What router do people use when building a router table

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Forum topic by WhoMe posted 02-25-2012 05:10 AM 4999 views 1 time favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1564 posts in 3419 days

02-25-2012 05:10 AM

I am looking into building a router table and am wondering which router has been a a useful choice for them.
As much as I would like to get a router lift at the same time, finances currently do not allow that. So it will be just a plate for now but a lift would be an upgrade in the future.
So, with that in mind, I am looking for recommendations on a midsized router (2 to 2.5 hp) that works well in a table. One of the main items I want is the ability to adjust it from the top of the table. I have seen where the Bosch and Rigid can be adjusted via a key/wrench through the base when installed in a table.
I am most likely going to keep that router in the table as I already have a 3+ hp plunge router and a 1hp trim router. So, I will not need a kit with the fixed and plunge bases.

So for those who built their own router table without a router lift, what router did you use?

Thanks for any recommendations or insight you can pass along.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

39 replies so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 3226 days

#1 posted 02-25-2012 05:51 AM

I built mine usuing an old Craftsman Commercial and when it crapped out, I replaced it with a Ryobi 1 1/2 hp 1/4”. It works fine for me. The Bosch evs 1617 is a great router. Frankly, I wouldn’t look any farther, but they’re all good. Go to for the best deal. Get a factory recon tool with new warranty for a good bit less. I have this one with both bases for handheld work and it is smooth and powerful.

If you haven’t made up your mind about a table design, go to Finewoodworking and look up the article “A Versitile Router Table” by Kevin McLaughlin in the Mar/Apr 2004 issue. The name says it all. I built that 6 years ago and have found nothing it won’t do.

For your very own low buck router lift, go to an look at his two lifts—one of which can be tilted under the table.


-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2508 days

#2 posted 02-25-2012 06:06 AM

Check out Matthias Wandels router lift.
I have plans to make one using the Harbor Freight router. In his lift he uses a Mastercraft(Canadian tire brand) router.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2462 days

#3 posted 02-25-2012 06:19 AM

I bought the Dewalt 618 three base kit, and threw the fixed base into my table. That leaves the plunge base and d-handle for hand routing. The only downside of course is that I have to swap the motor out when I switch from the table to the plunge base, for example. Otherwise, the Dewalt is a good performer. Oh, and the Bench Dog aluminum insert (group 1) was a perfect fit.

-- John, BC, Canada

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3186 days

#4 posted 02-25-2012 07:01 AM

The 2.25hp Triton is worth considering for table use. I despise using the thing handheld, and it doesn’t feel to be as robustly built as I like, but for the money it’s a pretty good router to leave under the table. It has above the table bit changes and height changes. I’ve planned to upgrade to a 7518 + lift when budget allows, but so far I haven’t felt the need. It also has a dust collection port built into its base which can be handy for table or handheld use.

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2752 days

#5 posted 02-25-2012 07:23 AM

My first choice today in the 2HP range would be the bosch 1617evs or the porter cable 890. Both have above the table adjustments.

I use a 690 in my router table; no need for a lift IMHO, though I do want to put it in a nice router plate.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Redcloud's profile


32 posts in 2514 days

#6 posted 02-25-2012 07:38 AM

Bosch 1617evs, here. Installed and it looks great but I’m still waiting to use it!

View jdmaher's profile


437 posts in 2755 days

#7 posted 02-25-2012 11:10 AM

I use the 2 1/4 hp Triton (for about a year now). Height adjustments and bit changes above the table, no separate lift mechanism. For me, this is a permanent installation – I wouldn’t take it out and try to use it handheld (I have a Bosch for handheld use).

I’ve never needed more power, but I understand there’s 3 1/4 hp for about $50 more.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Woodknack's profile


12401 posts in 2556 days

#8 posted 02-25-2012 11:14 AM

PC 690. I’ll probably buy a small 1/4 router so I won’t need to take it out of the table so often.

-- Rick M,

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3413 days

#9 posted 02-25-2012 11:35 AM

I just looked up the article in Fine Woodworking and found it in issue #169 on page 58. One of the projects on my to-do-list is to build a horizontal router table and this design includes plans for adding one as well as several other useful router accessories. I have two router tables now, but this design would be much more useful than the ones I have now.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Don W's profile

Don W

18990 posts in 2743 days

#10 posted 02-25-2012 03:11 PM

I use a refubed ryobi. I think it was $60 at amazon. I also built my own lift.

It might not look cool and fancy, but it works like a charm and total cost $0.

I bought the router expecting to upgrade it in a year or two. That was about 5 years ago. Its done everything I’ve asked. As for the lift, the only thing I can see different than a commercial model, I need to bend over to adjust.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5143 posts in 2669 days

#11 posted 02-25-2012 04:27 PM

Don’t overlook the Milwaukee 5616, it also has the built in table adjustment (with the fixed base).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10985 posts in 3604 days

#12 posted 02-25-2012 06:11 PM

I use a PC 7518 and a Jessem master lift. When I was considering my options I had several dozen raised panels to make. Since then it has made several hundred. I’ve never been dissatisfied with the set up.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2869 days

#13 posted 02-25-2012 06:20 PM

Triton dude here but if you’ve got the cash in a flash, Porter cable and a lift. My 2.

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

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3250 days

#14 posted 02-25-2012 06:24 PM

Please make certain that you buy a router now that will work with a lift later. Lifts are only made for a limited number of routers.

I use a PC 890 in my router table. For the first couple of years, I used it without a lift. This router can be adjusted from above the table even if you do not have a lift. It works okay in that mode.

Later I added a lift (Woodpecker) and it works GREAT with the lift. I really appreciate how precisely I can adjust the height and the ability to “pop” the router to the top for bit changes and set it back down just as quickly.

The PC 890 and 7518 are well established standard routers and with either one you can be quite certain that a lift will be available when you want one.

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

View TechRedneck's profile


769 posts in 3032 days

#15 posted 02-25-2012 06:33 PM

Like you, I did the research and decided on a 3hp Triton. No lift needed, quick bit changes, above the table adjustment, soft start, speed control. Something to consider is if you want to spin larger bits for raised panels, the extra power comes in handy. I never plan to remove it for hand use, have a couple of cheaper Ryobi’s for that.

With a router table, my hand held routers mostly sit in the cabinet.

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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