Routing is a technique used to shape up wood. With everything made more convenient and efficient nowadays, it is no surprise that methods of woodworking have also been updated. In the past, the main weapon for this routing technique was the worker’s hands. However, now it can be done better and faster, with machines.
They are called wood routers. With these, you can smooth out the rough surfaces and the edges of the wood. You can also cut irregular pieces of wood into nice, clean shapes. If you are into carpentry, this tool will be your lifesaver.
So, today, we are going to talk about these magical machines to ascertain, which are the best wood routers out there.
What Kind of Wood Router Do I Need?
If you are confused, we completely empathize with you. You have probably seen a bunch of wood routers wherever you have looked, and they have all varied in terms of shapes, sizes, features, and so on. But in short, if you want a good range of options at your disposal, then a trim router is the friend you need.
With these, you will be able to do template routing, as well as mill pieces and join them. However, this router device is more suited to you if you are already an advanced practitioner at routing, and need the best tool in the market.
For beginners, simpler and mono-functional devices are recommended. We broke it down in the section below and tried to find the best woodworking router to suit your needs.
Best Wood Router Reviews
The top wood routers in the market will be the ones that work without slowing you down. Below, we are going to talk about some of them.
1. DEWALT 20V Max XR Cordless Router
When you buy this machine, you buy into convenience based action. Going to the main function later, we must begin by mentioning that it has a dual-LED lighting system that helps to light up the entire work area and allows you to really get down to the details of the routing techniques.
This is one of the very necessary features that make working with these machines very comfortable, but unfortunately, not every machine comes with a lighting system of its own — alright, moving on to the depth adjustment system now. It has a ring system, which allows the height to be adjusted to any level you need it to be in.
There is also a speed dial that you can use to sync up the speed of the router according to the pressure needed for your application. The dial allows it to be used on many different types of wood, both soft and hard. And when you want to stop, you will have the electronic braking system backing you up.
This brake decreases the pace of the motor very efficiently when you want to stop. It doesn’t cause an abrupt halt, nor does it take a lot of time to slow it down. The stopping effect takes place in a smooth and steady manner. Your job remains smooth all through to the end, and this shows the quality of the finish of your woodwork.
The motor of the machine packs a lot of power but doesn’t release any of it in an uncontrolled manner. With great control, comes great performance, and you will especially love the smoothness of working with this machine if you had any struggle with routing in the past.
If you are new to this, you will definitely not be looking for an alternative to this anyway.
2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit
This is a very versatile all-rounder kit that will be able to serve a great range of your needs at one go. With this, you will be able to get a measured hold on bit plunging, which requires a lot of precision, so it cannot be achieved by many other wood routers in the market.
Other than the precise control on bits, you can smooth up rough edges, cut into slots, trim laminate, and also cut dovetail joints. All of these multifaceted functions in just one machine is very convenient not only according to the budget but also for your convenience.
It takes time to get used to the way of working with hand-held machines like these. But it will be far more beneficial to get used to a machine that can work as many hands for you. One of the other plus points here is the construction of the machine.
Made from aluminum, this is one of the most suitable and durable bodies made for these functions. For better grip, the handles have been made with wood! The whole thing not only works better but also looks better than other machines in the market. It will easily stand out in your workshop as an elegant piece of equipment.
The handles that you have to hold are made of wood. These hardwood handles make it very easy to exercise control over these tools. Another aspect of this tool is that the speed is not variable. This might be a problem for some, but the intended effect is for the speed to give more accuracy in results.
3. DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
This is a pretty power-heavy machine, which pumps out about 1.25 horsepower, thus allowing for proper handling of the most difficult and energy-consuming tasks. When there is no load on the machine, it will run at a speed that ranges from about 16,000 to 27,000 revolutions per minute.
Even though the motor packs in so much energy, there is an elegant feedback system, which helps to stabilize the speed of the motor throughout the operation. This assures you to let the task run for quite some time without having to make any adjustments in the settings.
As a result, you will get good results for much less of a hassle. On top of that, this tool has the dual LED system, which lights up the area being worked upon, and this makes it easier to work more precise details into the patterns.
If you are a beginner, then you will learn a lot by working under the focus of the direct light on your project. After that, there is the bit about the bit control. Well, this machine has a ring, which can be adjusted to set up the depth controls.
The benefit of having good depth control is that you will not have to stress so much over the pressure you apply. Modernization of the equipment has now incorporated a system that allows you to keep working without interruptions that could, otherwise, slow you down.
4. Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
With this powerful but compact device, you will be able to get into the fine details of your work without needing to force all your sensory faculties to work. For precise control, there is rack and pinion adjustment system in the machine, which will help you to get smooth results without much effort.
It has a very solid design, which will help you work into the details of the wood very quickly. The design is specifically done to accommodate you with the highest level of comfort you need in order to take full control of the path of the blades.
If you want to install or get rid of the base, then you are at full liberty to do so, with the help of the quick-release cam lock system. You will also have full depth-adjustment control at your fingertips. For any type of measure of engraving, you need to create the woodwork design of your own choice.
The speed can be controlled with the help of a dial. You can start from about 10,000 rpm and go up to about 30,000 rpm through a smooth, effortless transition. While working, you are not going to be bogged down by any sort of abrupt shifts in the flow, due to this.
Startups run smoothly by the grace of the smooth start feature on the machine. Overall, you will be fully satisfied with the performance of this device.
5. Triton TRA001 Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
This one is the most easy-to-use, versatile tool you can find in the market. While working with a wood router, the most important thing that defines the final outcome is the amount of control you can assert on the machine. Some machines are more rigid in function than others.
The one we have here is one of the good ones. You will be able to have complete control of the machine, and so as a carpenter, you will feel really comfortable working with this. On top of this, the special rack and pinion design that is under the patent control of this company only, you will also get to use it to the full advantage.
Another thing you will notice is that this machine has an electronic speed management feature that stays in complete alignment with the depth control. You won’t have to constantly adjust the feed of the machine.
The cutting face will get the right degree of power as the speed of your blade syncs up automatically as you exert pressure on it. By exhibiting an outstanding performance, the oscillations created in this machine will cause quick rotations on the sleeve you are working on.
This also helps to decrease the friction as you work on the piece. The final finish will be a smooth surface of top-notch professional quality. There is a micro winder system that can be enabled so that there is a constant adjustment of the fine depth measures in the machine.
Overall, you will be very happy with how this machine performs. Finally, there is another feature which is not included in most machines in the market, and this is ventilation on the sides.
You will be quite happy to see that the motor casings will not be clogged up after you are done. The ventilation system clears it all up and makes cleaning up afterward, a lot easier for you.
6. PORTER-CABLE Router
This router has a lot of power. If your router works smooth but cannot pack a punch, then you won’t be able to get much use out of it. For efficient work, you need something that can help you get right down to business without any compromise.
And that is exactly what the 11-amp motor is here to do. The motor can pump out up to 1-3/4 of horsepower, with which you can easily work your way through all kinds of wood, no matter how hard it is. In terms of speed, you will get about 27500 revolutions per minute.
There is plenty of pace in itself. However, if you need to dial it down or up, then, unfortunately, this router will not be able to do that. This is suitable for applications that all run on the same level of speed. If you are a person who doesn’t like to check up on speed settings all the time, you will be able to go hassle-free with this device.
The motor and the base of the machine are both steady performers. With the combination of sturdiness from both these design aspects, you will be quite satisfied with this machine even if your own skill levels are below par.
Depth adjustment is very important, as it helps to control the amount that will be chipped off. This machine has an amazing depth-adjustment system, which is accurate to about 1/128 inches.
With immense precision, control, and balance, this machine will be everything you need in order to get catapulted into the arena of woodworking techniques.
7. Enertwist 7.0-Amp 1.25 HP Wood Router Tool Kit
This one has a tough motor as well. It packs in about 1.25 horsepower, and with this superior force, it meets difficult tasks head-on. You will be able to appreciate how much this router can do for you from the very first time you hear the steady rambling of its motor.
Like all good things, the motor of this machine starts with a hum - it starts slow, and within seconds, reaches the full potential of its performance. You will not feel intimidated with the big, tough motor on this. Instead, it will ease you into the whole system. So if you are a beginner, you will still be able to get good use of this machine.
The best part about this is that you, as the user, are given full control of the speed settings. Don’t worry; the motor can take it all. Due to the variable speed router, you will get to experiment with lots of different styles and uses of this tool. There are 6 different speed notches that you can drive its performance upon.
Ranging from 10,000 to about 32,000 rpm, it will be the perfect thing for you to delve into the cool new routing techniques that you had never tried before. Another thing about this tool that gives it sort of an “all-rounder” tag is that it has scales that read in measurements of both inches and millimeters.
With this, you will be able to take very precise manual measurements, to ensure where and how much the wood will have to be cut.
