What I Like
What I Don't
In addition, we had the opportunity to use the DW6183 aluminum D-Handle base. This base is included in the DW618B3 three base kit, or it can be ordered separately. Like the fixed base, it has a rubber molded handle, tool-free cam lock, and the quick release motor latches. The D-Handle base includes a shorty cord that connects to the motor housing--the kit's detachable cord mates to the bottom-rear of the D-Handle base.
Depth Adjustments -- No-Tool Base Interchangeability
To adjust bit depth, open the locking lever and turn the large depth adjustment ring clockwise to raise the cutter or counter-clockwise to lower the cutter. To remove the motor body from the base, open the locking lever, depress (and hold) the two spring-loaded quick release latches, and pull the motor out of the base. Since the motor body does not rotate as you adjust its depth (or remove it from or insert it into the base), the position/orientation of the cord, on/off switch, and speed control does not change in relation to the operator/handles. Perhaps more importantly, when adjusting depth, the cutter remains in the same position relative to a fence or jig you might be using. This is important when routing mortises (no stepped mortises) and dovetails.
For what it's worth....I prefer the DW618 depth adjustment method to the method employed by our Bosch 1617. The 1617 includes both a "coarse" and "fine" depth adjustment. The coarse adjustment is a matter of sliding the router to one of two positions in the base. Once in one of the two coarse positions, the fine adjustment knob moves the motor body in microfine increments. It seems like the depth I want to reach, is always out of reach of the find adjustment knob! The Bosch system is more clever than practical in my experience.
Finally, you can move the motor body between the three DW618 series bases without using a single tool, as demonstrated in the following video.
Power and Wide RPM Range
Spindle lock or Two Fisted Wrenches -- Your Choice
The included vacuum hose adapter worked well with the large diameter hoses we use with our Fein and Festool dust extractors. The adapter cleverly provides two diameters that covered the two diameters of our shop vacuum hoses (Fein and Festool). But I found in practice that the Festool hose would not stay fixed to the inner, smaller diameter fitting. Click the picture to the right to view a closeup of the vacuum hose adapter.
Unfortunately, the DW 618 fixed and the D-Handle bases do not provide dust collection capability. Consequently, if you're anxious about dust collection, you might want to consider retrofitting these bases with the Leigh RVA1 Router Vacuum Attachment (approximately $45). In defense of DeWALT, most fixed bases do not provide dust collection, the new Porter Cable 800 series vac-handle base being the exception.
Edge Guide Not Included With Kit
No Fine Height Adjuster
Plunge Base Does not Compete With Dedicated Plunge Routers
Router Kit Plunge Bases
The DW618 is the best fixed-base router I have used for general routing. The unit is compact and even though it is not particularly light, it is balanced very well without the slightly top heavy feel of the Bosch 1617. The fixed-base height adjustment is simple, precise, and easy to use. The clear LEXAN sub-base is easily centered to the router spindle and provides an excellent view of the cutter and guide bushing as they work their way through the fingers of dovetail jigs. Swapping bases is simple and quick, requiring no tools. The DeWALT's attention to detail and perhaps attention to a few design features of routers from the other side of the Atlantic is very apparent (I have a feeling the DW618/DW625 are designed/manufactured in Italy)--the DW618 has all the modern features: power, soft-start/variable speed electronics, and balance I look for in a router. The D-Handle and plunge bases are icing on the cake. In case you're wondering, we purchased this unit directly from DeWALT.
Jim Becker has also reviewed the DeWALT 618PK Router kit. Click here to read his review!
Tim Hughbanks wrote the following:
Art Johnson wrote the following:
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