All Replies on Choosing a router

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View RegInBC's profile

Choosing a router

by RegInBC
posted 09-12-2016 06:15 PM

16 replies so far

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


542 posts in 2672 days

#1 posted 09-12-2016 06:27 PM

The Bosch 1617 is my go to. You can buy it in a combo pack with a fixed base and plunge base. It’s a really solid machine for the price. Haven’t tried the Triton, but I’d really like to give one a whirl.

-- “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.” ― Lenny Bruce

View dawsonbob's profile


3743 posts in 2563 days

#2 posted 09-12-2016 07:20 PM

+1 on the Bosch 1617.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1548 days

#3 posted 09-12-2016 07:25 PM

Another 1617 owner here, and I love it. Served me well with 0 issues for the last 3 years.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View jwmalone's profile


768 posts in 1510 days

#4 posted 09-12-2016 07:36 PM

Another vote for the bosch 1617, only had it for 4 months but I love it no problems. I bought the combo kit uncanny spoke of.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5295 posts in 4768 days

#5 posted 09-12-2016 08:13 PM

Since I have Freud VS router and, though it still works well, I’m lookin’ out for a viable replacement.
I’ll follow this post closely.

-- [email protected]

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4183 days

#6 posted 09-12-2016 08:15 PM

My first question is what drew you to those 3, and led you to overlook the Milwaukee, Bosch, Porter Cable, Hitachi, and DeWalt routers? All have large followings, and a generally well liked.

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

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1556 days

#7 posted 09-14-2016 12:40 AM

I have really gotten good use from my Bosch 1617EVSPK, which is the one with fixed and plunge bases and variable speed. A great router kit. The only thing that keeps it from being perfect is the lack of dust control.

View EricLew's profile


267 posts in 2174 days

#8 posted 09-14-2016 01:01 AM

Sorry, I have never used a Rigid, Triton, or Makita router. But I am another Bosch 1617EVSPK owner who just loves it. I “only” have 2 other routers, a 25 year old Craftsman, which I never use, and a DeWalt DW611 which is a fantastic palm router. Of course, Knotscott is correct, Milwaukee, Bosch, Porter Cable, Hitachi, and DeWalt each make excellent routers as well.

-- I love the smell of coffee in the morning, and sawdust in the afternoon

View greenacres2's profile


354 posts in 2976 days

#9 posted 09-14-2016 01:24 AM

I’m up to 3 Bosch 1617’s (2 in tables, 1 mounted to a Jasper jig, and a pair of plunge bases so I can take the motors out of the tables). The PC690 and big Hitachi are basically never used. Beyond being a very smooth router with ample power for most jobs, and commercial grade bearings, there are two things that really make the 1617EVSPK rise to the top for me:

1. One of the few multi-base kits that uses the fixed base in the table. Most routers suggest using the plunge base for table use, which means when you need to plunge it has to be dismounted. The 1617 has above the table adjustment with the fixed base (still have to reach under to lock/unlock). Handheld—the plunge base can function like a fixed base, but a fixed base can’t be a plunge.

2. Bosch 1617 sub-base mounts with a 4 screw pattern. The PC 690 has a 3 hole pattern that is the most common screw pattern for predrilled aftermarket bases. Take the plate off the 1617, and a 3 hole pattern is already tapped in the common 690 pattern—no need to drill bases to an odd pattern (and hope they are centered—a big deal for me)

It took a while, but I also really like the Bosch quick release guide bushings much better than the knurled ring style. Got a set thrown in with my first 1617, and looking at them didn’t inspire confidence, but when I did finally give them a try—really stable for me.

I’m prejudiced, but I just can’t imagine better for me.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6177 posts in 3621 days

#10 posted 09-14-2016 01:33 AM

I have the 1617 and a bunch of others ranging from 1hp up to 3hp. The one I reach for time and time again is the Dewalt 618. Get one of those in your hands before you buy anything else.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2918 days

#11 posted 09-14-2016 01:27 PM

I’m up to about 11-12 routers, including two 1617EVS’ and several PC690’s and if doing it again, would do this:

First – DW611 with both bases… About the only thing it won’t do is heavy mortising, panel raising, and stile / rail type stuff… The 611 is the same power all around routers were for decades, and is light and easy to control, complete with an LED light. It is NOT a palm router.

Second – Milwaukee 5625 in a table, shop made with a plain old MDF / laminate top, if your budget is tight. It also will do fantastic through dados and heavy edge routing in it’s fixed base.

