Routers...How Much Is TOO Much?

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Forum topic by CRAIGCLICK posted 04-09-2018 06:34 PM 1299 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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117 posts in 677 days

04-09-2018 06:34 PM

So I am looking for a decent router to mount under my table since I’m sick of borrowing my brother’s Bosch.

Currently, I have an old craftsman router that I make do with on the rare occasions (in my case) when a handheld is needed.

So I’m looking for a good all-around router, and I think I’ve settled on the Triton 2.25 or 3.25 HP router…but I have a couple of questions.

1. How much is too much? Will a 2 1/4 HP model do everything that I need it to do, or should I spend the extra 60 bucks or so and get the 3 1/4 HP model? I’ll mostly use it in the router table and occasionally use it for handheld work.

2. What’s the catch on these things? There’s gotta be something wrong with ‘em. The Triton stuff seems to be built with serious, professional woodworkers in mind. They don’t require a router lift and appear to be built like tanks…yet they seem to cost 50-150 bucks less than comparable routers from other manufacturers. Heck, the 3 1/4HP router costs less than the 2 1/4 Lowe’s routers.

Every time I see professional quality tools from other manufacturers (Festool, for example), You have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford them…so I feel like the MUST be something wrong with the Triton stuff.

Is it the kind of tool that will last me a good, long time?

Thank you for the info.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

33 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4251 days

#1 posted 04-09-2018 06:38 PM

I’ve found a router in the 1.5hp range suitable
for most table work. The bigger ones are
useful for raising panels in fewer passes if
that’s something you plan to do often.

View finns's profile


169 posts in 3719 days

#2 posted 04-09-2018 07:02 PM

I have three router tables set up with PC 690’s that run the majority of our work. Anything requiring large bits (panels) go over to the shaper. For what it’s worth I have two Triton routers sitting on a shelf collecting dust as I took them both off the tables as I was always finding parts laying on the floor. They just don’t seem very robust.

View knotscott's profile


8352 posts in 3979 days

#3 posted 04-09-2018 07:12 PM

Bigger is rarely a bad thing for table use. The larger 15 amp motors don’t work as hard, and theoretically should hold up better over time. With that said, 10 amps + will suffice. Been pretty happy with my two Milwaukee routers.

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

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


6804 posts in 1315 days

#4 posted 04-09-2018 07:25 PM

i think the real question is ….what do you plan on running ….. sometimes with better bits we can run a job a lot easier then the router being the problem …... another thing is i would not want to use that router handheld .. :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View BoardButcherer's profile


144 posts in 697 days

#5 posted 04-09-2018 07:47 PM

The bigger the better if it’s going in a table, and your words are your own proof.

Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

”... since I’m sick of borrowing my brother’s Bosch.

The laws of relative tool purchasing state that If you buy the 2.25, you’re going to end up doing projects where you wish you had a 3.25 router. If you buy the 3.25, you’ll never need it and could have gotten by with the smaller router.

Don’t let metaphysics screw you again.

Edit: To be clear, I would never recommend buying a single router to rule them all. Buy a big router for your table, stick it in there and leave it in there, then pick up a nice handheld router like the Bosch Colt or something similar for all of your smaller jobs. If, later on, you need a mid-sized router just pick one up. Routers are cheap compared to the bits.

View CRAIGCLICK's profile


117 posts in 677 days

#6 posted 04-09-2018 07:50 PM

i think the real question is ….what do you plan on running ….. sometimes with better bits we can run a job a lot easier then the router being the problem …... another thing is i would not want to use that router handheld .. :<))


Well, the “big router” would probably not do much that didn’t require a routing table. I honestly wouldn’t handhold any work that required that kind of power. I do, however, plan on doing some raised panel stuff so It would need to swing a fairly large bit.

I would keep my Craftsman router (315.17560) for the handheld work. It’s 1 1/4HP so it’s fine for the small stuff I intend to use it for.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5922 posts in 3096 days

#7 posted 04-09-2018 08:05 PM

Especially in this case you might find it a bit better to go with the smaller one. The big Triton is a little less easy to handle in hand held use than most other models. Even if it’s only occasionally, you’ll find the smaller one more friendly for that part of your tasks. As for the table, it will also probably handle 90% of what te big one will….for the rest you just take smaller bites, and run the piece through an extra time or two.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Rich's profile


5134 posts in 1192 days

#8 posted 04-09-2018 08:38 PM

I have the Bosch 1617EVS motor mounted in mine and it’s stood up to about as heavy milling as you would do on a router table. I build residential doors, so I’m doing stick cuts on 1-3/8 and 1-3/4 inch stiles and it can do them in one pass. I can do raised panels with a 3-1/2 inch bit in one pass, but I usually do two because the board is easier to manage.

Like finns said, anything bigger should be done on a shaper.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View pintodeluxe's profile


6032 posts in 3416 days

#9 posted 04-09-2018 08:49 PM

For me, it’s ease of adjustments and bit changes, not power that matters.

