The Top 10 Best Wood Routers
Thanks for taking your time to read our reviews of the best wood routers currently available on the market. We have researched these routers so as you don't have to, and included only those with the highest buyer satisfaction ratings.
So here is our list of the 10 Best Wood Routers
Please note that in the table below, we have included our ranking, the product name, an average buyer satisfaction rating, and warranty details
The buyer satisfaction rating we get from looking at all the websites that sell these products and working out the average buyer satisfaction ratings.
The warranty on these routers is 1 year, but always check at purchase time as these can change.
We have done summary reviews of each of these routers below.
No 1 - Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
- This router kit has variable speed control dial (10,000 - 30,000 RPM) and that allows you to match the speed to the application
- It uses a rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings
- The body is very well designed and that gives you more control
- Has a handy quick release cam lock system for easy depth adjustments
- We like the electronic speed control that maintains a constant speed under load
- Also has a soft start feature for smooth start ups
- The good news is the fixed base accepts industry standard template guides for convenience
- Base can be removed quickly to install other bases
- Uses 1/4” shank router bits
Makita are known for making very high quality tools. They are never going to be cheap, but they work a treat. Buyers were very impressed with the power of this router and they also liked the fact that you got all the right parts that make this router a joy to own and use.
No 2 - Makita XTR01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Router
- This is a cordless router
- It has a Makita-built Brushless motor that they claim delivers faster and more accurate cuts in a variety of materials
- It is electronically-controlled to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
- Has variable speed control dial (10, 000 - 30, 000 RPM)
- Also has electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load
- Comes with an On/off button with separate lock button which helps prevent accidental start-up of the tool for user and work piece protection
- This model has a soft start feature for smoother start-ups
- Has a rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system
- Also has dual L.E.D. lights illuminate the work area
- Has a quick release cam lock system
If you like the idea of a cordless router, then this one tops the list for those. It is a high quality router that is expensive, but if you already own a Makita compatible battery then this is going to be a good choice for you.
No 3 - Bosch 1617EVSPK Woodworking Router Combo Kit - 2.25 HP Plunge/Fixed Base Variable Speed Kit with 12 Amp Motor
- This is the biggest online selling combination router that is currently available on the market
- It is a versatile kit that can be used for precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming and dovetail cutting
- It is made from aluminum with wooden handles on a fixed base and a soft-grip handle on a plunge base
- The router maintains a constant speed throughout the cut, so you get cleaner, more accurate results
- The kit comes with a plunge base, fixed base, 1/4 in. and 1/2 in. collet chucks, shaft wrench, collet nut wrench, chip shields and carrying case
This is the biggest seller online by quite a distance, and the majority of buyers seem well pleased with their purchase. The Bosch plunge and fixed-base router kit is a versatile kit for a broad range of applications.
You can also use it with a router table.
No 4 - Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4-Horsepower Variable Speed Plunge Router Kit
- This is a variable speed plunge router kit
- It has electronic speed control that helps maintain constant speed under load
- It has a soft start feature for smoother start-ups
- This one is low noise (81dB) and low vibration
- It has an aluminum motor housing with slender 3-1/4" diameter
- It has a flat top design for stability when changing bits
- It has an all ball bearing construction for longer tool life
- You get the router, a plunge base, a 1/2" collet, a 1/4" collet with nut, a 2-1/2" clear sub-base, wrenches and a tool case
- Measures 22 x 14 x 7 inches and weighs 20 pounds
This is another popular choice for some people. It is certainly been built to last thanks to the ball bearing construction. The fixed base has industrial cam-lock for fast and easy depth adjustment.
No 5 - Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
- This is a popular buy especially for Triton brand lovers
- You use a single button to switch from a conventional plunge to a fixed-base router
- There is a micro winder that enables continuous fine depth adjustment through the full plunge mode
- It has a soft start and variable speeds
- There are side air vents that reduce the intake of dust into the motor casings
- Comes with a table height winder, ½” & ¼” collets. a multi-function fence and collet wrench
Many buyers like and trust the reliable Triton brand. This is a work horse of a router that is easy to set up and also very easy to adjust and use.
No 6 - Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router (Variable Speed)
- This plunge router has a very powerful 15.0 AMP motor
- It can deliver 9,000-22,000 RPM for smooth routing
- It has a 0" - 2-3/4" plunge depth capacity
- It also has electronic speed control that maintains constant speed under load
- It also has a variable speed control dial
- It has a soft start feature for smooth start-ups
- It has an electric brake
- It is made using linear ball bearings for smooth plunge action and superior performance
This is a good high quality router and the only real disadvantage is the higher price point. Many buyers don't mind paying the extra amount for this as they like the Makita brand.
No 7 - Bosch Colt 1-Horsepower 5.6 Amp Electronic Variable-Speed Palm Router PR20EVS
- This is a Bosch palm router with a 1.0-Horsepower 5.6 amp variable speed motor
- Has speeds from 16,000 - 35,000 rpm
- This one provides a straight edge guide to lead router along edges of work piece or up to 3-5/8 inch from edge.
