New to Woodworking need help with router choice

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Forum topic by Phil posted 11-29-2015 10:02 PM 1062 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 944 days

11-29-2015 10:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router elu hp bd help new

hey there all, I have been looking for a while and need some help. I have been told that hp is not all to look for in the power of a router. I want something to be versatile and be a great router for time to come. I have 2 routers that I am eyeballing because of build quality. I don’t really like a lot of newer tools because of build quality. I

see an elu mof 96 plunge 220v 2.7 amps which equals about 1 1/4 hp.

Or an Elu /B&D fixed base 2721 120v 9 amps which is 1 1/2 hp.

People rave about Elu but normal convention says more hp is better. Are both going to be good for a beginner? If I can afford both should I do both?


15 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2995 days

#1 posted 11-29-2015 10:55 PM

I guess maybe I don’t get out very often, but I never heard of Elu until just now. I googled it and sure enough, there they were.
What price range are they?

I tend to stick to well known brands like Porter Cable, Bosch, or Dewalt for routers.
If money was no object or I made my living with a router I might consider a Festool.

On the other hand, if Elu can be compared to anything from B&D, then I definitely would not be looking at it.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1744 days

#2 posted 11-29-2015 11:02 PM

^ +1 Well known brand names will likely have more parts & accessories for them for a longer time. Quality work is easier with a better router, not impossible with something less than top of the line, but good tools can make your life much easier. As for more than one router, you can never have too many.

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1175 days

#3 posted 11-29-2015 11:19 PM

What ever you buy get a variable speed and for free hand routering soft start is sooooo nice, no torque twisting of the machine when you start it. One of the few tools when not using in my router table, gets my total respect, and even in the table gets a whole lot of it. One thing to be cut by a blade, another to have flesh chewed up by a Roman Ogie bit.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View teejk02's profile


481 posts in 1149 days

#4 posted 11-29-2015 11:32 PM

Not so sure about Porter Cable anymore but I’m a fan of that 690 (worked hard for probably 20 years now) and bought the combo (fixed and plunge) kit a few years later. Dewalt bought PC a few years ago and I guess their stuff is the new PC. Never been disappointed with any Bosch tool I have owned. I used to get cheap power tools for Xmas and can say that a Craftsman 1 1/2 hp router is nowhere near the equivalent of the PC (you’ll feel the difference when you hit the switch). Just MHO

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4838 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 11-29-2015 11:35 PM

Found some old comments here:

Like others I have one that is used and abused for grunt work and then two others for finer more detailed work. Never really heard of ELU, so like crank49 I looked it up. If you get a good deal try it out and post a review.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3155 days

#6 posted 11-29-2015 11:45 PM

Elu was a european tool manufacturer, bought out by Black and Decker a long time ago. It looks like they no longer make tools, because I can’t find anything through Google.

-- Gerry,

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2316 days

#7 posted 11-29-2015 11:54 PM

ELU is a European brand that used to be well respected. I haven’t heard too much about it since Festool and Mafil have taken over the spot light in recent years. My DeWalt DW625 3-hp is identical to an ELU model (don’t remember which one now) and I’ve used it in my router table for 20-years without any problems and love it. I’d check to make sure parts are available since this seems to be the area giving the most problems in recent years. Good luck but you might check the current lines of DeWalt and Bosh.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1619 days

#8 posted 11-30-2015 12:03 AM

I would say get the plunge for versatility. Most likely if you’re anything like the rest of us you’ll have a collection of routers in no time.

If you’re going to be doing stuff on a regular basis that would benefit from more power than go with the fixed based. Otherwise get the plunge for the first one.

If you can afford both I would get the plunge and use it for hand routing and the fixed in a table.

View Phil's profile


10 posts in 944 days

#9 posted 11-30-2015 12:03 AM

I really appreciate all of the input. Maybe I will look into Makita. I have done some research and does hp really matter?

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2423 days

#10 posted 11-30-2015 12:10 AM

Porter Cable and Dewalt routers have had proven performance for a long time.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View rwe2156's profile


2962 posts in 1504 days

#11 posted 11-30-2015 01:25 AM

I think the first major question you need to answer is will it be used in a router table.

