Article Author: John L. Johnson  


Universal Mobile Base Showdown!

Delta Vs HTC
Article by John L. Johnson

Background
Recently I was in the situation where I got to assemble and use the Delta 50-345 and HTC2000 mobile bases within a few days of each other. Having not used either of these products in the past, I thought that this would give me a unique perspective in the comparison of these products. Here's how this came to be...

I bought a new bandsaw from Amazon.com and ordered a HTC2000 mobile base to put it on. The bandsaw was freight shipped while the mobile base came via the free UPS service that Amazon offers. I like to call this UPS Underground because it seems so much slower than UPS ground. Needless to say, the bandsaw was scheduled to arrive days before the base. Since I was already taking the day off to receive the bandsaw shipment, I wanted to assemble it the same day. My plan was to assemble the bandsaw on the mobile base because I figured it would be a whole lot easier to only have to lift the closed bandsaw base onto the mobile base as opposed to lifting the assembled bandsaw. Not having a lot of options in my area, I checked with Home Depot and Lowes. Lowes carried the Delta mobile base. I had considered ordering the Delta base originally and had read good reviews of it. The thing that swayed me to HTC in the first place was that it came as
a complete package. With the Delta, you have to supply the hardwood for the rails yourself. I figured I would buy the Delta, use it for the bandsaw and then use the HTC on my jointer.

Below is my opinion of the two

Price
Per Amazon.com, the Delta sells for $49.99 USD and the HTC sells for $52.99 USD. A quick glance may lead to the conclusion that the Delta costs less. While that is true, you have to supply the rails for the Delta. Even if you have spare stock available, there's still time involved with milling it to the 1.5" square that Delta requires. Since, at least to me, time is money; I'm going to give the nod in this category to HTC as I feel it cost me more than three dollars worth of time and material to cut, glue, and drill the stock for the rails.

Construction
Both are quality products. The corner sections of the Delta seemed beefier but not by much of Breitling. The steel rails of the HTC seemed like they would have less flex than the hardwood (oak) rails that I used. I'm going to call this a tie.

Assembly
I found the Delta easier to assemble. Many reviews of the Delta "complained" about the building of the rails. As a woodworker, I found it to be no problem. With the Delta, you measure the base, add an inch both directions for bolt clearance, and cut. Dry fit the rails into the corner pieces and lifting bracket and mark the location of the bolt holes. Over to the drill press and drill them out. Lifting mechanism attaches with one bolt/nut and a bar with a snap on fitting on each end.  Levelers bolt through the frame. I found the instructions fairly straightforward.

With the HTC, you measure and add the inch for clearance. Since the HTC rails are pre-drilled at one-inch intervals, you have to decide whether your 32 1/2" measurement means 32" or 33". Take my word for this, go up in distance not down.  You truly need the full inch minimum for bolt clearance. You then have to decide which combination of rails to use to achieve the desired size and bolt them together and then to the corner brackets. Not exactly brain surgery, but it does take some time. One thing to keep in mind, is where do the lifting mechanisms and levelers bolt on. Since they have you build the rails and base first, I found that I had used holes needed by the lifting mechanisms and levelers. I probably would not have run into this issue if I had completely read the instructions to begin with. There are two lifting mechanisms to assemble, neither are any harder than the Delta. The levelers are essentially the same. I had to read some sections of the HTC instructions a couple of times to figure out what they were trying to tell me.

Appearance
This is highly subjective and irrelevant but I thought the Delta looked better. I like the contrast between the oak and the black steel.

Lifting Mechanism
The Delta uses a single lift mechanism on the center of the rail where as the HTC uses two cam mechanisms, one at each end of the lifting rail.

In lifting the units for rolling, the Delta easily wins. You just step down on the lifting level and your ready for action. On the HTC, you have to move both lifting cams. It's not hard to do, the Delta is just easier.

For lowering, the HTC wins. On the Delta, you just flip the lever up with your foot. Be sure to apply some counter force to the machine or it will drop with a thud. Since the HTC mechanism is really two cams, the machine slowly lowers itself as the cam disengages.

Mobility
Both bases have a set of fixed wheels at one end. The Delta uses a single pivoting wheel located in the center of the opposite rail. The HTC uses two pivoting wheels, one at each corner of the opposite rail. I found the Delta easier to maneuver and am going to call it the winner in this category.

Overall
Let me start by saying that both these products are good and you can't go wrong with either. If I were to do it again, all things being equal, I would go with the Delta. One thing to keep in mind is capacity. The Delta is rated for 300-lbs. Capacity while the HTC lists capacity as 400 lbs.

Thanks John for a Great Review!
 

Current Amazon.com Pricing on Mobile Bases:

 

Rockler's Mobile Base
Click on Photo Below to Order

Power Tool Mobile Base
 

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