While the wood router has traditionally been thought of as a tool that could only be used by carpenters and cabinet makers, more and more homeowners are beginning to see the utility of these tools for maintaining their doors, window frames and furniture. As long as they are willing to learn how to use the tool and buy the best wood router available.
Purchasing the best wood router is key because you’ll want to get a model that not only does what you need it to do but also has the features you need. Which is why I’ve decided to list ten of the best models currently available. One of these is sure to be the one you’ve wanted for around the house.
10. Dewalt DW618 2-1/4 HP Electronic Variable Speed
Equipped with a 12-amp motor that has variable speed controls that allow it to perform up to 24,000 RPM, this model has many of the features that professional woodworkers need out of their tools. It has a micro-fine depth adjustment ring in which accurate adjustments can be made in 1/65th-inch increments and has quick-release motor latches that allow the woodworker to perform tool-free adjustments as well. This tool also has over-molded handles and a dust-sealed switch that ensures that it lasts as long as possible, even in dusty workshops. This makes this unit ideal for both professionals or for amateur woodworkers.
9. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge
This unit has many of the features that professional and amateurs workmen look for in one of these tools. It has a powerful 3-1/4th HP motor that delivers between 8,000 RPM and 20,000 RPM of speed maintenance under load and weighs approximately 13.2-pounds. With a single button, the user can switch this tool from a conventional plunger router to a fixed-based one and it has 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch collets. A great design feature of this tool is that it has side air vents which reduce the amount of dust which is drawn into the motor casings, which reduces user maintenance and keeps this unit in top working condition.
8. Porter Cable 7518 15-Amp Speedmatic
Although it’s often priced higher than conventional routers, this tool has many of the features that carpenters look for in one of these devices. It has a powerful 3-1/4 HP motor that has 5-speeds to make short work out of tough projects. It can run at 10,000 to 21,000 RPM to accommodate various cutting diameters and applications. This unit also has cast handles for stability and has a design that’s very durable with sealed ball-bearing construction and a dust-sealed switch that prevents sawdust from getting into the motor. All of these features, along with its precision-made aluminum housing and base, make this tool one that’s built to last.
7. Porter Cable 892 2-1/4 HP
Designed with a tough 12-amp motor that’s manufactured to stand up to the toughest work conditions, the Porter Cable 892 is a soft-starting router with variable speed control between 10,000 and 23,000 RPMs that has electronic feedback that ensures motor speed is maintained, even during heavy work applications. This allows this unit to cut through hardwoods and molding quickly and efficiently. While adjustments have to be made with a 3/16th-inch hex socket, which is sold separately, this unit is otherwise easy to use and easy to maintain. Not to mention that’s it’s not as expensive as some of the professional models but still manages to perform some of the same functions as these high-end models.
6. Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK
This portable router model might be small but it packs quite a bit of punch and works well for a variety of projects from trimming laminate and deck planks to custom carpentry applications and dovetailing. It uses a 1-HP 5.6-AMP motor which has a variable speed of 16,000 to 35,000 RPM and has reduced initial startup torque so it doesn’t have a hard start. While it weighs under 12-pounds, it can tackle a number of different projects easily. This unit comes with a straight-edge guide, a carrying case, a drop-forged collet, a 1/4th-inch self-releasing collet, an instruction manual and shaft wrenches.
5. Porter Cable 11-Amp Fixed Base 690LR
This 11-amp router has a 1-3/4 peak HP and delivers a single-speed of 27,500 RPM. This tool is manufactured with a machined aluminum base and housing, to ensure durability and has a cam lock lever that allows for simple height adjustments. This powerful precision tool is ideal for just about any woodworking shop, whether it’s a home-base one or a professional workshop. This unit is accurate within 1/128th-inch and has dust-sealed components so it can be used even in the dustiest of work sites. Other features which can be found in this tool include a sealed ball-bearing construction and an ergonomic design.
4. Bosch 12-Amp Plunge & Fixed Base Variable Speed Kit 1617EVSPK
Just about everything a woodworker needs to get a wide variety of different jobs is included in this kit. It features a router with a variable speed motor that delivers 2.25-HP and 12-AMPS of power and a speed range between 8,000 and 25,000 RPM. This unit also has a 10-foot long cord and comes with a variety of accessories which include a fixed base, plunge base chip shield, 16mm shaft wrench, 24mm collet nut wrench, a carrying case, a T-handle hex height-adjustment wrench and 1/4-inch & 1/2-inch self-releasing collet chucks. All of which makes it a useful workshop addition.
3. Dewalt DW616 1-3/4 HP Fixed Base Router
Featuring a 1-3/4 maximum HP 11-AMP motor that can power through even tough hardwoods, this tool is designed to give the user the ability to rout smoothly and accurately. It has a tool-free adjustable motor that allows the user to quickly make depth adjustments and base changes. It’s quick-release motor latches allow the motor pack to be quickly removed for quick base changes and its depth adjustment ring provides dept adjustments in 1/64th-inch increments. And since this unit is made from aluminum and features a sealed power switch, it’s a unit that’s sure to provide years of service.
