Best Wood Router Review of 2018 Buying Guide
Whether you're an experienced carpenter or a beginner who's just getting started in woodworking, choosing the right wood router is something you cannot bypass or risk ruining your projects.
Besides a table saw, a wood router is probably the single most useful and versatile tool in a workshop. It offers the best way to make your work as simple as possible. You can use it to drill holes, create joints, shape edges and perform a range of template jobs.
In other words, with the best wood router, you can transform your woodwork with incredible details and decorations. This is why having one in your workshop is absolutely essential.
Buying the best wood router for your woodwork can be a bit overwhelming considering the huge number of types and brands in the market. As a result, you need to arm yourself with much information before you take the plunge and purchase any product.
In this article, we will show you everything you need to know about choosing the best wood router that will satisfy you and provide great value for your money.
We've also narrowed down the number of choices you have so you can avoid all the hurdles that come with picking one product from the flood of models out there.
Before we delve into the best wood routers review, let's see how we were able to arrive at the top ten products in the market.
How We Selected the Best Wood Router from a Lot of Products
Finding a good wood router for your workshop can be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. The market is flooded with several models with different price ranges, and searching out the best product almost seems like mission impossible. Luckily, we are here to save you the trouble.
After researching the top products in the market, we were able to come up with a list of the best wood router reviews to help you pick a router that will provide the best value for your money.
Before arriving at the list, we did a lot of testing and trial on many products. We considered various factors like cost, performance, quality, safety, versatility and so much more.
Plus, we fetched tons of user feedback to double check if our assumption is practical or not. So you can rest assured that all the wood routers discussed here are worth buying.
Regardless of your experience – whether you’re a newbie, a hobbyist or a seasoned carpenter – you will find a router on the list that will suit your purpose and needs.
Best Wood Router for the Money
Finding the best router for the money is not always straightforward,particularly if you are in the market for the first time. Below are two products that promise to provide the best value for your money.
DEWALT DWP611PK Variable Speed Compact Router
When it comes to exceptional performance, versatility, and precision, the DEWALT DWP611PK is one wood router that can offer you the best value for your money. This router is well known for its compact design and economic viability.
Although it would make a great bet for almost anyone, beginners who have no experience using a wood router will find it most helpful.
DeWalt is a popular name in the home improvement industry with an impressive track record. It’s no surprise they are the brains behind the DEWALT DWP611PK, which is obviously too good to be left out of our best wood routers review.
This incredible tool comes with a power rating of 1.25 HP (horsepower). While this may be somewhat lesser than what is obtainable from many top-end routers, the DEWALT DWP611PK makes up for this with other exciting features that make it super easy to use and less jarring for inexperienced users.
As a result, this little powerhouse is a huge bonus for beginners and may be used to complete various tasks ranging from simple trims to constructing plain furniture.
The most important feature that makes this router incredibly friendly for newbies is its soft start which gives you a moment of pause so you can adjust your grip while the machine is warming up to full speed. This will prevent your hands from getting jerked due to the sudden power surge and noise.
In other words, you will end up feeling confident to cut through the wood even if you’re using the device for the first time. In addition to its soft start, the DEWALT DWP611PK is also equipped with a variable speed which makes it suitable for working on both small and large bits.
This way, you will be able to use the exact RPMs you want for any task so you can get a clean cut. The speed can be changed between 17000rpm to 27000rpm which is a wide range of value for different purposes.
Interestingly, this machine has both fixed and plunging base which makes it possible for you to cut any depth easily without having to switch to a different router.Overall, we think the DEWALT DWP611PK is an incredible router with a reasonable price range. Although it might not be very compelling for seasoned veterans due to its small collet and horsepower, it is still an excellent router and will make the best value buy for beginners.
Makita RT0701C Compact Router
Since you're most likely to use a router on a regular basis, it's critical you spend enough time in picking the right tool for the job. The Makita RT0701C easily qualifies as one of the most powerful wood routers out there. It is an affordable and lightweight, compact router from a prestigious company, Makita.
If you desire a wood router that will provide you a perfect framework, then you might not find a better solution than the Makita RT0701C – thanks to its ideal sizing at 10x8x6 inches.
The product kit includes an edge guide, a plunge base, and fixed base which makes it versatile and suitable for various projects. Interestingly, it has a larger variable speed range than the DEWALT DWP611PK and most routers in the same category.
