Good beginner router

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Forum topic by Ksirp posted 02-28-2017 02:52 PM 1312 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 943 days

02-28-2017 02:52 PM

Hi, I’m new at woodworking and I was wondering if anyone had a good suggestion on a beginner router and possible a good place to get one.

17 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


578 posts in 1102 days

#1 posted 02-28-2017 03:14 PM

If you have the money, you can’t go wrong with this one:

Fixed and plunge bases, variable speed. Will do just about anything you can ask of it.

-- Sawdust Maker

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4841 posts in 1072 days

#2 posted 02-28-2017 04:00 PM

Fixed and plunge bases, variable speed. Will do just about anything you can ask of it.

- Dan Hulbert

Agreed. Dan’s choice is very flexible. In addition, since the motor is separate (it’s not a separate unit on a dedicated plunge router), you can mount it in a router lift, like a JessEm, on a router table if you decide to.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View HokieKen's profile


10757 posts in 1621 days

#3 posted 02-28-2017 04:09 PM

I’d also recommend that router. Really, I’d recommend any Porter Cable router that fits your budget. Having both bases is nice if it’s affordable for you but it’s not a necessity. There are many good routers out there, PC is just what I own and have experience with.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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6471 posts in 2748 days

#4 posted 02-28-2017 04:10 PM

I’ve got that 2 1/4 hp Porter cable set and it’s been a great workhorse. Absolutely no complaints.

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66 posts in 2804 days

#5 posted 02-28-2017 05:12 PM

The Porter-Cable 690 and has been quite satisfactory in my shop. It’s mounted in a Porter-Cable router table and handles everything I’ve asked it to do. Be sure to buy good bits.

-- Jonathan 2Cor. 4:6

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8750 posts in 3060 days

#6 posted 02-28-2017 05:16 PM

“Be sure to buy good bits.”

Wise ^^ Whiteside router bits spring to mind.

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25 posts in 941 days

#7 posted 02-28-2017 06:32 PM

The first router I bought was a Ryobi, and I have been happy with it. But I need one with a half inch collet, so I am going to get a Porter-Cable. At my local Woodcraft store, I can trade in my Ryobi for $50 towards the P-C.

-- Life is what you make of it.

View Kirk650's profile


663 posts in 1231 days

#8 posted 02-28-2017 07:33 PM

Pretty much any of the ‘name’ routers will do just fine. I do recommend, as others have, that you get the kit with plunge and fixed bases. I have one Porter-Cable, one Milwaukee Body Grip, and two Bosch 1617’s. I reach for the Bosch routers mostly, and I suppose it’s because I like their plunge base so well – being smooth and easy to adjust for depth. So, since they (including Dewalt) will all do a fine job, just go for the least expensive. I think you can get the Bosch kit for about $170, if memory is correct. I don’t think any of the ones I mentioned will disappoint.

As for bits, good ones are always the right choice, but I did buy one of those assorted bit collections at Home Depot or Lowes. Some woodworkers sneer at those cheap bits, but they work just fine. And the good news is that every now and then I’ll need to do a little routing like I’ve not done before, and I can shop around in that collection of bits and often find what I need.

You are going to want a trim router too. Sooner or later. The Bosch Colt and the Dewalt offer plunge bases for their trim routers, and I got th Bosch one. It takes the Bosch router guides. So glad I got that plunge base.

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13 posts in 943 days

#9 posted 03-01-2017 02:35 PM

Thank you all for the awesome suggestions. I was looking at this one because it’s more in my price range but I don’t know if it exactly what I need.

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13 posts in 943 days

#10 posted 03-01-2017 02:36 PM

I believe that is a trim router, would that not be ideal for my first router purchase?

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553 posts in 2001 days

#11 posted 03-01-2017 02:58 PM

Thank you all for the awesome suggestions. I was looking at this one because it s more in my price range but I don t know if it exactly what I need.

- Ksirp

The dewalt 611 is a fantastic machine. I have one and nearly all of my hand routing is done with it but i do have a larger dewalt 618 in my router table for non handheld work. The 618 is also a nice tool and would be a nice starting point. There is a multi base kit offered with the 618 motor. The 611 will limit you to 1/4” collets, the 618 offers 1/4” & 1/2”.

With that said a better recommendation could be given if you tell us a little about the work you plan to do. There is not a one size fits all answer to your question.

The best answer i could offer would be to think of the next project or two you would like to build. What tool will fill your needs on those projects?

View Kirk650's profile


663 posts in 1231 days

#12 posted 03-01-2017 03:05 PM

Normally I’d say that a trim router wouldn’t be the best ‘first router’, but with the two bases available now a fellow could probably do most of his small project routing with one. I use mine a lot. Being limited to 1/4 inch Collet would be a problem from time to time though. Probably best to get the two-base router package that’ll handle larger bits and have a 1/2 inch Collet. If cost is a real big factor, I think Fine Woodworking rated the two-base Skil router as a best value purchase. Google up that review and read it. If that router has the two collets (1/2 and 1/4), there’s your cost winner. It isn’t the best router out there, but it should do fine as a starter set.

View HokieKen's profile


10757 posts in 1621 days

#13 posted 03-01-2017 03:26 PM

That router seems like a solid tool and if a trim router will do the work you require, then go for it. Personally, I wouldn’t purchase one that couldn’t accept a 1/2” bit. If, in the future, you decide you also need a router for heavier work, you’re going to want “beefier” bits and will likely end up purchasing duplicates of some. The set linked below is in between the 2.25 hp one Dan linked and the 1.25 hp trim router and is in between in price as well. IMHO, the added hp and ability to use 1/2” bits is worth the extra $ if you can swing it. If not, I think the Dewalt is a good choice at the price point.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View EricLew's profile


243 posts in 1849 days

#14 posted 03-02-2017 05:41 AM

As the others have said, any major name brand router will server you well. I definitely agree whichever one you get, get the dual bases. I have the Bosch 1617

I also have the DeWalt trim router combo kit and love them both.
You will also at some point want the dust collector attachments.
Which ever one you get will last you for many years, so don’t think of it as a router for a beginner, you will love it’s versatility, and will probably end up with multiple routers, as most of us have.


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

View DLM's profile


7 posts in 1114 days

#15 posted 03-02-2017 05:56 AM

The speed control “hunts” when turning big bits at lower settings, there’s some slop in the adjustment mechanism which requires a consistent approach, the plunge isn’t as smooth as it could be, etc., but for $100 I think it’s a great way to get started.

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