Last updated on February 19th, 2018 at 11:48 pm
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Looking for the best wood router? Luckily you are on the right page.
A woodworking router is an indispensable tool to any carpenter, cabinet maker and other woodworking experts out there.
Even as DIYer, a wood router is one tool you cannot afford not to have. But what’s so special about it?
A woodworking router allows you to perform many wood working functions. You can hollow out wooden surfaces with a wood router. You can even trim pieces of paneling so they fit other pieces with a wood router.
Finding the best wood router is a lot of stress as there are many brands and types. This wood router reviews, guide, comparison, and recommendation will save you research time, money and effort. Best of all, you’d become a router guru at the end of our guide.
So read on!
What is a Wood Router?
A wood router is a power tool used to hollow out (rout out) an area on the surface of a wooden material. Routing is a high speed technique for cutting, trimming and shaping hard materials like wood, plastic, metals etc.
A qualtiy or best wood router and a good set of bits will allow any woodworker (both professional and DIYer) to shape, trim and cut wood in a large variety of ways. You can make intricate designs, rout out grooves, make joints, shape wood along edges and more with just a this routers.
How does a Wood Router Works?
Before you start dreaming up the wonderful things you can make with your router, here’s how it works:
A woodworking router usually consists of a base. This base houses a vertically mounted electric motor with a type of chuck known as a collet. The cutting tool (known as a wood router bit) can be height adjusted.
The bit protrudes via an opening in the flat sole plate (base plate). You can adjust the height of the bit by adjusting the height of the vertically mounted motor. You control the router via knobs on either side of the tool or the handle (more tools use a D-handle).
The wood router bit is the cutting tool in the router. It is connected to and powered by the vertically mounted motor. The type of work you want to do determines the kind of bit you’d need e.g. using a dado bit will make a boxed groove on wood. Most bits are made of high-speed steel or carbide-tipped materials or even full carbide.
Why buy a Wood Router?
Why should you buy a wood router? These reasons might convince you or better yet, strength your decision to get one.
Buying a wood router is more cost effective at the end of the day. If you’re a home repair enthusiast, it makes more sense to buy one than hire one every time you need to do some repairs or re-modeling. As a professional carpenter or cabinet maker, owning one is a big investment. It would pay for itself as you would use it to earn.
You can cut, shape and trim wood with your router. Also, you can make different designs on wood with one wood router. All you have to do is change bits. There are just many applications for a wood router. You can make and laminate panels, make notches and more with just this one tool.
Having the right tool for the job is important. You can’t always get away with using a drill for tasks that are suited to a wood router. It would save you time, effort and stress of maneuvering if you use a router for many of your wood working tasks.
Types of Wood Working router
There are basically two types of wood routers. They are:
Plunge Wood router
This is a wood router whose base plate is spring loaded. This allows the router to be lowered down onto the work surface. You can set the base at a particular depth depending on the type of task you have at hand.
One of the advantages of the plunge wood router is the fact that you can change router bit depth while working. All you have to do is just unlock the depth release. Also, plunge wood routers make can make cuts in the middle of the work surface. Plunge routers are usually heavier and more expensive than their fixed base counterparts.
Fixed Base Wood router
This model works best when it is fitted onto a router table. They work great for tasks that require edge cuts and straight line precision. The fixed based wood router is lighter in weight than the plunge wood routers.
During use, a fixed base wood router’s bit cannot be adjusted. Once you set it before you begin, you can only adjust it when you turn it off. You adjust your bit in most fixed models by twisting the housing of the motor to screw or unscrew the wood router.
It is also worth noting that there are Combo Wood routers. These routers come with both the plunge and fixed base plates. You just move the motor from one base to the other. The advantage of the combo wood router is that you can perform tasks suited to the two kinds of wood routers.
NB: Your wood routers can be mounted on a table or work bench.
Best Wood Router Brands
All brands of wood routers tout themselves as the best on the market. This claim makes choosing a wood router really hard. To help you choose, we have chosen top brands who always deliver on quality. They include:
- Bosch Wood routers: When it comes to the manufacture of wood routers, this German company is one of the best. They have been in business since 1886. The Bosch 1617EVSPK is one of their most popular products.
