While woodworkers are used to the overall process of crafting wood, it’s still tedious to take the wood router off the table every time they need to make bit adjustments. If you’re one of those who aren’t a fan of the extra work of constantly moving your heavy wood routers whenever you change a bit, the router lift might just be the added tool you need.
Router lifts are often not on the priority list when you’re buying a wood router and its accessories. However, it’s considered a must-have by most because of the advantages it gives. For one, it lets you use your wood router with improved versatility. You can also change or adjust bits without manually removing the router or fixing it under the table. Router lifts help you work faster with your cuts being more precise and accurate.
So, what’s the best router lift option do you have? We’ve got the answer! Jessem is one of the leading brands that manufacture some of the best router lifts in the industry. And in this article, we’re going to help you decide which Jessem router lift is fit for your crafting needs.
Additionally, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on buying a router lift, mainly talking about the factors you need to consider when purchasing one. Let’s get started!
Factors to Consider When Getting a Router Lift
Like wood routers and other accessories, there’s a wide array of router lift options you might encounter. While we’re already recommending you a few Jessem router lifts, this guide will still help you out when you want to make future purchases. Make sure that you check out the following points:
One of the factors you must first look into is the material used for the router lift construction. You want to have a lift that’s made of a solid material that can withstand minimal to harsh wood routing procedures. Router lifts are either made of steel, cast-iron, aluminum, or plastic.
Plastics and alloys make weak lift constructions and can compromise your router’s accuracy because they can’t resist high vibration rates. You might want to go for the ones composed of steel, aluminum, or cast-iron as those are proven to be more durable.
Router lifts typically utilize two different kinds of height adjustment mechanisms: the thumbwheel and the crank handle. You need to turn the crank to adjust the router; this system lets you work smoothly and accurately. On the other hand, the thumbscrew provides you with much better precision when fixing the bit height.
While both mechanisms offer great advantages, it’s your preference that counts in this factor. Choose the router lift that gives you the adjustment system you can easily rely on.
Ball Bearing Mechanism
A ball bearing acts as a support mechanism for router lifts to adjust your router’s height up and down smoothly. Ensure that the router lift you’re getting has a ball bearing for smoother and more accurate adjustments.
Plunge Type and Compatibility
Generally, router lifts are specifically designed to cater to fixed plunge wood routers. The plunge is your router’s part that’s to be fixed on the router lift. Ensure that the plunge of your router fits perfectly in the lift. You can also refer to your wood router’s technical specifications and see if they match with the router lift you’re opting to buy.
Number of Adapters
If you use multiple wood routers in each project, you might want to get a router lift with multiple adapters and insert holes; this way, you’ll avoid wasting time and money when you buy a new lift for your other routers.
Our Recommendations for JessEm Router Lifts
The Rout-R-Lift is often compared to JessEm’s Mast-R-Lift because of its similarities in terms of features, only with a much more affordable price. The router lift is made of aluminum with a phenolic top plate, making it durable and stable enough. It also provides you with a range of 5 styles that can cater to more flexible bit height adjustments depending on the wood router and tool diameter you’re going to use.
The Rout-R-Lift boasts of a double-sealed ball bearing mechanism that allows you to move your router so smoothly that you don’t have to exert much force in raising and lowering it. The unit also utilizes a shaft mount hydraulic system, guaranteeing that you won’t need to use bent wrenches for bit changes.
JessEm Mast-R-Lift II
The Mast-R-Lift is surely a JessEm classic router lift, and it’s considered to be a crowd favorite. One of its winning features is its built-in locking mechanism that secures the motor as you work even in harsh and complicated project conditions. Like the previous lift, this unit also comes with a double-sealed ball bearing that allows you to raise and lower your router very smoothly.
The Mast-R-Lift is made of solid aluminum, making it durable enough to be used on heavy wood routing work. The lift also has an added tension on its spindle; this significantly reduces the vibration and backlash made during the routing process. Note that it fits a wide variety of fixed-base routers, including those from DeWalt, Bosch, Craftsman, Porter-Cable, and Makita.
JessEm Rout-R-Lift II
This package contains the same Rout-R-Lift model we reviewed first in the list; the difference with this one is that it comes with a 10-piece insert ring kit and caddy.
The set provides you with lots of options, allowing you to use both your router lift and wood router across different cutting styles. The insert ring bundle includes a variety of sizes, such as blank, ¼-inch, 3/8-inch, ½-inch, ¾-inch, 1-inch, 1-1/4-inch, 1-1/2-inch, 1-3/4-inch, and 2-1/4-inch. These ring sizes complete the 3 sizes from all the JessEm router lift units. Lastly, the caddy that comes with the package serves as a convenient ring storage that can cater to up to 14 rings.
The JessEm Rout-R-Lift II is also fairly easy to install:
From our product reviews, you can see that both JessEm router lift models provide you with features that maximize the functionality of your wood router. If you’re just getting started with using a router lift, we suggest that you go for the Rout-R-Lift model as it’s much more affordable but can still guarantee you high-quality results. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty router lift, you’ve got the Mast-R-Lift; it definitely scores high when it comes to durability, versatility, and comfort.