Router Forums banner

Router review KM12VC

21021 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Mike
I will brake this up into several posts. Since many of you figured out the code on my other post and know that the H model is the one I just got. Since I just got it and had trouble finding much information I thought I would collect it and post a review. For other Porter Cable users this might be interesting as to what things are usable from the 690 series (or simular).

KM 12VC Review

This is a new router on the market and since I did not find much information on it when I went surfing on the web I though I would do my own review and share it with you.

General information:

Made by Hitachi (Hitachi Koki)

“…the concept for more powerful, quiet and ergonomically styled models to plainly differentiate them from the competitors.”


Soft Start

Electronic Feedback

2 ¼ HP

11 Amp.

Variable Speed 8,000 to 24,000

Tool-less 2-stage motor release clamp

Extremely low noise level-only 80 dB

Nickel-plated housing for smooth cutting depth adjustment

Fixed and Plunge bases

1/2" and 1/4" Collates

7-piece pc template set

Template guide adapter

Centering gauge

Large hole sub base (with a flat edge) (total of 3 sub bases)


Single case


W/Fixed base 7.3 pounds

W/Plunge base 9.9 pounds


Most places are selling it for $180 US

Some places are throwing in a free sander ($60 value)

I paid $159 including everything.


See less See more
1 - 8 of 16 Posts
Those are the facts, as I know them. Here are a few that I found out after getting the router:
1) The mounting holes for the sub base are identical to the PC 690 (three hole std.) thus other sub bases and attachments I have for my PC 690 fit this as well.

2) The PC model 42690 edge guide also fits this router. (I forgot the common name for the edge guide but it is the expensive one with micro adjust features)

3) The 80 dB rating didn’t mean much to me until I turned it on….. 80 dB is a very low level for a router. When I first turned it on I though I was on low speed but when I looked I was on high speed. I don’t want to get too much into this but this is by far the quietest router I have ever heard or is that not heard?

I am extremely pleased with this router. It has a smooth and precise feel and adjustments are easy to accomplish. The sub base has a feature that makes sure it located in the same place on the router base every time you mount it. The large hole base has a flat which is very nice for routing against an edge… something that the round base routers normal lack. The case seems nice with a place for the all of the attachments (and they stay in place as you carry them around). The case even has a series of hole for router bits??? Not my router bits! I would have to say if this is not the new router of the year then the whole race must be fixed.

Like most of the routers it comes with stamped steel wrenches. I know this is the normal situation but I wish someday they would upgrade these. The wrenches to this router seem even worse then the others I have and I am thinking of adding some sort of handle to them, be it heat shrink tape or a dipped plastic. I would have liked them to not include the template guides and lowered the cost a few more $. Now I have a second set and don’t use them much anyway (I like the brass ones better then the steel…. Personal preference.) I found the tension on the plunge lever a little strong but I solved this. They do not have a D-handle version or base which I think all routers in this class should have.

Since my use of it has been limited I might find more things I either like or dislike as time goes on. Think of this review as a “first look”.

If you have questions I will try and answer them.....

See less See more
odamsr said:

Thanks for the reveiw. I ordered one last week from Amazon and they are taking their time since I chose free shipping. I am in the process of making a router table that attaches to my tablesaw. I wanted to go ahead and purchase a plate for it so I can use the PC690 plate?

Again thanks for the review.
Now that amazon has the "club" they want you to joint the free shipping is getting even slower but free is free....

OK let me say that the sub-base attachments I have that fit my PC690 also fit the KM 12VC. So you should be able to order what you need and it should fit. I will also say that the keying feature of the KM 12VC sub-bases will not allow them to mount on the PC690.... it is a one way street.

(I should also point out I did not measure the hole spacing so it could be they are not an exact match but the other sub-bases I have do indeed fit so they have to be very very close if not right on.)

Carpintero said:
Hi there,

I just got a set of these raised panel bits, unfortunately, my router kit is 1 1/4 Hp fixed speed, and that I know is a big NO-NO with this size of bits, I plan on doing maybe two sets of cabinet doors, but at a very slow pace, so I expect them to be good for these 2 projects, cutting mostly knotty pine.

However I want a 2nd router (to be mostly permanently mounted to the table I am about to build for about $20 and lot's of free material) will be posted as work progressess.

