Best Wood Router Reviews 2018

A few decades ago, every well-equipped woodwork shop out there had a collection of wooden planes, with each one designed to cut a different joint or molding. Enter the new era where technology commands every sector, and it wouldn’t be amiss to find a high-speed milling machine in any workshop – a router! This godsend tool handles curved edges as well as internal cuts at a fraction of a time. But before you get lost in the terminologies, the sea of sizes and prices, sit back and read our review on some of the best wood router brands in the market and 5 great options from each.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Load Speed
Horse Power
Amperage
Weight
Our Top Choice
Bosch Combination Plunge Router
Bosch has been in the business of power tools and home appliances for over a century. The Bosch Combination Plunge Router comes with both fixed base and plunge base.
Features two types of bases. Good amount of horsepower. Very fast speed. Strong construction.
A little pricey because of the high-end features.
Corded
8,000 – 25,000 rpm
2-1/4 HP
12 amps
18.2 pounds
Best Value
DeWalt Compact Router
DeWalt offers a full catalog of fasteners and power tools to toughen your workbench. Its DeWalt Compact Router comes with a powerful motor of 1.25 hp to handle even tough applications.
Good value for money. Powerful motor. Good variable speed range. Durable construction.
Heats a bit when it runs for long time continuously.
Corded
16,000 – 27,000 rpm
1-1/4 HP
7 amps
6.2 pounds
Makita Compact Router
Makita is a global brand, leading in cordless and corded power tools. Its Makita Compact Router comes with 3 bases and a variable speed ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 rpm.
Powerful motor. Amazing speed range. Durable construction. Ergonomic design.
A bit pricey because of the high-end features.
Corded
10,000 – 30,000 rpm
1-1/4 HP
6.5 amps
3.9 pounds
Milwaukee D-Handle Router
Milwaukee has continued to develop innovative products for over 8 decades. The Milwaukee D-Handle Router features a 24,000 rpm motor and runs on 11 amps.
Affordable. Fair operations speed. Comfortable D-handle grip.
Not very powerful for tough applications.
Corded
up to 24,000 rpm
1.7 amps
11 amps
9.2 pounds
Porter-Cable Router
Porter-Cable is an American company known for pioneering several noteworthy power tools. Its 690LR wood router features a 1-3/4 max Hp and 27,500 rpm.
Affordable. Good variable speed. Ergonomically designed handles. Strong aluminum housing.
Not powerful enough for complicated applications.
Corded
up to 27,500 rpm
1-3/4 HP
11 amps
9.8 pounds

(Updated )
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How Do I Choose the Best Wood Router?

A router is one of the quintessential tools that a serious woodwork enthusiast must have in their tool box. Irrespective of which woodworking project you’re handling, there is a high possibility that you will use a router at least once. A wood router will help you to create intricate designs and sleek edges at a fraction of the time before you can proceed to the sanding phase.

Whether you’re just making a simple ½” round hole on a tabletop or producing a cathedral style panel door, having the right wood router for the precise job is imperative. Here are some common types of wood routers that you can get today:
  • Fixed Base Router– This comes with a fixed handle or knob to allow you to hold and guide the router. It is easier to use when mounted to a router table and mostly used in edge molding, rabbets and dadoes.
  • Plunge Base Router - This is more versatile as it can be used in doing most of the tasks that a fixed base can do. It is ideal for blind grooves, dado cuts fluting and internal cuts.
While these routers may seem alike, understanding some crucial aspects may help you purchase the right one that fits your needs. Read on to find about these bad boys in more detail.
Price
How much should I spend on a wood router? Well, we are going to be honest with you. A wood router can cost a premium, especially if you are into getting more features. While there are lots of varieties in the market, the best wood routers are priced between $150 and $300. The difference in the prices is due to various factors like brand name, speed and other incorporated features. For instance, routers with powerful motors, high speed and soft start features have high prices.

While we advise you to go for a machine that is within your budget, we urge you to keep away from cheap wood routers as they may disappoint you with poor quality work and malfunctioning.
Features
Whether you’re a professional carpenter or just a home improvement enthusiast, take the following features into consideration and you won’t regret your purchase:
  • Type (fixed base or plunge base)
  • The right horse power for efficiency
  • Cordless or corded
  • Router weight for portability
  • The right speed control system
  • Warranty for protection against manufacturer’s faults
Let’s now look at how these features affect the performance of this machine.
Construction and Design
Choosing the right wood router can help you achieve a lot in a fraction of the time. As we had mentioned earlier, you can either go for a fixed base router (ideal for edge molding, rabbets and dadoes) or a plunge base router (ideal for blind grooves, dado cuts fluting and internal cuts). These routers can either be corded or cordless. For corded machines, check out the size of the wire to ensure it will reach your socket. However, cordless routers are more convenient as you’ll not be restricted to a certain radius.

