Anyone working with crafting wood can tell you that the wood router is an essential tool to have. There’s hardly a wood crafting project that doesn’t require one. This machine enables you to give some nice shape to the edges of the wood, create certain designs, and hollow out grooves. The market is saturated with lots of various kinds of wood routers at different prices and it’s not easy to work out which one is the best for your particular needs. If you want to buy one, it’s a good idea to know what exactly to look for so you can make a more informed decision. The things to consider are:
1. Fixed base or plunge routers
Fixed base models are designed to perform in optimal conditions when they’re fit to a router table. They work nicely for edge cutting and molding which demands precision. A fixed base router is a solid tool for a beginner as they come with the benefit of user-friendliness and a lower weight compared to plunge routers. Plunge base machines come with spring-loaded bases for maneuvering it down into the wood. Depending on the project, you can lock the plunge router to a specific depth. Plunge routers are more versatile and a bit more expensive and they’re recommended for more advanced users. The market also offers kits that combine fixed base and plunge routers into one convenient package so you can take advantage of both types of tools.
This is the best indicator of a router’s power. Motors on these machines can vary from 1.0HP/5A for a small unit to 3.5HP/12A for larger ones. If you’re dealing with tougher jobs, like having to smoothly rout harder types of woods or if you just want to work more efficiently, it’s important to take into consideration the horsepower.
The disadvantage of a powerful wood router is the increased weight. If you’re planning to use such a tool for handling more delicate projects, heavy and large routers definitely aren’t ideal for you.
4. Variable speed motor
This is important for being able to use a wider range of bits without compromising on safety. You can adjust the rotation rate of the bit. The more it increases, the more wood you can eliminate. Motors with variable speeds can offer more versatility allowing you to match the pace of your particular project.
Often an overlooked factor, this could unexpectedly be a deciding aspect when shopping for a wood router. If you can comfortably use the router it not only means that you’ll be able to work on your jobs more effectively but it’s also a great thing if you’re concerned about safety as you’ll be able to control the machine with more ease.
These are the key aspects to analyze when comparing different wood router. To simplify this process and help you reach a decision more quickly, check out the following products. They represent the best investments you can make on the market for wood routers. You might also be interested in our articles about the best multi tools and the best laser level.
Best Wood Router for the Money
As it comes with many attractive features for its cost, including a durable 1.25 HP motor with variable speed control, over-molded rubber handles, and a precise adjustment ring, this fixed/plunge base combo kit from DeWalt is a solid choice for a wood router. It’s packed with great abilities suiting well many smaller projects.
In terms of power, this model offers a decent 1.25HP motor which should be enough for a varied selection of applications. The motor has a soft-start feature and it provides full-time feedback electronically for ensuring the right motor speed during the cut. There’s a variable speed control ability which optimizes the bit speed according to a particular project’s demands.
The fixed base router allows for nice bit depth changes thanks to a very precise adjustment ring to within 1/64″. Removing the base is not a difficult task thanks to the spring-loaded release tabs. To guarantee that the motor remains firmly locked in place, there’s an ingenious combination of a depth ring and a clamping mechanism. The user of the fixed base router can obtain better work surface contact by using the extended sub-base.
The plunge base router received certain comfort enhancements through the over-molded rubber handles which also ensure a secure grip. The motor can be moved from the fixed base to the plunged base router and the other way around without too much hassle. There’s added stability for tackling some more difficult projects on the plunge base platform and the sub-base is compatible with universal template guides.
Construction-wise, the base feels very solid, clearly designed for reliability in the long term. The aluminum housing of the motor also strikes a good balance with making the router both durable and easy to maneuver.
Considering how versatile and performant are the two bases of this router kit, it’s safe to say that the DeWalt DWP611PK provides excellent value for its cost. It has plenty of power while maintaining a low weight and it’s overall an excellent all-around unit.
