Variable speed is important with large dia. router bits like the raised panel bit. Are you wanting to use this router with larger dia. bits. If so you would use variable speed. Next thing to think about is because the 690 series is an 11 amp and might be a bit underpowered for the larger dia. bits. It can handle these router bits but the power is a factor.Jerry said:How important is variable speed? My wife bought me a 693LRPK 11 amp router for Christmas, thinking it was variable speed. She wants to take it back to the store and get the variable speed.