PORTER CABLE 450PK Compact Wood Router Review

Porter Cable 450PK

Porter Cable 450PK Compact Wood Router Review:

After extensive research of the different manufactures of wood routers. I discovered the Porter Cable 450 PK wood router is their version of a compact router.This PC router is designed to compete with the DeWalt DWP611PK and Bosch Palm Colt router. Porter-Cable has designed the 450PK specifically to deliver big performance in a small package.This single speed compact wood router combines power with an ease-of-use that makes this wood router perfect for both the home wood worker. Some of the basic features built into this router make it easy to use for the beginning hobby wood crafter, but the added advance features on the allows the intermediate wood worker to want this one for their shop.

The ergonomic features and innovations designs add to the visibility, control and overall performance. When it comes to getting your money’s worth, my review of the best compact wood router on the market will show it includes a lot of extra features you don’t find on other routers in this model price range. It’s incredibly affordable and has excellent reviews from other users. The router 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 this applies equally to a small, palm router like the Porter Cable 450PK. This wood router has a 1.25 peak HP motor putting it in the compact router line that are on the market. But don’t let it small size fool you, this router has a lot of power and torque, making it the perfect size for any small wood working projects around the house or shop.

This compact 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.

No Load Speeds:

PC450PK Router

This router is equipped with a no load speed of 27,000 RPM and  air vents on the top and bottom of the motor housing to direct air flow over the motor when it is on.This helps keep the motor cool will in use.The electronic speed control maintains speed under load to reduce start up twisting and prevent burning.

 

Plunge vs Fixed base:

Not sure if you need a plunge router or fixed based? What’s the difference? In my research on compact routers, 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 Porter-Cable 450PK combo kit you get both the plunge and fixed base. The fixed base has a level adjustment locking lever and on the body are helical grooves that act as a thread for spinning the depth adjustment ring up or down to achieve the prefect depth of cuts every time.The top part of the router is made from ABS plastic, so its lightweight and durable. This fixed base is one of best designed bases on the market. Built from a single piece of metal it secures the motor better than just about any other base.

PC450PK Plunge Base

One requirement that any plunge router on the market should have is the ability to plunge smoothly without hanging up. This produces clean cuts when you lower the cutter into the work piece and out again; since any type of jerking can spoil the cut. I found that the plunge action lever on the back on the palm router base was exceptionally smooth and easy to use.

The plunge mechanism is locked by default. To change the depth of the router the user must push the lever toward the handle with his thumb and hold it there. This unlocks the plunge mechanism. Simply releasing the lever locks the router in place. This system makes quick changes in depth very easy. Since the lock lever is out of the way, both hands are free to guide the router through a cut. The Five position turret stop allows for stepped plunge cuts  The rubber handled grips on either side of the plunge base makes it easy to control and comfortable for the user. The five position turret stop allows for step down plunge cuts.

This small compacted router is easy to move back and forth between the two bases. So just lock it down and you are ready to go. The fixed base is used for trimming and edging, while the plunge base allows you to turn this compact trim router into a fully capable plunge router allowing it to tackle most of the projects that are done around the house or in a small workshop.

Both bases come with 1/4″ clear polycarbonate sub-bases – round on the fixed base and with two flat sides on the plunge base. Large sub-bases provide better stability and afford a much better view of the router bit and your work piece.

PCFixed BasePC450ClearPlungeBase

 

 

 

 

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

First what is a collet and what is the best size? 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 need to consider the bit shank size. The two most common bit shank sizes are 1/4″ and 1/2″.

The second thing you should take into account is the projects you want to work on and the range of bit sizes that are available for the model of router that you want to purchase. This has a 1/4″ collet which is a good size for a compact router, but remember that this model is not designed for heavy duty work requiring large cutters like the one with a 1/2 “ shank.

After researching the Porter Cable 450 reviews I found that this router is perfect for intermediate or advanced woodworkers who already have a larger, heavy duty router and are looking for a small compact, lightweight machine that’s versatile, but also easy to use for smaller jobs around the shop or on the job site.

The Cutting Depth Wood Router:

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 router tool has an adjustment cut 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  wood router due to its large, low pressure easy to use spindle lock button that allows single wrench bit changes. This router has a calibrated adjustment ring for setting quick, accurate bit depth. The easy to reach button, when
depressed, locks the spindle so the collar can be loosened and the 12 position spindle shaft means faster bit changes. The collet has 8 slots and is extended a 1/4”longer than normal to provide better gripping of the router bit shank. For making extra fine adjustments on the plunge base there is a threaded insert at the bottom of the depth rod. This piece changes the length of the rod as it turns on the threads milled into the rod. If you want to change the plunge depth by just a hair, rotate the insert a quarter turn. This method is more repeatable and accurate than the light tap other routers require.

