Here are some more popular routers. The Craftsman 17543 is a 2 hp combo kit which sells for around $99 and is by far the least expensive. It is very popular with forum members.
Hi Mike Turner:
You don't buy a router, you collect them. You'll quickly find that one router ain't gonna "do it all." So, what Mike showed you and what I say below is merely the "introduction."
Mike does a pretty good job displaying most of the routers so I'll do it differently:
1. routers seldom wear out. They usually get broken. Make sure that you can get parts for "old" routers before investing your hard-earned cash! I had a milk crate full of Craftsman "looking for parts!" I've had good luck with Makita (esp 3612C) and Hitachi (M12V - no longer available but search for it.)
2. ½" chuck: Smaller bit shafts can be fit using an adapter.
3. 2 wrench collet: This is getting scarce but search for it. Sometimes it is hidden or it can be retrofitted. This is the alternative to the spindle lock which I consider dangerous.
4. Variable speed: (8,000 rpm to >24,000 rpm.) Nice but close to useless <3HP, but mandatory >3HP. Note that the slower speeds are mandatory for larger bits but you need the horsepower to push them.
5. Plunge base: This is the most versatile, but a fixed base is fine for a third or fourth router
6. Bit clearance: Able to accept or modifiable for large panel bits 3½" to 3¾"+. Mandatory for panel bits.
7. Guide holes: These are used to mount a straight edge guide or for ski and foot use. These need to be a minimum of 12mm or ½".
8. Soft start: Is handy especially with the heavier horsepower (higher wattage) routers. Without it, a starting router could be wrenched out of your hands.
9. Light weight but versatile and powerful. With power you want weight but you also want to pick it up and use it all day long. Sometimes table mounting is a viable solution.
10. 1¾" template guide hole: 1½" hole with a 1/8" shoulder for brass template guides. There is the Porter Cable 1 3/16ths standard but is too small for even occasional use. Makita allows for a 40mm template guide.