04 Aug. 2013|
Best plunge router reviews,computer desks for gamers,kitchen designs plans ideas - Reviews
Bosch broke new ground for compact handheld routing seven years ago when its Colt Palm Router entered the market, and I wondered then if the “more routing with less router” theme would catch on. The Colt Palm Router motor pack and its fixed base are unchanged for this kit, but what’s brand-new is the plunge base.
Bosch’s proprietary notched template guides and locking collar fit its new Colt plunge base. Two inches of plunge travel will make the Bosch, DeWALT and P-C routers handy for deep mortises. PORTER-CABLE’s long lever activates the plunge action, and depth settings lock securely when you release it. These depth-setting systems are the best of the test group, with cursors that are flat against their bright scales and micro-adjustment on both the depth rod and their five-step turrets. It’s fun when a tool surprises during a review, and a couple smart features of this T4 dedicated plunge router did just that. This router is a couple inches taller than the competition, but it still feels nicely balanced, and the round plastic handles are comfortably sized. Makita takes a “shotgun” approach at the compact routing market here, with a kit that offers every imaginable accessory: fixed, plunge, offset and tilt bases, a trimmer roller guide, edge guide, vac attachments for both plunge and fixed bases, even a drill-style side handle and a big padded carry case to stow it all. While the fixed-base vac attachment kept the cutting area really tidy, I can’t say the same for the plunge-base dust port, which struggled for suction; chips clogged up around the cutting area quickly.
With a few refinements, Makita’s plunge base could be even better, and its overmolded fixed base is comfortable in hand. Here’s a tough judgement call, because I’m happy to see so many strong contenders in this new and growing class of routers.
If I were in the market for a new router, my pick would be the Bosch 1617EVSPK kit ($200-215 via Amazon). Bosch came out with new routers a few years back, but the 1617 remains a strong favorite among woodworkers. For lower budgets, I would probably recommend the Porter Cable 690 ($129 via Amazon), which has a fixed base that works well with router tables.
For router table: a Porter Cable 690LR + aftermarket router lift, like the Rockler or Jessem one. Used a ton of PC690s over the years, along with a lot of Milwaukee routers (I don’t remember all the models) and while those are both decent routers my makitas have been the workhorses.
Over the years I’ve used dozens of routers including dedicated high frequency AC powered tools (needed a dedicated commercial frequency changer) – specialized modified Porter Cable routers from Betterley – Bosch laminate trimmers including the 1608 series and the Colt – compact Dewalt (DWP611) plunge routers and big hogging routers like the PC 7539 and Bosch 1619.
I was browsing the different plunge and fixed base routers and noticed that they come in combo kits, which is a better deal and a great price for two routers, so I wanted to compare the various router kits to see which ones stood out the most. After looking at 20 or so kits, I decided to narrow down the results in order to find the best plunge router combo kit out there and compare the different models and make for the top five in this category. The models I chose are the router kits that had the most reviews, some even made the bestsellers list and range in horsepower anywhere from 1.25 hp to 2 hp and up.
First up is the bosch plunge router combo kit that includes the plunge router, of course, a fixed base router, quarter and half inch collet chucks, wrenches and a carrying case. This Bosch combo kit made the bestsellers list on Amazon and has a ton of reviews (over 300) that you can go through and read yourself to get a good feel for what to expect with this particular kit and how it stacks up to its competitors.
These wood routers are powered by a 2.25 horsepower motor that pumps out 12 amps of power and can achieve speeds of 8,000 to 25,000 rpm. The Dewalt Plunge Router Kit (dw618pk) has over 100 reviews, not as many as the Bosch model listed first, but still enough for this router to obtain a top ranking in the router kit combo category. This Dewalt router boasts its dust collection system to be the best in its category, due to the fact that it collects up to 95% of the dust through it’s column and increases the visibility of the bit while cutting, which is one of my pet peeves regarding routers and their designs. This Hitachi router has a ton of reviews too, even more than the Dewalt model and is available in a combo kit or without the plunge router, which isn’t what this post is reviewing, but I thought I would mention it, for those of you that might want a fixed router only. The Porter Cable combo kit includes a fixed router base, a plunge router base, a 1.25 hp motor, a carrying case and a wrench to change bits, nothing really different than the other router kits really. These routers are more compact units, compared to the previous three and weigh roughly 4 lbs.
This model is a variable speed router, like all of the routers listed here and has a neat little feature that the other routers do not have and that is led lights integrated into the base that illuminate the work area for increased visibility and precision.
The kit includes everything you need, the two routers (fixed base and plunge base) a wrench and case to keep it all in, which is pretty standard for all of the combo kits listed in the lineup. Despite the limited extras, these rugged little routers were a pleasure to test-drive overall. First, the router’s plastic dust port connector surrounded the bit opening so effectively that everything from mortising to letter carving was virtually debris-free. In terms of plunge styling, the base locks when you depress a rear lever on the right; otherwise, plunge motion is always in effect.
Most of the ones I’ve seen come with low-powered routers and cheap router tables with too-small surfaces and few features.
There’s also a Hitachi kit with plunge and fixed bases ($170 via Amazon), and this would be my preferred budget pick. A Festool router (or Lie-Nielsen plane, or SnapOn wrench) is not merely a vanilla bit of junk tarted up by badge engineering marketers.
What I have in my home router table (built myself – using some parts from others) is a Bosch 1617EVS. It too, had tons of reviews (over 200) which is always a good sign when it comes to power tools. While there was some slight play in the plunge motion, it didn’t seem to impact mortising accuracy. You should be aware that this Porter Cable is a single-speed router, and as such it’s not suitable for use with larger bits. Now, you can choose from five different models — all with plunge bases that, to me, sacrifice little in the way of precision or convenience from their larger kin. Its left-hand plunge lever engages the plunge action when depressed and parks it firmly to depth when released: an intuitive approach. DeWALT outfits its fixed base with a longer square-edged sub-base, which adds stability when routing small work or steering around corners.
But oddly, the plunge lever is too short to activate by thumb like the other test routers, and that’s inconvenient.
I wired an outlet to a switch so I can start the router without fumbling for the trigger and lock. The depth stop on the plunge base has a red disk pointer; a hairline cursor would be easer to view accurately. In a nutshell, here’s what it proved: these versatile, easy-to-handle tools are fully capable woodworking routers.
And the motors engage into the plunge bases almost effortlessly: straight down and in, then snap a buckle closed.