Yet another "which router" opinions needed

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Forum topic by thomasfurman posted 01-15-2017 03:52 PM 1297 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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22 posts in 1410 days

01-15-2017 03:52 PM

Got my own home and I am finally gathering pieces for my own small shop. (I suck at wood working but I enjoy making sawdust!).

I scored a nice little benchdog router table on CL for $100. I am now deciding which router to mount inside. I’m debating between the Dewalt DW618 or the Bosch 1617EVS.

I like that the Bosch can we adjusted from the top but I also see many people that don’t like this option and still prefer to look inside and read the depth gauge on the router itself.

Any opinions?

16 replies so far

View HorizontalMike's profile


7902 posts in 3826 days

#1 posted 01-15-2017 04:50 PM

Try the “Search” box in the upper right. Also, you might also check out the reviews tab above.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View UncannyValleyWoods's profile


542 posts in 2776 days

#2 posted 01-15-2017 04:56 PM

I’m personally very partial to the Bosh 1617. That’s where my bias is.

-- “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 pintodeluxe's profile


6231 posts in 3726 days

#3 posted 01-15-2017 06:07 PM

I have both models you mention. I use them both as a handheld router, and the Dewalt has a far better design.
I have nine routers to choose from and the 618 is still my favorite handheld router. The Bosch is relegated to dovetails on the Leigh jig.

For the table I use a Freud 1700 because it has full topside adjustments. Interestingly though, I only use the collet lock from the topside. The height lock and height adjustment are just as easy to adjust from below.

Neither the 1617 nor the 618 are good dedicated table routers in my opinion. They both have the same problem too. Neither collet extends high enough to do topside bit changes with straight wrenches. I have had routers that required you to strain and reach under the table with two wrenches to change bits (or remove the router completely). Even kits that offer bent wrenches as an accessory (Porter Cable) are real knuckle-bangers. Plus you have to remove the ring in your router plate to use bent wrenches. It quickly grows tiresome.

A better way is to use a router with a built-in lift like a Freud (unfortunately no longer made), or Triton. Another option is to use an aftermarket router lift.

If you want one router that can do double-duty as a handheld router, that occasionally mounts in the router table, get the 618 kit and use the fixed base in the router table. You will have to remove the router to change bits, but releasing the router is MUCH easier with the Dewalt. On the Bosch you have to align, then twist to re-install it, which can be a pain.

Good luck! Routers are great fun!

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

View CecilD's profile


62 posts in 4339 days

#4 posted 01-15-2017 07:48 PM

I have 2 Bosch 1617. Had a problem with the first one when it was about 3 years old. Dust getting in the switch. Contacted Bosch and they sent me a new switch at N/C. Customer Service.

View mikeber's profile


40 posts in 1773 days

#5 posted 01-15-2017 09:10 PM

I was in your situation a few months ago. Have and used both models you mention. Here are my conclusions:
1) The differences between these routers aren’t a big deal. You will get used to both and they can provide good service. We newbies don’t understand that in the routing environment, there are more important factors (than the router), that make a huge difference:
1) Router table: needs to be large, sturdy, FLAT, with good dust removal. (did I mention flat?)
2) Fence: accurate, sturdiness, reputability, ease of setting. The feather boards that came with my cheapo Bosh drove me nuts! I was happy to dump them and use others.
3) Router bits. The bits I used for cabinet door stile and rails didn’t match, even they were advertised as such. You can’t imagine the frustration, waste of wood and time. Quick and easy change of bits is also essential.
4) I used the same Bosch 1617 in the table and hand held with a plunge base. Both router bases (cast of cheap metal) got damaged. Bosch replaced both under warranty, but it took them 6 weeks! Now I use one router in the table and a smaller hand held unit for quick jobs. Easier and better.
Good Luck,

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1661 days

#6 posted 01-16-2017 12:16 AM

No way am I going to use a router in my router table that has to be removed from the base to change the bit. After considerable research on routers for the table, I bought a PC 890 series with through the base bit height adjustment. Been using it for 6 or 8 years, and it works just fine. Yes, it has two wrenches, one of which is bent to reach the lower Collet nut. Also, it comes with the crank tool to raise and lower the bit.

I have two Bosch 1617 EVSPK routers and use them a lot, but the PC 890 (with fixed base) will stay in the router table.

View Abter's profile


79 posts in 1540 days

#7 posted 01-16-2017 12:40 AM

Take a serious look at the Triton’s that PintoDeluxe mentioned. They are somewhat less known in the US (they are an Aussie company if I remember right), but they can work as a true undertable mounted router with topside adjustments. Search for Triton in the forums…lot to be learned. They have 2.25 and a 3.25 models that are priced like the Bosch and DeWalts when not on sale. Rockler carries both and has them on sale (under Amazon’s price right now), as do some other vendors, so they aren’t hard to find.

