Best Router for Woodworking: A wood working router is perhaps among the most valuable as well as important tools in the arsenal of a woodworker. The best wood router together with a set of bits allows carving a variety of intricate designs, including for joints, edges, and grooves. Different types of wood working routers exist, whose differences you need to comprehend for making an ideal choice that shall fit both your bill and needs. Otherwise, you may end up getting an unsuitable one. This is exactly why reading this guide along with a few genuine wood router reviews is essential.
Routers are masters of cutting grooves with a steady base and an adjustable bit (cut depth) of the chosen size and shape. Such a blend facilitates the endless potential for discarding material in a regulated manner. A wood router can perfectly cut the tails of tenons, mortises, tongue and groove joints, and dovetail joint. Actually, there is much more you can do with a router, in fact, a variety of other things. So, you may feel like buying two routers to fulfill your diverse requirements. For that, you need to ask the following questions to yourself for shrinking your list of options for easier and quicker selection.
- What kind of wood work I will be doing?
- Do you do a lot of work with large diameter bits?
- Will I be performing plunge cutting quite frequently?
- Will I be moving a lot with the router?
- Will your router be table mounted?
What to Look for in the Best Wood Router
Factor 1: Types of Best Router for Woodworking
Selecting the right type is perhaps the fundamental step toward quick distinct wood detailing for any kind of wood projects. You can expect faster and more accurate wood joints than other ways of making joints, a point that several wood router reviews do not forget to mention.
Routers are classified into two ways: according to their size and base. As per the size, woodworking routers are split into the following three types:
Trim: These are affordable and compact little wonders featuring a motor power of 1 HorsePower (HP) or less and a quarter-inch collet for use with only smaller bits. This means trim routers are designed only for discarding a small quantity of wood. They are small and lightweight due to which they are easy to use. Get this type of router if you need to cut a small contour or fine joinery, carve hinge mortises, or soften sharp edges. The grip is good and size is such that you will not feel intimidating while handling it. It is a handy tool for beginners to sharpen and hone their skills.
Mid-Sized: These are all-purpose routers that serious hobbyists and professionals tend to bring or prefer initially. With 1.5 to 2.25 HP, these units are capable of rendering different carvings with a variety of bits covering more base than the small ones. Such motors call for two-handed or table mounted performance, with either a plunge or fixed base. Such routers are quite versatile, as they can do almost every routine task right from big cuts to dovetailing. Look for such a type if you need just one router to do all detailing for you.
Large: These routers are ideal for a router table, as they are tiresome for handheld operation and are considerably heavy. With almost 3 HP or more motor power, these routers can discard much wood with large bits. Consider such a router if you need a router for using it more as a handheld unit than just below a table as well as for tasks such as raising panels for the doors of cabinets. The potent power, extra size, and additional weight can handle any tedious or heavy-duty task but the investment should be done only when you are firm to take up such tasks. If you decide to bring one such piece, consider having a variable speed motor so that you can decrease the speed with an increased bit size.
Whether you buy a medium-sized or a large unit, you have a choice to make when it comes to selecting its base. As per the base, the routers are of three types namely,
Fixed Base: This is exclusively for beginners with a base performing ideally when fixed to a router table. Such a router is best for molding with straight line accuracy, general profiling, edge cuts, and other tasks, provided the bit is fed into the wood’s edge. Well, the fixed base prevents pushing the bit into the wood. You can position it to different blade depths for cutting by turning the unit off along with the handle close to the base’s bottom for achieving a low gravity center. Such routers are lighter and easier to use than plunge models
Plunged: Such a router features a spring-loaded base, letting the bit to penetrate into the wood. While using for various applications, you simply have to lock the base at a determined depth. Unlocking it allows changing the bit depth at the time of usage. The benefit here is that the cut starts in the mid of the unit instead of at the edge. Such models are more versatile but maybe a bit tougher to use than the fixed base ones. They are also relative costlier. For all tasks, a plunge router can perform anything that a fixed base model can do but the handles and motor are higher for enabling the plunging motion. Due to the elevated center of gravity, you may even feel somewhat unstable, particularly while milling small stock.
Interchangeable: These lighter models, available mostly as kits, have the best of both plunge and fixed base designs. You can switch from one type to another by easily removing the motor from one base and putting it to another. With such a mechanism, you can easily expand your router without investing in the second one. It is also possible to attach one to the router table and leave the other for the purpose of portability. In case you keep changing the base too frequently, you may find that having two different routers is yet the most efficient option rather than halting to change the base so often.
Factor 2: Router Bits
Different types of router bits are available for achieving a variety of designs and grooves. Most of these come with different shank sizes to fit as per the router’s size.
