Shop Talk

Finding a Fixed-Base Router on a Fixed-Budget

  • A fixed-base router is a truly remarkable tool with the versatility to make your projects both beautiful and functional.  All things remarkable though, tend to squeeze some life out of your budget – fortunately, however, there are professional, high-performance routers available from Dewalt, Porter-Cable, and Bosch that provide high-quality versatility and exceptional results at prices that will surprise you. 

    Dewalt DW616Dewalt’s DW616 fixed-base router is one exceptional tool offering craftsmen a seriously powerful 11 amp motor specialized to smoothly rout through the even toughest hardwoods. With a micro-fine depth adjustment ring, the router provides extremely precise depth adjustments in minute 1/64″ increments – This means your results are extremely accurate. The router’s clear LEXAN sub-base, which is hugely durable, accepts standard template guide bushings and offers optimized bit visibility increasing your ability to see and control what you’re doing as you do it. The tool’s tool-free adjustable steel motor cam-lock makes depth adjustments and base changes quick and ultra tight, while the router’s over-molded rubber handles and low center of gravity provide surpassing comfort, balance, and overall better control. Altogether, the DW616 is lightweight, but also touts an unique design rendering it highly durable and long-lasting with a truly professional precision. Lastly, pricing from about $140 – $200, the router packs a huge bite with only a little nibble to your wallet.

    Porter-Cable 690LRAdditionally, Porter-Cable keeps busy manufacturing some of the most quality routers in the industry. Their 690LR fixed-base router provides craftsmen with just the right amount of authority and precision to master every home and hobby application. With a powerful 11 amp, 27,500 RPM motor the router is no stranger to tough applications. Despite its brawn, however, as the motor is only single speed, operators have slightly less control over unifying speeds to tasks. This is hardly a draw-back, however, when one considers the tool’s a micrometer depth adjuster accurate to a mind-boggling 1/128″. The adjuster renders the router precise beyond conceivability. With a precision machined aluminum base and motor housing, and it’s sealed ball bearing construction, the tool is monstrously durable, and being designed to simplify and enhance all your projects, the router boasts striking, and simple to achieve high-quality. Ranging in price from about $130 – $250 (on-line and in-store pricing can sometimes express a very large disparity), the tool is a brilliant performer at a pleasantly low price.

    Bosch 1617On another hand, Bosch’s 1617 fixed-base router, with superior power and precision, boasts all the features to entice even the most thoroughbred woodworkers. Its 2 HP (11amp) motor and precision centering design make keeping your bits on their intended cut-lines far easier, and to ensure stability and accuracy as you work, the tool’s fixed-base has threaded holes enabling craftsmen to easily mount the tool to a router table. A macro and microfine bit depth adjustment system (with resettable depth indicator) provides fast and precise depth adjustments allowing you to spend more quality time with your router, and less time struggling to adjustment it. With a large 3-3/4″ base opening and a 2″ subbase opening the 1617 can hold larger bits, and with a one-piece armature shaft, the tool provides a long bit shank capacity with striking routing accuracy. A tool-free template guide adapter provides fast guide changes and also accepts template guides from other manufacturers (like Porter-Cable) for additional versatility. Ultimately, this router is a handsome tool with all the personality (precision and power) to perfectly navigate its way through all of your projects. Pricing from about $160 – $175, the 1617 is a professional, high-performance router that won’t break your budget.

    Bosch 1617EVSBosch also builds the 1617EVS fixed-base, variable speed router which just so happens to be the most powerful router in its class with variable speeds and a superior 2.25 HP (12amp) motor. Boasting 8,000 – 25,000 RPM, the router is highly durable and capable of performing the most intricate to the most aggressive applications. Its variable speed capacity enables craftsmen may match speeds to individual projects, and because the tool also has large base and subbase openings, the router has a long bit shank capacity and accepts large bits for nearly endless routing options. Additionally, the tool’s precision centering design keeps your bits always on their intended cut-lines, and ranging in price from about $175 – $185, the router is masterful in the shop while still being reasonable on your budget. The 1617EVS is a handsome devil with constant speed and power, overload protection, mounting capacities, and a tool-free template guide adapter to ensure that the love you feel for your router is never colored with frustration or sub-par components.

    Ultimately, each of these fixed-base routers is certain to provide you with high-performance, professional routing at a price that will keep you happy.