They say that every man has an inclination for building and fixing stuff simply because it’s imprinted in our DNA since the medieval times when you had to build a shelter and get out of the rain or keep dangerous animals away. Well, nowadays the situation has evolved a lot and for most people, router woodworking and building became more of a hobby, something to do on the weekend around the house and explore your inner artist. Of course, that’s not the case for professional builders that do it for a living but since they’re professionals, we’re not addressing them. They have a lot of experience in the field and know exactly what wood router to pick for their job.
This article is addressed to you, the person looking to buy a wood router for fixing your fence or building a nice table for your patio. And since there is a lot of different models and types of routers out there, we figured you could use some help with making an educated decision since we’re talking a fair amount of money.
Since the market is literally flooded with various models, we thought to start with a nice wood router comparison table of the best wood routers just for you to get an idea of what to look for when buying one. You know, set some standards, getting to know what are the specifications that are of interest when buying a router for woodwork. Then, we will take each model in part and do an in-depth analysis so that you fully understand what makes it different from other models and decide if it’s what you need for your job. To make it even easier for you, we’re going to scan hundreds of best wood router reviews from verified buyers and analyze their opinions so that you also know about up and downsides of each model.
Alright, enough introduction, let’s help you find the best wood router out there!
Handy Home Master created for informational purposes only. Thus, we neither endorse you in any way to buy specific products in our reviews, nor making you act like it’s written in our guides. We are reserving the rights for you to make your personal decision.
ARCHIE ADAMSEditor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master
The youngest family member of the best wood routers from DeWalt, the DCW600B manages to offer an excellent service for the money paid for it, in its category. With a price tag of a bit over $100, it offers you a high-quality router that is compact and does a great job. Even though it’s compact and quite small, don’t think it doesn’t have all the high-quality standard features a DeWalt tool has.
The motor can be set to function at different speeds, you can enjoy the soft-start system and the motor itself is a very reliable and long-running 1.25 horsepower. It’s simply unbeatable in this category with an excellent price tag, features, and functionality that can not be matched. And since not everyone wants to throw a lot of money on tools and other equipment, you sometimes have to settle for something cheap in order to take care of the budget. And while most of the times, cheap equals bad quality, you can rest assured that it won’t be the case with the DCW600B because you won’t be making any compromises when it comes to quality. Since it is so durable and lightweight, this router is easy to use and will become your favorite tool in the toolkit. Like a true home craftsman, you will quickly fall in love with how quickly and precisely it does the job.
Compared with other DeWalt wood routers for woodworking that are small, this model also has a strong bite and will do the job. Also, it comes equipped with features that you can find present in other, more expensive routers for wood, such as the LED light or the clear fixed base that allows you to see where you’re going to cut next. The bottom line is that if you want a cheap wood router that also does an excellent job, you found what you were after.
Why We Like It
This Bosch wood router 1617 EVSPK is a mid-sized, quite powerful tool that is powered by a 2.25 horsepower motor. If you’re into workshop applications, then this is the right tool for your toolkit. Not only it has superior horsepower but it also comes equipped with a fixed and plunging base for extended function. It also has a quick-release function that will switch the power over efficiently and quickly. Both of the offered bases, the fixed and plunging one, have great handles that will make operating the router very easy. Almost all Bosch’s best wood routers, this one included, are equipped with a ½ and ¼ inch collet that you will be able to use on a lot of projects. And it can be clearly said that this is one versatile router you can get for your workshop.
It has all the user-friendly features that can make it a candidate for the best plunge router title such as the soft start system and a variable speed adjustment that allows you to run it from 8000 RPM all the way up to 25000 rotations per minute. The grip on it is also excellent, especially considering that it’s quite a heavy piece of equipment and this will allow you to maneuver it without a struggle. But perhaps the best user-friendly feature of them all is the CRC unit, also known as the Constant Response Circuitry branded by Bosch, a feature that will keep the RPM of the motor steady even when you cut deep into the wood.
A mean router designed for heavy use and some long operating hours that will definitely grow on you. Speaking of longevity, you should also know that it has a 1-year warranty and, even though you don’t really expect Bosch to make a mistake, it’s a great feature to have.
Why We Like It
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When considering buying the best wood router from Bosch, the MRC23EVSK, you should know that it is an absolute powerhouse with the 2.3 horsepower generated by its motor. In other words, if you’re in need of a powerful and reliable router for heavy-duty projects, you are looking at what would probably be your best pick. We can’t say that it’s the best router for woodworking because that’s something only you can decide, however, we are pretty sure it’s one of the best available on the market right now.