Third – A Rigid trim router. I use the crap out of mine for lots of chamfers, small roundovers, even freehand dovetail waste removal with a 1/8” spiral bit. Cheap, too…

A almost never use my 2 1/4 HP Bosch and PC jack of all trades kits any more. They are honestly relegated to times when I need multiple setups and the others are “busy”.

A few notes about the list above on where I’m coming from and how I work:
- I dado and rabbet sheet goods on the table saw. Way faster, more repeatable, and less messy
- I have a mortiser and Domino. I don’t normally use routers to mortise. The 611 and a good spiral bit will do 1/4” mortises better than many who haven’t tried it would expect. With the three above, you can mortise with the table or remove waste with a drill press, or hand drill and guide block.
- I can count the times I’ve used guide bushings outside of dovetail jigs on one hand in 20+ years. I do tons of pattern routing, but I make my patterns actual size and use a bearing guided bit in the table. No math, no offsets, no mistakes…
- A Leigh D4 came and went from my shop. I dovetail with table saw, custom blade, and freehand trim router. If you someday want a jig that uses guide bushings, pick up a cheap, single speed, fixed based, 690 or 1617 at the time.

Work methods vary from person to person… Good luck choosing!

View Rob_s's profile


257 posts in 1430 days

#12 posted 09-14-2016 01:57 PM

I recently got one of the Dewalt DW611 combo kit routers and one of the things I love about it is the single-wrench bit changes thanks to the spindle lock. Are there any fullsize routers with this feature? I think maybe the Triton?

I’ve had a fullsize PC router for years, and now that I have the little Dewalt I find myself reaching for that one more and more unless I absolutely have to grab the big one for a larger diameter bit or tougher task.

I’m leaning towards the Triton in part because of the integrated lift mechanism that should make table-mounting easier.


View abie's profile


914 posts in 4579 days

#13 posted 09-14-2016 03:42 PM

I love my Trend t-1
1.1HP 1/4In Light Duty Plunge Router Kit

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View Matt's profile


163 posts in 1759 days

#14 posted 09-15-2016 02:30 PM

I’ve got the 3 1/4HP triton mounted in a table, it’s outstanding and has more power than I’ve needed, but it’s WAY too heavy to use as a handheld.
I’ve also got the Ridgid 2 1/4HP with both the fixed and plunge base that I picked new on CL about two years ago. It’s ok. the plunge base works well and it has good power but honestly, I almost never use it anymore for “handheld” use cause I have the Makita trim router (with both fixed and plunge bases), which has had enough power to do all of the handheld router needs I’ve had since I’ve purchased it a year ago and it has pretty much eliminated my use (at this time) for the heavier ridgid.

Full disclosure: I’ll add, I’m also sour on Ridgid tools at this point due to their support post tool failure with an active “LSA” (registered in two weeks of purchasing the tool).

-- My "projects" always look better when your glasses are broken.

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1556 days

#15 posted 09-15-2016 05:03 PM

I mentioned that I’m very fond of those Bosch 1617 routers, but the router in my router table is a PC 690 with the fixed base and the ‘through the base’ height adjustment. Works great. Plenty of power even on raised panel work.

The hand held routers get a lot of work, and they don’t get a lot smoother operating than the Bosch plunge base. And, I need a 1/2 collet much of the time. As for trim routers, I actually get less use than I had expected from the Bosch Colt with plunge base. Not enough serious grunt for some of the routing I do, and I’m limited to the 1/4 inch collet.

One other router I have that is great to use is the Milwaukee body grip router. It’s the older 1 3/4 HP version, without the speed adjustment, but I love that body grip for controlling the router.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2918 days

#16 posted 09-15-2016 07:55 PM

I’ve had a fullsize PC router for years, and now that I have the little Dewalt I find myself reaching for that one more and more unless I absolutely have to grab the big one for a larger diameter bit or tougher task.

Isn’t it crazy nice to use?

FWIW, for many years, many popular handheld routers were 1 to 1-1/4HP. It seems like the ShopVac and compressor horsepower wars, real or imagined, also caught up with routers in the 80’s and 90’s…

I’ll say it again, I’ve got a cabinet full of routers, and that little guy gets first grab far more than those who don’t have one might believe. The Bosch Colt had a similar following until the DW611 improved on the concept and added a better plunge base.

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