Trim routers have two different base styles. Some bases wrap completely around the motor housing; others attach in cantilever fashion to one side of the motor. We prefer the wraparound style.
You must loosen both kinds of bases from the motor housing to adjust the bit's depth of cut. Cantilevered bases tend to tilt a little when you tighten them back onto the motor, which changes the depth of cut—not much, but enough to be annoying. Wraparound bases don't shift when you tighten and lock them, so the depth of cut doesn't change.
We prefer trim routers with baseplates that accept template guides of any size. A template guide allows you to trace around a pattern. It's particularly useful for routing round, oval or butterfly-shaped inlay, a job well-suited for a trim router.
Many trim routers accept Porter-Cable-style template guides, which come in a variety of sizes. Some trim routers accept only one special 3/8-in.-dia. guide that's supplied with the router. No other sizes are available. A few trim routers don't accept any kind of template guide.
Trim routers are designed to be held with one hand. Some are much more comfortable than others, but you can't be sure if one fits your hand until you try it. We like models with a cushioned motor housing that swells just above your fingers.The larger top makes it easier to grip the router between cuts, when it's not supported by a workpiece.
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