Best Wood Router for Your Home Improvement : Review and Buying Guide

How this article will help you?

Whether you’re a hobby woodworker or a professional, one thing you’ll definitely need is a good quality router designed for your specific needs. There are so many routers available for shopping online that it might be difficult for you to decide which one you should buy and what the most important factors are when comparing different routers.

What will you find in this article?

We’ve listed some of the best wood routers for you and highlighted the pros and cons of each device. We also wanted to make sure that after reading this you’ll be able to decide which router you should buy.

Best Festool Router

Festool 574342 Router

Festool router has such a stunning design but also the ergonomic comfort gives you such a special feeling when you use it.

Dremel Wood Router

Dremel 4000-2/30 120-Volt Wood Router

One of the handiest wood routers is this Dremel kit. It includes 30 Dremel accessories .

Important factors to consider when you’re about to buy a router is the quality of the material, the durability, the stability, the weight, complexity of height adjustment, number and quality of the available attachments and accessories. It’s also good to consider what type of activities you want to use it.

For example, you’ll need a different router for your hobby woodwork and a different one if work for clients as some routers look and work in a more professional way than others.

"Festool router’s for you if comfort’s important to you as one of the special features of this tool is the ergonomic comfort and control. You could use it to trim laminate, put a nice edge on a solid material or make some heavy cuts."
"One of the handiest wood routers is this Dremel kit. It includes 30 Dremel accessories and 2 Dremel attachments so it can be used for a wide range of activities. The carrying bag is also included. It is very light compared to other routers – it weighs 4.4 pounds."

Who are we?

We’re a team of professionals and we tried many of the most popular routers in order to give you very detailed review about all the best selling devices with the pros and cons. You won’t find more honest review about routers anywhere online as they’re mostly paid by brands so you’ll think that other users tried it and liked it.

Our only goal with this article is to make sure that every single person who’s interested in woodwork and routers will find the perfect one for them. This is not a piece of advertisement and we really tried all the routers on this list. The most important feature we wanted to highlight in advance is that it’s crucial that you choose a safe device whether you’re a beginner, a mid level user or an expert.

So this should be the first thing you check when you’re comparing routers. Some routers are safer than other and it’s not a good deal if you try to save money and buy a router that will cause you some damage.

Types of routers available on the market

There are many types of wood routers available in the market. One is the fixed base router, the other one that’s very popular is the plunge. Compact tools are also available. You’ll see in this article that in many cases a router has more options when it comes to the type of the base. Sometimes they come with a combo pack that includes a fixed base and also a plunge as a special feature.

Other routers can differ in speed as some of them start smoothly and slow and speeds up with time and some other don’t have this option of different speed levels. It’s better and more convenient if you buy a device with more speed levels so you can adjust the right speed to your work making it more effective.

Another factor to consider is the height adjustment. Some devices have a nice, automatic system of height adjustment and others have only manual height adjustment that can be really painful after a while. It saves you time and energy if you go with the automatic one.

List of Top Selling Wood Router

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

This router is for table use as it’s really heavy – it weighs 13 pounds – and you need a large surface to set it up and use it. It was first available in 2012.

PROS

  • Some of the great features of this tool are that it’s really easy to change bits as the spindle lock is automatic and very convenient to use.
  • It’s also perfect for setting depth from the router as it has a winder handle that’s provided with the product.
  • It also has dust collection which is a plus when it comes to cleaning after your work. When you start working.

CONS

  • Some people have difficulties with fixing the router in the table because it doesn’t have interchangeable bases.

Is it for you?

The special feature of the product is the plunge. It uses an all in one plunge mechanism. The User Rating on Amazon is 4.8 per 5 and it mostly has positive comments about the ease of use and convenient replacement of parts. The great dust collection system is also an advantage that most users really liked according to the reviews. Users also liked saving time with the easy changing of bits.


Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router

If you need a small but powerful router, this one’s for you. It’s from 2009.

