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Milwaukee 3.5 HP Router

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Review by PPK posted 08-09-2016 01:43 PM 3922 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Milwaukee 3.5 HP Router No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I feel compelled to review this router, since It runs a lot better than my old “tried and true” Porter Cable 7518 (the similar 3.5 HP model in the Porter Cable Brand, if you’re not familiar with the model no.)

Warning, this is somewhat more of a comparison, but it’s also a review too.

I have been running this unit with the 3.5” raised panel cutter. It has shown no signs of heating up excessively, no vibration, and the motor maintains its low speed setting well. My old PC 7518 did none of those things. And for the comparison, it was running the same router bit, but was sharper at that time, so should have been cutting easier, if anything. The Porter Cable would overheat, the RPM’s would surge up after I finished the cut, and it would bog too easily. Maybe I had a lemon, but I even took it in to have it serviced by the local Porter Cable authorized dealer, and they said it was just fine.

Edit 8/15/2016: I finished running about 24 door panels through this machine. I started by taking a couple passes to remove less material, but found that the beast can do it all in one pass. I did find the limit, as I think a couple of times it overloaded and cut out temporarily. But the best thing I found is that the speed control was VERY consistent. The old 7518 was all over the place. If I didn’t have steady feed rate, the thing would surge and bog. This Milwaukee doesn’t surge or bog at all. And yes, I realize that running the panel thru only once could be dangerous, but I’ve got a good system set up, with push blocks, face shield, well waxed table top and lots of practice!

Another benefit of this unit is the easy height adjustment. I don’t have a router lift (I don’t think they are worth all that $$) but no need with this thing. You don’t have to twist the router in the base, just spin the adjuster screw, from the top with the wrench, or with your hand from the bottom.

The collet is another great feature. It is beefier than the PC, and the wrenches to loosen it are 10,000% better.

Bit changes are easy to do without pulling the whole router plate out of the table. With the adjuster screw, there’s a quick release button, and I just press than and pop out the whole motor unit. I usually do this with any router I change bits on anyway. No annoying twisting to get it out the base on this router.

Finally, the prices are pretty comparable, I got mine for $309. The PC costs about $10-$20 more.

I used to be a Porter Cable router fan, and I still REALLY like my PC 690 for flush cutting, dovetails, etc, but I’m thinking Milwaukee is starting to edge out PC. That’s just good business, I guess!

-- Pete




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PPK

1114 posts in 926 days



15 comments so far

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5739 posts in 2930 days


#1 posted 08-09-2016 04:45 PM

I’m surprised you found anything the 7518 can’t do. I have that one and it is a beast.

Sounds like the Milwaukee has some of the same adjustment features I like in my Freud routers.
Thanks for the review.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View PPK's profile

PPK

1114 posts in 926 days


#2 posted 08-09-2016 06:09 PM

Yeah, that’s why I bought it. Everyone says PC 7518’s are great. Maybe I just got a lemon!

-- Pete

View chrisworker's profile

chrisworker

16 posts in 1508 days


#3 posted 08-10-2016 12:43 AM

Pete,
I agree with you when it comes to your experience with the PC router. I was excited when I got mine 2 years ago, but after using it I was experiencing the same issues like you described. Unfortunately, it got worse though. The bearings went bad after doing 25 raised panel doors. The panel bit was a new Freud, the material was clear pine and I would let the router cool down after 3 panels. When it died I took it to my local PC repair shop and got it back within 2 weeks. During that time I didn’t have it and I needed one badly and bought the Bosch equivalent and I’m glad I did. I wanted the Milwaukee, but the price on Amazon was $75.00 more than the Bosch. My PC is still so so at best even though it was fixed and checked again. I like the Bosch, but my next router when I build my other table will have the Milwaukee so I could compare. Thanks for the review. Chris.

-- Chris Bethlehem, PA

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

441 posts in 1059 days


#4 posted 08-10-2016 04:12 AM

I’ve had my PC 7518 in a router table for for over 8 years and never had a problem. It has seen a lot of heavy use and is a workhorse. When I bought it in 2008 I paid $239 for it with the base. I’m not aware of what they sell for now.
However, it is good to know that the Milwaukee is a great quality router.. and it is important to support one of the few American made products.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

View jshroyer's profile

jshroyer

80 posts in 1775 days


#5 posted 08-10-2016 01:55 PM

I bought a Milwaukee 5616-24 a few months back and really like it. Just wish there was a fence feature for it but i have other routers that can accept those.

How do you mount your router with a bit that big?

-- http://semiww.org/

View PPK's profile

PPK

1114 posts in 926 days


#6 posted 08-10-2016 02:11 PM

How do you mount your router with a bit that big?

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/259186

I linked the post that shows my router table. I have two insert plates that I bought probably 10 years ago from Wood Peckers. I don’t even know if they sell them like this anymore. I think they are made out of phenolic. Anyway, they work great. there’s set screws to adjust them so they sit flush with the router table, different inserts so you can use different size bits, etc. I drilled extra holes in them to mount the many different routers I’ve had over the years. They have never sagged or gone out of flat.

