building like creating raised panel doors.

If you are looking for something that can handle light weight jobs or need a trim router in the work shop, then you might want to consider the DW611PK 1.25HP Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router. If you want a router that install on a router table then check out the other 2.25HP Models on this site.

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