My full-size routers have been gathering a lot of dust since I purchased a compact router for trimming plastic laminate. Compact routers only accept 1/4-in.-shank bits, which limits the size bits you can use. But my compact router can handle about 75 percent of my routing tasks: light edge profiles, shallow dadoes and rabbets, round-overs and chamfers. One-handed operation is a nice bonus.
If you’re new to routers, a compact router is a good introduction. They’re less intimidating than their full-size siblings. You can grab a basic compact router for as little as $30. Or, you can spend about $200 for an entire kit includes various bases and attachments.