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

View thomasfurman's profile


22 posts in 1410 days

#8 posted 01-16-2017 01:21 AM

Thanks guys…I’m in a pickle here….since I don’t currently have a router I’d like one that gives me as many options as possible. To plunge, to be fixed, to take out in the yard, and work in a table in my basement.

I’d go for the Triton but it doesn’t have a fixed option.

So what I’m thinking I”ll do is just get the Dewaly package (fixed and plunge) and if adjusting it for the table ever gets to be too big of a pain I’ll spring for a Porter Cable or Triton….then I’ll have the best of both worlds – two routers.

View DirtyMike's profile


637 posts in 1814 days

#9 posted 01-16-2017 01:26 AM

how about a picture of that router table you bought?

View builtinbkyn's profile


3014 posts in 1853 days

#10 posted 01-16-2017 01:29 AM

I have been using my Bosch 1617 for my table router and a Dewalt 611 for miscellaneous hand routing and a Ridgid 5.5amp palm router for edge work. I do not have a router lift in my table and really hate the Bosch for table routing. It’s mounted to an Incra plate and can be raised and lowered from above, but bit changes are a pain. I recently purchased a Triton TRA 001. I’ve used it only once and not on the table, but I can tell already this router is the way to go for a table without a lift. The motor is beautiful and runs like butter. Once I get the Incra plate for this router, it goes right in the table. Bit changes with one hand are wonderful!

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View thomasfurman's profile


22 posts in 1410 days

#11 posted 01-16-2017 01:37 AM

Here is the table I picked up off of CL

Do all the PC 890 series have the above table adjustment feature? My table already has predrilled holes for it so that’s an added bonus if I can find an older one cheap.

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1661 days

#12 posted 01-16-2017 01:43 AM

I’m smiling. Man cannot live with just one router. You’ll see. I think I have 5 now, and I may get one more trim router.

If you are going to work with one router for now, it will need to be one that does come out of the base easily. My first router table was a simple but effective one. I had a router table plate that could be just lifted out of the table, and I had a fixed base with router attached to it. I’d take the router out of the fixed base to change bits or to transfer it to another fixed base or a plunge base when I needed it for another use. That setup worked great. Not fancy, but very effective. Dust collection, however, didn’t exist with that setup. I think I used the Bosch 1617 in that setup. I got the plans off the internet for that simple router table.

It wasn’t until we moved to the country and I got a real workshop that I built a fancy router table with the PC 890 permanently installed. The PC does not need a router lift. I do not know if they all have the thru-the-base capability, but I think they do. Look on the internet. If the router has the above the table adjustment, it should come with the adjuster. Maybe you can get a package with fixed and plunge bases and the adjustment tool. And I just googled and found that kit at Rockler (895PK) for $279.

View Abter's profile


79 posts in 1540 days

#13 posted 01-16-2017 07:29 PM

I d go for the Triton but it doesn’t have a fixed option. – thomasfurman

If by fixed option you mean can work in fixed base mode, both Triton models include both plunge and fixed base mode and necessary hardware.

The Rockler description (and Triton’s own one pager) of the 2.25 HP model says: “Single button switches from plunge to fixed based router with rack and pinion adjustment”

If this is not what you mean, please explain a bit more. I have been looking at exactly the same Bosch and DeWalt models you are, but have been seriously considering the Triton. If the Triton cannot do the 2 handheld modes the Bosch and DeWalt can, as well as being a better table mount router with effectively built in lift built in, please let me know.

-- "Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after." {often mis-quoted as by H.D. Thoreau}

View OSB's profile


147 posts in 1438 days

#14 posted 01-16-2017 08:55 PM

I have never used my Triton in hand-held mode but it certainly will work as a plunge router. Set the lock levers and it’s fixed.

The negative of my 3.25hp Triton is that it is a pretty big router but you would expect that from 3.25hp. On the other hand, the thing has so much power that you almost wish it was heavier.

It is at it’s best in a table but I think it’s strength in a table outweighs any inconvenience that it’s size creates when hand held.

I haven’t regretted my purchase for a second. The controls and features are really well thought out, it has almost every bell and whistle but they are all well integrated, nothing feels pasted on or clumsy.

If I ever run in to a job the Triton is too big for, I’ll buy a little trim router and then I’ll have the right tool for any job.

There might be other good options but I’m not looking for another router, I’ve got mine.

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4490 days

#15 posted 01-16-2017 08:56 PM

I have 40 routers I use a porter cable 7518 in my router table and a 2 1/4 hp Triton in my table saw extension,
I like them both for different reasons. If I had a little router table like yours I would go with the Triton.
You can pretty much use a plunge router like a fixed base router the only difference is you have a little more bulk to deal with, but the reverse is not true you can’t use a fixed base to plunge with at least in the same manner as a plunge router.


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