Reviewers recommend the 2-hp Craftsman 17543 as a budget router combo kit, saying it performs better than other router kits in this price range. The variable-speed router kit comes with self-releasing collets, dust collection, edge guide plus LED lights to illuminate the work area. Reviewers like the soft-start motor with electronic speed control -- which helps keep the router from stalling on harder wood. The warranty is for one year. If you can spend more, reviewers say the Bosch 1617EVSPK kit (*est. $250) provides scales that are easier to read, plus more convenient bit changing, depth adjustment and router-table use.
We found the best professional review covering the Craftsman 17543 router kit at Wood Magazine, where it's tested and given detailed ratings in comparison with 11 other router combo kits. About two dozen owners also review the Craftsman 1743 kit at Sears.com.
1. Wood Magazine
This recent review recommends the Craftsman 17543 as a budget router kit -- though noting inconveniences -- after testing it in comparison with 11 other combo kits. Plunge action is judged a bit stiff, but the Craftsman has adequate power.
Review: Shop Tested Multibase Routers, Bob Hunter with Randy Zimmerman, July 2008
About two dozen owners review the Craftsman 17543 router combo kit here, praising its smooth operation, but with a few complaints that using large bits requires buying extra sub-bases. The clear sub-bases that come with the kit are designed to use with guide bushings.
Review: Craftsman 2 hp Soft Start Fixed and Plunge Base Router, Contributors to Sears.com
This brief forum message notes that the Craftsman 17543 router kit looks quite similar to the well-recommended Porter-Cable 890 series, but adds useful LED lights.
Review: Craftsman 2HP / #320.17543 with LED lights, Feb. 2007