Router collets are simply a steel sleeve that holds the router bit in your router. It sounds simple, but the design of the collet and the method of gripping the shank of the router bit is extremely important. A well designed collet must perform two important functions – holding the the router bit securely and ensuring correct alignment.
The Bosch MRC23EVSK is Bosch’s latest router combo kit but with a difference – unlike other combos that have the power switch on the motor, the Bosch MRC23EVSK has the on/off switches on the handles of each base thanks to electrical connectors on the motor unit and on the bases, so you can start and stop the router and keep hold of it with both hands at the same time, which is safer and gives better control.
The Dewalt DWP611PK is Dewalt’s fantastic router combo kit in the 1.25 hp trim router class. Most router manufacturers have a fixed-base trim router but Dewalt is the only one to produce a router combo kit in this class. In fact the Dewalt DWP611PK is the only plunge router available in this power bracket, meaning if you want a small, lightweight plunge router, the Dewalt DWP611PK is it.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK Router Combination Kit is Bosch’s bestseller in the router combo market. One motor and two bases (fixed and plunge) means you don’t have to buy two dedicated machines – two routers for not much more than the price of one. Features that make the Bosch stand out include its micro-adjust dial for setting cutter depth on the fixed base, comfortable wood handles and easy bit changing in fixed-mode.
The Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router is a fantastic little router. It’s small and lightweight and the motor is exceptionally smooth and quiet, making it very easy to use one-handed. The quick release cam lock system makes changing bases a matter of seconds and it’s got a variable speed control dial as well as electronic speed control and soft start – all in all, it’s a hell of a lot of router for under $100.
The Bosch PR20EVSK is Bosch’s excellent entry in the 1.0 hp trim router market. With its light weight, superb ergonomics and variable-speed motor, it sets the standard for small routers. The small size and light weight means it’s very agile and easy to control, and can even be used one handed, offering the perfect balance of power, precision and control. Once you start using it you’ll find yourself using it for more and more jobs.
The DeWalt DW618PK 2-1/4 HP Router kit is Dewalt’s complete router kit which gives you the router motor plus both a fixed and a plunge base all in one cost-effective package. Some of the excellent features include a clear LEXAN sub-base, precise, rotating depth adjustment ring and patented through-the-column dust-collection system, all of which add up to an innovative, versatile router kit. Highly recommended.
The Dewalt DW616 is a simple, twist-to-adjust router with a lot going for it. Its depth scale is accurate. It has a gentle soft start, made smooth cuts, and is a very well-balanced machine with a low center of gravity. The grips give excellent control and the switch can be set up for left- and right-handers. Bit changes are easily handled with two wrenches which is easier than the single wrench/ spindle-lock system that some routers use.
The Porter Cable 690LR is a mid-size fixed-base router for medium-duty work with a single-speed (27,500 rpm), 11 amp 1-3/4-hp motor designed along the same lines as its bigger stablemate, the 7518, although significantly lighter at 8 lbs. The Porter cable 690LR has become pretty much the production shop standard due to its excellent value for money and no frills, get the job done design.
The DeWalt DW618B3 Router kit is basically Dewalt’s bestselling DW618PK combo kit with an added D-handle base thrown in, so you’ve got all the bases well and truly covered (no pun intended). What you need to decide now is whether you want to spend an extra $25 for the additional D-handle base, and we think there’s one compelling reason why you should have 3 bases.