Hi and welcome. What do you plan to do with the router? If you want to mount it in a table and spin large bits (like for raised panels), then you'll want a big 3 HP half-inch shank monster. If you only plan on doing mostly edge routing on 3/4-inch stock, a smaller router (1 1/4 HP) will do fine. Mortising would be better with a 2 - 3 HP router (half-inch shank). Plunge or fixed base? Plunging is great for mortising, and a fixed base is slightly less expensive (and lighter--fewer parts). If you want an all-around router, look at the mid-range "kits" that include a router motor, and both a fixed-base and a plunge-base. You can then mount the fixed base in a router table and remove the motor and put in in the plunge base when you want to do hand-held routing. You'll get the most bang for your buck that way. Like with any tool, you get what you pay for. The el-cheapo units don't hold up nearly as long or work as well as the premium-priced ones. Everyone has their favorite brand (Ford vs. Chevy wars), but it's hard to go wrong with any of the major brands. Your best bet would be to first decide what you'll do most with the router, and next decide what type of router to get, then look at what the brands have to offer in that category.