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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Feature Router
Most homeowners own an electric drill and/or an electric circular saw, but an electric router is relatively rare in a homeowner's toolbox. A woodworking professional, however, would tell them that a router is one of the most, if not the most, versatile tool in a woodworking shop. I am not a professional wood craftsman; I am just an average homeowner who is moderately...
Published on June 16, 2011 by Alan Rivière

versus
47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Deal with Limitations
I'm torn on this one.
It's a good decent machine with good design and workmanship. And from my research and experience, the best you can do at this price. Well built with thought, easy to use and switch out. A good start. Soft start, aluminum, 2.25hp, plunge & fixed bases, bag, etc. Most of what you really want in a modern combo router setup.

Not the...
Published on July 4, 2012 by Integrity1967


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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Feature Router, June 16, 2011
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Most homeowners own an electric drill and/or an electric circular saw, but an electric router is relatively rare in a homeowner's toolbox. A woodworking professional, however, would tell them that a router is one of the most, if not the most, versatile tool in a woodworking shop. I am not a professional wood craftsman; I am just an average homeowner who is moderately handy with tools and prefers to do minor jobs around his house. Occasionally I round the edge of a piece of woodwork with a router or cut out a recess on the doorframe for a swing lock. That is the extend of my experience in woodworking with a router. I am an amateur.

This Skil router is perfect for an amateur woodworker. It comes with two bases - a fixed base and a plunge base. Both bases have coarse and fine height adjustments. Both have knob handles. The difference between a fixed base and a plunge base router can be explained as follows: With a fixed base, the router bit enters the wood from the side, whereas, with a plunge base, it comes down from above. However, a skilled wood craftsman can run a router either from the side or from above with either base. The motor can be easily switched between the bases by undoing a quick-release clamp. The motor comes with variable speed (although the webpage does not say so). There are 6 settings - from 10,500 rpm at setting no. 1 to 25,000 rpm at setting no. 6. The speed dial is at the top of the motor. There is a built-in electronic speed control which "soft-starts" the motor and gradually increases to full speed. This soft-start feature and the variable speeds make this Skil router user friendly to amateur woodworkers. The on-off slide switch can be operated at two different locations at the right side of the motor - one on top, the other below. Two LED lights at the bottom of the motor turn on automatically when the router is plugged in to illuminate the work piece. It is a nice touch. The collet accepts ½" bits; a ¼" adapter sleeve comes with the router for ¼" bits. A one-inch wrench is included for the collet nut. Tighten the collet nut with this wrench while holding the shaft in place with the collet lock lever. Verify that the router is unplugged before bit installation. There are four holes at each of the bases for edge guides, which are not included. Both bases have transparent plastic chip deflector. Nevertheless, eye protection is highly recommended. A black bag with a zip-top and a red embossed Skil logo comes with the purchase. It conveniently holds all the parts in one place.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Deal with Limitations, July 4, 2012
By 
Integrity1967 (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
I'm torn on this one.
It's a good decent machine with good design and workmanship. And from my research and experience, the best you can do at this price. Well built with thought, easy to use and switch out. A good start. Soft start, aluminum, 2.25hp, plunge & fixed bases, bag, etc. Most of what you really want in a modern combo router setup.

Not the best with the router table though as bit changing and depth control aren't wonderful. The power bar (switch) really should extend out a tad so that it automatically shuts off when set down on its back. Seems like that was the original plan that wasn't fully executed.

Here's where the trouble starts however. They say there are dust collection accessories for it. And there are. One for each the plunge & fixed bases. What they don't say is that nobody sells them (at least at the time of my purchase early 2012). Nobody even really knows their sku's or that they even exist. I had to call Skil (Robert Bosch tool Co) directly to get mine. And sure enough they had them and shipped them out. As they're you're only option you'll have to pay their flat-free shipping which brought the total for the two little pieces of plastic to over $40!!!! That's almost half what I paid for the tool itself!!! And when they come they're kinda disappointing. I mean I wouldn't have been disappointed had I only paid $10bucks or so. It gets worse when you realize the fixed base unit makes bit changing a pain as it blocks the spindle lock forcing you to have to get a screwdriver to open the 2 screws on the dust cover to get to the "one-handed" bit change. It also faces straight out where it should elbow back up (down when in the router-tabe). This means it basically leaves no room to attach a hose since it's pratically touching the inside walls of the insert opening. You'll need to adjust to this after which it actually does help alot with the dust.

