The 2.25-horsepower Bosch 1617EVSPK woodworking router combo kit earns top ranking in more comparison reviews than any other model, leading the pack by a wide margin. (Woodworking router combo kits combine one motor with two bases: a fixed base for table-mounted and trimming work and a plunge base for cutting grooves in the middle of a work piece.) Reviews say the Bosch scales are easy to read, bit changes and depth adjustments are easy and the router excels in overall comfort. The newest version of this model lets you adjust bit height from above a router table, a major convenience. If you don't need both bases, you can spend less on the Milwaukee Body Grip 5615-21 (*est. $150), which has a fixed base only.
We found the most recent comparison review of the Bosch 1617EVSPK at Wood magazine, where it's tested along with 11 other router combo kits. Popular Mechanics compares it with six router kits, and though the comparison review in Taunton's 2007 Tool Guide is based on even earlier tests, it also reports rankings from a survey of over 6,000 readers of Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding. Reviews at ToolsOfTheTrade.net and About.com cover the earlier version of the Bosch 1617EVSPK that lacks the above-table depth adjustment. Over a hundred owners review the Bosch 1617EVSPK at Amazon.com.
1. Wood Magazine
This recent review compares the Bosch 1617EVSPK with 11 other router combo kits,testing each for power, comfort and feel, and the features that make for ease of use. The Bosch 1617EVSK is the clear winner, earning praise for its power, readable scales and smooth, easy operation and adjustments.
Review: Shop-Tested Multibase Routers, Bob Hunter with Randy Zimmerman, July 2008
This review gives the Bosch 1617EVSPK top ranking after testing it in comparison with six other router combo kits. The Bosch earns praise for great fit and finish, accuracy, smooth operation and ease of use -- with no drawbacks noted.
Review: 7 New Workshop Routers: Comparison Test and Buyer's Guide, Tom Klenck, Dec. 2007
3. Taunton Tool Guide 2007
Readers of Fine Woodworking and Fine Homebuilding agree with editors in giving top ranking to the Bosch 1617EVSPK as the best router combo kit. Editors test the Bosch in comparison with five other 2.25-hp router kits, emphasizing comfort, ease of use and plunge performance since all the routers rate equally for power, runout and cut quality.
Review: Router Combo Kits, Thomas G. Begnal and Editors, Fall 2006
4. Tools of the Trade
This older comparison review covers an earlier version of the Bosch 1617EVSPK that doesn't include easy adjustment above the table, but still gives it top ranking compared with the other three combo kits tested.
Review: Tool Test: Two for One, Editors of ToolsOfTheTrade.net, 2003
The Bosch 1617EVSPK shares top ranking here with the Porter-Cable 893PK, compared with eight other router combo kits. The Bosch kit earns praise for its easy depth adjustments, plunge-locking mechanism and ergonomic handles, but requires two wrenches for bit changes. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Review of the Bosch 1617EVS Fixed Base and Plunge Router Kit, Chris Baylor, Aug. 2007
6. New Woodworker.com
This detailed single-product review is lush with illustrations, covering all aspects of the Bosch 1617EVSPK adjustments and operation. The review praises the Bosch kit as a "well-made workhorse" with enough power for most router-table operations as well as handheld use.
Review: Bosch 1617EVSPK Router Package: Power, Versatility and Value, Tom Hintz
Over a hundred owners rate and review the Bosch 1617EVSPK router combo kit here, with the majority praising it. Most of the lower ratings are dated before 2007, but some owners still report quality-control issues, especially with the switch.
Review: Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4 Horsepower Router Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com