Best Wood Router Buying Guide
Looking for the most durable, lightweight, powerful and affordable wood routers in the market? These are our reviews and comparison charts, as well as the buying guides to assist you to determine the best router you need for the woodworking project.
|Festool 1400 EQ Router|
|Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router|
|Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router|
|Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router|
Top Routers for Heavyweight Woodworking
- Festool 1400 EQ Router – the number one wood routing device available for heavy wood working application is the Festool 1400 EQ Router. It does not matter the scope of the project at hand or the kind of wood you would be reshaping, this plunge base wood working router can handle practically any kind of application. One of the reasons why wood workers love it is also its ability to cut down on the amount of dust produced per job, as compared to other tools of its class. Wood dust has been shown to be one of the most dangerous effects of the woodwork and the reason behind numerous respiratory issues. The Festool 1400 EQ Router reduces the amount of dust produced during work, also making it one of the safest routers for heavy woodworking.
- Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router –if you need a fixed base router capable of delivering top notch performance with heavy duty tasks, you cannot go wrong with the Porter Cable690LR Fixed Base Router. This powerful tool comes with single speed, 1-3/4 HP engine, capable of delivering torque at 27,500 rpm. The entire unit is housed within an aluminum casing so you are assured of not only power but durability also.
Top Routers for Hobbyists and Flexibility
- Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router – Learning how to use a wood router for the first time or you are a hobbyist who enjoys creating pieces of art or functional homemade pieces from wood, what you need is a router that gives you excellent performance in terms of power and speed, adjustment abilities so you can try out different kinds of styles and angles, as well as the flexibility of both the fixed base and the plunge based wood router. The best option for this kind of wood router, and at the most affordable price is none other than the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router. This tool comes in both the ¼ and ½ inch collet options, is capable of a variable speed power between 8000 rpm and 25,000 rpm. With an aluminum body and soft-grip wooden handle, you have both durability and style in one super kit. It also comes at a really affordable price.
- Dewalt DWP611PK Variable Router – a little less powerful than its competitor in this category, it is no less efficient. This is amongst the most efficient options in this series. It has a 1.25 HP engine capable of delivering excellence in even the toughest of situations. No matter your project, this tool which can ramp up from 16,000 rpm, all the way to 27,000 rpm will deliver. It is easily an Amazon Bestseller and there is no reason why you should not get it.
Specially outfitted and developed with a strong 11.7 AMP motor, the Festool 1400 EQ Router is specially designed as one of the toughest and sturdiest wood routers in the market today. If you need a wood router capable of delivering the job in as short time as possible, irrespective of the scope and with a powerful delivery like no other, then this durable machine is what you need. Outlined below are several of its other attributes, from dust handling all the way to its other special adjustment features for all the flexibility that you would need.
The act of wood routing produces lots of debris, dust and wood chips. These do not only create a housekeeping hassle, as they can get into cracks and crevices and end up being very difficult to clean out, but they also produce a health and safety hazard.
In these cases, the Festool 1400 EQ Router stands out.
The wood router comes equipped with a dust extraction system, made up of a dust extraction hood that traps and captures dust being produced during the routing and channeling it out of the way of the wood worker using the equipment. This not only increases visibility, improves health and safety of the worker, but it also reduces the debris in the environment, eliminating the need and time spent for continuous cleaning but also prolongs the life of the cutter.
Clean up and disposal of this hood is easily done by detaching it. It is also adaptable to two types of hoses: the 27 mm and the 36 mm.
In line with the dust extraction unit is also the chip catcher. This chip catcher functions to trap the chips created at the point of cutting. The major benefit of this attribute is its ability to be detached from source so you can dispose of it sanitarily.
As an extra, the Festool 1400 EQ Router may also have a chip deflector attached. This extra attribute functions especially when routing edges of curves or corners. This deflector work to maximize the actions of the dust extraction system and chip catcher. As with the dust extraction system, it is easily detachable for cleaning via a simple spring clip system.
Unlike with less sophisticated wood routers that require a long cleaning time after every project, the Festool 1400 EQ Router minimizes clean up time and helps you maintain proper housekeeping and a good looking environment even while you work.
Developing a functional wood router also means ensuring that it is able to integrate with other tools. The Festool 1400 EQ Router is designed to work with the FS Guide Rail system, which aids guided cutting, as well as the MFS multi-routing templates.