Check out for a soft-start motor feature. This makes it easy and safer to use the router. Soft-start reduces wrist-wrenching motion that comes when the router is first started, which can easily twist a handheld router away from your hands. If you’re beginner you would want a router that has a soft-start feature.
Performance and Ease of Use
Routers with high horse powers are more powerful and speedier. Choose a router that has high load speed for fast and quality results. There are routers with single-speed operation and others that are more versatile and come with multi-speed operation. Depending on what you intend to do with the router, choose the right speed for your needs.

We also can’t forget about the portability aspect, especially for those that are looking to handle woodworks in different locations. If you will have to move from one place to another, a low weight router might work better for you.

A more efficient and speedier wood router comes with amperages ranging from 6-13 amps. If you want a handheld router choose a low weight one for the comfort of use and portability. If you’re a beginner you would want a router that comes with simple instructions on how to use it. Finally, check the manufacturer’s warranty specifications for protections from manufacturer’s faults.

What is the Best Wood Router?

When shopping for a wood router, you will want to focus mainly on the function of the machine, trying to be realistic about your needs and skills. You will not want to go for a complicated, heavy-duty model if you just conduct simple woodwork projects in your home. Now that you have read all about these factors in our guide, allow us to proceed to our top picks so that we can help you get the right wood router that fits your needs.
Our Top Choice
The Bosch Combination Plunge Router features a 2-1/4 horsepower motor and variable speeds ranging from 8,000 – 25,000 rpm to handle different woodwork projects. Want a more powerful model with variable speeds ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 rpm, as well as LED lighting? We bet you will love the Bosch MRC23EVSK Router!
Bosch Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower – Available in 4 Designs

Bosch Wood Router, Router 1617EVSPK


Features
Bosch was founded 125 years ago, and since then it has consistently raised standards in efficiency, quietness and integrated design for all its products. This has made the brand iconic, not only in the US but also globally. Whether you want corded or cordless power tools as well as their accessories, there’s no doubt you can trust Bosch!

The Bosch Combination Plunge Router combines a 12-amp motor with adjustable speed settings and a precision centering design to ensure your project is done speedily and the results are impeccable. It features a constant response circuitry to help it maintain a constant speed, resulting in a clean accurate product.

This wood router comes with both a plunge base and a fixing base, something that explains its high price tag of $219. Some of the features it packs include:
  • Micro-fine depth adjustments and a soft start
  • 2-1/4 horsepower, with variable speeds of 8,000 rpm – 25,000 rpm
  • A strong aluminum construction and wooden handles
  • Product comes with fixed and plunge bases, carrying case, chip shields, wrenches and collect chucks
  • 1-year manufacturer warranty
While we decided to feature this model as a router only, it is available in other design kits for a few more bucks. You could get the router w/ benchtop table, router w/ edge guide, or router w/ edge guide and bench table.
Best Value
The DeWalt Compact Router comes with a round base and a horse power of 1.25, making it a useful tool in handling a number of applications. Looking for a good model with the same horsepower but with both a fixed-base and plunge base? Check out the DeWalt DW618PK Plunge and Fixed-Base router and you might just love it!
DeWalt Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit 1.25 HP Max Torque With LED’s – Available in 4 Designs

DeWalt Wood Router DWP611PK, Compact Router w/Round Sub Base and Edge Guide


Features
For almost 9 decades, DeWalt has earned a rich reputation when it comes to producing and designing tough industrial machinery. Raymond DeWalt, the company’s founder, invented the very first radial arm saw in 1923, which marked a start of the long successful journey to what the brand is today.

The DeWalt Compact Router boasts a 1-1/4 HP motor, which delivers enough power to handle even the toughest applications. It also features variable speed control so that you can use the right speed for the right project. If you want to change the base depth, you will love the precise depth adjustment feature.

There’s a good reason we loved the DeWalt Compact Router. Firstly, it’s among the Best Sellers on Amazon, and secondly, it features a compact router with a round base and edge guide at an amazing price of $199. Here what’s more you are likely to enjoy with this machine:
  • Durable 1.25 horsepower motor that’s made to meet even the toughest applications
  • Can extend to 3 inches from edge of your material
  • Variable speed control ranging from 16,000 to 27,000 rpm
  • Allows precise positioning of dadoes, inlays, et cetera
  • Durable Lexan construction
  • A clear sub-base and dual LED lighting to ensure you have maximum visibility
  • A round base can work with template guides
This option with a round base and edge is a great for those who want to handle just about any woodworking project. However, if you want just the router or one with edge guide or round base, then you can choose those options on Amazon as well.
Just as the name suggests, the Makita Compact Router is a compact model with a 2-1/4 HP motor. It has a good speed range to handle a number of applications. If, for any reason, you wish to get a model with more horsepower and a plunge design, then you can grab the Makita RF1101KIT2 Plunge Router today.
Makita Compact Router Kit 1-1/4HP – Available in 3 Designs

Makita Wood Router RT0701CX3, Kit with 3 Bases


Features
Makita is one of the major names in the world of power tool technology. It makes a wide range of professional and handyman tools, distributing across Europe and the US, among other regions. When compiling research about wood routers, there’s no chance we could have left this brand behind!