I have several routers 3 of them are porter cables both plunge and standard base. One I keep a modified edge guid on. I like the D handle. I think this is the ONE PC tool you still can’t go wrong with. Everything else PC makes has gone down in quality.

I have a 3HP Hitachi M12V in my router table and have gotten good use out of it for many years.
I will have to replace it soon and I’m looking strongly at the Triton.

I have an old BD that collects dust it is really just a piece of junk so stay away from any router with a rack and pinion height adjustment.

I think having a small router like the Bosch Colt is extremely handy. I have the DeWalt model and the base adjustment is crap, so unless they’ve redesigned it, I can’t recommend that model.

I would definitely stay away from off brands like ELU. The 110V may be fine but I don’t know why anyone would want a 220V router. Personally the onlly other routers besides PC I would ever buy is either DeWalt or Bosch but I think Makita and Milwaukee are both good tool brands.

My recommendation is start with the PC combo kit plus a small router like the Colt.
You’ll be off and running.

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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2995 days

#12 posted 12-04-2015 02:32 AM

I will ad one small point.
If this turns into something you do often, you will eventually will want to put the router in a table or may need some acessories.
Acessories are almost always easy to find for PC, Bosch or Dewalt routers.

View bkseitz's profile


295 posts in 1334 days

#13 posted 12-04-2015 04:18 PM

@Phil, I’m a newbie also—well maybe a tiny bit more experienced than that. I’ve came to the conclusion that there is no ultimate router. All have pluses and minuses.

I originally purchased a craftsman 2hp Professional Router and Table. It was ok but found the quality and stability lacking. After that I bought a PC 690 set (fix and plunge bases) a few years ago.

The PC 690 is still my go to router of choice, only being replaced recently by a DeWalt Compact Router set. This change was not due to disfavor of the PC but rather the ease of use of the Compact Router for the sign making I’ve been doing the past year. I had purchased a Rockler signmaking template to create signs around my property. The Compact Router is much easier to control for this work than the PC. Saying that I wouldn’t use the Compact for bigger projects (e.g., cabinet work) nor use the PC or Craftsman 2HP for letter-making on signs.

My current activity—which has been on hold for a while due to other priorities—is building a Router Table to replace the system I originally purchased from Sears. It will likely be powered by either a 2HP or 3HP router as anything less will be underpowered (I’ve been told by others with way more experience than me). My major plans for the table are to build raised panels for doors, cabinets, etc. The link is above is to a project blog by @Mork I’ve been learning a lot about router tables from.

I’m fairly new to the Lumberjocks community but I think you’ll find its a community rich with knowledge and opinion ;-) I certainly have. Welcome

-- bkseitz, Washington "if everything is going well, you've obviously overlooked something"

View HokieKen's profile


5217 posts in 1162 days

#14 posted 12-04-2015 07:14 PM

I have a PC 690 fixed based (1.75 hp) and a PC 7539 plunge (3.25 hp). The big boy stays table mounted most of the time and the 690 gets used for most free hand jobs.

To answer your question

I have done some research and does hp really matter?

- Phil

Yes and no. There is a VERY noticable difference between the 2 routers I have when hogging out lots of wood. The 7539 will chew through whatever I throw at it. On the other hand, it’s a big SOB and is much harder to handle when off the table than the 690 which is a pure dream for small cuts and flushing up edges.

So, yes hp does matter, but that doesn’t mean more hp is better for the work you’ll be doing. How big a router you need comes down to what you’re going to be cutting and how you’ll be cutting it. If you’re doing sign work like blseitz, you’ll want something small and relatively lightweight. If you’re hogging out 2” mortises in furniture, you’ll want something with some beef.

FWIW, I highly recommend both of the PC routers I have. If I were buying a new one now, and it was going to be my only router, I’d get one that has both fixed and plunge bases. I’d also insist on variable speed and soft-start if it’s going to be used for hand routing. And I’d steer clear of off-brands.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Forza's profile


2 posts in 1015 days

#15 posted 12-05-2015 09:20 AM

A note about the HP question. The benefit of a high HP is more about running larger bits safely. To do this – you beed to bring the outer ring speed of the bit down. via a variable speed router. (think door panel bits). You use the extra HP to drive those bits at a sane speed and prevent damage.

One other thing to the OP, make sure you start your bit collection on 1/2” shank

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