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Like most power tools these days, you can find at least a couple of routers in the product lines of any major manufacturer.  But after testing a couple of Bosch’s winners this year — the PS20 and I-Driver in particular — we decided to check out the Bosch Colt when we needed a small but powerful router for the shop. 

Besides its reasonable $120 price point, we chose the Colt because it’s quite powerful for its size.  With an available 1 HP and variable speed, we had pretty high expectations.

The Colt didn’t disappoint.  Read on past the jump to see how it did in our testing.

Unboxing

The Colt ships inside a Bosch Blue hard case that’s familiar to anyone who owns any Bosch tools.  What surprised us is how much space there is inside the case.  The Colt is tucked up into a corner and takes up less than a third of the space, leaving room for various bits, guards, and other gear.

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Note: Click on smaller pictures for larger ones.

The Colt only gets better once you free it from its cavernous cast.  It feels very solid and comfortable to hold, and all the controls are located in useable, practical locations.  A 6-position speed control is perched on top of the unit next to the motor vents, and the on/off rocker switch is positioned on the front of the cylindrical body right under the Bosch moniker and “Colt 1.0 HP” logo.

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The rest of the controls are all about cutting depth. The large, black “quick-clamp” buckle lever releases an aluminum slide which moves the bit up and down along an inch scale.  The fine adjustment wheel near the rear of the base adjusts the depth by half a millimeter increments (for each turn of the dial) for uber-small adjustments.

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Two finger support pockets are located at the front corners of the base so you can hold the unit firmly and guide its cutting progress with more stability.  There’s also an attachment receptacle on the back of the base that supports the addition of guides for added stability — but we didn’t try these guides out in our testing.

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1/4″ bits load from the bottom via a 17 mm collet nut that loosens to receive the bit.  To lock the spindle to loosen the nut, just push the large red button near the depth scale.  Though it may look like there’s too much going on in such a small spacem, it was actually quite simple to load and lock.

Read on to page 2 for our experience using the Colt with hardwood in the shop.

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6 Responses to Hands-On: The Bosch Colt Variable Speed Palm Router

  1. Jeff T says:

    There isn’t anything Bosch that I’ve had that wasn’t top notch. I still wish I had my old jigsaw. This one was on my list though. They say one of the big problems with the other one I was looking at – the Ridgid, is that the lock-down for the height setting literally rattles itself too much, and depth changes as you move the tool while it’s on. I was recommended the Colt by everyone I have asked about a good trim router, no matter who they were.

    Sometimes I think Bosch tools are very unassuming and normal looking, but light up when you pick one up and turn it on.

    My $.02

  2. nrChris says:

    As I have mentioned, I am in the market for a router–and I have been eying this one. I have one coming to me for free, but it won’t be until April. So in the interim, I was looking for a small palm style router that would compliment the 2 HP one I am getting. So this has been on the short list, and I almost dropped the coin for one the other day–I need to edge a small piece for a tabletop at our new house–but someone loaned me an old Rockwell for the time being.

    Good to see that I would not have gone wrong / won’t go wrong in the future when I do pick one of these up. Thanks for the review.

  3. Paul says:

    You cannot go wrong with Bosch tools. So far I have always found them to be a cut above everyone else. I buy stuff from other manufacturers because I donno maybe I don’t want it to seem like I am playing favorites or am missing out on something. But Bosch always seems like the best to me. Their color scheme does seem a bit ho hum to me. Like I really care what it looks like though!

    You’ll pay a premium, and there really are no deals, but years down the road you’ll never regret the decision that you bought Bosch.

  4. Phillip says:

    I’ve always had good experiences with Bosch, and this one is on my wish list. Though I do hope that someday Bosch outfits this little jewel with a plunge base in addition to a full complement of laminate trimmer bases.

  5. Chris Murray says:

    If you decide to buy this router, make sure you get the kit. The kit comes with a ton of accessories for the colt that makes it even more useful. I have this router and a Bocsh 1617EVSPK 2 1/4 HP router and both are absolutely stellar.

    There are sometimes when my 1617 is too big, and I’m glad there is another bosch tool in my shop thats smaller, and able to do the same job.

  6. Kevin Lam says:

    Darn. I just bought a Ridgid trimmer and only now Home Depot Canada is selling this unit! I can probably live with the Ridgid (I got it for $60 Cdn cheaper than the Bosch sells for). I’ll have to watch the depth issue.

    They also have the fixed-speed version as a special purchase right now for $99 Cdn.

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