The base kit includes two bases – a round and a square one so it’s very convenient to use with the right shape of base. It has some LED lights that lights your work and it’s also a really nice feature. You can also buy more bases if you need: plunge, off-set and angle.

PROS

  • One of the selling points is that it has a very quick release lever that allows easy removal of the parts.
  • Another good point is that it’s very precise when it comes to depth control as it has an easily accessible micro adjust dial.
  • It is very light compared to other routers as it weighs only 5.8 pounds. Another advantage is that it’s really powerful with 5.5 amp motor.

CONS

  • Users had problem with making the hole in the base plates larger in a safe way because it doesn’t accommodate medium or large size bits. So if you need a bigger hole in the base plate, you might need to think about another router.
  • Also, removing the motor is a bit too complicated and long for some users, so if you’re not a patient kind of person, choose another one.

Is it for you?

The two bases in the base kit are really nice to have so that’s also something to consider. If you like convenient work, the LED lights are perfect for you and they make your work more enjoyable than any other routers. Choose this Triton router if comfort is something you like when you’re working with wood.


Festool 574342 OF 1400 EQ Router

This router’s for you if comfort’s important to you as one of the special features of this tool is the ergonomic comfort and control. You could use it to trim laminate, put a nice edge on a solid material or make some heavy cuts. It’s also a heavy one weighing 18 pounds. It was first available in 2011.

PROS

  • Users’ favorite feature is definitely the ergonomic handles that require less effort when you use it.
  • The dust extraction works well and saves you some cleanup time and it’s also better for your health. Having no dust looks more professional and keeps your work environment clean all the time. When you work at a client’s place the last thing you want to leave is dust – make sure to use a tool with dust extraction.
  • This tool exceeded customers’ expectations according to the reviews online.

CONS

  • A weakness of the product is that it’s sometimes difficult to regulate the plunge especially during slow, long cuts.
  • It makes it a bit uncomfortable to use.
  • Also the heaviness of the device is a problem for some users. If you’re looking for a light, easy to manage and more flexible device, go for another one.

Is it for you?

Its integrated system makes it possible to get a wide range of accessories for the tool and multi-routing templates. So if this is important for you, choose this router.


Milwaukee 5625-20 15 Amp 3-1/2-Horsepower Fixed Base Variable Speed Router

This Milwaukee router is very durable and it has variable speed from 10,000 to 22,000 rpm that allows you to start softly and adjust to the right speed while working. Its special feature is the tilted handles that are very comfortable and look professional and it has a fixed base. It’s from 2006.

PROS

  • It has aluminum motor housing and also the base’s made of aluminum making it a durable tool.
  • Its weight is medium with 14.6 pounds.

CONS

  • Some users were disappointed when they found out that despite the fact that it’s called Milwaukee’ it’s actually made in China and not in the US. This is something you should probably be aware of but it doesn’t change the quality of the device significantly.
  • A problem that users experienced regularly is the following: it often fails due to speed module switches and makes it hard to do any work with it that requires many switches.
  • Another issue was that the table top adjustment stops working after a while and it can’t raise it from the table. The power switch also fails occasionally.

Is it for you?

Choose this one if you need a powerful router and it’s acceptable for you to handle power switch problems from time to time.


DEWALT DW618B3 12 Amp 2-1/4 Horsepower Plunge Base and Fixed Base

If you want a great value router with a D-handle, plunge combination kit, this is for you. No other device has the same combination kit and the motor is interchangeable between all bases. This DEWALT router was first available in 2004.

PROS

  • It comes with a motor pack, a fixed base, a plunge base, a D-handle base, ¼- and inch collets and operating instructions.
  • Most people use the D handle most as it’s very convenient.
  • It has cord connectors with own plugs that are easy to connect.
  • Fixed base routers are in general easier to use and they have very accurate depth adjustment.

