I am looking to replace my really old(read dad gave me 20 yrs ago) craftsmen router. At the same time I am also looking at getting a small benchtop router table. So far I have looked at home deport, lowes and sears. it seems a lot of the models in my price range have comparable features. I am looking at spending less than 200 total for both the router and table. I was leaning towards the Ryobi Intermediate table for 99 and the Ryobi 1.5hp fixed base router for 59. Does anyone know comparable models or a better model for similar or even slightly more money?
Hi. Regarding your upcoming choice of a routing system, can I offer this? I recommend that you find a way to go beyond 'price range', and seek the best long term solutions for your future needs. I own two Craftsman routers, and while they performed nobly for twenty-five years, with gentle use, they never seemed to be satisfying in my hands. There are so many gizmos, fancy labels, and irrational product claims attached to middle of the road machines, obviously because they have to compete with a universe of similar quality levels. The accessories tend to be wobbly and clumsy to use, and although you can produce marginally good results, you are normally compensating for a host of design and manufacture shortcomings.
I decided some time ago that I would view my woodworking tool purchases the same way that I have for my Heavy Duty Mechanical trade begun in 1977.
From day one, I bought only the finest I could find, regularly, paycheck after paycheck, bit by bit, until I now lack for nothing and want for nothing. This has meant going without many comforts, that, while momentarily pleasing, don't carry long-term use and practicality. But, in the woodworking field, I would find a way to justify low-budget tools and machines, believing fully that good wood craftsmanship was beyond my calling. This is no longer the way I operate.
While it bears saying that some of the world's most enduring and beautiful wood creations have come from some of the humblest assortments of simple tools, this is outside of normal woodworking. In truth, most of us create the things we do to satisfy the needs of our families, and would like to challenge ourselves constantly to produce items we are not ashamed of. And, as time and mistakes blur behind us, we gradually take hold of techniques and skills that make our efforts less frustrating and more gratifying.
I bought a Milwaukee 5625-20 because it has power to calmly do some tough cuts. I buy Freud, Bosch, and Lee Valley bits. I chose a Freud router table that stands as high as a kitchen counter, because affording the Incra combo for router and table saw will require me to sell a kidney, which, by the way, I am considering. I have great respect for those who craft their own router table systems, weeks and even months will pass as they struggle to put their prideful stamp on a great creation. This is outside of the time scope I have available to me right now.
Just find a way to buy the best possible tools in any area of your life, use them within their design and performance boundaries, clean them faithfully before you consider a project finished, download the manuals to your computer in case you misplace your paper version, and never, ever, view life lightly to the point where you will place any part of your body, (kidney included) in harm's way. Best of luck in your research