Developed by the company that has a very strong name in the world of wood routing tools and not only, this router is not all about the power but it offers an excellent handling as well. And thanks to all the other features it comes equipped with, you will feel like the 2.3 horses in it are very easy to tame. It has excellent ergonomic grips, a variable speed setting that allows you to set it for values between 10000 rotations per minute all the way up to 25000 RPM and that excellent soft start system that makes the motor gain speed steadily and easily so that you have enough time to get a good grip and handle the cutting process properly. Furthermore, it has a LED light that stays on while the router is connected to the power that’s great when cutting inside or when the light is not that good.
All these features make this Bosch router for wood a very fine choice if you’re looking for power, agility, and ease of control. Being adaptable between a fixed base and a plunging one is yet another great extra for this model and even if you’re not ready to put it on a router bench, you will learn that it’s probably the best combo devices out there. If you’re just beginning using a wood router and other power tools such as this one, it’s probably a good idea to stick with something lighter though since it will generate a lot of torque but it’s not an extremely hard challenge.
The DeWalt DW616PK is simply an awesome addition to your toolkit and what makes it perfect is that it is a great choice for novices in the art of cutting and drilling into wood. If you’re just trying out your handyman talents, this is the perfect choice for you.
Equipped with a 1-3/4 horsepower engine, it’s not that powerful when compared to other models on the market but that’s what makes it great. Being not that powerful allows you to maneuver it properly and that’s what makes it so fit for beginners.
Another great feature that this router for woodwork has is sub-base concentricity gauge which greatly enhances accuracy.
Overall, this awesome kit includes motor pack, fixed and plunge bases, collets, wrenches and many more accessories. It also comes in a heavy-duty kit box for convenient storage or transporting
No matter if you want to mend something in your house or yard or you’d like to experiment a bit by building something made of wood, you will definitely be helped a lot by the PORTER-CABLE 450PK fixed router. Even though everyone in the market seems to do it, we’re not going to start with a PORTER-CABLE vs DeWalt comparison but rather focus on the individual qualities of this model. First of all, it can be used for almost anything, trimming, decorative edging, and a lot more than you usually don’t expect from a fixed-base router.
The 1.25 HP motor offers good cutting power that is also fast and accurate thanks to the blade and fixed base of the best wood router made by PORTER-CABLE. Using the two handles mounted on the device, you will be able to cut as much wood as you want for hours and hours.
A big plus is that the router also has collet of ¼ inches and that’s a very big extra, especially considering the fact that some manufacturers like to sell the collets separately. It has everything needed including a cam-lock lever that makes you capable of uncomplicated height setting within a few short seconds. Besides the cam-lock, you also have the micro-depth adapter to be able to take sharp turns with a precision of up to 1/128 inch.
When to all that you also add the fact that it has an incorporated vacuum system to make sure you don’t fill your house with sawdust, it just embodies the perfect fixed-based router you can get. Of course, you mustn’t make a decision until you have read all the woodworking router reviews that we prepared, but this is another good candidate.
When it comes to router ratings, there’s hardly another compact router that has the score of the Makita wood router RT0701C right here! Thanks to its sturdy design, lightweight, and fine assembly, it can offer a portable routing experience that very few other models can. It can function at different speeds from 10000 to 30000 rotations per minute and when pushed to the maximum, it will cut that wood like butter. It comes with a fixed base that can be easily mounted thanks to the cam-lock system and the same system is also very useful when making depth adjustments through the micrometer.
Again, we’re going to try and avoid going into a plunge router vs fixed debate but you should know that the Makita R0701C is a router that can really reach those very tight corners where even a plunge router has issues reaching sometimes. Along with the router, you will also get a ¼ inch collet and an installation and maintenance guide which is awesome to have.
Considering that it is much more powerful than anything price-tag similar on the market right now, the best wood router from Makita is a great tool if you’re thinking about creating some profiles or anything in that area because it can also be used to cut laminate materials, not just wood.
When looking for a new router or even the first one you ever buy, you should ask yourself if you want one with a fixed base or a plunging one. What about both in the same package? Yep, you heard it, Hitachi offers you a very powerful router that combines a plunge base with a fixed one so that you can work on all your projects.
When you think about a high-power router like the Hitachi wood router KM12VC, you automatically think about a lot of noise and dust going all over the place, right? Well, actually, that’s wrong because this model only produces somewhere around 40 decibels of noise which is similar to a small dog barking and it has a special system that suppresses trembling as well. Regarding the saw dust spreading all across the room and floor, Hitachi got that covered as well through a very efficient vacuum system that will not make the house clean but will reduce the dirt to a manageable level.
