Choosing a Router

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by BLSawdust posted 11-25-2007 09:57 PM 8501 views 1 time favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BLSawdust's profile


2 posts in 4011 days

11-25-2007 09:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router question

I want to add a router to my inventory of tools and I’m looking for some suggestions. I’ve never used a router before but would like to use it for finishing the edges on my furniture (premade moulding gets expensive quick and the choices are limited) and making some signs. I’m sure once I get one I find many more uses for it such as dovetailing and such. These are my preferences:
  • Both plunge and fixed bases
  • Ability to use both 1/4 and 1/2 inch bits
  • Easy to find accessories (edge guide, circle cutter, etc)
  • Work with commercially available router tables (until I figure out what suits me best and then I’ll build my own)

Currently I’m looking at the Craftsman 28984 and the Bosch 1617EVSPK I would like to stay around the $200 mark but I can go higher if needed. I also realize I’ll spend several more dollars on some good bits.

I’m also looking at getting the SignPro Signmaking Template as something to play with and help me get comfortable with the router.

Thanks for sharing your experience and expertise!

34 replies so far

View ben's profile


158 posts in 4046 days

#1 posted 11-25-2007 10:09 PM

I have the smaller Triton, and built a table for it and have loved it so far in that capacity—it even comes with a handle for raising and lowering… but I’ve never used anything else, and I’ve only used it once for hand routing (haven’t even used the plunging yet). I runs $200 at amazon, and got high marks from FWW last year (which was a large influencing reason why I chose it).

Triton MOFO01KC


View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4050 days

#2 posted 11-25-2007 10:40 PM

I have Porter Cable dual base and Rigid dual base routers which are both in your price range, and I think meet all your criteria. If I were to choose from the two routers you are considering, I would pick the Bosch without hesitation. Craftsman makes pretty good yard equipment, but I’ve been less than impressed with any of their shop equipment.

-- -- --

View USCJeff's profile


1064 posts in 4243 days

#3 posted 11-25-2007 11:37 PM

I’m betting you’ll get a bunch of responses on this thread. Popular debate as we all love our router(s). My first router was a Skil Combo that met all your qualificationsa minus the 1/2” collet. However, it was terrible. I was given a Dewalt 616PK and have had no limitations other than it being single speed. You can’t use bits that are very wide (lock-miter, raised panel, etc. . ) at full speed. I used it in a Craftsman table for a while until I built my own. I’ve used Porter Cable routers and love them. I’d think hard about the 892 series. Reasonable price and available at Lowe’s. I have avoided Craftsman lately. I’m too young to know them being a great tool maker, but have bought some poor tools by them. They’ve made a nice Hybrid Tablesaw I here though, so who knows.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4138 days

#4 posted 11-26-2007 01:20 AM

It seems like this discussion comes up about every month or so. I have a Bosch 1617 dual base that I use in my Jessom FX insert in the table, a 3 1/4 horse Makita plunge router that mostly makes dados, a fixed base Milwaulkee that mostly does dovetails but does some edge work on cabinets, a smaller Makita that is fixed in my over arm plunge router, a Bosch Colt that we use to trim laminate but is getting used more and more when I want a smaller handy router, a router plunge base for the Dremel tool and oh, yeah a Craftman in a case under the table that I have never gotten out. My son-in-law left it here. I probably could use a couple more if I could sneak them past Carleen. Now, what was your question? Be sure to get a good instruction book by a good author on the subject of routers.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4057 days

#5 posted 11-26-2007 04:51 PM

Like a lot of guys, I have several routers (5). Having more than one is not a waste, so don’t freak if you don’t get the exact one you ever wanted on the first try.

A 3hp or so is really nice to do some serious routing, but is a very large tool to balance on the edges of boards etc. I usually leave my big guy in the table. Soft start and variable speed is nice to wind up this large of a motor.

A 2hp or so is a good medium size for general work, and a smaller one is nice for more delicate inlay and trim work. I love my Bosch medium size for general work, I find that I really like the variable speed feature, and it feels like I can control it. I bought it a few years ago from CPO Bosch as a factory reconditioned, and would do it again. One disadvantage is the downdraft of air will let you see what you are routing, but kind of sprays sawdust (this is true of PCs also).