- Skil Wood routers: When this brand says they make the best wood routers out there, it’s best to believe them. They have been in business for over 90 years. The Skil 1830 is one of their popular wood routers.
- Porter-Cable Wood routers: If you’re looking for innovation and quality, Porter-Cable is one brand you can trust. They have been making one of the best wood routers on the market for over a century. The 690LR is one of their many wood routers.
- Black and Decker Wood routers: This American Company has been in the business of manufacturing wood routers for over a century. The Black & Decker RP250 is one of the many good wood routers from this brand.
- DeWalt Wood routers: For over 90 years, DeWalt has been at the forefront of innovation in wood router and other power tool manufacturing business. The DW616 is one of their top products from their wood router range.
Choosing the Best Wood Router – Factors you should consider!
Here are some important factors you must consider before you buy a woodworking router: if you want the best wood router, don’t fail to consider these factors
Most wood routers have motors measured in horsepower (hp). Typical wood routers are rated from 1.5 hp and above. Depending on your task, go for wood routers with horsepower above 2 hp. They can handle heavy duty work without breaking down.
The durability of your router depends on its component materials. The best wood routers are the ones with all metal transmission and magnesium gear housing. They tend to last longer than those without.
Also, consider the material your router bit is made of. Bits made of carbide are stronger than carbide tipped ones.
The ability to vary the speed of your woodworking router according to the task at hand is an important factor. Go for routers that come with variable speed control. This will offer you better flexibility in use.
Your wood router is a power tool generating lots of torque. A safety switch or mechanism is an essential feature. Apart from preventing damage to your wood work, a safety switch will also protect you. Some brands come with a mechanism that shuts off the engine once you remove your hand from the trigger switch. This is also an important safety feature.
Most manufacturers add the term “ergonomic design” to every product. What you really should look out for is weight, vibration and grip. The grip/handle should be soft. Also, the best wood router shouldn’t jerk off your arms with its vibration. Basically, a light weight router with soft grip and little vibration is what you should be aiming for.
This is another important factor. The motor in your wood router produces massive amounts of torque, a soft start is essential. A soft start means your motor gradually starts up. This means a misplaced work piece would not be ruined. Go for brands that offer this feature.
Like we always say, the warranty is the manufacturer’s seal of trust on their product. Brands will longer warranty will save you more money in the long run. This is because you can change parts for free or at reduced price under the warranty.
Comparison of the 5 Best Wood Router
Before, we go straight to the review, here is a comparison of the 5 best Wood Router we reviewed below!
|Wood Router||Bosch 1617EVSK||DeWalt DW618PKB||Porter-Cable 690LR||Black&Decker RP250||Bosch MRC23EVSK|
|Dimensions (inches||18.9 x 10 x 6.8||15.9 x 24 x9.1||10 x 10 x 8||11.5 x 6.6 x11.9||9.6 x 15.2 x 22.6|
|Number of collect||4||2||2||1||2|
|Collect size (inches)||1/2, 1/4, 3/8, 5/16||1/2, 1/4||1/2, 1/4||1/4 only||1/2, 1/4|
|Plunge Stroke (inches||2||2-1/2"||1/128||2||2|
|Spindle Lock Position||10||10||10||12||10|
Here are our 5 best wood routers out of the 15 we tested. This would hopefully help you narrow down your search and research time:
The FIVE Best Wood Router Reviews
Here are our 5 best wood routers out of the 15 we compared/tested. This would hopefully help you narrow down your search. You should not be wrong if you consider any of this.
1, Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Review
Bosch is one brand known for manufacturing the best wood routers on the market. Bosch 1617EVSPK is no exception. It absolutely delivers.
This is a combo router: it has a 6 inch fixed base and a 6-11/16 inch plunge base. It has a 12 amp motor. Its motor has an output of 2.25 hp. That’s more than enough power to tackle any wood working task you’ve got.
