Best Wood Routers for Professional Carpentry

Review & Comparison, Last Update May 17, 2017
If you have a predilection for carpentry, a wood router is a tool you can't do without! Read our review of 5 best wood routers and choose the one that meets your requirements! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Power
No-load speed
Collet capacity
Plunge stroke
Convenience features
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The tool can be easily mounted on a router table, so you can save up on purchasing a special table with a built-in router.

CONS

The lacquered handles are slippery, hence the grip is not the best.

OUR VERDICT

It's a complete solution for woodwork, particularly for edging, engraving, mortising, and grooving. The Constant Response™ technology of the router will cope with all these jobs really fast.

detailed parameters
Type

Fixed-base / Plunge

Power

12 A

No-load speed

8,000 - 25,000 RPM

Collet capacity

1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 8 mm

Plunge stroke

2-1/4"

Convenience features

Constant Response™, Adjustable speed dial, Microfine bit-depth adjustment, Plunge base, Rounded hardwood handles maximize user control, Threaded three-hole base pattern, Dust-sealed power switch, One-piece armature shaft, Rugged carrying case

Weight

10 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Two LED lights in the router's base will let you cut fine elements more accurately and illuminate the work area.

CONS

The collet nut is hard to reach.

OUR VERDICT

The DWP611P wood router is designed for professional woodworking, offering a variable speed for different mills. Moreover, you'll be able to adjust the cutting depth within 1/64".

detailed parameters
Type

Fixed-base / Plunge

Power

7 A

No-load speed

16,000 - 27,000 RPM

Collet capacity

1/4"

Plunge stroke

2"

Convenience features

Durable 1.25HP motor, Variable speed control, Soft-starting motor, Adjustment ring, Multiple shaft-lock, Allows up to 1.5" of depth travel, Aluminum motor housing

Weight

6.2 lbs

Warranty

3 years

PROS

The vac adapter will let you keep the workplace clean.

CONS

The handles are designed to be used from one side only.

OUR VERDICT

Featuring a wide speed range, this portable wood router will let you handle different materials. The convenient handgrips and the start button allow handling the tool with a single finger.

detailed parameters
Type

Plunge

Power

10 A

No-load speed

8,000 - 27,000 RPM

Collet capacity

1/4"

Plunge stroke

2"

Convenience features

Powerful 10 amp motor, Variable speed, Plunge action provides versatility, Three easy-to-set turret stops, SIGHTLINE®, Dust Extraction port, Spindle Lock

Weight

9.9 lbs

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Digital speed control and a smooth start function provide reliability of the router.

CONS

A low-power motor.

OUR VERDICT

The ability to reach pretty high speed makes this model suitable for working with rather soft materials and small bits. The rubberized handles and slim body design of the tool add to the convenience of use and accuracy of cutting.

detailed parameters
Type

Fixed-base

Power

6.5 A

No-load speed

10,000 - 30,000 RPM

Collet capacity

1/4", 3/8"

Plunge stroke

Fixed base

Convenience features

Variable speed control dial, Smooth rack-and-pinion, Slim and ergonomically designed body, Quick release cam lock system, Electronic speed control, Soft start, Heavy-duty aluminum motor

Weight

3.9 lbs

Warranty

1 year

PROS

Considering that the router's base is secured in place, the availability of two side handles here are the advantage of this model.

CONS

The speed is not variable.

OUR VERDICT

This fixed-base wood router is a great choice for handling soft wood, plastics, acrylic resin, etc. The cutting depth can be set at 1/128", and the powerful motor provides high performance even in case of heavy-duty use.

detailed parameters
Type

Fixed-base

Power

11 A

No-load speed

27,500 RPM

Collet capacity

1/4", 1/2"

Plunge stroke

Fixed base

Convenience features

Cam lock lever, Micrometer depth adjustor accurate to 1/128", Dust-sealed switch and sealed ball bearing construction, Precision machined aluminum motor housing and base, Auto-release collet system, Undertable stop

Weight

8 lbs

Warranty

3 years

What is a Wood Router

Every joiner knows that carving, chamfering, and rabbeting in wooden pieces is unreal without wood routers. This tool can help you make an intricate table from the wooden frame and can turn a few slats into adorned casket for jewelry that will be certainly appreciated by your valentine.