- Beading: For putting a convex edge on the wood and is a bit below the level of wood sides
- Round Over (Similar to Beading): For having a rounded edge without recessed edges, along with the piece
- Straight: For cutting a groove with varying diameters
- Dado (Famous): For having a box groove throughout the target piece
- Rabbeting: For having a right-angled cut along the edge of the wood
- Chamfer: For cutting a straight edge at an angle besides the wooden side or a beveled edge for decorative reasons on a corner
- Cove: For cutting a concave quarter circle (inward) along the wooden edge
- Roman Ogee: For having a distinct s shape along the edge
- Dovetail: For having the groove with a wider bottom throughout the wood
- V Groove: For having a groove in a V shape across the wood
- Round Nose: For having a half circle groove
5 Best Router for Woodworking in 2020
This one is Amazon’s bestseller and a favorite of Do-It-Yourself and professionals wood professionals. Its ergonomic features ensure super comfort, while its unique pack of features ensures cool performance, great control, and ideal visibility. The accuracy is admirable whether you are crafting small bevels or are going with large flush trimming. It features 1.25” HP motor for toughest jobs and quiet operation, dual-LED lights for illuminating a wider area, interchangeable base, variable speed control from 16,000-27,000 RPMs, soft-start, and adjustable ring for controlled bit depth changes for the only fixed base.
- Durable 1.25 horsepower motor delivers the power to meet the toughest applications
- A variable speed control feature enables bit speed to be optimized for changing applications. No Load Speed range 16,000-27,000rpm
- Soft-starting motor features full-time electronic feedback that maintains motor speed through the cut
- Dual LED’s and clear sub-base ensure maximum visibility in operation
- Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64-inch (fixed base only)
- Allows up to 1.5″ of depth travel with standard base & 2″ with the plunge base. Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64″ (fixed base only)
Ben Marvin: “Still using it years later. A well-powered router for edge treatments and quick profiles. The plunge base is good for inlays and small mortising jobs. I’ve had zero problems with it through many, many hours of usage.”
- The LED lights. They are positioned perfectly to light your path. Why haven’t they made these sooner
- The Plunge base adjusts with ease. Press the lever to adjust and release to hold with confidence that it will not slip
- Changeover from the fixed base to the plunge base takes literally seconds
- Micro depth adjustment just simply WORKS! You couldn’t ask for anything easier
- Amazon had the lowest price I found. The big box houses couldn’t come close
This one is an efficient choice for all those who need routing capabilities of a mid-size router together with the capability of handling any kind of woodwork load. Rough jobs, big tasks, and small detailing- all is possible through the 2.25 HP, 12-amp motor, interchangeable base, soft start, variable speed, and feedback circuitry. Other features of this router include the speed of 8,000 to 25,000 RPMs, micro-fine depth adjustments, aluminum construction, auto-release chuck of the collet, soft-grip handle for plunge base, and wooden handles for the fixed base.
The kit also has an elite quick-clamp mechanism for tool-free motor motion from base to base. The two bases come with big openings for rendering bigger visibility as well as accommodating bigger bits. While the motor remains stable at the time of adjusting the depth, the cord locations and right or left switch ensure both consistency and choice. No matter which base you choose, the brand’s precision centering design facilitates centering the template guides.
- Versatile: this versatile kit can be used for a broad range of applications, including precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming, and dovetail cutting; making it one of the most widely used routers for woodworking
- Durability: aluminum construction makes this one of our most durable wood routers yet with wooden handles on a fixed base and a soft-grip handle on a plunge base
- Ease of use: rounded hardwood handles maximize user control
- Convenient: With the built-in constant response circuitry, our 1617EVSPK wood Router will maintain a constant speed throughout the cut, so you get cleaner, more accurate results
- Kit contents: Includes a plunge base, fixed base, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch collet chucks, shaft wrench, collet nut wrench, chip shields and carrying case
Just a Guy: This is a versatile router than can handle raised panels if you are willing to make multiple passes. I own two of these now because I like to leave one in the router table all the time. The speed control works well too.
- It comes with 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets
- The kit comes with the plunge base
- Adapts easily to the router table
- The handles on the fixed base are a little too small
This one is an entry level but long-lasting router for plunge base fans. With 10 amp motor having variable speed ranging from 8,000 to 27,000 RPMs, this 2.25-inch unit comes with all features of a fixed router and other capabilities to perform way beyond. It can create pretty edging, inlays, and cut-outs, as its unique design allows starting work in the middle of the wood piece, and not at the edge. The unit also features a gradual start function for optimum control, safety, and precise output. The SIGHTLINE base ensures convenience, improved visibility, and a simple depth scale for improved accuracy.
