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I have both.  I prefer the MR23.  Nicer handles, nicer trigger (the 1617 switch is really cheezy and clogs with dust), and has an LED light for the work.  The slight power difference is not a factor at all.  The minimal increase with the MR 23 is not really noticable.

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My guess, since there's not much difference in the power, I'd go with the 1617, it gives you the advantage of plunging when it's needed, and over time you will need it.  I have the 1617 and find it very useful in a multitude of applications..   But it's your choice.  The 1617 gives you both a fixed base and a plunge base, the other one doesn't offer that plunge option.

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I would also opt for the MR23. Both kits come with plunge bases, but the trigger switch and LED light would steer me toward the MR23. I have the 1617 and use it frequently, but those two features are lacking on it. I have to be very careful to hold on tight when I switch it on because of the torque jump. With a trigger switch it's a non-issue.

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5 minutes ago, Mick S said:

I would also opt for the MR23. Both kits come with plunge bases, but the trigger switch and LED light would steer me toward the MR23. I have the 1617 and use it frequently, but those two features are lacking on it. I have to be very careful to hold on tight when I switch it on because of the torque jump. With a trigger switch it's a non-issue.

That's strange.   The first time I looked at the MR23, it didn't have the plunge feature advertised.  Now, I retract my previous comment.  Coin toss, since I have no experience with the MR23.

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I have the Bosch 1617 set and though I use a handheld router only very seldom, ever time I pick up the 1617 up I wish it had a trigger switch in the handle.  Otherwise I think it's a great set.  

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Initial review of my just-purchased 1617: I like it. The plunge is smooth. Fixed base can be mounted in a table, and has adjustability from above the table. Rocker switch is not as convenient as a trigger, but the variable speed controller ramps it up smoothly. The flip-down chip shield is handy.

Cons: It has (of course) a different base mount hole radius than any of the 5 other routers I own, so none of my other base-mount accessories fit. Neither baseplate in the kit accepts a guide bushing out of the box. Bosch offers a boat load of accessories, none of which (of course) are included. 

Overall, it seems to be a nice machine. If you only had one router, this one is flexible enough to cover most needs.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I’ve been looking at both of these Bosch models. My plans include table use, and maybe a lift since I need a new plate.  This may not be a concern for you but the 23 won’t work with a lift since the switch runs through the fixed and plunge handles (which would be removed in a router lift configuration).  

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I've had the MR23 since 2011, so long term review here.  I only have the plunge base.  Liked it more in the early days.  The "after-lock" adjustment thingy broke really quick.  I think I adjusted it against the plunge stop which you aren't supposed to do and it just immediately breaks.   The plunge action is really difficult now.  But my biggest gripe is that the plunge lock lever doesn't lock itself all the way.  The spring just brings it almost all the way locked.  So if I don't  remember to manually push on the lever to make it move the last couple of degrees then it will slowly slip up during the cut.  

I think wooden ball handles are more comfortable in varied positions while the molded grips kind of  require you to be in one position, but it's worth it for the trigger switch.

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On 7/12/2020 at 7:54 AM, Mick S said:

I would also opt for the MR23. Both kits come with plunge bases, but the trigger switch and LED light would steer me toward the MR23. I have the 1617 and use it frequently, but those two features are lacking on it. I have to be very careful to hold on tight when I switch it on because of the torque jump. With a trigger switch it's a non-issue.

I have a 1617 and it has a soft start feature, or at least i thought it did. I didn't get the plunge base with mine; it resides mostly in the router table. The plunge router I use has LED lights, but only takes 1/4" bits, which is a limit one wouldn't want much of the time. That's the little DeWalt; good router overall, can't complain. The 1617 comes out when I need to dado something long, but generally does its best bat imitation, hanging upside down in the table :)

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4 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

I wonder if the 1617 changed recently? The kit I bought last month has full variable speed control w/soft start, and came with fixed and plunge bases.

I bought mine a year or so ago and it is as you describe.

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2 hours ago, tomy josif said:

thank you everyone, would it be better to buy the fixed base and plunge base at the same time or can i wait until i need the opposite one.

Money wise probably substantially cheaper to get them at the same time but if you only get one get the plunge first since it can be used as fixed based but a fixed base cannot be used to plunge...well shouldn't be used to plunge :) 

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