Porter Cable 690 vs. Bosch 1617

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 01-12-2011 05:54 AM 10160 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3684 days

01-12-2011 05:54 AM

I’ve decided I want a light weight fixed base router that is dedicated to my dovetail jig. I think this is an application where fixed base is better.

It seems like the PC 690 and the Bosch 1617 are 2 good contenders.

Can anyone comment on one versus the other?

I’ve particularly interested in precise depth control.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

18 replies so far

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671 posts in 3301 days

#1 posted 01-12-2011 05:59 AM

Porter Cable lost their way I think. Bosch I think is better even though there is a switch issue with the older models. Atleast the bosch runs true. Porter Cable need to get their act together. Last one I had wobbled at the shaft. Many bad reviews for this. Now on the other hand a older porter cable I would buy up in a heart beat.

-- Who can I block now???????????????????????

View jmichaeldesign's profile


66 posts in 3392 days

#2 posted 01-12-2011 06:03 AM

Take a look at the Ridgid. I really like mine. Otherwise I’d take the Bosch for sure.

I’d think a D-Handle would be really nice for a dovetail jig. I also really like Milwaukee’s rubber grip on the motor body.

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1745 posts in 3418 days

#3 posted 01-12-2011 06:24 AM

A vote for the 690

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1287 posts in 3668 days

#4 posted 01-12-2011 06:51 AM

I have several of the PC 690 routers. So I suppose it would have to get my vote. I was very happy with the first one and since I wanted my accessories to work with all of my routers, I just kept buying PC’s. I have had some Craftsman routers in the same class that I did not like at all. I do have on non PC router and it is a vintage Stanley router. It is a little smaller than the PC and I use it more like a trim or laminate router. As for the other brands, I don’t have any experience with them.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

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433 posts in 4555 days

#5 posted 01-12-2011 06:54 AM

I have an old 690. It’s my go to router for off router table use. I’ve sold the Bosch. It’s one fine router. With the bouncing about of Porter-Cable owners I,m inclined to favor the Bosch.

I have 2 or 3 fixed bases, the “D” handled base & the plunge base. For some reason I always pick up the fixed base. I keep my extra fixed bases set-up & attached to things like my Beal threader.


-- One who works with his hands is a laborer, his hands & head A craftsman, his hands, head & heart a artist

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8364 posts in 3985 days

#6 posted 01-12-2011 10:24 AM

Rich – I had both of these routers a couple of years ago. Both are excellent and both will do the job. Everyone’s preferences are different, but I actually prefer the Hitachi M12VC for dovetails because it’s lighter and quieter than both.

You might find that you like the Body Grip feature of the Milwaukee 5615 for dovetails too. It’s a really nice router and has excellent depth control.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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701 posts in 3922 days

#7 posted 01-12-2011 02:07 PM

I have had the 690 with 3 bases for quite a while and it is a good router and never given me a problem, but I recently got the Bosch 1617 combo with the plunge and fixed base, and I really like this router.

However, I have it in my router table and use the through the base hex key for height adjustment. I have not used it freehand yet, but I think it may be more user friendly than the PC.

They fixed the switch issue in the newer models so that it is a sealed switch.

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Craftsman on the lake

3099 posts in 4047 days

#8 posted 01-12-2011 02:38 PM

I continue to be impressed with Bosch stuff. I’m have the router and am acquiring more of their tools as I go on and research and have to make decisions about what to get. So far, router, jigsaw, 12” miter saw.

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

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1615 posts in 4071 days

#9 posted 01-12-2011 02:55 PM

I am partial to and always have been to Bosch. I have the 1617 and I must say I like it. I have never used a 690 so I cant say one way or the other to PC. I will say the Bosch has handled eveything I have thrown at it without hesitation. I have used it plunge cutting, easing edges and in the router table and even spun a BIG panel raising bit on some hard red oak. The Bosch’s downfall I think is the base and guide templet system. I switched out to a universal base and use PC bushings. The size of the Bosch collet will limit the depth of cut on some bushings to some degree as it will not fit inside the smaller bushings. I as well own several hand held Bosch tools and love them. They are built well, heavy and easy to control.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

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1605 posts in 3563 days

#10 posted 01-12-2011 03:18 PM


I have both routers with both fixed and plunge bases. I prefer the Bosch. I was using the 690 in my router table (PRL-V2 lift) and it screamed like a banshee (though it works fine). I bought the Bosch from CP0) to replace and find that it is considerably quieter. I now use the PC for those infrequent times when I need a free hand router. I’ve also had great luck with other Bosch items like drills, drivers, screwdrivers etc. so I’ve definitely developed a Bosch bias these days. Hope this helps.


-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3684 days

#11 posted 01-12-2011 04:46 PM

Thank you so much for the great input you have provided. I’ve learned a lot. I did not know that the Bosch will not take PC bushings without changing the base or (probably) using an adaptor. I also had not thought about the Hitachi. It sounds like a good option – - and it’s cheaper.

I’ll probably make my decision before the day is done.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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4915 posts in 3657 days

#12 posted 01-12-2011 05:35 PM

I like the rigid.
Did you look at the new DeWalt?

-- Bert

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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3895 days

#13 posted 01-12-2011 05:39 PM

Rich, I have both. If you want precision adjustment, the Bosch is the way to go. That has always been my complaint about the 690. I have probably bought 10 or more of the 690 over the years. It is a good router, but not precise.

The adapter for the template gudes on the Bosch is no big deal. It simply snaps in the quick change on the router. I use both style template guides all the time on mine.

You might also look at the PC 890 series. It is similar to the Bosch as far as the depth adjustment.
(I like Bosch better)


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4239 posts in 4185 days

#14 posted 01-12-2011 06:09 PM

I picked up the Craftsman #17543 (which is fixed or plunge) on a super duper sale for under a hundred bucks and can’t believe how nice it is.
It has a ton of features that the more expensive models have and at half the price.
I went back and bought another before the sale was over.

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Jim Bertelson

4272 posts in 3774 days

#15 posted 01-12-2011 06:26 PM

I have the 1617, and have used it mostly in the router table, although I plan for this to be my dedicated plunge router, and buy a larger specific undertable router. I have no complaints, and it works well. I don’t think I have used it enough to stress it, and I have only had one other router in my life. It seems well made and predictable.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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