Variable speed router?

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Forum topic by DirtyMike posted 02-28-2016 04:29 AM 449 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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383 posts in 322 days

02-28-2016 04:29 AM

Hello jocks, I am about to purchase a couple of routers, a trim router and a 3 1/4 hp plunge router. how important is variable speed on bigger routers? The 3 1/4 hp will be my workhorse for mortises and templates. I already feel like the variable speed is worth 50 bucks more. thanks

6 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


966 posts in 873 days

#1 posted 02-28-2016 05:03 AM

If you intend to swing big bits in that big router VS is a must. Most big bits (over 1” dia) will come with a ‘max RPM’ spec that needs to be observed. The bigger the bit the slower the RPMs.


-- Madmark -

View DirtyMike's profile


383 posts in 322 days

#2 posted 02-28-2016 05:38 AM

thanks mark, seems like i have forgotten about physics.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


779 posts in 2424 days

#3 posted 02-28-2016 01:55 PM

You absolutely want VS! I always run mine at what seems like the lowest appropriate speed. Varies depending on the bit size and even the material, since some woods burn easily at higher speeds.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

289 posts in 1882 days

#4 posted 02-28-2016 02:07 PM

Flexibility is always a good thing. I am leaning more towards getting a shaper with router insert and doing away with a router table…or getting one as a leaf on my table saw.

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1445 days

#5 posted 02-29-2016 08:21 AM

I went from a router table to a shaper (older Jet 2 hp), and haven’t regretted it. Induction motors are quieter and more powerful (regardless of claimed “horsepower” on universal motors). Some say the highest speed of most shapers (1100 rpm) won’t give as smooth a cut as a high speed router, but I used router bits often and have not noticed any lessening of cut quality. But maybe my standards are too low.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Ger21's profile


1047 posts in 2551 days

#6 posted 02-29-2016 01:40 PM

A 3-1/4 HP router can get tiring pretty quickly when your holding it in your hands. You might want to consider a 2-1/4 HP plunge router for handheld work, and a 3-1/4 for a router table.

I highly recommend variable speed for every router you own.

-- Gerry,

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