So, if you are particularly interested in speed, then this router will make the best choice. It is tough to find any router that can offer you something beyond a range of 10000rpm – 30000rpm.
Like the DEWALT DWP611PK, this router has a power rating of 1.25 HP and 7 amps. It is also equipped with a cam lock that has a quick release. This makes it very useful if you’re going to be working on projects that would require a lot of depth adjustments.
By pairing the Makita RT0701C together with the offset base, you will be able to get to areas that are not ordinarily accessible. Its gentle rack and pinion is another incredible feature that ensures greater precision.
This router also matches the DEWALT DWP611PK with a straight guide and ¼ inch collet. Compared to other counterparts in the same price range, the Makita RT0701C has a whole lot more to offer. This easily qualifies it as the most powerful wood routers for its price.The use of aluminum in constructing the motor housing of this tool also guarantees its longevity. So regardless of what you plan to accomplish, buying this router will not be a regrettable decision.
Best Plunge Router
Are you overwhelmed by the vast number of plunge routers in the market? Fortuitously, we’ve made things a whole lot easier by condensing your options to the best products available at the moment.
TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
There’s no doubt Triton offers some of the best versatile tools when it comes to the world of woodworking. And these tools are well known for their incredible precision.
If you’re looking for the best router for heavy operations, then the TRA001 will make a perfect choice. This router comes with one hell of a horsepower – 3.25 HP – which allows you to handle even the toughest woods.
More so, it gives you the option to work at various speeds depending on the bit you’re using and what you intend to accomplish.
One feature that singles out this router is its high precision, which is not a surprise considering what Triton is mostly known for. Since they first came on the home improvement scene with their first product in 1976 in Australia, the company has continued to impress with great precision machines in various categories.
The TRA001 features a crank for height adjustment that takes care of all depth settings above the table. In other words, you don’t need to purchase an extra lift accessory for the router. You can also change the bits from on top of the table. Thus, you don’t have to do any job below the table.The variable speed of this router offers you more control over precision and allows you to customize speed for different applications.
DEWALT DW618B3 Wood Router
Not that we have any special interest in DEWALT brands, but we can't just look away from this top-tier machine. The DEWALT DW618B3 is just another proof that DEWALT is genuinely an incredible brand and they have done well to carve out a special place in the heart of many woodworkers.
Starting out with the variable speed feature, you can get the desired result you want in your projects and obtain more precision by adjusting the power router to meet the demands of your work.
This is extremely important because even if you are experienced, there's a limit to where your skills can take you when you're dealing with a task that requires a lot of control and finesse. A wood router helps you make those fine cuts and edges that are not ordinarily possible with typical workshop tools.
The main selling point of the DEWALT DW618B3 is its three base configurations. Most wood routers are either single base – Plunge and fixed – or they are dual base – Plunge and fixed. However, the DEWALT DW618B3 comes with 3 base settings – plunge base, fixed base and a D-handle base.
The inclusion of the third base helps to ensure greater handling and precision. So if you're primarily out for precision and you desire a router that can help you achieve the best feat, then the DEWALT DW618B3 will make a perfect choice.
Thanks to its huge power rating of 2.25 HP, this router can tackle heavy wood pieces and get them ready in record time. You also get the chance to work with various speeds ranging from 8000rpm to 24000rpm - kudos to its 12 amp variable motor.Overall, this product will make a great purchase so don’t hesitate to invest in it.
Best Wood Router for Beginner
The best wood routers for beginners are those that offer the best side of user-friendliness and confidence. Here are the top performers in the market right now.
Bosch 1617EVSPK Router
If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly mid-sized router that fits the bill, then the Bosch 1617EVSPK will make a great choice. This device is equipped with so many interesting features that easily qualify it as the best woodworking router in the world for beginners.
However, it also works well for seasoned veterans who desire something moderate and affordable. We are particularly fascinated by its trademark technology, Constant ResponseTM, which helps to prevent speed fluctuation thereby ensuring that a uniform finish is obtained in the end.
For a start, the Bosch 1617EVSPK comes with a power rating of 2.25HP which is a great place to start if you have no previous experience using a wood router. Besides the high horsepower, this device is also equipped with both the fixed and plunging base, making it fit for a wide variety of applications.
Thanks to the quick release feature, the motor can be easily switched over. Instead of a single collet, this respectable router comes with two collets of different sizes – ½ inches and ¼ inches. With one collet alone, you can process a lot of bits, but with two, your option is almost unlimited. More so, you get to perform more functions with your tool.
