A wood router can be a useful tool when working with wood.
However, there are many wood router choices on the market. This can lead you to wonder:
What wood router is right for me? Which one will get the job done?
This article will tell you of the best wood routers of 2018. These types of wood routers include fixed base and plunge base routers, as well as some that can handle both of these base types.
These wood routers are perfect to help you with creating cabinets, tables, and shelves. Each of the wood routers mentioned in this article will help you achieve quality work and will run smoothly when using it.
This article also includes two router table options that you can use when working with wood routers. This wood router review article will showcase the top ten routers and more behind how this power tool works.
Best Wood Router Reviews 2018
Below are our picks for the best wood routers. A wood router will assist you with any type of woodworking you plan to do.
When buying a wood router you want to make sure you are considering the best wood routers. Here are the top ten wood routers of 2018.
|8 lbs.||7 x 10.2 x 19.2 inches||Check Price|
|Bosch 1617EVSPK||18.2 lbs.||6.2 x 19.5 x 14.5 inches||Check Price|
|Black & Decker RP250||9.9 lbs.||11.5 x 6.6 x 11.9 inches||Check Price|
|Makita RT0701C||3.9 lbs.||10 x 8 x 6 inches||Check Price|
|10 lbs.||10.8 x 9.2 x 7.2 inches||Check Price|
|22.1 lbs.||15.9 x 24 x 9.1 inches||Check Price|
|PORTER-CABLE 690LR||9.4 lbs.||10 x 10 x 8 inches||Check Price|
|SKIL 1817 120V|
(Fixed Base Router)
|8.3 lbs.||9 x 13 x 8 inches||Check Price|
|Bosch RA1181||34.4 lbs.||27 x 18 x 14.5 inches||Check Price|
|Bosch RA1171||45 lbs.||4.8 x 27 x 24.2 inches||Check Price|
When buying a router you want to look at their features and functions.
Can it cut curves? How powerful is the motor? How heavy is it?
Wood routers all cut wood, but they each do it differently. This is why it is important to look at all the details behind the router you’re interested in. Some routers also only come with a fixed or plunge base.
It is important to know which base you want and/or need. Also, look at the weight of the wood router. While a lightweight router might be good, sometimes these don’t feature the same power as a heavier one might.
If you plan to use these routers as a hobbyist or professional keep in mind that some of these routers are only good for one or the other.
Some wood routers can only work with basic projects while others can be used with larger ones.
Keep reading to find out even more about these ten best wood routers in the wood router reviews below.
Below are our wood router reviews on these ten models.
1. DEWALT DWP611PK - Professional Wood Router
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This wood router has a motor that runs with 1.25 hp. The motor is also a soft-starting one that will help keep the motor’s speed running constantly and smoothly.
The motor is housed in an aluminum casing that will help to both protect it and give it a long running life. This wood router has variable speed control. There is a no load speed from 16,000-27,000 rpm.
When working with this power tool there is an adjustment ring for controlled bit depth up to 1/64 inch. This depth can go to 1.5 inches for a standard base and 2 inches with a plunge base. The plunge base has a fine tune adjustment rod built into it to help ensure you’re using the right depth setting.
When you need to change the bits in the product, you can use the spindle lock. There are also spring loaded release tabs that come with the fixed base so you can quickly and safely release it.
There are also LED lights built into this product to help you see better when cutting.
- This product has the ability to quickly change from a fixed to plunge base.
- The rubber handle on this product is easy to hold to and use.
- Sometimes the motor can get to be very hot if kept running for a long time.
- The spindle lock can be difficult to use.
2. Bosch 1617EVSPK (Plunge Router) - Best Value
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This product has a 2-1/4 hp motor that has variable speeds of 8,000-25,000 rpm. It has a soft-start motor which slowly and quietly starts the machine so it doesn’t make any sudden movements.
It has an electric variable speed and has a soft start and micro-fine depth adjustment features. This product is made of an aluminum base and motor housing which helps to protect it from any possible damage. It comes with both plunge and fixed bases.
The fixed base has wooden handles and the plunge base has rubber handles. This product comes with a smart response circuitry so that it can keep a consistent speed to ensure accurate and quick cuts.
- Besides the fixed and plunge bases, this product also comes with collet chucks, wrenches, chip shields, and a carrying case.
- It has an edge guide and a circle cutter.
- When cutting it is much quieter compared to other wood router models. This aspect makes it one of the best plunge routers.
- There is no spindle lock with this wood router.