And the question is...Is this router adequate for the intended application (raised panels) or should I go with 3 1/4 Hp and have power to spare?, I am really watching the cost here...

For your own safety and because we like to keep all the members we can..... get the new router before you do any of the work with the larger bits. From the picture I can't tell what the dia. of the larger bit is but a fixed speed router will spin somewhere about 25,000 or 28,000 RPM will give you tip speeds of near 300 mph!!!!! Larger bits need to run more like 12,000 or even 8,000 rpm. I think it unsafe to use the fixed speed router for large bits..... in fact most bits have a warning saying not to use over some number of rpm. In case you are still thinking about this idea picture one of those knots getting taken out at 300 mph and hitting you??????? And that is one of the not so bad things that could happen.

Now on to routers, the router I reviewed would work for most things and I look at as a general purpose router. If you will want one for use in a table and are going to be doing a lot of doors and panels you might want the larger 3 1/2 HP ones. Hitachi has one of this size I saw on Amazon for like $160, I don't own that one but I've heard good reports.

If you want one for more general use, having a plunge and fixed base and the ability to change speeds and so on and so on then the mid range 2 HP ones are what you are looking for. They have the power to do most everything and are a lot lighter for handheld operations. The one I reviewed is one of the lower priced ones in that class but still a very high quality router.....

The other option if you really want to use the router you have is a speed controller, the ones I have seen are about $30 but you might find one cheaper..... I have one and they do work.

See less See more
jerrymayfield said:
You need to be very careful when using a ( rheostat) speed controller for most hand held tools. The motors in most ,if not all, of these tools are universal motors (actually dc series motors).When you lower the speed you lower the torque,when this happens the current goes up and with it the temperture. They can overheat rapidly. This is not the same kind that maybe used with an ac motor to either vary the frequency or to chop off part of the voltage wave.
I guess I should have made it clear that we are talking an electronic speed controller for a router. The fact is a rheostat if you could find one to handle the current would be very large and most likly a lot of $$$.

You can think of what I'm talking about as taking the speed controller out of a router and putting it in a small box.

I should also point out this is for routers that use brushes are not soft start and use less then some set number of amps.... in my case 15A. The ones I have see are for 60cycle 115V standard type power here in the US. They have a three position switch (full, off, variable) as well as speed dial. Normal they are current protected with a fuse of some sort.

Update to review

Now that I have had the router to use for a while I like it even more!

I find I go out of my way to use this router over the others I own so much so that I have decided to buy a second one. I went with the smaller version with fixed base only as I entend to table mount it and would have little use for the plunge base.

I happen to get a good deal on an opened but unused one, just over $100 US. I had been looking at the ones at Amazon and this one saved me another $30+ so I hope it wasn't dropped or damaged.... it is unused but... I still get a 30 day return period so the worst that can happen is I have to return it.

I should get it sometime next week...... can't wait!!!!!

The other think I want to mention is that it now carries a 5 year warranty. And if you get it at Amazon they have a free sander offer that might be worth looking at.

See less See more
JMAN said:

thanks for posting a review. I just bought this router kit from Amazon for $180. I spent another $30 to get the $25 off tools purchases over $200 deal they had. Seems to be a great router for the $. A couple questions:

Where did you buy your for $160?

Also, after mortising about 6 doors, I noticed mine has a slight feeling of debris and little noise if I rotate the bit backwards by hand (when it is off of course :eek: ). Is it common for routers to get little pieces of debris in the bearings/fan?


I picked up my first one at, list $179.99 discount of $25 plus insurance $2.95 no tax = $157.94.....

Upcut bits are designed to get the chips out and towards the router so if you are using this type bit they are directed towards the router. With any router a clear path to get the chips out is a good idea but yes it is common for wood chips to go everywhere.... the bearings of most routers are sealed from the dust but it is a good idea to keep it clean. Even with sealed bearings the dust can wick out the lub, very little at a time mind you but after years????

Hope you enjoy yours as much as I have mine!

JMAN said:
Ed, How did you get the $25 discount at Internationaltools?
Back in March that was the offer they had..... did a lot of looking once I decided on which one I wanted and that was the best offer I could find. Maybe they are offering the sander now????

1 - 8 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.