Porter Cable 895PK 2.25HP Wood Router Review

Porter Cable 895PK-1Porter Cable 895PK 2.25HP Wood Router Review

In the market for a heavy duty wood router that can be mounted to a router table in the work shop? After doing extensive research on the different models and manufactures of wood routers on the market, I discovered that the fourth top selling model is the Porter Cable 895PK with its 2.25 horse power motor that is combined into a kit with both the fixed and plunge base. This model of router fits into the medium range, but can handle any work load that a Wood Crafter needs to finish a project at home or on the job site.

This model has a 2.25 horsepower motor with 12 amps of power in a metal housing that easily mounts to any router table and is part of the Porter Cable 890 series that comes in a fixed base only model

There are two nice features on this medium range router one is the over molded grips on both the fixed and plunge base that contours to your hand very nicely for greater comfort over extended use and the other is a dual power switch on the router that let you turn it off or on when its installed into the bases or mounted on a router table.

Horse Power/Soft Start:

The first thing to look at or consider when purchasing a wood router is the horse power rating of the motor and this especially applies when you are looking for a router to install on a table in your work shop. Well the 895PK from Porter Cable has that covered with a soft-starting 12 amp motor that also features a full-time electronic feedback that helps maintain the motors speed during the toughest applications.
But what is a soft start motor and what does it do for the router? A soft start motor us a device used with AC electric motors to reduce or minimize the surge or torque on the motor during start-up.

Variable Speeds:porter-cable-890pk-2

This wood route is equipped with a variable speed control feature that steps up from 10,000 to 23,000 rpm with a roll of the dial that is located on the top left side. This enables the operator to set the bit speed to be optimized for changing applications.
The Porter Cable router has a dual position switch that allows you to have easy access to an on and off switch to cut power and yet still maintain complete control of the router with both hands still on the rubber coated handles. One of the switches is located on the side and the other is closer to the top. This is perfect for use with the bases, but is really ideal for installing in a router table.

Bases Plunge vs Fixed:

Need a powerful wood router to install in a router table, but also want the option of a using a plunge or fixed base on the router for jobs around the shop that don’t require a table. Well with the Porter Cable 895PK 2.25 HP you get a wood router that can handle all three.
Why would you need both these base in your shop?
The fixed base offers a durable cam lever that quickly releases the motor and let you make coarse depth adjustment. This level allows you in seconds to release the motor, then quickly adjust the bit height, lock down the spindle, and clamp the motor from above the router table. This make set ups on a router table faster and safer since all of this can be done above the table. The fixed base has an over molded grips for greater comfort for the user during long periods of using this wood router.

One of the basic requirements of a plunge router is that it should plunge smoothly without hanging up when adjusting it up or down to achieve the right depth of cuts every time. The plunge base on the Porter Cable has four adjustable depth settings for flexibility and versatility, a convenient locking lever just like the fixed base and has a through the column dust collection for efficient dust removal to improve bit and cut line visibility. The machined brass bushings add durability along with the steel guide rods to provide a smooth plunge stroke every time that is so easy you can plunge the router with just one or two fingers. The flat side on the plunge base allows the user to work in tighter spaces and provides a straight reference point during operation. The plunge base on this model has a dust collector port to keep your work space and the wood router free of wood chips.
One of the problems with this plunge base set up is that the power switch is not always easy to reach when installed into the base. The second is adjusting the fixed base at times as this has a problem with slipping and you need to tighten the screw to hold the motor in place, but once the screw is tight enough then it becomes nearly impossible to get the motor out of the base to change bits The bigger problem is that this screw needs to be re-tightened frequently because it vibrates loose, allowing the motor to sink again.

Collet Size (1/4 Vs ½):

What is a collet and what size is the best one for most of the projects you have in mind? The collet is that steel sleeve that holds the router bit in the wood router. The collet works with the routers shaft that is connected to the motor and is tighten down with a nut.
When purchasing a router you need to consider the bit shank size on most routers, but not with the 895PK Porter Cable router model as it can use both a ¼ and ½ inch collet giving you a wider range of bits. The Bit changes are also a snap thanks to a spindle-lock feature that enables loosening of the collet with a single-wrench that is included in this kit. The spindle lock does not function with the switch in the ON position and this might cause some problem when changing out the bits.