8. Avid Power MW104 Compact Router
Everyone wants to have a good experience routing, right? Well, let’s face it; the task is not much fun if you don’t have the right equipment. First, you need to get a machine that is sturdy enough to power a high functioning motor. You will also need to have the right amount of control on the machine.
We have one here that is packed with power, speed, and versatility. It runs on a horsepower of 1.25, which is massive, and quite enough as well for the highest level of tasks - yes, professional tasks can also be done successfully with this tool.
The motor runs on 6.5 amperes and will give you a power boost right from the beginning. Like many of the machines discussed above, this machine also has a very smooth rack and pinion system, which is devoted to the play of depth control.
With the precision commanded by the sturdy built of this device, you will have the confidence to explore a wide range of experimentation techniques in carpentry. The functions run so smoothly that you will find yourself drawn to this machine without feeling dragged down. Now, all of these qualities are by no degree, small.
They are all very vital elements that add to the whole of your work experience, no doubt about that. But what we are most excited about is the return of the LED lights, after so many tools that are albeit being good did not have the lights.
This is a pretty crucial detail, and to not have that in such a powerful machine such as this one here, would be a shame. The lights really make the whole thing a complete package.
9. TACKLIFE Plunge and Fixed Base Router
Christmas time is just around the corner. If you are reading router tool reviews now, you might be wanting to give one of these as a gift to your carpenter pals. Well, in that case, you are already here. This fixed base router will be the perfect little gift package to leave at the door.
It has everything that a carpenter would want a router for. The variable speed control, the meter flexing shaft, a wide range of doable applications, and a deep base - all of this is ensured in this small little package that looks quite deceiving when considered the amount of power it packs inside.
There’s not much to say about the speed settings, right? We all know that the more that can be explored with the pace of the machines, the better it is for the user and his talent on wood. This machine has that, like many other machines.
But unlike many devices common in the market, this one has a flex shaft that goes to about 1 meter. With this, you will be able to carve your wood by entering some hard to reach places. It gives an amazing opportunity to spice up work-life by making some cool flower patterns and whatnot.
You will also get a sort of premium access into all the difficult corners that you can’t reach with shaft-less machines. Another thing you can do with the shaft is to plug in a felt wheel, which will let you get rid of the wild and fallen wood shavings on the piece.
With this tool, you can achieve a lot more with many other applications. Freestyle routing, template routing, making molding, grooves, and profiles - these are all that you will be able to get done with this truly versatile machine.
10. Ryobi R1631K LED Lit Corded Router
This Ryobi router hates tardiness as much as you do. The company takes particular pride in saying that there will be no delay when this machine is at work. It gets right down to business by working at a speed of about 25,000 rpm. With this incredible speed, this machine can get 2 inches deep into the thickness of the wood.
Are you wondering about the power of the motor and whether it can pull together a task at such a pace? Well, yes, an 8.5 amp compact yet powerful motor is packed inside the machine, and it can handle tasks of various levels of difficulty.
It is particularly designed for the thriving DIY-minds of the nation. So, for their convenience, the company has included a set of bits inside their kit. Not many machines in the market are equipped with bits. You usually have to buy them separately.
But with this one, you will get a straight cut of 5/16 inches, a Roman Ogee of 5/32 inches and last but not the least, a Radius Round-over of 1/4 inches. With these bits, a wide selection of styles will be at your disposal.
Three bits make the perfect beginner package if you are new to this. You will not get overwhelmed, and thus the practice will be very fruitful in the long run. All the detailing, cutting, and molding you need to learn, can be accomplished with this kit very nicely.
To top it all, it also has the LED lights that we have been raving about. It will really help to ease you into the whole arrangement, as you put the machine shaft to wood.
What Makes a Good Wood Router?
If you have read a lot of router tools reviews, and are still knee-deep in water, then we can help you out here. To find the best wood router 2020, we will have to take a look at the features that add quality to the performance of a router. Let’s go in-depth!
For any kind of tool you buy, it is very important to check whether you feel comfortable working with it. With hand-held tools like this, it is the most mandatory trait as you must have a solid grip to feel comfortable. There is no other way in which you can gain full control over such a machine.
Check for the weight of the machine, the grip allowed by the handles, the sturdiness of the build of the handle, and the ease at which you can lift the machine before you finalize your purchase.
Not paying attention to the ergonomic aspect of the machine will create unbearable tension in your muscles and joints and render you ineffective at other activities. So make sure you check in on this point first.