- The motor of this product does tend to die quickly.
3. Black & Decker RP250 - Plunge Router 1/4-Inch Variable Speed
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This plunge router comes with a 10 amp motor that has variable speed of 8,000-27,000 rpm. It has a gradual start function which slowly starts the machine up so there’s no quick and sudden movements. There are 3 turret stops that are easy to set. There is also a sightline base and a depth setting scale. These two features will help you to accurately cut and work with the wood. This product comes with a spindle lock that will help you to easily change out parts.
This product is designed so you can start cutting in the middle of the piece of wood, rather than the edge. This design will let you work on making more unique cuts. It also comes with a lock-on button and a curved chip shield, both of which are features to help ensure safety while working.
- This product comes with a ¼ inch collet and wrench as well as an adjustable parallel edge guide.
- This is one of the best plunge routers for hobbyists.
- Sometimes this router doesn’t cut through certain types of wood well.
4. Makita RT0701C - A Good Wood Router for Beginners
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This fixed base wood router is made of an aluminum motor housing that is double-insulated. This design will help to better protect the motor. The motor runs on 6.5 amps and has a variable speed control dial that can go up to 10,000-30,000 rpm. The horsepower of this model is 1.25.
This product comes with a soft start feature which will slowly start the machine up without any sudden movements. There is a rack-and-pinion adjustment system built into this model. This system helps with making accurate cuts.
There is a cam lock that can be easily used with the depth adjustment and when removing or installing a base. This product features ¼ inch collets and has an 8 ft. cord.
- This wood router comes with a straight guide and two wrenches.
- The motor runs quickly but doesn’t overheat.
- While this product is said to be able to be used withmany template guides, this is not always the case.
- This wood router doesn’t come with a dust collector.
- Sometimes the depth adjustment can move by itself and won’t lock securely.
5. DEWALT DW616 - Wood Router for a Router Table
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This fixed base wood router has an 11 amp nickel plated motor that runs with 1-3/4 hp. There is an aluminum base and motor housing to help protect this product from any possible damage.
It has a micro-fine depth adjustment ring that can be used to make depth adjustments in 1/64 inch increments. This adjustable ring is easy to use and will help to make sure that the cuts are accurate. There is also a cam lock that will help lock in the depth adjustments and base changes made.
The quick release motor can be removed easily to make any bit or base changes. This product also comes with a sub-base concentricity gauge. There is also a LEXAN sub-base that comes with this product. This sub-base is both durable and made of a clear material to help you see through it.
- This product is able to cut through many different and hard types of wood.
- The cord length is long so you can easily move around when working with this product. This cord is also detachable.
- The wood router is sometimes difficult to fit into the case that comes with it.
- The motor isn’t very powerful compared to other wood router models.
6. DEWALT DW618PK- A Wood Router for Wood Cutting
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This wood router comes with a 12 amp electronic variable speed motor that can run at 2 ¼ hp. This product comes with both ¼ and ½ inch collets.
There is a self-release function with 8 slotted collets to help prevent any jamming in the machine. There is also a depth adjustment ring which can be used to help make 1/64 inch increments. This ring is both adjustable and can be moved vertically.
The cam lock adjustment feature on this model can be used to help make safe depth adjustment and base changes. This safety feature will help lock in these things to help ensure extra safety when in use. There are also quick release motor latches.
This model also comes with a built-in dust collector that will help collect 95% of the dust created when working with this wood router. This dust collection feature will also help you to see better when working. This wood router comes with 3 interchangeable bases.
This includes a plunge, fixed, and D-handle base. A D-handle base will help give you extra control and accuracy when cutting the wood.
- Unlike many other wood router products, this wood router’s cord doesn’t get in the way when using the product.
- This wood router is able to cut tough wood products.
- The soft start feature of this model is one of the best. It will start slowly and quietly.
- The rubber handles on this wood router are easy to hold and won’t cause discomfort when using this machine.
- Sometimes the dust collector will not fully remove the dust created.
- This product does not come with a centering tool.
- This wood router is not ideal to use with heavy-duty projects. This is intended more for basic ones.
7. PORTER-CABLE 690LR- Best Budget Wood Router
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This wood router comes with an 11 amp single speed motor. This motor runs with 1-3/4 hp and 27,500 rpm. The product is made of both an aluminum housing and base. The aluminum helps to protect the machine from any damages so it runs longer.
There is a cam-lock lever which helps when you’re making depth adjustments as well as a motor release.
