Does Not Compare To Dewalt

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Review by pintodeluxe posted 05-22-2013 05:31 PM 7947 views 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Does Not Compare To Dewalt No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

The 1617 has rave reviews, so I thought I might give it a try. The base is tricky to release, because you have to align the tabs, then twist the router together. The old version had a magnesium motor case, but this is the newer version with an aluminum motor case. I played with both versions at the store, and the aluminum version is an improvement, but not as smooth or easy to operate as my Dewalt 618.

The switch is known to fail frequently, and mine works intermittently. I guess the rocker switch is not sealed, and dust causes it to stop working. Replacement switches are available, yet they have the same problem.

The handles are okay, I put some lock-tite on the theads to keep them from vibrating loose. They are the right size, just not as confidence inspiring as the Dewalt 618, or Freud FT1700 handles. Overall ergonomics feel top-heavy compared to my 7 previous routers.

The course adjustment lever has a cheesy spring that helps release the base from the motor. The spring has to slide on the metal casing as you turn the height adjustment knob (bad design). As a result, the spring will occasionally pop out. When this happens, it is nearly impossible to separate the base from the motor.

The variable speed is nice, and the slow speed is much slower than my other routers. The motor is smooth, and relatively quiet. Power is adequate, and on par with other 11-12 amp machines. The top of the router is flat, allowing you to turn the router upside down for easy bit changes. It is surprising how useful this simple feature is.

I like many Bosch tools – their colt routers, and left blade circular saws are great.
This router feels like it needs a major overhaul to be on the same playing field as other modern routers. Not trying to be a tool basher, just trying to give an honest review.
Interestingly, Bosch bought the Freud power tool lineup. I hope Bosch’s next generation of routers includes Freud’s clever built-in router lift, and full above-the-table adjustments.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3658 days

27 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 05-22-2013 05:38 PM

Sorry to hear this about the current 1617EVS, but it’s what has been going around for the past several years about Bosch—including their dishwasher line. Seems that Bosch has gotten to be too big, kinda like GE and their product line several years back.

My two (2) Bosch 1617EVSs were acquired back in the mid-90s and I love them—haven’t had a bit of trouble. In fact, and I hate to admit this, but I much prefer my 1617s to my newer Festool OF1400s for dovetail routing with my Leigh jig.

Don’t know what I’ll replace them with when the time comes, if it comes.

Thanks for the current, update and status of what originally was a pretty, damn good router.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View rodneyh's profile


147 posts in 3509 days

#2 posted 05-22-2013 06:13 PM

I have this router as well, and have not been happy with it at all. Installing / removing the motor from the base is a pain in the butt. It has been demoted to essentially just circle cutting duty. I replaced it with the Triton MOF001KC (2.25 hp as well). The Triton has proven superior in every way imaginable. WAY more power, 1 wrench bit changes, above table adjustment.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3658 days

#3 posted 05-22-2013 06:16 PM

Yes, Triton and Freud have some distinct advantages in a router table.
Thanks for weighing in.

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

View lepelerin's profile


498 posts in 3170 days

#4 posted 05-22-2013 06:34 PM

I cannot compare to other routers you mentioned. The pain in the ass to remove the motor from the base … I actually fixed this issue with mine. I lightly wet sanded/waxed the base and it fits like a glove.
The only point that I can foresee needing improvement is the non sealed switch. But again so far I never had any problem. You have had 7 routers to play with and compare, I only have/had one … so what the hell do I know with my 1617EVSPK.
Just a point of view!

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9644 posts in 3174 days

#5 posted 05-22-2013 06:55 PM

I picked up a 1617EVS kit with a second base for use in a router table, from Home Depot at a smokin’ price
The second base has “from the bottom” depth adjustment with a supplied T-wrench, though you do need to flip the lock lever.

Single wrench tool changes would have been very nice. Heck, even the 40 year old Craftsman router I inherited from my dad has that. Also, it should have a light. I picked up a newer Craftsman at a garage sale that has an LED light in the housing and it is a VERY handy feature.

I have had no issues removing the base at all. Flip the cam-over lock lever, push down on the course adjust lever to release the tab and it slides right out. Perhaps your lock lever isn’t opening up enough.