As I’m sure you have noticed, these routers come in many different appearances. Some are smaller for DIY-based and easy tasks, while others that are heavier and bulkier can accomplish much more.
This is a pretty no-brainer, really. But we would just like to mention that getting the best router just because you can afford it is inadvisable. Rather, you should really consider the tasks that you plan to accomplish with it. For beginners, going small is better, even though you will only be able to do a small number of applications with it.
Practice, get a hold of the system first, and then decide to invest in a bigger and costlier one when you are absolutely sure of your goals.
Type of Motor
Brushless motors pack in less energy and power, but they are more convenient because the power they generate is enough to accomplish several versatile woodworking techniques.
On the other hand, brushed motors are more robust and professional. But notably, noisy as hell. These motors will wake up the entire neighborhood, and these will probably be quite the override for your particular needs.
If, however, you are in a professional setting with heavy-duty projects, you may reach out for a brushed motor. These are better than brushless motors only in terms of energy efficiency. All others are much the same, particularly when it comes to wood routers.
With or without a Cord
The age-old debate of whether to go cordless in a world where corded makes much more sense can be answered with another question. What do you need it for?
Other than the obvious difference of the cordless being more portable due to being wireless, you should know that corded ones, in general, pack much more power and strength than cordless machines.
Cordless ones run on batteries, which are heavy things. Therefore, cordless machines are also heavy. Corded ones are lighter but limit your work area to places that can accommodate an electrical circuit.
There are two options here for you to control. You will have a fixed speed setting or the speed adjustment setting. Both have their advantages and limitations.
If you are a beginner or a specialized professional, you will most likely prefer to have a fixed speed setting, because it will allow working without stopping to bother with speed transitions.
However, if you are a versatile worker who experiments and handles projects with different qualities of wood, then get a tool with the speed adjustment setting. Different materials need different pressure and forces. So you will have to change the pace of the shafts accordingly.
Many professional carpenters have worked most of their careers without these light fixtures, so many people don’t regard them as a necessity.
Although these don’t have a direct effect on the work, it can be very important sometimes. If you are trying to get into difficult corners, you will be able to see around the angles, in courtesy of these LED lights. They will save you a lot of time and corrections later.
Probably they won’t be present in previous models, but they are a new addition and will definitely be a top feature in the best wood router 2020.
A Built-in Vacuum
You may find yourself in panic mode when you see the mess that these machines leave in the wake of their duty. Wood shavings are actually very harmful to your lungs. Some of them are as tiny as dust, and they can very well enter and clog up your nasal passages.
So, in order to avoid such a predicament, get a machine that comes with a dust collection port. It is not only convenient to keep things clean after the work, but it is also a necessity required to keep your internals safe from pesky wooden dust.
Since you will be holding this machine in your hand, you should be on the lookout for the motor to start very slowly and build pace with steadiness. If your machine has an abrupt start, you will feel reluctant to use it.
And when you do, you will find it hard to control the machine or to proceed with your work. The machine might even cause some damage to the task by aborting such an overwhelming bundle of power at one shot.
Therefore, get a machine that has a slow and smooth start, even if it costs you a little more. We can say for certain that you are not going to regret it. Just check the machine by plugging it in and trying it out before the purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
You must have some questions for us. Wood router reviews are incomplete without questions. Well, we don’t want to bother you by making you ask. So here are our answers, even before you ask.
1. What does a wood router do?
Routers are used to dig out a specific part of the wood. They are used for wood cutting, and then milling and joining pieces together.
2. How to plane wood with a router?
Use a jig in the measurement of the plane you want, and get down to business.
3. What kind of wood router do I need?
If you are a beginner, you can do with a fixed speed, uni-functioning cordless device. And, if you are a professional, you will have to look for a more advanced one than that.
4. How to use wood router bits?
Get bits of the right style, thread it into the shaft of the machine by following instructions on the package, and then turn the machine on to get to work on the wood slab directly.
5. Can you use a wood router on steel?
No, these are just for different types of wood.
6. Can I rent a wood router?
Yes, you can.
7. How much wood router speed do I need?
This will mostly depend on the type of wood and the bit tool that you use. However, if you are a beginner, you will be good with something that can run at about 18,000 rpm.
Well, this was quite a long discussion, and the woodworking router reviews guide is now over. Hopefully, you will now be able to find the best router for woodworking. Just look at all the features and match them up with your list of requirements, and you’ll be good.
If you have read the entire article, you probably already know all these machines. So, best of luck!