- It has an aluminum fixed base
- It has fast and precise depth adjustment system
- It has a fixed base that accepts bits up to 1-5/16-inch in diameter.
- Also has a versatile bit-changing system allows for fast, easy bit changes using two wrenches or spindle lock and one wrench
Many buyers say that this is a small compact router is much easier to use than a normal larger router. It is fast to set up even when changing bases.
No 8 - Hitachi KM12VC 2-1/4 Peak HP Variable Speed Fixed/Plunge Base Router Kit
- This router kit has a 1 Amp motor (2-1/4 Peak Horsepower), for precise, controlled cuts
- It has a 2-stage motor release clamp, for quick and accurate depth adjustments
- It also has an electronic speed control, maintains constant RPMs even as load varies
- Comes with a 1/2" collet chuck, a 1/4" collet chuck, a template guide adapter, a centering gauge, a 16 mm wrench, a 23 mm wrench, a 4 mm hex bar wrench, a sub base plate, a hex socket and a case
Some buyers do prefer the Hitachi brand and this is the best of that brand's offers. There are a few complaints about the motor burning out after a few months. Generally speaking though the reviews are good without being exceptional.
No 9 - Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial
- This is from the popular Festool brand.
- This one has integrated dust extraction ports
- It also has a swiveling chip deflector
- This router can be used with edge forming bits, maximizing chip and dust extraction even around curves and corners.
- It has a tool-free spring clip system
- This has been designed for use with the FS Guide Rail system, MFS multi-routing templates, and a wide range of other accessory options
- There is a dial that allows routing with tremendous precision; depth control to 1/256"
This is at the high end of the router market, and these routers are expensive. They are however high quality and buyers who are willing to spend the extra money will certainly reap the benefits in the long run.
No 10 - Bosch 120-Volt 2.3 HP Electronic Plunge Base Router MRP23EVS
- This is a plunge base router features a powerful 15 amp motor which produces 10000 - 25000 RPM
- The router has a trigger control system
- The bit depth adjustment allows for easy and precise adjustments at any plunge setting
- It also has a variable speed dial that helps the user match the speed to the material
- It has a spring lock plunge lever and depth rod
- It operates at a constant speed throughout the span of the cut
- There is an always-on LED light for enhanced visibility
There are some buyers for this router and some people do lke the brand.
Wood Router Buying Guide
If you have any type of interest in wood working, then a wood router we believe is an essential tool to own..
The right router along with a good router table and a good set of bits opens up a whole new world of woodworking possibilities
What Is a Wood Router Used For?
When you have had enough practise then your skilled hands along with the right router and bits can easily make intricate complex designs. You can also easily create shaped wooden edging.
There are many possibilities which also include hollowing out grooves, making joints, and many more.
The most popular task is cutting grooves and a good router should give you the ability to adjust the depth of cut up or down, and to be able to quickly install bits of different sizes and shapes.
This simple combination allows material to be removed that way you want.
You can use it to cut and shape the tails of a dovetail joint, to quickly make tongue-and-groove joints, and also to do mortises and tenons.
There are a lot of routers available on the market. That can make it difficult to pick the one that’s right for you. By understanding a few key features, we hope to provide you with the information needed to make your decision a little easier.
Any selection that you finally make should always be based on what jobs you plan on using it for. Ask yourself this most important question, “Exactly, what do I want to do with my router?"
Where Can You Buy Wood Routers?
You can get routers in many DIY and tool stores. Personally we recommend that you should visit those stores and get the tool into your hand. We believe that when buying anything over $100, that you should want to hold it in your hand, and get a real feel for it.
You get a much netter sense of what it is really going to be like. Now if you are simply looking for a replacement, then you will already be knowledgeable in exactly what you are looking for. If that is the case, then most likely, there is no need to visit a tool store.
You can of course buy these at hardware stores, all tool stores, home improvement warehouses, and at some department stores who carry a range of tools and equipment.
Getting buying advice there though we have found to be pretty poor. The people who work in these bigger stores are not all wood workers, and as such we have always found their knowledge to be very limited.
Once you have held the product and narrowed it down to the one you prefer, then do a good search online in places like eBay or Amazon and see if you can find the best price available at the time.
At the end of the day the product is the same no matter where you buy it from. All you need is the best price and to understand the guarantee and warranty on the product.
For routers and bits we usually just go online to get those as and when we need them.
What Types of Router Are Available – What’s the Difference in Them?
If you are an experienced woodworker, then please feel free to skip this section. For those new to these types of tools, or someone wanting to investigate further, then we would recommend spending some time reading this important information.
If you can improve your knowledge o the various types of woodworking routers and the important router bits, then you can make a much better choice as to what tasks and types of work you can complete.
There is a lot to know about these types of router, and it is really important to understand that so as you do not end up buying the wrong one.
There are three basic types of woodworking routers on the market. These are:
- Plunge routers
- Fixed Base routers
- Combination Routers
A combination router is simply a combination of a fixed and a plunge style, where you can swap between both, and gives you two routers with one base.
Understanding the Different Types of Woodworking Routers for Beginners
The actual way the router has been designed will determine the type of jobs for which the router is best suited.
