A router is arguably one of the most essential woodworking tools you could have in your workshop. Most projects will call for the utilization of a router in one way or another – whether you’re rounding the top of a table or creating intricate grooves on furniture backs or doors, a router is the only most efficient tool to get them done.
And like any quintessential power tool, several brand-name manufacturers release several models seemingly almost every year, making finding the best router a challenge. In this article, we’re going to compare the DEWALT DWP611 with the Bosch 1617EVSPK to find which of the two will serve you better. Both of them come from world-renowned power tools companies, so disappointment is not something you need to worry about.
Motor Power and Collet Size
The strength of a router’s motor – measured in amps or horsepower – determines two very crucial things. First, how well will the unit work on denser woodsAnd second, how large or small of a bit is the tool designed to useThe DEWALT is equipped with a 7-amp (1.25-HP) motor which is about the maximum power in a compact-style router. The size of the tool’s collet is ¼ of an inch.
The Bosch comes with a super-beefy 16-amp (2.25-HP) motor. As for the collet size, users have a choice of mounting ¼-inch or ½-inch bits based on which chuck is in place. With a motor this size, handling more demanding routing projects through old hardwood will not pose any problem at all.
Conclusion: Before picking up either of these models, you may want to first determine what type of wood you regularly work with. However, let it be known that the 16-amp Bosch and its dual chuck sizes make it the much more versatile router that can handle light jobs, tough jobs, and anything in between.
A variable speed dial is one of the most important elements in a wood router. The speed of the bit should be adjusted based on what sort of material you’re cutting. A wide RPM range gives the tool a broader range of usability and ensured quality cuts. The DEWALT comes with a speed dial that alters the speed of the bit, starting from 16,000 RPM and capping off at 27,000 RPM.
With a more powerful motor, you might assume that the Bosch can reach a higher maximum cutting speed, but this isn’t the case. The Bosch has a speed range of between 8,000 RPM and 25,000 RPM. The slow-starting speed is extremely useful when working with strange, new materials.
Conclusion: Between the DEWALT and the Bosch, we feel that a difference of 2,000 RPM on its highest speed setting is insignificant, but on first gear, the Bosch becomes a much better tool for testing out cuts on never-before-used wood types. Also, the Bosch’s beefier motor produces higher torque for making the initial plunge cut with a reduced risk of tear-out.
One thing that should be noted about the DEWALT is that it is a standard, compact router. This tool does not come with a plunge base; thus its plunging capacity is severely limited. By twisting the microfine depth dial, the DEWALT’s bit can only reach down to 1-1/2 inches deep. You’ll need to purchase the plunge base to give this tool a deeper reach into your material.
Unlike the DEWALT, this Bosch router comes with a plunge base. This is used by placing the router unit inside of the plunge base and adjusting the height of the tool by twisting the microfine depth dial. The maximum plunge capacity of the Bosch is 2-1/4 inches deep.
Conclusion: It’s obvious that the plunge base is made to give the router bit a deeper reach into wood, but you need to ask yourself whether you need to exceed 2 inches deep or not. If not, then the DEWALT would work just fine. That being said, the included plunge base with the Bosch gives you the choice of whether to stick to 1-inch deep grooves or go past the 2-inch mark. This is not available with the DEWALT unless you get the plunge base (sold separately).
DEWALT DWP611 and Bosch 1617EVSPK
In the previous section, we spoke of how the cutting depth of both of these wood routers is adjustable by twisting the microfine depth dial, but what we’d like to focus on in this part is just how accurate the dial is. Both the DEWALT and the Bosch feature a super-accurate microfine dial that lets you adjust the depth of the cut by increments of 1/64 of an inch.
DEWALT DWP611 and Bosch 1617EVSPK
The heading is somewhat misleading. Neither of these routers comes with built-in dust or chip management systems. It’d be nice if you could plug in a shop vac or dust extractor into these units seeing as hour routers are notorious for producing tons and tons of sawdust and chips.
Something to take note of is that both of these routers are made to be dust-proof to protect their inner components for damage, but that doesn’t help with keeping your workstation clean. Also, but Bosch’s plunge base has a chip guard which blocks debris from scattering too far away from the tool.
Tool Weight and Handles
Most people think of routers as a one-handed tool, and in the case of this DEWALT router, this is completely true. Fully assembled, the tool weighs roughly 5-1/2 pounds and doesn’t have any side handles. You operate the tool by gripping the concaved center with one hand while gliding the bit along the edge of your workpiece or plunging it in the center of your material.
The design of the Bosch is a lot different compared to the DEWALT. First of all, this is a two-handed unit that weighs about 15-1/2 pounds. Although the tool is about three times as heavy as the DEWALT, it shouldn’t be a problem since the bit will be facing downwards at all times. The Bosch comes with two wooden handles located on either side to give the user full control when in use.
Conclusion: Choosing between the one-handed DEWALT and the two-handed Bosch is a matter of personal preference. If you were to ask us, we’d say go with what you’re more comfortable with. For us, that would be the DEWALT as its compact size allows for improved visibility when both making plunges or when routing the edge of a board.
Another thing to consider when looking for the right router is how to change the router bit. The DEWALT comes with a wrench which is used to loosen and tighten the collet when it comes time to swap bits. This can be somewhat annoying to do since it does take some time to loosen the collet, release the bit, insert a new bit, and tighten the collet back up.
The Bosch doesn’t require the use of an external tool to switch out router bits. The front spindle lock is twistable to tighten or loosen the collet. On the base is a wide subwoofer opening that lets you slide in larger, thicker bits into the collet without obstructing your view.
Conclusion: Even though the method of changing the bit is a secondary factor after the tool’s power and overall performance, it’s still an important consideration to make if your job requires efficiency and reduced downtimes. The method of changing out bits in the Bosch is much easier to do compared to the DEWALT, thus making it the more time-saving option to choose.
Aluminum Motor Housing
DEWALT DWP611 and Bosch 1617EVSPK
The final point we’d like to talk about is the durability of these routers, specifically the motor’s housing. Both of these routers’ motor housings are made of durable aluminum, which is also dust-proof to prevent damage to their sensitive internal components.
The thing to know about aluminum is that it’s not the most durable metal available. Dropping these tools for your workbench can lead to serious damage, both to the casing and the motor. With proper care, the life expectancy of these tools should surpass the limited warranties provided by their respective manufacturers (DEWALT 3 years and Bosch 1 year).
After going over the differences and a few similarities between the DEWALT DWP611 and the Bosch 1617EVSPK, we strongly believe that the Bosch is the better router but only by a slight margin. The Bosch has an ultra-beefy motor that will only really come in handy when using the ½-inch collect and larger bits. Using smaller, ¼-inch bits hardly makes this tool hardly any different from the DEWALT in terms of performance.
However, the thing that convinces us to go with the Bosch in the included plunge base. Without making additional purchases, you can use this tool to dig out deep 2-1/4-inch grooves in any material you have on hand. With the DEWALT, you’re left with digging only up to 1-1/4 inches deep, but this may not be the worst thing in the world if you’re not into making cathedral-style panel doors.
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