Well over half of the emails sent to me are on the subject of tools. I have no objections to responding to them but I thought it would be beneficial to start a video library of sorts to briefly touch on what I think of a particular tool or set of tools. These won’t be in depth tool reviews as I know very few people are interested in that kind of thing and I really don’t want to go over all the details. Instead I’ll just focus on the things I like about the tool, things I don’t like about the tool, and would I buy it again. I have a huge list of “episodes” that can be made and plan on releasing one per week. Hopefully this will be helpful to some people.
I purchased the Bosch Colt, Dewalt DWP611, 2hp Drill master, and Bosch 1617EVSPK routers. The Milwaukee 5616-24 was given to me by Milwaukee. The thoughts and opinions here are my own and this article/video is not sponsored or endorsed by any company or individual and the above links are not affiliate links.
What I like:
- My trim routers:
- The Bosch Colt fits more comfortably in the hand because of it’s ergonomic design.
- The Bosch Colt comes with an edge guide.
- The DWP611 height adjustment is much more fluid and easier to use than the Colt
- The DWP611 has better visibility of the but during use due to less material of the base being in the way.
- Both the Colt and DWP611 have equal motor performance in my opinion.
- My larger routers:
- The Drill Master 2hp router from Harbor Freight is a good budget buy for use in a router table.
- Both the Bosch 1617 and the Milwaukee 5616 have equal motor performance in my opinion.
- The plunge base depth stop is more user friendly and easier to dial in on the Milwaukee. However, the Bosch plunge base depth stop works just fine.
- The Milwaukee 5616 comes with a dust collection adapter.
- The Milwaukee 5616 has an ergonomic palm grip on the fixed base.
- Although none are included, the Bosch 1617 has more accessory options such as bushing guides and edge guides.
- The Bosch edge guide is a nice accessory but, as I found out, a homemade version can be made with shop scraps.
- Both the Bosch and Milwaukee fixed bases can be mounted to the bottom side of a router table and both include tools to adjust the height from above the router table.
What I don’t like:
- The Drill Master 2hp router from Harbor Freight had a top heavy fixed base if I recall correctly. And it doesn’t have a soft start which doesn’t make it a good long term choice in my opinion for hand held use.
- The plunge base that came with my Bosch 1617 was either a lemon when I purchased it or wore out within 3 or 4 times using it. I’m hoping that it was just a lemon and somehow I accidentally ended up with it when I bought the kit from Lowes. If the other is true and I wore it out after only a couple projects than that’s just not something I can recommend. The right plunge shaft has no bushing at all. It just rides through a hole in the base housing. When using the guide bushings for the first time I noticed there was an unacceptable amount of play in the right shaft that caused the bit to wander inside the guide bushing by about 1/16″. By the time I noticed the problem I already had the router for over a year and could not return it to the store. I actually bought another one of the exact same kits and it had the same problem so I returned it. I also purchased a guide bushing kit that is compatible with the Bosch plunge base that I had but I apparently didn’t do enough research because I also had to buy the Bosch guide bushing adapter plate so that I could use the Bosch guide bushings with my Bosch plunge router. It seems like it would make sense to have the adapter come with the bushings.
- I couldn’t find an edge guide for the Milwaukee router. At first I didn’t like this but in the end it gave me an opportunity to save some money and make my own edge guide from scraps in the shop.
What Router(s) would I buy to start over?
Because of my bad experience with the Bosch plunge base, it’s easy to end up spending a small fortune on Bosch accessories, and the fact that I like every part of the Milwaukee router more I wish I would have bought the Milwaukee before I ever thought about the Bosch. The Drill Master 2hp router from Harbor Freight is great for a router table and not so great in hand held use as the base felt top heavy and awkward and the motor doesn’t have a soft start. I’ll give both laminate or trim routers a thumbs up but probably lean more towards the Bosch Colt as it’s slightly less expensive and comes with an edge guide.
- If I could only buy one router (or kit) I would go with the Milwaukee 5616-24 plunge and fixed base kit.
- If I could buy two routers I would go with the Milwaukee 5616-24 kit and the Bosch Colt trim router.