Best router for a beginner

Kelvin Robetx

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California
I plan to do normal edge work but also plan to build some outdoor furniture, planter boxes, and some garage cabinets.
I'm leaning towards a fixed 2 1/2 hp fixed model with variable speed. I figure with this forums help I can learn how to make jigs, a table, etc.
 

Jim DeLaney

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You might consider one of the "kits" that has the router motor, a fixed base, and a plunge base. Cost isn't too much more than just a fixed router, but it makes the router much more versatile.
Many router brands are available as kits. I have the Hitachi (now Metabo) kit, and like it. Makita, DeWalt, Milwaukee, Skil, and others all make good kits.
 

fred hargis

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I'd agree with your starting point, but include a plunge base. Like Jim said, there are many of these setups available and they are all good. I prefer the Milwaukee but look the brands over and decide.
 

Darren Wright

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glenn bradley

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There is a saying that if you only have one router, make it a plunge router. The more recent combo kits make this a moot point as a few of them with fixed and plunge bases are as good as their fixed format equivalents. I would look to a 2+HP level combo that suits your grip. I favor the Milwaukee 5616-24 as it has reasonable power, soft start, variable speed, above the table adjustments should you decide to put the fixed base in a table, and I love the body-grip format. Other folks will have their favorite as hand held routers are fairly personal as to comfort.
 

Leo Voisine

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East Freeetown, Massachusetts
I love my Porter Cable 590 1-1/2 hp hand held router.

My preference is a smaller router because it's lighter and easier to handle. They are available in plunge and fixed.

If I were to get only one base it would be plunge - because you can do both things with it. With a fixed base you are limited to just that one thing.

In reality you should get the kit with both bases.
 

Charles Lent

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Central North Carolina
A 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 HP router is a good first router choice, but get a kit. It will save money in the long run, and give you much more capability and versatility. A good adjustable multi-use fence for it should be your next purchase. The routers, like rabbits, can multiply quickly, once you begin to enjoy all that you can do with them. At last count I have 14 routers in several sizes and brands. Each has things that it can do better than the others, so they get to stay in my woodshop.

I have two DeWalt 618 three base kits as well as a DW 618 two base kit. I bought one three base kit and put it in the truck. Then, when I kept getting it out of the truck to use in the shop, I bought the second for the shop. They both reside in the shop now, because I no longer do woodworking for others and sold the truck. I like using the D Handle bases with both of them when using my Leigh D4R dovetail jig, one for the straight bit and one for the dovetail bit, as once you get them adjusted just right, removing a bit in the middle of the job is a major headache.

The two base kit was bought from a friend at a great price, after he decided that he enjoyed rebuilding old woodworking machines more than he did woodworking. The fixed base and it's router now reside in my Bushton RBI Router Shop router table, but it's a bit too big for the design of this router table, so I may be going back to the 1 HP Black & Decker fixed base for it, which seems to be adequate for it's design and what it can do.. This router table came from Habitat at a price too good to pass up. There are times when tilting the bit to an angle other than 90 degrees to the table has benefits. This table has this ability, but I use it less often than I had originally expected.

Charley
 
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