A router is a hand power tool used to hollow (rout) out a specific place and a hard material such as plastic or wood. Routers are most popular in woodworking, most especially in cabinetry. They are usually handheld or joined to a router table with the cutting end facing up. You can use a router to add intricate edges and other designs to your work; they can also be used to create dadoes and rabbets. The primary use of a wood router is to trim and smooth the rough edges on a piece of wood.
Wood routers have many different functions, and depending on which bit is used; you can use them in place of other tools. They cur around edges and also cut to depth; since we know how important wood routers are now, there are things you need to understand before purchasing a wood router.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST WOOD ROUTER – BUYING GUIDE
TYPE OF ROUTER BASE
Wood routers have two basic types of bases, the fixed base router, the plunge base, and others.
Fixed base routers are set at a position, but a plunge base router can be moved about manually. With a fixed base router, you can get more power and precision. They are easier to control and are ideal for first timers. Fixed base routers are suitable for edge work; you can use them when making cabinets, shelves, and frames.
A plunge base wood router is joined to a designed base that allows the router to go down when the user applies force on it; after the pressure is removed, the cutting bit returns to its normal position. This router allows you to make adjustments to the depth manually and provide you with more control when cutting vertically. They are also great for carving, engraving, surface milling, and making grooves in the middle of your wood piece. You have to be careful and precise when using a plunge base router; they are not as forgiving as their counterpart; that’s why they are best suited for professionals, and they are also more expensive.
An interchangeable base has the ability to switch from a fixed router to a plunge router; all you have to do is swap the motor to meet the adjustment required by the job at hand.
A laminate trimmer is a specialized router that is made to cut the edge of countertop materials, these routers are small and lightweight and even come in the cordless models, and they are not as expensive as the large wood routers.
A wood router should have the ability to rip the right bit through any material; it may handle other materials such as laminates and other soft metals. Power tools are measured by amps, horsepower, or even both. The higher their rating, the more power(torque) the wood router will possess.
WOODWORKING ROUTER SIZE
Wood routers come in different sizes, and the smallest of them is the palm routers. They are compact, portable, and suitable for small projects. If you plan on using the router for medium-duty tasks, then there are routers that are compact but have high power and strength. They are the mid-sized routers.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty router, then go for the full-sized routers. They are large and heavy and have a lot of power and can easily take on the heaviest tasks. They are suitable for professional woodworkers and builders. Also, if you are a hobbyist who has regular jobs and needs a tool that will last a long time, then you can again go for the full-sized routers.
MOTOR AND SPEED
The motor of a wood router is an important feature to look out for. There are two types of motors. The single-speed motor has only a single speed setting, and this does not allow you to control the power output, but they are great for people who need intense power over every other feature.
Good routers usually come with variable speed settings so that the user can adjust the speed to meet their needs. Large motors tend to overheat and cause more vibrations; the user will have to shut it off and let it cool. You should also consider if you will be able to withstand a loud machine. A more powerful motor will make a lot of noise and if you prefer working with a more quiet tool, then get a wood router with a small motor. If you can ignore the loud sound or use hearing protection, then you wouldn’t have any issues with a large motor.
It is best to get a wood router with a soft start; a router without a soft start will shoot to its maximum speed the instant you push the switch. The loud noise from the router and the sudden movement can startle a lot of users. Also, the sudden increase in power can damage your router’s motor in the long run. Wood routers that have a soft start motor will pause for a moment then gradually begin to accelerate to the required speed.
Routers come with different features, but it is important to go for one that has useful and comfortable features. Some routers come with in-built lights to help illuminate your workspace and improve your field of vision. This helps a lot, especially when making detailed cuts. Another nice feature is dust collection; if the router has a system to collect dust, the tool is less likely to heat up, and you won’t have to worry about it breaking down due to intense heat. If your budget can allow it, these features make your job easier and more enjoyable.
If the wood router is designed poorly, it will be challenging to handle the full-sized and compact routers. Choose a router with a sizable and textured handle to prevent it from slipping out from your hand and causing damage to your workpiece or causing injury. Remember to rest your hands frequently to avoid carpal tunnel syndrome or muscle tension.
Wood routers work with tough woods; they rotate at a speed that is measured in tens of thousands, which can put stress on the motor. They also get pushed, bumped, and dragged through some tough conditions, so it is essential to get a durable one. You won’t want a wood router that will break down after a year. The motor housing and base materials should be strong and capable of withstanding harsh conditions. When choosing a wood router, durability is one of the most important things to look for; it will ensure that your wood routing experience is affordable over time. You won’t have to pay for frequent repairs or buy a replacement when the router breaks down.
You should ensure there are safety guards around the bits and ensure the bit is secure when the wood router is running. You should also know which part of the router gets hot to prevent you from burning your hands.