When you switch from one base to another, you just have to activate a 2-stage release clamp that allows you to pull up the motor and then simply insert it in the other base while locking it in position thanks to the same system. The package also comes with 2 collets, ¼ and ½ inches, and the entire motor plus two bases come in a very ergonomic case that makes transportation quite easy. Also, you don’t have to be a gymnast to carry it around as the total weight is around 16lbs. All this brought the KM12VC on our list of best wood routers.
The second-best wood router from Porter-Cable, the PCE6435 model, is the router you want if you are thinking about doing some changes around the house, patio, your fence or anything wooden for that matter. With operating speeds ranging from 16000 to 35000 RPM, it offers a very versatile cutting experience and you can take advantage of that to do some precision cutting. The grip on the handles of this router will give you the feeling that you can do absolutely anything with it and the truth is that, with a bit of talent, you really could do anything you can think of. It has a powerful 5.6-amp motor that can deliver the same amount of torque even when in the most massive of loads. That combined with high-quality and sturdy materials makes the Porter-Cable router one that you can definitely grow to like. The builders at Porter-Cable have a lot of trust in their final product and decided to add a 5-year warranty on it so you can rest assured knowing that you get a 5-year worry-free period when you buy a wood router. Oh, and also, don’t forget about the 1/4 collet, the collet wrench, and a complete instruction book on how to mount, use, and then maintain the router so that you can enjoy its awesome qualities for many years after the warranty expires. Yep, it is possible, there are certain models that were active for more than 20 years without breaking down. Talking about a good-quality product.
Since you now have all the details on the top 10 models available on the market and know how to properly compare them and decide which one is the best wood router for your needs, it’s time to look at some other buying considerations that may appear when shopping for a router.
After all, making an informed purchase is the main thing that matters and since different tools are destined for different needs and jobs, you just need to keep some things in mind and deciding will be very easy.
Since you never operated such a device before, you definitely need one that has the Soft Start function activated. This makes the router start very slowly so it will prevent any accidents from wrong handling and, at the same time, it will give you time to get used to its power before reaching high speeds.
Measured in horsepower, the power is a very important thing and it’s a good idea to check it out when you decide to buy a wood router. The highest rated routers usually have 2 horsepower or above which means a lot of torque and these are usually used for cutting a lot of wood and harder essences as well. If what you need to cut is lighter, you can just pick something under the 2 horsepower mark and it will get the job done.Don’t forget to use surge protectors for safety.
The ability to vary the speed of the wood router is very important, especially if you’re at the beginning of using such a tool. It helps a lot when you need to cut different types of wood because some essences can get burnt if a too high RPM is chosen. In order to adjust the RPM speed to the material you are cutting, your best wood router has to be adjustable and you will find the necessary speeds in the manual of the router or online.
There are two major types of bases for the best wood routers, you have the fixed base and the plunging one. If you just want to edge wood or draw a small pattern on it, a fixed base will do the trick. But if you want to go deeper or even penetrate the wood, you will need a plunging base connected to your router. Luckily, most of the modern routers will offer you both base types at what can be considered a decent price.
This might not be a top priority for you thinking that it’s a handle and it will do its job. Well, what if you have to cut for hours in a row? The handles can be really hard on your wrists and hands and here’s a great set of grips will help a lot. Not only with going easy on your hands but it will also improve precision quite a lot. Remember, the grip is not there only so that you can hold the router but to be able to operate it as you desire as well.
The smallest routers available, they’re typically less powerful and most of them have a fixed base available. They’re mostly addressed for edging wood and if you’ve never operated a router before, it’s best to start with such a device.
As the name suggests, this category of tools is a bit bigger than the trim routers but smaller than the full-sized ones. You can do a lot more with them than with a trim router like cutting some patterns, making some impregnations, and you can even mount them on a table for more complicated designs.
The big guys that usually have more than 2 horsepower, these are tools that should definitely not be handled by beginners. They tend to be quite heavy and in case you’re not familiar with the way they work, accidents can happen. Both plunge base and fixed base full-size routers are excellent when mounted on a router table.
If you ever used tools before, you are familiar with the fact that the final cost is rarely the cost of the tool itself. You will most probably need all sorts of accessories and wood routers make no exception from the rule. Here are a couple of the most-used accessories you should consider buying when you decide on a router, to make sure they’re compatible.