-- Pete

View loupitou06's profile

loupitou06

137 posts in 3443 days


#7 posted 08-10-2016 02:33 PM

I have the same milwaukee in my router table for about a year now and couldn’t be happier – very powerfull router and definitely and upgrade to my old Bosch 1618, however be aware that I had to open it once already to clear up the dust that was preventing it to start. This router is very well protected to dust while running thanks to the powerful fan around the collet. But when it’s stopped – and when mounted in a router table upside down, do not blow the dust around the collet or it will go inside the housing.

Hope this helps

Pierre

-- 100 fois sur le metier remettez votre ouvrage

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

979 posts in 1569 days


#8 posted 08-10-2016 02:57 PM

I have the same router and it is a powerful beast. It is a Production router designed to spin day in and day out.

Mine lifts up and out for bit changes and the two step safety collet prevents bit throwing.

I’ve been making raised panel doors out of jatoba and it handles that without bogging or any heating (except the bits & even then the carbide is barely warm.)

A digital height gauge is such a help!

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

View PPK's profile

PPK

1114 posts in 926 days


#9 posted 08-10-2016 03:02 PM

Throwing bits. Still sends shivers down my spine. I had a cope and sticking but fly out of the router once: it turned out I didn’t have it chucked in far enough. The bit went spinning right past my left ear. Now I double check the bit depth and tightness always and wear a face shield. I try not to imagine what a heavy bit like that spinning at 18,000 rpm could have done to my face or head… Be SAFE guys!

-- Pete

View OrvsR4me's profile

OrvsR4me

27 posts in 952 days


#10 posted 08-10-2016 07:16 PM

I too have had this awesome router for almost 10 years in my router table. Still havn’t needed any bearings yet. Milwaukee collets are awesome. Would buy again but…

-Power switch is very intermittent. I leave it on all the time and use my external switch only.
-I have always used the factory fixed base as the base in the table and it has always tried to wedge the motor after raising and lowering. I have wrecked jigs and had rough results from it not clamping the router consistently and vertically. I should get an actual lift for it, but I shouldn’t have to.

-- Small minds talk about people. Average minds talk about events. Great minds talk about ideas.

View CyberDyneSystems's profile

CyberDyneSystems

288 posts in 2305 days


#11 posted 08-15-2016 04:45 PM

Great review, thanks for the information. I am another PC guy, but I am also aware that the venerable 7518 is a VERY old design, and it’s manufacture used to be in the US, but has not been for some time. Many die hard 7518 users report shorter life and lower performance from the new non US made ones.
We have one in the shop, ( the single speed version! ) that was purchased in the 1980’s and used almost daily. (mind you, we don’t use heavy panel raising bits often, but we do spin a full 3/4” bull nose/half round bit in it all the time and this is a LOT of cutting in one pass.)

This last year the bearings began to give a bit of squeal. I believe this will be the first time the bearings have been replaced.

As for the old design, there is always room for improvement, and it looks like this Milwaukee incorporates a number of advantages!

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View PPK's profile

PPK

1114 posts in 926 days


#12 posted 08-15-2016 04:57 PM

Edit 8/15/2016: I finished running about 24 door panels through this machine. I started by taking a couple passes to remove less material, but found that the beast can do it all in one pass. I did find the limit, as I think a couple of times it overloaded and cut out temporarily. But the best thing I found is that the speed control was VERY consistent. The old 7518 was all over the place. If I didn’t have steady feed rate, the thing would surge and bog. This Milwaukee doesn’t surge or bog at all. And yes, I realize that running the panel thru only once could be dangerous, but I’ve got a good system set up, with push blocks, face shield, well waxed table top and lots of practice!

-- Pete

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

441 posts in 1059 days


#13 posted 08-20-2016 04:33 AM

Where did you find the Milwaukee for $309?
I just had major flooding in my shop this week and had 3 ft of water and my 2 routers in the tables will most likely need to be replaced.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

View PPK's profile

PPK

1114 posts in 926 days


#14 posted 08-21-2016 01:28 AM

USA Wood Art,
I got mine on Ebay, from Toolup. It looks like they still sell it for that price. It came with no damage, shipped quickly, so I wouldn’t have any problems ordering there again. Sorry to hear about your flooding. I hope that you get it all taken care of.

-- Pete

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

820 posts in 1701 days


#15 posted 02-18-2018 11:38 PM

Resurrecting this review of the Milwaukee 5625 and comparison to the Porter Cable 7518 to say subject Milwaukee is shown on the Home Depot website now for $309. Same price at Northern Tool.

They are supplied by Milwaukee with a 1/2” collet only. It is a complete router, with a fixed base in the package, and the T-handle to adjust the depth of cut from above a table mount.
A quick web scan suggests adding the 1/4” collet will run another 25 to 30 bucks, but they re not offered on the HD site.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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