Last Updated on July 13, 2021 by James
A wood router is a tool which is either a hand tool or a power tool which is used to cut out an area in wood or plastic. They are mainly used in carpentry. The original type of router is a hand tool. It has a hand plane with a narrow blade and broad base which projects its base plate. The power tool is an electric-motor-driven spindle. It is a modern form of a wood router which is very famous as it is very easy to use and affordable. It can be used to make joints, shape edges, cut rabbets, and drill holes.
A wood router helps in woodworking a lot. With the best wood router, one can make marvelous products of their choice. Different manufacturers produce different types of routers for varied woodworks, as Laminate Trimmer, Plunge Routers, CNC Wood Routers, Fixed Base Wood Routers, Variable Speed Routers, and Combo Routers. Nowadays, good quality routers, have plunge base and variable speed control.
Best Wood Router 2021
1. Bosch 1617EVSPK
It is a great wood router available on the market right now. It is high on performance and it is very affordable. It has a 1.9 horsepower motor which provides an amazing torque or speed of 1.27 pound-feet, that too at 8000 RPM. It delivers 0.41 pound-feet speed or torque at the rate of 25000 RPM. With the help of the 6- positing dial, you would be able to choose the perfect RPM according to the type of material you are planning to route. The system of Constant Circuitry Response will allow the router to maintain a steady and uniform speed throughout the entire process so that the product can come out clean and accurate.
It includes 1/4″ & 1/2″ Self-Releasing Collets Chuck, 24mm Collet Nut Wrench, 16mm Wrench Shaft, Carrying Case, Fixed and Plunge Base Chip Shield, and T-Handle Hex Height Adjustments Wrench so that it becomes super easy and hassle-free for you to make your product with utmost precision and make that in no time. The plunge effect can be achieved by the plunge base. Using jigs, dovetail fixtures, templates, and other guidance devices, the users can smoothly glide along the desired cutline. The bit can be placed in the center with the help of Bosch Precision Centering Design.
The power switch is now a dust-sealed power switch and it is also double insulated. It is compatible with many template guide sets. All items included can be stored in the compartments of the rugged carrying case. It weighs only 10.0lb and needs 120V of power to work. The router’s fixed base has threaded holes. It allows mounting the router table position in the common 3-hole pattern. You can cut as deep as 1.625 inches with the help of a fixed base and 2.25 inches with the help of the plunge base.
- It comes with a powerful motors system with a 6-speed setting.
- It can accept a wide range of bits.
- It comes with the mechanism of micrometer fine style adjustment. It has a Quick Change Template
- Guide and Removable Chip Sheild.It is double insulated and has good light adjustments. It comes with a ten-foot cord and a wide base opening 2.56″ sub-base for large bits. It is accompanied by self-releasing collet chuck and motor alignment arrows.
- It has bit change wrenches of 16mm and 24mm and for enhanced comfort and control, it has contoured soft grip handles.
- For mounting the table position in common 3-hole pattern, the fixed base has threaded holes.
- It only has a one-year warranty.
- It still needs wrenches to change out collets and bits. Although it comes with a dust shield, it still fails the dust from getting accumulated near the power switch. It can be a bit of a challenge for this router to get indulged in high tolerance operations.
- The C ring keeps breaking or falling off when it is used in the router table.
Changing the bases in this router can be difficult at times. Whenever you want the base to be tight or loose, it wobbles. It especially happens when you are using the plunge base with it.
2. DEWALT DWP611PK
If you want something that will go easy on your pockets as well as do a great job, then DEWALT DWP611PK is something you should opt for. Even after being the best in the market, you can get at a very affordable price. This machine has 1.3 horsepower. The ranged starts with 16000 RPM and goes till 27000 RPM, which allows the machine to rotate the bit. The torque will come as down as 0.22 pound-feet if the machine is set to its maximum RPM. If you are looking for a machine for your smaller routing bits, then this can be your ideal choice.
There are two types of bases, one is a plunge base and the other is a fixed base. You would be able to cut as deep as 1.5 inches with the help of the fixed base and with the help of the router’s plunge base, you can cut as deep as 2 inches. Even if you are going on a budget, you do not have to worry because this model comes close to the top model, when you compare their depth range. The depth can be set in an increment of 1/164th of every inch by using the fine adjustment mechanism on this model. This model comes with a very good warranty period.