Below I have explained in careful detail the basic principles of router design. This includes their construction and how they are engineered
The actual design is not a complex one. We have listed the parts below and explained each part and what it is used for.
Understanding Router Design
Router Case or Housing
There is a case which simply acts as a housing for the motor. The job of the case is to insulate the motor to prevent electrical shocks, and to protect you from the spinning parts of the motor.
In most brands of router there will be an aluminium case with a hard plastic top. There will also be two handles, usually made of plastic, and those allow you to control the movement of the router. Some brands like Bosch may use wooden handles on the base.
The All Important Motor
This is of course the power house behind the router. Any router is only as good as the motor that drives it. These are measured in horse power (HP) and a crude way of understanding what that means, is the higher the HP, the more powerful the motor.
Routers come with different sizes of horsepower (HP) motors: The most popular router motors are 7/8 HP, 1 HP, 1.25 HP, 1.5 HP, 1.75 HP, 2 HP, 2.25 and 3.5 HP
Many manufacturers such as Makita and Dewalt have released what are called brushless motors. The principle behind these is that they no longer use brushes inside the motor.
For many years brushes were used in most motors to drive the motor and spin it around. The problem with these small brushes is that as they can arc quite a lot, and over time they will burn out. That means the brushes need to be replaced.
Replacement brushes can be hard to find, and tricky to fit into place. It can be so difficult sometimes that most people end up throwing their old router out and getting a new one. It is also really hard these days to find someone with the right skills to do this.
Even when you do, the cost of paying them is almost if not even higher than getting a new one. The brushless motors are designed to last much longer and is certainly something any new buyer should consider.
Almost all wood routers come with a feature known as variable speed. This simply offers you the end user a great deal more control when doing your work. The speeds vary from 8,000 to 30,000 rpm. The speed always depends on the router size and the horsepower of the motor.
This is a metal clamping sleeve whose job it is to hold the bit in place right at the base of the router. The router platform is either a fixed attachment or a spring-loaded base as is the case with a plunge router.
Some very common sizes are 6 mm, 1/4 in, 8 mm, 10 mm, 12 mm, and 1/2 in.
Quality woodworking routers have measurement scales that allow the user to precisely set the depth of the router bit without performing a manual measurement.
Plunge Routers vs Fixed Base Routers vs Combo Routers – The Key Differences
In this section we explain the key differences between the two main types of routers.
Plunge Routers Explained
These bases are ideal for jobs like blind grooves, dado cuts and mortising operations.
You can then change the bit depth while the router is running by unlocking the depth release and moving the base in or out.
One very distinct difference, and for me a huge advantage is that you can start a cut in the middle of a piece of wood instead of the edge.
Overall this plunge router style is more versatile to the user. The downside is that they are more difficult to learn to use, and they generally cost more than a fixed base router.
Fixed Base Routers Explained
This is known as the standard base. They get this name because they basically have fixed handles on opposite sides of the base for holding and guiding the router.
They can be mounted to a router table. It is worth noting however that they are very limited to edge routing applications. This fixed base is ideal for tasks that require dovetail and box joint jigs.
They usually have a ring-style depth adjustment. Just be aware that you have to set the depth of the blade prior to use.
This can then not be adjusted when the router is running. When an adjustment is required, that is normally done by twisting the housing to screw or unscrew the router in the base.
That allows you to move the router bit up and down. These are much easier to use than plunge routers, and that of course makes it ideal for beginners. In almost all cases this type of router will be permanently fitted to a router table
Combination (Combo) Routers Explained
This is the best of both types of router. There is a base and then you can add to that either a fixed option, or a plunge style. The head of the router is quickly and simply changed so as it can be used in either style.
These are becoming very popular for those who need a router to do a variety of work. It also helps keep the price down as when you are buying a combo, it will always be a cheaper option than buying two separate routers.
What Router Accessories Are Available?
There are a lot of accessories available and it really does depend on the work that you plan on doing. I have listed these below, but please be aware, it is unlikely that you will need all of these:
- Router Tables
- Router Bits
- Edge Guides
- Dust Collection
- Sub Bases
- Jigs and Clamps
A selection of router bits – everyone will need a good selection of these. The types that you need will of course depend on what work you plan to do. You will however at least need all of the common sizes
Router Tables Explained
Strictly speaking you don’t need to have one of these. It does however make it very handy to do work if you do own one. The key purpose of a router table is to allow your wood router to be attached to the table with the bit up.
When the router is being used, the wood slides easily across the top of the table and on top of the blade or bit. There are two choices of tables available:
The table-top style that you can set right on your existing workbench
There is also a free-standing style router table
You can of course make your own as well if you prefer to do that and save yourself some money.
Inverting Router Tables
There are also special tables available so as you can mount your router in an inverted position. This is good for two reasons. The first is that it greatly increases the routing possibilities, and secondly it is also much safer for you the end user.
In addition to that they are extremely useful when you are using large cutters. This type of inverted router table usually has some form of guard, adjustable fences, cross-grain molding guide and safety clamps and fences.