Depending on the type of projects that you do, you may find that a plunge router is a better option for you than one with a fixed base. As the name implies, a fixed base is one that doesn’t move: you will need to hold the base in one hand as you move it around or over a piece of wood.
A plunge base gives you a little more flexibility. You can plunge down on the top of the router and cut to a depth that you specified. Plunge base models are available in a range of different prices to fit any budget.
While you can find some cheaper models, we think that the Triton TRA001 is the top model for those who can afford to spend a little more.
With a retail price of less than $300, this ranks as one of the more affordable options as well.
We'll go over the top features of this model and give you the product specifications to show exactly why the TRA001 is worth the cost.
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Top Features and Benefits
Instead of choosing between a fixed and a plunge base, you can get the TRA001 from Triton and get both bases.
This allows you to do all the projects you kept putting off without buying a number of different tools. The plunge base is great for making intricate designs and patterns, while the fixed base gives you smoother edges and flatter surfaces.
Though similar tools make it hard to switch between bases, this one makes the process a lot easier. You can use a single button to change from one base to the next. You also have the option of using this model in a rack and pinion setting.
When you use the plunge base, you'll like the micro winder on this tool, which acts as a depth adjustment guide. The numbers on this guide are bright and easy to read. You can select the depth that you want down to 2/3/5-inches.
To change the depth of your cut, you can simply turn the knob to reduce or increase the depth. This comes in handy when you want to make a more intricate design that has more depth in the same piece of wood. You can use this knob before making a cut or in the middle of a project.
Some people actually feel a little nervous about turning on a power tool because they know that the motor can come on so quickly that it causes them to drop the tool. Like other companies, Triton added a soft start motor to this model that both gives you more control and prevents accidents. Instead of the motor instantly coming on at a powerful and high speed, it comes to life much slower.
As you hold the router and turn it on, you'll find that motor softly springs to life. You can keep one or both hands on the router as you adjust the speed up to the setting that you need. This feature also keeps the tool from shaking in your hands.
If you read any of the articles about wood routers on our site, you will find that we always recommend tools with a variable speed motor. The TRA001 has a one that allows you to create beveled edges on trim pieces and plunge deep into a thick wood board without missing a beat. You choose the speed that works for you.
A variable speed motor is also important for those projects that involve different types of wood. When you need to work through a tougher piece of wood and then a softer area, you may not want to pause just to change your speed. This Triton model will maintain its speed and adjust itself based on the job at hand.
Extending the life of your router's motor is the best way to ensure that it will meet your needs as your tastes and projects change. Triton added a feature to this model that you won't find on many others: a vent system.
This system uses multiple vents placed on the sides.
No matter what you cut, you'll see wood dust and particles coming off the board. The side vents on this model allow that debris to roll right off the tool. As less dust enters the interior and reaches the interior, the motor itself will last longer.
Making adjustments to your cutting height is quite easy with this model because it features a micro winder and three already set heights. When working on a standard project, you can select any of the marked heights to quickly cut your wood. You can use them all when using the tool as-is or after mounting it to a router table.
Though those marked settings come in handy, the TRA001 also allows you to select a smaller or larger depth outside of those three options. The micro winder on this model twists easily and won't stick. You'll have no problem cutting down to the right depth when using the plunge base.
Unlike other manufacturers who require that you buy accessories to get the most out of their routers, Triton supplies you with a number of useful accessories. You get a winder for using the router on a table and adjusting its height as well as two different collets. This model also comes with a wrench that lets you make quick adjustments to the collet.
One reason we like the TRA001 more than some of the other models on the market is that it comes with its own fence system.
If you ever used a cabinet saw before, you know that the fencing system helps keep you on track and make smoother and more even cuts. The fence system that comes with this model does the same things when you don't want to use a full table.
When working inside or out on a hot day, you might find that you sweat, which causes your hands to slip off your tools. The TRA001 features two durable handles that each has a rubberized material added to the top. That material gives you a better grip and keeps your hands from sliding off the router.
Other Top Features
- Enclosed sheets of plastic surround the tool to protect the motor from flying debris
- Conveniently placed brushes help you reach each one to replace them
- The tension spring has a removable design to adjust the tension when using the router on a table
- You can change and adjust the bits in minutes with the included wrench
- Neon light power switch makes it easy to see when the tool is on, no matter how much light is available
- Comes with pins that attach quickly for using the router on a table or with a template
- Electronic speed control
- Micro winder for depth adjustment
- RPM speed of 8,000 to 22,000
- Neon power light to tell you when it's on
- Measures 12.25-inches tall by 7-1/8-inch long
- Plunges down to a depth of 2-3/5 inches
- Comes with a manual and multiple accessories
- 15-amp and 3.25-horsepower motor
- Safety power switch
- Depth reading scales
Pros and Cons
- Works as both a plunge and a fixed base router
- Reduces dust in the motor with side vents
- Weighs only 13 pounds to reduce fatigue
- Dust extraction system removes sawdust and debris
- Comes with an adjustable fence
- May arrive with one or more missing pieces
- Some customers noted issues with the tool vibrating as they used it
Many woodworking enthusiasts need a plunge router because they want to make new moldings for their homes or other intricately designed pieces.
If you search Amazon for one of these tools, you'll find hundreds of results, which can make the process of finding the right tool even harder.
After looking at many different models, we found that the Triton TRA001 is one of the top models for 2018.
It has a number of good features, including a micro winder for making depth adjustments and a 15-amp motor that produces up to 22,000 RPMs. We also like that this one has a dust extraction system and an electronic speed control.
Priced at less than $300, the TRA001 from Triton is a little more expensive than some of the other routers that you might look at but is worth its price. With both a plunge base and a fixed base, this router works for most amateur and professional woodworking projects.