Freud's newest line of routers will make your router-table setups a lot easier: you can raise, lower, and change bits from above the table, rather than by reaching underneath it. These new routers are available in three packages: a 13-amp, 2-1/4-hp fixed-base machine, a 2-1/4-hp combination kit containing interchangeable plunge and fixed bases, and a 15-amp, 3-1/4-hp plunge router. All of the motors have variable speed; their bases have openings that can handle bits up to 3-5/8-in. dia. The plunge router bases have two access holes for above-the-table adjustments. One allows you to raise and lower the bit; the other lets you engage a shaft lock when changing bits. You use the same hex-ended tool for both adjustments and a convenient crank-handled wrench for loosening and tightening the router's self-releasing collet. The fixed bases have two holes as well–one for loosening and tightening the motor housing from the base, the other for raising or lowering the bit. The shaft lock automatically engages when the collet is raised above the table. All in all, this is a very clever system, and it works extremely well. (We wish the hex-ended adjustment tool had a ratcheting mechanism, though!) You'll need to drill additional holes in your router plate to access the adjustment screws. Even out of the router table, these routers are easy to adjust. All of them have a micro-adjust knob conveniently located near the top of the router; one-quarter turn of the knob varies the bit depth by 1/32-in.
Freud, www.freudtools.com, (800) 334-4107, 2-1/4-hp fixed base router, FT1700VCEK, $170; 2-1/4 hp combination kit, FT1702VCEK, $200; 3-1/4-hp plunge router, FT3000VCE, $290.