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Best Wood Router Kit Values

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Combination router kits, comprised of a single 2-1/4 HP motor with both a fixed base and a plunge router base, represent a terrific value for budget-minded woodworkers. While there are a few woodworking tasks that would require a bigger router (particularly those profiles that need large-diameter router bits), these five router kits will handle most of your routing needs.

The following models are our top-five choices for the best wood router kits based on value and performance.

1. Bosch 1617EVS Router Kit

Bosch 1617EVS Combination Router Kit
(c) 2008 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

In looking solely in terms of value, the Bosch 1617EVS Router Kit provides an impressive combination of quality engineering and performance and at what would be considered a value price. The variable-speed motor on the 1617EVS starts smoothly and performs well when under a load. It performs quite well when used in the fixed base, either by hand or in a router table. However, the 1617EVS really excels when used in the plunge router base, one of the best plunge bases I've ever used.

2. Milwaukee 5616-24 Combination Router Kit

Milwaukee 5616-24 Router Kit
(c) 2008 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.
The Milwaukee 5616-24 is a very solid woodworking tool, with strong, durable motor that doesn't feel overly bulky in the hands. The fixed base has an above-the-table adjustment, plus two different handle styles. While it is a bit more expensive than the Bosch, listed above, it is still a terrific value router kit.

3. Porter-Cable 893PK Router Kit

Porter-Cable 893PK Router Kit
(c) 2008 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.
In terms of pure performance and ease of use, I don't think I've ever used a router that I liked better than the Porter-Cable 893PK Router Kit. While this is the most expensive of the routers on this list, it is well worth the extra money. This is a comparatively quiet, yet powerful router that is loaded with features that any woodworker would appreciate. If there is one combination router kit that other manufacturers should emulate, this is the one.

4. DeWalt DW618PK Router Kit

DeWalt DW618PK Router Kit
(c) 2008 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.
The DeWalt DW618 Router Kit is a very solid entry into their line of professional woodworking power tools. Its powerful motor starts smoothly and is strong enough to handle nearly any routing task you could ask. There are some features, such as the unusual height adjustment ring, that separate the DW618 from other routers in the class.

5. Hitachi KM12VC Combo Router Kit

Hitachi KM12VC Combo Router Kit
(c) 2008 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.
Hitachi's entry into the combo router kit market, the KM12VC, is a value-priced router (the lowest price on this list) with some useful features, such as a hard-sided carrying case, a smooth 2-1/4 HP router and it is covered by a five-year warranty. However, the KM12VC is missing some of the thoughtful features found on many of the models above, which makes this unit probably a viable choice only for the most budget-conscious of router kit shoppers.

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