Router Base (Fixed or Plunge)
With a fixed base router, the depth of cut is set before you turn the router on.In other words, if you set a fixed base router at a cut depth of 1/4″, the router bit protrudes past the base 1/4″ until you change the depth. The lack of a plunge mechanism tends to make these routers lighter and less expensive.
A plunge router allows you to adjust the depth of cut while the router is turned on. This feature comes in handy when you need to make multiple passes on a board, taking off a little more wood with each pass. To accurately plunge the router to the appropriate depth while in use, plunge routers have depth stops
It is best to have one motor fitting both the bases (fixed base and plunge base)
Plunge base used for- Fluting, Making Dados and Mortises
Fixed Base used for- Edge rounding, Wherever fine control of depth of cut is required
Look out for these features in your router
Without the soft start, your router will blast up to full speed the second you turn it on. The noise can be startling, and that surge of power might even make the router jerk in your hands, especially with a big bit in the chuck. It’s not a pleasant way to ease into a tricky cut or get over your trepidations about routing in general. With the soft start, you’ll experience a moment of pause after powering it up, and then the router gently accelerates to the preset speed. The soft start feature comes standard with most new routers that have electronic feedback circuitry. It’s a subtle but pleasant feature to have on a handheld router
Many routers require two wrenches for making bit changes. One wrench holds the motor shaft, and the other wrench loosens or tightens the collet. With spindle lock, you push a spring-loaded pin or engage a locking collar to hold the motor shaft in place, so the only wrench you need is the one for the collet. This is a particularly handy detail on dedicated plunge routers where you can’t remove the motor to get better access to the bit. It’s not a do-or-die feature, but it does take a little hassle and knuckle-busting out of the bit changing equation.
Electronic feedback circuit
This is a feature that will help maintain the durability of your device and sustain its efficiency. It basically means to measure the load in order to balance it with the output torque. So during a heavy cut, the motor won’t labor or stall, and power output still feels the same. Electronic feedback circuitry is a feature you won’t truly appreciate unless you’ve used an older router without this sophisticated circuitry. With EFC, you can really focus your attention on the technique and how your cut is progressing and let the router keep pace with you
Variable speeds on your router is an important attribute that you should have at any cost. It gives you the option to have different speeds, each achieving a different task with different accuracy. Small bits cut most cleanly at mid to high speeds, and large bits need to be dialed down to slower speeds to be used safely. With variable speed, just twist the dial one way or the other and you’re covered, no matter what bit you need to use.
Above the table adjustment
If you are like most woodworkers, sooner or later one of your routers will spend its days hanging under a router table. Two relatively new features can make table routing more precise and convenient.
First, buy a router that allows you to adjust cutting height from above the table with a handle, crank or knob. It sure beats stooping over to tweak the depth setting from underneath. Second, look for a router designed to extend the collet above the table so you can change bits without lifting out the machine. Machines with ATA will generally include both of these great enhancements.
If you are trying to soften sharp edges or cut small edges off the wood—then a trim router is the best choice out there. They’re small enough to stand on the edge of a board for trimming off edge banding or laminate, yet powerful enough to handle smallest profiling bits. The rule that claims “bigger is always better” does not imply for routers, especially if you are going to use the machine as a handheld tool instead of using it on a table.