I'm looking to buy a router dedicated solely as a table router. I have a 1 3/4 hp plunge which I have been using, but it only accepts 1/4 " shank bits. I've done a great deal of research, but I'm still as lost as ever as to what to purchase. Some people have told me that I need at least a 3hp router to use on a table. I know I want something that is powerful enough for making picture frames some cabinets, but I hate to pay that much for something if I don't really need it.
I've looked at all the name brands PC, Bosch, Milwakee, Dewalt ,but the Freud mentioned above has gotten some of the best overall reviews. It has some great features that some of the others don't have. It has 13 amps and is light weight. It is now being offered with a plunge attachment which may or may not be useful for me. The price is very appealing at $169 compared to the others that are price over $200.
I'm not as familiar with this brand as with the others. Do any of you know ifthey make a good product? Should I stick with more common brand names?
Freud is a very good brand, as are all the others you mentioned. That price seems a bit low for a plunge router, but perhaps it is on sale or is an older model. Many people, including myself, use a 2 1/4 hp router in the router table. I strongly prefer routers that have 1/2" collets (and they usually include a 1/4" collet as well) because I want anything that spins that fast on a serious hunk of steel. I also think that most people, especially women, should have a router that has the soft start feature.
All in all, the Freud sounds like a good buy. Maybe the Router Lady (aka Carol Reed) will respond to this -- she is the ultimate answer person on routers.
For what you mentioned, 2 1/4hp is probably fine but....
Once you have a router table, you are VERY likely to start doing bigger and bigger things with it, things that will require a 3 hp router. Even if you don't do bigger things, a 3hp will typically last longer since the motor will be working at a lower percentage of it's capacity.
Look around a bit, Freud's older 3hp model, the FT2000E is a VERY good table router and retails for under $200.00 They just introduced the newer version, so there should be some of the 2000s still in stock.
I ran one hard in my router table for three years making hundreds of doors and thousands of feet of moldings. One of it's best features is a great big height adjusting knob that makes changing the bit height quite easy. I made a flip top table for it and never had to bend over again!
Hitachi also makes a 3hp model that is priced about the same. I've never used one personally, but it has received very good marks from woodworkers I know whao do have it.
I use a PC 890 or Bosch 1617 in my router table unless I am doing some very heavy hogging. Then it is the PC 7518.
That said, nearly everyone that knows me. knows I distain plunge routers in a router table. Frought with problems, many unrecognized as problems unless you have a wide range of experiences. FWTW, those of us who have written router books, i.e., Bill Hylton, Part Warner, likewise do not recommend a plunge router in this application. That is not to say it cannot be done, just that there are better solutions.
And that said, a PC 890 is a good all-around router, hand-held and router table. Also you can purchase it with a fixed base and a plunge base. Now you have all the advantages of both in one machine. Makes spending the $200 well worth it, but then that is my 2 cents worth!
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