Wood Router Buying Guide

What should I look for when buying a wood router?

Before buying a wood router, below are the things you should look for:

  • Router Bit

The most important tool in this whole set is the bit or the cutter (it is the tool that actually cuts the wood). There are tons of types of bits/cutters available in the market, and these bits are capable of giving shape to almost any design in your mind. The interesting thing is you can have your customized bits made if you want. The Collet is a simple piece of metal used to hold the bit so that the wood router motor is able to rotate the bit.

  • Router Base

The Router base is what holds the machine inside. The base usually comes with handles on both sides for easy grip on the router. The base’s depth of cut mechanism is one of the most critical elements of the router. There are mainly two types of bases: the Fixed Base and the Plunge Base. There are different uses of the types of these bases. The baseplate is a plate on the sole of the router. It allows the router to move smoothly across the body of work.

  • Router Motor

Most of the manufacturers usually display the horsepower of the router motor as a sign of the power of the motor. An 8- to 10-amp router has power enough to drive any bits up to 2 inches in diameter. It will be adequate for trimming cuts 1/2 inch at a pass. A larger bit or a heavier cut will require more amperage.

Your choice of the router will also depend on the kind of use you are going to put your router to. Well, there is a lot of difference in the type of materials used in the wood routers in a professional router and in a consumer router.

  • Router Motor Winding

The major difference comes from the element used in the winding of the motor. Both Copper and aluminum are conductors of electricity. The difference is in the efficiency. Copper is much efficient than aluminum and therefore costlier. Also, more power usually means more use of the metal, which adds to the weight of the router. Therefore, the weight of the router is also one other indicator of the power of the motor.

  • Heat Dissipating Feature

Another major difference in the routers is the measures taken to dissipate heat efficiently and quickly. Heat is the biggest enemy of your router. Professional grade routers have high-grade aluminum fans or high tech plastic fans, whereas most commercial grade routers simply use mass-produced steel fans; though these are much cheaper, these affect the life of your router tremendously. Therefore, this is one element you should not overlook while looking for a router.

Other than that, there are other elements that make a complete router, and there are many small details that can ruin your experience of the woodworking if not attended to properly while selecting your router.

Which is the best wood router to buy?

Professionals give the Dewalt DW618PK great reviews because they love how easy it’s to use, making it one of the best wood router to buy. 

The dust collector is essential because you are doing precise work that requires attention to detail, and one thing all professionals agree on is the hardest thing to deal with is continually having to wipe or clean away dust that gets in your way. 

Another feature that is very favorable by professionals and people who like to do it yourself is that it gives them the opportunity to adjust very quickly.

As you are working with large areas or multiple types of wood, you can spend as much time adjusting, moving cords, switching bits, and more as you spend working on the actual wood. So quick releases, quick ways to adjust and keep things out of the way, makes life so much easier. 

This is why this item sells very well among professionals who need to use it a lot, and many have found it to be extremely durable and reliable. This is not an item you would want to have to replace after each job, so durability is very important.

· Features of Dewalt618PK

o Exceptional power to handle the toughest and roughest hardwoods because of the 2-1/4 hp (maximum motor hp), 12.0 Amp electronic variable speed motor

o Precise depth adjusting in 1/64- inch increments thanks to a micro-fine adjustment ring. Also can adjust vertically if you need to make a constant switch or reset the cord set location.

o An integral dust collector through the column that collects 95% of all dust and also provides superior bit visibility.

o Quick release motor latches and easy motor pack removal that make it easy and quick to make bit and base changes.

o To provide constant and steady speed for loads from 8,000 to 24,000 rpm, it comes with electronic variable speed with full feedback control and a soft start to reduce start-up torque for enhanced control.

o To make depth adjustment and base changes quickly and easily, there is an adjustable, tool-free steel motor cam lock.

Another thing professional’s love is how it gives a soft start that provides an extremely smooth finish even when working with some of the toughest and roughest hardwoods imaginable.

