Wood Router Reviews & Buying Guide 2019

Gregor

Hello, I'm Gregor and I put this site together. At first, you'll find an overview of recommended wood routers, followed by a public poll and a general buying guide on wood router. Further down on this page, we do link to other well-written articles and reviews about wood routers. At last, you'll be able to weight in your own opinion in the comments section.

If you choose to buy an item that I've chosen indepenently and recommended it here, I may earn commissions to support my efforts. For you, the price of the product will not change, I'm just saying this to be completely open with you.

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The 10 Best Wood Routers of Our Choice

Quick comparison in an overall view
Brand
Bosch
DEWALT
PORTER-CABLE
Makita
WEN
Bosch
DEWALT
DEWALT
DEWALT
Bosch
Name
Router Power Tools
DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max
690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact
1-1 / 4 HP Compact Router
6033 15-Amp Variable Speed
Cabinet Style Router Table
DW616 1-3/4-Horsepower Fixed
1-3 / 4-Horsepower Fixed Base Router
DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP
DW618 2-1/4 HP Electronic
Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK
Image
Bosch Router Power Tools Image
Bosch Router Power Tools 1617EVSPK - Combination Plunge, Fixed Base Router Tool with 2.5 Horsepower, Variable Speed - Wood Router, Table Saw Kit with 1/4", 1/2" Collets For Woodworking, Trim Carpentry
Recommendation
DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Image
DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's
PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router Image
PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Image
Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
Great Deal
WEN 6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Image
WEN 6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router Kit with Carrying Case & Edge Guide
Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table Image
Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table RA1171
DEWALT DW616 1-3/4-Horsepower Fixed Image
DEWALT DW616 1-3/4-Horsepower Fixed Base Router
DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Image
DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router Kit
DEWALT DW618 2-1/4 HP Electronic Image
DEWALT DW618 2-1/4 HP Electronic Variable-Speed Fixed-Base Router
Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK Image
Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK 5.6 Amp 1-Horsepower Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with Edge Guide
Rating
according to our criteria
98 %
in comparison
97 %
in comparison
91 %
in comparison
90 %
in comparison
88 %
in comparison
87 %
in comparison
85 %
in comparison
84 %
in comparison
84 %
in comparison
84 %
in comparison
Features
  • Variable speed versatile power tools: Electronic variable-speed wit...
  • Precision centering router tool: Experience precision centering to ...
  • Durability and convenient combination router: Aluminum construction...
  • Durable 1.25hp motor delivers the power to meet the toughest applic...
  • Variable speed control feature enables bit speed to be optimized fo...
  • Soft-starting motor features full-time electronic feedback that mai...
  • 11-amp motor producing 1-3/4 peak horsepower
  • 27,500 revolutions-per-minute single-speed motor
  • Precision machined aluminum motor housing and base
  • Variable speed control dial (10,000 - 30,000 rpm) enables user to m...
  • Smooth rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precis...
  • Slim and ergonomically designed body for increased comfort and control
  • Powerful 15-amp variable speed soft start motor provides anywhere f...
  • Plunging base locks in downward position for functionality as both ...
  • Accepts both 1/4 and 1/2-inch router bits with a plunge depth of up...
  • Support: The tall aluminum fence measuring 4-7/8 in x 25-1/8 in can...
  • Precision: The Bosch ra1171 features a rigid aluminum router mounti...
  • Easy TO use: Two easy-to-use featherboards attach to fence and rout...
  • 1-3/4-hp 11-amp motor provides the power to rout smoothly through t...
  • Micro-fine depth adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments...
  • Adjustable tool-free steel motor cam lock makes depth adjustment an...
  • 2-1/4 hp 12-amp electronic variable speed motor provides the power ...
  • Comes with 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets for improved versatility a...
  • Depth adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments in 1/64-in...
  • 2-1/4 HP (maximum motor hp) 12.0 Amp electronic variable speed moto...
  • Electronic variable speed with full feedback control for constant s...
  • Micro-fine depth adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments...
  • Power: Variable-speed palm-grip router kit with soft-start and quic...
  • Tough: Fixed base router with a 5.6 amp motor with 15,000 - 35,000 ...
  • Durability: This Bosch router edge guide offers a rugged aluminum f...
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Results of the Straw Poll: Popular Wood Routers

Every month, we analyze which products our readers like the most:

Which Wood Routers Would You Buy Online? (July 2018)

  • 45.45 % (15 votes) PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
  • 21.21 % (7 votes) Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181
  • 15.15 % (5 votes) DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Spe...
  • 9.09 % (3 votes) DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge and Fixed...
  • 6.06 % (2 votes) DEWALT DW618 2-1/4 HP Electronic Variable-Speed...
  • 3.03 % (1 votes) Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK 5.6 Amp 1-Horsepo...
  • 0 % (0 votes) 35 ROUTER BIT SET - 1/2" CARBIDE BITS KIT ...
  • 0 % (0 votes) Hitachi M12VC 2-1/4 Peak HP Variable Speed Fixe...

