first router: trim router or normal?

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Forum topic by treesner posted 06-03-2016 07:23 PM 1286 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1883 days

06-03-2016 07:23 PM

Looking to get a router for my mini woodshop. Not sure what type to get, i remember watching a youtube video and the guy said he wished he would have just bought a trim router as it’s lighter and uses it for most cases..

Places where I could see me using a router:
flush trim on round objects (off a pattern)
round over

Thinking I should probably get a table setup as well (or make one)

let me know if you have any thoughts on what size or type to buy into


13 replies so far

View Dabcan's profile


255 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 06-03-2016 08:07 PM

Get the Dewalt trim router that also comes with a plunge base, best of both worlds. Most trim routers don’t plunge which would limit their utility.

-- @craftcollectif ,,

View simmo's profile


80 posts in 4391 days

#2 posted 06-03-2016 08:19 PM

I concur

View clin's profile


1125 posts in 1915 days

#3 posted 06-03-2016 08:24 PM

Another vote for the Dewalt trim router. I think it is model DW611. I don’t think it would be common to mount it to a table. But see no reason you couldn’t with the correct base. It of course isn’t real powerful, so you wouldn’t want to plan to use it for heavy duty work. But it’s perfect for trimming, round over, etc.

And most of the time it works best with any router to rough cut to a pattern before using a router. That way the router doesn’t have to work so hard removing a lot of material.

-- Clin

View pintodeluxe's profile


6237 posts in 3732 days

#4 posted 06-03-2016 09:23 PM

I would start with a 2hp model that can do anything. I have a couple Dewalt 618 combo kits, and that is what I would recommend. I also have a couple Dewalt / P.C. trim routers with plunge and standard bases. They are great for small chamfers and roundovers, but are limited with the joinery they can do. Sure they could mill a dado, especially if you make multiple passes. However they won’t accept 1/2” bits, which is a real limitation.

Add the 611 later as a convenience, but start with the 618.

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

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1667 days

#5 posted 06-03-2016 09:26 PM

Man can not live with just one router. For a first router I’d get that Bosch 1617 variable speed kit, with the fixed and plunge bases. It’ll handle bigger bits than the little Dewalt will. The Dewalt would be the second router I’d buy. I have the Bosch Colt with fixed and plunge bases, and it’s pretty good, but I’d swap it even for the Dewalt. Then you’ll need a router for the router table. And then you’ll eventually want another trim router so you can just put a round over bit in it and leave it there.

View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1883 days

#6 posted 06-04-2016 01:15 AM

I guess it does make sense to get the bigger bosh router first. I could set the table up for that and then later down the line get the trim router, keeping the bigger one in the table unless needed

routers mentioned:
bosch combo

dewalt combo

View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1883 days

#7 posted 06-04-2016 01:15 AM

Does anyone have a table recommendation or should i just cut a whole in a table and screw in one of those bases that the router twists into?

View Rentvent's profile


151 posts in 1768 days

#8 posted 06-04-2016 02:44 AM

I bought an el-cheapo sears router table combo on black Friday for $69 It looks like they have it for sale for $83 now. It includes the router.

It’s crap.

On the other hand it hasn’t failed and I’ve learned a lot. I’ll eventually upgrade the whole thing, but it’s not priority #1

View a1Jim's profile


118145 posts in 4496 days

#9 posted 06-04-2016 03:38 AM

I like the porter cable 691 with the “D” handle great for folks new to routers ,it will take 1/2”shank router bits which make cleaner cuts because of less vibration that 1/4” shank router bits.


View bondogaposis's profile


5897 posts in 3270 days

#10 posted 06-04-2016 04:08 AM

For a first router I would get one that has collets for 1/2” and 1/4” shanks, most trim routers can only handle 1/4” shank bits, not as versatile that way. You can’t go wrong w/ medium sized routers made by Dewalt, Bosch or Porter Cable. Once you build a router table I guarantee you that you will not take it out but will buy another router instead. So make your first router one that you want for the router table. Buying routers is a slippery slope.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View devann's profile


2257 posts in 3611 days

#11 posted 06-04-2016 04:40 AM

I would invest in a normal sized router kit that came with both a plunge and a screw base. A two base kit usually doesn’t cost a whole lot more than the single base of a particular manufacturer. Get a router that uses both the 1/4” & 1/2” shank bits. With most normal size router kits two collet sizes are common.

Check out the collet of the brand of router you wish to purchase. For my 2¢ I like the Porter Cable collet. I no longer have to deal with bits that get stuck in the collet from somebody over tightening it. This was a problem I used to have with some of the cheaper brands I’ve purchased. Truth be told, I’ve been using the Porter Cable routers for more than 25 years. I don’t really know what other manufacturers have done to improve theirs, but I would look at the Porter Cable design and buy something similar.

And then, you mention wanting a router table? One of the best tool buying decisions I ever made was buying a screw base router of the same model as the two base kit I had purchased. Then you’ll have two identical motors, a plunge base, and two screw bases. One screw base can then be permanently left in your router table.

This will save you some headaches, hassles and an immeasurable amount of time well into the future.

As far as a table goes, check out the fence that comes with the table. Buy the best one you can afford. You can always build yourself a better table in the future. A mistake I made in the past. I went for the bigger table, mediocre fence that cost half of the other option that was presented to me. A smaller portable table that reminded me of a TV tray but had an obviously better fence. In hindsight a mistake. I eventually had to overhaul my old fence.

Good luck, have fun making saw dust.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View wuddoc's profile


359 posts in 4637 days

#12 posted 06-04-2016 05:22 AM

The previous LJ’s have covered the topic well. I have and continue to use Porter-Cable and Milwaukee and are thoroughly satisfied with both brands.

Look at any router that has both 1/4” and 1/2” shank capabilities. The larger shank means a larger cutting area and less deflection when aggressively routing. You may want to look at a kit, meaning the router has a standard screw base and a separate plunge base.

Consider the supplier, the manufacturers customer service and parts availability. Also consider the manufacturers variety of routers by HP and accessories. Porter Cable, DeWalt, and Black and Decker are all owned by the same company now. Then you have Bosch, Milwaukee, Makita and others. When you do invest consider staying with one manufacturer as you will add routers to you shop.

Router tables are all over the price point / quality range. Investigate on line, attend woodworking shows and visit stores when and if they offer demonstrations.

-- Wuddoc

View treesner's profile


167 posts in 1883 days

#13 posted 06-04-2016 05:28 AM

This guy compares the Bosch mentioned and the miliakee, he seems to like the miluakee better. Does your Bosch plunge have play in it like his?

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