My switch has a rubber bootie over it, so I assumed it was a newer one that solved the dust problem. I haven’t had any issues, though I’ve only put light use on it so far.

Motor is smooth and quiet, I’m a big fan of soft starts and this Bosch has no perceptible “torques steer”. Speed range seems more than adequate.

I like mine well enough and would give it 4 stars.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3658 days

#6 posted 05-22-2013 07:10 PM

Good point about the light. That would be a nice feature.

The T-wrench seems like an afterthought. Porter Cable, Bosch, and Craftsman all offer something like this where you can make some adjustments from above-the-table, but not all. My biggest gripe about using this router in a table would be that the collet doesn’t extend high enough to change bits topside. I don’t mind reaching in the cabinet to unlock the base, but I don’t want to crane my neck under a table trying to change bits with two wrenches. I did that with a Hitachi for a while, but it gets old in a hurry.

Porter cable comes close to a good solution, however you have to remove the router plate insert and use bent wrenches to change bits topside. Freud and Triton make routers that are well though out, and truly designed for a router table.

Anyway, it is an interesting discussion. Thanks for the comments.

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9644 posts in 3174 days

#7 posted 05-22-2013 07:21 PM

I just recently (like two weeks ago) finished building a router table, extension wing for my TS using a Rockler aluminum plate, and I just pull the router, plate and all from topside to change bits.

I have a 3 HP PC plunge router set up on my older router table and the router doesn’t clear the hole…. and crawling around on my knees craning my neck to do bit changes is NOT where it’s at.

I think I paid $150 for the 1617EVS kit, so I don’t feel like I can complain too much about it’s short comings.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

9644 posts in 3174 days

#8 posted 05-22-2013 07:24 PM

Good review, by the way…. all factual points based on actual use.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

392 posts in 3030 days

#9 posted 05-22-2013 07:26 PM

The base is such a pain! For some reason my plunge base works fine but it got to the point where I couldn’t stand putting it in the router table so I built a router lift.

Also, from the many times that i’ve had to force the base out, the router motor is extremely scratched up. Just a minor defect but not something I would expect from such a high quality company.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3467 posts in 4283 days

#10 posted 05-22-2013 09:57 PM

sounds like a review for Dewalt by trashing the Bosch. I love mine. The switch was fixed by the company years ago ti’s now sealed. The handles don’t come loose. I can’t even remove mine. The base is sticky to get out but not that much of a problem.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 3709 days

#11 posted 05-22-2013 10:02 PM

I rarely heard much negative about this router before I bought one in December. I will have mine mounted in a table likely most of the time in a lift. So maybe most of the issues mentioned won’t effect me much.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3658 days

#12 posted 05-22-2013 10:37 PM

Not at all. Just true words from first hand experience. I own both, and I can tell you I reach for the Dewalt. I include this information, because some woodworkers only want to buy one router. I do not have that particular affliction!

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

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4076 days

#13 posted 05-22-2013 11:32 PM

I have two of the 1617’s. Sometimes the motor does stick in the base, but I manage. And I am glad that I have to twist it to get it out of the fixed base. Otherwise, I feel sure it would have dropped to the floor from under the table when I take it out. :-)

Even though my router table is cast iron, it was easy to drill through it so I could adjust the depth from above the table.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 3320 days

#14 posted 05-22-2013 11:59 PM

I love mine, comes with the plunge and fixed base, have done a lot of routing with it, not a single glitch. I have the DeWalt 618 on my router table, can’t complain about that one either, so it is a wash for me.. :-)

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View jim65's profile


1020 posts in 2778 days

#15 posted 05-23-2013 09:29 AM

I have the same European version and have mixed feelings, the base sticks but is workable, I have 2 fixed bases, one under the router table and one for regular routing plus the plunge base, router works great although I say mixed as I did burn up the motor once and had to repair it at a HUGE cost or replace all the bases…. Not happy about the repair cost and I did not “overuse” it, maybe the humidity in my shop caused problems. I love working with the router and it does what it should but I would not buy it again due to the repair costs and problems after light use for several years, this is the “professional line” from Bosch so it should handle more than what I use it for. Generally mixed feelings on Bosch, they seem to be semiprofessional with high prices.

-- Jim, Marostica Italy

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