Router advice sought

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 09-12-2012 03:39 AM 6137 views 0 times favorited 69 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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915 posts in 2213 days

09-12-2012 03:39 AM


In the next couple of weeks I’m going to be getting my first router. I’ve already determined that the direction I intend to go is to get a router that I can change between fixed base and plunge. Please keep in mind I know next to nothing abour routers (but I am learning).

I’ve figured out a few things from checking these forums that my router should have a motor of at least 2 HP and ability to accept 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch bits. Beyond that I am largely clueless.

From what I’ve read it sounds like Porter Cable is the defacto standard for routers. Accessories are usually designed to attach to Porter Cable machines. Since I hope to use jigs and templates that might become an issue with a non Porter Cabe router.

But I liked the look of the DeWalt and the Bosch routers. For the Bosch, probably the MRC23EVSK. I really, really like the idea of LED lighting built in. For the DeWalt, possibly the DW616PK or DW618B3.

I looked at one of the DeWalt plunge/fixed combo kits at Lowes. What concernd me is that the plunge base only has one spring on one side. Aside from seeming chintzy it also made me concerned that the plunge might not be as smooth as with a two spring model (which seems to be the standard).

So I guess I’m looking for reccomendations. I’ll add more model numbers later.

Also, can anyone tell me what the significant difference between Bosch’s 1617EVSPK and the MRC23EVSK? Other than $100?

I guess I could always buy a Harbor Freight router and pray…

Thank you.

69 replies so far

View BiggKountry's profile


18 posts in 2785 days

#1 posted 09-12-2012 04:28 AM

I have the Dewalt 618 kit w fixed base and plunge base. It is a great router. It will handle both the 1/4 and 1/2 in bits. The plunge action is smooth and it handles like a dream. I also own the Bosch 1617 combo with the fixed and plunge base. I liked how the Bosch felt and purchased it. I plan on mounting the fixed base Bosch into my router table.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either set. I don’t know too much about the other Bosch you mention other than it gets great reviews on other forums.

I also own a Porter Cable H100 router that I use for routing signs. It is a quality router too.

Find one that feels good to you and get it. Each brand has their quirks. The Dewalt 611 is a great router too!

Again, whether you choose Dewalt, Porter Cable, or Bosch…it comes down to what feels good in your hands.

Good Luck,


View pintodeluxe's profile


5741 posts in 2933 days

#2 posted 09-12-2012 05:15 AM

Plunge action on the Dewalt 618 is a dream. Also P.C. style bushings fit the Dewalt. Go for the 618 over the 616 because of increased power and the variable speed.

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

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2213 days

#3 posted 09-12-2012 08:33 AM

The Bosch models I was referring to can be found here:

For some reason the price of the one with 2.3HP is much higher than the 2.25HP. It seems like an awfully expensive 0.05 of a horse.

Home Depot doesn’t seem to carry the combo pack for the DeWalt 618. I shall have to look elsewhere.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5069 posts in 2613 days

#4 posted 09-12-2012 11:01 AM

I would suggest you consider one more model in your search, the Milwaukee 5616-24. It will have the same features as the MRC23EVSK, but at a lower cost. The routers available these days sure are a lot nicer than those of 20 years ago…good luck with your decision.

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

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2696 days

#5 posted 09-12-2012 11:20 AM

Avoid the dewalt dw618 kit; the plunge base is the best in the business, but the motors are very unreliable. The speed control broke on both of mine and one stopped working all together.

The bosch 1617 kit is excellent and would be a strong contender for a new router kit if I needed one. I used to have one and it was the smoothest router I’ve used. I’d also give the milwaukee a shot. The newer bosch kit looks nice, but too expensive for what you get IMHO; the same goes for the porter cable 890 kits.

The bosch 1617 kit can commonly be found for under $200, usually around $179.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile


7770 posts in 3034 days

#6 posted 09-12-2012 01:55 PM

A couple of months ago I found this Ridgid 2hp 11amp Dual base router on sale at Home Depot for $179. It was almost like getting TWO routers for the price of one. I put the “fixed” base into my horizontal mortising machine and that left me with the “plunge” base for additional hand work. The motor pops in/out very quickly, PLUS with a “Lifetime Service Service” Guarantee you just can’t beat it.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View abie's profile


876 posts in 3890 days

#7 posted 09-12-2012 02:04 PM

Take a serious look at the Trend T-4 from England.
great price and great reviews lately from a current mag.
see review here at LJ…

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View Tennessee's profile


2880 posts in 2634 days

#8 posted 09-12-2012 02:16 PM

All I can say is I own Rigid, (The twin pack that Horizontal Mike owns), Boschs, Porter Cable 690 combo, one Harbor Freight, and a Dewalt, and my go-to routers on a daily basis are Bosch, Bosch, and Bosch in both my table and hand-held plunge.
Feel, smoothness, sight, balance, for me it’s all there, and I am 63 with some arthritis in my hands, so a good feel is paramount.
I don’t think anyone can beat the grip handles that are on the Bosch.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2368 days

#9 posted 09-12-2012 02:20 PM

In my opinion, this is one of the best sub 3hp routers on the market:

Craftsman 27680 Professional 2.5 hp router

You can read my review here: . Note, I would not recommend any other craftsman router. This one is completely different than anything else they currently make.


View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2384 days

#10 posted 09-12-2012 02:52 PM

Personally, I don’t think you can do any better than the Bosch 1617 without spending a lot of money. I have it and a few Porter Cables and still find myself grabbing the Bosch every single time.

Yes, you do end up having to get adapters for guides and things like that, but it feels well-built and has enough power to do anything I ask of it.

You can find it under $200 (sometimes as low as $180) from places like Amazon.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3278 days

#11 posted 09-12-2012 02:56 PM

Mike: And I wondered what I was going to do with the Bosch 1617 fixed base that’s been taking up peg-board space for so many years. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that…thanks for the tip!

Purrmaster: I love my Bosch 1617 combo. Always have. It’s just that, as I mentioned above, I’ve never seen reason to remove it from its plunge base. BTW, the Hitachi M12v is highly regarded and might be a good choice on the used market. I have no experience with it myself, but it might be something to keep on the radar.

-- jay,

View surfin2's profile


51276 posts in 3256 days

#12 posted 09-12-2012 03:50 PM

I don’t think anyone can beat the grip handles that are on the Bosch.

Bosch 1618EVS 2.25 HP Fixed Base Electronic D-Handle Router…

-- Rick

View pintodeluxe's profile


5741 posts in 2933 days

#13 posted 09-12-2012 04:02 PM

The Bosch MRC23EVSK is actually a big 15 amp router. Most other manufacturers would call that a 3 hp router. I think Bosch is just being realistic, and not posting the absolute peak hp number. It is heavy though.

That’s why I like the Dewalt – great ergonomics. I got mine at Lowes, and for $30 extra purchased a 5 yr extended warranty. Works for me.

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

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2213 days

#14 posted 09-12-2012 06:42 PM

What kind of adapters will I need for the Bosch? Are they readily available or do I have to order them from the Bosch? And does the use of an adapter to attach stuff ever screw up the fit of attachments? I figure I’ll be using dovetail jigs and mortising jigs and the like.

Thank you.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2384 days

#15 posted 09-12-2012 06:45 PM

The adapter is so you can use the guides (bushings) of the popular Porter Cable sizes. Either that, or you just end up buying the ones that are Bosch specific.

You can purchase the adapter through most places that sell the Bosch router, but I think Bosch was supplying it at one point with the 1617 (I have not confirmed that). I think I remember it being 10 or 15 bucks though.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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