Need advice or my first router purchase

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Forum topic by Nunya posted 10-09-2018 04:47 PM 784 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1108 days

10-09-2018 04:47 PM

looking for a decent router for my first router. i am new to woodworking and mostly build tables, benches, and bookcases. any recommendations and advice is appreciated, thanks

13 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


6488 posts in 4057 days

#1 posted 10-09-2018 05:11 PM

I have Dewalt, Bosch, Porter Cable, Freud, and Hitachi. I like the Dewalt lineup best, and for one general purpose router I’d recommend the DW618 combo kit. Everyone seems to like whatever brand they are using, but once you’ve tried them all… there are subtle differences.

Above all else, get one that feels good in your hands. Ergonomics of the grips, and overall weight and feel of the tool are very important.

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

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20670 posts in 2228 days

#2 posted 10-09-2018 06:11 PM

well thats like saying im getting my first car and intend to drive on roads and highways,what do you recommend? like pinto ive got a few brands,i like the porter cable and start out with a mid size plunge router,dont go high end until youve used a router for awhile and really get a feel for what you like or need,then get something that truly fits your you’ll find out one or two maybe 3 routers are just never enough-LOL.welcome to lumber jocks.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1747 days

#3 posted 10-09-2018 06:39 PM

I too have tried and owned many over the years. I currently have the Bosch MRF23EVS 2.3 HP variable speed. It has plenty of power and what they call “soft start”. It kind of starts out slow and spins up to speed instead of jumping out of your hands all at once going to 30,000 rpm when you hit the trigger. Nice feature. It has another nice feature I like too, when you loosen the lock nut to remove the bit it hits a little stop and you loosen some more it ejects the bit instead of having to beat on it to get it “unstuck” from the collet.

View WoodenDreams's profile


1433 posts in 1154 days

#4 posted 10-09-2018 06:58 PM

I have several Craftsman routers. I like the ease of use and ability to switch out the bases. also have some inexpensive trim routers. My router table has a Craftsman router in it. For horse power, a 1 3/4hp minimum, 2hp or a 2 1/4hp power would be good for a starter router. Depending on what you do, maybe this is all you need. Being able to switch the bases, ( regular base or plunge base ) helps for ease of use, instead of only having a bulky plunge base for all jobs.

View Kirk650's profile


741 posts in 1992 days

#5 posted 10-09-2018 10:55 PM

Bosch 1617 variable speed with fixed and plunge bases.

View ksSlim's profile


1304 posts in 4133 days

#6 posted 10-10-2018 12:38 AM

Go to a woodworking show and try them all.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View Ripper70's profile


1379 posts in 2152 days

#7 posted 10-10-2018 12:46 AM

looking for a decent router for my first router. i am new to woodworking and mostly build tables, benches, and bookcases. any recommendations and advice is appreciated, thanks

- Nunya

Get the router that you’ll need to complete your next project. Having a need for the tool before you buy it is better than buying a tool just because you don’t have one. You’ll probably end up with several routers before long anyway.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View runswithscissors's profile


3134 posts in 3269 days

#8 posted 10-10-2018 12:58 AM

Many Craftsman routers only have a 1/4” collet, which limits the bits you can use. Whatever you get, be sure it will take a 1/2” bit (and of course will have a collet for 1/4” bits as well, or at least a sleeve. Dedicated collet is better, though. Same thing for Ryobi routers.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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777 posts in 1863 days

#9 posted 10-10-2018 05:44 PM

I like Porter Cable. I bought my first one used about 35 years ago and it was old when I bought it. About 7 years ago I decided it was time to buy new. Bought another PC and all the attachments I had for the ancient PC worked on the new PC. I respect and appreciate a company that maintains reverse compatibility.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Tector's profile


51 posts in 3395 days

#10 posted 10-10-2018 10:24 PM

You can’t go wrong by buying most popular brands. Just like most anything, you normally get what you pay for. I recently purchased a Dewalt that’s around 2.5hp that works really well and was well priced. The $350 portacable (think it’s around 3hp) I have in the router table is a beast, but it was $350… Yuck. I have an older 3hp Hatachi which is not the most user friendly and is likewise crazy expensive. Have used many other brands in friends shops with mixed reviews. But it normally depends on quality of product. I encourage you to reflect on what you will need it for and what is the most economical way to accomplish it. In closing, you can’t go wrong with the DeWalt, it allows you to use 1/4 and 1/2 collets without an adapter, has three types of bases, cost effective and has a lot of power for being under 3hp.

View Dwain's profile


623 posts in 5103 days

#11 posted 10-10-2018 10:54 PM

I agree with Tector. That being said, I have a Bosch that does everything Tector’s DeWalt does. I love it as well. Hitachi seems to be the low cost leader for combo router sets, however you get what you pay for, and with the
Bosch, I have a router that uses the PC template bearings, a big plus. Again, you can’t really go wrong with DeWalt, Bosch, PC or Milwaukee. Hitachi and Triton are decent to nice, but a big discount.

Make sure you know what you want to do and then buy the most appropriate tools. Often that will be the router combo set.

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

View Woodbum's profile


957 posts in 4309 days

#12 posted 10-11-2018 12:06 PM

“Ideal” Router If you can only own one router, what would be the best features to look for?
a. ¼” and ½” collets
b. 1 ½ to 2 hp
c. Variable speed
d. Availability of multiple bases and base plates
e. Soft start and electronic feedback
f. Guide Bushing adaptable
g. Edge guide compatible
h. Availability of other accessories
i. Height adjustment with “micro” adjustment feature
j. Spindle lock or two wrenches? Personal preference.

As far as brands, I own a PC 690 1.75 hp with three bases, A Bosch 1617 2.25 hp with both bases, A Bosch Colt with both bases a Makita 3.25 hp plunge router and two PC 7518 hp 3.25 motors in Woodpeckers lifts in tables. As far as price/value is concerned, I would recommend Bosch routers first, then PC. After that, Dewalt, Makita and whatever else you need and can afford. Festool makes great routers, but for me personally, the cost is not balanced out by the features and reliability. I use routers a LOT and teach several router classes and these are just my humble opinions.

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

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


7965 posts in 2631 days

#13 posted 10-11-2018 01:03 PM

I own a PC 690 and a Dewalt 618 and of the the two, the Dewalt is my prefered router for handheld use so I keep the PC attached to my mobile router table.

If you are not in a hurry, keep an eye out for sales. Dewalt often has significant price reductions in time for xmas.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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