I need to get a router...suggestions?

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Forum topic by Robert Newport posted 07-03-2011 10:23 PM 1429 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Robert Newport

21 posts in 1964 days

07-03-2011 10:23 PM

Hi, LumberJocks…
I need to get a router to step my work up to the next level and I’m hoping you guys have some suggestions for me, based on all your experience.
Here are my parameters, so far: Budget is up to $200, I don’t think I need a plunge router and I’d like to use bits with a 1/2” shank. Most of what I’m planning on doing is fixed base, but if a plunge can also be used as fixed base, is it worth it to get a plunge in case you might need that function someday?
As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated!
Robert Newport

12 replies so far

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2090 days

#1 posted 07-03-2011 10:47 PM

This is a very good price for a very good router, at Woodcraft
Triton 2 1/4 HP Plunge Router #150288
Price: $229.99
Sale! $159.99

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2062 days

#2 posted 07-03-2011 10:53 PM

I second Bubinga’s recommendation. You will like it a lot.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2497 days

#3 posted 07-03-2011 11:18 PM

it’s hard to make recommendations when it is not clear what you want to do with the new router. I’ll offer some general advice.

Routers are used either as a handheld tool or in a router table. Some people use one router both. I recommend against that unless your budget is really tight. You really want a fixed base router for a table and a plunge router for handheld use.

i strongly recommend having a good router table and using it whenever that is an option. You get much better control and accuracy when using a router table.

I think power is over-rated in importance. For most of us, 1.75 or 2.25 hp is sufficient. Furthermore, the high powered routers are heavier and harder to use in handheld situations.

I always prefer 1/2” shaft on my router bits. Bits with a 1/4” break when encountering a stressful situation.

IMO, the quality of Porter-Cable routers has gone down recently, but their routers are the standard for bushings. Many other routers require you to get an adaptor to use bushings since most bushings are made for the P-C standard.

Don’t be afraid of used.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2236 days

#4 posted 07-04-2011 02:04 AM

The best fixed based router I have found is the Dewalt 618. 2-1/4 hp, variable speed, comfortable handles, low squat stance for hand routing. It even comes in a fixed base/plunge base combo and the plunge base is great and features dust extraction. Accepts standard Porter Cable guide bushings. On sale at Lowes right now for around $160.
If you want a fixed base router that will be used in a router table, I would go with the Freud FT1700 because of the above-table adjustability.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View DonnyBahama's profile


215 posts in 1954 days

#5 posted 07-04-2011 04:39 AM

Unless you need the extra horsepower of a 3.5HP router, I think the Bosch 1617EVS is the finest router on the market. Smooth, powerful, comfortable, well-designed, nice features, and it comes with both a fixed and plunge base for around $200. Just read the reviews – here or any other site, they’re almost 100% positive.

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

View Loren's profile


8168 posts in 3070 days

#6 posted 07-04-2011 05:01 AM

In fixed base I really like the Milwaukee BodyGrip.

It’s a heavily-built router with a robust collet and, for me, a
very ergonomic and controllable feel.

Pat Warner’s website makes some excellent observations
about router choice, ergonomic and dust collection.

Here’s his opinion of the Milwaukee combo – it’s available
with or without a plunge base.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1509 posts in 3547 days

#7 posted 07-05-2011 01:51 AM

I’d get a plunge base. You can use it for fixed or not. I have a big ol’ Porter-Cable 7518 in my router table and a relatively small Festool OF1010 for handheld use, but I think a 2¼HP like the aforementioned Triton or DeWalt, especially since both of those (I think) can be easily flipped and their plunge bases used as lifts in a router table, would make a great router for a shop that’s going to have one do-it-all workhorse. You can always route slower for the smaller motor, and I’m reluctant to use something as big as my Porter Cable handheld.

Plunge is handy. You can always lock it down, but doing stopped dadoes without plunge never quite worked right for me (I used to have a Craftsman 1½HP fixed base router that I was always trying to get to do the right thing, but it never quite worked out).

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Robert Newport's profile

Robert Newport

21 posts in 1964 days

#8 posted 07-08-2011 12:45 AM

Thanks to everyone who sent in their suggestions.
All of them were excellent and I appreciate everyone’s opinion.
It turned out that I will need a plunge base, so I decided to get a combo kit for my first try at routing. After a lot of searching, I decided on a Hitachi KM12VC. The price was very good…$156, and the rating on Amazon Tools was almost 100% positive (4.5 stars with 65 reviews). I just got it today, tried out the plunge base and it works great. I’ve got some other bits coming tomorrow that I need for a cabinet door job so I’ll see how the fixed base works with those tomorrow. So far, so good, but as always…time will tell!
Thanks again, guys, for your input, especially for the information about using routers in general.
Robert Newport

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2596 days

#9 posted 07-08-2011 02:00 AM

I’d strongly recommend the Hitachi KM12VC ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Robert Newport's profile

Robert Newport

21 posts in 1964 days

#10 posted 07-08-2011 02:43 AM

Thanks Neil,
I was a little nervous not getting a model that the guys had recommended, but Amazon had some really good reviews and I needed to keep my price a little under my original budget.
Appreciate the comment!

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2090 days

#11 posted 07-09-2011 04:50 AM

I think you made a good choice, Hitachi makes some quality tools

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

View Robert Newport's profile

Robert Newport

21 posts in 1964 days

#12 posted 07-09-2011 06:13 AM

Thanks, EJ…I’m hoping it will be a good choice. It seems so at this point.
Appreciate your comment!

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