The original form of the router is a hand tool or hand plane with a wide base and a narrow blade that projected well beyond its base plate for carving purposes. It carves out the wood or plastic in order to hollow it out while leaving an outer shell intact. Its appearance has also earned it the name of “old woman’s tooth”.

Nowadays, power tool routers are electrically driven spindles powered by a motor. The hand tool is now instead referred to as a router plane. With that said, how well does the PORTER-CABLE 7538 Speedmatic Plunge Router stand out as a router? Is it something that’s worth buying? Well, for one thing, the Speedmatic has a 15-AMP motor that gives it extra mustard in its routing. For another thing, it’s quite durable.

Durability and Expediency

The Porter-Cable 7538 Speedmatic is able to sell itself as one of the best routers in the market because of its 15-AMP motor that provides ample power for your routing needs so that when you go about your business, it doesn’t look like you’re routing or hollowing out your workpieces with a rusty spoon or a hammer and chisel. It’s made to deal with the toughest applications.

As for its single speed of 21,000 RPM, it ramps up almost immediately via soft start (it can be started with a push of a button instead of having to crank it up or rev the motor). There’s significant torque reduction at startup so you can immediately get it to rout as soon as you start it.


Power and Plunge

The PORTER-CABLE 7538 Speedmatic allows you full control of the router because the less vibration you have to deal with, the more in control you have of your routing work. It’s also arguably the best router in the market due to its powerful 3.25 HP motor. This 15 AMP power tool and handheld device is one of the most powerful devices you can get your hands on. You can either do D-handled or plunge routing depending on the task at hand with this piece of equipment.

The amount of sheer force it produces makes shaping bits on things like building cabinets or molding raw pieces of wood into statuettes possible. Make no mistake; what it lacks in nuance it more than makes up in unstoppable routing. It truly is commercial-grade.

Porter-Cable 7538 Specifications

  • 25 HP motor. Soft-start feature. Plastic dust shield
  • 17 pounds in weight. Motor is single-speed with Three-inch plunge base
  • 15-AMP handheld tool. 21,000 RPM speed rating
  • Reduced torque at startup. Auto-release collet system
  • Depth rod for plunge cut purposes
  • Consistent unwavering routing force
  • Heavier than most but not cumbersomely so
  • Adjustable turret can be put into six different positions
  • Heavy windings ensure an immense boost in power output
  • Aluminum motor housing and base that’s precision machined
  • Combination of weight, amps, and horsepower give it the most power under load
  • Has more HP and amperage compared to similar older products as heavy as this one

Porter-Cable 7538 Review

The Porter-Cable 7538 Speedmatic is like the heavy-duty version of many routers out there. Its name suggests Porsche but it’s built more like a Sherman tank. It’s a tank that’s as fast as a sports car but handles rugged jobs like a monster truck.

Other routers are comparatively lighter than this one but are also weaker or at least equal to its 3.25 HP motor. Its windings, extra weight, bigger amps, and more HP serves as a perfect storm of power that allowed me to save hundreds of dollars on cabinet building and furniture repair.

The huge difference comes from the copper metal windings that give its 21,000 RPM real routing impact. Without any irony, I give this plunge router a 10 out of 10 rating.

Things to Improve

Even a 10/10 has some issues and quibbles, although they’re minor enough to keep it from falling down from its high scores. Despite its smooth plunge mechanism that’s perfect for mortise cuts and its efficient plastic dust shield, he Porter-Cable 7538 Speedmatic has gotten criticism in regards to its lackluster instruction manual (it looks more like a map and it’s not helpful with matching its pictures with its text). For something so dependable, Porter-Cable should’ve invested more in its manual.

The dust collection accessory is also sold separately when it should’ve been sold along with the kit. Finally, it obviously fares worse with work that requires more nuance and flexibility found in multi-speed or variable speed routers.


To be honest, the PORTER-CABLE 7538‘s 3.25 HP motor offers more horsepower than most appliances you have in your home (including your A/C, which is usually just 1 HP), so it offers more than enough horsepower to get the toughest routing jobs done without you feeling like it is not routing fast enough or precisely enough.

It overwhelms the material it routes instead of the other way around. It’s quite fast and quite impactful with its job but it doesn’t vibrate excessively, so you’re in control of the shape of what you’re routing. It’s pretty much the most you can get from a single-speed router that’s reserved for heavy-duty woodworking. Check out other best wood routers too!

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