Looking for a good reliable router

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Forum topic by emart posted 11-11-2014 05:20 AM 1928 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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445 posts in 2590 days

11-11-2014 05:20 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

My useless craftsman router cannot be trusted. After only having it for three years the bearings sound bad and the collet will not hold a bit tight enough for consistent work. So with that in mind I would like to know what folks in the LJ community would recommend as its eventual replacement. I am looking for an all purpose router for things like trimming laminate to basic roundover and pattern cutting. I cannot afford to replace my router right now but once I get paid for some projects I am finishing up i could.

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

31 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1783 posts in 2279 days

#1 posted 11-11-2014 05:24 AM

The DeWalt linked below is an excellent tool. It has Festool type features like dust extraction and micro-adjust at a much lower price. It’s also fairly small for a router but has enough power for general work.

Dewalt Plunge Router

-- See my work at and

View runswithscissors's profile


2724 posts in 1987 days

#2 posted 11-11-2014 08:12 AM

The Porter Cable 690 is an established workhorse that’s been around for decades. Available as a kit that includes a plunge base. I especially like the D handle base, as it give excellent control and instant on/off.

Whatever you get, be sure it has a 1/2” chuck. That leaves out a lot of Craftsman and Ryobi routers. You can still use your 1/4” shank bits with a collet adaptor.

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

View Sawdust4Blood's profile


403 posts in 2984 days

#3 posted 11-11-2014 11:54 AM

After looking at the projects you’ve already posted, you might think about two different routers. I have a PC 890 for heavier work and in the router table (truth be told it spends most of it’s time in the table) and a Bosch Colt for laminate trimming and other light work. I know that probably isn’t what you’d most like to hear when money is tight but it may be the best overall investment in the long term.

Large, heavy duty routers are cumbersome and difficult for trimming and light work while smaller routers just can’t handle the strain of major projects or large bits like panel raisers. To me, the mid-range routers seemed like a compromise that left me lacking on both ends. Just my two cents and it may be over priced at that.

-- Greg, Severn MD

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4945 posts in 2456 days

#4 posted 11-11-2014 12:21 PM

I recommend the Milwaukee 5616 with plunge and fixed bases. I’ve had mine for 6 years now without a winper and it does the lion’s share of routing in my shop.

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

View Tennessee's profile


2860 posts in 2477 days

#5 posted 11-11-2014 12:31 PM

The PC 690 is very dated. I have one and it has been relegated to a back shelf status. Not a real fan of the D handle, and the cord situation is crazy. Mine does not have soft start, maybe the newer 690’s do.
My Dewalt plunge is fine, as long as the plunge rods stay nice and lubricated. If they get a little dry, it gets stiff and hard to use. The off-on switch is nice, though. I also have the small handheld Dewalt, and that is a little jewel.

My personal favorite, and I own two of them, are the Bosch models, save for the small Colt, which is a poor effort by Bosch. (The Rigid and the Dewalt models of the same size are way better, with the Dewalt being the best small handheld.)

But as far as the Bosch’s, I own a 1617EVSPK, which is a great smaller plunge and also makes a great table router.
Then I own the larger 1619EVS, which is my hog horse for anything big. It has gone to the ends of the world and back for me. Still a horse. Owned this one about four years.
Overall, I have eight routers, everything from my old PC 690 to a Harbor Freight job which is in my table, to small handhelds and others.
The Bosch is the best.
Just my opinion…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Loren's profile (online now)


10244 posts in 3610 days

#6 posted 11-11-2014 02:43 PM

I just burned out my Milwaukee bodygrip router
as a result of my own stupidity, but I recommend
the router anyway. It handles very well and
has router table friendly features too… big
collet nuts and robust wrenches.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1387 days

#7 posted 11-11-2014 04:22 PM

I own several routers. Bosch seems to be the most recommended in the router forums. Triton used to be when they were the only ones with above table features.

I bought a Milwaukee when my Porter Cable died. PC is just not the same company it was before 5 or 6 years ago.
It has seen thousands of board feet without a whimper.

I own other routers but most collect dust in a drawer or are much more expensive.

Dremel, believe it or not, can be had with all kinds of accessories for doing inlay work, trim, etc. Talk about cost effective and for detail work, hard to beat its size.

Good luck with your decision.

-- Brad, Texas,

View Case101's profile


107 posts in 1755 days

#8 posted 11-11-2014 04:55 PM

I have the bosch love it. Had 2 craftsman, does not compare.

-- John, New Jersey

View buildingmonkey's profile


242 posts in 1510 days

#9 posted 11-11-2014 07:26 PM

Don’t overlook the Hitachi brand routers. I have 2 of the M12vc, and an old 3 1/4 hp M12v. They are far smoother running than my PC routers, and they have built in speed control. The M12vc have soft start as well. I got dust collection for one from Eurekazone, they drill out one handle in the base and attach a pipe, and close in the base so you can collect the dust from the base. Really works when you are routing grooves.

-- Jim from Kansas

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1821 posts in 1932 days

#10 posted 11-11-2014 07:29 PM

I have that Hitachi M12Vc and it’s a beast. I love that router. And it’s not expensive. Plenty of power. Fantastic plunge. It can handle anything I’ve thrown at it, including really hard ipe wood.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View runswithscissors's profile


2724 posts in 1987 days

#11 posted 11-11-2014 07:33 PM

If you are looking for something to tide you over until you can get a high end router, you might want to check out the HF. Has a 1/2” chuck and 1/4” adaptor. Not a thing of beauty, but does the job.

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

View jgt1942's profile


202 posts in 1851 days

#12 posted 11-12-2014 01:41 AM

I have several routers but my go-to router is the Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router, see I highly recommend this router

-- JohnT

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1299 days

#13 posted 11-12-2014 01:45 AM

Plus one on the Bosch. I have the fixed plunge combo and it is great.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 1988 days

#14 posted 11-12-2014 01:49 AM

I have two craftsmans, one fairly new and one ancient, the old one is hanging under my router table and the newer (variable speed) one gets used topside. My wife just bought me a HF mini flush trim router. I haven’t used it yet, but it is for sign making 1/4 core box bit set at 3/8 depth is about as heavy as it will get. When it’s time for a new one I’m going with the Bosch.

To add the HF mini was 30 bucks, if it does what I need it to do, it’s one heck of a deal.

-- atta boy Clarence!

View firefighterontheside's profile


17927 posts in 1819 days

#15 posted 11-12-2014 01:55 AM

I second the hitachi m12vc. It’s a great router for the price with lots of features. I use it for handheld ops. It did well in the table, but I got tired of taking it out to change bits and to use it handheld. I got something else for the table so I could have the hitachi dedicated for handheld use.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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