Triton 3.25hp vs. Milwaukee 3.5hp - which one should I buy?

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Forum topic by jtm posted 07-23-2014 07:43 AM 13727 views 0 times favorited 42 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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242 posts in 2560 days

07-23-2014 07:43 AM

Hi folks,

I need a little advice.

I’m just about finished my router table (Norm’s design) and I’ve decided to splurge a little on a new router for it.

Right now, I have a 2hp $71 Craftsman that works just fine. However, I know I’ll be making door panels, etc… in the near future, and I’d really like more power.

The much lauded Craftsman 27680 was on sale for $110 this past weekend, so I bought one. But before I picked it up, I happened to read through the Eagle America catalog and noticed the Triton 3.25hp router on sale for $249. So I cancelled the Craftsman and purchased one of those.

Eagle sent me an email today notifying me that the Triton is backordered till mid-August at the earliest. Now, I don’t need it right away, but I’d certainly like it right away.

So I looked at my other options and came across the 3.5hp Milwaukee. This thing looks like a beast, and it is very highly regarded. It will only cost me a little more than the Triton ($300 vs. $270 – had to pay shipping for the Triton). However, it doesn’t seem to have all the features that the Triton has. I like the above-the-table adjustment on both, but I like that you can switch bits on the Triton as well. I don’t really care that the Milwaukee is a fixed base since this will live permanently in my table. I don’t want to buy a dedicated lift, so these seem to be the frontrunners for table use without one.

Overall, it just seems like the Triton is more bang for the buck. But is the Milwaukee a better router – irrespective of price?

What would you do? Should I wait for the Triton or order the Milwaukee? Or should I just go with the Craftsman that I originally ordered?


42 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3894 days

#1 posted 07-23-2014 08:27 AM

To start I wouldn’t let the “claimed” horse power direct my decision at all.
It really is almost meaningless.

I personally don’t like the design of the Tritons, but that is just my opinion.

Do you not like Porter Cable routers?
Or do they not offer the features you want?

“Tools of the Trade” did a review of ten 3+HP routers. A summary follows:

Our overall favorite is the Festool. It’s comfortable to use and has unstoppable power and tons of useful features. It also has the best plunging feel and the best plunge-depth locking knob–which, like the trigger switch and speed dial, can be operated without a hand leaving either handle.

Second place goes to the Makita. At one-third the price of the Festool, this router is likely to win over many buyers with a budget. It’s the runner-up in both power and plunge smoothness and has the best body-mounted switch and a very quick motor brake.

Freud’s FT3000 comes in at a solid third with its mix of smooth plunging action, great power, and nice convenience features like through-the-base adjustments for router-table use.

Leading the rest of the pack is the Freud FT2200, thanks to good features, adequate power, and a very affordable price. Hitachi follows; it has a few clumsy traits, but its high power and low price place it firmly in midrange. Next comes Porter-Cable. This heavy beast is a bit outdated and suffers from a lack of features and surprisingly low power when pushed.

The lower range is occupied by tools that can get the job done–but with a few too many compromises along the way. Although well-made, the Triton is very uncomfortable; it has good potential for use in a router table. Accuracy issues plague the Bosch and the Rockwell, and the DeWalt comes in last because it’s clumsy, uncomfortable, and slow.

View knotscott's profile


8392 posts in 4299 days

#2 posted 07-23-2014 09:19 AM

I’ve got an MW5625, and it is a beast. However, I’m a big fan of the above table features that the Triton offers….my smaller Freud FT1700 is loaded, and gets the lion’s share of table use because of them.

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

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 3037 days

#3 posted 07-23-2014 11:14 AM

I liked the Triton until something internally went wrong. Kreg was the distributor at the time, they said send it in and they will check it out. Kreg has some of the best customer service around. A couple days after I sent it in they said they will send a new one. Nothing happened – which is very odd for kreg, so I called again. They said Kreg isn’t the distributor anymore for Triton tools – the new distributor will handle the router. Needless to say I still haven’t heard anything, or got the router and it’s been 5 months. It takes several days to get a response from Tool Stream (The USA Distributor) BOTTOM LINE Triton’s customer service SUCKS!

Long story short get the Milwaukee – at least it can be serviced if need be. I do like the Triton but who can send out a $300 router for 5 months? BTW – The Triton was only a couple months old when it bit the dust. I do have another Triton running strong for about a year now with no issues. I’ll be selling both the Triton’s if I ever get the other one back.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6596 posts in 3417 days

#4 posted 07-23-2014 11:38 AM

I have the 5625 in my table, and i also have the smaller Triton for hand held use. The Tritons are nice, but to me most of the advantages are in the hand held area. True enough, they have above the table bit changes; but that has always seemed a little less important to me than others. My choice would be the Milwaukee, in a lift it’s (IMHO) replacing the PC 7518 as the RT standard. Without a lift, it still has table adjustments built in. Crank mentioned the Freud 3000, and if you could find one (no longer sold in this country) it also has the above the table bit change and would be quite a bit cheaper than either the Triton and Milwaukee.