But the spindle lock button, which allows you to change bits with one wrench, isn’t very strong and is actually harder to operate than a second wrench. You might want to consider using two wrenches to make sure that the collet is tight and ease the frustration during bit changes. The spindle/collet raises enough that you don’t have to reach down inside the mount to get to the collet nut with a height adjustment knob, but that is an accessory costing an extra twenty to thirty bucks depending on where you find it.

There is a problem with centering the base plate by this can be fixed by the three base plate screws that provide enough play so you can center the base plate or any other base you put on the router.

porter-cable-890pk-4Adjusting Cutting Depth (Wrench vs Tool free):

The next thing to consider when purchasing a good quality router that is being used on a router table or on the job site every day is the cutting depth adjustment.
The 6-position depth adjustable turret with a depth rod locking knob and depth indicator knob allows this model to set the cutting depth to make step or repeat plunge cuts. You can adjust the bit height using the height adjustment knob on the back near the locking level.
This system allows you to make coarse adjustments with the motor housing first before locking the height in place. A rack and pinion adjustment provides fine depth settings to 1/128″ on the fixed base only.

The Porter Cable 895PK is part of the 890 series of wood routers and really doesn’t offer a lot of features to help you adjust the cutting depth with either the fixed or plunge base. In fact the micro adjustment on this router is almost nonexistent. This one is truly designed to put on a router table and leave it there, since all adjustment can be made from the top without removing the motor from the table.

Porter Cable 895Pk Additional Features:porter-cable-890pk-3

The built in light bulb provides the ability to light up the work area.
A clear Lexan sub-base is durable and adds to the bit visibility while running the router.
A table-top height adjustment handles with measurement ring.
Dual on/off switch that works at 2 different locations.
Includes an edge guide with this kit.

Router Tables:
Yes, this router is built to use on its own or with a router table.

Can you make circles with this router?
Yes, but like with all wood routers you need to purchase templates and circle cutting jigs that are sold separately.

Dimension:

Weight: 12.7 pounds
Height: 18.3
Base: 5-3/4 inches
Amps: 12.0
Volts: 120v

PC router guidePorter Cable 895PK 2.25HP Accessories:

The different accessories that can be purchased for this model beside various bits are the 42690 Edge Guide which gives clean, accurate results.

It has an extruded aluminum body for extra strength and dual sliding, lockable mounts to allow for easy operation and the 9-Piece Template guide kit that support a wide variety of routing applications

Pros:

• Sub-base centering gauge
• Large hole sub base
• Dual-position switch cuts power while maintaining control of the router
• Made of durable die-cast aluminum
• Work light
• Quiet running motor
• Comes with a centering cone and mandrel, making it easy to center the base
• Spindle release button for quick bit changes
• Built in lift / Change bit from on top of the table
• Clear base for better visibility
• Uses a linear screw mechanism for height adjustment
• 10 Foot Power cord

Cons:

• When you lock the router in the plunge base there is at least 1/16 inch play from side to side.
• Not Cordless
• Poorly written user manual
• Height adjustment knob is an accessory costing an extra twenty to thirty bucks
• No dust sealed switch.
• The lever and spindle lock are weak causing them to bend or break.
• Cheap plastic parts on bases and hard to read the scale because of where the knob is located on the router.
• Height adjustment rack is very flimsy
• lateral deflection in the plunge base
• Backlash in the fixed base height adjustment
• Low-grade bearings in the motor

Ratings:

This wood router did not get a lot of good feedback. The biggest complaint was the poor overall design with many of the parts being weak or breaking during use. The plunge base seems to have been the biggest problem on this router. But the fixed base design was loved by everyone that wanted a router to install on a table.
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How much would you expect to pay for a router kit like this?

The kit include both bases, 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch self-releasing collets, one wrench, dust collection insert, and table-top height adjustment handle with measurement ring, along with a case making this combo kit an incredible value for the price. The best price I found for this kit is on Amazon.
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Summary:

This model would be great for an intermediate or advance wood worker with a shop that is looking for a mid-size durable router to attach to a table as they already have a smaller router or are replacing an older model, since the plunge base on this one is the weakest part of the Porter Cable 895 series. Even a professional contractor would find that many of the features on the 895PK wood router are nice to have when working on a job site.

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