In our day-to-day lives, we come across equipment such as furniture and even electronics that are made of wood, be it in our homes or even places of work. However, most of us normally don’t know the process that the wood undergoes to yield that final product that you adore so much. The wood router is one essential tool that is used in this process.
If you are a carpenter or your work revolves around wood works, then the wood router is a tool that you cannot do without. When you want to make different designs, grooves and shapes on your woodwork, then the wood router will come to your aid.
The router is powered and therefore produces enough horsepower to enable you to work on both hard and soft woods.
Listed below are some of the best wood routers that will solve all your woodwork needs.
- Top 10 Wood Routers
- Choosing the best wood router
- Wood Router Reviews
- 1. DEWALT DW611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router
- 2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router
- 3. PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Based Router
- 4. Black & Decker RP250 Variable Speed Plunge Router
- 5. DEWALT DW618PK Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router
- 6. Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Pam Grip Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with Edge Guide
- 7. DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router
- 8. DEWALT DW618B3 Plunge and Fixed Base Router.
- 9. Bosch MRC23EVSK Combination Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router.
- 10. Makita RTO701C Compact Router
Top 10 Wood Routers
Choosing the best wood router
It is always difficult to choose the right tool for your work. This is because there are currently so many wood routers in the market making it hard to pick a particular one that suits your needs. The wood routers are mainly classified into two, that is, fixed-base and the plunge router.
Whereas the fixed-base wood router maintains a fixed cutting depth throughout the cutting operation, the plunge type allows you to shave more wood until the desired depth is attained. To help you settle on the best wood router, here are some of the characteristics to look for in one.
Power is needed in pushing larger bits through the wood. Wood routers with power ratings of 1.5 Horsepower to 2.5 Horsepower are very vital for making cuts in hardwoods. Higher horsepower models are however required when dealing with heavy duties. It is therefore important to settle for a wood router that you deem fit for your projects.
The power rating of the router is always indicated on the motor. Every router has its own power ratings. Do not try to force a wood router to perform a task that its power ratings do not permit it to do. This will not only help in increasing the life of the router but will also ensure the safety of the user.
Wood routers are either single-speed or variable-speed type. Single speed operations are suitable when using small bits. However, when working with bits of larger diameters, the cutting speed needs to be slower. As a user, you should be aware of the type of bits that you will be using in your projects.
This will make your choice even easier in the market. The ability to adjust the wood router’s speed range based on the type of operation, the wood type being worked on and the bit diameter ensures a safe working environment. It also increases the quality of the work by avoiding burns on woods of different densities.
Look for a wood router that does not only take care of your current needs but also capable of helping you in the future. For table-mounted routers, you should look for one that has its adjustable cutting height above the table with a knob, handle or crank.
The router should also be designed to extend the collet above the table to allow you change the bits without necessarily lifting out the entire machine.
A comfortable handle gives you good control over the machine at all times. This will therefore help in protecting you from wrist discomforts and allowing you to work for longer periods. The position of the handle should also be within reach of the power switch without letting go of the handles. The switch should however not turn itself on or off during operation.
Router bit shank size and bit changing
Most wood routers take bit shanks in ¼’’, 3/8’’ and ½”. You should, therefore, take a look at the projects you have ahead of you and whether the bit sizes you need for those projects are available. This will help you in choosing a bit shank size that will work for you.
The ease of changing the bit is also another very important feature to look for. It is general knowledge that the bits will be changed with time. Therefore, there should be no difficulty in doing the same. Before buying the wood router, hold one and try to see how easy it will be to replace the bits.
Working with a router on wood produces a lot of dust. It is time-consuming to clean the dust, leave alone the health complications they can inflict on the user. Buy a wood router that is fitted with a vacuum port to help save you time and keep you safe.
Wood Router Reviews
1. DEWALT DW611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router
The DW611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router is fitted with a 1.25 horsepower motor that delivers enough power for the toughest jobs. The motor itself is long-lasting due to its aluminum housing and its advanced base construction. The durability of the wood router should not be a matter of concern for you. This motor can be easily and quickly changed between the plunge and fixed bases. The variable speed control is essential for maintaining the optimal bit speed needed for each task.
To maintain the motor speed during the operation, the motor is made in such a way that it is self-starting and therefore has a full-time electronic feedback. The plunge base has a fine-tune adjustment rod for very accurate depth setting and an adjustment ring that controls changes in the bit depth to within 1/64” only on the fixed-base. For an easy and quick change of the bits, this router has been fitted with a multiple shaft-lock.
For the fixed-base, the router has an extended sub-base, and a molded rubber handle to provide a greater working area contact and ensure the comfort of the user respectively. This type of wood router has a combined clamping and depth ring that ensures that the motor remains locked in its position. For quick base removal, there are spring-loaded release tabs.
The DWP611K wood router has a no load speed of 16,000 to 27,000 revolutions per minute. For heavy tasks, the router has a large plunge base platform for stability. Its extended 8-slot ¼” collet improves the grip between the bit shank and the bit by increasing the contact surface between them. Maximum visibility during operation is ensured by dual LED’s and very clear sub base.
