First I must point out my limited qualifications for evaluating this router. Being as I am new to woodworking. This is only my 2 router, the first I gave to a church I was attending in about 1991 or earlier. I do not know if I ever used it at all.
My next experience was this year when I borrowed a friends router. I will say that this was not a good experience at all. They were, for the most part, very difficult to operate especially adjusting the depth of the cut.
My decision criteria
My decision to buy this router was, for the most part based upon the following criteria:
1. Evaluations that I read on line and in magazines (Wood magazine July 15, 2008 pages 70-75).
2. Evaluations by individuals on other forums, (I did not know about this forum at that time)
3. The reviews done by people that bought a particular router on the web pages of the various vendors such as Home Depot, Amazon and several others.
4. Discussions with other people regarding the routers they have used.
5. Warranter's offered on the different units I was looking at
6. Experience with a given brand name that I have had experience with in the past i.e. Dewalt and Ridgid
7. Finally, and to a lesser degree, price.
(It should also be noted that I have made numerous purchases from both Ridgid and Dewalt and that this may well have effect my consideration when looking at all of the routers on the market. It might also effect my judgment when looking at a product offered by a manufacturer that I have head reports on that are not favorable.
The routers being evaluated included;
Brand name Model number
1. Bosch 1617EVSP
2. Dewalt DW1618PK
4. Porter- Cable 694VK and the 895PK
5. Hitachi KM12VC
6. Freud FTVC1702VCEK
7. Craftsman 17543 and 28084
8. Makita RF1101KIT
9. Skil 1825
10. Milwaukee 5616-24
11. Ryobie not evaluated
Features of the Ridgid R2900 also referred to as the R2930
Features on the R2900 Ridgid router. These are the only ones I will list as this is the only router that I Will be evaluating. Features of the other routers may be found on the products home page, or vendors page. While I have seen side by side comparisons on the different routers I have chosen not to do that at this time.
2-1/4 peak horsepower motor provides the power necessary for dense materials
Electronic variable speed with feedback helps maintain speed under load
Accessible brushes can be serviced quickly for minimum downtime
Precision milled magnesium construction for high strength and exact fit
Soft start provides a gradual acceleration of the motor
Multi position depth stop makes repetitive cuts easy
High visibility scales for setting an accurate depth of cut
Premium shaft design with spindle lock for minimal run out and easy bit changes
Fixed and Plunge Bases
1 1/8" Collete wrench (1)
1/2" & 1/4" Colletes
Above table adjusting "T" wrench
Base plate centering device
Input: 120 V AC, 12 Amps.
Peak Horse Power: 2-1/4 HP
No Load Speeds: 10,000-23,000 r/min
Motor Weight: 6.4 lb. Pics top row left to right
Figure 1 Ridgid model R2900 router
R2900 motor, R2910 fixed base, R2920 plunge base, 2 wrenches, centering tool and pin, T-handle wrench, 1/4 in. and 1/2 in. Collete assemblies, 2 vacuum attachments, and heavy duty bag. (It might be noted here that my router did not include 2 wrenches)
Personal Hands on evaluation as of 12/24/1908:
The router comes as a combination kit. Ridgid only offers a bag to carry the router and this bag is not large enough to use put both bases, router motor and small tools item in. I also felt a hard case should have been provided.
The visual quality of the router is good this being important for some buyers but is other wise meaningless. The router is comfortable to hold and when running has no appreciable vibration. The noise level of the router is such that one should wear some kind of ear protection.
The router motor can be moved from one base to the other relatively easily.
It is accomplished by releasing the lock on the back side of the bases.
Figure 2 Releasing lever (center right in photo)
Than by depressing the alignment device and the motor should slide freely from the base. Installing the motor in either of the based requires the lock be open and the pin on the side of the motor and the slot on the base be aligned to slide the motor into the base.
Figure 3 Aligning pin and slot
With the fixed base being used, the unit for my part operates flawlessly with one exception that the on/off switch is located near the top of the motor and dead center between the handles. With soft start it is OK but frankly running at full speed if something happened one has to take one hand off the router to shut it down. A switch located closer to the handle would allow one in an emergency to just reach over with one figure and turn off the router.
Figure 4 On/off switch location
The variable speed control is located above the on/off switch. It is graduated in numbers corresponding to X1000 RPM The location is fine as one tends not to change this while the the router is running.
Dust collection is accomplished by attaching dust collection devices that are included with the Router. There is a different device for each of the bases (both plunge and fixed).
Figure 5 Dust removal devices:
Dust removal devices for plunge base on Figure 5A (top right)and fixed base Figure 5B (bottom left)
Figure 6 Above table height adjustments:
The above table adjustments are accomplished using the provided T handle that is inserted through a hole (In my case I had to drill out this hole as it was not provided for ) unto the height adjusting device. The Lock for the motor must then be released so that the motor can be moved freely in the in the fixed base (see pictures below and next page)
Figure7 "T" wrench for below table ht. adjustments
The Router can have the motor adjusted up until the bit can be changed from above the table. One negative is if the fence is being used close to router, it gets in the way and must be moved which may affect settings.
Figure 8 operation as a plunge router photo bottom second from right shower the locking lever to lock router at a given depth. lever can be reached with right hand, but is awkward to operate. I felt though awkward to use did not pose the same safety issue that the on/off switch could.
Overall operation of the router:
As i mentioned in the introduction, with the exception of two borrowed routers, both sears, this is the first router I have ever operated. It was a good experience overall. When I first got the router I played around on some scrap 2X10 material using it free style to make a sign. I think with some practice one could learn just how to do this freestyle work fairly quickly and the only limitation would be one's Level creativity.
Using the router in a table, the router was very comfortable to use in my table. There was no vibration in the table and it again performed as one would expect. There was sufficient power and no noticeable vibration. I have yet to use it in a jig ie dovetail etc.
Changing bits and/or collets is over all on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the easiest, is a 2. I found that taking the motor out of the case using two wrenches is a 1, but leaving the motor in the base and the router in the table it went to a 6-7. If the operator purchased off set wrenches from Peachtree Woodworking in Atlanta (http://www.ptreeusa.com/routerAcc.htm#2887
), it would make changing bits in the table much easier. The cost to purchase these is in the neighborhood of 15.00each and this just adds to the cost of the router. I will eventually purchase these but Ridgid could supply these at a minimal cost to the router. Has I known then what I know now I might have gone with the Bosch 1617 kit.
Over all review:
I have had the router for about 8 months, and over all I am satisfied with the Ridgid and fell it could hold it's own with routers of comparable price and size. I look forward to using it for several years to come. My next router will not be the Ridgid and the reason I would like to go into the 3HP range for permanent in table installation. I would and do recommend the Ridgid for others to look at. Ridgid allows for a 90 evaluation period with returns, no questions asked. As mentioned, Ridgid offers a lifetime guarantee, whatever that is worth I do not know.
Having done this evaluation I will report to the forum how the router does in different applications in the future.
Gerald R Gould