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Router recommendations: good, fast, cheap - I want all three

by nickbatz
posted 06-16-2018 07:34 PM


44 replies so far

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waho6o9

8747 posts in 3056 days


#1 posted 06-16-2018 07:41 PM

View nickbatz's profile

nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#2 posted 06-16-2018 07:44 PM

Thanks, but for one that has 1/4” and 3/8” collets, not 1/2”.

And to be honest, while HF is great for, say, furniture blankets, I’d be afraid to buy a power tool from them.

View Rich's profile

Rich

4807 posts in 1068 days


#3 posted 06-16-2018 08:04 PM

If you can find used in your price range, then any of the major brands are good. Since you’re doing dovetails, I’d recommend a variable speed one. For new and cheap, Ryobi comes to mind.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

23589 posts in 3162 days


#4 posted 06-16-2018 08:18 PM

IF there is a Sears still open in your area, AND selling Craftsman tools…...they have a decent one that will do both 1/4” and 1/2” bits. Have had mine since they first came out..

Mine came as a “kit” with both a fixed and a plunge base. Variable speed. Used it for a while with the guide bushing for the #4210 Dovetail jig.

You might be able to get one with just the fixed base….

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Andybb

2024 posts in 1082 days


#5 posted 06-16-2018 08:41 PM

Try Porter or Bosch. The Porter usually comes with 1/4” and 1/2” collets. The Bosch 1/2” collet is $9.

Both are readily available on Craigslist or Offerup.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Andre

2746 posts in 2285 days


#6 posted 06-16-2018 08:52 PM

Very happy with my Rigid.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#7 posted 06-17-2018 02:00 AM

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

5974 posts in 2888 days


#8 posted 06-17-2018 02:10 AM

I have a Makita, and a Hitachi, both acceptable machines that work well and accept both collets. As for getting rid of the both of the other ones, I would hold back at least one. Because I promise the moment you get rid of both Father Murphy will pay you a visit. He takes great joy in showing up at the worst of times.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 1965 days


#9 posted 06-17-2018 02:53 AM

Ryobi. It’s built by champions. Works great with alder.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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woodbutcherbynight

5974 posts in 2888 days


#10 posted 06-17-2018 03:32 AM



Ryobi. It’s built by champions. Works great with alder.

- TheFridge

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

3060 posts in 2504 days


#11 posted 06-17-2018 04:37 AM

Most of the Ryobi routers I have seen have only 1/4” collet. And I’m surprised you said the HF only takes 1/4” and 3/” bits. Mine has a 1/2” collet. In fact, bits with 3/8” shank are very rare. I do have a 3/8” collet for my PC, but I use it for high speed end mills with a 3/8” shank (works pretty well for cutting 1/8” aluminum with a template and guide bushing).

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#12 posted 06-17-2018 04:38 AM

woodbutcherbynight, yeah I know about Father Murphy. It’s probably not worth getting rid of either router anyway, because they’re worth more than you can get.

TheFridge, my Ryobi sliding compound miter saw is great, and it wasn’t expensive. I did try a bandsaw of theirs that’s ridiculously underpowered – unless it was broken? – but not everything they make is a turd!

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#13 posted 06-17-2018 04:41 AM

runswith:

https://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/routers/2-hp-fixed-base-router-68341.html

(Scroll down the specs – it says “Accessories Included 1/4 in. and 3/8 in. collet chucks, carbon brushes, straight trimmer guide, 1/2 in. straight router bit, two wrenches”)

I sure like the price though!

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#14 posted 06-17-2018 04:45 AM

Actually this one does have a 1/2” collet:

https://www.harborfreight.com/2-1-2-half-hp-plunge-router-37793.html

But I dunno. Power tools from Harbor Freight…

View torus's profile

torus

323 posts in 892 days


#15 posted 06-17-2018 04:47 AM

good, fast – Bosch 1617EVS kit
cheap – refurb Bosch fixed base

-- "It's getting better..." - put this on my RIP stone!

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#16 posted 06-17-2018 04:51 AM

Torus, that one looks perfect… except (sorry to be a weenie) it’s $200 after you add the base to mount it on a router table.

