The Kreg PRS3000 is Kreg’s innovative router lift that includes a number of features that make it incredibly accurate and easy to use. Instead of a crank handle it uses a spring-assist lift wrench and a micro-adjust thumb wheel to give to fast, easy and accurate (to 1/1000-inch) height adjustment and bit changes.
This lift is essentially the same as the Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift and the INCRA PRL-V2 Lift, all of which are manufactured by Woodpeckers. Apart from the cosmetic differences the only real difference is the mechanism for retaining the insert ring. The Kreg PRS3000 and the Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 use a twist lock system whereas the Incra uses powerful rare earth magnets to hold the rings in place.
The Kreg PRS3000 uses a standard 9-1/4″ x 11-3/4″ x 3/8″ thick aluminum top plate and a massive, one-piece aluminum carriage for maximum rigidity mounted on twin solid steel shafts. It’s only designed to take the industry standard Porter Cable 7518, so it’s not as versatile out of the box as the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II, but if you want to use it with any other routers, motor mounting blocks are available as an optional extra.
The difference between the PRS3000 and router lifts like the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II is the method of height adjustment. Rather than use a crank handle to make all of the adjustment, it uses a Spring-assist Lift Wrench to make rapid height adjustment and then a Micro Adjust Thumb Wheel for precision adjustment. Mounted in the top plate, there is also a lift brake to lock the carriage in position and an adjustable reference scale that can be set to zero from any bit position which is a useful addition.
The Kreg PRS3000 also comes with 3 self-leveling, twist lock insert rings which is better than the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II which only comes with one and costs another $37.50 to buy the others.
Using the Micro Adjust Thumb Wheel and Spring-assist Lift Wrench
Proponents of the Kreg/Woodpeckers/Incra method claim the spring-assist lift wrench and micro-adjust thumb wheel make the whole bit changing and height setting procedure quicker and easier than using a crank handle:
- First, quickly raise the collett all the way above the table for bit changes (takes approx 2 seconds). The wrench disengages the lift’s mechanism and the spring assist allows the heaviest routers to travel freely with very light effort because the spring does most of the work.
- Insert and tighten the router bit, then use the lift wrench to make a quick, coarse adjustment to approx 1/4″ of the desired bit height
- Use the thumb wheel to make final micro adjustments as fine as 1/1000-inch.
- Once the desired height is set, tighten the manual lift brake with a hex key to ensure that the height stays put.
In practice, there are a couple of things to be aware of
- The spring-assist lift wrench takes practice to get right.
- The micro-adjust thumb wheel requires a lot of turns for even a small amount of adjustment. This is obviously the downside of such fine adjustment and in practice you end up turning the wheel from under the table where more of it is available rather than spin the top segment endlessly.
Pros and Cons of the Kreg PRS3000 system
What it comes down to is, when it works, it works really well, but until you get the hang of it, the system can be more trouble than the usual crank handle method.
One area where the PRS3000 falls down compared to the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II is router compatibility. It’s been designed to take the industry standard Porter Cable 7518 and if you’re buying the whole setup from scratch, you can’t go far wrong with the 7518, but if you already own the router you want to use with this lift, you’ll have to buy different motor mounting blocks. In this respect it’s no different from the Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift and the INCRA PRL-V2 Lift. A set of adapter blocks costs $30.
What are the alternatives?
The Kreg PRS3000 retails at $349 which is the same as the Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420. The INCRA PRL-V2 is a little more at $379 and the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II slightly cheaper at $339, so there’s not much in it in terms of price.
The Kreg PRS3000, Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 and INCRA PRL-V2 are essentially the same lift, the only differences being cosmetic and the type of insert rings.
The Kreg PRS3000 and the Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 both use ABS plastic twist lock insert rings compared to the INCRA PRL-V2 which uses their steel MagnaLOCK™ insert rings that are held in place by 4 magnets and just snap into place without any tools.
The MagnaLOCK™ system is very convenient but since the rings are made of steel there is more chance of damaging your router cutters if you accidentally hit them.
If you are sold on the micro adjust thumb wheel and spring-assist lift wrench system then your choice really only comes down to the type of insert ring you prefer. If you prefer a crank handle system for height adjustment you should look at the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II.
The Kreg PRS3000 is a well designed router lift constructed from good quality components with a couple of innovative features which divide opinion – you either think they’re a great idea or they’re too much trouble. If you can get along with the micro adjust thumb wheel and spring-assist lift wrench, then you get an amazing degree of accuracy plus a very useful adjustable reference scale that lets you dial in precise adjustments from any bit position.