How do I choose a router?

Most woodworkers have a wood router as a part of their favorite power tools. A router is a great tool for homeowner projects as well as the skilled carpenter. Before you browse the store for a new wood router, there are a few things to take into consideration before you purchase.

The differing sized wood routers are equipped with different features to make them better and more convenient. When you choose a router with variable speeds, it allows the user to slow the bit down or to speed it up. When the bit is moving slowly, the less wood it will take off. The faster it rotates, the more material the bit will take off.

To make your wood router last for several years, one way to ensure that goal is to purchase one with a dust control system. When your router is equipped with this system, there is a vacuum port attached to the tool. It sucks away all the wood shavings and dirt in the immediate area around the tool. It keeps your tool clean inside.

The soft-start feature means that when the tool is turned on, it will gradually get up to the proper motor speed. This feature will lengthen the life of your wood router.

Now that you are more familiar with the features consider what jobs that you will specifically be using the router to complete. If you will be using it for small arts and craft type projects, the mid-sized wood router would make a great choice.

If you decide that you want to use the router for home improvement projects, the large size router would be the correct choice. Also, if you will be creating and designing trim, you will definitely need the trim wood router. Think of how impressed your friends will be when they see custom trim work around your windows and doors. They will think you spend a fortune to hire someone to do it for you.

What are the different types of wood routers?

The basic ones are wood routers with a fixed base and plunge routers. This is due to their different designs, and the router type you choose will directly affect the work you want to do with it.

  • Fixed Base Router

A fixed base router has a constant position; the router would protrude with the same cut depth until you change it.

  • Plunge Base Router

If you are just a beginner and wondering if you should buy either the Plunge Router or a Fixed Base Router, then we would recommend you to go with the Plunge base, just because you can always lock it just like a fixed based router while still being able to change the depth of the cut. But at the end of the day, if you are serious about woodworking, you’d definitely want to take a look at both.

  • Interchangeable Base Routers

You might be wondering what types of routers are these if you have never heard of them before. Routers with an Interchangeable base offer the benefits of a plunge base router, and a fixed base router merged together. You have an interchangeable base, and you’ll be able to put either a plunge or a fixed router on it, which is pretty great. However, these can be pretty costly, and you might find changing the bases a boring thing to do if you are focused on achieving great woodwork.

Moreover, depending on the size of routers – Professionals categorize into further three categories:

  • Large Size Router

The large router is best used with a router table. These are heavy and bulky power tools to try and hold and operate them at the same time. They have around a 3 horsepower motor. You must purchase the rather large bits that specifically go with the large routers. It is best to get the variable speed motor when purchasing the large router; you can speed it up for regular routing and slow it down for precision routing work.

  • Mid-Size Router

The mid-sized router is an all-purpose router for the first time user. Their motor size will range from 1 ½ to 2 ½ horsepower. The router bits that you purchase for these types of routers can be found everywhere power tools are sold. The mid-sized router can be mounted to a table or handheld. It is the most versatile out of all the routers.

  • Trim Routers

The trim routers are very small in size but can do amazing things to wood. They are less powerful, being only 1 horsepower and sometimes less than that. It removes small bits of wood. You would use this router to create and make custom designs on trim molding and other types of molding. For such a small power tool, it certainly packs a powerful punch at what it can do to wood.

Best wood router for a beginner

The Porter-Cable 892 Wood Router can be used by the beginner woodworker and the professional carpenter. The handles are molded so that your hands are comfortable when using the router for long periods of time.

When the Porter Cable 892 Wood Router comes to you, inside the box, you will find the router motor, fixed base, 2 collets; one is 1/4 inch, and the other is ½ inch. You also receive a collet wrench and a carrying case for your convenience. This router has the capability to make dovetails, detailed edging around your countertops, and you can change the look of your kitchen cabinet doors with the proper cutting bit. Because the Porter Cable 892 Wood Router is so lightweight, a novice user would feel comfortable using this power tool.

