What Size (hp) Router Should I Get ?

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Forum topic by RonInOhio posted 12-23-2012 05:28 AM 4309 views 1 time favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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721 posts in 2827 days

12-23-2012 05:28 AM

I have a BenchDog bench top router table but do not have a router yet. A new
(and what will be my first) router is at the top of my list

I know the 2 hp and larger routers are supposed to be great for putting into a table.
However, I want to have the benefit of using the router free-hand for plunging, flush trimming,
and all the other tasks that won’t require the table.

Since this may be somewhat of a trade-off and likely won’t be my only router going forward, any
suggestions on a good compromise would be appreciated. It may be several years before I get a
so-called dedicated router for the table. Or perhaps this initial purchase will end up being the
dedicated router table router.

In any case what router would be good for free handing and still be capable for occassional heavy duty
work in the table.

I’m pretty sure I will either be going Porter-Cable or Dewalt. I hear Dewalt has a really nice combo
base package.

One other thing I have to take into account is the router lift. Some router lifts only accept certain models of
the Porter-Cable routers. I really don’t want to spend an arm and leg on the BenchDog lift but there are
other options.


29 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3121 days

#1 posted 12-23-2012 05:36 AM

Bosch 1617 combo. You won’t be sorry.

-- jay,

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#2 posted 12-23-2012 05:42 AM

It’s hard to have one router to do it all . More powerful routers that are good for router tables are heavy and not the best for hand held use. On the other hand hand held routers are not as powerful but are usually lighter. If you can afford two routers that would make life easier then taking a router in and out of the router table. If not I would go with a lighter router ,my preference is a PC 691 for hand held and a PC 7518 for use in a router table.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2827 days

#3 posted 12-23-2012 05:51 AM

@ Cosmicsniper

I see that the Bosch 1617 is a variable speed. This may be a dumb question, but how does the variable speed
get adjusted ?
I would imagine you lock it into a desired speed depending
on what you are doing and go ?

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3121 days

#4 posted 12-23-2012 06:02 AM

Bigger bits use slower speeds…smaller bits go faster. Most good routers nowadays will be variable speed.

Ideally, I’d recommend a big Milwaukee 5625 for the table, with big lift like the Bench Dog, and the Bosch combo (or DeWalt or PC) for hand-held work. But since you wanted one router to do it all, I’d go with the Bosch and a smaller lift.

Another popular alternative is a Triton router, which works well in a table without the need for a lift.

-- jay,

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2540 days

#5 posted 12-23-2012 06:20 AM

+1 on the bosch 1617 kit.

A router table doesn’t demand the biggest router you can get; it all depends on the work you do. My router table router is a porter cable 690. No issues with it at all the past year+.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3121 days

#6 posted 12-23-2012 06:34 AM

I agree, NiteWalker. I originally had the Bosch with a Rockler FX lift. But I upgraded the router to the 5625 (and a PRLv2 lift) because I wanted to spin pig panel raising bits. I had no issue with the Bosch, and I think it would be fine in a table for all but the most demanding of work. But I didn’t like the Rockler lift, so decided to change the whole setup.

I still use the Bosch for handheld work…even used it today to cut some mortises.

-- jay,

View pintodeluxe's profile


5618 posts in 2776 days

#7 posted 12-23-2012 06:45 AM

I find I do most (80%) of my routing in a table. If I could have but one router, it would of course be the Freud FT1700VCE because of its stellar above -the-table adjustments. Some routers let you raise/lower the bit from above the table, then make you kneel down to change bits. The Freud has true above-the-table capability. Basically it is like having a router lift built in. It is a 13 amp 2.25 hp router that works great. Variable speed-the works.

When you are ready to do some hand routing and want a plunge router – buy the Dewalt 618. It is amazingly accurate. From half-blind dovetails, to inlays it has always been precise, and it just feels good in your hands.

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

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2330 days

#8 posted 12-23-2012 12:45 PM

1617 hands down…get yours today!!!


View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3338 days

#9 posted 12-23-2012 12:53 PM

The horsepower ratings aren’t as good of an indicator of power as the amperage ratings. 10-13 amps should be a decent compromise in power and size for hand use and some table use. Be sure to get variable speed for use in the router table, and get one that accepts 1/2” shank bits. Beyond that, get the one that feels best in your hands….it’s like picking a favorite color…very subjective….my favorite might not be your favorite.

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

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2827 days

#10 posted 12-24-2012 11:35 PM

Lot of helpful posts here. Thanks a lot everyone. That Bosch sure looks like
a good buy. Do I have to purchase that router table mount for the 1617
if I have a lift ?

I’m thinking no, not if I get a lift. Or maybe I do. Not sure.

View NiteWalker's profile


2736 posts in 2540 days

#11 posted 12-24-2012 11:41 PM

The base isn’t used if you buy a lift, just the motor.
Here's the bosch for $134 shipped with coupon code BCH25.

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

View MT_Stringer's profile


3160 posts in 3194 days

#12 posted 12-25-2012 12:07 AM

I ordered the router Nitewalker linked to. Sales ends 12/25 I think so you better hurry. This will give me two motors as I already have the Bosch 1617 EVSPK combo. No complaints on this end. You adjust the speed via thumbwheel on the motor.

If you buy the combo, you get a fixed base with the above table adjustment capability and a plung base also.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2827 days

#13 posted 12-25-2012 04:44 AM

Just placed order for the Bosch 1617 EVSPK combo. Fixed base and plunge. :)

View HorizontalMike's profile


7749 posts in 2877 days

#14 posted 12-25-2012 12:44 PM

I bought this within the last year and love it! I put the fixed base in my horizontal mortiser and have the plunge base for hand routing. I just now did the search and it indicates two left in stock. IMO, this is what you want and need. The motor pulls in just seconds, and it leaves your adjustments in place to boot.

A great alternative, if you still had the need.

RIDGID Heavy Duty 2HP Router Combo Kit

Price and availability may vary by store.
Online Inventory 2 available
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2 – 6 Days

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

View MJCD's profile


538 posts in 2334 days

#15 posted 12-25-2012 01:32 PM

Either the Bosch MRC23EVS or its 1617 brother – both are excellent.

PC has struggled with quality control problems on its newer versions of historically great routers.

-- Lead By Example; Make a Difference

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