There is also an auto-release collet system for bit removal. This system helps to ensure that removing the bits is easy. This product also has a micrometer depth adjustment that can cut up to a 1/128 inch accuracy. This wood router comes with an under-table stop.
This will help to make sure the motor doesn’t rotate out of the base when it’s running.
- The RPM is very powerful compared to other wood routers.
- The handles on this product are soft and easy to hold and move the wood router around with.
- This product comes with ¼ and ½ inch collets, a collet wrench, and an operating manual.
- Sometimes the locking system that is built into this product won’t properly lock.
- The cam-lock lever can be difficult to use.
- This wood router doesn’t come with a case. This means you need to find a safe space when putting it away in storage.
8. SKIL 1817 120V- Fixed Base Router - Best Splurge
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This fixed base wood router features a soft-start. This soft-start will help to start the machine up slowly and quietly so there’s no sudden movement. This wood router has a micro-fine depth adjustment which helps to make those adjustments easily and accurately.
There is also a quick release button that you can use when making adjustments or removing parts like the base. There is a dual on/off switch that is easy to use and access when working with this product. This product has a ½ inch collet capacity and comes with a ¼ inch collet adapter.
- It is a very affordable wood router option.
- It is a lightweight wood router compared to many other wood routers.
- The handles on this wood router are made of a soft material so they are easy to hold and won’t cause discomfort.
- This product has a LED SiteLight feature to help you see better when working with this wood router.
- This is not a good wood router to use with large projects. This is ideal for more basic ones.
- The adjustment knob tends to be a little small.
9. Bosch RA1181- Runner-up, Best Overall
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This benchtop router table is made with an aluminum fence with MDF faceplates and an aluminum mounting plate to put the router on. This mounting plate comes already drilled so you can easily put the router in it. This wood router table comes with 2 adjustable featherboards and a 6 ft. power cord.
There is also a dust collection port that you can use with a 2 ½ inch hose to help collect the dust created when working. There is an overhead guard included with the table. This will help to prevent any materials from flying up into your face whileyou’re working.
Its dual outlet switch runs with 15 amps and also features a lock. This lock can help secure the machine and prevent possible injuries. This router table has a cord storage where you can store the cord to prevent tripping over it. There is also a storage pocket that you can use to put any router tools you might have in.
- This router table can be used with most fixed base wood routers.
- It comes with mounting hardware. It also comes with a start pin and a guard.
- This is a great product to use when trying to cut curves.
- The table top can sometimes be hard to work on. The wood might not slide properly which could cause some problems.
- The featherboards tend to be a little overly firm.
- It is not best to use with wood routers other than fixed base ones.
10. Bosch RA1171- A Good Wood Router Table for Woodworking
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This cabinet style router table comes with an aluminum fence with adjustable MDF faceplates. It also comes with a rigid aluminum router mounting plate. This mounting plate is has been previously drilled so you can easily put router into it. The surface of the table is laminated.
There are two dust collector ports that you can attach a 2 ½ inch hose in to help collect any dust that accumulates while working. This will also help give you more visibility when working. The product’s dual outlet switch has a lock which will help lock the machine in place to prevent any possible injuries.
There are 3 tabletop inserts you can use with this wood router table. There is also an accessory slot that you can use to store featherboards and any other ¾ inch accessories in. This product comes with a 6 ft. power cord.
- This is a good router table to use with long pieces of wood.
- It comes with a starter pin and guard. It also comes with three mounting plate insert rings.
- This product is a little heavy.
- For some people this could be a little smaller than they’d like.
- The leveling feature on this product sometimes moves on its own.
A Buyer’s Guide for Wood Routers
What is a Wood Router?
A wood router is a tool that allows you to cut and create many things with wood. This can range from making designs, cutting pieces, making joints, and many other things. Because wood routers have many different abilities, it’s important to look for the right one for your project.
This is important as not all wood routers are alike. Some can cut designs better than others for instance. This is why it is important to search for the right wood router that will get your job done correctly.
Overall, a wood router is intended to make basic cuts in the wood, but it can also be used to create curves and other designs in it.
Types of Wood Routers
There are many different types of wood routers on the market. It is important to know what each type is as each have their own specific purpose.
Plunge Wood Routers
Many of the wood routers in this wood router review are plunge wood routers. A plunge wood router is a type that is spring-loaded.
Because it is spring-loaded it helps to push the bit into the wood to help ensure it cuts accurately.
Plunge routers normally come with a lock base and depth adjustment features. Unlike fixed base routers, they start cutting in the middle of a piece of wood rather than having to start at the edge.