Most people make the mistake of thinking that the higher the price the tag, the higher the quality of the product. That is not necessarily true, an expensive product might be low in quality, and this may be a result of brands trying to make a profit while offering subpar products.
With many varying products available for purchase, it might be hard choosing the right wood router. But with this buyer’s guide and product review, you will be able to choose one in no time.
Let’s dive into the list.
The Best 10 Wood Routers Are Reviewed Below
We have done our research and compiled a list of the best wood routers available in the market. We have highlighted their features and specifications to provide you with in-depth knowledge of wood routers.
DeWalt DWP611PK Wood Router
The DeWalt DWP611PK Wood Router is a maximum torque variable router with a durable motor that delivers 1.25 horsepower to meet the most challenging applications. It has a variable speed control feature that enables you to control the speed of the speed to meet your changing applications. Its variable speed dial starts from 16,000 RPM to 27,000 rpm. It also has a dust-free switch, a plastic cover that prevents dust from getting into the router.
Its base has a locking lever with a quick release that you can pull to free it from its base. It has a plunge base that features a fine-tune adjustment rod for a precise depth setting. The DeWalt DAP11PK has numerous features that make it an excellent wood router, it can handle heavy duty tasks, and it is also beginner-friendly.
- 1.35 horsepower motor
- Variable speed control
- Soft start motor
- Dual LED’s
- Adjustment ring for controlled depth changes
- Plunge base
- 120 volts
- 3-year manufacturer warranty
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- Brand: DeWalt
- Model: DeWalt DWP611PK Wood Router
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Dimensions: 19.25 * 10.25 * 6.7 inches
- Color: Yellow
- It has a comfortable and efficient ergonomic design
- It is lightweight
- It features perfectly positioned LED lights to light your path
- It has an easy to adjust plunge base
- You can easily and quickly changeover from the fixed base to the plunge base
- It has variable speed and clamp
- It is nearly noiseless
- Accessories can improve the performance
- It is easy to change the depth of the router
- The switch might be uncomfortable for people with big hands
- It does not come with an edge guide
- It doesn’t have a side handle
- It is difficult to reach its ¼ inch collet nut
Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit
The Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit comes with a powerful motor with a blade speed of 10,000 to 30,000 RPM. It has a slow start, which is one of its best features. It features a precision depth adjustment system that lets the user quickly and accurately set the depth.
It has a slim and ergonomic designed body for added control and comfort. This wood router is ideal for beginners but also great for advanced users. The Makita comes with incredible features that make it one of the top best wood routers.
- Variable speed control dial
- Fine depth adjustment system
- Quick-release cam lock system for base removal and easy depth adjustments
- Electronic speed control
- Soft start
- Brand: Makita
- Model: Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit
- Weight: 3.9 pounds
- Dimensions: 17 * 10 * 7 inches
- Color: Blue
- It is durable and easy to operate
- It has a powerful motor
- It features a precision depth adjustment
- It comes with three bases; plunge, offset and tilt
- It tends to vibrate after an extended period of use
Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
The Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router has many features that make it worthwhile. It features a ½ inch and 12mm collect that gives you a better range of bit fitment; it also comes with a variable speed system and a soft start. It is easy to control the cutting speed pf the router thanks to its variable speed feature. It also comes with a micro-winder for adjustment of fine depth on the fly.
This wood router comes with an efficient dust extraction feature that keeps your workspace dust-free; it comes with numerous safety features that ensure your fingers are safe and stay intact while you handle tough routing jobs. This tool can feel heavy in your hand, but it is worth its price.
- Single-button for switching between plunge and fixed base
- Automatic spindle lock
- Micro winder
- Soft start
- Variable speed
- Side air vents
- Power output of 2400W
- Speed of 8,000 to 21,000 RPM
- Brand: Triton
- Model: Triton TRA001
- Weight: 19.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.2 * 12.9 * 11.4 inches
- Color: Orange
- It has excellent value for money
- It is powerful
- It has wonderful features that let you enjoy your routing experience
- It is quite heavy
Enertwist Compact Wood Router
The Enertwist Compact Wood Router is one of the best wood routers for the money. It has a small unit that provides you with a constant speed of 10,000 to 32,000 RPM. Its speed allows the router to deliver clean and precise cuts, thus leaving you with a professional finish. It is a great wood router for casual woodworkers that just have some domestic projects to complete.
It comes with variable speed that allows you to control the speed of the router to give you the cut you desire; it also features a soft start motor that has an electronic feedback that is maintained throughout the cut. This router also comes with a rack and pinion depth control with an easy depth adjustment and base removal. This tool is constructed from aluminum but has a vibration-reducing soft grip for added comfort. Another amazing feature of this wood router is its dust extraction; it keeps the work-site clean.
