There will undoubtedly be some Festool fans out there, but it's highly debatable whether or not they represent the best value for a newbie planning on doing one kitchen, and perhaps some other hobby projects. They tend to be darn expensive compared to other excellent routers from Milwaukee, Freud, Bosch, PC, DeWalt, Makita, Hitachi, Triton, Craftsman, Ridgid, and others...there are many happy campers with every one of those brands.
Kitchen cabinets often means raised panel doors, if so, a powerful router with variable speed (VS) is what I'd look for....the VS is must because you'll need to slow down the speed of the big 3" panel raising bits. I'm also very fond of above table conveniences like a collet that extends through the table for easy one handed above table bit changes, above table height adjustments, and above table height lock....only the Freud FT1700 (13 amp), FT3000 (15 amp), and the two Triton routers (13 and 15 amp) provide all of those that I'm aware of. I've also got an excellent 15 amp Milwaukee 5625 that's a workhorse, but it only offers above table height adjustment, though a bent wrench can help with above table bit changes.
Preferred features for hand routing tend to be comfort, lightweight, and quieter noise levels. Since the desirable features for table routing and hand routing are different, many of us end up using multiple routers for those specific tasks. For the price of one nice Festool router, you can buy an excellent table router and an excellent hand router. My favorite hand routers are the Milwaukee 5615 & 5616, and Hitachi M12VC.
Good bits are also essential. My best bits are from Whiteside, Infinity, Freud, and CMT, but Amana and Eagle America also offer bits of comparable quality. For decent bargain bits I tend to lean toward MLCS, Holbren, Woodline, or Price Cutter...avoid the no name cheap bits.
Last edited by knotscott; 12-11-2010 at 09:29 PM.