- 1.25HP motor
- Variable speed control
- Soft-starting motor
- Dual LEDs
- Adjustment ring
Best Palm Wood Router
Crafted with a powerful combination of precision and versatility in mind, the Bosch PR20EVS Colt is a palm router which delivers reliable performance for the money. Its 1.0HP, 5.6 Amp motor offers variable speed control within 16,000 to 35,000 RPM. It also promises micro-fine adjustments, a sturdy construction, and a comfortable design for extended use.
Besides the router, there’s a fixed base included with this model. It’s quite solid and can be used to do some precise work as it’s made of aluminum. It comes with a nice bit capacity accepting those up to 1-5/16 inches in diameter. The bit-changing system is also fairly flexible. With just one spindle lock and a wrench, for example, you can easily do the right modifications.
The palm-grip design offers effective grip and a decent level of comfort for its class. Thanks to finger support pockets, you can obtain better control which can be particularly useful when trimming edges. To keep the cord out of your way, Bosch added an angled exit for it. One other great feature of this wood router is the quick-clamp system which permits the moving or the adjustment of the motor from base to base.
Matching speed to your project is an important factor for working in a productive manner and this is why this model comes with a variable speed dial. The motor may not seem very impressive but it’s quite powerful considering the low price of this wood router. There are certain enhancements like the soft-start circuitry or the Constant Response circuitry which promises solid and consistent performance as it manages the speed of the motor under load.
If you want a good starter router, the Bosch PR20EVS Colt is one of the best options out there. It’s smaller and without some more advanced features from heavier competitors but it does a great job and it will most likely be able to handle most of your woodworking projects. There are quite a lot of advantages to this palm router including the affordable price, so this is highly recommended.
- 1.0HP 5.6 amp motor
- Variable speed control
- Stright edge guide
- Sturdy aluminum fixed base
- Precise depth adjustment
- Versatile bit-changing system
Those who want to tackle some more difficult woodworking projects should ideally have both a fixed base and plunged base wood routers. If you’re interested in a solid kit that’s focused on quality and reliability, look no further than the Bosch 1617EVSPK router kit.
Taking care of more difficult routing jobs is easy when you have the right tool. This kit from Bosch offers accurate cuts and is geared towards those who value versatility and performance above all else. The 2.25HP/12 Amp motor is incredibly powerful and provides a versatile speed range suitable for different tasks.
Setting the optimal speed is done using a dial and for maintaining a constant speed, there’s a capable Constant Response circuitry integrated. Getting cleaner and accurate results is easier than ever.
One thing that this kit does right is how it delivers all the needed components for both plunge and fixed-depth routings. Both bases allow for precise bit depth adjustments thanks to an accurate system which offers an overall range of 1 inch. Another thing that’s present on both bases is the Precision Centering Design, Bosch’s special technology for centering the bit with the sub-base.
If you’re the type who does conversions, you can move the motor between the bases in just a matter of seconds and without special tools as they feature quick clamp systems.
The design of the kit has been refined to last for years of intense woodworking. Both the bases and the housing of the motor are crafted out of high-quality aluminum and for extra durability, the power switch has received a special sealing treatment to prevent the accumulation of dust. All the important components from this kit are protected with the help of the included rugged carrying case.
Those with bigger budgets will love this wood router kit that seems to get everything right. It does adjustments with ease and provides hard-to-match performance enabling you to get clean results almost effortlessly. This represents a considerable investment but you are definitely not going to regret saving some more and going for it.
- 2.25HP/12 Amp motor
- Variable speed control
- Durable aluminum construction
- Constant Response Circuitry
- Soft-grip handle
Best Fixed Base Wood Router
Capable of generating 27,500 RPM, the fixed base Porter-Cable 690LR wood router is an efficient tool suitable for any woodworking shop where there’s a need for great performance. It promises quick and precise cuts for a vast range of woods and it employs a reliable Auto-release collet system. This is also a good tool for those with more limited budgets.
This unit provides a decent level of performance and this is mostly due to its reliable 11-amp motor. To maintain a steady workflow, the router comes with a cam-lock lever for some nice height adjustments. The accuracy is within 1/128 inch which is pretty solid but to ensure the best precision, there’s a reliable micro depth adjustor in place.