The warranty period is no less than 3 years. Not only this, but DEWALT also provides free of cost service for a year & a 90-day guarantee. DEWALT will give you your money back if you are not satisfied with the product but it should stay within the guarantee period. This wood router is very suitable for beginners and for advanced woodworkers who already have a larger, and heavy-duty wood router and are looking for a lightweight and small router which would allow them to do smaller jobs easily and hassle-free. To change bits easily, the router comes with the hex wrench.
You can also have easy access to the router now as it has the button in its front. It will not be difficult for you to change the bits as you can simply access the 12 position spindle lock which ratchets into the place without needing to lock it back down by rotating the spindle 360 degrees. Long term durability is assured by the base construction and the lightweight aluminum motor housing. The bottom has two LED lights fitted to it so that you can clearly see your project in whichever lighting you are working to.
- It is complemented with 6-speed settings.
- It is very affordable
- It has both a fixed base and a plunge base. It comes with 3 years warranty and 1-year free service guarantee. It also comes with the money back guarantee within 90days
- You have to stick to small routing bits as the machine operates at high ROM range. If you want to cut hardwood, this is not the ideal machine for you. A big routing bit at these speeds can burn your workplace down.
- Only 1/64 inch increment can be done which means that you cannot do fine adjustments to your project.
3. DEWALT DW618PK Wood Routing Kit
It provides a precision of 1/64th of every inch which makes it as good as our top pick. It has 2.25 horsepower. It has variable speed which combines power with ease so that this wood router can be comfortably used both in professional work as well as personal work. It is designed in such a way that it can be used both by beginners and by adavance4d woodworkers. It has features like 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch collets, cam motor housing, and a clear LEXAN sub-base which makes its overall performance very high. It is incredibly affordable and it comes with a lot of features which makes it worth it for you to buy it.
You can buy it as a combo kit with both a fixed base and plunge base or you can buy it only with a fixed base. The fixed base comes with a 360 micro adjustment ring and a locking lever makes the router achieve the exact depth of cuts y going up and down every time it is used.
The plunge base is exceptionally smooth to use. The angle at which the router handles are fixed, it makes it easier for you to use it while working. Swift and hassle-free changes can be made between setting depth measurements and bases by using the toll-free steel cam style motor. The soft start helps in minimizing the torque. The motor soft started reduces the stress on the router’s motor.
The electronic variable speed ranges from 8000 RPM to 24000 RPM. The speed can be well adjusted with regards to the type of project you are doing. Small diameter bits and cutters on laminations, softwoods, and plastic are best suited for this router. The knob it has for fine adjustment is very sensitive. This router is less prone to split base problems.
To easily line up the locking needles on the plunge base, the back of the motor has a cutout channel. This makes the power cord and the power switch to always stay either right or left side of your hand. The base construction along with the lightweight aluminum motor housing assures long term durability. The power switch is dust protected with a shroud.
- To avoid hand and arm fatigue, it has good ergonomic grips.
- The power cord is detachable. It has a low center of gravity.
- The toggle switch is sealed and conveniently located.
- It is very powerful which allows it to handle all types of wood. It comes with a warranty of 3 years, the 90-day guarantee of getting their money back if you are not satisfied with the product, and 1 year of free service.
- It is not cordless which can be hectic at times.
- It does not come with an edge guide and has to be bought separately.
- No centering tool is included and has to be purchased separately.
- It can be quite difficult to reach the collet nut.
- Adjustment ring has a slipping problem.
4. Bosch MRC23EVSK Wood Router Pack
It is a flagship product of Bosch with both premium features and a lot of enhancements. It has the handle mounted trigger on both the fixed base and plunge base. Whenever you plug in the router, the crucial bit area is brightly illuminated with a LED. It also has a sub-base which is a crystal clear polycarbonate. To enhance the control, the trigger power switch is conveniently placed on the handle. The AfterlockMicrofine Depth Adjustment allows you precise and easy adjustment at all plunge setting. The plunge routing can be easily down with Depth Rod, Spring-Lock Plunge Lever, and Smooth Plunge Action.
It has Constant Response Circuitry, Two-Stage Quick Clamp System, Soft Start System, and Variable Sped Dial. It has 2.3 horsepower with an RPM range of 10000 – 25000. Hardwood with small diameter bits can be easily cut with the help of this router. Switching bases in this router take only 6 seconds. This router would be very helpful for people who are at the semi-pro or pro level. It will really help the professionals to follow a particular schedule of their production level.