2. Makita 1-1/4 HP RT0701c
This compact tool is not only easy to take to the job site but is also lightweight and easy to use. It has a variable speed control dial which enables the user to set the speed, from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, according to their application and has a 1-1/4 HP engine that provides smooth routing. Although this unit weighs under 4-pounds, it is made with the heavy-duty aluminum motor housing to ensure that it will be durable and reliable on the job. This unit has a quick-release cam lock system that allows easy base removal and depth adjustments and has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to control and comfortable to use.
1. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Combo Kit
This compact router features a durable 1.25-HP motor with variable speed control that can deliver a no-load speed range between 16,000 to 27,000 RPM. This tool also features a motor which starts softly and has electronic feedback that ensures motor speed is maintained throughout the entire cut. Its plunge base uses a fine-tune adjustment rod to ensure an accurate depth setting and its fixed base has an adjustment ring which enables control bit depth to within 1/64th-inch. Also equipped on this model are dual LEDs and a clear sub-base, over-molded rubber handles, and a low-pressure spindle lock button.
Wood Router Buying Guide
Wood routers are so versatile and powerful, there’s no reason why every workshop shouldn’t have one. In fact, woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts often find these tools so handy that they often keep several of them on hand for different jobs. It doesn’t matter if a person is trying to make a rounded edge for a nightstand, trying to make raised door handles, or are trying to bevel a picture frame, they’re going to want to make sure that they have at least one of these tools on hand at all times.
These tools’ versatility has made them quite popular among both contractors and hobbyists as well. And that’s a bit of a double-edged sword. Since they’re so popular, there are many different types of wood routers, and that gives the consumer a lot of choices. Unfortunately, it also means that the consumer has to wade through a ton of different wood routers to find the one that fits their needs.
To help our readers find out which wood router is right for them, we’ve decided to write this guide on how to buy a wood router. So sit back, buckle up, and let’s find out how you can decide on the right wood router that suits your needs and will provide you with a long service life.
Decide On A Wood Router Type
When it comes to wood routers, the consumer has a lot of choices to choose from. There are Palm routers, Mid-size routers, and Full-size routers. Let’s take a look at each of these individual router types and see what they have to offer.
Palm routers are the type of wood routers that are most likely to be used by hobbyists or DIY enthusiasts. They’re compact, usually have a power rating of 1 horsepower or less, but still, provide great performance. They usually utilize 1/4-inch shank bits, so they’re not suitable for large projects, but they are suitable for many smaller projects. Some of the jobs that can be done with palm routers include forming edges or cutting slots, trimming, doing decorative inlays, or maybe even doing smaller dovetailing jobs.
Mid-Size routers usually have two handles and are designed to provide performance while still being easy to use. They have motors that are as small as 1.75 horsepower up to 2.25-HP models. These tools are extremely versatile and can do a wide variety of different jobs. They also usually accept both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch shank bits. Some of the jobs that can be performed with this tool include dovetailing, panel cutting, and cutting circles into the wood.
These routers are the biggest and most powerful of all of the wood routers available, and as such, they’re usually tasked with production or manufacturing work. However, some professional home workshops also get good use out of full-size routers, especially the ones that are well-versed in how to use them. Full-size routers usually have a power rating of 3-HP to 3.25-HP and are used with a router table. Although this router is great for professional use, many DIY enthusiasts are probably going to want to avoid it due to how cumbersome it can be to use.
Decide On A Router Base Type
The next step in choosing the best wood router is to find the base that accomplishes what you need to accomplish. These tools come with several different base types, but the most popular ones are the Fixed Base, the D-Handle Base, and the Plunge Base. Let’s examine each of these bases a little bit closer.
Fixed Base Routers
Most people would accept this model as the default standard. They come with either knobs or handles that can be used to effectively guide the router through its tasks. This base-type is suitable for making box joint jogs or dovetails, but their use on router tables is limited and they can only be used for applications such as edge-routing.
D-Handle Base Routers
Unlike standard Fixed bases, routers with D-Handle bases use a d-shaped handle for the operator to use while performing jobs. These pistol-grips are then usually equipped with a control that can be used to turn the router on or off. Some models even have a trigger-lock, that enables the router to be turned on and stay on, all without the operator having to hold it down. That makes it easier to use for time-consuming jobs.
Plunge Base Routers
The last type of wood router base is the Plunge base. These bases are the most versatile and are designed to make it easier for the operator to do a variety of special cuts. Using these tools, the operator can do everything from mortising operations to cutting blind grooves, fluting or even making DADO cuts. And because they’re often equipped with depth-stop settings, the operator can often micro-adjust its to meet the specifications of the project they’re working on.