a broad router question

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Forum topic by eljiggo posted 06-24-2014 10:20 PM 560 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 283 days

06-24-2014 10:20 PM

I am a relatively new woodworker. I currently own a harbor freight plunge router (the 1 1/2hp, 1/4 collet one). It works, but not well. It did its job just fine doing the first few projects, and figuring out what i wanted in router. Now, I have some money set aside to purchase a real router.

Initially I looked at the milwaukee, bosch and dewalt 2 1/4 plunge/fixed combos. It looks like they all have their pro’s and con’s but are all very similar with similar price points. In these 3, i narrowed it down to the bosch 1617. Seems like it does everything I’d want it too. I dont even think I need the plunge feature at the moment but it will be nice to have when the time comes. Another one pulling at me is the triton. The 3 1/4 model is priced very similarly to these other 3. It gets good reviews, and looks like it does a whole lot of cool things that I can grow into. The cons appear to be that its absolutely huge. Is this thing going to be overkill? Are there any routers I am overlooking?

11 replies so far

View eljiggo's profile


6 posts in 283 days

#1 posted 06-24-2014 10:45 PM

I guess, to be more specific, I am not looking to own alot of routers. Looking for a do-all multipurpose router.

View NiteWalker's profile


2710 posts in 1321 days

#2 posted 06-24-2014 10:52 PM

The Dewalt 618 kit is the best I’ve used. The plunge base is amazing, the motor is compact and the detachable power cord works great. That said, if you decide to go for the Dewalt, get an extended warranty. The magnetic speed control ring has a tendency to break. If it does, you’ll have either a motor that runs at single (high) speed, or not at all. This happened to both of my 618’s. One still works at full speed and the other became a paperweight.

The Bosch is a nice kit too, but I much prefer the Dewalt plunge base.

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

View Holbs's profile


594 posts in 774 days

#3 posted 06-25-2014 12:21 AM

Bosch vs Dewalt, it seems is like comparing Ford vs Chevy :) I choose Bosch for my mainstay of machinery because I used to be a VW fanatic (rabbits and watercooled vw’s). Bosch was at the top of the food chain for spark plugs and other car parts. As I migrated to wood working, well… I gravitated to what I had lots of experience with. And it does seem 9 out of 10 folks give Bosch high praise for the majority of their power tools.
Also, I have been using Dewalt drills and power tools at work for the last 20 years. Back in the day, not many could compete with the longevity and dependability. But their hand tools now are not quality as they were years ago. I can not speak of their table saws or routers, but their hammer drills, power drills, work lights, job radio, etc… not very impressed for the price tag.
In regards to your Triton 3 1/4HP router consideration: go with the bosch or dewalt kit. For the price tag of a 3 1/4HP ($269 at amazon) vs bosch 1617 evspk plunge/fixed base or dewalt dw618pk for $199. 3+ HP would be overkill for the beginning wood worker. I think, that is more production level than hobby / amateur level.
Once you get into using the router out of the router table, 80% probably will be plunge related more than fixed based.

View abie's profile


612 posts in 2515 days

#4 posted 06-25-2014 12:47 AM

I have a Trend T-4 and love it especially for the price and its attachments
Bot for $99.00 and its all I need and then some.

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

View knotscott's profile


5601 posts in 2120 days

#5 posted 06-25-2014 12:47 AM

The Triton shines when used in a router table…’s loaded with topside convenience features that the others don’t have. They do make a smaller version with similar features.

You don’t need a bunch of routers, but if you get into woodworking even a little, it’s really nice to have a dedicated table router, and a dedicated hand router….those routers should have somewhat opposing characteristics. Light and well balanced for hand use (usually smaller), powerful with variable speed for table use (which usually means bigger and heavier). When choosing a hand router, pick the one that feels good to you….the reviews can only tell you so much.

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

View DaveHuber's profile


38 posts in 1862 days

#6 posted 06-25-2014 12:55 AM

Since it is summer, consider hitting your local flea market.

Tried and true Porter Cable 690s and plunge version can be had for about $40 and up

There is a reason PC built millions of them. Bulletproof, reliable and serviceable.

-- Dave, Oak Park, IL

View runswithscissors's profile


1230 posts in 770 days

#7 posted 06-25-2014 02:07 AM

The PC 690 is available as a kit that includes a plunge base. I prefer the 691, which has the D handle, as that lets your controlling hand stay on the handle at all times, not having to reach up to flick a switch. Also lets you keep your eyes on the work. You can add the D handle to an existing 690.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View eljiggo's profile


6 posts in 283 days

#8 posted 06-25-2014 04:16 AM

Is the OF 1400 worth even thinking about or is that well beyond my needs?

Ive not really considered the 690 as it is not variable speed. I use slot cutters fairly often which typically recommend to run at a slower speed.

View bigblockyeti's profile


1784 posts in 465 days

#9 posted 06-25-2014 12:01 PM

There is a version of the 690 that is variable speed and listed as having more power.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


1587 posts in 1114 days

#10 posted 06-25-2014 12:51 PM

I have the Bosch 1617 and really like it, it’s never let me down in the 2 years I’ve been using it. I also own the Bosch Colt, and I use that little guy just as much as the 1617. I’d recommend a trim router to compliment whatever full router you get. I like the colt a lot, but the newer DeWalt trim routers look pretty slick.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View firefighterontheside's profile


5797 posts in 601 days

#11 posted 06-25-2014 12:59 PM

Yes, the triton 3 1/4 is overkill. It can be used handheld, but it is very heavy. I bought mine just to put in my table and it never leaves. For handheld stuff I use my 2 1/4 hitachi with the two different bases. If you want triton, get the 2 1/4. It looks almost the same, just smaller. I’m not sure if it has a 1/2 collet though. I think you’d be happy with the Bosch. I know a lot of people are.

-- Bill M. I love my job as a firefighter, but nothing gives me the satisfaction of running my hand over a project that I have built and just finished sanding.

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