- It has a high range of RPM, you get more torque. Both the fixed base and plunge base is available. It has a 6-speed setting.
- It helps you get the precise measurements.
- All its features really help you by saving a lot of time
- It is expensive.
- It comes with only a warranty for a year.
- It is mostly used for people who are into commercial woodworking purposes.
5. PORTER-CABLE 690LR Router
This is the best router for beginners who have just started learning woodwork. It is very affordable. It has a fixed speed of 27500 RPM. It has 1.77 horsepower motor producing the torque or speed of 0.34 pound-feet. You won’t be able to change it as it is limited to its RPM. 1-inch bits are best-suited bits to be used in this router. The deal breaker is that this router provides a precision as much as 1/128th of an inch. It is twice more than that of DEWALT routers. Although this router comes as a fixed model, it can also be used with the plunge base which can be bought separately. It comes with a three-year warranty. This is a simple but very powerful router. It comes with a 1/2 inch collet, 1/4 inch collet, and a wrench.
The hand grips are nicely cushioned which makes you feel the vibration to a minimum. You can do adjustments smoothly without any tools with the help of the cam lock lever. The router is finely dust sealed from inside so that the machine can stay durable for a long time by not getting damaged by the dust. The motor is made out of aluminum which makes it reliable and sturdy. It has good safety elements. When it comes to removal, the autorelease collet system comes really handy.
- It is very low-cost. It is the best router for beginners. It has a high rate of torque.
- It helps in doing an accurate job. It has a warranty for 3 years.
- It has a motor of single speed.
- It does not have a plunge base and it has to be bought separately.
Wood routing is the best way to make different kinds of woodwork. Various kinds of bits you can make various shapes and types of woodwork. For example, if you quickly want to add some decorations on the edges of any board, you can simply use a router with the Roman Ogee bit. Routers help in decorating the edges with exact precision. There are different kinds of bits in the market as well as different kinds of routers. This makes routers very versatile.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional, it is important for everyone to have a router and buy the only one which will suit them the best. But the problem is, not a single rule of measurement is constant when it comes to selecting a router by comparing its performance with the other. The only closest thing you will get as a constant yardstick is that of the router’s torque. Some people always make a mistake by judging a router by its horsepower and PRM but that is not correct. There are a lot of things to consider before buying a router. Some of them are as follows:
RPM, Horsepower and torque are the three most common characteristics which are used to describe the performance of a router. Let’s talk about horsepower first. Even though many machines advertise their horsepower broadly, you can ignore it as it only informs you about the amount of force a motor can produce. It would not be able to translate the cutting power. One such example is the Bosch 1617EVSPK has 1.93 horsepower motor & the Bosch MRC23EVSK has 2.41 horsepower motor. You might think that the later is better in performance when compared with the prior one because it has the greater horsepower, then that’s not the case. Comparing machines solely on the basis of horsepower is not that easy. Here is why, 1.27 pound-feet of speed or torque is produced by the MRC23 by minimum speed of 10000 RPM.
The 1617EV also produces the exact quantity of torque at 8000 RPM, which is minimum speed.
That means, both the machines have a similar amount of cutting force at their minimum speed. But when it comes to maximum speed, the MRC23, with its maximum speed of 25000 RPM, produces a torque of 0.51 pound-feet. Whereas, the 1617EV; at the same maximum speed, only produces the torque of 0.41 pound-feet. Therefore, 1617EV produces less torque than MRC23 at maximum speed. This is the reason why you should take into account all the characteristics and parameters to judge the exact performance capability of the machine you are buying.
How to calculate Horsepower as well as the Torque?
If the horsepower of the machine is not given by the manufacturer, you can easily calculate the horsepower with the help of an easy equation. For that, you need two components, one is the current rating and the other one is voltage rating.
Horsepower = ( voltage rating × current rating ) / 745.699
Even though the manufacturer has provided the horsepower of the machine, you should still calculate it once on your own to know the exact horsepower. If you know the horsepower, it can also be used to find out the torque of the machine.
Torque = ( horsepower × 5252) / RPM
This equation explains that if the horsepower increases, the torque will increase and if the RPM increases, the torque will decrease.
What effect do Torque and RPM have on routing?