33 total votes.

If you also want to vote on the best wood router, click here to view the poll.

Wood Router Buying Guide

Wood Router Image
Picture: Router Power Tools from Bosch

A router is one of the most important tools for any woodworker. These versatile tools are useful for a number of applications, from detailed trim work to planing, cutting, joining and more. There are a wide array of different models and features available for routers, and it can be difficult to navigate through the sea of different options to find the router that's right for you. To narrow down the field, think about why you want a router and what you plan to do with it.

Types of Routers

Routers are grouped by their size. Trim routers are the smallest routers, usually small enough to be held in one hand. Traditionally, these routers have been used to cut decorative edges or channels into boards. Over the past few years, these routers have become more powerful and are sometimes used in joining applications with specialized bits. As a smaller machine, trim routers typically have fewer features, but their light weight and smaller footprint makes them ideal for use in tight spaces or on smaller boards.

Mid-size routers are larger and more powerful. They typically require two hands to use, and they're frequently used in a fixed position in a router table. Mid-size routers are versatile machines, offering enough power to quickly route out a variety of cuts while remaining nimble enough for all but the most delicate work. They can typically accept larger and more robust bits, allowing you to create more stable joints and extend the life of your router bits.

Full-size routers are the largest and most powerful routers, but their size can work against them. Full-size routers can make quick work of large-scale projects, but this same power is frequently too much for smaller-scale projects. In addition to their extreme power, these routers will typically include a wide variety of special features.

Plunge or Fixed?

In addition to the different sizes of routers, you can also choose between plunge routers and fixed routers. In a fixed router, the cutting height of the router bit is fixed in place once you start cutting. Adjusting the cutting height requires you to turn off the router, change the height, and lock the router back in place before you start cutting again. Plunge routers are mounted on a spring-loaded base that allows you to adjust the cutting depth on the fly as you're using the router.

Fixed routers are best for detail work and for applications that will require repeated identical cuts across multiple boards. Plunge routers are good for large-scale removal applications where precision isn't as important. These routers can save some time when you just need to remove a lot of wood in a confined area, but the lack of precision is always an issue.

Freehand or Table-mounted?

When choosing your router, the first question you need to ask yourself is whether you'll primarily be using the router freehand or if it will spend most of its life mounted to a router table. If you'll be using the router freehand, a trim router or mid-size router will likely be the best fit for you. For a router table, you'll want a mid-size or full-size router. A router table is a special woodworking machine with a mount for a router. The router stays in a stationary position and the workpiece is fed over it, giving you greater control over the final cut.

Power Source

Most routers rely on cords to supply power, but there are some cordless models available. Most cordless routers are trim routers; these smaller routers require less power to run, so they can better survive on a battery pack. Additionally, you're most likely to want a cordless router in the types of applications that are best suited for a trim router; handling delicate trim while working around a clumsy power cord can be a challenge. With that said, however, most users will opt for a corded router. Routing is an energy-intensive process, and even a trim router can quickly run through a fully charged battery. If you plan on using a battery-powered router, be sure to invest in multiple deep-capacity batteries so that you don't have to stop working.

Key Specifications

When choosing your router, there are a number of key specifications to pay attention to:

  • Arbor Size: The arbor size refers to the diameter of the bit shaft. For small-scale or detailed applications, a router with a 1/4" arbor is sufficient. However, these bits tend to be more fragile, and they're limited in the amount of material they can cut at once. For heavier jobs, you'll want a router that can accommodate a 1/2" or larger arbor.
  • Horsepower: This measures the power of your unit. Most mid-size routers have either a 1 or 1-1/2 horsepower motor, and this is sufficient for most applications. More powerful routers are available, but they may burn your wood or break your router bits if used improperly.
  • Base Kit: Some routers offer an interchangeable base plate, allowing you to convert your router between a fixed-base router and a plunge router.
  • In addition, there are certain features that are worth looking for:

