Need plunge router recommendations

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Nate Finch posted 08-12-2020 06:26 PM 615 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Nate Finch's profile

Nate Finch

49 posts in 3773 days

08-12-2020 06:26 PM

I’m looking for a good all-round variable speed plunge router for doing general woodworking (mortise cutting, edging, etc). Not looking to put it in a table. I’m not too worried about cost, as long as it’s not like, festool prices.

Suggestions? My default would be to just look at the makita RP2301FC, but there’s so many options out there, and the makita is a pretty old design… wondering if there might be a better option?

Second question – do the cordless routers last long enough for reasonable use? I’m just a weekend woodworker, unlikely to be routing like hundreds of mortises or hundreds of feet of edging. Do they have enough power? I like the idea of not being tied down to a cord, but don’t want to compromise, and am probably never going to use it outside my shop anyway.

-- Nate

22 replies so far

View Holbs's profile


2366 posts in 2877 days

#1 posted 08-12-2020 06:30 PM

I would wager, the standard issue DIY at-home in woodshop for hobby or professionals would be along the lines of the Bosch plunge router 1617 series.
Now if looking for 3HP+, more options.
If looking for trim router, more options.
Never used cordless router. Not something I much thought of having honestly.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3661 days

#2 posted 08-12-2020 06:33 PM

Get your hands on the Dewalt 618 kit. They sit a little lower than most routers and have good balance and feel good in the hands. I have the Bosch 1617 and never use it. I don’t like the wood handles (very slippery) or the tall top-heavy stance. Some will disagree, and that’s fine.

I use my 618’s for most all hand routing. They’re great.

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

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile


1976 posts in 395 days

#3 posted 08-12-2020 06:38 PM

I have this one, ripoff of the festool design. No complaints, is beastly, and relatively quiet. Not so good for mounting in a table with the pistol grip, but I do. No 1/2” bits, which sucks. If you are in America, the Dewalt as Pinto mentioned is prolly best.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View Nate Finch's profile

Nate Finch

49 posts in 3773 days

#4 posted 08-12-2020 07:11 PM

I like the Dewalt option since it’s significantly cheaper, and I almost certainly don’t need a 3HP beast.

-- Nate

View WhyMe's profile


1309 posts in 2409 days

#5 posted 08-12-2020 10:45 PM

The Bosch 1617 with plunge base does not have wood handles.

View jkm312's profile


36 posts in 251 days

#6 posted 08-12-2020 11:28 PM

I bought a Bosch MRP23EVS. I have the plunge and standard base. What sold me was the trigger switch on the grips and the LED lamp on the motor housing. Really lights up the cutting area. A little more money than the Dewalt, but not much. I like the way it feels in my hands. It’s done everything I have asked of it every time.

The thing about cordless tool batteries is they do not like to not be used. We all have cordless drills, would be lost without them. Not so sure about a cordless router, it may sit unused more so than a drill.

View CWWoodworking's profile


1005 posts in 1027 days

#7 posted 08-12-2020 11:47 PM

I have a flush trim bit set up for trimming face frames in a battery router. It was a cheap one and does what I ask.

I would imagine the better options(DeWalt, Bosch, etc) would do what you ask on an intermittent bases. I use a Dewalt battery sander, a lot. It’s 100% non issue.

View therealSteveN's profile


6245 posts in 1422 days

#8 posted 08-13-2020 12:20 AM

I have both the 2 1/4 and 3 1/4 Hp Tritons, the little one is in and out of a router table, and the big one is always in a table. If you want versatile for some hand held, some table, get the smaller one. If you want a hog for table use only get the big one. While PC and DeWalt quality has crapped out, they have filled the bill for great value, hard worker.

-- Think safe, be safe

View bigJohninvegas's profile


802 posts in 2310 days

#9 posted 08-13-2020 12:31 AM

I have the dewalt 618 kit. Bought it back around 2013. Came with the plunge, fixed and pistol grip base.
I don’t see that kit anymore. But I love mine. It has been a work horse in my shop, and still running fine.

-- John

View Andybb's profile


2831 posts in 1452 days

#10 posted 08-13-2020 12:35 AM

The Bosch 1617 with plunge base does not have wood handles.

- WhyMe

Fixed base has wood handles.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View TheSnekkerShow's profile


13 posts in 233 days

#11 posted 08-13-2020 02:06 AM

In the 3HP range, I use a Porter Cable 7518 in my router table and it’s performed very well. I previously owned two different DeWalt 3HP routers that I sold just for the sake of trying something else, and I was happy with both of those too.

In the 2HP range, I have a 20-year-old Porter Cable 6902, and a brand new DeWalt DW618. Both have the plunge and fixed base, which I would highly recommend. The Porter Cable is so old it doesn’t have variable speed, but otherwise it’s been a solid router that I use occasionally. I haven’t used the DW618 much yet, but so far it feels very comfortable and I’ve had good luck with DeWalt routers in the past.

In the 1HP range, I have a DeWalt DWP611 that I recently bought on sale from Rockler to replace my Ridgid trim router that I was never really happy with. Before that I had another DeWalt that I sold because it was old, but it’s probably still running. So far the new DWP611 has been great. I was back and forth between buying that or a cordless one, but those only come in 20A and I decided to wait until they have a little more power.

If you want to do mortising, I’d stick in the 2HP range for a good balance between weight and power. You could do it with a lighter router, but you’d overheat the motor more frequently and probably regret the purchase eventually.

-- Ben --

View Nate Finch's profile

Nate Finch

49 posts in 3773 days

#12 posted 08-13-2020 01:34 PM

Thanks, folks. I purchased the 618 (should be here tomorrow, along with some freud up spiral bits for doing mortises). Honestly, I figured I’d be happy with just about anything from a good name brand, but I’m glad for the advice, because I don’t need the massive makita, and saved money to spend on bits etc.

-- Nate

View WhyMe's profile


1309 posts in 2409 days

#13 posted 08-13-2020 01:56 PM

The Bosch 1617 with plunge base does not have wood handles.

- WhyMe

Fixed base has wood handles.

- Andybb

I know the fixed base has wood handles because I own one. The OP is asking about a plunge router. So why comment about the fixed base?

View Axis39's profile


338 posts in 445 days

#14 posted 08-13-2020 01:57 PM

Day late, dollar short (story ‘o my life!) But, I was going to reinforce the Dewalt 618 kit. I’ve had it longer than I’ve had my wife….

It’s still going strong. The motor has been a real work horse, I love the flexibility of the two different bases.

I have more routers than any other power tool… a couple of Dewalts, the 618 and an older one I can’t remember the model number. I have a Ridgid I have mounted in a table and I’m on my second Ridgid cordless trim router.

The big ridgid has performed well… One of these days I’ll spring for a big 3 HP router for the table.

I use the little cordless router maybe more than any other. I have it set up most fo the time with a 1/8” roundover. I literally wore the first one out… wore the chuck out. But, I probably ran a million feet fo wood under it. So, no complaints for a toll that didn’t cost me a hundred bucks.

I probably use the router table next most often… Then, comes that 618. I still use that 618 at least once a week, maybe ten to fifteen times if the work requires it. Most of the time, the 618 is in the plunge base. It really has performed flawlessly for decades. So, feel secure in your purchase.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

View Nate Finch's profile

Nate Finch

49 posts in 3773 days

#15 posted 08-13-2020 02:09 PM

Awesome, I appreciate that. And I’ll probably grab the dewalt cordless at some point, because I already have the batteries and reviews say it’s pretty good. But first I probably will want something to put in a table (and get/build a table).... man, woodworking is expensive! :)

-- Nate

showing 1 through 15 of 22 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