So if you need a starter router or if this isn't a primary router for you..... or if you don't need it in a table.... or if you don't mind fashioning your own dust solutions for it, then this is your deal. Because it actually is a pretty darn good, well made combo router setup at a really nice price. They're just not all the way there on this one yet.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy enough for a novice to use, July 14, 2011
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
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I've wanted to try a router for years, since I watched a contractor making nice, smooth, rounded edges on our deck using one. But not knowing if it would be as easy to use as it looked I hesitated, even though there were several times that I could have used one over the years and instead went out and purchased boards that already had the fancy edging or the groove where I needed one. (At a much higher price) So it was a nice surprise to see this Skil Router available for review and I ordered it right away.

The good news is that you don't have to be a master woodworker to use one and get some good looking results. I never touched a router before using this and I was delighted with the results. I've wanted to do some shelves for a long time, something not made from particle board like you see in all the stores, with shelves that have a nice rounded edge. This router does that rounded edge and does it well, and it's much easier than I would have thought. The first thing I had to do was to buy a router bit to make the rounded edges I wanted. I couldn't believe the number of styles of router bits that are available! You can do some really fancy stuff with this router, depending on what type of bit you choose. I thought of all kinds of other projects just looking at the router bits that are available.

This router has both a fixed base and a plunge base. You can adjust the height on both of the bases. You can do a really fine adjustment to get the edge just like you want it or larger ones. Both of the bases have knob handles. With the fixed base you do the cutting from the side and with the plunge base you do it from above or below. I've been thinking of replacing the baseboard in our house to accommodate a bunch of speaker wires. It would be so nice to have them run behind the baseboard instead of using those plastic thingies that stick on the wall above the baseboard (and always seem to come off after a while). From what I understand, the easiest way to do this would be to attach the router to a router table so I could just feed the wood. This router would let me not only make a nicer looking baseboard, but add a grove to the back to run the wires. I'm thinking about this as a next project.

The thing I like best about this router is the "soft start" feature. Instead of turning it on and having it jerk to a start, this one starts up slowly, no kickback. This was important to me because I feel like I have more control and am not hesitant when turning it on. It also has six different speeds from 10,500 rpm to 25,000 rpm. (Sort of like a sewing machine where you can go fast or slow.) The other thing I really like is the nice, bright LED light that makes it easy to see what I'm doing and where I'm going. The 2-1/4 horsepower makes it plenty powerful which means you don't need a lot of strength to use it.

This router opens up a lot of possibilities for things to create that are easy enough that they don't have to go on the "Honey do" list for my husband. (Goodness knows that's already long enough!) I don't think it's much more difficult than using a sewing machine, so if you're a woman, don't hesitate because you think you can't use one. This makes a lot of fun projects doable.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase., January 5, 2012
By 
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought this router combo yesterday at Lowes for $99. I wasn't sure of it but the display model looked sturdy. When I got it home and unpacked it, I was really suprised at how well it is made. I liked that it came with both the pluger and regular base. I also bought the 30 piece Skil router bit set for $99 because each different bit runs about $20 each, so in the long run, if you're going to be doing a lot of decorative routing, I suggest buying the 30 piece set to save yourself money in the long run.

Anyway, I used the router that night to route a table edge I'm making. Like the other reviewers, I liked the soft-start feature. The built-in light is nice, however it isn't that bright. Not a showstopper. The router preformed exactly the way I was hoping. The motor is very powerful. It is easy to switch bases. It is easy to change out bits. For $99, this router is going to be perfect for any homeowner. I would recommend this product to people who are on a budget and want a high quality, versitile tool. Worth buying if you need a new router.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Budget tool that performs at top dollar, July 31, 2012
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This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
The electric router: This is a machine that can do a multitude of jobs in a fraction of the time as the alternate methods. By far the most common of applications for these tools are cutting (fancy) edges into a workpiece or cutting grooves for something like a shelf. You can also use a router to shave away small amounts of material from the interior of a workpiece to inlay designs of your choice. If the aforementioned tasks are what you need done, read on!

