Need help in choosing router

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Forum topic by sportflyer1 posted 02-10-2015 03:33 PM 1613 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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27 posts in 1649 days

02-10-2015 03:33 PM

Hi everyone, I am new to this forum and definitely a newbie in woodworking.

My main hobby is building and flying r/c model airplanes . I am a retiree .

Several years ago I sold my low powered Ryobi fixed base router along with a craftsman table. Now I find that I am in need of a router again . Most of the work I intend to do is on the light side to support my model airplane hobby and some stuff for the house. I will use the router mostly for dados, slots , rabbets , circle cuts . Mostly I use “soft” woods , ply , MDF or particle board . No furniture making or production stuff. So I will not need a heavy duty professional router . I will not be using the router everyday but occasionally as needed. I would like to get a router kit with fixed and plunge bases. I have read various reviews of routers in this and other forums but most of the comments pertain to heavy users . I think a 2 HP router may be more than enough for my need . Please help me choose a suitable sized router for my stated purpose . I don’t mind buying refurbished . Budget should be around $150.

I will probably build my own simple router table later if needed.


33 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8300 posts in 3823 days

#1 posted 02-10-2015 03:59 PM

If it’s going in a router table, it’s best to get variable speed in case you ever need to slow down a larger bit. Even though your needs aren’t heavy duty, I’d still opt for 1/2” shank whenever possible.

Bosch, Makita, Milwaukee, PC, Hitachi, and DW all make nice combo kits….most will push your budget a little, so refurbished may fit the bill. Most of these have ample 10-12 amp motors (ignore the “HP” rating). The newer Craftsman routers made by Chervon Power generally get good reviews from hobbyists, and are often affordable.

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

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3140 days

#2 posted 02-10-2015 04:02 PM

If you’re looking for a two base kit and & a $150 budget I don’t think you’ll find that. A two base Porter Cable kit 15-20 years ago was $200. I purchased Porter Cable 2.25hp kit more than ten years ago and it was between $250-$350 best I can remember. I like the Porter Cable models because of their history with routers and they have the best collect design that I’ve seen and used.

Go to an authorized tool repair or an industrial tool supplier and you may find a recon. But your $150 budget will probably still mean an one base setup.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View sportflyer1's profile


27 posts in 1649 days

#3 posted 02-10-2015 05:40 PM

I am willing to up my budget but no more than $200 . With this new max budget I could afford a refurb Bosch 1617 . Since I am a hobbyist and don’t intend to build furniture ,I am leaning towards the newer Craftsman routers made by Chervon Power as suggested by Knotscott above. The savings between the Craftsman and “higher grade ” routers can go towards router bits. I know Craftsman has a bad rep from serious woodworkers but the 2 HP combo would probably fit my needs and I am an occasional user . Most of the time I am using it to build jigs for my hobby.

BTW do you think the new Dewalt 611PK would enough for my needs ?

I was also looking at router bits and I have a question whether straight plunge type router bits can be used in non plunge applications. This saves me having to duplicate bits.

View greenacres2's profile


337 posts in 2615 days

#4 posted 02-10-2015 07:03 PM

Bosch 1617 EVSPK can be had for about $170 refurb. Craftsman recently increased the price on the 12 amp package (#27683) to the $220 range, while keeping the 14 amp kit (#27680) at $170. In my view, of the 2 Craftsman machines, the 14 amp is my only choice with the recent price difference—not a bad machine, but for the same money i’d do the Bosch refurb 168 hours every week. (that Sear’s pricing is absolutely upside down—but i’m not their marketing expert!!)

That said—when buying from Sears you might save $20 or $30 by using their credit card, getting an online coupon, discount for having brown eyes, and 2% off for never having consumed Fiji Water. I hate having to shop “their way”, but the frustration has saved me some money at times. Okay, that rant is over!! ;>)


View dawsonbob's profile


3375 posts in 2203 days

#5 posted 02-10-2015 07:10 PM

Another recommending the Bosch 1617 EVSPK. Outstanding kit. It’s a pretty good value, too, especially refurb.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View sportflyer1's profile


27 posts in 1649 days

#6 posted 02-10-2015 07:16 PM

I found Craftsman 27683 combo kit at my local mall for $125 . Good price? At the $220 price point, I agree the Bosch refurb at $170 is a much better deal.

View dawsonbob's profile


3375 posts in 2203 days

#7 posted 02-10-2015 07:22 PM

Honestly, I don’t really know much about the Sears routers. Having said that, the router is such an important tool that I would look to the well recognized brands such as Bosch, DeWalt, Porter Cable, etc. first. They may cost a little more initially, but you know what you’re getting.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View goochs's profile


62 posts in 1677 days

#8 posted 02-10-2015 07:22 PM

I have the crapsman 2hp with both bases and it serves it’s purpose very well I have a triton for my table and my heavy work but would recommend the crapsman (owners slang for Craftsman )

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1871 days

#9 posted 02-10-2015 07:31 PM

I would consider a Bosch trim router since your power requirements are minimal.

Another one to consider is using a Dremel with routing attachments. Its small, easy to handle, and very inexpensive.

Stewart McDonald makes some great attachments for it and the size of the Dremel should do well on RC size projects.

-- Brad, Texas,

View pintodeluxe's profile


5970 posts in 3261 days

#10 posted 02-10-2015 07:44 PM

I have most of the routers discussed in this thread. My favorite for my work in furniture making is the Dewalt 618, but you don’t need one that big. The Dewalt 611 will do everything you need. I enjoy using mine.

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

View Sparks8286's profile


72 posts in 1937 days

#11 posted 02-10-2015 07:53 PM

I picked up a Skil brand 2 1/4 HP that has the fixed and plunge bases from Lowe’s last fall for right around $100. It has a 1/2” chuck and included the adapter sleeve so you can use 1/4” shank bits as well. It’s even variable speed.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.

View SuperCubber's profile


1080 posts in 2732 days

#12 posted 02-10-2015 08:22 PM

Bosch 1617… I have one and love it. I also have a Skil that is less than accurate, especially on the plunge base.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View sportflyer1's profile


27 posts in 1649 days

#13 posted 02-10-2015 08:41 PM

I have an older Dremel that I use for a lot of things but not as a router because its difficult to use . It seems from all this discussion that what I need is a compact router with plunge capabilities . It looks like the DW611 or the Bosch trim routers are what I need. For larger ones I would look at 2hp crapsman or refurb Bosch. Tks guys

How about my question whether its OK to use plunge straight bits as regular bits? Tks

View greenacres2's profile


337 posts in 2615 days

#14 posted 02-10-2015 10:44 PM

I found Craftsman 27683 combo kit at my local mall for $125 . Good price? At the $220 price point, I agree the Bosch refurb at $170 is a much better deal.

- sportflyer1

Yep, that’s a good price on the 27683. Seemed functional enough for me, and suitable for hobbyist duty. Well worth $125. I passed up a 27680 kit for $75 (new with a grungy box) last year—should have bought it.

View KDO's profile


154 posts in 3217 days

#15 posted 02-12-2015 01:46 AM

Check out
Also click on their tab “RECONDITIONED” for the factory reconditioned tools.
You couldn’t go wrong with any of the traditional companies, DeWalt, Bosch, Makita, Porter Cable, Milwaukee.
If your needs aren’t that tough, you might even consider the little DeWalt DW611pk, with the plunge base.
The draw back is it is a 1/4” collett. It has a lot of great features, including dual LED lights that greatly improve the visual detils of what you are routing.
But you can buy it new for less than $200.
Check out the reviews on LJ’s.

-- Christian, Husband, Grandpa, Salesman, amateur Woodworker.

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