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Thread: Router Choice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Router Choice

    Help me spend my money. I'm shopping for a new router and have my eye on the Milwaukee corded routers.

    Don't know if I want the 5615-24 package or the 5616-24 package. I'd like to be able to mount the router in the right wing of my table saw. Don't know if I want/need the extra power for table use. I'm also open to other suggestions of brands.

    I'm open to any suggestions or ideas, so let's have'em.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Atlanta
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    For table use , you’ll want the higher hp model. The 5616.

    I like Milwaukee routers , but not enough to pay a $75 premium over something like the DeWalt 618. The Milwaukee has been out of stock for a while now. DeWalt is available.

  3. #3
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    I have 6 or 7 Milwaukee routers. The 5615 is fixed speed, the 5616 adds more power, variable speed, and electronic feedback. I use the 5615 when speed control is not an issue, non-burn-prone woods, light cuts, small cutters, etc. I use the 5616 when I am doing maple or cherry (burn prone) or am spinning larger cutters (lower speeds for larger cutters).

    I accidentally started using the Milwaukee 5616 a dozen years or so ago. I added a 5615 combo kit during an Amazon price drop. Once I had a few bases, fixed and plunge, the versatility of either motor working in any base led me to buy more.

    I also run 5625's in the lifts. One 5625 has been used . . . a lot . . . since the mid 2000's and it just runs and runs. All my other colors (except the Bosch Colts that I have setup for various tasks and have gotten good at replacing bearings in) have worn out or just been sent down the highway as the interchangeable feature on the Mils put them out of a job.

    Hand held routers are a personal thing and no one router is right for everyone. I always recommend getting the top contenders in your hands as they have to "feel" right as well as perform. I now feel awkward using a router without a "body grip" strap and a tool that outlasts others certainly gains my loyalty. That doesn't make it right for others ;-)
    Take me to the hotel - Baggage gone, oh well . . .

  4. #4
    I have used a mid sized PC router, a PC690, in a router table before and it worked. But the limited power meant more cuts doing things like panel raising. But cope and stick for doors was OK with it. But I now use the much more powerful PC 7518 in my router table. The added power is very much appreciated. It essentially never slows down. Cutting speed is more for the wood than the router. It depends on how many routers you want or can afford. A mid sized is a true do it all. But I really like having a heavy weight in the router table and a little one for light use (mine is a Bosch Colt).

    I have never used a Milwaukee router. So I can't help with model specifics. I think a router big enough for a router table is not well suited for hand held use (but I have a fixed base for my 7518). A mid sized router is good for hand held but just usable for a router table.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Arlington, TX
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    I've been very happy with a Milwaukee 5616. I use both the fixed "BodyGrip" base and the plunge base, plus I use the motor in an Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R lift on a cast iron router table extension for my table saw.

    -- Andy - Arlington TX

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dwight View Post
    I have never used a Milwaukee router. So I can't help with model specifics. I think a router big enough for a router table is not well suited for hand held use (but I have a fixed base for my 7518). A mid sized router is good for hand held but just usable for a router table.
    Thus my dilemma, underpowered in the table or heavy while hand held.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Silicon Valley, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Bruette View Post
    Thus my dilemma, underpowered in the table or heavy while hand held.
    The Creek solved that dilemma a long time ago: By one of each!

  8. #8
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    I would buy the Dewalt 618 or PC 690 . These middle sized routers can do everything relatively well. They will work well in table mounted use for all but the biggest bits. I own about 6 of the 690's a 3hp plunge and the Dewalt trim router with two bases. Brand is a personal thing, if possible try out a couple and go from there. I do not have a large router in a table, basically because I have two large shapers that do about 98% of my shaping. So in my shop most router use is handheld. As Glen stated pick one brand and end up with several routers and bases that are interchangeable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    PC routers were a great choice for a long time. They are now all discontinued by the manufacturer who has exited the router business.

    My new router lift got the Milwaukee 5625 as a result, and so far I'm extremely happy with it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Bruette View Post
    Thus my dilemma, underpowered in the table or heavy while hand held.
    I got a 5625 for my router table, but it's so nicely balanced & easy to handle that I wouldn't hesitate to use one hand held only. Very nice router.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    The Creek solved that dilemma a long time ago: By one of each!
    I guess I did ask for help spending my money.
    Confidence: The feeling you experience before you fully understand the situation

  12. #12
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    The Creek solved that dilemma a long time ago: By one of each!
    Only one each? I don't even want to know how many routers I have. The one I reach for, when I need to change a bit, is a Milwaukee. I don't remember the model number, but it's one of the middle sized ones. That's one of the few that doesn't have a dedicated bit.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    With the supply chain being what it is right now, the best approach may be to identify multiple possibilities and purchase what's actually available. I'm a fan of the DW618 series for the 12 amp router space and even with having two nice Festool routers, my DW618 gets its share of use. But I could be quite happy with a Milwaukee, Bosch, etc., if that's what was immediately available and I didn't want to wait for my preference.

    Relative to the hand-held vs table use, I also prefer a big, heavy router in the table and a more nimble, but capable router like what I just mentioned for hand-held use. The 12 amp units are fine to use in the table as long as large cutters are not involved, but a dedicated, heavy router motor makes for the best router table setup overall, IMHO.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    I like the Bosch routers. The 2 1/4 HP combo is a little under $220. I saw a kit with a router guide for about $240 and they really come in handy. The plunge base works as smooth as any. 2 1/4 HP will swing the biggest bits for most home work shops. If you are going to do a lot of raised panels then a shaper not a router would be a better choice. The newer one bigger model has the switch in the handle which in my book is worth its weight in gold if I were buying a router for the first time or replacing one. I don't have one because I don't need another router. When it comes to a mini, I bought a Makita with a plunge base. At Christmas time during some good sales I bought a Makita battery powered one. And it has become the work horse for hand held routering for the most part.

    I like routers with solid aluminum bodies and the size fits most every router lifts.
    Tom

  15. #15
    I love my Bosch 1617EVS. Never used it on raised panels but everything else, even flattening large slabs with a 2" surfacing bit. Seems like it has plenty of power. I too like having the aluminum base, never had an issue with adjusting the depth. Only complaint I have is the switch. It's not sealed so dust can get in there and I had to take it apart to clean the inside of the switch. I don't remember what I paid for it, but around $200 seems about right.

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