A half inch collet used with quality half inch shank bits will really be noticeable. Try a Whiteside bit from and you will be spoiled for life. I seriously recommend doing this.


Edit: I just noticed that CPO has that Bosch kit as a recon for $20 cheaper.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4041 days

#6 posted 11-27-2007 12:06 AM

Didn’t Popular Mechanics just do a spread about routers?

Oh, here it is:


-- He said wood...

View sarge's profile


58 posts in 4044 days

#7 posted 11-27-2007 12:49 AM

Danny, Woodcraft on 87th and I-35 has a Freud var. 3 1/4hp for $130.00 I have never tried one but worth a look at that price. I have a Porter Cable. It cuts look a mad man but the design on a couple of things has me scratching my head. Good luck.


View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4056 days

#8 posted 11-27-2007 01:45 AM

the first advice id give since youve never used a router is , its a dangerous tool most all routers work off an on / off switch not a trigger actuated switch. id make a strict habit of checking the switch before plugging the tool in . most guys i know that have been injured by a router was because they plugged it in when the switch had been inadvertantly bumped into the on position . i have maybe 15 routers about 10 porter cable they give me good service and some of them have been trouble free for 10 or more years . i like the bosch colt for my small bits the only router i dont like is a dewalt plunge i recently threw it in the dumpster and im rid of it forever

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4050 days

#9 posted 11-27-2007 02:22 AM

I have the Bosch 1617 and I love everything about it and would recommend it. Tool reviews speak highly of the Triton lately, I noticed.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4166 days

#10 posted 11-27-2007 02:26 AM

I’m looking for one too. I noticed recently the Freud has a nice one on sale, but due to a “swiss cheese” memory…what were we talking about?

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4229 days

#11 posted 11-27-2007 02:53 AM

From what I’ve read you really can’t go wrong with the Bosch. Besides, who can argue with Blake. lol
I’ve got the Ridgid 2930 and a Porter Cable 892. I use the Ridgid more because I’ve had it longer and I’m more familiar with it. It’s got some nice features like dust collection and a lighted plug end for safety. It’s also got above the table height adjustment. The magazines I’ve read that have tested it gripe about difficulty in changing bits because of the small collet lock. They also don’t like the on/off switch location. After using it for 9 months, none of that’s really a problem because I’m used to it. Two other good things is that the collet runout is only .001” and also that a lot of the porter cable stuff such as edge guides also fit it. I don’t really have any gripes about the Porter Cable, the little bit I’ve used it, it has done what I’ve asked. Presently I’m looking for a 3 1/4 hp for my router table and I’m leaning toward the Triton due to the supposed ease of changing bits and the low collet runout. (.0007” as tested in Fine Woodworking in the 2 1/4 hp model in the Jan/Feb issue of 2007) However, the Freud for 130.00 is hard not to ignore. Just my .02$. Oh and welcome to Lumberjocks, the best wood working site there is.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4164 days

#12 posted 11-27-2007 11:30 AM

I have 6 routers. All Porter Cable. I have never had one fail.

You can get accessories for them at virtually all stores. You can get a Model: 863PK with fixed and plunge base for under $200 at Lowes. 1/4” and 1/2” collets. Soft start and variable speed also.


-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4041 days

#13 posted 11-27-2007 04:45 PM

That Bosch is going around $215 right now at different online shops. You can also get a factory reconditioned one on ebay (if your into that sort of thing) for around $170.

The Bosch is definitely the one I would go for if buying one myself. Personally, I’d advise against the Craftsman. I have one of those and I really don’t like it. Spend the money on a better tool.


-- He said wood...

View che's profile


123 posts in 4201 days

#14 posted 11-27-2007 05:01 PM

Check out Popular Woodworking June 07 for an excellent review of the two base router kits. The Milwaukee 5616-24, Bosch 1617EVSPK, DeWalt DW618PK and Porter Cable 893PK all did well. I have the Milwaukee and absolutely love it.

-- Che.

View olddutchman1's profile


69 posts in 2587 days

#15 posted 11-02-2011 02:25 PM

I have used Craftsman all My life, I am 67, so it has been a while. I still have My first one bought in the late 60’s Still running well. I have had good service from them . Just for the record!

-- Saved! and so gratefull.Consider Who Created it All

showing 1 through 15 of 34 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics