Shopping for a router

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Forum topic by Tom posted 07-07-2015 05:15 PM 975 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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127 posts in 482 days

07-07-2015 05:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve been thinking of getting a router for a while but haven’t pulled the trigger. I’ve shopped Craigslist and they run from about $50 on up…but I’m not sure if I want a used one plus the cost in time of traveling an hour plus round trip to get one. HD has a Ryobi model for a very good price and it has nothing but positive reviews. it’s definitely a casual use/beginner one; fixed base and 1/4” shank for $65. As for bits..well they have starter sets with 4-5 different shapes for a fair price. Any opinions from more experienced router users?

26 replies so far

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Fred Hargis

3848 posts in 1916 days

#1 posted 07-07-2015 05:28 PM

I’d seriously consider getting one that handles 1/2” shank bits, they almost always come with a 1/4” collet as well and give you so many more options. Also, a plunge router will do everything a fixed base will do, but not vice versa. A set of bits with 4-5 bits may not be a bad idea, but the larger sets will have several you’ll have little use for…I’d get them as needed, and specific to the task at hand.

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

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448 posts in 673 days

#2 posted 07-07-2015 05:30 PM

I think you just jump in and swim, but it doesn’t hurt to look around and see who is drowning either, lol. The first router I bought was a Ridgid laminate trimmer. I still use it today, and it has been a great little router for me. I was limited on bit diameter though, so I built a router table and bought a Craftsman 2 hp router and a lift. Now I am finding I want to run even bigger bits, so I am saving for a 3 hp PC 75182 and a bigger lift. I own several Ryobi tools, though not their router. They all seem to work, but I end up wanting better quality eventually.

-- Chris - Would work, but I'm too busy reading about woodwork.

View marc7101's profile


23 posts in 490 days

#3 posted 07-07-2015 05:34 PM

Hi there. The Bosch colt palm grip is very popular in the basic fixed base class. Far better quality than the Ryobi. I’m not that keen on Ryobi tools. Personally I prefer the Dewalt, just feels easier to control than other models I’ve tried.

-- Marc-

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2289 posts in 1719 days

#4 posted 07-07-2015 07:12 PM

I have a Sears router from the mid 90s that works fine. But I always wanted the Bosch Colt and bought a refurbished one at CPO Bosch. MUCH easier to use, especially if you want to put a bead or round over on one by stock. Only thing I don’t like about it is you have to take your bit out to put it back in it’s case.

Look at CPO Bosch / Dewalt. The Dewalt palm grip with the plunge base option is how I would go today, and they may have those refurbished as well.

View Tom's profile


127 posts in 482 days

#5 posted 07-07-2015 07:21 PM

One reason I’m looking at the Ryobi is cost. I don’t have a huge budget for tools (I also collect Lego and they’re not cheap) and the projects that I’ll be starting with will be small. If I do get into larger projects then I’ll re-evaluate my tools and upgrade if needed.

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2122 posts in 903 days

#6 posted 07-07-2015 10:09 PM

If you can find one, I don’t think you can go wrong with either a Porter Cable model 690 plunge or DeWalt 616/618.
Look for used ones. People don’t part with them easily so I would also check pawn shops.

They will handle 1/2 shank bits which you will eventually want and they have the power for heavier molding cuts.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Woodmaster1's profile


732 posts in 2009 days

#7 posted 07-07-2015 10:41 PM

I have 3 porter cable 690’s and a triton 3 1/2 hp. Both are great routers. I use one 690 and the triton in tables. The other two I use freehand. I would make sure what router you buy has a 1/2” collet.

View NiteWalker's profile


2735 posts in 1999 days

#8 posted 07-07-2015 10:52 PM

I started with a $50 ryobi router and a ryobi bit set too.
I got my money’s worth.

That said, it’s really hard to beat a 690. They’re amazing routers and built to last. I use one in my router table.

Edit to add:
A really great combination (fixed and plunge bases) would be the bosch 1617evspk. The 1617evs is the smoothest running router I’ve used. It’s a great set.

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

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 1909 days

#9 posted 07-07-2015 10:53 PM

Fancy, high dollar routers.

For a first router, look at Harbour Freight, fixed base, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2” collets, 2hp. It will do everything you want, even with putting it in a table.

I have used one in a table for 3 years and one free hand for 6 years. No problems so far, but of course, it is Chinese and is going to explode just as soon as you unbox it according to many here.

Of course, the Bosch, PC, Dewalt, Ryobi, Triton, Milwaukee, and hundreds of others are also built in the same chinese factories.

Oh, and it’s about $50 on sale.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Stewbot's profile


191 posts in 506 days

#10 posted 07-08-2015 12:03 AM

I know a lot of people would advise you to go with a plunge router because its more versatile than a palm router, and can do everything a palm router can as well, but if this is not your end all router purchase then I would recommend the Bosch colt palm. It small but has a lot of zip to it. I paid $80 for mine, but i believe it was a sale price. I think that plunge routers (with strong motors) can be a little intimidating at first if you have not used a router before. If you dont operate a plunge properly, it can jump away from you. A palm router can as well, but is easier to hold onto. I will always use my palm router even while owning a plunge router. I think they just feel nice in your hands, you can see the bit very well, and are just nice to work with. (although not advised, and im not recommending this, im just saying…you can plunge a palm router into your work, but you dont just drop it in there, you ease it in from an angle). Even if one day you do end up with a plunge router as well, i bet you’ll still reach for your palm for some quick round-overs etc. (assuming no table). Regardless of what you get, if this is your first router, im very excited for you. They really are a great tool to own. Its one of those tools where once you own it, you wonder how you ever got along without it.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View gfadvm's profile


14929 posts in 2112 days

#11 posted 07-08-2015 12:13 AM

I started out my woodworking life with that Ryobi router and the router table it came in. I outgrew the table but that little router is still going strong despite a lot of use/abuse over the years. One of my best “bang for the bucks”.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Holbs's profile


1347 posts in 1452 days

#12 posted 07-08-2015 12:23 AM

seek out local auctions, or online auctions. Would be surprised at what medium / great routers go for.
I started out with the Bosch 1617 EVS kit (plunge & fixed). I have since acquired a Bosch Colt. And just yesterday, ordered the Bosch MR23EVS for my future router table cabinet.

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 2493 days

#13 posted 07-08-2015 12:29 AM

It doesn’t matter what your first router is. Chances are, you’ll buy another one or two or three or…more later.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View diverlloyd's profile


1263 posts in 1280 days

#14 posted 07-08-2015 12:29 AM

Go to some local auctions routers here go for 20 or less. I have a craftsman it’s 4 years old and has went through 3 bearings. The bearings were $3 with $18 for shipping. Turns out they are the same bearings as some motorcycles so my local machine shops has them in stock and made in the USA for $2. It has maybe 8 hrs of work time on it. Anyways check for your local auctions

View dhazelton's profile


2289 posts in 1719 days

#15 posted 07-08-2015 12:42 AM

If you’re going through that many sets of bearings there is something seriously wrong with how your machine is constructed. Move up from Sears.

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