Bosch MRC23EVSK Detailed Review
The Bosch MRC23EVSK Router Combination Kit is Bosch’s latest entry in the router combo kit market where you get a plunge base and a fixed base that share one motor, so it’s like having two routers in one. However, the MRC23EVSK is a bit different from the competition – one of the downsides of other router combo kits is that the power switch is mounted on the motor unit meaning you have to let go with one hand to start and stop the router.
Bosch have got round this by putting electrical connectors on the motor unit and on both bases which allows them to mount the on/off switches on the handles of each base, so you can start and stop the router and keep hold of it with both hands at the same time, which is much safer and gives you better control. It’s another example of Bosch innovation that’s sure to be copied by the other router manufacturers soon.
Unfortunately there’s always a downside which in this case is the price – adding this new feature means that the best price we could find on the web was around $270 – $280 which is almost $100 more than the bestselling Bosch 1617EVSPK which gives you the same routing functionality. However, the MRC23EVSK is still substantially cheaper than other heavy-duty routers like the Porter Cable 7518.
What to look for when buying a Router
Due to its incredible versatility, every wood worker, including beginners, will have a need for a router at some time, and many people have more than one. However, with the huge range available, it’s not easy to choose the one that’s best suited to your needs. In this article we look at a number of the features that you should be considering such as router power ratings and variable speed, router bit size, accurate depth setting with fine adjustment control and the various advantages and disadvantages of a Fixed Base Router vs a Plunge Router.
Powerful, Variable-Speed Motor with Soft Start
When looking at routers, one of the most important feature to look for is the horsepower rating of the motor. In line with all the other router combo kits on the market the Bosch MRC23EVSK uses a powerful 2.3 hp motor which gives you enough power to push some bigger 1/2-inch shank bits through the stock without bogging down. Equally as important as the power is a variable speed motor as the larger the bit, the slower the cutting speed needs to be – if you use a large bit at too high a speed you will burn the stock. The Bosch MRC23EVSK motor has a wide range of speed from 10,000 to 25,000 rpm which allows you to accurately match the speed to the type of stock and the size of cutter.
To limit the tendency of the router to twist in your hands at start-up, the majority of routers have a soft start feature and the Bosch is no exception. This gradually increases the speed up to full speed and in addition to preventing any jerking and easier handling on start-up, it results in reduced strain and wear and tear on the motor itself, leading to longer motor life.
The Bosch motor is also particularly smooth; all routers vibrate to a certain degree and the less the vibration, the smoother the cut and the better it feels in your hands. We found that the minimal vibration of the Bosch MRC23EVSK plus the comfortable ergonomic handles make it extremely easy to use.
Router bit size
The bit shank size of the router is another important factor in deciding on a router. The two most common bit shank sizes are 1/4″ and 1/2″ and you should consider the projects you want to complete and the availability of bit sizes you need for these projects. The most common shank size is 1/2″ and you will find a much larger selection of bits available in the 1/2″ size and you will also find that some of the more specialist bits (mainly used by professionals) only come in 1/2″.
Also, the larger the shank diameter, the less likely the router bit is to vibrate during cutting. Excessive vibration of the cutter will give a poor cut, and, as a general rule, you should always choose the largest shank diameter cutter your router will accept. In line with pretty well every combo kit on the market, the Bosch MRC23EVSK comes with both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets.
On/off Switches Mounted on Base Handles
Unlike all other router combo kits the Bosch MRC23EVSK has the on/off switches mounted on the handles of each base – other router combos mount the power switch on the motor unit. This is possible thanks to electrical connectors in the motor unit and both bases – you can see them in the image on the right. This means you can keep both hands on the handles when switching the router on and off which is much safer and gives you more control – a huge improvement over other designs where you have to let go with one hand to turn the router on or off.
Accurate Fixed and Plunge Base Depth Adjustment
All routers, whether fixed base or plunge, need to have a means of accurately adjusting bit depth. In fixed-base mode, depth-adjustment mechanisms come in one of two basic types – dials or rings. On the Bosch MRC23EVSK there is a micro-adjust dial for setting cutter depth on both bases, and, in use, we find that dial adjusters tend to be easier to set fine tolerances.
Additionally, when using a router table, the fixed base also allows you to adjust the height from above the table – a feature generally only found on dedicated fixed-base routers – using the included hex wrench.
Fixed Base Router vs. Plunge Router
What’s the difference? Simply put, a fixed base router is one on which you set a specific depth, and that depth stays consistent while using the tool. A plunge router, on the other hand, allows you to plunge the router bit downward and into the stock, make the desired cut, and then lift the bit back out of the stock.
In general, a plunge router is used for hand held routing when making a stopped cut (one that does not go all the way to the edge of the stock e.g. a mortise) and a fixed base router tends to be used in a Router Table and for hand held routing when a stopped cut is not required.So, before the advent of router combo kits, you would have had to decide on what type of work you were planning to do before deciding on which one you should buy. Luckily that’s all changed and kits like the Bosch MRC23EVSK provides everything you need for both fixed-base routing and plunge-base routing.
How much should you expect to pay?
The list price of the Bosch MRC23EVSK is $329.99 but you can find it for around $280
What are other people saying?
Some of the comments received from users around the web 😀
- I planned on only buying one router… so I got the best I could find.
- All in all a great tool for pros and regular handy people.
- Smooth, powerful, and well designed.
- Worth the wait. This is a great combo router system.
- Well built, smooth plunge action, and lots of power.
What kind of warranty is there?
This routing package is backed by a one-year limited warranty.
Where can you get the best price for the Bosch MRC23EVSK?
We check prices regularly for this router and by far the best price has always been at Amazon. At the moment they include free shipping and from what we can tell when comparing prices with other online merchants, Amazon do currently have the best deal, especially with the free shipping option.
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. This alone makes it stand out from everything else on the market, and when you take into account the massive power and the afterlock micro-fine bit-depth adjustment which gives you incredibly accurate bit-depth adjustment in plunge mode, the Bosch MRC23EVSK is a winner.