Best Router For Woodworking

Are you in the market for a new router? A wood router is a great addition to any tool arsenal that lets you refine all types of edges, and you can take on template work as well. If the router is mounted on a table, the tool can be used as a shaper, so you can mill different profiles, raise panels, and create moldings.

There are a great variety of jigs and accessories that are available making the projects you can do with a wood router endless. Here are some tips in purchasing the best router for woodworking, and a few reviews to help you get started with your search.

How to Choose the Best Router for Woodworking

When deciding on the best wood router to buy, you will find that there are several different types, as well as a variety of features that each may have. You don't necessarily just want to buy the best wood router for woodworking.

There are several different types that have different uses, so you always want to keep in mind the types of projects you will be working on. Here is some helpful background information on the types and features of woodworking routers to help you know the things to look for in buying the best woodworking router for the money.

Important Wood Router Buying Tips

Types of Wood Routers

  • Plunge Routers - This type of wood router comes with a base that's spring loaded which lets the bit go down into the piece of wood. This allows you to start cutting in the middle of the wood instead of on the edge. This gives you a lot of versatility and it can be a little more difficult to use than a fixed base router.
  • Fixed Base Wood Routers - This style works well when it's fixed to a router table and is perfect for edge cuts and molding. They're usually lightweight and easy to use. You should set the bit depth before you start running the router and you cannot change it while it's running.

Wood Router Features

  • Interchangeable Bases - It's a great feature if the router can be used both as a plunge and fixed router. This will make it a lot more versatile.
  • Horsepower - Common horsepower and speeds for a wood router are 1 1/2 HP, 2 HP, and 3 HP. Also, some wood routers come with variable speed motors that range from 8,000 to 30,000 rpm.
  • Speed Controls - This helps you to adjust your speed to match the type of project you're working on.
  • Electronic Feedback Circuitry - This means that your router's circuitry monitors the amount of stress that your motor has placed on it and it adjusts the torque to match the stress level.
  • Soft Start - This helps to prevent gouging and for extending the life of your motor. It's also a great feature for beginners who aren't used to the sudden movement when a router starts.
  • Spindle Lock - This makes bit changes much easier, instead of having to use two wrenches to change the bit.
  • Ergonomic Handles - This is very important for your comfort level if you're using your woodworking router for long periods of time.
  • Dust Control - This can help keep your work area clear and stop dust from getting into your motor and creating problems.
  • Collet Size - This is the sleeve that holds the router bit. This works with the router shaft that connects to the collet nut and the motor. The size of a collet ranges from 1/4" and 1/2".

Router Accessories

  • Router Table - This lets you attache the router with the bit up so you can slide wood across it and the bit.
  • Router Fences - This gives you a guide to follow and something to push the wood against. It also keeps the wood from shifting and lets you cut the wood in an accurate straight line.
  • Clamps - Clamps will prevent the piece you're working on from slipping and hold the jig to the worktable for more stability.
  • Jigs - This holds your wood in place when you're cutting box joints, hinge recesses, and dovetail joints.

woodworking router reviews

What is the Best Router for Woodworking?

Here's a brief summary of the top routers for woodworking on the market today. We'll follow up with detailed woodworking routers reviews to make your decision easier.

DEWALT DWP611PK Router

The DEWALT DWP611PK router is a great wood router for both DIYers and professionals. It has a ton of features, and it gives you great control, visibility, and performance.

Bosch 1617EVSPK Router

The Bosch 1617EVSPK router is a great wood router for tough jobs as it gives you great performance with a lot of power. It has Constant Response Circuitry so you can maintain a constant speed, so you can make more accurate cuts.

Porter-Cable 690LR Router

The Porter Cable 690LR router is a fixed base router that will give you both great power and efficiency. This router comes with two ergonomic handles that make it really comfortable if you are using it for a long period of time.

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router

The Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router has a durable, heavy-duty aluminum motor, plus a variable speed control dial that lets you choose the speed you need depending on the project. It also has an electronic control that lets you maintain a constant speed.

SKIL 1817 120V 1-3/4 HP Fixed Base Router

The SKIL 1817 120V 1-3/4 HP Fixed Base Router is another fixed based router that has a 1 or 2” collet capacity, so you can work on larger projects. It also includes a micro-fine depth adjustment that gives you precise depth measurements.

Top Woodworking Router Reviews

DeWalt DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Tourque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's

the best wood router for beginners

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The DeWalt DWP611PK is a favorite with both professionals and DIYers. It is an accurate and high-performance wood router that has a ton of features. The innovations you will find on the DeWalt router give it terrific control, visibility, and performance.

It also has ergonomic features that make it a very comfortable, and easy to use for long periods of time. It’s also very versatile, whether you are creating small bevel cuts, or you are working on large flush trimming, The DeWalt DWP611PK has a highly powerful 1 ¼” HP motor that guarantees high performance for any project you are working on.

