How powerful a router?

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Forum topic by Tootles posted 03-20-2012 09:15 AM 7497 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2700 days

03-20-2012 09:15 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router bosch pof 400 a

I wandered into our local second hand / pawn shop today and found something that you do not see often. A Bosch router still in its box, complete with all parts and accessories and, from the look of it, never used – all for $70. That seems quite a bargain except that it is a model POF 400 A so it only has a 400W motor. Hence my question, how powerful does a router need to be?

To assist with answers and opinions:
  • I do not currently own any router (So is any router better than none?)
  • I do have access to routers that are not my own in another workshop
  • Long term, I would prefer to have a router mounted under a table. I have ambitions to get a Triton Router and Router Table to fit onto the Triton workcentre that I already have.
  • Most likely I will be doing reasonably small projects, I do not expect my router to be a work horse that I use continuously for days on end.

Okay, over to you, opinions please.

Thank you.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

21 replies so far

View patron's profile


13640 posts in 3539 days

#1 posted 03-20-2012 09:20 AM

buy it !

i must have 8 or so routers
all different brands
with different bits in them
just like being able to use them
when i want
without changing bits

bosch is good
whatever the size
i got two little palm routers
that i use more than any others

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View degoose's profile


7244 posts in 3552 days

#2 posted 03-20-2012 09:38 AM

The small bosch is a good deal…Save up for a bigger router later but for now a small hand held will do some nice work. And you can fit it into a table top for a router table…not ideal but not bad either…
I too have multiple routers… 14 at last count… some small and some very powerful… and some POS…but for very limited use they are OK… most have bits fitted permanently…
I know A1Jim must have dozens of routers but you don’t need that many…
Back to the question…have a look at it and try it out.. if it looks like it has not be abused… should be a good buy…
Hope this is of some help

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2700 days

#3 posted 03-20-2012 10:01 AM

Degoose, it looks as though it has not even been used, let alone abused.

Okay, that’s two votes for, let’s keep counting.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2504 days

#4 posted 03-20-2012 10:29 AM

Get it, I have several routers and each one has a specific task, from small trim routers to heavy duty & plunge routers, you can never have too many. I have 2 of them permenatly mounted in tables, it males setup so much easier than going from table too handheld and back with multiple bit changes in between, you won’t be sorry.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View curliejones's profile


179 posts in 2464 days

#5 posted 03-20-2012 10:51 AM

I can sympathize with the “buy it” responses since I like to find good 2nd hand tools. Best way is to plan way ahead for what you want, educate yourself to reliable “gems” in the many tools out there, and pounce before some other opportunist does. That said, I bought a 3hp Hitachi plunge router (TR12 I think) many years ago that I was happy with and I only used it a dozen times, if that. Since those days, I’ve retired and am looking forward to a renewed woodworking effort. A lot of things have changed, either in reality or in my awareness, but router tables have become so sophisticated and manufacturers have started making router kits with dual bases. One base stays under the table and the other serves you free hand when you need a plunge router. I had an opportunity to pick up such a kit for a song and it all looked practically new. It was a Hitachi kit and I “pulled the trigger” based on my previous Hitachi experiences. I was a couple of hours from home and no research was done. Sometimes you just gotta trust your gut!

-- Like Guy Clark sez - "Sometimes I use my head, Sometimes I get a bigger hammer"

View canadianchips's profile


2613 posts in 3195 days

#6 posted 03-20-2012 12:53 PM

Buy it. You can never have too many routers.
Last count here: (18)

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

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2891 days

#7 posted 03-20-2012 12:57 PM

I go as big as I can. I like the Freud plunger and the Triton below the table. Both 3hp+

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

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3551 days

#8 posted 03-20-2012 01:29 PM

One of my first routers was a 2HP Craftsman, junk, sold it. Then I got a Bosch 1613EVS, sticky plunge action to this day but still have it. Then I got the DeWalt 2HP plunge router when it came out because of the dust collection, not a bad router. All the while a friend of my mine was touting his Porter-Cable 690. When I stumbled on a deal at ACE Hardware for the kit that included the router, regular base, and plunge base for $113 I picked one up. I now have 3 690’s, that one, another one with a regular base, and one with the D Handle base. They are my go to routers. Really like how they feel and plenty of power. Have say that friend of mine was right. Really solid router. I ran across one on clearance for $109 a couple of months ago and didn’t pick it up because I got like 9 10 routers already. Kicking myself now for not getting it. I also have the PC 3-1/4HP regular base on and the 3-1/4HP plunge base one. Good routers.

