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Bosch, Router Table Reviews

Bosch RA1171 Router Table Review

Review: Bosch RA1171 Router Table

Design8.1
Features8
Performance7.5
Ease of Use7.8
Value for Money8.7
8 out of 10
What's Hot?
  • Enclosed cabinet for better dust extraction and less noise
  • Quality Fence
  • Solid aluminum mounting plate
  • Large 27" by 18" table top
What's Not?
  • MDF table top
Bottom Line The Bosch RA1171 is Bosch’s cabinet style router table, designed to be mounted on your workbench (like the RA1181) but giving better dust collection and noise reduction due to the enclosed cabinet. Like the RA1181 it’s made from reasonable quality components, with a good sized tabletop plus an excellent fence, giving you two of the main advantages of larger router tables in a compact, portable form and at an equally good price too. It's not aimed at the heavy user, but for under $150 it performs well. buy-now-amazon-button4
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Introduction

The Bosch RA1171 is Bosch’s cabinet style router table, designed to be mounted on your workbench (like the RA1181) but giving better dust collection and noise reduction due to the enclosed cabinet. Like the RA1181 it’s made from quality components, with a good sized tabletop plus an excellent fence, giving you two of the main advantages of larger router tables in a compact, portable form and at an equally good price too.

Comparison With The Bosch RA1181

The Bosch RA1171 shares a number of components with the RA1181 but has a few important differences as well.

Differences

The Bosch RA1171 features the same good-sized 27-inch long by 18-inch wide tabletop as the RA1181 which is pretty generous for a benchtop model (where portability is a competing factor), but the crucial difference is the construction – the RA1171 tabletop is made from laminated MDF, whereas the RA1181 has a cast aluminum top which gives it more stability in use and an all-round more substantial feel to it. It goes without saying that it lasts a a lot longer as well.
The Bosch RA1171 is an enclosed cabinet style router table compared to the open style RA1181. There are two main advantages to an enclosed cabinet – improved dust collection and reduced noise.

Similarities

The Bosch RA1171 comes with the same cast aluminum removable mounting plate as the RA1181. This is a solid, heavy-duty plate (a lot of router tables use a phenolic insert plate) which goes some way to alleviate any doubts about the rigidity of the laminated MDF table top. The plate is pre-drilled for the following routers: Bosch 1617 series fixed base models, 1613 series and 1619EVS, Porter Cable 690, 892-895 series fixed based models, 7529, Milwaukee 5615, 5616, Hitachi M12VC, DeWalt DW616, DW618 fixed base models, Makita RF1100, RF1101
The Bosch RA1171’s fence is the same extruded aluminium with adjustable MDF faces as the RA1181. The fence slides in twin slots cut into the table top and the mounting plate has twin scales etched into it to help keep it square to the table. The fence measures 4-7/8″ high which is good for any router table fence however expensive – even a high-end fence like the JessEm 4010 Master Fence II only has a 3-5/8″ high fence. There is a T-slot running along the top of the fence to mount the included adjustable safety guard plus any accessories like the JESSEM Clear-Cut Precision Stock Guides which we’d recommend as part of any router table setup.
The Bosch RA1171 is supplied with the same adjustable clear chip guard and two featherboards as the RA1181

Open vs Cabinet Style

Once again, there are advantages and disadvantages to both and it depends what your particular requirements and priorities are:

Open router tables give you maximum ventilation, easy access to the router and tend to be lighter.
Enclosed cabinet style tables are quieter and keep dust to a minimum, but tend to be bulkier and heavier, and being enclosed can cause very powerful routers to overheat.
Bosch RA1171 open view showing rear dust extraction outlet

Much Better Dust Extraction

A major area where a cabinet style router table beats an open one is dust collection. The Bosch RA1171 has two dust collection ports – one mounted on the back of the fence (same as the RA1181) and one in the back of the cabinet itself.

However good your extraction is through the fence, some dust and chips will always fall through the insert plate hole. If you’re using an open style table that all goes on the floor, in the atmosphere and everywhere else; if you’re using a cabinet style it’s collected in the cabinet or, even better, extracted via a second dust vac.

If you have to work in your garage it might be that efficient dust extraction is one of your top priorities.

Cabinet style router tables also help keep noise to a minimum because the router is enclosed in a box, which is another advantage if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated workshop.

Another thing I liked was the dual outlet switch – you can plug in your router and your dust vac and so they both come on with the same switch on the front of the cabinet. It’s not a big thing, but I appreciated the convenience of it.

What Are The Alternatives?

The Bosch RA1171 is pretty much it for a cabinet style router table in the $150 price bracket. Bench Dog produce the  Bench Dog 40-001 which is an excellent table but it costs double the price at a shade under $300. The Bench Dog has an arguably sturdier cabinet made from birch plywood instead of MDF and a phenolic laminate table top which is more stable than MDF, but still isn’t aluminum or cast iron.

Bottom Line

In the $150 price bracket the Bosch RA1181 and Bosch RA1171 are both excellent router tables and stand out from the competition. Both have an excellent fence system and an aluminum mounting plate and your decision comes down to your priorities – if you want a table with a solid aluminum table top, then you should choose the Bosch RA1181, but if you want the advantages of an enclosed, cabinet style router table, it’s the Bosch RA1171. buy-now-amazon-button4




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Chester is older than he likes to admit, a lifelong woodworker with a special interest in everything related to routers, router tables and router lifts in particular. His aim in life is to own everything made by the Kreg Tool Company, and his doctor says he's most likely addicted to anodized aluminum.