Skil seems to be hit or miss when it comes to home power tools. The much more common house tools such as a Drill or sawzall tend to be produced at a higher quality than other "rare" tools. Having a bench grinder in the past from this brand and it preform in a not-so-hot manner I was skeptical and hesitant on purchasing this router, seeing as how it is a specialty item. I went ahead and bought it and I couldnt have been happier! I have used all of the features this set offers, and I much prefer the plunge base. The motor starts up smoothly and I am hard pressed to find wood that will bog it down. The speed control is a nice feature that works. The LED lights around the bit work wonders in areas that dont have such great lighting. Lastly the plunge base plunges up and down smoothly and the locks are easy to apply and hold nicely.

Just to make a note, these tools produce A LOT of dust. And I mean A LOT. the chip shield does protect your face from flying chips breaking away from endgrain or cracked wood, but dust gets everywhere, pockets, ears, nose, hair, shoes, socks, everywhere! It would be advised to use a dust mask while routing, especially if working with exotic woods that may be toxic. Overall it ended up being a great purchase and what a bargain!

ANY POTENTIAL BUYERS WITH NO ROUTER EXPERIENCE NOTE: This does not come with any router bits. Skil does make bits that are the most commonly used out there and the work great, BUT router bits are NOT cheap. The average Skil bit bought by itself will run anywhere from 15-30 dollars at the retail front. Its a bit cheaper through online vendors such as here. It is very easy to look around and even find some of the larger, fancier bits for over 100 dollars. Do keep this in mind, but dont let it deter you from purchasing such a handy tool. Few have a router, but those that do find themselves routing EVERYTHING because they can!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good choice for the novice wood worker, November 2, 2011
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
I have used both bases and most of the features on this router. For a beginner, this is a great router. The 3 things that make it good for beginners are soft start, the led lights, and the depth adjustments system. Soft start helps by giving you time to get both hands on the router after hitting the switch and makes you feel in control. The LED lights are very useful as they help you see where the bit is cutting. The depth adjustments were easy enough for my to cut within 1/16 of inch to the depth I needed.

I have used this router on one project so far, so durability is not something I can rate yet. But, it is made by the Bosch company, and they make good routers. I would have given it 5 stars, but the plunge base is not perfect, it sticks a little. This did NOT impact my project, its just that when you use a router, you need to be able to be comfortable and in control. Also at higher speeds, this router does vibrate a little, all routers vibrate. at a high speed, it can try to move on its own if you do not hold it firmly. Once again, nothing that impacted my work.

For the money, there are few routers that offer the above features I mentioned and is so far a good choice for entry level wood working.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SKIL Combo Base Router Set, December 8, 2012
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This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
I bought this router as a belated birthday gift for my husband. We recently moved to the US from overseas, forcing him to give up all his woodworking gear. This was sort of a quick replacement but as it were, it turns out to be a great tool so far.

PROS:

1. Router feels sturdy and has a nice weight to it and while this is one of the more affordable routers, it does not in anyway feel or look cheap.
2. Both bases are solid aluminum and are easy to change once you get the hang of it.
3. Depth adjustment is precise.
4. Soft start is a great advantage and is a wonderful "extra".
5. Motor is powerful ( on the 1st speed the motor is humming nicely, by the 4th speed it's sounds like it's going to take off and he has yet to use it on the most powerful speed).
6. SiteLight is LED and is good and bright (and if memory serves me right, there are two, one on either side).
7. Comes with 1/4" collet adapter allowing you to buy whatever bit suits your needs, as opposed to having to buy according to shank size.
8. Handles are comfortable making it easier to control.
9. Comes with a nice zip-up bag to store it in.

CONS:

1. Does not come with any bits.

Overall we were pleasantly surprised and hope it continues to be every bit as good further down the road.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the slow start feature, fine for small jobs, June 16, 2011
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
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I am NOT a wood worker normally, I have dabbled in small decorative projects a few times over the years. The husband likes to think of himself a "project" guy, but he's not really. We took this router to use on a small headboard of simple yellow pine. Nothing fancy, just a few straight lines and a couple of decorative curly-q edges. First thing - the slow or soft start feature is really nice. Our old router would roar to life at top speed and scare the heck out of me. This one eases up to full speed slowly - giving you a chance to prepare for the vibration, movement, noise etc The machine is light and pretty straight forward - nothing fancy, just the way I like it. It did the work easily with no drama and that's all I wanted. I don't think this particular router would withstand use in a professional setting for long though, it's really a home hobbyist tool.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but could b better deal, December 3, 2012
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This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
Quality is what you would expect in this price. Skil has always been no frills low cost, but quality stuff. Most usually are looking for the no frills low cost part time use equipment, but at the same time do not want some junk Chinese bicycle.

