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Best Router for under $150

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Forum topic by PhillipRCW posted 12-17-2014 02:38 PM 2275 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


12-17-2014 02:38 PM

I need a router to help with joinery and my wife wants me to help her make decorative edges on her crafts. I am doing a Norm Abrams inspired garage workshop. I have all the material for the cabinets and work tables, and I want to do the lift top router table he did. Just trying to find a decent router for under $150 that I can change bits and adjust depth without removing the whole unit. I am waiting on my dado blade set to come in, so that will be help with rabbet joints, but I know I’ll still need a few more. Are any of the plunge and stationary router combos worth the cost?

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.


14 replies so far

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waho6o9

7173 posts in 2041 days


#1 posted 12-17-2014 03:10 PM

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Bryson

11 posts in 1061 days


#2 posted 12-17-2014 03:21 PM

I’ve been looking at routers quite a bit lately and as I will probably be getting on after the Christmas season. You’ll probably get a lot of different answers but seems like most people recommend the Dewalt 618PK set with plunge and fixed base or the Bosch 1617EVSPK set also with plunge and fixed base. They both average around $50 more than your budget but I think they would be worth the extra money. A quick search on Google and I found the Bosch set on eBay for $20 over your budget.

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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


#3 posted 12-17-2014 03:44 PM

Yeah, I’ve been searching online a lot. It seems everyone has their own golden tool. I was hoping to find out from people who use them every day what works best. I do like that $80 price tag on the craftsman though. The table is nice, but I’m super anal and want the shop looking cohesive. I work out of it for my business and would like it to look all the same and professional when people come to pick up items or if its in a picture.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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RibsBrisket4me

1526 posts in 1969 days


#4 posted 12-17-2014 03:55 PM

I think that any of the top tier brand “COMBO” routers would be just fine. I don’t feel there is a huge difference between, Dewalt, Bosch, Milwaukee.. there is always some difference but which one is “best” is pretty subjective. You can leave the base attached to your router table and still use it for hand held work.

I was trying to choose between Dewalt and Bosch a few yrs back (they were a bit over $150 though) and actually found the Craftsman clone of the Bosch, with removlable plunge base, NIB for $100 on the swap and sale forum.

I bought the Craftsman, put a clear MLCS base on it, and never felt I needed any other router.

Just my 2 cents.

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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


#5 posted 12-17-2014 03:57 PM

That’s good to know. I’m waiting on a reply back on the craftsman craiglist ad right now.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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paxorion

1102 posts in 1509 days


#6 posted 12-17-2014 03:58 PM

How fixed is your budget? If your $150 is fixed, I think the Hitach M12VC is something worth looking at.

I’m not a fan of defining a fixed budget and trying to shoe-horn a tool into that budget if there, especially since I’ve learned that lesson several times. When I bought my first router a few years back, I spent a lot of time figuring out the tool I want and scoped my price range based on the tool. I’m very OCD about cohesiveness as well and save/budget a bit more to get what I want. So based on the routers I was looking at (Dewalt DW618, Bosch 1617/MRC23EVS, Triton MOF001, Porter Cable 890 series) defined a low and high end price range that covered most of the tools, with enough reach in case I saw a sale. I got lucky during the Dewalt DW618 father’s day sale and picked one up for $190 – $25 = $165 and got under my budget. In short, set your tool expectations first, then figure out your price expectations.

-- paxorion

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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


#7 posted 12-17-2014 04:38 PM

I need it for a rabbet bit to use along a live edge slab. Beyond that I just know my wife wants some decorative bits for her seasonal crafts. And maybe rout out the back of a wood round for a clock mechanism.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


#8 posted 12-17-2014 04:45 PM

And I just found a small craftsman router and table for 89 bucks that has above table adjustments and easy bit changes. It’s only 1 and 3/4 hp. Sound like a deal killer to anyone? Reviews look really good. I just need the router though.

http://www.sears.com/router-and-router-table-combo/p-00937595000P

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

View RibsBrisket4me's profile

RibsBrisket4me

1526 posts in 1969 days


#9 posted 12-17-2014 05:16 PM

A Sears Combo like that is how I started. I still use the same router table from 1996 haha. never needed to upgrade it.

the router there is good, not great. It is not a plunge.

I’d get this: for $125

http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-12-amp-2-hp-fixed-plunge-base-router/p-00927683000P?prdNo=8&blockNo=8&blockType=G8

And then you can build a routet table with a single piece of MDF>

then you are pretty much good to go!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#10 posted 12-17-2014 05:31 PM

With what you want to do with a router for your wife almost any router will do.but if your truly trying to have a Norm based woodshop you will need a more versatile router. The best router deal I see out there is for a dewalt set that will not only do what your wife needs to have done but also will be good for other hand held operations in the future.

http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWP611PK-Torque-Variable-Compact/dp/B0049ZFUK2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418837123&sr=8-2&keywords=dewalt+combo+router

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


#11 posted 12-17-2014 06:57 PM

I think for that price I’d look for a full size router. I’d hate to spend that much on a trim router and then need the full size one.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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a1Jim

115202 posts in 3041 days


#12 posted 12-17-2014 07:07 PM

Phillip
These are mid size routers deferent than trim routers that many reviews state have as much power as a porter cable 690 (norms favourite) There smaller size makes them easier than full size and you get a plung base also,
I have 38 routers but this dewalt is one I wish I had.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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paxorion

1102 posts in 1509 days


#13 posted 12-17-2014 08:21 PM


And I just found a small craftsman router and table for 89 bucks that has above table adjustments and easy bit changes. It s only 1 and 3/4 hp. Sound like a deal killer to anyone? Reviews look really good. I just need the router though.

http://www.sears.com/router-and-router-table-combo/p-00937595000P

- PhillipRCW

There are 3 features that were high on my list for a mid-size router. I contemplated that router table packaged as my 2nd router and ruled it out for those three reasons.
  • Soft start to avoid the jostle on start-up
  • Variable speed to be able to control the speed when using larger bits
  • The option of 1/4 or 1/2 router bits

To Jim’s suggestion, the Dewalt DWP611 is the next router I plan on buying (probably as my 2015 Father’s Day acquisition). I often find that for edge profiling and working with smaller workpieces, my mid-size seems a bit big for the task, which your wife my appreciate. I started shifting my edge profile bits to 1/4” in lieu of 1/2” so that I will have them on hand for the smaller router. However I will note that I see it as a secondary purchase and not the primary router. I had a forum thread on this topic a year ago.
First Router Opinions for a new woodworker - 1.25 HP vs 2.25 HP, the importance of accessories

-- paxorion

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PhillipRCW

386 posts in 728 days


#14 posted 12-17-2014 08:45 PM

I like the idea of the trim routers, but not for mounting under a table. I would like the 1/2” better, and something that’s adjustable from the top. I’m just going to have to spend a little more I guess. The trim router wouldn’t be bad for the wife though. May talk her into getting both. I don’t want to break the bank though because I’m still deciding on clamps too. Lost everything in the tornado last year and hadn’t replaced it before deciding to start a business. So I got the LLC paperwork completed and now getting all the tools before the end of the year to qualify as start up cost.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

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