Craftsman Professional 27680 2.5hp Fixed/Plunge Router
A great Router at a great value
I use a router in some fashion on nearly every single piece of wood I cut, and I own several. It is very close in the running to the most used tool in my shop, with a slight advantage to the table saw. I also have a Porter-Cable 7518 mounted in a table. Still, I felt I needed a good, moderately strong router that I can feel comfortable using by hand.
The Craftsman Professional 27680 is rated at 2.5hp, and realistically I would say it is a solid 2.25hp to a full 2.5hp. This isn’t your standard craftsman router. The adjustment mechanism on both bases is completely different from their other offerings. Also a nice surprise is the sub bases on both the plunge and fixed base take Porter-Cable style bushings without any adapters.
The Router Kit included a very nice soft case I actually use. It also includes a 1/4” and 1/2” collet, collet wrench, over table height adjustment wrench, dust extraction hoods for both bases (that work!), and chip shields. Finally, the included edge guide is on par with any aftermarket edge guide I have used.
Fixed and plunge bases are included, both of excellent quality. The height adjustment on both is very easy to operate and very accurate. The fixed base has a button/slide for coarse adjustment, and a knob for fine (1/64”) adjustment. I really like this feature and it makes adjustments simple. The adjustment on the fixed base can be performed over the table if it is mounted in a table with the included wrench.
The plunge base action is very smooth and even, and setting the depth of cut is a simple procedure. The depth stop can be adjusted with a knob graduated in 1/64” increments. There is also a stepped wheel for coarse adjustments, making multiple passes to final depth simple. Changing bases is done without tools in seconds – literally.
The soft start is nice, producing startup with no torque twist. I always thought LED work lights were a gimmick, but I must say they are appreciated on this router. I also like the “hot tool” indicator next to the removable power cord. The power to perform is all there. I have yet to have an issue where I need more power in a handheld application. I haven’t used this much in a table, but I have done a lot of mortising and router planning using fairly large diameter bits. The Electronic feedback is nice and actually does work. I’ve intentionally tried to bog the router by feeding a little too aggressively and it keeps up. Did I mention it has electronic feedback? That is almost unheard of in this price range. It’s a little on the heavy side, but I prefer that. The handles on both bases are in good, low positions and are comfortable.
I don’t like the location of the power switch. It’s at the top of the motor and in the middle. I like it to be near the handle but with the soft start, this is forgivable.
The included base plates will only accommodate a bit 1-1/4” in diameter. This isn’t a huge deal but I thought I would mention it. Bits bigger than that should really be used when the router is in a table. It is also pretty easy to make your own sub bases if necessary.
I wish the bag had better provisions for the collet wrench, extra collet, and edge guide storage. There is just one big pocket with no dividers.
Speed adjustment. It’s a 1-9 system. I wish it had actual RPM like the PC does. I use the included chart in the manual.
I own and have used many routers and this is currently my favorite in the 2.5hp class. Not only is it a solid, powerful router with great bases and easy, accurate adjustment, it is considerably less money than its Bosch, PORTER-CABLE, DeWALT and even RIDGID counterparts. Craftsman has fallen out of sorts with us woodworkers, but this tool definitely brings back the feelings our grandfathers had about their quality craftsman tools. I also want to stress again that the Professional model is absolutely nothing like any other router in the current Craftsman line-up. The non-professional routers seemed to be aimed a lot more toward the homeowner/occasional use crowd. This router is a workhorse, is accurate, and is a pleasure to use.
By Joe Laviolette