Until recently, new plunge routers came out every year, but fixed-base models seemed frozen in time. Most tool companies made fixed-base routers, but there wasn't much innovation because Porter-Cable completely dominated the market. As a result, tradespeople who wanted fixed-base tools had to settle for old designs and technology, while those who wanted cool new machines bought plunge routers.

This started to change a few years ago. Bosch and Makita introduced new fixed-base routers in 2000. DeWalt and Milwaukee brought some out in 2002. And Porter-Cable recently updated some of the features on its fixed-base models. Plunge routers may have more features, but fixed-base tools are lighter, cheaper, and less subject to damage because...

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