Wood routers are useful tools for anyone who is working on a woodworking project in their home workshop. Regardless of whether you’re making doors or simply using it to add electrical access ports in an entertainment center you’re building, these tools will make the job a lot easier and allow you to get your work done quickly.
Of course, before adding one of these tools to your workshop, it’s important to do your due diligence and make sure that the model you’re buying is the right one for you and the jobs that you typically do. With that in mind, we’ve researched the best wood routers available and have listed them below. We’ve also listed a handy guide which is useful for deciding which model is right for you.
Best Wood Routers – Reviews
10Bosch Colt 5.6-Amp Router
This Bosch wood router is designed to not only be durable and dependable but is also designed to be portable and convenient. It features a 1-HP variable speed motor that can speeds up to 35,000 RPM and yet, it only weighs 11.8-pounds. The PR20EVS features an aluminum fixed base that gives it the stability need for trimming edges and performing other useful cuts. This palm router also comes with a number of accessories which go with it including a straight-edge guide, a collet, shaft wrenches, and a case. All of which makes this versatile router perfect for the woodworker on the go.
9Triton Dual-Mode Plunge Router
This Triton plunge router gives the woodworker all of the control they need over their work. It has a rack & pinion depth adjustment and an electronic speed management system. This allows for precise cuts, without having to compromise on safety. It also has a micro-winder that allows continuous fine depth adjustments even while the router is in full-plunge mode. Other features found on this innovative tool include a soft start that gives the operator more control and side air vents that help to reduce dust intake into the casing of the motor. And this makes it as dependable as it is safe and powerful.
8Dewalt DW618 2.5-HP Fixed-Base Router
This fixed base router is designed for handling even tough woodworking jobs, and it has the tools to accomplish these jobs quite well. It has a soft-start which keeps it from marring the wood and variable speed control that gives the operator complete control over their tool. Other features found on these tools include nickel-plated motor housing, a flat top for bit changes and self-releasing collets. This tool also has quick-release motor latches that allow for a super-fast bit and base changes. It also has a variable speed under load of 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. All of which makes it a tough tool for tough jobs.
7Makita 3.75-HP Variable Speed Router
What features does the Makita RP2301FC variable speed router have that makes it a useful tool for the workshop? Quite a few, in fact. It has a powerful 15-Amp motor that can deliver up to 22,999 RPM of speed that allows it to cut quite easily through wood and allows for super-smooth wood routing. It also has linear ball bearings that improve performance and allows it to complete silky-smooth plunge actions. Other features found on this tool include a plunge depth capacity of 2.75-inches, a 1/4-inch collet sleeve, a 1/2-inch collet cone, and an extended depth knob. This unit also has a soft-start and an electric brake that helps to improve productivity.
6Porter-Cable 892 Router
The Porter Cable 892 router is a tool that’s known for the number of features equipped on it as well as its performance. It is a soft-starting router that’s equipped with a 12-Amp motor and variable speed control that allows the operator to run the tool at a speed of anywhere between 10,000 and 23,000 RPM. This tool also has over-molded grips that make it more comfortable to use and allows for quick bit changes. In a matter of mere moments, the operator can release the motor, lock the spindle, adjust the bit height and clamp the motor to the routing table.
5Bosch Power Tools 1617EVSPK Router
This all-in-one router kit has everything needed for a DIY enthusiast or a woodworker to get started right away with their woodworking., It comes with the 1617EVSPK router, a tool that delivers up to 25,000 RPM os speed, the ability to change switch and cord position, a micro-fine adjustment system, a soft-start, and a variable speed control. This kit also comes with the plunge base, a fixed base, shields for both the fixed and plunge bases, and a couple of collet chucks: 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch collet chucks. It also comes with change wrenches, a T-handle hex-adjustment wrench and a carrying case for keeping everything together.
4Dewalt DW616 1.75-Inch Router
Featuring an 11-Amp motor, this high-quality fixed-base router is ready for some serious work. It has a tool-free steel motor cam lock that allows the tool operator to make base changes and depth adjustments quickly. This tool also has a dust-sealed switch that allows for a longer switch life and has a nickel-plated motor housing that allows for smooth depth adjustments. Additional features found on this model include a detachable cord set, a micro-fine depth adjustment that can be adjusted in 1/64-inch increments, and a quick-release motor for easy base changes and bit changes. And because it has a heavy-duty aluminum base, it’s not only durable but lightweight as well.
3Porter Cable 690LR Router
This lever-release wood router is designed to get the job done as quickly and easily as possible. It features an 11-Amp motor and variable speed control that allows the operator to attain speeds of up to 27,500 RPM. This tool also features an aluminum motor housing and base and features a cam-lock lever that enables for quick motor release. Additional features found on this model include an over-molded grip that makes it easier to use than conventional grips, the ability to accept 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch shank bits, a dust-sealed switch which improves the switch’s longevity and an accurate micrometer depth adjuster.