The measurement of the cutting force behind a bit is known as torque. For example, if you are chopping a vegetable with a knife and you are only using two of your fingers to hold the knife, then it would be difficult for you to chop the vegetable and the cut will not be clean, smooth and easy. But if you hold the knife properly in your hand, then you can have a clean, easy and smooth cut. Likewise, for cutting different materials of different softness and hardness, torque is required. Softwood would obviously require less torque than hardwood. The RPM limits the bit’s diameter that is used on a router.
When a machine is set at a range of 20000 RPM, that indicates that the shaft of the machine will run at a range of 20000 RPM. So, If an inch bit is placed on the shaft, that part of that bit which overlaps the shaft, will rotate at a range of 20000 RPM. That means, the bit’s outer edge is rotating at a very high speed. So, if the diameter of your bit is half an inch, then that end of an inch bit is rotating at a speed of 40000 RPM which is very high. So you should always buy a machine which has a low RPM range if you want to use large bits. Always check the guide provided for RPM range before buying the router and routing.
Accuracy and Depth Cut
One does not need to worry too much regarding the Maximum depth of the cut. If there is any difference between models which is more than half an inch, then the depth of the cut will not make a great difference. You would be able to run multiple passes for achieving your desired depth. For depth, the only thing that will make a difference is the Adjustment Mechanism. The main thing you should keep in mind is the type of precision you want in your work.
You have to decide whether you would like to work with 1/128th of an inch or-else with 1/64th of an inch. This will solely depend on the type of project you are doing. But for decorating the edges, you can use 1/64th of an inch which will be enough for it. So, whenever you are buying a router, you should check the accuracy. If you want more accuracy then buy that extra accuracy router, otherwise, do not pay for more accuracy in case you do not need it.
Benefits of Using a Wood Router:
This handy tool has a lot of wide functionality. It is used for cutting, trimming, and shaping a lot of varied materials like wood, laminations, and plastic. There are different types of wood routers which can be sued both by beginners and by professionals. They also come with other tool kits and a user manual which you can refer to when you are using it. You can make patterns of your choice on your project with the help of this machine. There are many brands of it available on the market for you to choose the exact type of wood router you want. Here are some benefits of using a wood router:
1. Perfect Edges and Making It Sharp:
Making a smooth narrow piece of wood can be tricky at times. But, if you have a wood router, it would be very easy for you to do it. A wood router easily cuts the wood, lamination, and plastic sharply and helps in attaining the perfect smooth edge. You can easily work on hardwood and softwood effortlessly without wasting a lot of time behind it.
2. Stylish Moldings:
The routers can help you create decorative and stylish moldings. Any kind of moldings can be created, whether for doors, windows or baseboards, by using a router.
3. Dadoes Flexibility:
It is a supportive edge, where one can fix any type of cabinet or any kind of board. The wood router, let’s you cut this surface hassle free which really speeds up the process of your work.
4. Accurate Repeatability:
The wood router will let you cut your wood accurately every time you do any kind of work. The machine is very effective when it comes to wood routing. You would always get an equal amount of wood according to your wish and it also helps in minimizing the wastage of wood.
5. Time Saver:
Routers will help you complete your work with utmost precision and will do it without taking a lot of time. All the features attached to a router helps in accelerating the process of wood cutting and decorating.
Let’s have a quick review of what this article dealt with. To understand the exact quality, performance, and ability of a router, you should keep in mind three important characteristics of it which are interrelated. These three characteristics are namely, torque, RPM, and horsepower. Next, you should decide if you want to work with smaller bits or larger bits. In order to work with large bits, you only need machines which have low RPM. You also need to keep in mind the type of wood you would work on. If you are working on the hardwood, you need a router that has high torque and if you are working on softwood, you need a router which has low torque. Then you also need to think about the type of accuracy you want in your project.
If you keep these things in mind when you are buying a router, you will be able to easily find the perfect router for yourself. Apart from these things, warranty, brand quality, and material quality also matter. A wood router might look very simple but it can be a very versatile tool. It has been in the market for ages and when it comes to carpentry and woodwork, this is the best tool available in the Market. You need the right knowledge to choose the exact router of your need. A router can be bought according to its type of use. It depends whether you are buying it for commercial purposes or you are buying it for personal use. It provides you with a lot of flexibility when you are doing any kind of project on any kind of material. It is very easy to operate and anyone can use it by taking the help of the user manual it comes with.