Bosch recently introduced routers that it claims have the highest power-to-weight ratio in the industry. We believe them. The 1618EVS is a member of Bosch's new Magnesium line. This variable-speed router features a stout 2-horsepower motor coupled with an all-magnesium base and housing. The result is a lightweight, well-balanced, and smooth-operating machine that offers fast results in demanding applications. The D-handle provides excellent control--especially when reaching and turning on and off--and the auxiliary handle reverses, which is handy. (Bosch's 1617 model features this same motor in a base that has two nicely finished, hard maple, knob-style handles: it's prettier than the 1618 but not quite as easy to grip.)
Something Bosch engineers are proudest of is what they call the "precision centering system," which makes the router bit track at true center. It's an important feature for multiple-pass applications like jig cutting, and fine woodworkers will particularly appreciate it. Ease of height adjustment is a way of measuring quality in routers, and Bosch has come up with a system that works as well as any we've tested. A large flip lever releases the motor for adjusting. Rather than twisting as the height changes, the motor raises and drops in a straight path. The result is a simple and smooth-working course-adjust that couples with an efficient microadjust to make fine-tuning the depth of cut easy and accurate. Removing the motor from the base is a similar operation: simply release the flip lever, depress the course-adjustment lever, slide the motor out until it stops, then turn the motor counterclockwise and pull. It couldn't be easier, and there's no thumbscrew to wrestle with. Anyone who switches bases frequently will appreciate this design.
The 1618EVS also has soft start and electronic variable speed, more or less industry standards today. The collet is self-releasing, which means there's no need to tap the spindle to change bits, and the collet depth is 13/16 of an inch, a few 16ths deeper than that of DeWalt or Porter-Cable--one more weapon in Bosch's battle for a truly centered bit. --Mark McDonald