The number of different bits a router can use is extremely high, mostly because there is one for each application. For example, there are bits of different sizes, there are bits for grooving or some that are specialized in making edges and patterns.
Working with a circular saw you always use the best saw horses so if you have a serious project going on, you might consider buying a table as well. These are available in a lot of sizes and shapes but it’s important to respect the budget. A table will allow you to mount the router on it, inverted, giving you the ability to maneuver the wood more efficiently and obtain far more complex shapes.
Whenever you need to make precision cuts, you will need jigsaw and cuts in the vast majority of cases. You will usually find good-quality pieces in the same place you buy your router from. Guides will help keep the edges straight and well-finished.
If you bought the best wood router but still not sure how to use it, you should really take a look at a manual they come with as this will teach you some proper rules about operating the devices and their maintenance. It’s obvious that being a mechanical device, the wood routers will require a certain amount of care in order to keep them in top shape and always give you the same great results.
Every time you use the router, before getting to it, make sure to take a close look at its elements and check for any damage or parts that come loose. You should check the blades and if you spot any kind of damage, these need to be replaced on the spot. In case the blade is a bit lose, use the wrench to fix it back into position as that will cause damage to your router and project.
Then move to the cables and make sure that they’re not presenting any damage. In case you find any damage, it’s better to replace it entirely even if that often means taking your router to a service.
Just as an inspection is mandatory before using the router, as soon as your job is done and you are ready to call it a day, remember that you need to clean the router first. Nowadays, the process is very simple as you can use a pressurized air can – which can be found in any hardware or even IT store – and push out all the dust. If you notice there’s a lot of dust inside the router, you can go as far as to unscrew it to make sure you do a proper cleaning job. Leaving your router dirty for too much time will lead to clogging and overheating.
When cleaning the best wood router, you need to make sure that you clean the collet as well. As a part that holds the blade in place, it’s important to make sure it’s clean and working properly. You need to be very neglecting with your collection in order for it to break or let the blade lose, however, the opposite can happen quite fast and your blade might get stuck there.
In the manual, you will find complete instructions on how to sharpen the blades of your router. In case you do this and consider they’re still not doing a proper job, perhaps it is time to replace them. Lubrication Is Vital
Since it has a lot of moving parts, a very important step in maintaining your wood router in top shape implies lubrication of all the moving parts. Start with the blades and the mechanism that is surrounding them. The best method of application is applying the grease on a piece of cloth and then lubricating the desired parts. A bit of rust prevention spray won’t do any harm either as you might encounter corrosion at some time.
Last but not least, your wood router needs to be safely and correctly stored. You will need to keep it away from dust, humidity or dirt. The best idea is to always keep it in the container it came with and place it in a room that is also heated during the colder months so that you prevent rusting.
Since we’ve been through everything there is to know about different types of routers, their size, functions, bases, and whatnot, it’s time to see how exactly you can choose the proper router depending on your needs. Before you get started, define exactly what is that you need to do with it. For example, if you want to build an entire room, you will need a totally different tool than if you just want to cut some wood or clean it up a bit. If we’re talking about making an edge on a piece of wood, you definitely need to go with a trim router since it’s what they are designed to do and there is no need to spend a lot of money on something bigger and heavier if you don’t need it.
If you want to run some grooves, for example, you will need a router with a plunge base and you should go with something more powerful, like a full-sized router.
Getting your own wood router is an excellent idea if you’re that type of person that just wants to get involved and do things with their own hands. It will save you the waiting time for a friend that owns one to borrow it to you or the time you spend until a handyman comes to cut the edge on a chair or something like that. Since it’s something that you can totally handle yourself, why not buy a router and take care of things? Besides that, you can access your creative side and it can turn out to be a great pastime activity to simply go to your workshop and create something with your own hands.
When shopping for the best wood router, always make sure this will fit your needs, both in the short term but in the long run as well. If you know that there’s a big project coming up, don’t shy away from buying a big and powerful router straight away as opposed to buying a small wood router for the work you need to do right now. You will only end up spending more money for nothing because all the functions that can be done with the small one are perfectly doable with the bigger one as well. Except for the situation in which you’re trying to cut something that is already in place, since maneuverability of the big wood router is not always excellent.
In the end, if you’re looking for a powerful wood router that can be excellently used in hand, for cutting in tight spaces and doing some fine work but at the same time, that can be mounted on a router table so you can cut big projects and build big things, then the DEWALT DCW600B is definitely what you need. Besides of all the advantages our HandyHomeMaster team already mentioned, it’s extended sub-base provides greater contact with work surface for more precise results.