I dunno. Maybe I should just get some 1/4” Freud bits and put the 1/2” ones on Craigslist.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8323 posts in 3854 days


#17 posted 06-17-2018 07:21 PM

The Hitachi M12VC is a fairly nice router…variable speed, light, quiet, 12 amps, reliable, and reasonably priced. Perfect for dovetails. new - $120 shipped

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Dmitriy_S

12 posts in 467 days


#18 posted 06-17-2018 07:39 PM



good, fast – Bosch 1617EVS kit
cheap – refurb Bosch fixed base

- torus


+1 for Bosch kit. If you plan to add router table later, then Bosch sells matching router table. That it what I got.

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2384 posts in 2468 days


#19 posted 06-17-2018 07:51 PM

The Bosch 1617 EVS kit with plunge and fixed base is very difficult to beat price/value wise $189 at Lowes right now. Be sure to compare hp / features if you think you found a better deal.

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runswithscissors

3060 posts in 2504 days


#20 posted 06-17-2018 08:06 PM

Nickbatz: I scrolled thru specs on both the 2 hp fixed base and 2.5 hp plunge base HF routers, and there is no mention of collet size anywhere. I do happen to know the fixed base one has a 1/2” collet, as I own one. You must have access to a different HF web site than mine. Also, I can’t find any listing of included accessories for those tools.

Don’t get rid of your 1/2” bits. They are much better in a full size router than 1/4” bits, and you have access to larger bits, which you will need sooner or later. 1/4” are fine for a trim router, but are too limiting in a full size one. I have had a 1/4” shank bit break on me. No damage, but scary anyhow.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#21 posted 06-18-2018 02:32 AM

runswithscissors:

1. Thanks for the advice about the 1/2” bits. Makes sense.

2. Looky:

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#22 posted 06-18-2018 02:32 AM

Thanks Knotscott.

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Woodmaster1

1209 posts in 3066 days


#23 posted 06-18-2018 08:40 AM

I just got a craftsman 1 3/4 hp router free and in the past year I bought 3 porter cable 690’s and a Bosch router for $5 each. I didn’t need them but now I have nine routers. The bit changes are down quite a bit. Look around for someone who has a router they bought a decided they didn’t need it.

View Holt's profile

Holt

280 posts in 3108 days


#24 posted 06-18-2018 02:28 PM



The Hitachi M12VC is a fairly nice router…variable speed, light, quiet, 12 amps, reliable, and reasonably priced. Perfect for dovetails. new - $120 shipped

- knotscott

I have an older version of that router kit. The fixed base stays attached to my table saw wing (and mostly used for round-overs or the second bit in two bit operations). I use the plunge base for everything else. Only gripe is the collet is a little “sticky”. Sometimes takes a few (or a bunch) of taps with the collet wrench to get it to let go.

-- ...Specialization is for insects.

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runswithscissors

3060 posts in 2504 days


#25 posted 06-18-2018 06:02 PM

Nickbatz: Okay, I see it. Doesn’t appear on their online catalog. But I suspect it is a misprint or editing error. Can anyone name a source for bits with 3/8” shanks? They must exist (I have a 3/8” collet for my Porter Cable), but I can’t find any in any catalog I have.

Anyhow, I have that router, and it does take 1/2” bits. I bought it for an experimental set up, which didn’t work out, but I’m keeping it to see if it works with the PC dovetail jig. Haven’t tried that yet.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#26 posted 06-18-2018 06:12 PM

With one of their 20% coupons it’s only $43. Might be worth taking a chance.

Is it good enough to violate my religion never to buy another HF power tool – a tenet that was writ after a NiCad reciprocating saw I made the mistake of actually paying money for a few years ago?