When seeking a router that is user-friendly, the most common things to look out for will be a soft start and a variable speed setting. Thankfully, the Bosch 1617EVSPK comes with these two features.
With the variable speed setting, you can choose any value between 8000rpm and 25000rpm, which is a wide range for most woodwork operations.
The only problem you may find with the Bosch 1617EVSPK is its weight, but you can overcome this by using the device on a solid surface instead of doing everything with freehand.Overall, this router will make a good choice for anyone who wants something powerful yet convenient and easy to handle. It is incredibly versatile, and its relatively low price is something its competitors cannot reckon with.
The next top performer we could come up with in the world of beginner-friendly routers is the Hitachi KM12VC Variable Speed Router.
When it comes to user-friendliness, the Bosch 1617EVSPK is a top performer, which is why we think it's one of the best routers for all newbies who wish to start well and strong.
Like the Bosch 1617EVSPK, this router provides you with the convenience of both fixed base and plunging base. So you won't have to spend extra money purchasing two different routers with different stations. You can quickly change the base to suit the work you have at hand.
At 2.25HP, you will agree that this router is powerful, but interestingly, it doesn’t produce a lot of sound during when in use. This ensures you get on with your project without drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.
Thanks to the router's 11 amp motor, you can set the device to run the way you want via its electronic speed control. However, you must first determine the speed required for the project, then go on to make adjustments to the settings accordingly.
Interestingly, the Hitachi KM12VC can handle both ¼ and ½ inch bits. This makes it suitable for completing most simple workshop projects ranging from trimming to remodeling operations.Like the Bosch 1617EVSPK, the Hitachi KM12VC also comes with a variable speed ranging from 8000rpm to 24000rpm when it’s set to no-load. To make sure you get the performance for your work, this router allows you to adjust speed when the load is being varied.
Best Fixed Base Router
Fixed based routers help provide more proximity to your work piece, which is why non-professionals mostly desire them.
If you want to enjoy greater control over your work, then a fixed base router won't be a regrettable decision. Here are the two best models currently available in the market.
Porter-Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router
It comes with an ergonomic design that makes it durable and convenient for users. Starting with its 1.75 HP power rating, the Porter-Cable 690LR provides all the power you need to complete your projects efficiently.
Its 11 Amp motor also delivers up to 27500rpm speed to help arrive at more precise cuts which is quite impressive considering the fact that it’s a single power motor. This is also complemented by the addition of a micrometer depth adjustment.
Also included to prevent wear and tear due to rough handling is a sealed ball construction guard. The switch is then sealed to prevent dust from accumulating in the device. Thus this router is built to survive heavy duty applications, so you don’t have anything to worry about its strength and durability.
To help effortlessly quick motor release and coarse height adjustment, this unit is equipped with a cam-lock lever.
Overall, this machine is consistent, precise and powerful. If you need a high quality fixed base router that will help you obtain finer cuts and fast bit removal, then you will find the Porter-Cable 690LR incredibly useful.
The router comes at a reasonable price, and it's undoubtedly worth every penny you spend on it.Overall, we think the DEWALT DWP611PK is an incredible router with a reasonable price range. Although it might not be very compelling for seasoned veterans due to its small collet and horsepower, it is still an excellent router and will make the best value buy for beginners.
Dewalt DW616 Fixed Base Router
If you're anywhere between a beginner to an intermediate woodworker and you need the best router for your skill level, then the Dewalt DW616 will make a great choice.
Like most other machining tools from Dewalt, this router comes with a perfect sizing and an excellent quality that is not common with many wood routers in the market today. Its compact design and D-shaped sub-base help to ensure better handling and greater stability.
At 10 pounds, this device weighs a little more than the average router. However, the added weight is for a good reason.
This router has a power rating of 1.25 HP which is delivered by an 11 Amp motor, making it incredibly powerful even for the most robust applications. The inclusion of a variable speed setting makes the machine more versatile and allows you to tackle more bits.
Also added for greater visibility and precision are two LED lights which help to illuminate the work site and an adjustment ring that make it possible to effect bit changes that are as small as 1/64-inches. This helps to prevent the need for an additional light source and guarantees a finer finish is obtained.