Simply put, a wood router consists of an electric motor that is directly connected to the spindle and, thus, provides a high rotating speed. The spindle is connected to a collet that holds a bit. Owing to a high speed, a wood router is able to rabbet and cove, bead edges, engrave, and a lot more. By the way, wood routers are able to handle not only wood but also plastics, acrylic glass, and even nonferrous metals. Below, we will consider the main parameters worth your attention when choosing a wood router.

Before processing a piece of wood with a router, its surface should be flattened with a hand planer. Also, consider buying one of the electric sanders to make workpieces perfectly smooth.

What Features to Compare

Type

To date, there are several types of wood routers, yet fixed-base, plunge, and fixed-base/plunge tools are the most common. The first type models can edge pieces and have non-adjustable bases. Such tools are great for people who manufacture simple woodwork, such as table tops, doors, shelves, etc, that is the goods that need plain machining. Nevertheless, some routers can not just chamfer and cove but cut out frets and rabbets. These capabilities are possible thanks to extra features we will describe below. As for the plunge routers, their bases are movable up and down along the guides. Such design allows changing the cutting depth while running. Plunge routers are more versatile and are designed for making fretwork, legends, sculptures, frescoes, etc. So, if you decide to set out in making decorated articles or furniture with balusters and veiny elements, you can pick a plunger router right away. Finally, some routers come with both fixed and plunge bases; they serve for a wider range of tasks and are pricier than others.

Specifications 

Having decided on the type of a wood router, you should find out its specifications. First of all, you need to consider the router power; the higher it is, the better the machine drives large bits. In other words, powerful routers perform better while deep cuts and get hot slowlier than low-power models. The routers may feature a variable speed that doesn't depend on motors. Here, the wider the speed range, the better. That's because a wider speed range allows using larger bits for cutting a wider range of materials. Therefore, resolve which bits you will use, the big-diameter bits are better for routers delivering RPM. Small bits for cutting into softwood, polymers or organic glass are suitable for wood routers of 16,000 - 27,000 RPM and the models with the constant speed. If you pick a plunge model, take a close look at the base travel. The longer a base goes, the deeper cuts can be made. Also, don't forget to check which bits are compatible with a collet of your router.

Extras & Conveniences

Any tool should be not just powerful but comfortable as well. If a hand tool is in question, its weight is crucial for usability. The fixed-base models usually weigh 4-6 lbs, while plunge and fixed-base/plunge models can weigh over 10 lbs. Then, we'd like you to consider the speed adjustment. Some routers may feature smooth speed control, while the speed of others can be changed stepwise. In any case, a variable speed is an advantage. A smooth motor start and overload protection are also nice-to-have features, as they extend the lifespan of your router. The extra features of a wood router may include the adapter for connecting a vacuum and keeping the cutting spot clean. Lastly, we'd like to note that any router can be fitted with additional props and guides. These accessories help you work more accurate and efficient.

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Review of Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router Kit

Bosch 1617EVSPK

Bosch 1617EVSPK

When the Tool Is Nice to Hold

Here is the wood router kit manufactured by Bosch. As you can see, the 1617EVSPK is a combo machine that can be put on a fixed or a plunge base. The router's design is simple as it includes only an ON/OFF button and a speed control knob. Concerning the fixed base, it features two convenient wooden handles coated with lacquer, so the tool will always be pleasant to grasp. Additionally, this router is fitted with a clamp that freezes the base. Finally, the tool features the depth adjustment rod. When it comes to the plunge model, it is also equipped with two handles (made of plastic). Moreover, it comes with a precise system to adjust the depth of the cut right on the go. Thus, you'll be able to set the base travel both up and down. This peculiarity allows gaining a full control over a bit and preventing cutting too deep.

