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Hi guys,

Sometime in the near future, I'll be buying a new router. As you can see from my projects page, I am only a hobbiest, and as my shop time is limited, I don't get in there very much (hopefully that will change soon!). That being said, this isn't a tool I'll be using every day, probably not even every week, but I want a quality router that will last. I have no plans in the immediate future for using any large bits, such as raised panel bits. I will mostly use it for dados, rabbets, round overs, chamfers, and the like, so I believe these would have plenty of power. Lastly, I wish every router had above table adjustment capability, but I've always planned on building a lift, so not the end of the world.

These are my preferences (more or less in order):
- accuracy (no bit slipping, accurate adjustments, etc)
- ease of adjustments and bit changes while in a table
- compatibility with a table (it will be predominately mounted in a table)
- durability/warranty

I'm hoping you folks can help me narrow down this decision, or perhaps clue me into another model in this price range that I'm not aware of. Here are the four I'm considering as of now:
- Dewalt DW618
- Milwaukee 5616-20 (above table height adjustment - love that, and wish they all had it)
- Ridgid 22002
- Bosch 1617EVS

Thanks,
Joe
 

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I'm in the same boat here, and here's my .02 cents after reading reviews and researching. I've never used or owned a router, so everything I'm saying is based on reading reviews. I am a hobby woodworker, and want a router powerful enough to grow with me and work each time I reach for it.

I approached this with an open mind and started looking around. I narrowed it down to: Makita, Bosh, and Dewalt. I've decided on a Bosh MRC23EVSK (it comes with a fixed and plunge base). Its in the same price and power range as the Dewalt and Bosh 1617.

The Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP, slightly more powerful than the 1617, takes the best elements of the 1617 and enhances them. It even includes an above the table height adjustment (looks like you want one). I've read a lot of great reviews on the 23EVSK which is what convinced me to go this way.

I removed the DW618 from my list due to the fairly split nature of the reviews. There are folks who have had it for years without issue, and folks who have had the unit fail prematurely. If I'm spending upwards of $300 on a tool, it'd better last.

I'm following this thread with interest. I'd be interested to see what others have to say.
 

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Hey Joe
I'm kind of a router nut and have a lot of em. One thing I always recommend to my student is to get a "D" handle routers. Even though I prefer my "D" handle PC 690's there are a lot of routers that have more bells and whistles like lights and soft start and micro adjustment. When this subject comes up on LJs lots folks seem to recommend Bosch 1617EVS's . A friend of mine just bought a Dewalt DW set with "D" handle ,fixed base and plunge all for less than $200 and loves it. What ever model you decide on think about availability of parts and accessories. That's one of the reasons I've stuck with PC routers.
 

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Somebody found some Bosch routers on closeout
at Home Depot for a real bargain a couple of days
ago. I checked and they were in stock at my
local store but I did not go down to look at
whether they were closing them out there.
 

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I say go to Home Depot and Lowes or anywhere you can actually put your hands on the routers you are considering. If you plan on keeping it in a table most of the time this might not be a really big deal. But if you plan on taking it out of the table much and using it that way, you want one that you feel comfortable handling.

I think any of the brands you listed will work well for you.
 

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For what you describe - I would get a trim router, like the Bosch Colt, or the Dewalt 611

The Dewalt 611 comes as a "Package" as well that will give you both a fixed and plunge base.

I find that 90% of the time, I am just using the small router. Making 2 passes with a small bit is easy.

I have a big Porter Cable mounted in the wing of my tablesaw - - nearly 100% of my handheld tasks are with my Bosch Colt.
 

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I have two of the 1617EVS and am quite happy with them.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

- helluvawreck
+1 What Charles said. And get the Bosch hose - well made - VAC005
The combo kit has the fixed and plunge bases so you can leave the fixed base in your table and use the plunge base for handheld operations.
Electrical wiring Engineering Table Desk Gas
 

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I am also a hobbyist and I didn't think I was a router nut but it turns out I currently have 5.

My oldest is a Bosch plunge router with features similar to the one above. I really like the 8 step turret and the built-in bushing adapter. However the built-in bushing adapter won't allow the use of large diameter bits, and I find plunge routers are not so much fun to use for edge routing; too top heavy and the handles and switch locations seem to be working against keeping the base flat on the work in that situation.

I have a large Craftsman set that has fixed, plunge, and D-handle bases. The plunge base has wobble in it when plunging - I think you want to avoid any plunge router or base that has this problem, although some manufacturers seem to think it is acceptable. I LOVE the D-handle base for edge routing. If you don't get a D-handle base buy or build an offset base for edge routing; it will be a big improvement.

I find it marginally workable to use one router for both router table and hand-held use if you have 1 base permanently installed in the table and a second base for hand-held use. But I quickly gave up on this and bought a dedicated router for my table. I soon found that I wanted the strongest router I could get for my table and upgraded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you, everyone, for the replies. Just to clarify, this router will be in the table 95% of the time. I only plan to take it out if I have some heavy duty routing to do that my smaller ones can't handle. I have a cheap fixed/plunge router, and an HF trim router. Both of which I'm happy with, but they aren't well suited for a table. The Bosch seems to be well-liked around here.

Loren, thanks, that's what actually sparked my search. I checked my Home Depot, and no luck.

Charles, do you have either of your 1617EVS's in a table? If so, do you use the above table height adjustment. I've heard it's still a pain to change bits.

DrDirt, I would love to go for a trim router, as they are cheaper, but I'm not sure any of them are well suited for a table. Do you have any experience with a trim router in a table?

