Things you need to know before buying a router combo kit

buying a router combo kit 1

NOT AN INTERNET ROUTER COMBO KIT! Yes, it’s a woodworking router combo kit for your hardware works, not an internet router for using the network.

Whether you’re picking out your first router combo kit or adding another to your tool kit, it pays to consider these keys to get one best suited to your needs. Most woodworkers consider a router an essential tool. So, use that the majority own more than one.

router kit
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What to look for in a router combo kit?

Router combo kits are incredibly versatile tools that woodworkers use for many purposes. If you need to glue two pieces of wood together to make a larger piece of wood, you can flatten the edges first with a router kit to make them align better. Routers can round over sharp edges for a better feel on a table or other furniture. You can carve slotted holes or mortises into your piece to make a chair or complete a door. And the list goes on. 

router combo kit
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Because of those various uses, these kits come in two primary types- fixed base and plunge. And you will want to pay attention to which you’re buying, as they have different strengths and weaknesses. Beyond the type of routers, you also want to pay attention to collet size, variable speed offerings, power, router bushings, dust collection attachments, universal subbases, and advanced accessories like router lifts and router plates and especially stay within your budget. You better pick your budget when choosing a brand like DeWALT router combo kit, Craftsman router combo kit, BOSCH router combo kit, and Masterforce router combo kit. 

To the uninitiated, all the router combo kits look much alike,  andand d You better pick your budget when, but the difference is in the details, and the details make all the difference. This article sets out the various factors to make sensible decisions before buying the best router combo kit. So, let’s check out!

Be sure what you intend to do

First, ask yourself what do you want to do with a router combo kit? If your main interest is toy-making or small boxes, you will not want a cumbersome heavyweight. Conversely, if you are working commercially, making kitchen cabinets, fitted wardrobes, etc., the lightweight DIY models won’t help. 

Choose between corded or cordless

The most hard-working router combo kits come with power cords. But the lithium-ion batteries and improved motor technology give today’s cordless routers the runtime, torque, and speed necessary to complete most home workshop tasks. The added height and top weight may take some cordless models to seem unwieldy, but portability might override that perception. 

 Wood Router
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That said, for your first router, go with a corded model. Then look at the cordless ones like you and more routers or need the cord-free capability for a job.

Choose size categories

Router combo kits fall into four categories: full-size, midsize, compact, and trim routers. Above. When buying your first router, pick a midsize machine for general use. Woodworkers who do most projects might prefer the lighter weight and reduced bulk of a compact router.

Examine the motor speed

The most versatile routers are equipped with variable-speed or multi-speed adjustments. The ability to adjust the speed range based on the bit diameter, type of operation being done and species of wood being machined will increase the quality of work and ensure a safe work environment. In addition, you get the great benefit of a ‘soft start’ when you switch on. With a heavy-duty woodworking router combo kit bought for general use, I would not consider a single-speed model.

before buying a router combo kit
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Checking bits

Don’t forget the bits. Using a router combo kit requires a collection of router bits- carbide-tipped bits are best because they last the longest and give the best results. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about which bits of owning, a good starter set includes ¼ inch and ¾ inch diameter straight, flush-trimming bits. Professional woodworker points out that correct care and installation of bits is essential. Before beginning any routing operation or using a router combo kit, check your bits to make sure that they are clean, relatively free of pitch, and most of all, sharp. If the bit is dull, chipped, is excessively burned, or has any other defect, it should be sharpened or replaced.

Checking the power

Corded router combo kits typically carry manufacturer horsepower ratings, making power comparisons easy. For tools without specified horsepower, a higher amperage rating generally corresponds to more power. You need adequate capacity to meet your established woodworking goals. But, the benefit of increased power has to be set against the disadvantage of using a heavy router for handwork. However, if you plan to do much work with a router mounted in a table, the more power, the better because routers tend to work much harder on a table. 

Checking the power
Image Source: Fine Woodworking

Knowing about the switch, handles, and side fence

The more straightforward the switch, the better. Switches that cannot be locked in the ‘ON’ position create hand-held operations and table routing problems.

Handles are all better for being just that without carrying the switch, the plunge lock, or both.

A side fence is a standard accessory with all routers. A substantial fence with removable rods, adjustable cheeks, and a fine adjuster is desirable, and this is less critical if the router combo kit is bought exclusively for table use.