- Comes with variable speed
- Soft start electronic control motor
- Depth adjustment control
- Dust hood connected to the vacuum
- 1.25 horsepower
- 120 volts
- Brand: Enertwist
- Model: Enertwist Compact Wood Router
- Weight: 6.17 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.59 * 8.19 * 6.81 inches
- Color: Orange
- It gives you a clean cut
- It features balanced cut speed
- It is durable and powerful
- It is budget-friendly
- It has less power, which could limit the size of the task
PORTER-CABLE 690LR Wood Router
The Porter-Cable 690LR is a strong and efficient tool with a 1 ¾ Hp(11 amp) motor that provides the user with 27,500 RPM for precise cuts. This tool is usually used for large projects; it is suitable for large projects because of its dust containment system that keeps the motor from overheating. This toll has two ergonomic handles that placed in positions that make woodwork easy and comfortable. It has collects that can use a ¼ inch and ½ inch shank bits.
This wood router also has a cam-lock lever system that allows for simple height adjustment for stable and consistent performance and even a depth adjuster for making intricate cuts at high speeds. Its powerful motor can handle a lot of projects in a short period of time.
- 11 amp motor
- 1-3/4 peak horsepower
- 27,500 RPM single speed motor
- Cam-lock lever for height adjustment
- Micrometer depth adjustment
- Aluminum housing
- Brand: PORTER-CABLE
- Model: PORTER-CABLE 690LR Wood Router
- Weight: 9.4 pounds
- Dimensions: 10 * 10 * 8 inches
- Color: Gray and Black
- It is suitable for large jobs
- Its high power motor allows you to make thick cuts
- It can be used to achieve high precision cuts
- It is compact
- It has versatile, dual bases
- It features an auto-release collet system for easy bit removal
- It does not feature a variable speed system
- You need a 2-wrench system to change the bits
- It can vibrate aggressively sometimes
PORTER-CABLE Router, 2-1/4 HP (892)
The PORTER-CABLE 892 Router is a lightweight tool, it is taller and wider than many other routers, but it is easy to maneuver the router to the position you want with its large rubber handles that are positioned at ita sides. It has a soft start 12 amp motor that can provide the user with 23,000 RPM. It features variable speed that allows the user to switch speed to match the application that is needed and also to prevent wood burns.
This router comes with a rack and pinion dial that lets the user adjust the depth up to 1/128 inches. It also comes with a ¼ inches collet and a ½ inch collet. It has a plunge base that increases its versatility, but you can also purchase one that has only a fixed base.
- Soft start
- 12 amp motor
- Variable speed control
- Dual-position switch
- Overmolded grips for comfort
- Spindle lock
- Adjustable height and depth
- Brand: PORTER-CABLE
- Model: PORTER-CABLE 892 Router
- Weight: 12.53 pounds
- Dimensions: 12.13 * 7.38 * 11.5 inches
- Color: Gray and Black
- It comes with a large hard case that keeps it safe from impact and dust
- It makes less noise compared to its counterparts
- It has a soft start motor that gives you proper control od the tool
- Its variable speed is placed conveniently at the top of the tool
- It comes with two power buttons
- Sometimes when it is attached to the plunge base, it becomes difficult to lock the tool in place
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit
The Bosch 1617EVSPK is great for individuals that need a top handheld and affordable, powerful router; it is beginner-friendly and also suitable for the experts. This router has a 2 ¼ horsepower, which is an average range for wood routers. It has a variable speed between 8,000 RPM to 25,000 RPM. This tool comes with a stationary base, but the plunge base is available.
It has a locking lever and a height adjustment tab. This router comes with ¼ inch collet and a ½ inch collet. This router also features a micro-adjustment. It is made from aluminum but has wooden handles and a soft-grip handle on the plunge base. It will remain at a constant speed through the cut to give you a clean cut.
- Aluminum build
- Rounded hardwood handles
- Soft grip handle on plunge base
- Built with a near instant response
- 120 volts
- Brand: Bosch
- Model: Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit
- Weight: 18.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 6 * 11.5 * 11.6 inches
- Color: Blue and Grey
- It is quiet compared to other wood routers
- It has a smoother plunge base
- It collects secure the bits tightly and releases them when done
- It is beginner-friendly
- Overheating may occur
- It may be hard to adjust the depth of the bit
- It metal edges are sharp, which is not ideal for safety purposes
RIDGID R22002 FIXED BASE ROUTER
The RIDGID R22002 may not be a popular router, but it provides you with precise cuts. It has the right weight. It is constructed from magnesium and has a powerful soft-start motor that can handle the toughest of woods with ease. It comes with a detachable chip shield and a dust port that you can attach to the shop vac. Its most exciting feature is the two LED lights it has; they illuminate your workspace so that you can stay on the right track.
The router comes in a soft fabric box that some people may not like. But if you intend to use the router frequently, it won’t bother you that it didn’t come in a hard case.