2Makita RT0701C Compact Router
A number of nifty features can be found on this high-quality router. It features a variable speed control dial that allows the operator to adjust the speed of the tool from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM and it also features a rack & pinion fine depth adjustment that increases its accuracy. Another feature found on this tool is a soft-start feature that prevents the tool from kicking out too much when it’s first started. This tool also features a durable heavy-duty aluminum housing that’s designed to hold up to most anything this tool will face in the workshop. Other features found on this unit include a shaft lock for quick bit changes, depth scales that are easily read, and a quick-release cam lock system.
1Dewalt DWP611 1.25-HP Router
Easy-of-use and durability are the two main features that this tool provides the operator. It has a 1.25-HP motor that delivers the power needed to cut through just about any job. It also features a soft-start motor with electronic feedback that allows the tool to maintain a constant motor speed throughout the entire cut. This tool also features spring-loaded release tabs, over-molded rubber handles that are easy-to-grip and depth of travel of 1.5-inches. Other features found on this unit include variable speed control, dual LEDs and a depth ring that ensures the motor stays in position every single time it’s used.
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How To Buy A Wood Router
Regardless of what you need a new wood router for, you are going to want to make sure that you do your research and buy the best model available. These tools come in a variety of different styles and with a number of different features, so paying attention to specs is definitely a must. Now that we’ve stated the obvious, let’s go over some of the features you should consider before purchasing your next router.
Step One: Choose A Base
The first thing to consider is the base that you need. Wood routers typically come with one of three different bases: Plunge Base, Fixed Base, and Interchangeable Bases. Each of these allows the router to be used for a particular, dedicated purpose. Let’s take a closer look at each of these base types.
- Plunge Bases: These routers have a housing design that allows for vertical movement during a cut, so the operator can plunge the bit down into the wood. Because of the way it’s designed, with the motor mounted between two posts, it can be adjusted by the operator on the fly without having to turn the tool off. Tools with a plunge base allow for more precise cuts than other types of bases.
- Fixed Bases: Fixed base routers are generally good for edge shaping a piece. It’s often easier to control than plunge-cut routers because it has a lower center of gravity. This type of router is often used for table router applications and since it’s compact is a good general tool for any woodworker to have in their workshop.
- Interchangeable Bases: Some routers have the advantage of switching between bases. These bases allow the operator to leave one of the bases attached to their table, so the operator can simply remove the motor and attach it to another base. The disadvantage of these bases is that they’re often more expensive than routers with other types of bases. However, it should be noted, that it is usually more inexpensive to buy a router with an interchangeable base than to buy two different routers.
Step Two: Choose A Size
After the base has been chosen, it’s time to pick a size. Without getting into semantics and speaking only in a general manner, there are typically three different sizes of wood routers. There are Palm Routers, Mid-Size Routers, and Full-Size Routers. Since each of these sizes has its own specific uses, we examine each one a little bit closer.
- Palm Routers: These routers are small but still are capable of delivering performance. They typically offer 1-HP of power or less and usually use 1/4-inch shank bits. These routers are usually used for edge forming, making small dovetails, hinge mortising or for trimming. Their small size and shank router bits make them ill-suited for larger jobs, however.
- Mid-Size Routers: These routers are usually over 1-HP but under 2.5-HP and are known for their ease-of-use and versatility. They can handle all of the jobs that are typically done by palm routers, but they can also do larger scale dovetails, circle cutting, and panel cutting. They’re also well suited for template work as well. Usually, these routers will use both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch shank bits, which is what allows them to do a wider variety of jobs.
- Full-Size Routers: These routers are rated at 3-HP or higher and are designed for heavy woodworking projects. They are often installed on a dedicated table or used for CNC operational use. Although these units are extremely powerful, they are usually a little bit more than what amateur or home woodworkers will need for their home projects.
Step Three: Consider Additional Features
Now that the basics are out of the way, woodworkers will want to consider the other features they may want their router to have. Modern wood routers come equipped with all kinds of different features, so it usually pays to look around a little bit and find the model that has the features that you may need. Below are some of the more common features found on both home and professional wood routers.
- Variable Speed Control
- Dust Collection Feature
- Electronic Motor Feedback
- Soft Start Feature
- Micro-Fine Depth Adjustment
- Dual LED Lights
One More Thing…
It should be noted that woodworkers don’t have to just decide on one wood router. Most professional woodworkers have several different routers for different jobs, so feel free to buy multiple tools to accomplish multiple jobs.