What is Your Favorite Router and Why?

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Forum topic by pintodeluxe posted 01-11-2012 09:43 PM 4411 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5798 posts in 3019 days

01-11-2012 09:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router bosch craftsman dewalt freud hitachi porter cable triton routers router table tool power tool tools

My favorite tool in the woodshop is a router – it always has been. From the first 5/8 hp Black and Decker I ever laid my hands on I realized this is a tool with unmatched versatility. From inlays, to pattern routing, or just a simple edge profile – these tools can do it all.

So what is your favorite router and why? Also, what routers have you tried that you didn’t like?

For me I like the Freud FT1700 fixed base in my router table. At 13 amps it has enough power to raise panels, and the above-the-table adjustments are quite convienent.
For my hand router I really like the Dewalt DW618 three base kit. It comes with a fixed base, plunge base, and a D handle base. The fixed base has a low squat stance and is very stable for edge profiling or dovetailing. The plunge base offers through-the-post dust collection and works as well as any dedicated plunge router I have used. The D handle puts a locking switch at your fingertips, and sets the handles in a wide “V” configuration which is very stable.
Routers that havn’t worked for me are the Hitachi M12V 3.25 hp plunge. The 1/4” sleeve-type collet wouldn’t hold a router bit. Even after replacing the collet, sleeve, and bit the position of the bit would frequently slip.
An old Craftsman fixed base 1hp router failed me when it would no longer hold the depth setting. But it was old and well-used.

I would be particularly interested in any feedback on the Porter Cable 890 with the vac-post handle. That looks like a nice setup as well.

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

31 replies so far

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2600 days

#1 posted 01-11-2012 09:49 PM

Having only owned one so far I may be a poor judge, however, I have had it for over 10 years. Its actually the M12V that didn’t work for you! :-) That beast of a router has been in table and hand use for me and its always had power to spare. To be honest, I have never used 1/4” bits and so far haven’t had the need to. The router is a little heavy for hand use though.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View JStew's profile


21 posts in 2540 days

#2 posted 01-11-2012 09:59 PM

I only have 2 routers. One is an old Master Mechanic router with a plunge base and it works good for me, although it is hard to find accessories for it at the major stores. I also picked up the Craftsman combo router a while back and have used it in my table and free hand on multiple occasions. It works great! I may have to pick up another router just for plunge work, but that won’t be soon.

-- Josh, San Diego

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2898 days

#3 posted 01-11-2012 10:21 PM

I’ve got a bunch of them but my favorite is probably my trusty PC690. Nothing fancy, just reliable. I like my big Freud plunge for above the table stuff and my big Triton for under the table stuff.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3157 days

#4 posted 01-11-2012 10:23 PM

I have a PC 690 I keep in the router table. It was my dad’s and has lasted me a while. That puppy is workhorse.

Last year I was given an old Craftsman router—who knows how old it is—the motor sparks a little but it does free hand work well since I can leave my PC 690 in the table.

I’ve never shopped around for a new router, so sorry to disappoint. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5135 posts in 4166 days

#5 posted 01-11-2012 10:56 PM

Makita 1/4” plunger was my first. Use it for light duty work. Next is the PC 609 w/ fixed and plunge bases. Use it for the DT jig and hand held stuff. Table work is done with a Freud 2 1/4 hp 13 amp VS. It adjusts from the top (in the table). Like ‘em all, and have no probs with any of them.


View Manitario's profile


2691 posts in 3088 days

#6 posted 01-11-2012 10:59 PM

My mid-sized Triton; it is my router table workhorse; plenty of power and it’s so convenient having the ability to do above table depth adjustment. Just bought the Dewalt DW612; also a very good router, small enough to do one handed trimming with, but powerful and easy to adjust.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3157 days

#7 posted 01-11-2012 11:03 PM

Can’t wait to see what A1Jim has to say. :-)

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Bill Rickvalsky's profile

Bill Rickvalsky

23 posts in 2615 days

#8 posted 01-11-2012 11:14 PM

I’ve got that Hitachi M12V in my router table and have been very happy with the performance. Never tried using 1/4” bits in it though so I couldn’t comment on your problems with that. This beast is a little heavy for hand work outside of the router table but I have used it that way on a few rare occasions. Only problem I had with it is the handles are a bit fragile. I had to replace one that broke with what I thought was a minor bump. I’ve been extra careful ever since.

