New Router Suggestions

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by OmegaRed posted 10-02-2012 06:31 PM 1732 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View OmegaRed's profile


34 posts in 2583 days

10-02-2012 06:31 PM


I’m expanding my projects and currently in the search for a router. I want to make some shelves / cabinets in the garage and don’t have access to anything that will cut dado’s or rabbets without resorting to a mitre saw and 1000 passes. And I would be limited in the sizes I could handle.

So without ever using a router before, where do I start. Can a plunge router do what a normal router can, is there a need for both for basic work? What is the mechanical difference between the two (I realize the plunge can make plunge cuts, but why can’t a normal router do the same?) What hp size is minimum that I would want to deal with.

I have asked friends and no one has a router, my only other thought was renting from a big box store. Thanks

-- "(...) The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull's-eye which confronts him(...)"

26 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5742 posts in 3001 days

#1 posted 10-02-2012 07:01 PM

My opinion: look for one rated 2+ HP, and a kit that has interchangeable bases. True enough, a plunge can do practically anything a fixed base will do…..but having a fixed base will allow you to cobble together a simple router table which could be extremely useful. If the router has through the base adjustment you’re way ahead. My choiuce in this category would be the Milwaukee 5616-24 kit. There are a lot of other ones that also very good, and I’m sure every one of them will be recommended; you’ll just have to try and look/handle/ogle some and go from there.

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

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3022 days

#2 posted 10-02-2012 07:10 PM

I use the Bosch 1617EVSPK. There are also great packages made by Porter Cable, Dewalt and as Fred said, Milwaukee.
I agree, a combo is the way to go.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2772 days

#3 posted 10-02-2012 07:29 PM

I have had a Skil and currently own a Bosch 1617EVSPK and Porter Cable (a few of them).

I would pick the Bosch 1617EVSPK any day of the week if all I wanted was a powerful, well-built router. In terms of most off the shelf compatibility, the Porter Cable is better, but it just doesn’t feel like the Bosch.

You can get the 1617 at the big box stores or, like I did, on Amazon for cheap.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Simon2822's profile


72 posts in 2922 days

#4 posted 10-02-2012 08:09 PM

One of the big Triton models. I have this one ( attached to my router table and it has been great. Very good for the relatively cheap price

-- If it's not right, it's wrong

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2751 days

#5 posted 10-02-2012 08:23 PM

I second the Bosch 1617 combo. The router is just smooth, powerful and easy to handle. And what’s not to love about the actual wooden handles? Oh, and I think it’s good to get a router with soft start… you turn it on and it slowly revs up to full speed. Without that, it could get a little more dangerous to use unless the trigger happens to be on the handles like on newer Bosch model.

Depending on what tasks you have in mind, a smaller router like the Bosch Colt, or similar may be easier to use on smaller jobs. I’m considering the Colt myself for use as a handheld, while I take my current router and mount it under a table.

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View HorizontalMike's profile


7797 posts in 3422 days

#6 posted 10-02-2012 08:31 PM

I found a dual base Ridgid 2hp router for $179 at HD within the past 3months. I appeared to be a closeout, however, I have seen Ridgid do this in the past every so often. You might want to keep an eye out for this kind of deal. When I found this “Combo Kit” box it was mixed in with 3 others of the “fixed base” only at the same price. The best part about these Ridgid tools is the Lifetime Service Agreement. I put the fixed base in my horizontal mortising machine and have the plunge base for handheld work. The moter pops out in a second, and without losing your other settings.

BTW, I also have two of the TRITON routers and they each have their own lifting mechanism for table use. Something to consider if you plan on mounting it on a table. I have the 2 1/4hp and 3 1/4hp models, And have to say that they are a little bulky for handheld but still quite doable. I have the 2 1/4hp model dedicated for using with a router dado jig I made and have no problems with it.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 3085 days

#7 posted 10-02-2012 09:14 PM

Buying new today, my choice would be the bosch 1617evspk kit.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View SharpeTools's profile


1 post in 2570 days

#8 posted 10-03-2012 12:21 AM

If you can afford one Festools are in a class by themselves

View OmegaRed's profile


34 posts in 2583 days

#9 posted 10-03-2012 05:20 PM

Ok sounds like I’ll check out the Bosch and Milwaukee kits…thanks guys.

-- "(...) The archer ceases to be conscious of himself as the one who is engaged in hitting the bull's-eye which confronts him(...)"

View mmckee's profile


11 posts in 2582 days

#10 posted 10-03-2012 05:30 PM

I have the RIGID that HorizontalMike referred to, I love it. It has done anything that I have asked of it. Also worth noting the lifetime parts warranty.

I hardly ever use the plunge base

View knotscott's profile


8332 posts in 3883 days

#11 posted 10-03-2012 05:36 PM

Is this router going into a router table or will you be using it for hand use?

I ask because different features are desirable for table use than for hand use. For a table variable speed is a must, and more power is “good to have”. You may also want a lot of the convenient top side features that allow easy one handed bit changes from above the table.

For hand use you don’t need variable speed, and you want the router to feel comfortable and well balanced….that usually means a bit smaller than one you might put into a router table. A plunge base can be handy but it isn’t something I’d feel lost without.

I like the Milwaukee routers a lot….very well built, accept standard bushings, and the 5615 and 5616 offer the BodyGrip feature. The MW plunge base is excellent. Bosch, Freud, Makita, PC, Hitachi, DW, Triton, Ridgid, and even the newer CMan routers get favorable reviews. Find a deal on one you like the feel of.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


5985 posts in 3321 days

#12 posted 10-03-2012 06:43 PM

Dewalt 618 is a great combo kit. For a 2-1/4 hp router, it surprises me how accurate it is. Inlays are a dream with the plunge router. The fixed base has a low squat stance or best stability when edge routing. The Makita and new Porter Cable are a bit too tall for my taste.

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2739 posts in 3085 days

#13 posted 10-04-2012 05:05 AM

The dewalt 618 has the best plunge base out there, but the motors are very unreliable. Both of the magnetic speed control rings in the two I have broke. It’s not an isolated incident, it’s a manufacturing defect dewalt refuses to acknowledge. Plenty of cases of the same.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 2935 days

#14 posted 10-04-2012 05:20 AM

I have two DeWalt 621 routers they are good.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View thedude50's profile


3610 posts in 2986 days

#15 posted 10-04-2012 06:09 AM

The Dewalt 621 is a great router i have it on my Woodrat the thing is to die for but if I were going to get my first router I would go with the porter cable combo kit or a combo kit from someone else the two bases are a must for so many things and I think I paid 199 for the porter cable set one thing is for sure if your a serious power tool guy you will be like me and have close to 20 good routers in the shop before you know it I sold a few off but I still have several here is one thing to make sure of make sure you get a router that will take 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch bits. don’t buy a craftsman they suck. A festool is over kill for a new one router guy what if he hates woodworking after a few months give the guy time to work his way up to a 700 dollar router. I am all for the best tool but damn lets get serious. and the 621 is a great router I love mine and it is a major work horse in my shop.

-- Please check out my new stores and

showing 1 through 15 of 26 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