Need help deciding on a new router

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Forum topic by Josh posted 04-05-2010 07:42 PM 1421 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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106 posts in 3258 days

04-05-2010 07:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router advice

This weekend I was working on a bookcase and my little craftsman router that I got at a yardsale for $10 died on me. So, I’m in the market for a new router and am coming to the experts for advice.

First of all a little about the use -I’m a newbie so right now I use my router for dado’s/rabbets mostly or for mortising. -For this bookcase I’d like to do some sort of molding or whatever at the top and bottom (what is that called, is molding right?) -I do have a table where I’d like to mount the router but it definitely won’t live under the table -My craftsman router was REALLY loud so itd be nice if this new one wasn’t quite as loud

My research has been the reviews on this site and amazon. I have maybe $160 that I can spend without my wife freaking out on me so…

My options (if you have any additional recommendations I’d be happy to listen)

Milwaukee 5615-24 which is the 1 3/4 combo pack for $160
Hitachi KM12VC which is a 2 1/4 combo pack $160

or maybe
Porter Cable 690LR 11amp fixed base router for $130

What say ye? Do I go combo pack up front since buying an adapter afterward is almost as much as the pack?

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

11 replies so far

View Michael Murphy's profile

Michael Murphy

453 posts in 3241 days

#1 posted 04-05-2010 08:01 PM

You can always use a larger router for smaller things but it’s real hard to use a small router for larger things. Get as large a one as you can without sacrificing quality. I always seem to buy Porter Cable. The last one I found on Ebay from a pawn shop. 2 1/2 hp, VS Plunge router, hardly used for $130 including shipping. If you have a few days, Ebay or Craigslist is a good place to check. If you find one, be ready to jump on it.

Here's one.

Porter Cable is a good quality router, Milwaulkee should be as well. I would definitely try for a plunge router with a base that accepts template guides if you are using it for mortising at all.

-- Michael Murphy, Woodland, CA.

View BOB67CAM's profile


269 posts in 3307 days

#2 posted 04-05-2010 08:17 PM

im not sure if your interested with staying with craftsman or not but possibly another option for you this is what i bought back in december, its 120, but it was on sale for 80 something
this could kill a couple birds with 1 stone for you as you could leave 1 base in the router table and just use the other base for hand routeing
this router also has the soft start feature which is awesome! even if left on the bench and if u say took it out of the router table which has a switch so u left the router on when u plugged it in (done it a few times now) it wont jump off the bench, in fact it wont move at all from the spot it was
also i should mention that the fixed base has a great hieght adjustment on it with the exception if its upside down i.e. in a router table it doesnt wont very well, but upright it does great
i didnt mean to throw more options at you to think about but u mentioned price was an issue and this 1 would seem to fit the bill

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

View BOB67CAM's profile


269 posts in 3307 days

#3 posted 04-05-2010 08:21 PM

oops double post

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

View knotscott's profile


8174 posts in 3611 days

#4 posted 04-05-2010 08:38 PM

You may want to consider a two router approach…one for table use, and one for hand use. The desirable features for each are very different. Variable speed, good power, and above table conveniences are great for a router table. For hand use, good balance and light weight are often more desirable. Even if you don’t buy two routers now, you might want to make your choice now with the intention adding a second router down the road.

I have the MW5615 and the Hitachi M12VC…both nice routers for different reasons. The MW5615 is a built like a tank, has the BodyGrip feature, and an excellent plunge base. The M12VC is light, quiet, well balanced, and has variable speed. Either of these or the PC690 you mentioned would be great hand routers.

For table router I like routers like the Milwaukee 5625, Hitachi M12V2, Freud FT1700/FT3000, Triton, PC7518, etc….all are variable speed, but the two Freud routers and the Triton routers have easy above table bit changes that most do not have.

Be sure to get 1/4” and 1/2” collets, and be sure whatever router you choose for hand use feels good to you.

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

View BreakingBoardom's profile


615 posts in 3317 days

#5 posted 04-05-2010 08:54 PM

If you can only get one, I’d reccommend getting a plunge router. I have only a fixed router and wish I had a plunge. My fixed router works fine in my router table, but for hand routing the plunge capability would come in handy, especially for mortising.

-- Matt -

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3246 days

#6 posted 04-05-2010 09:53 PM

Have been using the Hitachi M12VC as my main router (mostly handheld). It is a champ and a great value, not to mention fairly quiet for a router. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Once I got to the point that I wanted a dedicated router table, I was considering a fancy lift for the Hitachi. The cost was almost unjustifiably high, and ultimately I decided just getting another router (Triton 2-1/4) that offered above-the-table adjustments and bit changes was the better (and cheaper) option.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3345 days

#7 posted 04-05-2010 10:25 PM

I bought the Ridgid combo plunge/fixed base kit for about $200.00. This is a few bucks over your “wife freakout” limit :) but you can tell her that Ridgid offers a lifetime service agreement and this router would set you well for a very long time.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Josh's profile


106 posts in 3258 days

#8 posted 04-09-2010 04:56 PM

Just thought I’d give an update. I found a deal on the rigid combo, got the plunge and fixed base, the motor, a set of the rigid guide bushings, 2 router bits and then the bag and all that comes with the combo for $140. Its used but only 6 months old so I feel like I got a great deal. Thanks everyone for all the input.

-- Josh, South Jordan Utah

View b2rtch's profile


4868 posts in 3284 days

#9 posted 04-09-2010 05:00 PM

’ Milwaukee 5615-24 which is the 1 3/4 combo pack for $160”
I have this one and I ma delighted with it.
I use the fixed base in my table with out any riser and it works just fine, I leave the fixed base in the table and I use the plunger base for everything else.

-- Bert

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3410 days

#10 posted 04-09-2010 05:40 PM

I’m hesitant … although … clearly not TOO hesitant ;-) ... to chime in here, because MY knowledge is mostly 2nd-hand, but …

LOTS of people seem to be really down on the quality of the newer P-C routers—clearly, once the dominant name in routers. I’ve read LOTS of this sort of opinion from LONG-time PC fans.

That’s worth less than you paid for it.

That said, my Milwaukee is a BEAST. Pretty sure I could put an ogee in rebar with that thing. Also heard great things about the Hitachi line.

Good luck, either way !!

-- -- Neil

View jm82435's profile


1285 posts in 3978 days

#11 posted 04-09-2010 05:44 PM

Milwaukee 5615-24 is on sale often at for ~$100 + free shipping. Sign up for their email if you dare. (if you are like me you end up buying something just because you cannot believe the price – yeah, I bought one ( I have 10 routers already), and a $30 dewalt ros kit (already had one of those too) and a Makita grinder for $35 and…) sheesh. Somebody stop me… (no, I am not affiliated with them in any way)

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

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