I’ve got an old Craftsman 1 HP 1/4” router that I use for hand work because it is lighter and easier to manipulate but I’ve never tried to push this router too hard.

I am looking at the Bosch 2 HP as a possible replacement for the Craftsman because it has a little more oomph and can handle 1/2” bits.

-- Bill--Genuine, verified, certified, card carrying amateur at just about everything.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3280 days

#9 posted 01-11-2012 11:18 PM

I own 5 routers. Without question, my favorite is the Festool OF 1400 EQ. It has the right weight, power, balance, etc. and everything works very smoothly. Micro adjusting the depth of plunge is easy. One great feature that I have not seen on any router is their ratchet approach to bit exchanges. You place a wrench on the nut, hold down a button and loosen or tighten with a ratchet motion. Very slick.

As much as I like this router, I am not sure I would buy one if I could not find a good used one at a good price. They are expensive. As great as mine is, I am not 100% certain that I would pay full price for a new one. I also like a Makita of a comparable size and the Makita is less than half the price.

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

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2881 days

#10 posted 01-11-2012 11:24 PM

I have owned a Craftsman 1hp commercial router for 40 years and it has been a work horse for me. I cuts anything you throw at it. That was when a hp was closer to a hp than it is today. I like it because it has the trigger in the handle and I feel those are safer. When a motor turns 25,000 rpm you don’t want to tangle a bit in the front of your T shirt. I have used other Craftsman router and some that I just plain don’t want. One has a different base and the lock on the arbor is plastic. It is just not a good router. I have used PC routers. Some are okay with the D handle but not as comfortable as the Craftsman. I don’t like routers with 2 knob handles at the base and the toggle switch at the top part of the motor. Those jerk around when you start them. Just a preference like everything else.

View Newage Neanderthal's profile

Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2756 days

#11 posted 01-11-2012 11:25 PM

I got the Ridgid 2 1/4 combo pack, can’t remember last time i used it, it’s in the bag on a shelf somewhere. By far my favorite router these days is my Veritas. Still haven’t gotten around to making a table for it.

K, sorry to be the hand tool jerk, just couldn’t resist.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3157 days

#12 posted 01-11-2012 11:29 PM

LOL, I’d love to see a table for a router plane. I’ve been wanting to get a router plane and have bid on a few on ebay, but alas.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View canadianchips's profile


2613 posts in 3202 days

#13 posted 01-11-2012 11:29 PM

That answer would be like choosing which ”Child is my favorite”......Of the 18 routers and 6 router tables…...I like them all equally. Each one has it’s own purpose !(I don’t like changing bits)
Funny thing is…..I’m leaning towards only using non powered tools… those nine 9,(stanleys, millar falls, sargents) #71’s, 271 and one shop made brass one count too.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3131 days

#14 posted 01-12-2012 01:57 AM

I also have a few routers (Festool, PC, Makita, Milwaukee) and Jessem router tables, however my current favorite is the Festool MFK 700 trim router, easy to control and use on edging and I really like the ergonomic grip.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View knotscott's profile


8154 posts in 3581 days

#15 posted 01-12-2012 02:01 AM

I’ve owned 8 or 9 (old Cman, Freud FT2000E, PC690, Bosch 1617, Hitachi M12VC, Freud FT1700, Milwaukee 5615 kit, Milwaukee 5625, and Hitachi M12V), and my favorite is probably the FT1700 too….love the topside features. One handed topside bit changes without as much as removing the insert is great. I’m also pretty fond of my Milwaukee 5615, 5625, and Hitachi M12VC…the 5615 has a great plunger and the BodyGrip design is good, the MW5625 is a beast, and the M12VC is light, quiet, and capable, and happen to run me $67 shipped.

My Linksys WRT54G has it’s moments too!

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

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