Image Source: The Spruce

Having guide bushes

A good range of guide bushes is a very useful but greatly underrated feature. Fortunately, for any model lacking its range of guide bushes, it is always possible to buy or make an auxiliary sub-base to take another manufacturer’s guide bushes.

router combo
Image Source: FineWoodworking

Optioning dust extraction

Virtually all manufacturers offer some form of dust extraction connector, usually as part of the standard kit but occasionally as an optional extra.

Discover base styles 

A router combo kit comprises two basic parts: the motor to spin the bit and a base to hold the motor vertically. The base can be of two styles: fixed or plunge. Which to buy depends on your intended use. In many ways, The style of the base that is selected is just as important as the size of the motor that goes along with it. With several styles available, select the one that depends on the projects or operations you plan on undertaking. For heavy-duty work, especially in a router table, the larger the base aperture, the better to allow through and to give good visibility when working.

best wood router 1
Image Source: Bob Vila

Ensure best collet and plunge depth

The best collets are precision made from tempered steel and taper to fit into a tapered motor shaft. Heavy-duty routers have ½ inch collets. Those with the best-engineered type tend to offer corresponding collets for smaller shank sizes; those with poorer type tend to offer reducing sleeves for narrower-shank cutters. This is not as efficient as the proper collet.

A few routers allow the collet to be plunged through the router base. Their ‘plunge depth’ simply tells you how far the router body travels up and down on the plunge legs. If the collet can be plunged to touch the benchtop, you can’t complain. Anything more profound than this is a bonus, but anything much shorter could create problems with some operations.

plunge router
Image Source: Tomboy Tools

Look for depth adjustment.

Look for smooth, easy-to-lock depth adjustments in a fixed-base router. A rack-and-pinion mechanism or vernier collar for fine adjustments makes precise depth setting easier. 

Suggest accessories

The versatility of the router combo kit depends not only on the range of accessories offered by its manufacturer but also on its suitability for use with other suppliers’ products. Always consider what accessories you are likely to aspire to and their suitability for use with your proposed router combo kit.

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Recommending brand or model

People recommend some brands like DeWALT router combo kit, Craftsman combo kit, BOSCH combo kit, and Masterforce router combo kit.

DeWALT router combo kit

Route and smooth even demanding hardwoods using the DeWALT DW616PK heavy-duty 1-¾ horsepower router kit with fixed and plunge bases. This tool features an 11.0 amp motor and provides all the power, durability, and versatility that professionals demand.

Craftsman router combo kit

The craftsman 2 HP dual base router powers through the most challenging tasks while delivering a maximum speed of 25000 RPM. Six variable speed adjustments adjust from veneer to soft to hardwoods and plastics, while the ergonomic handles help limit vibration, even after hours on the job.

BOSCH router combo kit

One of the best-known brands for tools, BOSCH gives you everything you want with the 1617EVS router combo kit. This mid-sized router is 2.5 HP, which should provide plenty of power, and has variable speed when working on larger projects.

Masterforce router combo kit

The Materforce digital router features a digital control that makes configuring the router for your project. The electronic speed control monitors and maintains speed under loads for consistent performance. The router’s soft-start feature reduces the torque on startup for smooth and controlled starts. To keep the workspace clean and visible, the router has an acrylic base, a three-LED work light, and a 1-¼ inch vacuum hose dust extraction port.

Masterforce router kit
Image Source: Amazon

Pick out your budget.

If you anticipate the need for utilizing multiple bases, keep in mind that most manufacturers offer router combo kits that incorporate a fixed base and a plunge base in one prepackaged kit. Some companies have expensive woodworking router combo kits that maybe will not be within your budget. This is an excellent option because you are essentially getting two routers for woodworking at a much lower price than buying two separate routers.

Image Source: Menards

As you know these above tips, one more thing to keep in mind is the compatibility of aftermarket accessories available for the router you are looking at. While most manufacturers will offer essential accessories like edge guides, router bushings, dust collection attachments, and universal subbases, advanced accessories like router lifts, router plates, and template guides are wisely available but are brand-specific.

OUR FINAL WARNING- Due to the high degree of functionality, router combo kits have been known to be addictive, so don’t be surprised if you end up with two or three routers.

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