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Tool review: Do-it-all Routers

Can a single machine handle every router chore in your shop? We test 9 of 'em to find out.

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Do-it-all Routers

Do-it-all Routers

We'd all love to have a fleet of routers at our disposal, but few of us can afford that luxury. So we went on a quest for the ultimate router: one machine that does it all. After compiling a list of what's required for a do-everything router (below), we rounded up every router that meets those criteria--three dedicated plunge routers and six multibase kits--and put them through extensive testing. The good news: All nine routers we tested can perform each requirement well enough to be the only router you'll ever need, but a few do it much better than the rest.


6 requirements of a do-it-all router

1. Ample power to run any bit, even the largest panel-raisers.
2. A variable-speed motor with soft-start and electronic feedback for maintaining speed under load.
3. Good balance and features for handheld fixed-depth routing.
4. Smooth, easy-to-use plunge action and features.
5. Through-the-base bit-height adjustability for router-table use.
6. Helpful included accessories: edge guide, dust-collection attachments, multiple subbases with different-size openings, guide-bushing holder or adapter, subbase centering cone, and a carrying case or bag for storage.


Continued on page 2:  Power and Speed

 

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