The design of the PC 690’s hasn’t changed in years. Why? Because they hit on a really good design and it worked as I found out. To the point where everybody eventually started copying it. They kept it simple, no frills, no big this is the latest gimzo you got to have it. My router table has the PC 3-1/4HP motor in it. Plenty of power to swing 3-1/2” raised panel door bits. I’m pretty sold on PC routers, the 69x’s, the 75xx’s, but not the 8xx’s.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View bondogaposis's profile


5086 posts in 2549 days

#9 posted 03-20-2012 01:46 PM

Buy it, it is always good to have more that one router around. Right now I have 3 but would like to get 2 more. You need to have one in a table and one that is not as a minimum.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 2516 days

#10 posted 03-20-2012 01:56 PM

The Bosch would make a good little trim router for free hand work. I think it’s too small to use in a router table. I buy lots of second hand tools, but you have to pay attention. You can find great deals on barely used tools, and find wore out junk that they want more than retail price for. I see lots of bigger routers for 40 or 50 bucks, sometimes even less. Even if they are scratched and dirty, they may still last for years. I don’t even think the brand name even matters that much. One thing that does matter is the collet. If it’s one with a split ferrule, instead of regular collet, don’t bother with it. I bought a Black and Decker and fought with it for years. It would change depth in the middle of the cut. I thought it was slipping through the adjustment collar. So I put sandpaper under it and tightened the heck out of it. Damn thing still changed depth. I finally noticed the bit was slipping through the collet. I finally threw it in the trash, when it ruined one too many boards. I went to Sears and they had a 1-3/4 horse fixed base Craftsman with a half inch collet. It was on clearance for fifty bucks. They still had one left, Hurry.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3234 days

#11 posted 03-20-2012 02:43 PM

I’d say buy it. For small, occasional work it should be ideal. Both in a table or freehand. General rule with Bosch the green range is for occasional use the blue (professional) range is for constant/heavy use. You shouldn’t need anything heavier unless you want to make furniture and/or door mouldings on a regular basis. I got 10 years out of one of these with the sort of work I do.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2700 days

#12 posted 03-20-2012 09:29 PM

Thanks everyone.

It’s morning here in Oz and I will shortly be off to work. As the general concensus seems to be that “too many routers is never enough”, I will drop in at the shop on my way home and trust that it is still there.

Actually Patron, your comment about palm routers also really helped. This Bosch is a plunge router, but even at 400W it must be capable of doing the type of work that I used a palm router for when I made my box with the inlaid lid. That means that it is most likely sufficient for a lot of what I will be doing with it.

Brit, in the same line, I don’t expect that the jobs I do will be much more demanding (of the router that is) than the projects you do. So again, it suggests that it will be a valuable “first” router to have.

Bertha, a big router is certainly still on my list, but it will have to wait a while.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3196 days

#13 posted 03-21-2012 04:37 AM

As to the power, most companies make up their own power ratings that have little relation to reality. Rough estimations at best.

In general, the bigger the bit, the more power to swing it. Little rotary tools are good up to about 1/4 in. The little palm routers are fine for bits under 1/2 in cutting diameter. The mid-size (1-2 HP) are good up to about 1-1/2 in. The big ones (2-3 HP) can handle up to about 3 in bits. Bigger than that, you get up to the range better left to shapers. You can go with a bit larger bit if you are careful by taking light cuts. Also, the larger you go, the more important it is to be able to slow down the router. The larger the diameter, the faster the cutting edge is moving. You go too fast and chips won’t clear fast enough. Then bad things happen: More friction, more heat, less cutter life, more breakage.

General rule: use the largest shank you can. Stronger shanks have less deflection and make cleaner cuts. Safer too.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3846 days

#14 posted 03-21-2012 04:45 AM

Even a small router can do some useful work. That router
is not available in North America so I can’t comment on where
it fits in the general pantheon of routers.

I can say that big 3hp routers are quite awkward in handheld
use. They sure have power, but the weight is fatiguing
which makes it easier to mess us cuts as you grow tired.
For smaller cuts, which constitute a lot of handheld router
use, a lighter and nimbler router is what I prefer.

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3551 days

#15 posted 03-21-2012 05:07 AM

David, yeah you’re right, you made me think of that, HP ratings are a joke. Take my PC 3-1/4HP, if it were truly 3-1/4HP it would draw 2,424 watts if the motor were 100% efficient at converting power which universal motors by no means, are. Their efficiency is low. 2400 watts is 20A, none of the nameplates on mine state 20A. Nameplate says 15A, that’s not even 2HP for a universal motor.

Even my 2HP routers if the efficiency was 80% which it’s not would draw 15A, it doesn’t say that on the nameplate, says 10A.

Probably the old Craftsman trick, Developed Horsepower, yeah developed right before the point at which it stalls.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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