What is a Wood Router Used For?
A wood router is a power tool used for routing (hollowing out) an area in hard material such as wood or plastic. Most routers are either handheld or fastened to a work surface for stationary tasks.
Routers are generally used in wood working and are a necessary addition to any serious woodworker’s tool kit. I’ve compiled a list below of some of the best wood routers for beginners and professionals alike.
I believe that it is important to understand what you are purchasing before making a decision to spend a hunk of money.
What is the Best Wood Router for Beginners and Why?
A good wood router for a beginner would have enough power to get the job done but not so much as to be overkill for someone just starting out. The ideal router would come as a kit with a fixed base and a plunge base and a variable speed motor to make the routing process as easy as possible.
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Best Wood Router
The Colt by Bosch features a smooth operation with outstanding depth adjustment. The powerful motor can reach speeds of 15,000 to 35,000 RPM.
The small design of this router makes it easier to operate than other larger models and can quickly perform a wide variety of tasks from cabinet installation to lamination of counter tops.
Edge forming tasks such as chamfers, ogees and coves are easy to perform and much easier to achieve with this compact model.
There are some minor improvements that would enhance the user experience. A see-through base would eliminate some guesswork, while integrated LED lighting would improve visibility while routing.
The Colt is considered to be a “single hand” or “palm” router due to its small size and its compact configuration. Speed control is as effective as that on larger Bosch models.
For an amateur woodworker, this router is a good wood router for a beginner. The compact design makes it easy to store and operate while maintaining the speed and power you would expect from the Makita brand.
The kit comes complete with a plunge base, an edge guide and a standard adjustable height base. Setup is quick and simple with the easy-to-use latch lock for switching bases.
Users have described this router as being remarkable easy to use like a “fat pencil.” Reviewers have mentioned that they were able to trace over calligraphy designs with the router to create custom signs.
The motor reaches speeds of up to 30,000 RPM with a variable speed controller that allows you to match the speed to your task.
The depth adjustment system allows you to achieve maximum precision for those detailed projects. The slim and ergonomic design fits well in most hands.
With low vibration compared to other models, it is comfortable to use even for extended periods of time.
The only complaint I’ve come across of the lack of a clear base to allow you to check your progress without needed to lift the router from the piece.
Its lightweight is due to its aluminum construction.
The DeWalt DWp611PK kit arrives with a fixed base, a plunge base, a soft-sided storage back and a collet wrench. The removable fixed base is extremely compact.
The textured grip provides a good surface for maintaining control of the machine when using it.
In order to swap the fixed base out for the plunge base, all you need to do is release the lever lock and slide the base off prior to replacing it. Cutting depth adjustment is a snap with the side quick release.
The plunge base adds a little additional weight, bringing the total weight up to six pounds 10 ounces.
The hard rubber knob handles on the sides of the router provide an easy grip and ease of control while operating the machine. Integrated LED lights provide plenty of visibility even in poorly lit conditions.
The soft start motor prevents the sudden torque common to machines that reach full power instantly by slowly ramping up to the desired speed while the variable speed control feature allows you to change the RPMs to achieve maximum efficiency when cutting different types of wood.
The powerful Festool OF 2200 router features a 2200-watt motor for the hardest jobs. Whether trimming laminate, making cuts in hardwoods or adding a decorative touch to a solid surface material, the OF 2200 has delivered to expectations every time.
A precision four-position depth stop turret allows you to make incremental adjustments for even the deepest routing cuts. The final fourth step includes a two-millimeter offset to allow you to make your finishing pass at full speed for remarkably smooth cuts.
This router is one of the more expensive brands, but the cost is well worth the benefits and advantages this product offers. Users have commented that the Festool brand is always worth the money if you are serious about woodworking. Although the OF 2200 is one of the larger routers, the design makes it easy to control during operation.
If you have a large shop area and need a router to keep up with demand, the Festool will bring you power and precision in a single package as one of the most versatile routers on the market.
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The Bosch 1617EVSPK has been considered to be the third best-selling router model on the market. This mid-size router is a reasonable price and can handle just about anything you can throw at it. Aluminum housing helps keep the weight down while providing a sturdy body for durability.
The soft start motor prevents you from feeling the torque of the motor as it comes on by ramping up over the course of several tenths of a second rather than instantly.
The soft start feature temporarily reduces the load on the power train by slowing the electrical current surge of the motor during start up. The included Bosch patented constant response circuit maintains and monitors the speed during operation and protects against motor overload.
The horsepower rating for this router is good at 2.25 hp for the power needed when using the plunge base. The efficient motor will also help reduce user fatigue when using for extended periods of time. The kit comes with a plunge base and a fixed base to allow you to use the router in stationary or mobile configurations.