The Makita Compact Router delivers precision, versatility and performance in a compact size. It features a 1-1//4 HP motor and three bases for a full range of routing applications. It has a variable speed ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 rpm, making it one of the fastest wood routers in our list.

Because of the high-end features it brings to the table, you will expect to dig deeper into your pockets, parting with around $299.99 to own this machine. But don’t worry about the investment, because it’s a worthy one! Here are features to expect:
  • Smooth, fine depth-adjustment to provide more precise settings
  • Soft start to allow for smooth start ups
  • Ergonomic design for enhanced comfort and control
  • The unit accepts industry-standard templates
  • Quick release cam lock for convenient base installation/removal and depth adjustment
Just like most wood routers we have covered, this option also comes in a number of designs. While we featured the kit and 3-bases, you can also get the tool alone, or a kit with 1 base.
The Milwaukee D-Handle Router is made with a comfortable hand grip, 24,000 rpm and 1.7 max HP motor to handle basic applications. Want to invest in a more powerful model with 1.75 HP motor? Get the Milwaukee 5615-24 Multi-Base Router and enjoy more features!
Milwaukee D-Handle Router Kit 1.7-Max Horsepower

Milwaukee Wood Router 5619-20


Features
Milwaukee started in 1924, making heavy-duty power tools for industrial applications. Since then, it has managed to work its way up and become one of the top names in the market when it comes to performance, quality and durability. Thanks to the brand’s unwavering commitment, it has become a household name by handymen and professionals alike.

The Milwaukee D-Handle Router is an affordable power tool, retailing at around $169.99. It features a maximum horsepower of 1-3/4 HP and a speed of 24,000 rpm. The grip design is also something worth mentioning. The over-molded rubber grip is comfortable and comes with an adjustable strap to allow for right- and left-hand operation.

Let’s take a look at the features that make this wood router a sweet deal:
  • Linear depth adjustment
  • Soft-Grip D-handle equipped with a lock-on trigger switch
  • 1-3/4 maximum horsepower and 24,000 rpm motor
  • Comes with two 1-1/8-inch collect wrenches: ¼-inch collect and ½-inch collect
The Porter-Cable 690LR Wood Router introduces a 1-3/4 Max HP and a speed of 27,500 rpm to allow for precision cuts in a wide range of applications. If you want a more powerful model, perhaps one with a 2-1/4 Max HP, we recommend that you get the PORTER-CABLE 892 2-1\/4-Horsepower Router.
Porter-Cable Fixed-Base Router 1-3/4 Horsepower – Available in 2 Designs

Porter-Cable Wood Router 690LR, Router w/template guide


Features
Did you know that Porter-Cable was the first company to introduce a portable belt sander? That’s right! The brand is also credited for pioneering other products such as the portable band saw and helical-drive circular saw. This tells you one thing—Porter-Cable has vast knowledge in creating power tools.

The 690LR wood router comes with a fixed base and a strong 1-3/4/ HP motor that generates an incredible 27,500 rpm. This means that you will get precise cuts even on larger woodwork projects. The unit also features ergonomic handles that are strategically placed, making routing a comfortable and easy task.

Even with the immense power and impeccable speed range offered by this power tool, it doesn’t cost a fortune. You will only need around $154 to own it. Here are some of the features to expect:
  • Over-molded grips for enhanced comfort
  • 11-amp motor that produces 103/4 HP
  • An under-table that prevents the motor from rotating out of its base
  • 27,500 rpm
  • Cam lock lever for motor releases and height adjustments
  • Aluminum motor base and housing
  • Auto-release collect system that allows for bit removal
This router is available in two designs. You can get it as a router only (the one we featured) and a router with template guide.

Get the Best Wood Router of 2018!

There you go! We are happy that you are now more enlightened and understand what wood routers incorporate to make your purchase process easy. But please note; this isn’t a head-to-head tool test, but rather great options from top brands to suit different people with different needs and budgets. Go ahead and handle your project like a pro!

Our Top Choice
Bosch Combination Plunge Router
Best Value
DeWalt Compact Router
Makita Compact Router
Milwaukee D-Handle Router
Porter-Cable Router