Powerful Motor with Great Comfort
One of the first things we did when carrying out our review was to consider the power ratings of all the devices. The Festool 1400 EQ Router has a very low power rating that at first sight you are almost worried it is incapable of certain tasks. But with 1400 Watts, this power horse can handle even the toughest cuts you can imagine. With a variable speed controller, this tiny 10-pound machine enables you to use the right amount of power you need for the kind of cut you desire, no matter the size of the router bit.
The ergonomic handle reduces the heaviness on your hand, which makes it easy to hold, which is important to reduce fatigue to the arm during the cutting project. Also, the handle is fitted with control settings which make it easy to control the speed without even changing hands. It is a brilliant stroke of genius to double the power control tube as the handle, as it helps to improve the maneuverability of the machine.
Great in Class Adjustment
When it comes to working with great precision, this router is the best in the class. The test of a truly adaptable and adjustable wood router is one in which you can change the depth of your cut with extreme precision. According to our tests, the Festool 1400 EQ Router can be managed up to the 1/265” factor. This means no matter what sort of groove you are trying to design for whatever kind of fitting, this tool can help you get it right. It also has the capacity to utilize a 3 position depth turret to enable a woodworker to create incremental steps in routing out, for even better precision.
What marks out professional wood workers from the amateurs is the precision with which they mark their work, and if you are looking for one tool that delivers that precision in a 100%, it is Festool 1400 EQ Router.
What is not impressive?
You cannot expect our review to be all roses and diamonds, and speaking of diamonds, with all the many attributes and features the Festool 1400 EQ Router comes with, it is no surprise that it is relatively expensive in the market. The major flaw with the Festool 1400 EQ Router is the fact that most of the accessories that really make it great would need to be purchased separately from the original device, such as the FS Guide Rail System etc. Utilizing the Festool 1400 EQ Router means you are determined to get the very best, and also means you have to be ready to pay same. That aside though, there seems to be no design flaw in the product, aside from a slight edginess when it is operating at the top speed.
While it may seem like the Festool 1400 EQ Router is an exclusive wood router for experts and professional wood workers, it can also serve as a beginner’s tool. Not only would it afford the opportunity to play around with some of the niftiest tools and features available, but it also easy to operate, smooth on the handling, ergonomic, not to talk of safe.
So, if you’re a beginner just starting out in woodworking, and you are looking for the right tool to kick off your new hobby or profession, getting what is considered by many as amongst the best routers out there today would not be a bad idea.
And then, if you are an expert or professional and you do not already have Festool 1400 EQ Router in your tool shed, what are you waiting for?
If what you need is a sturdily fixed base wood router that could handle just about anything you throw at it, what you need is Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router. This machine sports one of the most powerful motors in its class. Aside from the strong 11 AMP motor, there are also several other features that make this one wood router you should have in your tool cabinet.
Powerful Single Speed Motor
Basically, if you have a machine wood router with a 11 AMP motor, you should expect it to do just about anything. So, this is what we did: first off, we tested the speed, and the Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router works perfectly at the fixed speed rating of 27,500 rpm. Secondly, we threw some pretty tough jobs at it and, it sailed right through them. then, we knew we had a winner for this category.
Flexibility and Adaptability
The Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router has the ability to adapt to almost every kind of bit, irrespective of the diameter or size. This easily makes it one of the most suitable options you can think of when considering a handheld wood router.
The Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is highly durable. The design is sealed ball-bearing, which serves to prevent dust from entering and damaging important and critical components within the motor. On the outside, it is encased in an aluminum housing which further preserves the integrity of the router. To ensure a solid grip, the handles are made of a top grade metal impervious to rust or corrosion. In our opinion, this is one durable machine that would work extensively and for a long time without any hiccups.
You can always trust our reviews to give you both the pros and the cons for any of the devices we review and this is no exception. The Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is a winner in many things relating to durability, but what it gains there, it loses in ergonomics. Holding onto those sturdy high-grade metallic handles does not feel good in the hand, and it easily becomes uncomfortable when you use the equipment for an extended period. When working with this equipment, we will always advise you take regular breaks as often as you can.
Another thing we suggest is that you try and use this tool as a table mounted device than as a handheld.
The Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is one of the most durable, versatile and powerful fixed base wood routers, with its only disadvantage in its working ergonomics.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is one of the most versatile wood routers there are, and for one basic reason: it sports both a fixed base and a plunge base. You really cannot go wrong with the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router irrespective of what you actually desire from your tool. Other areas in which this versatile machine excels include:
This is one of the most convenient wood routers you can find in the market. With both the plunge and fixed base you are able to easily switch between features for whatever you want. It barely takes any time when you get comfortable with it as both bases fit in smoothly with the motor locking mechanism, and you can switch through in the middle of a cut if there is something special you want to achieve with a particular router base type.
The ability of the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router to switch base types easily makes it one of the most versatile wood routers in the market today. Also, it has the ability to use larger bits than you would usually find routers of this size using.
Powerful Motor and Soft Start
It is very important for wood routers these days to have soft start, and this 12 AMP 2-1/4 HP motor does also. The soft start reduces the torque when the 12 AMP motor starts up, ensuring you do not damage the wood as you begin.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router has a variable speed booster that allows it to switch speeds up until 25,000 rpm. The ability to hit these speeds is what enables it to run with larger bits than other routers of this category.
The motor is also really powerful and was able to breeze through practically all of the tasks we handed to it. When it comes to moderate to heavyweight routing jobs, this wood router is the tool for the job.
Superb Ergonomics with Handy Adjustments
Whether you are using the fixed base or plunge base option, there is a different handle for either one with the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router. These different handles ensure the pressure on the arms and hand is reduced and the job is easier to carry out. Some other combo wood router kits like this one do not have separate handles on both bases and this can make the job tougher.
It is a great delight to use as they’re of fine quality and they take in pressure and shock easily. With the gentle grip, you can easily make those delicate cuts you need to. Overall, the ergonomics are one of the best features of the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router supports both ¼ and ½ collets, which is excellent for adjustments. You can make microfine adjustments on the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router up to 1/64 of an inch. The incredible capability of the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router makes it easy to work to great detail on your woodworking project.
The cons on this particular device include a couple of jamming issues when using the plunge base on the wood router, as well as difficulty when carrying out heavy tasks. We would recommend you maintain moderate and easy tasks with the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router as it is likely to affect the robustness if you use it on heavy jobs too often. Also, while the handles on the two bases make for great ergonomics, in our opinion, the wood made handles of the fixed base leave a lot to be desired.
Overall, the Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is a pretty decent flexible, wood router kit, with great adjustment capability and ergonomics, as well as a great and really inexpensive price. This is a wood router we suggest to enthusiasts and novices everywhere.
To start with Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router is one of the Amazon bestseller products and for good reason. It boasts of some of the best features you can find in the market, and what’s more? It all at an affordable price. Our team tested the various features of the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router and this is our review:
LED Lights on Both the Bases
This wood router comes with both the plunge and fixed base, and the ease of changeover from one base type to another is literally seamless, even at the low price range. This was something that was really impressive as no compromise was made on quality. Another impressive feature us the LED light attached to both bases.
This LED light was introduced in the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router to give you clear illumination into what you are doing. When making some kind of cuts, it can be difficult to see all angles you need to, clearly and with the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router you can make the desired edge, curve or corner, cuts you want as the LED provides the illumination you need.
Once you start using this particular tool, any other wood router without LEDs suddenly seems quite redundant.
Low Power Motor and Variable Speed
The Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router is a low power device at only 1.25 HP, however, it can ramp up to an astonishing 27,000 rpm. However, the design is such that it should not be used to perform heavyweight applications. When running this wood router, any project above the medium load level strained the machine to quit.
However, you can simply alter your speed of operation and work with diverse sized bits also. Considering the price at which this wood router is given at, the features are truly excellent.
As with any modern wood router, the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router also has a soft start feature to ensure there is precision right from the very first cut, without any undue damage to your wood.
Typically, we do not qualify price as one of the factors when determining our stellar products, but for the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router, it is almost a necessity. This is a wood router which features, not one, but two easily interchangeable bases, a 1.25 HP variable speed motor capable of reaching 27,000 rpm, convenience LED lighting and a quite decent build and structure, all at a really affordable rate.
If you are a beginner looking for an affordable option to start with, this is definitely the choice for you.