    • Variable Speed: Some routers include a speed dial, allowing you to tailor your router's performance to each individual job. This isn't necessary for basic operations, but it can make your router more versatile, especially if you use a variety of different bit sizes with the same router.
    • Soft-Start: This feature brings your router up to speed slowly, allowing you to ease into each cut. Without this feature, you may have to contend with sudden jerks when you begin working, potentially causing unwanted cuts.
    • Spindle Lock: A spindle lock makes it easier to change router bits. Without this feature, you'll have to use a pair of wrenches to loosen the mechanism that holds the bit in place. A spindle lock takes the place of one of the wrenches, allowing you to change the bit with just a single wrench.
    • Above-Table Adjustment: This feature is designed for use with router tables. Typically, the router is mounted underneath the table, making it difficult to change the bit or adjust the cutting depth. This feature places the adjustment controls above the table, allowing you to adjust the settings without fumbling around underneath the table.
    • Vacuum Attachment: Routing can kick up massive quantities of wood dust, which can interfere with smooth cutting and become a major respiratory hazard. A vacuum attachment port allows you to connect your router with a shop vacuum, capturing most dust before it has a chance to escape into the air.
    • Routers by User

      For each type of user, there are certain types of routers that are a best fit.

      Occasional Woodworker

      For the occasional woodworker who doesn't own a router table, a small cordless trim router is likely sufficient. This gives enough flexibility for a few basic tasks without committing to a more expensive or more powerful unit. These units are simpler to use, have a small footprint and are versatile enough for most basic routing tasks.

      Dedicated Hobbyist

      The hobbyist will likely be best served with a mid-size router with interchangeable fixed and plunge bases. The fixed-base option works well with a router table, and the plunge base gives the ability to quickly work through excess wood. This single tool is versatile enough to do virtually all routing tasks, from decorative trim work to specialized cuts and joining operations. Serious hobbyists may also wish to invest in a specialized trim router for more detailed work.

      Serious Woodworker

      Professional or especially dedicated hobbyists will likely want to purchase a variety of routers for many different tasks. Dedicated tools are more effective than re-purposing the same tool to multiple uses, and having multiple routers reduces the amount of time spent switching between routing bits. Routers with above-the-table adjustment systems are especially useful to the serious woodworker.

      Routers are essential woodworking tools that can't be easily replaced. Purchasing the right router for your needs will make your woodworking easier and reduce the amount you spend on broken bits or burnt-out motors.

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      Wood Router Reviews & Additional Articles

      New: Our editorial list of additional articles. We decided to gather informartion all around the internet and present you a list of helpful, external links to interesting reads about the best wood routers and their reviews and guides.

      Buying Guide One of the quintessential tools of any modern woodshop is a router. No matter what woodworking project you are working on, there is a good  best wood router for the moneyrouter for woodworkpalm router vs plunge routerbest router for inlay workrouter vs rotary toolfine woodworking router reviewPeople also search for ...
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      Reviews The router is an essential tool for making more complex cuts in wood. Find out what to look for when buying one and see our reviews of popular UK products.best wood router under 100bosch pof 1400 ace routerbest router for joineryelu 177edewalt dwp611pk ukbosch pof 1200 ae router specificationPeople also search for ...
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      Buying Guide It's NOT a head-to-head tool test; instead, we're dedicating this space for our first-ever, comprehensive router shopping guide. It includes every  best wood router for the moneywoodworking router guidewhat does a computer router look likehome depot router guiderouter vs laminate trimmerfixed base or plunge router for router tablePeople also search for ...
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      Best The good news: All nine routers we tested can perform each requirement well enough to be the only router you'll ever need, but a few do it much better than the  ...
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      The Wood Routers of Our Choice At a Glance

      You're not convinced by the previous writings about wood routers? Of course you can just choose by visual impression, that's why we present you all our chosen products at a single glance. A click on any image is enough to open an external link to the best offer we could find.

      Tips from YouTube about Wood Router

      Today - Tool Talk #9: Routers

      For more info: jayscustomcreations.com These videos are short project and everyday updates. If you would like to see actual woodworking videos ...

      Disclaimer: This video is not from us, but we found it relevant enough to show it here.

      Comments

      Conclusion for this Wood Router Buying Guide in March 2019

      Finally, we want to present you our rating criteria for our wood router comparison, so you can better understand and comprehend our recommendations and the rating process itself. Furthermore, we still ask you to keep your eyes open for short term deals in order to make some great bargains with wood router in 2019.

      Published by on StrawPoll.com (last update on ).

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      16 of 18 readers found this article helpful.

      Your opinion will appear tommorow, since this page is cached for 24 hours.

      (Corresponds to a rating of 4.44 / 5)