The Porter-Cable 892 Wood Router is 12.8 inches long by 8.6 inches wide by 12.8 inches high and weighs just over 12 pounds. It is made with quality materials and will perform the toughest cutting jobs. It has 2 ¼ horsepower giving it the power it needs to rip through the hardest of woods. It has a long three-year warranty. 

· Features of Porter Cable 892

o It has a multi-speed control that enables the motor to range between ten and 23 thousand rpm. This makes it effortless to change speeds quickly when working on projects.

o The dual position switch enables the woodworker to turn off the router and maintain control of the router simultaneously.

o The user can adjust the router above the table, enabling him to use a variety of depths in the cuts.

One professional said that he owned other Porter-Cable tools and needed a wood router and purchased this one. He found that it was made with quality in mind and that he could depend on his router when he needed it. This man said that it runs smooth and not jerky like other routers that he has tried. He likes that it is lightweight and felt it was easier to control that way. 

Another man said that the Porter-Cable 892 Wood Router is great and easy to use. It switches bases quickly and easily. He likes the power and finds that it cuts smooth and that he likes it especially to make dovetails.

Bosch router

Bosch is famous for its high-quality measuring tools. Bosch routers are one of the best routers available in the market. They are so easy to use and perform an excellent job. The routers are robust and durable and work smoothly. Their routers are easy to store, having a portable design. Bosch routers are available in various models, each having specific features and qualities. All of these routers are well known for their precision and high-quality carpentry. They have a remarkable reputation that others cannot reach. Let’s have a look at the various types of Bosch routers.

  • Cordless palm routers

The Bosch GKF12V-25N is a cordless palm router having a unique design. This great router is best for edge routing and trimming. Also, it is lightweight and easy to carry. It makes the trimming easy and weighs 2.2 Lbs. It costs $14900 and works for a long time.

  • Palm routers

There are various palm routers models, e.g., GKF125CEK, GKF125CEN, GKF125CEPK, GKF12V-25N, PR111, PR20EVS, PR20EVSNK, and PR20EVSPK. All of these palm routers are well known for their quality and performance. Each of these has its specifications, and you can choose according to your need.                                          

  • Fixed base routers

There are three models of fixed base routers, e.g., 1617, 1617EVS, and MRF23EVS. Each of these models has its features and different prices. These are designed for various routing applications having a high-speed motor. They are durable and made to use for years.

  • Plunge routers

This category includes MRP23EVS, which is an electronic router and works on 2.3 HP. The router has a 15 Amp motor, and the speed can be changed according to the material. It is a little expensive and costs $21721, but it is a sort of investment because of its long-term use and durability.

  • Combo pack routers

There are various models included in this category, e.g., 1617EVSPK, GKF125CEPK, MRC23EVSK, PR20EVSNK, and PR20EVSPK. All of these routers are very powerful and give excellent results. Their settings and features are different, but all of them are long-lasting and costs different.

  • Router tables

Bosch router tables are the best choice for high-quality results and are so easy to use. There are the following three models of router tables, e.g., RA1141, RA1171, and RA1181. All of these models give a stable performance and have different specs.

Ryobi router

No matter how good the idea of an artisan is, he must use the best tool to deliver his vision. The same goes for woodwork. If a carpenter doesn’t know what instrument he should use to perform his task, then his idea won’t be delivered flawlessly. Ryobi routers are the best choice for a carpenter to accomplish his task. These routers give a high-quality performance and are available in various designs and models. Let’s have a look at some of the best Ryobi routers:

  • Ryobi R1631K 

Ryobi R1631K is a fantastic router and cuts up to 2 inches deep. This is a high-speed router having a unique design. Also, it is multi-functional and performs a good job. Moreover, it is highly recommended by experts and brings you one step closer to a beautiful home. It costs $8890 and is an excellent choice to invest your money into.