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runswithscissors

3060 posts in 2504 days


#27 posted 06-18-2018 06:25 PM

I’d say it’s worth taking a chance. It strongly resembles the PC 690, which is a very good router. The PC would be a better choice if you can afford it. Personally, I would stay away from Ryobi and Craftsman routers, though I know some people like them. Almost all Ryobis and C’man routers only have a 1/4” collet. You see them on CL all the time. I like Ryobi’s 18 volt tools, but am not impressed with their routers. Oh, I’d also avoid Black and Decker and Skil routers. I’d prefer the HF over any of those.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#28 posted 06-18-2018 06:45 PM

I have two Black and Decker ones. :)

One is a little fixed-base, screamingly loud yellow thing that came with the Craftsman router table I bought and am planning on ditching – not because there’s anything particularly wrong with it, but it takes up a lot of room and is… well, it’s a matter of feel: it’s just not satisfying to use. It makes much more sense to make one that replaces a table saw extension.

The other is an orange plunge router that works fine and has all the features, but has five issues that cause me not to be madly in love with it: 1. it won’t work on a router table (according to the instructions); 2. the hole in its base is too small to accommodate even medium-sized bits; 3. its plunging action is sticky along the way; 4. no 1/2” collet; 5. I forget what #5 is, but there was one when I thought of the issues. :)

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#29 posted 06-18-2018 06:48 PM

Oh, and you need two wrenches to replace bits on the little yellow one, which is a PITA. The orange one has a button to hold the shaft, so you only need one.

These are all minor issues that I only thought of when I thought about it. :)

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Desert_Woodworker

1866 posts in 1693 days


#30 posted 06-18-2018 11:44 PM

WEN at Home Depot
https://www.homedepot.com/p/WEN-15-Amp-Corded-Variable-Speed-Plunge-Woodworking-Router-Kit-with-Carrying-Case-and-Edge-Guide-6033/304128992

$71 and if you don’t like it you have 30 days to return…

-- Desert_Woodworker

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#31 posted 06-19-2018 06:55 PM

That WEN thing is a possibility. Thanks.

Its positives are that it has everything I need for the right price.

The negatives: 1. not available at Home Depot anymore, and the price is now a little higher elsewhere; and 2. I read reviews saying its plunge mechanism is sticky, which suggests that it’s on par with my orange B&D router – ergo if I’d rather invest in a fixed-base, higher-quality tool with fewer features.

No offense, but so far I’m leaning toward knotscott’s recommendation for that Hitachi router – for one because it looks very good, and for another because he’s the guy who found my table saw on Craigslist for me, and I’m really happy with it. :)

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

23589 posts in 3162 days


#32 posted 06-19-2018 07:28 PM



I d say it s worth taking a chance. It strongly resembles the PC 690, which is a very good router. The PC would be a better choice if you can afford it. Personally, I would stay away from Ryobi and Craftsman routers, though I know some people like them. Almost all Ryobis and C man routers only have a 1/4” collet. You see them on CL all the time. I like Ryobi s 18 volt tools, but am not impressed with their routers. Oh, I d also avoid Black and Decker and Skil routers. I d prefer the HF over any of those.

- runswithscissors

Strange..as my Craftsman 2 hp router does have both a 1/4” and a 1/2” collet,,,,has a shaft lock button and needs just one wrench. When I bought mine years ago, after they first came out, it was $170 out the door..still going strong, too. Variable speed, work light, has a wrench to make under the router table adjustments through the base. Edge guide has been well used, lately. Has a “Soft Start” feature. and..it is all metal. YMMV…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#33 posted 06-19-2018 07:29 PM

bandid571, what’s the model number, if you don’t mind?

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8323 posts in 3854 days


#34 posted 06-19-2018 09:05 PM


...so far I m leaning toward knotscott s recommendation for that Hitachi router – for one because it looks very good, and for another because he s the guy who found my table saw on Craigslist for me, and I m really happy with it. :)

- nickbatz

I got lucky, but does the same commission arrangement apply? ;-)

The Wen is also relatively unproven AFAIK. The current lower priced Craftsman 2767 routers have had a decent reputation since they came out some 10 years ago or so….currently on sale for $52.46 shipped.

Found some lower price options on the Hitachi M12VC:
- used Ebay auction currently at $63

- refurb through CPO for $95 shipped

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#35 posted 06-20-2018 07:55 PM

Naturally the same commission arrangement is de rigeur.