Construction-wise, the router is created to withstand intense woodworking. Both the base and the motor housing are made of smooth aluminum, the power switch is dust-sealed, and to prevent the wear and tear that can happen in a hardworking environment, there’s a sealed ball-bearing construction guard.
Besides performance, this model has some interesting abilities to simplify the usability of the router. There’s an auto-release collet system to handle the bit removal without too much hassle. Overall, the unit is quite easy to operate even for a beginner. There are no bits included as this model is quite basic in its functionality but this is only a minor drawback.
If you’re worried about the motor rotating from the base, it’s worth mentioning that the manufacturer installed an under-table to prevent that. Comfort is also a factor taken into consideration by Porter-Cable and proof of that are the ergonomic molded grips that make the router a pleasure to handle even during prolonged usage.
The Porter-Cable 690LR works just as expected and the build quality and the user-friendliness might even exceed your expectations. If you’re new to wood routing or just need a cost-effective fixed base router, this one is a fitting option. It’s pretty bare bones but if you don’t need more than what it offers, getting one is a no-brainer.
- 1-3/4-horsepower motor
- Auto-release collet system
- Aluminum motor housing and base
- Ergonomic design
- Heavy duty construction
DeWalt’s DW618PK is another solid woodworking kit which delivers a powerful motor that’s easy to control. It routes without issues through hardwood and it ensures excellent depth adjustments. One great feature of this model is the integral dust collection that promises greater bit visibility.
Making fine adjustments for the depth is one great feature of this wood router. It can work in 1/64” increments and for a constant switch/cord set location, it’s capable of adjusting vertically. The cord set is detachable and allows you to get rid of needing a “shorty” cord motor pack.
This kit delivers when it comes to performance. The 2-1/4HP, 12-amp motor can smoothly rout through difficult hardwoods so any professional can appreciate its effectiveness. Power is a key element for any wood router worth the cost but it’s not everything. Having precise control over the motor is essential so this is why DeWalt added electronic variable speed to maintain adequate speed in all situations.
In terms of comfort and user-friendliness, this router doesn’t disappoint. It comes with rubber handles and a balanced design offering a low center of gravity for superior control. The plunge lever is simple to reach while working and there are 8 self-releasing slotted collets to handle the retention and removal of frozen bits.
The aluminum motor housing is nickel-plated to ensure depth adjustment that will last for a long time. The base is also crafted out of precision-machined aluminum promising a more comfortable maneuverability thanks to the lower weight.
Taking into account all these amazing features, the DeWalt DW618PK leaves a very positive impression. It’s suitable for both professionals and hobbyists and it does its job well. The motor works with a soft-start and cuts cleanly with the right bits. There’s just nothing to complain about its performance, comfort, and design. A great piece of equipment.
- 2-1/4 hp, 12-amp motor
- Variable speed control
- 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets
- Depth adjustment ring
- Solid bit visibility
If you wish to get your hands on a more compact and portable router, the Makita RT0701C is probably one of your best bets. It features variable speed control, fine depth adjustment, and a soft-start motor to be able to start working more comfortably. The price for this model is quite budget-friendly too.
One solid performance ability of this wood router is the reliable 1-1/4 HP motor that comes with a control dial for getting the right speed for the task at hand. You can match the right speed from a range of 10,000 to 30,000 RPM. Additionally, there’s electronic speed control to make sure that the speed is steady under load and soft-starting of the motor.
Makita engineered this router with precision in mind so it’s no surprise to discover that a powerful depth adjustment system has been put in place. For extra precision, there are also highly visible depth scales. Thanks to a cam lock system that allows for a fast release, you can remove or install the base effortlessly and the design of the base is also created to enhance the handling of the router.
The body of the tool is ergonomically designed. It feels compact and simple to maneuver. Due to a flat top design, changing bits is now a very convenient process. The shaft lock too is made with a focus on easier bit changes. As it’s double-insulated with a robust aluminum housing for its motor, this router should be a solid addition to your workshop.
