$300 will buy you an excellent router lift, the other $100(more or less) will buy you enough wood to build a table around it. If you want to throw a decent router into the mix forget the lift. Get yourself something like the P-C 690 or, if you want to splurge, the Bosch 1617.
Think of it as a learning experience. Do some research, spend some time thinking about your particular needs and how to build something that'll meet them. Make some sketches to figure out what you'll need to buy. Then build it! It ain't rocket science(sorry, I think "aerospace engineering" is the current PC phrase...).
After all, a router table is just a flat piece of material with parallel surfaces, a router attached to one side and some way to support it to make sure it stays flat. A fence is just a piece of material with a flat face and one edge square to it. You need to attach it to the table, you can use something as simple as a couple of screws or clamps or something as complex as an Incra fence system.
It can be as simple or complicated as you want to make it.
My advice for a first router table: go down to the local big box store and get yourself a small piece of MDF and a 2x4. Maybe a couple of C-clamps if you don't have any. Drill a hole in the middle of the MDF and figure out how to attach your router somewhere reasonably close to the center of it. Use the 2x4 for a fence, clamping each end. Support it with a couple of sawhorses. That's it, you now have a router table. Work with it for a while, figure out all the things you'd like it to do that it doesn't: things that would make the work go more quickly, that would make it easier to use, that would provide better dust collection.
Now go looking for a fancy table you can buy that would meet those needs. Dollars to doughnuts you'll end up building your own. Been there, done that, got a couple of T-shirts and spent a lot of money along the way.....
IMHO, router tables are like women(or men): there's no such thing as One Size Fits All. You just have to play the field until you find somehting that works for you....
Last edited by billg71; 03-03-2012 at 09:58 PM.