Well, that Craftsman looks great… except it has a 1/4” collet.

I’ve contacted the seller of the $63 Hitachi to ask whether it comes with both collets (1/4” and 1/2”). His or her name contains “pawn,” which means you have dot your teas and cross your eyes before betting the return shipping fee.

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#36 posted 06-20-2018 07:57 PM

Wait… ‘1/2” ROUTER’ is screened on the tool, so I’m probably safe.

Edit: maybe not, because it’s supposed to come with a bunch of accessories that may or not be there. Maybe the CPO one is a better bet.

Model M12VCR
Hitachi 2-1/4 Peak HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router
Includes
2-1/4 HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router – M12VC
Collet Chuck 1/4 in. – 323293
Collet Chuck 1/2 in. – 323241
Template Guide Adapter – 323272
Centering Gauge – 323296
Hex Bar Wrench 4mm – 944458
Hex Socket HD Bolt M5×10 (10 PCS) – 949819
Wrench 16mm – 323294
Wrench 23mm – 323295

View sawdustdad's profile

sawdustdad

379 posts in 1364 days


#37 posted 06-20-2018 09:11 PM

bigskytool.com has refurb tools. I bought a Hitachi router with 1/2 inch collet for under $90 refurbed, it was indistinguishable from new. I leave the dovetail bit in that router all the time. I have 4 other porter cable routers as well, and you may find one of those used or refurbed. CPOoutlet.com has them, too.

This one is $90:

https://www.cpooutlets.com/factory-reconditioned-hitachi-m12vc-2-1-4-peak-hp-variable-speed-fixed-base-router/hitrm12vc,default,pd.html

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#38 posted 06-20-2018 09:25 PM

Thanks sawdustdad.

So I got an extremely gracious reply back from the $63 router seller: “The router comes exactly as pictured.”

I wrote back complimenting them on their outstanding customer service, with a suggestion that they add something to the effect that the accessories you’ll need to actually use this tool may or may not be included.

View bandit571's profile

bandit571

23589 posts in 3162 days


#39 posted 06-20-2018 09:47 PM


bandid571, what s the model number, if you don t mind?

- nickbatz

Model No. 320.27683

BTW: in that picture I posted of it..it was indeed using a 1/2” shanked Dovetail bit, that came with the jig.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View ohtimberwolf's profile

ohtimberwolf

934 posts in 2831 days


#40 posted 06-20-2018 11:20 PM

In post #13 link it appears they didn’t include the 1/2 in collet in the description but in the reviews just a little way down the reviewer said that it does have a 1/2 inch collet. In the first description they say it comes with a 1/2 inch bit so it would seem that maybe they just forgot the collet in the description.
Here is the review. larry

Mutiple Collets
Submitted 3 months ago

By Karl

From 01201

Verified Buyer

I bought this to mount on my router table. I had a Sears on it but you can no longer get the 1/2 collet. This comes with 1/4, 3/8/ and 1/2 collet allowing greater range of bits. Easier to change a collet than have multiple tables.

More Details
Bottom Line Yes, I would recommend to a friend

Was this review helpful to you? 6 0Flag this review

Just sayin….

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#41 posted 06-21-2018 12:10 AM

Thanks ohtimberwolf.

Did you read the negative reviews? Yikes.

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ohtimberwolf

934 posts in 2831 days


#42 posted 06-21-2018 11:13 AM

nick, only to see if they mentioned something about the collets that came with the router.

Since your post to me I have read many of the negs and would probably not buy it if I were looking for one. I bought mine some time ago from King in Canada and am quite pleased with it. larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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ohtimberwolf

934 posts in 2831 days


#43 posted 06-21-2018 11:46 AM

Here is a link to the one I bought years ago. the 3 1/4 Red King 8367 listed. I have it permanently mounted under a table.

https://www.thetoolstore.ca/search/search.asp?keywords=routers

larry P.S. here is a link on LJ that I posted and shows how I made a cheap diy lift for it.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/34503

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

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nickbatz

267 posts in 559 days


#44 posted 06-21-2018 06:56 PM

Thanks Larry.

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