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Router Recommendation

2771 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  jonson
Hi All,

I'm new to the forum and am seeking help in purchasing a router. I'm a "weekend warrior" who does woodworking (nothing really serious yet) and will also be using the router to work with acrylic--cutting circles ranging from 3.5" to 10", grooves for O-rings (in the same diameter range), some flush cutting and rounding off, and so on. I'm assuming that a combo kit would be best for me. Am I right on this? And, if a kit would be best, any recommendations/comments regarding the various kits that are available? In particular, I'm interested to hear how folks think the 2.25HP Hitachi and Makita kits (I think the latter is quite new) compare to their Bosch or Dewalt equivalents.

Thanks for your help.

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I have alot of routers and i cannot say that one is overall better than the other..The Bosch 1617 combo kit is 2 1/4 hp..Its a great router...Lightest in its class..the pistol grip handles on the plunge is excellent..The only negitive things, are dust collection is an option and you need to buy Bosch bushings to do template work..Unless you make your own base plate.
I also have the Porter/cable 694 combo with D handle and 690 with fixed base.Excellent router, 1 3/4 hp and you can get aftermarket bushing for 19.00

Look for a combo kit, with Variable speed and soft start.I think you are on the right track with Hitachi and makita..but it sounds like you may want to buy bushings and also Dust collection., for the work you are doing.DEwalt and the 800 series Portercable have the DC built in.Quaility routers are made better, they can take more heat..the tests have shown that over cheaper models..Bosch is quailty but bosch also makes Skil and Craftman, which are cheaper in price and quaility..doesnt mean they wont last for years, but if you are using a router alot, for long periods of time, you need to get the best you can afford.
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I have the porter cable 890 series combo kit, and it had done everything I need it to. I started a long time ago with just a 693 plunge router, and it did just fine. The only thing the "combo" kit has been good for is leaving the fixed base mounted in the router table and keeping the plunge base out for above the table work.

Combo kits aren't a necessity for what you want to do, but more of a luxury. You definitely would be better served with a plunge style router, for the circle cutting and the o-ring groove work. You can do pretty much everything you need a fixed base router for with a plunge router, but some guys prefer a fixed base for flush trimming operations and the like.

If price is an option, you could get the old standby Hitachi M12v plunge router ($160) at amazon, cheaper refurbished on Ebay, and that would do pretty much everything you could want it to do.

If you are really strapped for your budget, or aren't sure you are going to stick with woodworking, you could then step down to a Ryobi 2hp plunge router for around $100 at Home depot. This is a decent starter router, and would make a great second router later on. (trust me, the more you use your router, the more you'll appreciate having more than one....)

Just like automobiles, everyone has a favorite, and everyone has a horror story that goes with every brand. You pretty much get what you pay for, so keep that in mind. Find a router that fits your hands, has controls where you can easily reach them, and so forth. Don't be suckered in by extra bells and whistles you don't really need, or buy something just because it matches the color of all the other tools in your shop.

Get a good book like Patrick Speilman's New Router Handbook, or American Woodworkers Woodworking with the router (I think that's the title) from your local library to make sure you are up to date on key safety concerns, as well as get an idea or two for some shop made jigs to get the most out of your purchase.

Good luck, and let us know what you end up getting!
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Hello jonson, Welcome to The RouterForums :)

I purchased the Bosch 1617 EVS Combo pack 2.25 Hp and I am very happy with it.

The best advise I can give you is go to Home Depot, Lowes, and Sears and pick the routers up and see how they feel in your hands. Pick up both the fixed and plunge bases and see what feels right. The one that felt right to me is the one I bought. My wife got tired of going to all of the stores with me because I had made several trips, but I had to compare the feel and the Bosch felt right to me. :D
I've got the PC 693 and am very happy with it


If I had life to do over, I would make sure my router could take the Woodrat Plunge bars. That would be a major upgrade to any router.
I personally would go with the Makita or Hitachi (1/2" models) for plunge routing and Triton for table routing
Thanks all for the advice. I went ahead and bought a Bosch kit, and am now in the process of building a table.
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