A router is a very useful tool, and I would consider it a must-have for woodworking, along with a saw and a sander. There’s a huge selection of router bits for many different applications, hence you can buy large (and expensive) sets with e.g. 30 router bits. But in my opinion, only the following bits are essential:
- Straight bit: the base, using it without guide can be a bit tricky.
- Trim bit with top-mounted bearing (copy bit): a straight bit with a bearing on top, which is used with routing templates. The bearing has the same diameter as the router bit and is moved along the template, creating a copy of the template in the wood.
- Trim bit with bottom-mounted bearing (flush trim bit): a straight bit with a bearing on the bottom. It is used to trim edges after e.g. laminating.
- Round-off bit: used for created rounded edges, available with various radii.
- Chamfer bit: used for creating chamfered edges. Available with various angles, 45 degrees should be fine to start with.
Most bits are available with shank diameters of 6mm, 6.35mm (1/4″), and 8mm. I would use 8mm if possible, as a larger diameter means more rigidity.