Other features include a spindle lock for simple bit changes, 1/4-inch collet, trigger switch, chip shield, 3 turrets stop for quick repetitive depth cuts, an adjustable parallel edge guide, and metallic casing.
- Plunge router allows decorative cutting from the center of the work material
- 10 Amp motor provides superior power
- Gradual start function allows greater control, more precise results
- Includes 1/4-inch collet and wrench, an adjustable parallel edge guide
- 2-year warranty
- Included Components: RP250 Router, 1/4″ Collet and Wrench, User’s Guide, Adjustable Parallel Edge Guide
SR: A fine machine. I use it for making signs with 3/4 inch high letters. Light with excellent visibility, east bit change and easy to adjust. My old heavy one was stolen and this one was a great replacement.
- Great router
- High quality and well-built
- Cutting guide for straight cuts
- Connection for vacuum
- Easy, accurate cutting depth adjustment
- Easy to change router bits
- Nothing this price range
Designed for fast, precise cuts, robustness and efficiency are the two biggest selling points of this fixed base router. With 1.75 HP motor power, this one gives incredibly 27,500 RPMs for achieving those accurate cuts consistently. It is compatible with both quarters as well as half-inch collets due to which the unit becomes one of the most convenient tools in your arsenal. The two handles are ergonomic, meaning you are ensured of much comfort for long lasting jobs. Although it has a fixed base, you can move the motor to a plunge base. You can even have the d-handle bases. Both these bases are sold separately.
Other features of this router include easy bit removal, under-table stop for easy to use, aluminum housing and base, anti-dust switch, micrometer depth adjuster up to 1/128-inch accuracy, and cam-lock level for simple motor release and coarse height adjustments. Consider this unit ideal for a busy professional site or shop.
- 11-amp motor producing 1-3/4 peak horsepower
- 27,500 revolutions-per-minute single-speed motor
- Precision machined aluminum motor housing and base
- Cam-lock lever enables simple coarse height adjustments and motor release
- Micrometer depth adjuster accurate to 1/128-inch
- 11-amp motor producing 1-3/4 peak horsepower
- 27,500 revolutions-per-minute single-speed motor
Amazon Customer: Easy to use. Sturdy. I used it at school and fell in love. It’s small and works well for me because I’m a small person. Changing depths is fast with just a quick flip of the lock, a twist, and depth check with a small combination square.
- Good quality router
- Bit changes are easy
- All round very good router
- It has plenty of power to turn 1/2″ bits
- A little noisy
This is a medium range router with a genuine mix of power and convenience. It comes with all the wanted features that attract beginners, intermediate, and experienced crafters. For doing heavy jobs with more comfort, you only need to install the unit on a router table. With 2.25 HP, 12-amp variable speed motor, the router has the capability to cut smoothly through even the toughest wood. For bit sustenance and better versatility, there are 0.75-inch and 0.5-inch collets.
Other features include depth adjustment ring for precise 1/64-inch increments, tool-free steel motor cam lock for quick locking, and dust collector for superior bit visibility. There is no centering tool, however.
- 2-1/4 hp, 12-amp electronic variable speed motor provides the power to rout smoothly through the toughest hardwoods
- Comes with 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets for improved versatility and bit retention
- Depth adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments in 1/64-inch increments and adjusts vertically
- Adjustable, tool-free steel motor cam lock makes depth adjustment and base changes quick and solid-locking
- Integral, through-the-column dust collection collects 95% of the dust and provides superior bit visibility
- Item does not come with a centering tool
Deewan: Great router. This replaced a nice Craftsman router I had owned for 3-4 years. This piece is better and nicer in every way. Solid build and plenty of power for even the most demanding jobs. I would buy it again or recommend it to a friend.
- The motor spins up nicely with a soft-start and cuts through maple and walnut cleanly and easily
- The collets are easy to use for swapping bits and fixing to the motor axle
- I like the power cord. It’s easy to disconnect from the router which makes me feel safer
- I find the depth adjustment on the plunge base counter-intuitive and difficult to set to precise depths
- I don’t really understand how, but I managed to get the aligning pins of the fixed base wedged into the metal on the motor housing. I had to take it to a service center
Through this guide and inside wood router reviews, buying the best wood router may seem easier than using it, particularly for the beginners. You only need to select the right model at the right price. There is no need to spend much money on bringing home the best quality. Just keep educating yourself, update yourself about your needs and budget, and are about the get the best model in no time. After all, the best quality is the one that gives you the desired result consistently as well as for a long time, right? This is best ensured through informative and analytical knowledge!