  • 18V One Palm Router

The palm router is a great addition to the ONE+ family and is popular in the market for its premium quality and professional results. This palm router is convenient to use and also comes with a depth adjustment feature. You can cut over 600 linear ft. per charge. Also, it is fast and durable and gives precise cuts. It costs $169 and works for a long time.

  • Ryobi RE180PL1G

Ryobi plunge router is a very professional and high-quality router that makes your job relatively easy. Its features are easy to understand and use. It has a powerful motor yet consume less energy. It is portable and doesn’t require much effort to assemble. Also, it is affordable and costs $1126.99. Hence, the best choice if you are a beginner.

Dewalt router

With a wide range of Dewalt routers routing wood is no more a difficult task. All thanks to the technicians who worked at Dewalt and made the woodwork easy and more advanced. Dewalt is one of the leading brands in terms of routers and routing tools. It has various models. Let’s discuss some of the best Dewalt routers in the market.

  • Dewalt fixed-base router

This great router comes with an eleven-amp motor and gives a smooth cut or routing finish. You can adjust the depth according to your need. Moreover, all the switches are well protected so that no dust can enter them. Also, the motor is enclosed in a nickel-plated motor housing to make it weather resistant and durable. It costs $124.99.  

  • Dewalt cordless router

It is a cordless router and gives a high-quality performance. Its speed can be adjusted according to the task you want to perform. You can change the height according to your requirement through the router depth adjustment ring. Also, it has led lights that illuminate the surface when you are working in the dark. If you buy it as a package, you will receive a brushless orbital sander with it.

  • Dewalt electronic plunge router  

It has a 15 Amp motor that produces three hp. Its speed can be adjusted from 8000 to 22000 RPW. Moreover, it gives exact cuts and the best results. It costs $299. If you buy the package, you will get thirty widely useful woodworking bits with it.

  • Dewalt DW618D

Dewalt DW618D is a powerful motor and comes with a D shape handle, which makes it easy to handle and do your job in many ways. It offers a horsepower of 2 to ¼. The speed can be changed according to your requirement and gives you better control over it. It has an RPW of 8000 to 24000 and comes with 30 different router bits. You can choose between a 15-bit set or a 30 bit set while buying. Also, it costs $22900, expensive yet useful.

Best wood router 2020

Among many other wood routers in the market, Bosch 1617EVS counted among the best wood router in 2020. Let’s review why it’s so special among woodworkers:

The Bosch 1617EVS Wood Router enables the user to create intricate patterns to design cabinet doors and other projects. It is also used to cut off excess laminate from doors. 

You can design your own trim work using a pattern that you designed yourself. It adds that special touch to what is considered otherwise ordinary. The highly skilled and beginner woodworker will appreciate the performance of this router. It is a multiple tool in one.

The Bosch 1617EVS Wood Router comes with a fixed base, ¼ and ½ inch self-releasing collets, a quick change template guide adapter, chip shield, height adjustment wrench, and a drop-forged wrench. It operates smoothly and is well balanced, and it performs beautifully even when working with a hardwood. The base diameter is 6 inches and the opening is 3 ¾ inches. 

The Bosch 1617EVS has multiple speed dials that range between 18 thousand and 25 thousand rpm. It is equipped with hardwood handles that are comfortable when working with this machine. It also touts the many safety features protecting the user and children.

Features of Bosch 1617EVS

  • The Bosch wood router is built with quality aluminum protecting the motor from dust and dirt.
  • It is lightweight, making it perfect for all users.
  • The Bosch is equipped with electronic variable speeds and has a soft start motor.
  • It has micro-fine depth adjustments made for precision cutting.

One user says that he likes this router. He found it to be easy to store and use. The safety features are like he is getting a bonus. He likes the power and the multi-speeds that it has. He found it at a great price and that it is not complicated, even for the person who has never used a router. He has tried other brands, but they are not as good as the Bosch Wood Router.