A quick release feature for the base, consisting of two tabs, also provides more convenience and ensures a faster release of the machine base.Although this router doesn't come with a Dewalt hard case, it's still an excellent product and will definitely make a great value buy for you.
Best Porter Cable Router You Are Looking For
The Porter Cable brand is one of the prestigious companies in the woodworking industry with an impressive track record in delivering efficient machining tools.
So far they’ve delivered a good number of top performing wood routers that hold up for most woodworking projects. One of such products is the Porter Cable 7518 Speedmatic router.
Porter Cable Fixed Base 5-Speed Router
The Porter Cable 7518 Speedmatic is arguably the best investment for all serious woodworkers who desire a wood router that offers incredible power and a range of helpful speed settings. So if you’re obsessed about speed art, you will find this one a perfect choice.
This router comes with up to five different speed variations between 10000rpm and 21000rpm which is quite a flexible range to nab any speed you need for your project. Thus you can work on different types of materials ranging from the hardest wood to resins without any fear of resistance.
With this tool, you will able to achieve deep cuts more easily and accurately without spending so much time. This is important, especially when dealing with a sophisticated design where you could normally spend several hours.
However, the Porter Cable 7518 saves you the time and stress making it possible for you to be able to add a touch of aestheticism to your woodwork.
Like the other routers on this list, the Porter Cable 7518 is also equipped with a soft-start which ensures a comfortable start and slick operation right from the beginning of your project. It is able to accomplish this by reducing the level of torque from its motor.
More so, the 15amp motor also ensures uninterrupted speed even while it’s subjected to load. Very few routers can achieve the same feat.
The inclusion of an auto release collet also helps to save you more time. You don’t need to get rid of the bits after completing each project because this feature helps you to do so.Overall, this machine is implausible, versatile and long-lasting. It has an unquestionable quality and will take on just any task you throw at it. We cannot help but recommend it as the best wood router in the market for the pros
Things to Consider While Buying the Best Wood Router
Compared to most tech gadgets like smartphones, laptops or hybrid cars, a wood router is a pretty simple device that's incredibly versatile. It's imperative that you get the right one if you intend to accomplish any carpentry work.
Router sizes vary, which is why most people often opt to buy both a small and large router to enjoy the maximum versatility. Luckily, all the items reviewed here are extraordinarily multipurpose and affordable. So if you’re out to purchase just one router, then you have absolutely nothing to worry.
However, due to their high level of functionality, wood routers can be easily addictive, so we won’t be surprised if you end up going past the one-router limit.When buying a wood router, especially for the first time, there are certain things to look out for in order to determine whether the product would be able to provide every bit of value and versatility you need
Without further ado, let’s look at the bells and whistles;
If you don’t want your hand to be yanked every time you turn on your router, then make sure it has a soft start.
Besides the sudden surge of power it delivers to your hands, a router that doesn’t have a soft start makes a lot of noise whenever it’s connected to a power source.
However, with a soft start router, you get a moment of the pulse before the router is entirely powered up. Such routers also tend to gear up slowly to the set speed.While most of the new wood routers in the market are most likely to have this feature, it’s still a good idea to check before putting out your money for the product. That’s the essence for our list of the best wood routers review
Except you are always going to be using small bits, we recommend going for wood routers that have variable speed. This is because single speed routers work well only for small bits. However, when working with bits of various sizes, a variable speed router is usually more desirable.Large bits usually require slower speeds while small bits necessitate mid to high speeds. So it's essential to have a router that allows you to adjust the cutting speed
Routers come in two types – plunge base and fixed base. Plunged base routers stay flat on the surface as the bit plunges, while in fixed base routers, you have to select a certain depth which would be maintained by the machine throughout the cut.In simple terms, a fixed based router cannot be used for plunging, not even if you’re using the best product.
Power rating needs differ among woodworkers. Most professionals prefer going for high power routers because they offer more cutting power, while beginners often go for low to medium power because they are easier to handle.Whichever one you decide to opt for, bear in mind that more horsepower translates to more significant weight and torque. A wood router with a power rating of 2 horsepower will be sufficient for many applications. However, feel free to go higher if you plan to do some heavy work.
Although there are many popular options, finding a reliable porter cable router that can be used for any project to achieve various cuts and dimension can be tricky. With this list of our best wood routers review, your options are much fewer.
Feel free to choose a product that appeals to you; though we won't be surprised if you end up with two or more as routers are awfully addictive.