CONS

  • The case is bigger than other routers and it was an issue for some users.
  • This device is one of the heaviest routers. It weighs 27.2 pounds.
  • Some users also had issues with the motor because the magnetic ring that controls speed disintegrated.
  • Another problem was that the pin on the collet lock was coming loose and it looks like it’s a common problem for many users.

Is it for you?

If you like small routers that are flexible with many bases and have a great kit, this DEWALT router should be your choice.


PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic 15 Amp 3-1/4 HP Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

This PORTER-CABLE Router is a fixed-base medium-weight device with a really strong motor (3.25 HP). It was first available in 1999 so it’s a relatively old but definitely a great tool. It’s designed for table use only because it’s too heavy to lift it.

PROS

  • Its advantages are that it’s starting really soft and smooth and it’s relatively quiet compare to other routers.
  • The soft-start motor saves you time and so does the auto-release collet system.
  • It allows you to remove the bit easily after use.
  • Other important factors to consider are durability and stability and this Porter-Cable device performs great for a long time and it’s very stable with aluminum motor housing and base. It also has integrated cast handles making it even more stable.

CONS

  • The adjustment mechanism is good but it has some problems occasionally caused by sawdust and it was reported by many users.
  • The dust accumulates on top of the motor and the system’s crashed. This problem can be solved by cleaning the tool regularly.

Is it for you?

It comes with a five-speed router, a motor, a fixed base, a �-inch collet, a collet wrench and an operating manual. If you want a soft and quite router, this should be your choice.


Bosch 1617EVS 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed Router

This Bosch router has the same quality as other Bosch tools and it means it’s terrific. Its selling point is the comfortable height adjustment feature. It’s available since 2000.

PROS

  • It’s very light and easy to install it under a table.
  • The height adjustment is pretty neat: it goes very smoothly.
  • Most users were fascinated by the soft start feature that works wonderfully.
  • The design is another selling point – it looks more stylish than other routers.
  • This Bosch router is very quiet and very light but still strong.

CONS

  • Sometimes the switch fails probably from the dust. What you can do when it happens is to take it apart and clean out the dust.
  • ​Don’t use this router mounted in a table as this isn’t designed for that.
  • The switch failure is a very common problem with this tool so if you don’t want to replace it frequently choose another brand.
  • Users said there was an e-pin that they had to replace because it couldn’t handle enough weight. Also, for one user the motor stopped after a few minutes of work for no reason.

Is it for you?

This Bosch router is very comfortable to use and it’s very quiet but can’t handle enough wait.


Hitachi KM12VC 11 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower

If quiet work is important for you, choose this Hitachi router. It has class leading noise level with only 79.6dB. Its special feature is the plunge. It was first available in 2005.

PROS

  • Many users were impressed by the power of the motor.
  • Keep in mind that it’s a relatively cheap product compare to other routers (around $130 or $170 if you buy it online). So if you think about it that way, this device is very cost effective but don’t expect to have the same quality as more expensive routers.
  • One specifically good feature is that it maintains its RPM under a considerable load.

CONS

  • Users had problems with the collets releasing bits and some of them also mentioned that the design is a bit weird for them.
  • The plunge is a special feature but the plunge base is very stiff and you need a few hours to be able to work with it properly. After a few hours it works okay.

Is it for you?

Choose Hitachi if you want quiet work and you want plunge for your router. Otherwise, you should consider buying a more expensive but better quality router.


SKIL 1830 120-Volt 2-1/4 HP Combo Base Router Set

If you’re an amateur woodworker, this is your router. It has two bases: a fixed base and a plunge base with height adjustment and knob handles.

PROS

  • A great feature is the six settings for speed: the lowest is 10,500 rpm and the highest is 25,000 rpm.
  • Two LED lights make it easier for you to see what you’re working on. One is at the bottom and it runs automatically.

