Affordable combo kit helps set the speed

21⁄2-hp router combo kit, no. RT1322-00, $140

- Skil 877-754-5999, skil.com —Tested by John Olson, Design Editor

If you’re looking for a good router kit at a value price, look no further than this one from Skil. But don’t think the low price means a compromise on performanc­e. The router showed great power, even during heavy cuts, and the built-in electronic feedback maintained bit speed nicely.

A digital readout on top of the motor displays bit speed, and will even help you choose the right one from 11 preset speeds based on bit diameter and the type of material you’re routing (hardwood, softwood, or plastic). I also like the three LEDs that light up the cutting area well.

I found the handles on both bases comfortabl­e and easy to grip.

The motor slips easily into each base and locks solidly. The fixed base’s height adjuster works smoothly with very little backlash, and the plunge base operated smoothly. I’d prefer that the plunge lever default to locked position when not engaged; instead, it defaults to free plunge, and you must depress it to lock. I said the RT1322-00 is good, but not perfect. Both plastic subbases bit larger accept than standard 11⁄4" in diameter two-piece without guide making bushings, a new so you subbase. can’t use (Skil a says it plans to make optional subbases in the near future.) The plunge-base turret stops step down in 1⁄4" increments; I’d prefer 1⁄8" increments for better control of plunge depth. And a grid in the fixed base’s dust port creates a choke point for chips to block airflow.

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