Review of Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router Kit

Electric Motor for Tough Jobs

Now, let's review the numbers. We'd like to highlight the 12А motor that enables using long bits for deep cuts. In general, the router is compatible with 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", and 8mm bits. The model comes with two collets, 1/4" and 1/2". Reviewing the fixed-base unit, we found that the bit stroke is about 1-5/8"; the cutting depth can be changed only when the tool is off. Working with a plunge router, you can change the bit depth within 2-1/4". Now, we proceed with the cutting speed. The machine can minimally deliver 8,000 RPM, offer 13,500 and 16,500 RPM for cutting nonferrous metals, and spin at 20,000/21,500/25,000 RPM for softwood or plastics. Accordingly, large bits should be used for low speeds, while smaller ones are better for high RPM.

Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router Kit in the use

Use the Way You Want

Speaking about this wood router peculiarities, we should mention its installation into a router table. That is to say, the router can be mounted topsy-turvy beneath a countertop. Installed this way, the router's collet is above the tabletop and its height can be adjusted with a hex wrench. Using the plunge router, you'll be able to vary the base height with the lock levers. To sink the base, release the levers, push the base to the required depth, and fix the levers. If you wish to raise the base, just push the levers and the base will go back, thanks to the spring-loaded feet. What is more, we'd like to point out the Constant Response™ system that maintains the machine's operation regardless of the load applied. Finally, the routers' start buttons are sealed against dust, so they won't jam and will let you turn the machines on and off whenever you need. Having explored the package of the router, we found two collet chucks, two bases, hex wrenches for adjusting the machines, as well as wrenches and screws for mounting a table. All these accessories come in a rigid plastic case with pockets for convenient storage of items included.

Well, this router kit is suitable for both novices and skilled handymen as it allows doing easy and tough jobs by a simple swapping the machines.

Detailed review of Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router Kit

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Bosch 1617EVSPK
Bosch 1617EVSPK
 
Review of DEWALT DWP611PK Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's

DEWALT DWP611PK

DEWALT DWP611PK

Guess What's This Thread For?

Now, we approached the DWP611 portable wood router from DeWALT. This is a combo woodworking router that comes with a fixed and plunge base. As for the controls, these are the start toggle on and the depth adjustment ring. Upon closer investigation of the fixed base, we revealed the unusual depth control solution. The routers' body is threaded and features a ring. When it's turned, the base lifts and, thus, the cutting depth is changed. If you pick a plunge base, the depth is adjusted with a rod that props against the stopper. This stopper is threaded and you can adjust the base travel and the depth of cut by turning it.

Review of DEWALT DWP611PK Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's

For Soft Materials

Let's now consider the router's capabilities. It is fitted with the 7А motor that drives the spindle at a speed from 16,000 to 27,000 RPM. We'd like to mention that the lower speed limit is rather high, so it's better not to use large bits. But the speed range is nice, allowing you to accurately cut different types of wood. The control dial offers you six speed settings: 16,000, 18,200, 20,400, 22,600, 24,800, and 27,000 RPM. Having set the machine to a low speed, you can employ bits up to 1/4" in diameter, but prefer smaller attachments if you want to cut faster. As to the cutting depth, the fixed base travels within 1.5", while the plunge base can be adjusted to 2". Returning to the adjustment ring, we can add that it smoothly changes the depth of cut within 1/64", so you can work more accurately.

DEWALT DWP611PK Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's in the use

Shedding the Light

This DeWALT wood router is not just efficient but very convenient too! We reckon that the LED lights are the greatest convenience of the model. They are arranged on the bottom of the router and meant to illuminate the area of cutting. This feature is truly handy as it allows you to control your work better and do it really well. Additionally, we advise you to buy a branded vac with an adapter to collect cuttings and not to wear a respirator. Also, we'd like to highlight a soft start of the motor that minimizes the load during each turn-on and extends the router life. The spindle lock is also considered yet it seems to be common in routers. Still, this component brings you the good by fixing the spindle in 12 positions for fast bit installation. Finally, we need to say that the router is supplied with a stiff canvas zipped bag for comfortable carrying.