The 1617EVSPK comes with an electronic variable speed switch. Its speed ranges from 8,000 RPM to the highest RPM of 25,000. Its trigger switch is on both the left- and right-side for easy reach.
Both bases and the motor housing on the wood router are made of aluminum. It has a soft grip handle on the plunge base. It has a micro depth adjustment which is accurate to 1/64 inches.
Bosch 1617EVSPK comes with self-releasing collet chucks of 1/2 and 1/4 inches respectively. This woodworking wood router has three size wrenches for bit changing and height adjustment.The wood router also has chip shield for both its bases.
Weighing 19.5, the 1617EVSPK is well balanced and very compact. The dust-proof trigger switch is a huge bonus on this wood router.We love the constant response circuitry on Bosch 1617EVSPK. It allows you maintain a constant speed while you work.
The downside to this wood router comes from changing bases. If you’re not careful when aligning the motor and any of the bases, the sharp guide pin will scratch up your motor. So be very careful in aligning your motor and base properly during change.
All in all, the Bosch 1617EVSPK is a great wood router. It is perfect for carpenters, cabinet makers and any DIYer serious about accuracy in their work and working with larger cutting fields. It would be foolhardy to buy another.
2, DeWalt DW618PKB Wood router Review
Coming in at number two on our best wood router reviews is the DeWalt DW618PKB. This is a quality product from the DeWalt brand. Here’s why we love it:
DeWalt DW618PKB is a combo wood router: it has both a fixed base and plunge base. This combo wood router has a 12 amp motor. Its motor has an output of 2.25 hp. Not to sound too excited, but we love the output on this wood router.
The DW618PKB comes with an electronic variable speed switch. Its speed ranges from 8,000 RPM to 24,000 RPM. It has a soft start designed to reduce start-up torque for better control and safety.
Both the bases and motor housing are made of die-cast aluminum. This is designed to be both lightweight and durable. It has a micro fine depth adjustment ring that gives precise adjustment in 1/64 inch increments.
DeWalt DW618PKB has 1/2- and 1/4-inch self-releasing collet. A wrench for changing bits is also included. Its collets have 8 slots for better bit retention and release as well as 5 turret stops for repeat plunge cuts.
Weighing 18.4 lbs, the DW618PKB is hefty and well balanced. It is perfect for working on a table (fixed base) or just by itself (plunge base). Its steel motor cam locks makes for easy and quick depth adjustment and base changes.
We love the full feedback control. This feature enables constant speed as you work. The dust collector adaptor is an excellent addition; no more dust obstructing the view as you work.
Only thing we didn’t like about this wood router was that it came with no centering cone. The centering cone is important when adjusting the base center to bits.
DeWalt DW618PKB is a great woodworking wood router. It delivers on safety, efficiency and better productivity (with two collet sizes). Any cabinet maker, re-modeller and carpenter worth their salt would definitely buy this wood router.
3, Porter-Cable 690LR Wood router Review
Porter-Cable 690LR is a fixed base wood router. It has an 11 amp motor capable of producing 1.75 hp. Not as powerful as the other motors, but this wood router can still hold its own in the workshop.
The 690LR has a single speed of 27,500 RPM. Precision cuts are the name of the game on this wood router. It has a dust sealed trigger switch.
Motor housing and base of the 690LR are made of aluminium. This is designed to be both super lightweight and durable. It has a micro fine depth adjuster that is accurate to 1/128 inches.
Porter-Cable 690LR has self-releasing collets of 1/2 and 1/4 inches respectively. It comes with a two-wrench system for changing bits. It has a cam-lock lever for simple height adjustment.
This same cam-lock lever is also responsible for motor release. This means you can buy other bases and use with this wood router. Because this wood router can be table mounted, it comes with an under table stop to prevent the motor from accidentally rotating off the base.
Weighing just 8 lbs, the Porter-Cable 690LR is truly lightweight and compact. It is well balanced and performs really well.It also comes with a 6 foot power cord.
One of the issues we had with this wood router was the placement of the ON/OFF switch. You have to remove your hand from the handle in order to turn this wood router off. Also, we wish it came with variable speed control.
