Do I need a new router?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Sanderguy777 posted 05-19-2018 09:11 PM 1134 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sanderguy777's profile


245 posts in 1977 days

05-19-2018 09:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jigs router bits question pattern bits

I have an old 1.5 hp router of my dad’s that works, and I need some bits for it.

I am looking at these two sets:

The Ryobi bits are the better quality but I was planning to get a cheap set to have a bunch of bits and then replace work or broken bits with better ones as needed.

My questions are:
1. any reason to start out with the better ones vs buying replacements gradually?
2. My first project with this will be to cut out a bunch of large holes for a Paulk-style workbench. With this in mind, if I use 1/2 or 3/4 inch ply, can I use a pilot bit (no bearing) to follow the pattern? Or will I need a pattern bit with a bearing on top (toward router)?

3. do I NEED a bigger router? I have never used a router so I have no idea what I need for power or anything. Will I have a limit on how big of a bit I can use if I get a router table? (duh! not the shaper cutter things that have a 3-inch diameter!


-- Marc Spagnuolo (standing in front of clamp wall): I think I need a few more . Me (owner of at least 8 clamps):.....?

31 replies so far

View BroncoBrian's profile


894 posts in 2734 days

#1 posted 05-19-2018 09:20 PM

I use 3 router bits 95% of the time. They are $50-$100 each and that is the best way to go. Get what you need when you need it. Those bits are not worth the money in my opinion.

Your router should be fine for any round over cuts or anything up to small to medium-sized. Don’t rush it.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2440 posts in 938 days

#2 posted 05-19-2018 09:28 PM

Rule No. 32

a person can never have too many routers.
[Leroy Jethro Gibbs said that]



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5290 posts in 4736 days

#3 posted 05-19-2018 11:08 PM

I don’t buy bit sets. Just what I need for a specific task.
I don’t buy Ryobi bits at all.

-- [email protected]

View Sanderguy777's profile


245 posts in 1977 days

#4 posted 05-19-2018 11:17 PM

Thanks all for the replies. I will probably just get the one bit then.
Bronco: $50 each is a bit high for me right now. How are Frued bits? I only NEED a pattern bit, but I’d like a round over or chamfer for softening corners and stuff.

How big of a bit is too big? A 3/4 inch straight bit? 3/4 round over?

-- Marc Spagnuolo (standing in front of clamp wall): I think I need a few more . Me (owner of at least 8 clamps):.....?

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2440 posts in 938 days

#5 posted 05-20-2018 12:28 AM

Like Bill said – just buy a couple of bits at a time.
when you compare router bits, look at the thickness
of the carbide cutter. cheap bits will be thin and of poor quality and will chip easily.
more expensive and more robust bits will have thicker carbide cutters.
the more work you do, you will see that you only need
some specific profiles. start producing some projects
to determine your needs. a 1.5hp router is fine for the hobbyist.
a 2-1/4 hp when you start doing more work.
I have several Freud bits and they are fine for the work that I do.

here is a short article from the Popular Mechanics magazine that may be useful to you.



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View BurlyBob's profile


7619 posts in 3041 days

#6 posted 05-20-2018 12:50 AM

I’m totally on board with what Bill said.

About router bits. I’ve bought several different brands over the years. Some were a flat out waste of good money. Any more I just buy Whiteside. They cost a little more but they do a much better job and last forever. Like I was told once, buy a cheap tool you buy it many times. Buy the best tool it lasts you a lifetime. Wish I had been taught that decades ago.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


6069 posts in 3184 days

#7 posted 05-20-2018 01:16 AM

A pattern bit is a good bit to have handy. FORGET Ryobi, unless you are happy with maybe one or two uses and then it is dull or the bearing dies, usually at a bad time. As someone else suggested 3 bits are the most common. What bits those are probably has 100 answers. I have a pattern bit, flush cut bit and a roundover bit that are used regularly. Being new to using a router expect a learning curve. Practice some on scrap and get a feel for the tool. Something to note here, small cuts are much better than hogging it out full tilt. Depth is the same way. Work your way down to a curve, not all at once.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Woodknack's profile