However, plunge routers do tend to be expensive and more difficult to use compared to fixed base wood routers.
Fixed Base Wood Routers
A fixed based wood router is good to use when trying to make edge cuts or when cutting straight lines. They are also best to use with router tables to keep them steady while working.
Unlike the plunge wood routers, these do not have depth adjustment features.
This means you need to adjust the depth before starting the machine and once you start to run it, it can’t be adjusted until it is turned off.
This type of wood router tends to be very lightweight so it is easy to use and move around. To remove or secure the wood router you usually need to twist the product.
If you buy an interchangeable base wood router this means that the product comes with both fixed and plunge bases.
This can be good because you can just use one machine that can work with both types. These types can be secured to a table and tend to be lightweight.
While they do allow the bases to be changed, sometimes this can end up being a little time-consuming. It might take some time to properly remove and attach the base.
These type of routers are good for basic projects. If you need to make simple cuts, trim routers are usually the way to go.
This type isn’t very powerful though so it won’t cut quickly and deeply into harder pieces of wood.
A rotary tool is perfect to use when making fine details in the wood. These are often lightweight and can be used to quickly engrave details into the wood. Basic rotary tools are easy to control and can be moved around to cut unique angles.
There are many attachment types that can be used with rotary tools. These include burrs, diamond wheel points, and high speed cutters.
A Few Things About Wood Routers That You Should Be Aware Of
When buying a wood router you should be aware of a few things before actually buying one. As you can see with our wood router reviews above, they are all very different.
Fixed Base vs. Plunge Base
A fixed base and plunge base are very different types of bases. The fixed base is locked into the machine and can be adjusted once the machine is turned on. This is unlike a plunge base which usually comes with an adjustable depth feature that will let you adjust the depth even when the machine is running.
Another difference between these two is that a fixed base needs to start at the edge of the material to cut. Plunge bases can start cutting the material in the middle of the piece. However, sometimes plunge bases can be difficult to use.
Also, there is a noticeable price difference between the two. Plunge bases tend to be more expensive than fixed bases, but plunge bases often include features that fixed bases don’t.
If you need a lightweight model fixed bases tend to be much lighter than a plunge base. Fixed bases are best for hobbyists to use when woodworking or for those who plan to just do small and simple projects.
How Does a Wood Router Work?
Depending on the type of wood router you have, they will work differently. However, the basic idea of a wood router is to cut wood and make designs in it.
A wood router can be plugged into a outlet with its cord and placed on the piece of wood. If you have a fixed based router, you need to adjust the depth before using it.
However, a plunge router can be adjusted anytime when the wood router is running.
After securing the piece of wood, you then guide the wood router with its handles to cut the wood how you want. This can be a curve on the wood’s edges or even cutting out a hole in the middle of it.
A wood router’s bits can be changed when needed to create different types of cuts on the same project. When finished with cutting, simply turn the machine off.
How Do I Use a Router?
As mentioned above, you simply just secure a piece wood and then guide the wood router along it.
To make sure you’re using your specific wood router correctly, be sure to check the operating manual that usually comes with the product. You also want to make sure you have clamps when cutting the wood.
The clamps will help secure the piece of wood so it doesn’t end up freely moving while being cut.
When working with a wood router it is always good to wear safety goggles. Often materials can fly around and if the wood router doesn’t have a dust collection feature, the dust accumulation could end up causing some serious problems.
Occasionally you’ll want to check the wood router to make sure it’s working properly. This includes sometimes cleaning it with a dry rag to wipe away any dust and particles on it.
You also want to check the sharpness of the blade. If you find that it’s dull, you’ll want to sharpen or change it out. If you don’t, the blade won’t cut the wood properly.
Sometimes you’ll have to apply oil to prevent the machine from rusting.
You also want to make sure to clean the bit pieces as well. Youwant to make sure to clean these off and make sure they are sharp. If they aren’t, be sure to sharpen them or the wood won’t cut easily.
However, you want to make sure you’re cleaning that specific bit piece correctly. It’s important to know the type so you can accurately clean it. These do eventually wear out and you can buy new ones.
As you’ll read below though certain bits can be expensive, so it’s best to try to always keep them in as best shape as possible.
Read our full tutorial here to know how to use a wood router.
Router Bit Materials
Router bits create the designs in the wood. These router bits come in many different types of materials.
One type is made of high-speed steel. This type is best to use with softer pieces of wood. A downside about this type though is that they tend to break and wear out easily. However, they are usually cheap to buy.