The DeWalt DW618B3 is rated at 2.25 hp combined with a powerful 12-amp electronic variable speed motor. This combination allows you to cut through even the hardest woods with ease and consistency.
Speed control allows you to maintain a constant speed while working and ranges from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. A soft start motor allows you to maintain control of the machine when powering up.
Depth adjustments are easy and precise with the ability to adjust in 1/64-inch increments. An innovative dust collection system captures up to 95 percent of dust for excellent visibility of the bit while cutting.
For those precise plunge strokes, CNC machined brass bushings and case-hardened steel offer superior control and clean cuts for a professional look on any project.
Ambies and southpaws will appreciate the ability to choose between either hand for operation and switch control.
A clear base allows you to monitor your progress without needing to lift the machine from the piece and is compatible with standard template guide bushings.
The Black & Decker RP259 is a plunge router with a very user-friendly design. The large body and the shock-absorbing springs make it easy to control while providing superior cutting abilities.
The plunge router can create the perfect holes anywhere on the wood. Plunge depth is 2.25 inches maximum for a variety of patterns and designs. This router is a good price for the quality and will give you many hours of operation before needing a replacement.
Unlike many other routers, the unique construction of this machine allows you to start anywhere you like on the board instead of the edges.
The sightline base allows increased visibility while working, thereby enabling you to achieve more precise cuts. A chip shield helps protect you from flying debris while the easy-to-use depth scale allows you to accurately determine the depth of your cuts.
The variable speed motor ranges from 8,000 to 27,000 RPM, a good range for a router in this category. A soft start motor allows you to maintain control when starting up.
#4 Bosch 1617EVS Wood Router Review
Unlike its cousin the 1617EVSPK, the 1617EVS does not feature a plunge router base with the kit. This table router is popular among woodworkers as a result of its wide variety of features.
DeWalt’s DW618PK router kit features both a plunge router and a fixed router base for versatility.
Basic features make it ideal for the beginning woodworker while the additional features make it suitable for intermediate and advanced woodworkers alike. The clear LEXAN sub-base allows the user to track progress without needing to remove the base from the project.
The variable speed feedback control feature on this router makes it possible to maintain full power for the full course of a cut. Speeds range from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM and allow you to better manage the machine while choosing the ideal speed for the project you are accomplishing.
The Hitachi M12VC is a fixed base router featuring a variable speed motor. It is a good option for those looking for a professional-grade product without needing to pay a huge amount of money. The operation of this tool is also extremely quiet, making it perfect for those who try to cut down on the noise levels in their environment.
Although this router has been reviewed as ideal for a professional, it is still a good beginner’s router. The fixed base router is ergonomically designed to make it simple to use even for those who are just starting out in their woodworking career.
With a power cord longer than is standard, you will have a greater range of mobility with this router.
Compared to other models, the fixed base is a little narrow. With the higher motor position, this router may feel slightly unbalanced to some users. Users have also commented on the slight awkwardness they felt while using this machine.
Porter-Cable’s easy-to-handle router features excellent depth adjustment. The ergonomic handles make it simple to control during operation and is a good choice for a fixed router for beginners.
Although users say this router is a good deal for the money, others suggested that the height adjustment is a little awkward and could use some improvement. Other comments include the tendency for the motor to run hot if used for extended periods of time.
This router features a single-speed configuration with a rate of 27,000 RPM. An additional plunge base is available for a separate purchase.
It is a good choice for those who want something not too expensive but still worth its keep.
Get the Best Wood Router Under $100
Makita RT0701C-1 Router
This little router is small and compact and comes with a two bases for versatility. Under 100 bucks, it is a great option for those who want to get started without laying out hundreds of dollars. Users of this router claim it has changed how they approach their woodworking projects and that it is an excellent deal for the price.
See the Best Wood Router Under $200
The Bosch 1617EVS is a solid fixed base router that will get the job done. The midsize router features a variable speed motor that ranges from 8,000 to 25,000 RPM to allow you to choose the best speed for your project at any given time. Users have commented on the extreme durability of this machine and have even used it for CNC machining without a problem.
Best Router for a Beginning Woodworker
Out of these 11, I recommend the DeWalt DWP611PK. This router is lightweight and includes the option to use either the fixed base or the plunge base. The textured grip makes it easy to control while the integrated LED lighting provides plenty of illumination for your project.
Related: Fixed Base vs Plunge Router
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. For any project, it is important to be able to make an informed decision when deciding which model/brand to invest in. If you liked this article, please comment below and share it with your friends!