The DeWALT DWP611PK router is a pick of all keen woodworkers!

Detailed review of DEWALT DWP611PK Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


DEWALT DWP611PK
DEWALT DWP611PK
 
Review of BLACK+DECKER RP250 Variable Speed Plunge Router

BLACK+DECKER RP250

BLACK+DECKER RP250

Start the Tool With a Single Pressing

Let's check out another woodworking router made by Black and Decker. The RP250 is a plunge wood router with the one-piece body. The base rests on two columns and moves up and down for cutting depth adjustment. Looking at this router, we noticed its structural difference from others. The point is that the power cord is located on a handle so it won't interfere while you are using the tool. Moreover, this handle accommodates the trigger switch, and it's for a reason. This switch is made under “press/release” principle and turns to be handy in some situations. Mind that you don't need to hold the switch all the time as it's fitted with a lock-on button that keeps it pressed. Like most plunge routers, this one features the rod to set the depth of cut. The special lever on the router's rear locks the base at a height you choose. Once the lever is released, the base returns home.

Review of BLACK+DECKER RP250 Variable Speed Plunge Router

A Versatile Tool

Regarding the specification of the Black & Decker RP250 router, its main advantage is the spindle speed that lies within 8,000 - 27,000 RPM. Such a high maximum speed is achieved thanks to a pretty powerful 10A motor. Truth to tell, these ratings are nice for the tool's price! Setting the machine to low speed, you'll be able to use big bits for metal; high RPM rate is preferable for machining wood with small bits. The router's collet is connectable with bits 1/4 to 1-1/8", yet the shank diameter shouldn't exceed 1/4". Reviewing the cutting depth, we learned that the base moves within 2" that's a nice performance allowing to use a bit to the full.

BLACK+DECKER RP250 Variable Speed Plunge Router in the use

See Your Job Through the Base

In this paragraph, we will consider the convenience features of this plunge router. Firstly, mention the on-board dust extraction adaptor, so if you have a fitting vac, you can instantly connect the router to it. In such a way, you'll shun a respirator and save time that you'd spend collecting the chips. Still, if you have no vacuum, the plastic shield will protect you against shavings. Also, we'd like to laud the SIGHTLINE® base that allows you to see the workpiece and constantly control the cutting process. The unidirectional handles of this wood router are moot points for us since they can be used from one side only and can't be reversed or swapped. However, if this feature doesn't seem to bother you, get this router without hesitation.

This model is suitable for people seeking efficient and convenient router for long-time use. Besides, the machine allows monitoring the work area and can be run with a single finger.

Detailed review of BLACK+DECKER RP250 Variable Speed Plunge Router

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


BLACK+DECKER RP250
BLACK+DECKER RP250
 
Review of Makita RT0701C Compact Router

Makita RT0701C

Makita RT0701C

This Odd Lever

Let's move to the wood router by Makita now. It is called the RT0701C, and it's a combo model. Examining at this machine, we've noticed that it can be installed on either fixed or plunge base. Yet, this modification comes with a fixed base that's mainly targeted for edging jobs. A greater part of the machine is taken by the motor, which is cased in the dual aluminum shell. We were particularly curious about the locking lever on the front panel of the router. This lever covers the adjusting screw with a cog in the middle. As this screw is rotated, it travels in the toothed flute in the router case and, thus, moves the base. So, you can adjust the bit protrusion by unlocking the lever and spinning the screw. Thanks to such a simple solution, the router is lightweight and has a fairly simple design.