For the standard base, this router makes a depth travel of 1.5” and 2” with the plunge base.
- Broad and comfortable plunge base for all types of jobs.
- Aluminum housing makes it durable.
- LED mounted on the router are close enough to give a proper view of the work area.
- The tabs ensure quick and simple base release.
- Easy, quick and accurate to adjust.
- Does tough jobs in woodcraft.
- Comes with the ¼” collet and cannot handle bigger bits.
- No vacuum port to collect debris from the wood.
2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router
The Bosch 1617EVSPK Router has a fixed base for adjusting the bit height above the table. It is a variable speed dial router with a soft-start motor that maintains a constant speed when loaded. Both bases have quick clamp systems plus precision centering that makes it easier to maintain the bit on the intended cutline when using dovetail fixtures, jigs, templets and other guidance devices.
This router has an aluminum construction with wooden handles on the fixed base. The plunge base has a soft-grip handle. Its motor has a power rating of 2-1/4 horsepower with variable speeds of 8,000 and 25,000 revolutions per minute. The fixed base has threaded holes for mounting it to the table positioned in a Bosch 4-hole pattern and the common 3-hole pattern.
This product is double insulated with dust sealed power switch. Wide base and the 2” sub-base openings are meant to provide better visibility during operation. Has a ¼” and ½” self-releasing collet chucks, 24mm collet nut wrench, 16mm shaft wrench, carrying base and a T-handle hex height adjustment wrench. The router also comes with micro fine and depth adjustment system on both bases.
- Accurate fixed and plunge cuts.
- The rugged design increases durability.
- Variable, soft-start and powerful speed motor.
- Average price.
- Better view of the working area from the broad base and the subbase openings.
- A little bit heavier.
- Takes two wrenches to remove it instead of one.
3. PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Based Router
The Porter-Cable 690LR Router has an 11-amp motor that is capable of producing 1-3/4 peak horsepower. The motor is single-speed and is capable of making 27,500 revolutions per minute.
To allow for the motor release and simple coarse height adjustments, the router has a cam-lock lever. This machine is of very high precision and will get your job properly done. The aluminum motor housing makes it durable to give you value for your money. Its micrometer depth adjuster has an accuracy of up to 1/128”.
To make routing easy and comfortable, the router has two ergonomic handles that are strategically placed. It also includes collets that accept ½” and ¼” shank bits. Its rugged and ball-bearing construction and dust-sealed components make it durable and efficient. The auto-release collet system for removing the bit easily makes it user-friendly.
- Fast bit removal
- Ergonomic design makes it stable.
- Comfortable to use during operations.
- Not portable.
- Lacks variable speed feature.
4. Black & Decker RP250 Variable Speed Plunge Router
The Black & Decker RP250 Router has a gradual start feature that allows for greater control and hence more precise results. It draws currents of up to 10 amperes that makes it powerful and capable of making 8,000 to 27,000 revolutions per minute. Its plunge action makes it suitable for use over a wide range of tasks.
It has three easy to set turrets that minimize the set-up time for repetitive depth cuts. To improve control and visibility, the sight line base has been introduced. The spindle lock makes it convenient to change the bits, therefore, making the depth-setting scale easy and accurate. The router comes with an adjustable parallel edge guide.
Safety and high comfort levels of the user are guaranteed by its contoured chip shield and its trigger switch with a lock-on feature. It comes with a ¼” collet and wrench.
- Good dust collector.
- Variable speed for different operations.
- Very accurate.
- Easy and quick bit changes.
- Easy to use.
- Limited depth-stop range
- No ½” collet.
5. DEWALT DW618PK Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router
The DEWALT DW618PK Router has a 12-amp electronic variable speed motor that produces an output power of 2-1/4 HP that routes smoothly through the toughest hardwoods. However, it does not come with a centering tool. It has a very integral through-the-column dust collection system that is capable of collecting up to 95% of the dust thereby providing top-notch bit visibility. For base and bit changes, there are quick release motor latches for easy and fast removal of motor pack.
Precise depth adjustments in 1/64” increments are realized from the micro-fine depth adjustment ring that is also capable of making vertical adjustments for a constant switch location.
The full feedback control maintains a speed of between 8,000 to 24,000 revolutions per minute under load. For enhanced router control, the motor has a soft start to minimize on the start-up torque. The tool-free steel motor cam lock ensures a solid locking.
This wood router comes with collets of ¼” and ½” which makes it versatile and a good product for bit retention. The adjustability of the motor cam lock is very necessary for quickening the process of base changing.
- Integrated dust control.
- Ensures comfortability during operation.
- Secure base.
- Variable speed control.
- Improved cut line
- Tool-free base changes and depth adjustments.
- Does not come with a centering tool.
6. Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Pam Grip Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with Edge Guide
The Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Pam Grip Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with Edge Guide is a highly versatile tool that is used for mortising hinges, dovetailing, custom carpentry, trimming deck planks and laminate flooring, edge forming, slot cutting, decorative inlays and window cut out operations.