Other than these, the Porter-Cable 690LR is an excellent wood router. Hobbyists, DIYers and Professional woodworkers who want the best in precision cuts and efficiency won’t go wrong with this router.
4, Black & Decker RP250 Wood router Review
Black & Decker has been making some of the best wood routers on the market for years. Their product, Black & Decker RP250 is one we can’t wait to tell you about.
Black& Decker RP250 is a plunge wood router. This router has a 10 amp motor. Its motor has an output of 1.6 hp giving you more than enough power for many woodworking tasks.
The RP250 comes with an electronic variable speed switch. Its speed ranges from 8,000 RPM to the highest RPM of 27,000. It has a trigger switch with a lock-on button.
This wood router has a self-releasing collet of 1/4 inch. The Black& Decker RP250 has a wrench and spindle lock for easy change of bits. The wood router also has chip shield for its base.
Black& Decker RP250 has a soft start mechanism. This is designed to gradually build start-up torque and allow for better control. It also comes with an adjustable parallel edge guide.
B&D plunge wood router has a plunge depth of 58 mm. It comes with a viewing window for better visibility of work piece. A vacuum adapter to remove all the dust generated during work is another feature that makes this woodworking router amazing.
Black& Decker RP250 weighs just 10.4 lbs. It has a height adjustment that is accurate to within 1/16 inches. It also comes with an easy depth scale for convenience and accuracy.
One of the things we didn’t like about the Black& Decker RP250 is that it doesn’t come with the 1/2 inch collet. Also, the plastic shield makes changing bits a huge pain. We ended up removing ours just to avoid the stress.
Other than these two things, Black& Decker RP250 is a good woodworking router. It offers more and it’s the tool that all hobbyists and home owners should keep around!
5, Bosch MCR23EVSK Wood router Reviews
Last but definitely not the least on our best wood router guide is Bosch MCR23EVSK. This is another great product from the Bosch brand. Here’s why we think so.
Bosch MCR23EVSK is also combo route: it has both a fixed- and a plunge base. This combo wood working router has a 15 amp motor. Its motor has an output of 2.3 hp. It delivers enough power for tackling most woodworking applications.
The MRC23EVSPK comes with an electronic variable speed switch. Its speed ranges from 10,000 RPM to the highest RPM of 25,000. It has a trigger switch located in the handle for better control.
Both bases and the motor housing on the wood router are made of aluminium. It has a soft grip handle on the plunge base.Bosch MCR23EVSK has an Afterlock micro fine depth adjustment for easy and precise plunge setting.
Self-releasing collet chucks of 1/2 and 1/4 inches respectively are included in this wood router. This woodworking router has three size wrenches for bit changing and height adjustment. It also has soft start mechanism.
Weighing just 9.3lbs, the MRC23EVSK is truly compact and light weight. It is perfect for working on a table (fixed base) or just by itself (plunge base). We love that a deluxe edge guide that comes with this wood router.
One of the things we didn’t like about this wood router was the jerky plunge. Maybe we tested a defective model. Also, there was no chip shield. It’s a must have feature in every wood router for us.
We know that no wood router can be perfect but the Bosch MRC23EVSPK comes close. It is efficient, accurate and offers a wider range of cutting fields. It is an excellent wood router for professional woodworkers (carpenters, re-modelers, cabinet makers etc.) out there. Buying other wood routers would be pure foolishness.
Congratulations for making it to the end of our wood router reviews. We hope we’ve armed you with enough knowledge to buy the best wood router out there. However, if you’re still unsure, here are some few recommendations:
- If you’re looking for the best contractor wood router, we’d recommend the Bosch 1617EVSPK Awesome power enough to handle any hardwood.
- If you want the best wood router for beginners, try the Porter-Cable 690LR. It is a router you can learn with as well as handle most woodworking tasks.
- The best budget wood router on our woodworking router reviews is the DeWalt DW618PKB. You can never go wrong with DeWalt.
If you have further questions, leave us a comment and we’d get back to you.