Plunge router advice

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Forum topic by gsk3 posted 06-16-2020 12:46 AM 548 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 333 days

06-16-2020 12:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router dust collection question

Years ago I bought a Bosch 1617. Had the choice of second base. Went with the router table base instead of the plunge base and regretted it ever since. Never built a router table until this year, and was gifted a real lift so I’m not using the Bosch base with above table adjustments.

Rather than buy a plunge base for >$100 and still have to move the router in and out of the table, I’d rather just buy a separate plunge router so I can leave it set up.

Having serious decision fatigue. Advice appreciated.

I have the 1617 in the Rockler lift, and also a small (porter cable) trim router as well as a plunge base for my Dremel which would be useful if I ever do inlay.

Want the plunge router for circles (I do a fair few of them with the Jensen 200J jig), dadoes and other joinery magic (m&t, dovetails), etc.

Have more 1/2” shank bits than 1/4” so important to take those.

Price <$250

Dust collection is very important to me. Don’t mind buying it separately but it does seem like a lot of the aftermarket ones are either fragile or only work for half the cuts.

Compatibility with either the 200J or 240 circle guides is a must.

Power isn’t so important to me.

Soft start and speed control are musts.

I have a Makita track saw so it would be nice if it worked with the makita track adapter but definitely not critical. Also nice if it’s the 1617 so I can leave the 2 extra fixed bases permanently mounted to sub bases.

So here’s where that leaves me :

Dewalt has integrated dust collection maybe less compatibility with aftermarket jigs?

Bosch 23 is beefy, spendy, no integrated DC.

Bosch 1617 gets me a third fixed base and standardization. No integrated DC.

Makita has compact full plunge routers. Works with their track. No integrated DC. Less compatibility with circle jigs.

Help! And thanks.

11 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)


6290 posts in 3779 days

#1 posted 06-16-2020 01:04 AM

I like to have the same handheld router brands so the right collet wrench is always close by. But I will say that my router table router is a different brand than my handheld routers. The correct wrench lives on the router table, and that works just fine.

I went with the Dewalt 618. I’ve had three of them, and I would buy them again. I also have a Bosch 1617 and I don’t particularly care for the wood handles. It also feels top-heavy compared to the Dewalt. The 618 has a very low squat stance, and is really easy to handle.

The 618 is compatible with P.C. style bushings, dovetail jigs, and any accessory I’ve ever needed to use (including a circle jig). Dust collection is great, and it’s within budget.

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

View BurlyBob's profile


8231 posts in 3231 days

#2 posted 06-16-2020 05:41 AM

I’ve been pretty satisfied with my P?C routers but I hear they are beginning to use more nylon parts. So I’m seriously looking at Bosch for my next 2+hp router and trim router.

View therealSteveN's profile


6956 posts in 1540 days

#3 posted 06-16-2020 06:15 AM

Only saying this, because sounds like you were late to the router table game. Now that you have one, it’s not unheard of that you could end up with 2 or more. Routers are so versatile, but in a table is where I see more opportunity for the magic to happen. After using a table mounted router, you may too.

So for a bigger gun, I’d say the Triton 3.25 HP. Comes as a plunge unit, or remove the spring, and a handy router for topside adjustment in a table. Just slightly over your budget.

More comparable to the ones you are looking at with 2.25 HP, still can go for a table if needed, and because it is lighter makes for a very nice hand held plunge router. Under budget.

As Bob mentioned PC is going downhill ever since B$D took them over, and immediately turned a longtime tool with a great history, into low end home owner tools. I love my Bosch Colts, just not so much a fan of their larger routers.

-- Think safe, be safe

View david2011's profile


120 posts in 4673 days

#4 posted 06-16-2020 06:54 AM

Once I got serious about making things for the workshop and house, I realized that routers were like hammers and screwdrivers. One size does not fit all.

-- David

View tvrgeek's profile


1073 posts in 2615 days

#5 posted 06-16-2020 10:10 AM

I have a Tridon in my table and a Ridgid combo. Happy with both. I have an old 1/4 inch Craftsman I thought was fine until I got the big ones. Current project may need a smaller one.

View gsk3's profile


25 posts in 333 days

#6 posted 06-16-2020 11:58 AM

I use to think routers were scary until I got the Bosch. It’s just so smooth.

I don’t feel the need for a bigger router right now for the table. But if I had a plunge base for the 1617 I’d use that and get the big Triton for the table. People not as happy with the Triton for handheld plunge use and it doesn’t have the DC of the Dewalt.

The dewalt 618 does fit the 240 circle jig which is the most versatile of them. Even those who like them seem to occasionally have parts break which is not reassuring though.

View gsk3's profile


25 posts in 333 days

#7 posted 06-17-2020 01:57 PM

More thoughts:
- Dewalt makes a guide that fits many routers on tracksaw tracks; there’s at least one comment on Amazon saying it works with Makita tracks, but backwards. Not sure if that affects functionality.
- Found more comments about the 618 motor burning out or it rusting or falling apart.
- May just stick with the 1617 and get the plunge package plus dust collection accessory. Still deciding.

View Walker's profile


436 posts in 1438 days

#8 posted 06-17-2020 04:18 PM

It sounds like you’ve already decided the 1617evs plunge kit is the right choice for you, and you’re just waiting for somebody else to tell you so. So, I’ll tell you to get the 1617evs plunge kit. It makes sense to leave one in the table and have the same one for handheld, so the collet wrenches and other parts are the same. There’s always the used market, plenty of routers on ebay, good deals if you’re patient.

-- ~Walker

View Foghorn's profile


902 posts in 352 days

#9 posted 06-17-2020 10:38 PM

Takes me about a minute or less to snap the Bosch out of the table fixed base and put it into the plunge base. Having a second router is even handier though. I don’t do enough routing to justify a second one though I do have two palm routers.

-- Darrel

View gsk3's profile


25 posts in 333 days

#10 posted 06-22-2020 01:13 PM

Walker – That’s true, but only because I had time to post that day instead of the day before when I was set on the Dewalt, or the day after when I was like, “Just blow the budget and get the Milwaukee!” :-)

Foghorn – If I had a plunge base already I would totally soldier on with just one. I have a lift, so it’s a little more unwieldy, plus the pricing on a second router when you’re buying the base isn’t that different (I keep telling myself, objectively it’s double), and I am evolving to use the router table a lot since I’m a tablesaw-less shop.

View gsk3's profile


25 posts in 333 days

#11 posted 06-22-2020 01:41 PM

Found a refurb Dewalt 618PK on eBay. With the 15% discount currently it came to $145 after taxes/shipping. Can’t beat that. Even if it’s not quite as reliable as the Bosch, it’s $100 cheaper after buying the (flimsy) Bosch vac adapter.

Thanks everyone. Excited to start making things :-)

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