The depth setting is quick and easy to achieve by just opening the quick release adjustment latch and simple fine tuning the depth using the adjustment ring with out any tools.The depth ring and clamping mechanism combine to ensure motor remains locked in position. The
tight tolerances of the movable base to the motor housing really makes the whole tool feel sturdy and rigid.

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Additional Features:

The 1/4-inch thick clear plastic sub-base is designed for stability, flatness and visibility to help any wood worker doing edging or radius cuts and swapping out the fixed
base to the plunge base is a cinch.
The rubbery Rocker power switch has a plastic cover that protects dust and wood partials from getting into the switch during operation to prevent premature switch and motor failure.

Plunge base takes guide bushings. The fixed base features a 4-inch-diameter sub-base that accepts universal template guides and single wrench bit changes. Comes with a clear Lexan round base for better bit visibility that accepts edge guides.

What type of router table can this model use?

Not recommended for router table due to it’s compact size, but you can use this compact router on the  Rockler Trim Router Table. The round acrylic insert plate that comes with this table is already pre-drilled to accept the Porter Cable 450PK fixed base router.

Can you make circles with this router?

Yes with a circle cutting jig that is sold separately or you can make your own.

PORTER CABLE 450PK Compact Wood Router Dimensions:

Weight: 4.0lbs (fixed base)  6.0LBS (plunge base)
Height: 11.2 x 7.1 x 5.4 inches

 

Accessories (bits):

Centering Cone purchased separately, but needed to align bases.

D-shaped sub-base

Guide bushings

Edge guides, Only works on the plunge base

Dust Collection Adapter

Any of the DeWalt Accessories will also work on the Porter Cable Routers

Pros:

  • Lightweight at only 4.0 pounds
  • 1.24 Horse power motor
  • Air Vent on top to prevent over heating
  • Digital speed control
  • Covered power switch
  • Easy base changes
  • Accepts guide bars
  • Ergonomically designed to relieve hand and arm fatigue
  • Single Handed control
  • Large, low-pressure spindle lock button
  • Plunge base available in combo kit
  • 450PK has 9/32 holes 2 3/8 oc and 5/16 holes 3 5/16 oc for edge guides, but only on the plunge base
  • Aluminum motor housing and base construction provides long term durability
  • Backed by a 90-day money-back guarantee, a one-year free service contract, and a three-year limited warranty

 

Cons:

  • Only comes with a soft bag for storage
  • No LED lights
  • No variable speeds, but the No load speed is 27,000 RPM
  • Settings and bit changes are cumbersome at times
  • Adjustment ring is weak and can be forced out of engagement with the motor adjustment ring.
  • Need a centering tool that is not included
  • D-base not standard, must be purchased separately and doesn’t accept guide bushing
  • No side handles – palm grip only, except on plunge base
  • Not Cordless, but the 8 foot cord should give you plenty of length
  • ¼ “ collect only
  • No Dust Collection Adapter, but can be purchased separately

 

Ratings:

The rating for the Porter Cable 450K router were favorable, but most owners did comment on the fact that it only had one speed and the DeWalt 611PK which is almost the same router offered more features like variable speeds and LED lights. The Porter Cable and DeWalt routers come from the same manufacture.

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 the Porter Cable 450 PK is on Amazon. This gives you a saving of $40.00 when you purchase the kit.

Summary:

If you are in the market for a basic router, the Porter Cable 450PK 1.25 HP Compact Router Combo Kit is a great choice.This compact router really delivers plenty of performance and features for most basic wood projects. But for a more versatile compact router I would consider the DW611PK wood router as this has a few more features.

But who is this wood router really designed for? This would be a perfect fit for the intermediate and advance wood worker if they have a larger wood router set up on a table and hate pulling it off every time they have a small project

If you work in a production shop, cutting profiles on hardwood baseboard all day, then this little compact router is not designed for you. However, if you’re a sign maker, just want to trim laminate on counter tops or just wants to do basic woodworking projects around the shop or home; then this could very easily become your go-to router.

If you are looking for something that can handle more of the heavy duty jobs in the work shop, then you might want to consider the DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP or Porter Cable 895PK 2.25HP Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router.