rookie needs input on which router

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Forum topic by Recurve1 posted 02-01-2016 01:51 PM 592 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 844 days

02-01-2016 01:51 PM

Never posted here – hopefully not violating rules – if so, I apologize.

Am a rookie on woodworking in general. Just purchased a bandsaw (grizzly) very happy with it. Am looking to get a router next. trying to decide between the following.

ALL ADVICE is appreciated. I ask b/c I don’t spend a lot of money on tools and I OVER analyze when making purchases to try to make the right decision. I just don’t wont to get one and it have major issues impairing performance
uses: edge work and general woodworking – plunge not needed
deciding between/among
1. porter cable 690
2. porter cable 892
3. dewalt 618
4. hitachi 12v

if you have something you want to share but prefer to post privately, please email me (
thanks in advance
matt G

12 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#1 posted 02-01-2016 02:23 PM

Those are all decent routers. It’s really a matter of preference, and how you’ll use it. If you plan to use it strictly for hand use, get which ever one feels best in your hands. If you plan to put it in a table, variable speed is nearly a must have, and ample power becomes more important….usually 10 amps and up will do. If you plan to use it for both hand and table use, I’d keep the size in the 2hp (10-13 amp range), so it has enough power but isn’t overly heavy. It’s best if you get one that accepts 1/2 shank bits.

You might consider getting the combo kit version of the routers on your list, that offer a fixed and a plunge base. I’d add the Milwaukee 5616 and the Bosch combo kits to your list of candidates…both excellent. The Hitachi KM12V is one of the lighter and quieter kits, and can be one of the better values on sale.

Set aside money for some decent bits.

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

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 2973 days

#2 posted 02-01-2016 02:28 PM

Although you saw plunge not needed, I go along with suggestion of getting kit with a fixed and plunge base. I went years without plunge base (PC 690) and, now, wouldn’t do without one.

And, as knotscott also says, definitely a 1/2” shank.

View HokieKen's profile


4998 posts in 1136 days

#3 posted 02-01-2016 03:02 PM

I have a 690 and love it. I have a large 3 1/4 hp PC that hangs in my table but I use the 690 for all handheld work unless I need to plunge something. The 690 handles extremely well and is easy to adjust the depth.

I can’t speak to any of the others since I’ve never used them. A package with a plunge and fixed base is a good idea if you even think you may need to plunge something in the future.

As above, definitely get one that takes 1/2” bits. (The 690 does but I think you have to buy the 1/2” collet separately). And don’t cheap out on good cutters. You don’t have to buy the best but don’t buy a set of 30 bits for $50 and expect good results. A lot of people (myself included) don’t figure in the layout for quality bits when they’re considering their initial investment.

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

View bearkatwood's profile


1572 posts in 1009 days

#4 posted 02-01-2016 03:06 PM

I am voting for the 690. Works well for me. I have about 16 routers, almost all Porter Cable. If you are lucky enough to find an old Made in the US one get it!

-- Brian Noel

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#5 posted 02-01-2016 03:18 PM

I have 38 routers and recommend the porter cable 691(a 690 with a “D” handle)to all of my students and it’s the one I always grab for first. Routers have lots of torque and can be hard to turn on and off and hold on to,the handle has a trigger that gives you lots of control and makes routing a lot easier.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4985 posts in 2491 days

#6 posted 02-01-2016 03:18 PM

or criteria, add my vote to the ones that say a combo kit with plunge and fixed bases. The second point about making sure it has 1/4” and 1/2” collets (no adapter sleeves) is equally important. My choice would be the Milwaukee 5616 kit, but there are several other good ones available as well.

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

View bonesbr549's profile


1548 posts in 3065 days

#7 posted 02-01-2016 03:18 PM

I cannot speak to the dewalt (but they have a good rep), or the hitachi. I’ve got the porter cable models. The 690 is tried and true and been around for a long time. For smaller work/bits it’s fine. I’ve got mine in a D-handle. It came free when I bought one of their drum sanders(big mistake). I have the 892 kit, but had some issues. Dust collection is so so at best. It’s top heavy not balanced well. It stays in the case most of the time and I rarely use it anymore. I have the 7518 in my router table and its been a horse for 10+ years.

My go to routers is my festool of1400. DC is top notch and ergonomics and features are best in class IMO. Not cheap but then you get what you pay for.

That 690 will get a lot done, the 892 will be ok and you may not mind it being top heavy. I have 7 routers and the of1400 is small stuff, and the table is used for everything possible.

Good luck!

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View Bobsboxes's profile


1367 posts in 2661 days

#8 posted 02-01-2016 03:20 PM

I have several routers, but my old 690 is still going. I might suggest to you that you get a kit with two bases, sooner or later you will want a plunge router, just my two cents.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#9 posted 02-01-2016 03:23 PM

Welcome to LJs

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Recurve1's profile


2 posts in 844 days

#10 posted 02-01-2016 03:29 PM

Great input – THANKS!!! anyone else chimes in it appreciated too. And thanks for the welcome.
best and God Bless
mat tG

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#11 posted 02-01-2016 03:35 PM

I have 38 routers ….

Well, that explains why Lowe’s is stocked out!

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

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#12 posted 02-01-2016 03:48 PM

I went there after you had been there Scott and they said that you had bought all of their saw blades :)

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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