Wood Routers: How to decide on just one - Part 2
Fixed base routers are the standard and are found in most woodworkers shops in large part because they are inexpensive, widely available, capable, and do not have the problem of being top heavy and difficult to learn as some plunge models tend to be. In addition some models are perfect for table mounting, even offering 'bottom' adjustment in some models which can work as a router lift. You can still do plunge type work with a fixed base router, but have to angle in the bit which is difficult and in some cases dangerous. So if you know you will be working by hand the plunge router may be the better option despite the difficulties learning to handle those models as compared to the fixed base.
Knowing which of these two methods you are likely to use most often is a vital first step in choosing which of these two styles of routers to decide on if you really do have to choose just one.
Make your router woodworking easier by choosing the best horse power for your needs.
The next consideration is power - while any reasonably powered unit can work with most soft and some hard woods and even handle some light metals if you are going to use your router for more then occasional use or for heavy stock on a regular basis you should consider a higher horsepower (hp) model. If you intend to do metal work or high loads, you might consider a model with RPM adjustments built in or possibly one of the newer models with built in automatic controls to maintain rpm despite load levels.
Trim routers are inexpensive light weight and designed to be used single handed in many cases to trim off excess linoleum or paneling as needed. They typically start in at about ¼ hp but to do any real work you need to start looking at the 1 ½ to 2 hp range, where the "middle" powered routers are based.
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