Woodworking hobbyists should definitely check out the Makita RT0701C because it offers quite a lot for the money. It feels solid and reliable without going overboard on bulkiness so it’s perfect for working a great variety of simple and medium difficulty projects. Making gradual depth adjustments can be difficult at first but once you figure it out, it can be a pleasure to work with. Overall, this is strongly recommended to anyone looking for an affordable yet capable wood router.
- Variable speed control
- 1-1/4 HP motor
- Slim and compact body
- Fine depth adjustment system
- Quick release cam lock
- Soft-start feature
Best Wood Router for Beginner
The Hitachi KM12VC is geared towards users who value an ergonomic design as it comes with a powerful yet silent motor, simple depth adjustments, a two-state release clamp for the motor and simple base changes. This is a fixed/plunge base router kit that would make for a great addition to any woodworking workshop.
The 11-amp motor of this unit is very powerful and comes with a nickel-plated housing. The speed can be adjusted anywhere between 8,000 and 24,000 RPM so you can match any task at the right pace. Electronic speed control is also featured in this motor so the RPM is kept constant under load for always getting the best cuts.
One interesting quality of this router is its quietness. With only 79 dB, it will make for a more stable operation considering how vibrations will also be minimized. Releasing the motor is a fairly easy task thanks to a two-stage clamp system that allows you to change the base and make some precise depth adjustments. In case you want to switch from the fixed base to the plunge one, the process will go very smoothly.
Versatility is an essential element that’s taken very seriously by Hitachi. In designing this kit, special attention was dedicated to ensuring the best compatibility with most bits found in workshops. The tool can accommodate 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch bits without any issues. Additionally, there are 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch collet chucks included in the package.
For a more comfortable user experience, the handles are nicely shaped to enable precise control. The fixed base is not very bulky at only 7.3 pounds while the plunge base is also on the lightweight side of routers at just 9.9 pounds. If you’re a woodworking professional and frequently need to travel, this kit comes packed in a protective case where all the accessories fit neatly.
The only strange design choice is the location of the power switch which is a bit hard to access. Still, when you consider the overall features, the Hitachi KM12VC wood routing kit is a quiet and performant machine that’s fully worth the money. You get a complete woodworking package at a reasonable price.
- 2-1/4 Peak Horsepower, 11A motor
- Electronic speed control
- 79.5 dB noise levels
- Ergonomic design
- Loaded with helpful accessories
DeWalt makes some of the best wood routers so it’s not surprising to keep finding their models on this list. The final one that deserves some attention is the DW616, a fixed base router which boasts a 11-amp motor with a quick-release feature and user-friendly depth adjustment. The price is quite competitive so let’s see if this is worth the money.
Dust ingestion can be a problem for many wood routers. This one comes with a sealed switch that’s protected against dust. The motor housing is also created to withstand the test of time due to its nickel-plating. In terms of construction, it seems that DeWalt did a good job with this model.
To make the depth adjustment process a breeze, there’s a ring which offers 1/64-inch increments adjustment. A Lexan sub-base has been refined to offer clear visibility and strong durability. It accepts all the standard template guides.
To increase the accuracy even further, there’s a supplied sub-base concentricity gauge which is a huge help in keeping the right bit concentricity. Bit retention is assured by the long collets with 8 slots which make use of a dependable self-releasing system.
Ergonomic and practical, this router comes with comfortable rubber handles to keep you working for longer without any discomfort. The switch and cord set configuration used in this wood router stands out as it lets you boost your workflow. You can keep the switch in either hand. A flat top can also help with the bit and depth modifications.
Any carpentry job would benefit from having such a reliable tool at work like the DeWalt DW616 fixed-base router. It has great manageability and overall the quality is superior compared to what you can expect for this price in its competitors. The only minor flaw is the extra noise of this wood router which could be a problem for some. As long as you get a good pair of noise-canceling earphones, you will definitely be happy if you choose this model.
- 1-3/4 Horsepower, 11-amp motor
- Micro-fine adjustment for the depth
- Comfortable rubber handles
- LEXAN sub-base
- Sub-base concentricity gauge