It is fitted with a motor that draws a current of 5.6 amperes that yields an output power of 1 horsepower. This is enough to produce a speed of 15,000 to 35,000 revolutions per minute. The motor is a soft-start one with quick-lock systems.
Its aluminum construction makes it durable. This router also comes with a collet, fixed-base, palm router, straight-edge guide, case and drop-forged collet and shaft wrenches. The palm-grip is designed in such a way that it is soft to improve on its comfort ability. Overload protection and consistent performance are realized through its constant response circuitry that monitors and maintains speed under load.
The quick clamp system makes moving the motor from base to base easy to enable you to work on other projects. A cleverly designed front spindle lock on the motor has been designed for easy one-wrench bit changes. The cord has been angled to help keep it out of the way.
- Constant response circuitry for stable motor speed.
- Comfortable to use.
- Precise results due to depth adjustments.
- Powerful motor with variable speed.
- Only 3 preset depth stops.
7. DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router
With its 11-amp motor that outputs power of 1-3/4 horsepower, the DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router routes smoothly through the toughest hardwoods. Its precise depth adjustments in 1/64” increments are as a result of the micro-fine depth adjustment ring.
To ensure stable locking and quick base changes, the Adjustable tool-free steel motor cam lock makes the depth adjustments. This will enhance the safety of the user while at the same time posting some great results.
This router has incorporated a sub-base concentricity gauge to ensure bit concentricity for proper accuracy during operations. The quick-release motor latches are for fast and easy motor pack removal for base and bit changes.
- Visibility of the cutline.
- Requires additional base for trimming.
8. DEWALT DW618B3 Plunge and Fixed Base Router.
The DEWALT DW618B3 Router features three bases that can tackle a wide variety of tasks which makes it versatile and a professional grade quality. The three bases are a plunge base, a fixed base and a D-handle base for advanced precision during handling. A 12-amp, 2-1/4 horsepower motor provides enough power for a smooth routing through the toughest of hardwoods.
The router has an electronic variable-speed trigger that allows you to select a suitable speed between 8,000 and 24,000 revolutions per minute that suit your applications. It maintains a constant speed under load due to its electronic feedback. The motor’s soft start ensures optimum control of the router by the user due to the reduced start-up torque.
A micro-fine depth adjustment ring leads to precise bit adjustments in 1/64-inch increments. This ring turns to adjust bit depth, and therefore a constant switch location is maintained when using the router on a table. This helps in keeping the consistency of the operation as well as minimizing difficulty in turning the unit on and off.
Making of repeated plunge cuts has been made easier using this router since the plunge base has an adjustable five-position turret stop that is called into action when such kind of projects are being done.
The turret stop offers a micro-fine depth adjustment of 5/128-inch per turn for maximum precision routing in inlays and veneer. Control of the machine is kept at the fingertips due to the easy-to-reach plunge-release lever.
The D-handle also offers a 1/64-inch micro-fine depth adjustment. It is however complemented with a two-position, over-molded rubber handle. The D-handle provides excellent control and balance as well as the needed comfort during operation due to its low center of gravity.
- Optimum bit visibility.
- Easy bit and base changes.
- Comfortable operation.
- Integrated dust control.
- Easy and fast motor-pack removal.
- Not efficient design for long-time use.
9. Bosch MRC23EVSK Combination Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router.
The Bosch MRC23EVSK Router is a 2.3 horsepower electronic modular system with an advanced set-up that provides both the fixed and plunge bases. This router has its power switch in both the plunge base and the fixed base, therefore, giving the user an outstanding control over the machine.
Each of its bases uses a micro-fine bit-depth system that produces exacting cuts every time. It comes with a 15-amp motor with adjustable speed settings, soft-start feature as well as a constant response circuitry for maintaining a constant speed throughout the cut. To maneuver along dovetail fixtures and templates, a precision-centering system and base openings in both bases have been included in the machine. The motor is capable of making speeds of between 10,000 to 25,000 revolutions per minute.
The accuracy of this machine depends on its smooth plunge action and spring-lock plunge lever. The precision-centering design allows for the centering of the bit with the sub-base or the optimal template guides. The continuous depth range is 1-5/8-inch. You can move along the intended cut-line using templates, dovetail fixtures, jigs or any other guidance devices.
- Hold their depth quite well
- Maintains constant speed throughout the cut.
- Always-on LED lighting for visibility of the cut line.
- Low center of gravity hinders plunging into woods.
10. Makita RTO701C Compact Router
The 1-1/4 horsepower Makita RTO701C Compact Router has a variable speed dial that can change its speed from 10,000 to 30,000 revolutions per minute to speed up the application. The quick-release cam lock system makes depth adjustments, base removal and installation easy. Its ergonomic and slim design makes it more comfortable and easy to control.
The electronic speed control feedback helps maintain a constant speed under load. This machine has a soft start feature, and its base can accept industry standard template guides. The more precise settings are as a result of a smooth rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system. The collet is ¼” with a straight guide and a 13mm wrench. It is an ideal tool for door hinges and dovetailing.
- Easy-to-read depth scales.
- High visibility base design.
- Double insulated.
- Easy and quick bit changes.
- Works only with the ¼” bits.