Review of Makita RT0701C Compact Router

A Few Runs Are Better Sometimes

It's time to check the specifications of this wood router, and the speed should be first as it determines which materials the machine can handle. The 6.5A motor is able to rotate the spindle at a speed from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM. More specifically, you'll be able to set 10,000, 12,000, 17,000, 22,000, 27,000, or 30,000 RPM. Choosing low speeds allows you to cut nonferrous metals, while a speedy run is better for softwood. Of course, you'll be able to use big and small bits respectively. The collet moves up and down within an inch, yet a single run should be within 1/8" to avoid the motor overload. Hence, if you need to cut deeper than 1/8", it's better to make several passages.

Makita RT0701C Compact Router in the use

Secured Gear

Below, we will review the conveniences of this Makita wood router. We need to point a thin casing and rubber pads for comfortable and confident grip. There's one more interesting feature which is a flat top. It turned out that this top allows overturning the machine for a convenient bit replacement. Easy and handy! Also, we'd like to highlight an electronic speed control to maintain the router's run under any load. The smooth start is also a nice solution as it prevents the motor from overcharge. The straight guide in the package is a nice bonus since it saves money on buying an additional one.

Summing up, we can recommend this router to users having wood, plastics, and metal cutting projects. After all, the router can be installed on a plunge base for even more comfortable job.

Detailed review of Makita RT0701C Compact Router

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


Makita RT0701C
Makita RT0701C
 
Review of PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed Base Router

PORTER-CABLE 690LR

PORTER-CABLE 690LR

More Comfortable Than Others

The 690LR woodworking router from Porter Cable is a combo model mounted on fixed or plunge base. The item we've reviewed is equipped with a fixed base for edging applications. Outwardly, the machine looks plain and has a start trigger, plastic top, and aluminum motor case. Looking at the base, we could see two large handles, the collet in the middle and the ring with a scale. The handles of this router offer extra convenience. Moreover, they can be quickly removed for maintenance or replacement. Finally, the base is perforated for a clearer view of the work area and comfortable operation.

Review of PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed Base Router

One Speed, Many Prospects

Examining the capabilities of this wood router, we should mention that the 11А motor delivers the rotating speed of 27,500 RPM and it's constant. Still, the tool is able to cut into a pretty wide range of materials, including softwood, plastic, and others ductile materials. The router's body is threaded for a smooth depth adjustment. Insert the bit into the collet, put the machine on a flat surface, and twist the motor unit until the bit touches the workpiece. This is the reference point that should be fixed by setting the adjustment ring to a zero line. Now, the collet can be descended to 1" from the zero line.

PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed Base Router in the use

When It Comes to Accuracy

Having described the capabilities of this woodworking router, we should mention its usability. Most of all, we liked the cutting depth adjustment (up to 1/128") that enables cutting with high accuracy. The router comes with a 1/4" and a 1/2" collets for handling different bits. The power switch is protected from dust with the help of a seal to deliver a faultless functioning. The router's head is even, so you can tip the machine over for a comfortable bit replacement. We were somewhat upset by the absence of a spindle lock. Hence, you'll have to hold the spindle with a wrench and handle the collet while replacing the bit.

Thus, if you need a router solely for woodworking, the PORTER-CABLE 690LR is probably the best pick. Its handy fixed base with a high-precision depth adjustment will let you quickly perform all your woodworking tasks.

Detailed review of PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed Base Router

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


PORTER-CABLE 690LR
PORTER-CABLE 690LR
 

Sources:

1. Woodworking Router Buying Guide, eBay. January 6, 2016.

2. How to Select a Wood Router Tool, Home Depot

3. Tips on Choosing the Right Router, DIY Network

4. Router Buying Guide: Find the Perfect Router for You, Craftsy.

5. How to Choose A RouterAcme Tools. May 9, 2016.

6. Router (woodworking), Wikipedia. March 10, 2017.

7. Mitch Roberson Router Buying Guide: Find the Perfect Router for You, Craftsy. January 2, 2015.

8. Wood Router Buying Guide, Menards.

Publish Date: 2017-05-17 08:17:45