Our Pick of the Best Fixed Base Routers On the Market
With a fixed base router, the position of the bit is – you guessed it – fixed. While you get more versatility with a plunge router vs fixed base, these machines are ideal for edge shaping and are considered an excellent all-around router.
PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
Our favorite for 2017
Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Palm Grip 5.6 Amp 1-Horsepower Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router
A great value option
PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic 15 Amp 3-1/4 HP Fixed Base 5-Speed Router
A high-tech fixed base 5-Speed Router
If this is your first time buying a fixed base router or it’s been a while since you purchased a new one, you may not know what to look for or where to start. We’re going to share our top picks for fixed base models to make your life a little easier. Here’s how to compare these models:
- Power: When comparing routers, the motor is one of the most important things to look at. The horsepower, rpm and amp will give you an indication of the router’s power. If you’re a serious woodworker or you’ll be taking on a tough task, you’ll want a router with a more powerful motor, like the Porter-Cable 7518, which has a 15-amp motor and five speeds. For everyday tasks or occasional use, you may be better off going with a less powerful but more affordable model.
- Quality: Durability and quality are especially important when buying power tools, and routers are no different. These tools are an investment, and you want to make sure yours gives you a good return. Look for models from reputable brands, and pay attention to user reviews. The higher rated the router, the better the chance that it will provide you with years of use. Also, take a look at the construction of the base and the motor housing. Aluminum is a great choice because it’s lightweight and durable.
The Top Fixed Base Router Reviews for 2017
PORTER-CABLE 690LR – Porter-Cable’s 690LR fixed base router features an 11-amp, single-speed motor that’s capable of producing 1-3/4hp and 27,500 rpm.
The motor housing and base are comprised of precision machined aluminum for the utmost in durability. The sealed ball-bearing construction and dust-sealed switch further adds to the quality and rugged construction of this router.
The cam-lock lever allows for motor release and coarse height adjustment, but micrometer depth adjustment is also available and is accurate to 1/128-inch.
Weighing just three pounds, this router is lightweight and ergonomically designed, so you can work for long periods of time without feeling fatigued.
The 690LR is backed by a three-year warranty.
Bosch PR20EVSK – From one of the most respected brands in the power tool industry, the PR20EVSK from Bosch is an attainable model, and comes with an edge guide for added convenience.
Unlike the first model on our list, the PR20EVSK has a variable-speed, 5.6-amp motor. You’ll notice that the motor is less powerful than the Porter-Cable router, and that’s because this is a palm-group router.
But as a smaller router, it has the highest horsepower rating in its class, with 1.0-horsepower. The motor spins at a variable rate of 16,000-35,000 RPM, and also features a soft-start for ease of use.
Depth is easy to adjust with this model. Simply align and then lower the motor before locking the motor into position with the clamping level.
And if you need to make microadustments, there is a wheel on the back of the base that allows for this function.
PORTER-CABLE 7518 – Porter-Cable’s 7518 is a high-end model, but offers a more advanced and powerful design.
The 7518 has a 15-amp motor for tough jobs. This five-speed, 3-1/4 HP motor has settings of 21,000, 19,000, 16,000, 13,000 and 10,000 rpm. And it can accommodate a wide variety of bit cutting diameters.
The soft-start feature reduces torque when first starting up the router, and the powerful motor is capable of maintaining constant speed no matter how tough the task. The router’s auto-release collet system makes it easy to remove bits after use.
The base and motor housing are constructed with precision-machined aluminum for added durability. The sealed ball bearing construction and the dust-sealed switch add to the overall durability of this router.
DEWALT DW618 2-1/4 HP – The DW618 from DEWALT is a durable, quality router that comes at a more budget-friendly level. While the motor isn’t as powerful as the previous model, it’s powerful enough to tackle most jobs and is ideal for everyday users.
The 12-amp, 2-1/4 hp motor offers variable speed and is powerful enough to cut through even the toughest of hardwood.
Featuring electronic variable speed and complete feedback control, this router offers constant speed even under heavier load, and delivers 8,000-24,000 rpm. A soft start feature reduces torque when first starting the machine.
Microfine adjustments can be made to 1/64-inch. The motor cam lock allows for tool-free adjustments and makes base changes a breeze.
DEWALT DW616 1-3/4-HP – Our final pick also comes from DEWALT, and this model is nearly identical to the previous. In fact, they both have the same model name. The only difference between the two is the motor. This model features a 1-3/4 HP motor, while the previous pick features a motor with 2-1/4 HP. The 11-amp motor is powerful enough to cut through tough hardwoods.
A microfine adjustment ring allows for precise depth adjustments to 1/64 inches. And like the previous router, this model features a steel motor cam lock with tool-free depth adjustment and easy base changes.
The quick-release latches for the motor allow you to quickly and easily change bases or bits for each job.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Right Fixed Base Router for You
There’s a lot to consider when buying a new router, but don’t let that overwhelm you or turn you away. If you’re still having trouble choosing a model, here are some things to consider:
- Variable Speed: Some routers, like the first one our list, have single speed motors, while others have variable speeds. The right choice for you will depend on the tasks you’ll be using it for. The great thing about variable speed models is that you can use the same router for a variety of bit sizes. The bigger the bit, the slower you need to move. The smaller the bit, the faster you should work. Having a variety of speeds to choose from will allow you to continue working without having to switch routers.
- Soft Start: Routers with a soft start feature are preferred because they gradually bring the router up to your desired speed, rather than starting up at your chosen speed. Without a soft start, your hands may shake or the loud noise and quick speed may startle you when you start up the tool.
- Price: the cost of the router is something that can’t be ignored. You’ll find models of all price ranges on our list – some budget-friendly and others more expensive. If you’re a serious user, you may want to set a higher budget and opt for a more advanced and powerful model, like the Porter-Cable 7518. For the everyday user, set a budget that you can realistically afford. Any of the models on our list can tackle most jobs with ease.