I love routers, but I’m no fan of the way most of them turn on and off.
This is a bit of a continuance of my safety discussion from last time, but it has more to do with the tools themselves than safety practices. I’ve never been comfortable with the location of the power switches on routers, and always have a moment’s trepidation when using one.
Most routers have the handles on the bottom and the power switch on the top. This is great when they’re mounted upside-down in a router table, as the switch is easy to reach underneath the table. When hand routing, though, not so much.
In practice – with the exception of trim routers – it’s imperative that you keep both hands on a router for maximum control. But to turn the machine on you’re forced to hold the router with only one hand while flipping the switch with the other. If the router doesn’t have soft-start you invariably get a hefty kick from the machine, meaning you’d better be holding the tool with a death grip to keep it under control, especially a heavier router.
A few newer routers have relocated the switch closer to (or even on) one of the handles, meaning you don’t have to let go with either hand, and I applaud this. To my way of thinking, if a couple manufacturers can accomplish this, then they all can. True, a number of routers out there have designs created decades ago, but my hope is that every manufacturer gives serious thought to relocating those power switches when it comes time to redesign.