Tim Uhler

If I could have only one router, it would be a 3-1/4-horsepower plunge router. Over the years, I’ve used my versatile 13-pounder for everything from shiplapping custom cedar siding to building commercial exterior doors. Nevertheless, when I bought a Makita model 3700B laminate trimmer in 1985, I started using the 3.7-pounder all the time for mortising door hardware, milling small roundovers and chamfers, and inlaying finish work. I’ve even routed overhead with it while standing on ladders. But the tool delivers only around 1/2 horsepower, so those undemanding applications are pretty much the limit.

Recognizing the untapped potential of one-handed routing, Bosch introduced the one-horsepower Colt palm router in 2005 to bridge the gap between traditional laminate trimmers and more powerful two-handed routers. Several manufacturers have followed suit. For this article, I evaluated seven compacts that are rated by their manufacturers at 1 or 1...

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