Attached dual LED lights give you great illumination of your workspace. It also works with either a fixed and plunge base or just a fixed base.

Pros

  • LED Lights area huge plus
  • Quality product, very smooth
  • Professional quality, worth the cost

Cons

  • Mechanism is bad, will not hold setting
  • Turn and locking don't hold under pressure and vibration
  • The collet doesn't tighten down on the bits shank

Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets

wood router reviews

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Bosch 1617EVSPK router is great for those tough jobs with a 2.25 HP motor that has 12 amps, and it gives you great power and excellent performance. The Bosch 1617EVSPK has speed ranges that go from 8,000 to 25,000 rpm, and it has a variable speed dial that lets you choose the speed based on what you are working on.

It also comes with a Constant Response Circuitry that lets you maintain a constant speed while you are working, so that you have more accurate results. The Bosch 1617EVSPK also has a soft start feature that helps to prevent gouging, and it provides you with a smooth transition, as well as great handling.

It works with either a fixed base or plunge routing depending on what you are working on. If you do a lot of woodworking, this is a great router for you.

Pros

  • Has a nice soft start
  • It has enough power for larger raised panel cuts
  • Very powerful

Cons

  • The switch needs to be replaced a lot
  • Base will not disengage from the motor
  • Base is not constructed well

Porter-Cable 690LR 11-Amp Fixed Base Router

woodworking router reviews

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Porter-Cable 690LR router is a fixed base router that has both power and efficiency. It comes with a powerful 1 ¾ HP motor that can create an amazing 27,500 rpms for accurate, precision cuts every time you use it.

It also has two ergonomic handles that make using the Porter-Cable 690LF very comfortable, especially if you will be using it for several hours. This is a durable router that includes precision-machined aluminum housing and base, and can accept ¼” and ½” shank bits.

A sealed ball bearing construction keeps dust from getting in the switch, stops wear and tear, and keeps dust from entering the motor and creating issues. The Porter-Cable 690LR is great for your home shop, or for the job site.

Pros

  • Great for hand routing
  • You Changing the motor into various bases is easy
  • The new lever adjustment clamp is great

Cons

  • Takes two wrenches to change the bits
  • Updated switch placement is annoying
  • The on/off switch isn't in an convenient place

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router

The Best Wood Router for the Money

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router comes with a 1-1/4 HP motor that gives you 6.5 Amps for great performance. It has a durable, heavy-duty aluminum motor, and a variable speed control dial, with speeds that range from 10,000 - 30,000 RPM, that lets you choose the speed you need depending on the project you are working on.

It has a smooth rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system that lets you have more precision in your setting. The ergonomically designed body makes it comfortable to use, and allows for great control. The electronic speed control let you maintain a constant speed while you are working, and it has a soft start feature for smooth startups.

Pros

  • Less vibrations than other routers
  • Solid construction and easy to handle
  • Lightweight router and nice Makita bag that comes with it

Cons

  • Plunge base doesn't come with an adapter
  • Becomes really hot during use, hard to use then
  • The opening for the fixed base is too small and it can't be use round over bits

SKIL 1817 120V 1-3/4 HP Fixed Base Router

best router for woodworking

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The SKIL 1817 120V 1-3/4 HP Fixed Base Router is a fixed based router that has soft start technology for smooth startups, and longer motor life. It has a 1 or 2" collet capacity that lets you work on larger projects, and a micro-fine depth adjustment to give you precision depth measurements. There is a quick release button, so you can make an easy motor adjustment or removal, plus a dual position on or off switch that gives you better control and convenience.

The SKIL 1817 is perfect for forming or rounding smooth edges, plus cutting out basic patterns. It comes with a micro-fine depth adjustment that lets you create professional-quality, precision cuts. Soft-grip handles make the Skil super comfortable to hold onto making it easy to do long projects.

Soft Start technology creates smooth starts with less kickback, and its fixed-base design will let you set the depth of the cut before you even turn on the tool. A LED SiteLight gives you great visibility of your work area, and a dual-position on/off switch give you great convenience and control.

Pros

  • Excellent router for the money and works well
  • Easy to change bits and angle the depth
  • More power than you'll ever need

Cons

  • Very difficult to raise and lower
  •  A little tricky to fine tune
  •  A little too small

What is the Best Router for Woodworking to Buy?

The winner of the best router for woodworking roundup is the DeWalt DWP611PK. It is a popular model that is used by both DIYers and professionals. It has tons of features and innovations that give you great visibility, control, and performance. It is also very comfortable to use for long periods of time, and it is very versatile creating small bevel cuts, or letting you do large flush trimming.

The DeWalt DWP611PK has a highly powerful 1 ¼” HP motor that guarantees high performance for any project you are working on. Hands down, the DeWalt router is the definite choice for the best router for woodworking.


About the Author

Founder of Woodworking Fuel, proud father of two, happily married to a wonderful wife, and passionate about woodworking for a fulfilling hobby!

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