Another type of bit is made of carbide. There are two types of carbide bits: a carbide tipped and a solid carbide. A carbide tipped bit is stronger than the high-speed steel bits, but not as much as the solid carbide ones.
A carbide tipped bit can be used with hard woods and are best to use if you use your wood router for many projects. The solid carbide is the strongest type of bit and works well with tough materials.
However, these are most expensive type of bits.
Types of Router Bits
There are many different router bit types to know about. Each of thesetypeswill give you different design results. The ones listed below are just a sample of the types available.
- Chamfer Bit: This type will let you cut a straight edge on an angled piece of wood.
- Rabbeting Bit: A rabbeting bit will cut a 90 degree angle on the edge of the wood.
- Roman Ogee Bit: This bit type will cut a S-like design on the edge of the wood.
- V-Groove Bit: A V-groove bit cuts a V shape across the material.
- Round Nose Bit: This type of bit will leave a half-circle shape on the wood.
What Features Should I Look at When Buying a Wood Router?
As you’ve seen with many of the wood router types above, each comes with different features. While there are feature unique to each brand, there are some overall features to keep in mind for every wood router.
One important feature to look at in a wood router is if it has a soft-start. A soft-start is important because it will slowly start the machine up and gradually quicken its speed. If the machine doesn’t have this feature, it could start too quickly and possibly cause damage to not only your wood, but yourself.
Another feature to look at is the wood router’s handles. Because you have guide the wood router across the material with them, it’s important that the handles are both soft and easy to hold on to. If they aren’t, it could end up being difficult to cut the material and your hands could end up slipping off of them.
Also, look at the horsepower in the wood router. If you plan to use this power tool a lot, especially with heavy woods, it is good to look at the horsepower in the motor. You want to have a strong wood router horsepower if you plan to use this machine quite a bit.
These three features are crucial ones to have in a wood router. However, some other features to look at in a wood router product is if there’s a dust collector, a spindle lock, and speed controls. A dust collector will help remove the dust created while working with the wood to help you both cut and see better. A spindle lock will help make any adjustments or changes to the wood router go quicker than a model that doesn’t have a spindle lock.
Also, speed controls will let you adjust the speed of the router to go either faster or slower depending on what you prefer.
Other small features that are good to have in a wood router are LED lights and a low noise level. The LED lights will help you to see better when cutting a line. The low noise level is also beneficial because the motor won’t be extremely loud.
What are Templates for Wood Routers?
Wood routers often use templates so the cutting can go smoothly and accurately. These templates feature designs that you can trace onto the wood so you can that design perfectly. Often you can make these templates yourself or you can buy them.
If you make the template yourself, be sure to create it with a strong wood that is easy to cut. However, whether you make your template or buy one, you want to always keep track of its quality. If it starts to wear, be sure to make or buy another one as the template wearing out might not keep accurate angles.
What is the Difference Between a Benchtop and Cabinet Style Router Table?
This article feature two router tables types: benchtop and cabinet style. Both work differently so it’s important to know those differences.
A benchtop router table is able to be used with many different types of routers. They are often lightweight and durable. This type of table often include parts and features like featherboards, aluminum fencing, and adjustable MDF face plates.
The fencing of this table helps you push against the wood so it can be cut. Benchtop router tables also often include cord storage. This is an important feature they have as it gives the user more accessibility and safety when working.
A cabinet style router table has a larger surface than a benchtop one. This larger working surface allows you to work with larger and longer pieces of wood. This type of table usually has a dust collector to remove the dust created when cutting and to give you more visibility while doing so. This type also tends to be a little quieter than a benchtop when running.
No matter what type of router table you use, they all have the same purpose: to hold the router in place while you cut wood. Router tables can be used for many things, such as trimming edges, cutting grooves, and even making box joints. A router table will secure the router and give you a safe space to work.
Final Words – Wrapping it up
Wood routers are excellent power tools to use when working with wood. They can do everything from cutting holes in wood to making intricate designs in it. However, it is important you buy the right type of wood router. Each has its own features and abilities so one might sound like a good product, but it might not complete your job right.
Before buying one be sure to especially know what type of wood router base you want such as a plunge or fixed base. Also its safety features (such as if it has a lock) and motor strength are important to look at. You want to have a wood router that will work powerfully, but also one that will work to protect you from possible injuries.
The ten wood routers listed in this wood router revieware each the best ones of their kind on the market. Consider buying one of these to help you get your job done right.