Best wood router manufacturers doubled their sales in 2017 due to increased consumer demand. The best wood router have enhanced features that increased woodworkers' problem solving ability. Routers are the most versatile tool because it can make a quick groove cut in any wood surface.
This best wood router guide has a series of woodworking router reviews. We tailored them to help you find your best wood router. We help you find a router that will assist you complete your projects. Create perfect cutting patterns, flawless rabbets, and dado.
Best Wood Router
Best Wood Router
Here are recommendations of our best wood routers during 2017:
Winner: Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router
We rank the Bosch 1617EVSPK first on our list of best wood routers. We have many reasons for making that finding. First, it has a strong motor of 3.25 HP. That motor runs at a full speed and it can support variable speed ranges.
One thing that sets this device apart is its ergonomic handles. The cheaper models tend to be more dangerous to use because the handles are too light in the user’s hands. The Bosch 1617EVSPK thick rubber padding assists your control the fast processing speed. The padding stops it slipping out of your hands or feeling too much vibration.
This model has a Constant Response Circuitry. This allows the machine to keep a constant speed when routing through material. You’ll like this router if you want something that’s quick. It can respond to your motions to protect yourself during an emergency.
This is a top of the line router that’s easy for novice woodworkers to use. Woodworkers like this router; it can switch from fixed bases to a plunge within seconds. Since it requires no tools to install, you’ll be able to use this router immediately after unboxing it.
We found it on Amazon at a price of $225.00.
When it comes to safety, the Bosch 1617EVSPK has a Soft Start Feature. This prevents electrical surges from destroying the internal system when operating the router. This feature avoids sudden shutdowns, or random increases in speed. You can adjust your bit range to ¼, ½, ⅜, and 8mm bits.
We found some negative consumer reports about this router. One for example stated that its C-ring was weak and less stable than competing machines. The comment said the router’s C-ring could tend to fall off and break when it's on the routing table.
We found the Bosch 1617EVSPK is be good value and a solid router for woodwork. This is an entry-level router. This router will help you complete your projects. It will save you money in the long run.
Runner-Up Best Wood Router: Makita RT0701C Wood Router
The Makita RT0701C has a 6 ½ amp motor that has enough power to fit through any bit. Its light weight of 3.9 lbs means woodworkers are able to hold and use the device with one hand.
Every version of this model includes a metal parallel guide. It works by mounting on the back of your base with a thumb screw. There is a second thumb that extends from the fence to the center axis. With this setup, the router can make cuts by up to 3 ½ “ on the edge of the board.
When in use, this router has the highest level of cutting accuracy. The bit spins at the center plate at a perpendicular angle. The router’s motor will cut through hard wood. This is a productive tool with ample speed to work. We have found it on Amazon at a price around $105.
The mechanism in the RT0701C for adjusting its depth setting is better. A lever placed on the front of the base releases the compression fit between the motor and the base of the unit. It’s controlled by a rack and pinion mechanism that helps the router move through objects with ease.
This router has a spindle lock that simplifies the bit changes. It has a red button placed near the collet lock into the spindle. With a quick turn, you can use the wrench to release the bit. Makita offers users the choice to use the adjustable wrench or use a spindle lock to aid you on your projects.
In consumer wood router reviews, there were concerns expressed with the router’s low HP. With only 1.25 HP, its unsuited to work on heavy duty projects needing a fast processing speed. We say that you would use this machine for material preparation and for simple tasks.
The Makita RT0701C is the best woodworking router for angled cutting. You’ll like the router because it has the durability to create precise cuts for years of usage. This handheld router will be a mobile, efficient, and durable workshop tool.
Best Wood Router Alternative: DEWALT DW616 Wood Router
Ranked third in the best wood router list is the DEWALT D2616 Router. The Dewalt router has two wrenches, two ½ and 1/4th collets, a fixed base, user manual and a sub-base gauge.
From our wood router comparisons, we’ve found out that the DEWALT D2615 Router has a Lexan sub-base. That gives it a great level of control, visibility, and durability. You will like this router because of its ability to work with template grade bushings.
The DEWALT D2616 has a dust-sealed switch. It may seem trivial to some but for woodworkers who work in loud and crowded areas the switch has benefits. You’ll be able to remove dust when handling wood. That will save you time cleaning up debris during the project.