I'm new to routers, and it was a big learning curve. Using this thing is a bit complex and you really need to practice. You'll definitely mess up some boards. It's difficult to work on small pieces of wood, mainly for large boards i think. Any piece of wood smaller then the base is difficult.

This thing has alot of power and the ease with which you route has mostly to do with the quality of the bit. If the bit quality sucks, you'll have a hell of a time. If your bits are well made and sharp, it will slice through like butter.

Instruction manual could be better by printing on white paper. It's printed on a dark grey paper and hard to read.

The side power bottom is mildly inconvenient, but i can see why they did that. It prevents accidentally turning it on if it was a rocker switch. Haven't used the fine adjustment. Switching out bits is not difficult. I don't know why they don't design bit rods with a flat side so it doesn't slip and a way to lock it in ez instead of using dumb friction tightening. It's the stupidest way to do it. Kinda dangerous from slippage and damage to the eqipment could occor. Not Skil's fault, jst a bad standard.

I've never used other routers, so i can't compare, but one minor issue i have is that it doesn't slide up and down smoothly when plunging, like it sticks at pts, and it doesn't have anything to do with being balanced. I looked under the protective rubber sleeve and there seems to be plenty of thick grease. I don't know. It really makes it difficult to really press down with control and precision.

Only other real gripe is that the accessories, some very usefull and cheap, were not included. I don't see why they couldn't have included few cheap plastic parts for buck more. Half the manual talks about doing this or that, then it says... o, this requires this accessory, (not included). LOL

If they included atleast one accessory, i would have given this thing 5 stars.

BTW, it does come with a very nice black carry bag.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can't beat it for the price., November 30, 2012
This review is from: SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set (Tools & Home Improvement)
I have limited experience using a router but I had to make some drawer fronts to replace a few that my mother-in-law decided to "refinish" herself with a power sander. When she was done with the first 4/8 drawers, the raised panels were no more and she decided to quit there. So I started making new fronts to replace the "refinished" ones and my OLD Skil router (not sure of model but at least 20 years old) gave up the ghost on the first rabbet. Since no parts are available for that router, I decided to invest in a new one.

I have used this router now to finish off those drawer fronts. I have used the fixed base only, haven't tested the plunge base yet but even if it didn't have the plunge base I'd still have gotten my money's worth. I have used it to cut rabbets, panel receiver slots, raised panels, roundovers and 1/2 blind dovetails; all successfully. First of all, this thing feels and handles great. The grips are ergonomic and the sight light is BRILLIANT. When I purchased, I figured the light was a gimmick I didn't need, but now I am very glad I have it. The variable speed is also great if you use a router for a lot of different processes. Cuts feel solid, vibration is minimal (if you're using it right) and the base is strong, solid and glides easily over wood. And the spindle lock works well for the most part (see next paragraph).

So why only 4 stars? Here's the bad (IMHO): First, it's very disappointing that the adapter to use guide bushings isn't included with this router. I have looked it up and it's not an expensive piece. I see no reason they couldn't throw it in with the router. And it's not as if they did it because they sell them like hot cakes because I haven't been able to find it at ANY brick and mortars (it is on Amazon from a third party). Second, back to the spindle lock: it's a good feature and beats the heck out of trying to maneuver 2 wrenches but they could have put it in a better spot. There is only one open area in the base that allows you to access the collet and they put the spindle lock engagement there. So you still have to have both hands in the same place. It would have been nice to have it on the opposite side. And my final and worst nitpik: make no mistake, the "fine adjustment" feature is unreliable at best. You have to unclamp the motor from the housing to use it and it's never consistent with the gauge on the knob when you reclamp the housing. It's always fairly close, but DO NOT rely on it if you need a precise depth cut, use a depth mic or height setting gauge if you have to get it right.

All in all though. This router is a great bang for the buck. And if it lasts 1/2 as long as my last one, I'll be going to Skil for the next one as well.
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SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set
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