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

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12264 posts in 4352 days

#5 posted 07-23-2014 11:51 AM

As rrww said. The Triton distributor’s CS sucks.
My favorite for the RT with a lift is the PC7518. Although, I haven’t had an opportunity to use Fred’s choice, the Milwaukee.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3572 posts in 4361 days

#6 posted 07-23-2014 11:58 AM

I can only speak for the triton. I’ve had one in my table for a few years now. It does have a nice lift from above the table and lift it way up and and auto locks and the bit removes with one wrench turn. All good stuff. Two things I can say about it that I really like. One is that the customer service is almost personal. I had an issue with the routers collet. I got personal emails and a new collet in the mail shipped quickly. The second thing is, i don’t know about others, but this thing really cranks. Put in oak full bore with a large bit and the router doesn’t even sound like it’s slowing down. Of course it’s still good to take small bites for smoothness/less ripping, but this router is powerful.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View bigblockyeti's profile


6843 posts in 2644 days

#7 posted 07-23-2014 12:06 PM

I have the Milwaukee that lives permanently under my router table and I do like the above the table adjustment and the way the motor slides in the base. It has plenty of power to turn large panel raising bits and while you can’t remove the bits from above table while the router is still installed, I haven’t found this to be a major nuisance.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 2348 days

#8 posted 07-23-2014 01:01 PM

I have had Craftsman, back in the day, when that meant something. Not any more. Skip it.

Triton. I have no opinion.

Milwaukee 5625-20 is a beast. I have run THOUSANDS of feet of wood through my router table using the Milwaukee and I am glad I bought it. I had a Porter Cable in my previous table and when it died, I thought I would try the Milwaukee.

I am so glad I did. It has bee a real pleasure to use in my router table. I do not use it for free hand work.

I have a Festool 1400EQ and it is the best hand held router but only purchase if you are flush with cash, have all the tools that you really need, and do a LOT of free hand routing.

-- Brad, Texas,

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3196 days

#9 posted 07-23-2014 02:13 PM

I have a 48”x 60” router table with 2 routers mounted in it, a 3 1/4 hp. Freud and a 3 1/4 hp. Triton. The Freud has been in service for 12 years and last year I replaced my table mounted Bosch 1 3/4 hp. variable speed plunge router with the Triton. 2 routers minimize set ups for repeatability and yes it’s an indulgence with a price tag.
I really like the Bosch for hand held work, so it got a new permanent duty assignment.
I’ve been quite pleased with the addition of a Ridged trim router, that little guy likes all of my 1/4” bits.
No experience with a Milwaukee Router, but I have one of their Sawz-alls and a 1/2” D-handled HD drill that I wouldn’t trade for another brand.

Best Regards in your search for a router for your table.
Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Todd's profile


421 posts in 2600 days

#10 posted 07-23-2014 06:30 PM

I like my Triton but I haven’t had to deal with CS on it. Given the latest comments I might reconsider if I was doing it over. CS is very important when you need it!

-- Todd, Huntsville, AL

View Redoak49's profile


4966 posts in 2912 days

#11 posted 07-23-2014 06:36 PM

I have the Porter Cable 7518 and it is a beast. While it has been around for a fair amount of time, it is still a very good choice for a router table. I have run so much wood through it making paneled doors, molding and everything else and never had a problem.

My advice is to pick one which has been around awhile and has had a good history. I think that he Milwaukee and the Porter Cable are both good ones and will last a long time.

View jtm's profile


242 posts in 2560 days

#12 posted 07-23-2014 07:13 PM

I’m trying to avoid the porter cable since it adds a few hundred for a lift.

This router table project got very expensive very fast.

When you factor in the price of all the materials and 3hp router, I could have bought a decent shaper.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6596 posts in 3417 days

#13 posted 07-23-2014 08:34 PM

This router table project got very expensive very fast.

When you factor in the price of all the materials and 3hp router, I could have bought a decent shaper.

- jtm

Most of us found that to be true, but look at the cost of shaper tooling compared to router bits, and things even out fairly quickly.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


6243 posts in 3737 days

#14 posted 07-23-2014 08:40 PM

I recommend the Freud FT 1700 if you can find one. My second choice would be the Freud FT3000. Third the Triton or Dewalt.

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

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3537 days

#15 posted 07-23-2014 08:46 PM

i have the triton so far its been a good one .i like the locking feature .

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

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