what router to buy

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Forum topic by woodman71 posted 09-06-2010 03:30 AM 1824 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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162 posts in 2745 days

09-06-2010 03:30 AM

I’m looking for a new router that has variable speed and is 2 1/4 or more horse power. I’m been looking at makita , porter cable, and dewalt . I have four routers none have variable speed looking at dewalt DW618PK and I think that one not to bad but I’m not to crazy about the fact that the router base can change form a fix to a plunge router . I don’t know much about that would I be better to buy a router that’s a full time plunge router any input would great thank you.

8 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2495 days

#1 posted 09-06-2010 03:42 AM

I once purchased a Makita with both a fixed and plunge base. I have never put the fixed base on and I probably never will.

I use a dedicated router for my router table and that router has a fixed base. If I am only going to hand hold the router, I see no need for a fixed base.

Regarding brands, I have Makita, Porter-Cable and 2 Festools. They are all good, but the Festools are the best. If you are patient, you can often find good deals on used Festool OF 2000s on ebay. Note that this model has been replaced by the OF 2200. However, the OF 2000 is a GREAT router (lots of power) and you can often get them used for around $300.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 2611 days

#2 posted 09-06-2010 08:48 AM

In most the wood magazines the bosch wins out when they compare routers. I have the porter cable 690
one speed… The plunge base on this model is cheap, this would be in refreance to the plunge lock which
falls a part and pops it’s spring. Each time I use the router I have to check to make sure the retainer screw is
tight, but I still like the porter cable a lot. Otherwise I have a 2.25 craftsman variable speed plunge router that
is dedicated to router table, an antique craftsman variable speed, and a craftsman palm router with variable speed.

As for combo’s I think they are all top heavy when using the plunge base, I don’t mind that to much. With the porter cable I like to switch from the plunge base to the regular base when I use my dove tail jig.

Good luck with finding your new router!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2796 days

#3 posted 09-06-2010 12:51 PM

Woodman – Which is ”best” depends on your preferences and the intended usage. Is the new router for hand use or table use? For table use, above table conveniences are helpful, and plenty of power is useful for spinning bigger bits….generally a 15 amp motor will handle everything a table router will see, but that big motor can make it heavy for hand use. For hand use, comfort, lightweight, and accepting standard accessories are desirable… 9-13 amps is usually plenty for the bits you’ll be using for hand use, but will struggle more with bits like big 3” panel raisers.

It’s subjective, but my favorite hand routers are the Hitachi M12VC 11 amp (very quiet and light with ample power), or the Milwaukee 5616 13 amp (comfortable Body Grip design, very stout motor for it’s amp rating, and extremely well built). Both accept the standard bushing accessories.

My preferences for table use are different than for a hand router….I like the convenient above table features of the Freud FT3000 (15 amp), FT1700 (13 amp) and Triton routers …a long collet and auto spindle lock provides easy one handed above table bit changes without removing the insert, above table height adjust and lock access. I also like the Milwaukee 5626 as a workhorse …it’s built like a tank, and has above table height adjust, but like most others, it lacks the easy one handed bit changes that the Freud and Tritons have.

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

View iamwelty's profile


254 posts in 2536 days

#4 posted 09-06-2010 01:27 PM

Triton all the way!!

-- There is a fine line between eroticism and nausea...

View Ripthorn's profile


1402 posts in 2406 days

#5 posted 09-06-2010 01:37 PM

I have the bosch 1617EVSPK and love it. It can be switched from fixed to plunge and both work well. I actually use the fixed when hand held a good bit and works great. The fixed base also has a top adjust mechanism if you mount it in a table. It is 2 1/4 and the only time it has bogged or anything is with a really cheap old bit.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2855 days

#6 posted 09-06-2010 03:50 PM

There are many excellent routers out there. I own the ones I have listed and would not hesitate to recommend them for function, service and dependability.

Milwaukee 5625-20 15 Amp 3-1/2-Horsepower Fixed Base Variable Speed Router with T-Handle Height Adjustment Wrench
If you want a powerhouse heavy duty “tank” under your router table, then this is it.
Hitachi M12VC 2-1/4-Horsepower Variable-Speed Router
Well built, reasonably priced router with long warranty
Hitachi M12V2 15 amp 3-1/4-Horsepower Plunge Base Variable Speed Plunge Router with 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch Collets
Awesome powerful router with long warranty
Freud FT3000VCE 3-1/4-Horsepower Variable Speed Plunge Router
Great router I use for table mounted Pin router for pattern cutting -will handle anything you throw at it.

Porter-Cable 690LR 11 Amp Fixed-Base Router
Good old reliable router, nothing special, but it’s handy to have for jobs where your “big guns” are are already setup for other specific tasks.

Good luck in your search for the ideal router suited to the tasks you require of it.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View TheWoodNerd's profile


288 posts in 2612 days

#7 posted 09-06-2010 04:57 PM

I have the big Triton and the Freud FT3000VCE.

Overall, I love the Triton. The gross adjustment knob makes for super-fast depth changes and with a simple click of the center button becomes completely free-sliding. Once you’re close, the fine adjustment knob allows you to tweak the depth exactly.

Two minor gripes about the Triton. One, the soft-start isn’t all that soft, but it’s not a sudden start either. Two, it’s a little noisy.

One major gripe: I find the power switch unnecessarily clumsy. You sorta get used to it, but I vastly prefer the Freud trigger grip.

The Triton makes an awesome table-mount router. In a table, the three flaws I listed above are mostly irrelevant, with a remote switch the only time you have to mess with the power switch is when changing bits (the spindle won’t lock when the power switch is on).

The Freud is a really nice router, lots of power. The start is super soft. I find it a little top-heavy and the handles a bit high, I find that I need to be very careful not to tip it while edge-routing.

The one thing that really drives me nuts about the Freud is the fine-adjust on the depth. You can’t move the head by sliding and then use the fine-adjust. You must crank the fine-adjust all the way to where you want to be, then crank it all the way back out when you’re done.

The Triton is a winner in my router table, but the Freud is going to be replaced soon. Probably with the mid-level Festool.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View webwood's profile


626 posts in 2671 days

#8 posted 09-06-2010 06:19 PM

for table mount the bosch 1619 evs 3 1/4 is a beast – above table bit changes , under table micro adjust , and the plunge springs can be disabled for mounting

-- -erik & christy-

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