First of all, like we said earlier, the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router cannot handle any sort of work above the medium load category. But considering the capacity, it may not be so farfetched after all.
Also, we’re not amazed by the handles on the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router. You can only find handles on the plunge base option, and even then there are not exactly the best handles ergonomically. Thus, it would be almost impossible to work with this wood router for an extended period of time.
Thirdly, the Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router sports lots of plastic. Likely, this explains why the price is so low, but it also means it is not as durable as you would like. This is not a router you want to leave hanging around carelessly.
And finally, the equipments that come attached with this product are not exactly the top of the class. But you can always order from other dealers or order separately for a better option. The wood router would also be compatible with those you order.
The Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router will serve excellently as a trim router. It is also an excellent option for starters who do not want to spend lots of money to try out a new hobby or profession and for hobbyists looking for an inexpensive feature-rich wood router.
What is a Wood router?
A wood router is a tool that is used to hollow out a portion in the face of a piece of wood. It sounds basic, but the importance of a wood router cannot be overemphasized. In woodworking, whether in furniture manufacture, cabinetry or door construction, a wood router is an important tool responsible for ensuring these processes go off without scratch or blemish. For example, if you need to recess a portion of a wardrobe door to fix in hinges, the wood router is the tool you need. This process of hollowing out is called rout out, hence the name wood router.
Over time, there have been many kinds of routers, from the older hand tool forms which were manual and were operated like a kind of hand plane, all the way to the modern power tool which utilizes an electric motor to drive the spindle. These days, the hand tools are mostly known as router planes while the motor-driven versions retain the name wood router or in some cases, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) wood router.
Knowing which to use for your task is critical to succeeding at the job at hand, though a few professionals and enthusiasts tend to prefer the older router plane as they are more familiar with it.
One thing you should know however is, a router is an almost necessary addition to your tool shed, especially if you are the handy kind. With the right router and accessories, every piece of wood is practically magic waiting to happen and the possibilities of what you can create are nearly limitless.
Differences between a plunge and fixed base routers
The first thing you need to know about plunge and fixed base routers is that they basically do the same thing, which is: create hollows or rout out wood in precisely defined depths. While a plunge base wood router may seem more flexible to some users who prefer to be hands-on, the fixed base wood router may actually be the better to use when you need to make precise cuts. With a fixed base wood router, you set or fix the depth of the router bit, locking it into place at the base of the tool. This is beneficial when you need to make a few cuts to a predefined depth and do not want to risk extending. On the other hand, with the plunge based wood router, you set the router base in a particular position and then, you can plunge or direct the router bit into the wood in the precise depths and angles you prefer.
Knowing what wood routers are good for
One of the most versatile tools you should have in your workshop is the wood router, and not only if you have an affinity for woodworking. A wood router is such an important tool you would find yourself using it for so many tasks from edge trimming of your work table, wooden cabinets, and even furniture, all the way to special creative effects in pattern and cutting work etc. The benefit of buying your own wood router is, it is not only easy to use, but it also eliminates the need to have to call a specialist every time you have a task.
Also, some woodworking tasks require specific wood routers: plunge based wood routers or fixed based wood routers, and having your own kit, especially one with both bases, saves you the hassle of having to search about for the precise tool for the job you have in mind.
If you are a woodworking specialist, getting a wood router with both bases should be one of your major priorities, and if you already have one, make a plan to get another.
In this review, our team has considered various routers in the market right now and come up with the very best just for you. Our analysis focused on four major areas:
- The versatility of the wood router: this refers to how good it can manage various kinds of applications
- Ergonomics: this refers to the handling and positioning. When handling any tool, the most important thing is safety to your body. Any tool that is too cumbersome or stressful to use scores a big zero in our book and would not appear in this review. Woodworking is an art and we intend to show you only tools you can handle easily to achieve the success of your project.
- Adjustments: this refers to how easily you can adjust the settings on the wood router to achieve what you want
- Durability: as with every tool we review, durability is a major key. A tool that would spoil easily is not a tool we would recommend you to buy. The wood routers in this review are the most durable you would find in their class.
- Safety: in our reviews, we always consider safety in the workplace, and this is one of the most important factors our team considered when preparing this review. The devices you find in this list are the safest to use in their class.