Workers liked this router because of its depth adjustments and precision. You can adjust it to 1/64 inch increments. Plus, it features a concentricity gauge at the sub-base of the router. This increases the D2616’s accuracy. That feature allows you to create more precise cuts than competing devices. We have found this router on Amazon at a price around $127.
You’ll like this router because of its 11 Amp motor. This woodworking router tool has enough grunt to cut through tough hardwood surfaces. It is two times faster than competing routers. For router buyers who want a fast motor that doesn’t show gaps in speed, this is the right tool for you.
People didn't like the friction clamp’s lack of security. You can lock it completely tight, but some users reported it vibrated open while in operation. If this happens for you, you’ll have to replace the clamp to prevent any injuries from using the router.
We say the DEWALT D2616 is in the list of best wood routers for the money. Its ease of use is one of its most defining features as it takes no longer than 30 minutes to get started. Due to its longer switch life, it’s a popular choice amongst first time and experienced buyers.
How To Choose The Best Wood Router
There are wood routers in the market that are faulty, inefficient, or ineffective. They don’t provide the desired results woodworkers want. They’ll cut through wood, but they won’t create the correct shape. Or they don't have enough HP and speed to deal with your range of materials.
You have to be careful when shopping for wood routers online. Our suggestion is to search for them based on the necessary features you require (fast motor, enhanced safety features, expanded work space, etc.).
After that, look at some consumer router tools reviews. This source provides third party opinion from others that have used the product. Use those insights, your research, and check the features of each router. That approach will ensure you’ll make a good router investment.
Pay Attention When Choosing Your Tool: What's The Best Wood Router?
Look through the specs of many routers before buying your first wood router. Doing this allows you to find the correct router for your project requirements. Here are some specs you may want to consider:
Your wood router power's correlated to its motor rating. Router motors tend to be in the range of 1.5HP- 5HP. How it performs depends on the tool's age, build quality and manufacturer’s design. That’s why it’s important to look at the power of your motor before you start shopping.
As a rule of thumb, you want to have a smaller HP motor if you’re attempting to do light work or want to use a handheld router. But if you’re planning on cutting through metal or strong forms of hardwood you need more power. Make sure the power of your motor is right for your task. You’ll need a 3-5 HP motor for speed to ensure that you’ll finish the project.
The main difference between a plunge and fixed base is their cutting position. A plunge based router has a preset cutting setting that the user can toggle through. Fixed base routers have a constant position. If say you place the router at a depth at ½ inches, it will protrude ½ inches past the base until you change the depth again. Use fixed based positions for cutting where you need a specific setting to make precise cuts.
Router novices should get a plunge based router. It offers more versatility and options than a fixed base router. And, you can lock the device so it can act as a fixed base router. Once you’re used to using a plunge based router, switch to a fixed base router for more precision work.
If possible, find a kit that has both plunge and fixed base routing options. This will give you the most utility from one router. That option might be a more expensive one. At least you’ll be able to finish more projects with 'both' machines in your tool arsenal.
Previous Wood Working Experience
Your skill level plays a large role on what woodworking router you need to buy. Beginners need to get a router that has the most safety features available.
For instance, always look for a router that has a guard. If your router doesn’t have one, buy an aftermarket guard and fit it.
You may do a safe confident cut as a guard allows you to cut without having your fingers injured. You don't want fingers to hit the bolt under the router. This could slice your hand and cause a serious injury.
With router experience, buy a router that has a fast RPM and a motor speed of 3 HP or higher. Your previous router cutting experience will have taught you to hold on the router. With good dexterity in your hands you hold the router tight and make clean cuts with one motion.
Variable Speed Dial
The best router tools allow you to run the router’s motor at a fast speed when doing quick cutting projects. But, you can also adjust it to a lower setting when using large bits. The router device has a speed dial that allows you to find set a relative speed.
Make sure you’re able to use the chart displaying the RPM speed settings. It’s located on the right of the router and tells you how to use the desired speed setting to its recommended bit. If it’s not there, then check for the RPM speed in your router’s instruction manual.
We believe that the best wood router is the Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router. We also see the DEWALT DW616 as a winner. These routers have great depth adjustments. The DEWALT DW616 has an 11 amp motor, and a dust-sealed switch to remove debris from your station.
For novice and experienced woodworkers, these routers will reduce project time by half. Even with regular use routers give useful service upwards of 4 years.
Do you have any experience or comments using any of the devices above? Leave a comment below.