13395 posts in 3155 days

#8 posted 05-20-2018 03:49 AM

My wife says that if you have to ask, you don’t need it. :)

-- Rick M,

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4151 days

#9 posted 05-20-2018 12:21 PM

Those Ryobi bits aren’t very high quality IMO. For critical bits, I buy Whiteside, Infinity, Eagle America, Freud, or possibly CMT. The MLCS “Katana” line is a good compromise between top shelf and cheap bits. I don’t recommend buying a large set because the cash outlay is high, the quality usually isn’t, and you end up with lots of near duplicate profiles. A small set of the most common profiles is ok. Whiteside and Infinity both offer basic sets for near $100…still top quality but you get 6 or 7 of the most commonly used profiles. Then you can add specialty profiles as needed.

If $100+ is more than you want to spend on bits, I hear decent things about the small Neiko bit sets. Likely a better choice than the Ryobi bits.

If your router accepts 1/2” shank bits, get those whenever feasible. A good 10 amp router is typically capable of most tasks. If you spin larger bits often, a larger motor will have an easier time of it and should last longer. It’s important to have variable speed for larger bits so you can slow the rpm of the cutter.

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

View Woodbum's profile


926 posts in 3841 days

#10 posted 05-20-2018 12:23 PM

Save up your money for higher quality router bits. Buy them as you need them, not in sets. Invariably you will have at least one and probably more that you will never use. May I suggest Whiteside, Freud, or Amana as three choices for high quality bits. If you buy a new router, determine it’s intended uses and buy accordingly. The new small palm routers from Bosch, PC and Dewalt are tempting, but remember they are low on power and will only accept 1/4” shank bits. I have a Bosch Colt with both bases, but also have a 1.5 hp PC 690 and a 2.25 hp Bosch 1718 for heavier work and larger bits. I use them all a lot and and am kind of a router junkie that also has three router tables with lifts and 3.25 hp motors. Like our friend said in a previous reply, you can never have too many routers. Work Safely, Have Fun and Good Luck!!

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View bondogaposis's profile


5790 posts in 3127 days

#11 posted 05-20-2018 01:09 PM

Do I need a new router?

Yes, you always need a new router, can’t have too many. Those good bits you are talking about are junk. Go with brand name bits, not Ryobi.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View enazle's profile


66 posts in 783 days

#12 posted 05-20-2018 01:13 PM

The problem with pattern bits is you are limited on the depth of cut. It is easy to over load the cut that first pass. Using a pilot and straight shank bit will allow you to take a smaller cut but may not locate exactly the same distance to edge from the pattern as you lower the bit for deeper cuts. How thick is the material your routing through?

About brands, there is a difference.
Trust Freud, Whiteside and CMT. We have a supplier here locally called Woodcraft, I trust their in house brand as well. Don’t buy a set at full retail, buy what you need now and be on the lookout for a deal towards the end of the year.

View johnstoneb's profile


3145 posts in 2948 days

#13 posted 05-20-2018 01:53 PM

Buy a kit then replace the bits as you wear them out. As a hobbyist it will take a long time to wear one out. I bought the attached kit several years ago. They have done a good job for me I have had to replace two because of breakage. Both my fault. Some of the bits I may never use other may only get used once or twice. And some get used quite frequently. Check out MLCS

If you were using the bits professionally I would get them as I need them and get some really high quality for the average woodworker you don’t need that quality until you know what direction you are going.

You cannot have too many routers. If you use a guide bushing in your base if you don’t have to have the guide bearing.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4352 days

#14 posted 05-20-2018 02:52 PM

I always recommend the set Bruce has a link to for my beginning students they are not high end but the set gives you a variety of bits to try and for their price, they last a long time for a hobbyist.


View oldnovice's profile


7563 posts in 4143 days

#15 posted 05-20-2018 05:11 PM

Buy a higher quality router, as that will be money well spent.
Same goes for the bits ..... Whiteside, Amana , like the guys said above.

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

showing 1 through 15 of 31 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics