By Gary Katz and Daniel Parish

Publication Date: May/June 2003

Routers

Tool

Weight

Amps

Horsepower

Collet Size

RPM

Soft Start

Street Price

Bosch

1617EVSPK

Fixed Base: 7.5 lbs.

Plunge Base: 10 lbs.

12

2-1/4

1/4-, 3/8-, 1/2-inch, 8-mm

8,000 to 25,000

Yes

$249

Comments: This kit does the most things the best. Plunge action is smooth and the spring is just the right tension. All of the switches are easy to reach, especially in the plunge configuration, and it has a low center of gravity for a work-hugging feel. The bases and motor switch easily. It uses a two-wrench bit change; the 1/2-inch collet gave us some trouble, but the other collets work great. It ships with a great quick-change template adapter and has a good storage box. 877-267-2499. www.boschtools.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Horsepower

Collet Size

RPM

Soft Start

Street Price

DeWalt

DW618PK

Fixed Base: 7.5 lbs.

Plunge Base: 10.1 lbs.

12

2-1/4

1/4-, 1/2-inch

8,000 to 24,000

Yes

$249

Comments: Swapping bases on this unit is slick and fast. A spindle lock enables a one-wrench bit change -- the nicest of the bunch. The balance is great in both configurations. It also has the best dust collection design of the group. The kit comes with extra base plates and ships with a base-plate centering device for using large bits. The plunge-lock lever is difficult to lock securely, which affects cut-depth consistency. The carrying case is too big. We like the detachable cord. 800-433-9258. www.dewalt.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Horsepower

Collet Size

RPM

Soft Start

Street Price

Makita

RF1101KIT

Fixed Base: 7.9 lbs.

Plunge Base: 9.3 lbs.

11

2-1/4

1/4-, 1/2-inch

8,000 to 24,000

Yes

$298

Comments: This tool's base conversion is easy. The switches and levers are easy to find; it's possible to accidentally activate the top-mounted power switch, though. The plunge-lock lever and the plunge action feel stiff, which makes the tool difficult to control in the cut. It has the best case of the bunch -- well organized -- and it's the only tool that ships with an edge guide and a dust port. It also comes with an extra base for large bits. 800-462-5482. www.makitatools.com

Tool

Weight

Amps

Horsepower

Collet Size

RPM

Soft Start

Street Price

Porter-Cable

693LRPK

Fixed Base: 8.2 lbs.

Plunge Base: 11.4 lbs.

11

1-3/4

1/4-, 1/2-inch

10,000 to 27,500

No

$179

Comments: Plenty of power here, but this tool could use some improvements. Changing bases is difficult. The power switch is hard to find. The plunge action is too rough and the plunge lever doesn't lock very well. Also, there's no fine adjustment in the plunge configuration. 800-487-8665. www.porter-cable.com

This article is reprinted courtesy of Tools of the Trade