I use a 13 amp router in the router table and it does everything I want it to (Freud FT1700 = no longer made). I have had two 3 hp behemoths, one of which I still own, that goes unused. A 3 hp router is just too bulky for handheld use.

For handheld work I have either 2-1/4hp models or 1-1/4 compact routers to choose from. I usually reach for one of the Dewalt 618’s for general work.

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

View oldnovice's profile


7516 posts in 3971 days

#10 posted 04-09-2018 10:14 PM

Interesting question! Here is my tale.

My first router was a 1hp Craftsman that I got as a present in about 1972.
Not really 1hp, only 1/4” collet, poor height adjustment/control, and fairly noisy.
Still have it, don’t use it much.

My next router was an well known standard Porter-Cable 1hp, 1/4” and 1/2” collets, better power than the Crafsman, fixed base with real god height/depth control, and not nearly as noisy.
Still have it, in fact I bought another PC with a plunge base and variable speed just because I liked my first one.

As I got older (and got RA) I relegated the variable speed PC to my router table I purchased a Bosch Colt.
Nice little, emphasis on little, because of physical constraints.
Decent power, only 1/4” collet, variable speed, but clumsy height adjustment.
The “soft” base that came with the Colt was not flat (looks like injection molded piece) so I made several other bases for this little (see I said it again) router.

My tale is now done and today there are many more choices then when I bought my very first router, good luck!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View jimintx's profile


933 posts in 2187 days

#11 posted 04-09-2018 11:04 PM

I have read a lot about the Tritons. It seems like there was a period when they were first being sold in the US that they had some gearing inside that was plastic, and it did not hold up well. I recall these parts had to do with the height adjustment, not the motor and drive mechanism.

Then, later reports included that the company would send replacement parts that were improved and the owner could make the swap fairly easily. Finally, that the more recent ones being sold now are made with the stronger, more reliable metal parts right out of the box.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Woodmaster1's profile


1296 posts in 3190 days

#12 posted 04-10-2018 01:15 AM

I have a triton 3 1/4 hp router mounted to a table, porter cable 690 mounted, 3-690’s and Bosch router for freehand. I got 4 of the routers for $5.00 at a garage sale. The $5 routers work as good as my high dollar ones.

View bigJohninvegas's profile


722 posts in 2065 days

#13 posted 04-10-2018 02:47 AM

If you are going to do a lot of raised panel work, then I suppose a larger horse power table mounted router would be nice.
The largest router I have used is a 2 1/4hp. And it handled a dozen raised panel doors just fine. And that is the limit to my raised panel door experience. One job with 12 doors.
So unless you are going to do production work all day, every day, I think the 2 1/4 hp would work fine.
I do feel that you can not have to many routers.
I use routers all the time, and it is nice to just leave your favorite bit in the tool.
No experience with the Triton you are looking at. And for a dedicated table mount I would look hard at Porter Cable. They truly run forever.
I am now up to 4 routers in my inventory.
Two dewalts, a 618, and a 616 for hand work.
This set up has the plunge base, pistol grip, and the standard router base.
Then I have a Porter Cable 690 that I keep in my router lift.
And last I have a little no name trim router that looks to be 30 years or more old.
I keep a small round over bit in it all the time.
All of my routers are craigslist/yard sale finds. Just luck on pulling that off. Had no plan to find them that way.
I started out with the dewalt 618. It was a pain to take it out of the router lift, and so I went looking for another when I found the 616. Those two routers worked fine for me, and I stumbled across the PC 690 for $30. Decided to grab it just to keep in my router lift. Now the two dewalts can be dedicated for hand held use.
I feel lucky to have found such good deals on good quality routers. And by all means don’t go cheap on the table mounted router that you want for raised panel work. But don’t be to quick to pass up that cheapo craftsman at a yard sale for $10 or $20 bucks. We all have a profile that we use all the time. Like a round over bit. Cheapo router works great, and really speeds up a project to not have to stop for the bit change.
I also feel that I personally use a hand held router just as much as I use the router lift.
Good luck.

-- John

View AlmostRetired's profile


220 posts in 1317 days

#14 posted 04-10-2018 07:13 PM

I have the bigger Triton in my table, and two hand held dewalts (the bigger and the trim versions) and love them all. I will say that I have never had an issue with anything I threw at the triton….and the fact that you don’t need a router lift with it makes it even better.


View CRAIGCLICK's profile


117 posts in 677 days

#15 posted 04-10-2018 07:19 PM

Thank you for the input, everyone.

I am limited on space and funds, so a dedicated shaper is out of the question. I’ll keep pondering this for a little while…it’s not an emergency. My brother is a bear on his tools, so he’ll probably break the bosch before long and I won’t have a choice but to buy a new router at that point. I might just kick that can down the road until then.

-- Somewhere between raising hell and amazing grace.

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