- 11 amp, 2 peak horsepower motor
- Electronic variable speed
- Micro depth adjustment
- Soft start
- Brand: RIDGID
- Model: RIDGID R22002 FIXED BASE ROUTER
- Weight: 9.58 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.5 * 10.5 * 7 inches
- Color: Orange and Grey
- It is made from durable magnesium
- It has a powerful and long-lasting motor
- It has rubber covered handles for a nonslip grip and comfort
- It has two in-built LED lights
- It is easy to adjust the depth of this router
- It is quite expensive
SKIL RT1323-00 Fixed Base Corded Router
The SKIL RT1323-00 Fixed Base Corded Router is a 10 amp tool that makes clean cuts and can be adjusted to ant depth the user needs. It features variable speed, which allows the user to select the speed based on the task at hand. It is an excellent tool for intricate and artistic projects. This router comes with two LED lights that help guide you through your work.
It uses a soft start that provides the user with a controlled and safe start. The shape of the handle allows you to use the router for an extended period.
- 10 amp fixed-base router
- 2.0 HP motor
- Variable speed control
- Soft start
- Live tool indicator
- Die-cast motor housing
- Brand: SKIL
- Model: SKIL RT1323-00 Fixed Base Corded Router
- Weight: 10.28 pounds
- Dimensions: 10.2 * 9.4 * 8.6 inches
- Color: Red and Grey
- It is easy and comfortable to hold
- It is affordable for its features
- It has two LED lights that guide you while you work
- It is not as powerful as other models
DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit (DW618B3)
The DEWALT DW618B3 is a 2 ¼ horsepower router. It comes with three bases and has a 12 amp motor powerful enough to cut smoothly through the hardest of woods. It is easy to set up. It is compatible with any bit, and large bits can also be used with this router. It has an in-built variable speed that allows you to choose between 8,000 RPM to 24,000 RPM for different applications.
- 2 ¼ maximum horsepower
- 12 amp electronic variable speed motor
- Soft start
- D-handle with a trigger switch and lock-on feature
- Precise depth adjustment
- Dust collection system
- 120 volts
- 3 years limited warranty
- Brand: DEWALT
- Model: DEWALT DW618B3 Router
- Weight: 28.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 19.94 * 24 * 7.75 inches
- Color: Yellow and Black
- Its D-handle provides you with superior control
- It has clear sub-bases for a better view of bits
- It has solid bases with comfortable handles
- It has a low center of gravity, which is ideal for this router
- It is not ideal for large jobs
- Sometimes the collects might not screw unto the shaft
- Its dust collection system is not the best
- It might be hard to use the height adjustment ring to make micro-adjustments
Buying Guide Questions
What is the best router for a beginner? How do you use a wood router for beginners?
There are many router brands available for purchase, but it is essential to choose a router that you will be able to work with; some routers that are ideal for beginners are the DEWALT Fixed/Plunge Base Router Kit and the Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit. Other routers may be suitable for beginners, but these two are our top picks.
What is the best router for a router table?
A lot of routers are suited for a router table, but here are some significant picks.
- The Dewalt DW618PK
- Bosch 1617EVSPK
- Makita RT0701C
- Black & Decker RP250
- Dewalt DW616
- Porter-Cable 690LR
- Bosch PR20EVSK
Which is better fixed or plunge router?
Fixed base routers are usually preferred over the plunge base routers when used with a routing table. The fixed base routers are easier to adjust the depth, and they are more accurate because they maintain their locked position better than plunge routers.
What is the best wood router for the money?
There are many affordable routers out there, but not a lot of them can give you the precise and clean cuts you need. The best routers for the money include;
- Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit
- Enertwist Compact Wood Router
- DEWALT DWP611PK Wood Router
- Triton 3-1/4 HP Wood Router
- PORTER-CABLE 690LR Wood Router
- SKIL RT1323-00 Fixed Base Corded Router
What is a wood router used for? What is the advantage of a plunge router?
A wood router is a power tool or hand tool that hollows out an area in the wood. They are used in making designs in woodworking, especially in cabinetry.
Plunge routers let you read and adjust the depth on the router’s face, it also automatically protects the expensive bits when in storage.
Can any wood router be mounted to a table?
Yes, you can mount any wood router on a router table, but some routers are better suited for this than others. The routers that can fit usually need an extra hole in the insert plate to operate the lift system.
What should I look for when buying a wood router?
There are a lot of factors you need to consider before purchasing a wood router and these include;
- Type of router
- Motor and speed
- Soft start
- Size and durability
Always ensure you look out for these factors before you choose a wood router.
Purchasing the best wood router is not that different from buying any other thing; you just need to know what to look for before purchasing one. With the above information, you should choose a wood router that will meet your requirements. Don’t worry about missing out on the best products because you are on a budget; there is a product for everyone.