CONS

  • Even if you decided to buy one of these tools, it might be hard to get and some users had problems with ordering it from many stores.
  • Another issue was the changing of the bit as the system blocks the spindle lock and you have to get something to open it.

Is it for you?

This is a great device to start your woodworking career as it’s easy to use it and it also has a carrying bag making it more convenient to carry your router. Most people have this SKIL router as their first router. It comes with a router motor unit, a fixed base, a plunge, a chip deflector, a ¼-inch collet adapter, a collet wrench and a carrying bag.


Black & Decker RP250 10-Amp 2-1/4-Inch Variable Speed Plunge Router

If you’re a hobby woodworker and you don’t have a big budget for a router, this is for you. It’s the cheapest router for sure and it’s very light with 9.9 pounds.

PROS

  • Just because it’s cheap it’s not a totally bad tool.
  • You can basically do the same things with this device as with other routers, maybe the experience is less superior.

CONS

  • The motor is strong and high speed but doesn’t work at lower speed for larger bits and the motor bearings only last for a short time.
  • Some users even said it was dangerous to use as it basically broke after one use.

Is it for you?

If you need a cheap but OK router, get this one, but if you need it for professional work, get another one.


The handiest wood router:

Dremel 4000-2/30 120-Volt Variable Speed Rotary Tool Kit - Corded

One of the handiest wood routers is this Dremel kit. It includes 30 Dremel accessories and 2 Dremel attachments so it can be used for a wide range of activities. The carrying bag is also included. It is very light compared to other routers – it weighs 4.4 pounds.

PROS

  • This is not a professional tool but it’s perfect for hobby woodworkers and for any DIY work with wood even for first time wood workers.
  • It’s very speedy but not too speedy.
  • It’s a flexible tool that is good for so many jobs and it has all the attachments that you probably need.

CONS

  • For many users, the plastic bearing surface has melted after only a few month of using it even if they only used it for hobby work.
  • Another disadvantage is that it’s very loud.
  • Dremel has a great reputation because their previous tools were really good quality. This specific router is very handy but we wouldn’t say that it’s the same quality as it was before.

Is it for you?

If you want to buy any accessories, we’d recommend buying the detailer’s grip because it saves you from the extra effort of setting up the device; and the other accessory is the keyless chuck because it saves you time.


Ultimate Buying Guideline

ultimate-buying-guide

Which router do we recommend you to buy?

Our choice from the list is definitely the Festool Router and not just because it has such a stunning design but also the ergonomic comfort gives you such a special feeling when you use it that you don’t want to buy any other router in the future.

Why?

From all of the routers listed, this is almost the heaviest one but it also means that it’s really massive and provides you great stability. The dust extraction works best from all routers giving you an even more superior feeling after using it. Most of the customers are pretty confident that they would buy it again as it has a great price compared to other routers with less comfort and lower quality.

We chose this router because this Festool tool is one of the safest products. You could see in this article – and maybe you already experienced it as well – that safety is a very important feature when it comes to choosing the perfect router. You don’t want you or your client to get hurt by using a product that is not safe or it has a risk that something goes wrong during your work.

best wood pellets editors choice

Teardrop summarize, we hope that by reading this article, it’s easier for you to decide which router would be the best fit for you whether you’re an amateur or a professional working with wood. There are many routers available and they’re all different in design, price, accessories, weight and other feature. We’ve highlighted some of the best selling routers with the most important features so the only thing you need to do is choose the one that you like best.

Editors Choice

DESIGN

​PERFORMANCE

ACCESSORIES

PORTABILITY​

CUSTOMER SUPPORT​

Great price, great quality, and most user reviews during our research indicated overall satisfaction with all aspects.

4/5

Douglas McAdams
 

Douglas McAdams was a technology practitioner by day, and a hydroponic enthusiasts by night (and also day!). His wide affinity to technology has allowed him to build and consulted many successful hydroponic systems and farms in the past and is regularly contributing to the advancements of hydroponic technology and its community.

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