Greg, I agree that having one router to put in and take out of a table is a pain in the butt. That is the number one reason I'm looking to buy a new one.

Thanks again,
Joe
 

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I went through this journey about a year ago and settled on the Dewalt DW618. I am VERY happy with the purchase. You are right in looking to the ~12Amp/2.25HP range with variable speed control. Also consider what accessories you anticipate getting (guides, bushing, etc).

Other than that, a few things to add to the discussion:

I say go to Home Depot and Lowes or anywhere you can actually put your hands on the routers you are considering. If you plan on keeping it in a table most of the time this might not be a really big deal. But if you plan on taking it out of the table much and using it that way, you want one that you feel comfortable handling.

I think any of the brands you listed will work well for you.

- dlgWoodWork
As noted, any brand will work well. What became a factor for my decision making was weight and feel of the router handles. I eventually narrowed my choices to the combo kit for the Bosch 1617, Porter Cable 890 series, and Dewalt DW618. I settled on the DW618 because the handles were most appealing and felt best in hand. The switch is also very easy to use, and the in-column dust collection for the plunge base (a patented feature) is awesome.

Somebody found some Bosch routers on closeout at Home Depot for a real bargain a couple of days ago. I checked and they were in stock at my local store but I did not go down to look at whether they were closing them out there.

- Loren
That would be me. Here's the forum topic I will recommend AGAINST the Bosch MRC23EVS as a starter router because it is pretty darn heavy in comparison to my DW618. It's weight puts it halfway to the big Porter Cable 7518 that I have use in another shop, and can be unwieldy for work. Mine will be relegated to table use.

Another important consideration, despite the Bosch MRC23EVS being considered a 2.3HP router, it has a 15Amp power draw rating, which I believe is a better number to compare routers by than horse power. To put it into perspective, the Porter Cable 7518 I mentioned, or the Triton TRA001 are both rated as "3.25 HP" routers, but draw 15Amp at 110-120V respectively. If you do the math to calculate wattage, you have a better representation of peak power usage (used internationally). This also helps draw parallels For example:
  • 7 Amp x 120V = 840Watts (commonly listed as 1.25HP)
  • 11Amp x 120V = 1320Watts (commonly listed as 1.75HP)
  • 12Amp x 120V = 1440Watts (commonly listed as 2.25HP)
  • 15Amp x 120V = 1800Watts (commonly listed as 3.25HP)
 

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Thank you, everyone, for the replies. Just to clarify, this router will be in the table 95% of the time….

- SuperCubber
Well that changes my recommendation. I will certainly say that any 12Amp+ router would work. I haven't noticed a difference in the 12amp routers vs the 15amp routers. If you don't plan on getting a lift, take a good look at the bases that have above table elevation and bit changes. It does in fact make a big difference.

The Porter Cable 7500 series router I've used in a table has been flat-out awesome, but it's also in a Woodpeckers lift, so my perspective is skewed by the lift more so than the router. The Bosch MRF23EVS I picked up does have above table elevation, but not above table bit changes. It is also NOT compatible with after market lifts. Can't complain for the price I paid for it.
 

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I have the best of both worlds…the Bosch 1617 and the Triton 3 1/4hp in a table. I used the Kreg insert plate for both because they are predrilled for the height adjustment wrench so you can adjust the height from above the table. However, you still have to reach under the table to lock or unlock the base so the adjustments can be made. On my setup, it is easy peasy.

Additional note. The Bosch will cut the the raised panels. I have done it on several occasions while making cabinet doors.

Here is some reading material for ya.
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/101964

Making doors and drawer fronts with the Bosch 1617
http://lumberjocks.com/MT_Stringer/blog/40556

Hope this is helpful.
Mike
 

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I have the best of both worlds…the Bosch 1617 and the Triton 3 1/4hp in a table. I used the Kreg insert plate for both…

- MTStringer
Not to derail the subject, but Mike (MTStringer), have you ever noticed any sag for your Triton TRA001 3.25HP router in the table? I'm considering the Kreg insert plate myself but am concerned about sag over time. Not sure if it makes sense to take it up a notch and get the Woodpeckers aluminum one, or tone down and the Rockler aluminum one.
 

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I have the best of both worlds…the Bosch 1617 and the Triton 3 1/4hp in a table. I used the Kreg insert plate for both…

- MTStringer

Not to derail the subject, but Mike (MTStringer), have you ever noticed any sag for your Triton TRA001 3.25HP router in the table? I m considering the Kreg insert plate myself but am concerned about sag over time. Not sure if it makes sense to take it up a notch and get the Woodpeckers aluminum one, or tone down and the Rockler aluminum one.

- paxorion
I haven't noticed any sag. Only time will tell. I do pull the Triton and rest it upside down on the plate when I am not using it.
 

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Ya might take a look at the Ryobi routers as well. I own two Craftsman routers, one is dedicated to a table. I also have a trim router, and recently acquired a Ryobi from a friend. It had never been used, still in the box. I used it on some picture frames I just made, and I like it really well! It has a smooth start, bits fit good, easy to adjust. With that said, & you stating you being just a hobbyist woodworker, it may be a consideration. Just my .02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Mike, thanks for the input. Do you have to go under the table to change bits with your 1617? The front of my table will be open, and the top will have the ability to lift open, so it isn't really a big deal, just curiosity.

Sawdust703, I've actually considered a Ryobi also. My father has one and I've used it. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I thought I read somewhere though, that using bushings was a real pain. I'm also concerned about longevity and accuracy. It's not completely off the table. I may end up getting it in addition to this one to replace my crappy Skil altogether.

Joe
 
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