Best Wood Routers (August 2019) – Top Picks & Reviews

Are you looking for a lightweight, durable, and affordable wood router to purchase?

We understand how difficult it can be to choose the right wood router for yourself from the numerous available options. So, we have prepared this wood router buying guide to help you choose the best wood router for yourself.

In this guide, we have outlined a few of the best wood routers along with a few tips on choosing the best wood router for yourself.

Best Wood Routers for Heavy Woodworking

Festool 1400 EQ Router

This is one of the best wood routing tools for heavy woodworking projects and should definitely be considered by professional woodworkers. You can be working on any kind of project and routing any type of wood with this plunge base router as this bad boy can handle anything.

But one of the top reasons why most woodworkers choose this wood router is because it reduces the amount of dust produced while working when compared to other similar tools. How is this useful? Well, woodworking dust is one of the biggest hazards of this field as it can lead to several respiratory diseases.

But as Festool 1400 EQ Router produces less dust, it is effective in completing the task and safe to use at the same time.

Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router

If you aren’t a fan of plunge base router and prefer fixed base router for your jobs, then Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is the best choice for you. This fixed base route can easily manage heavy-duty tasks and provides you with an amazing result. The 1-3/4 HP motor can offer you a fixed speed at 27,500 RPM which is sufficient to manage most woodworking applications.

And since all the parts are covered with an aluminum casting, you don’t have to worry about the durability of this product as well. So, with Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router, you get both power and longevity.

Best Routers for Hobbyists

Are you a beginner or a hobbyist who is trying to learn woodworking skills? If yes, then you need a router which you can enjoy using and which offers you an amazing performance as well.

This is why we have suggested below the two best routers that you can purchase when you are just starting out. These routers are safe, reliable, and make precise cuts on the wood.

Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router

For DIY hobbyists and beginners, it is extremely important to choose a router which is comfortable and easy to use. It doesn’t matter if you are making a decorative item or a functional home décor. You need a router which allows you to adjust the speed and the power and can be used at different angles and positions as well.

This is why it is important that you consider a wood router which works as a fixed base router and a plunge base router. And one of the best routers which also happens to be quite affordable with this feature is Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router.

This router offers you the variable speed settings which can be set anywhere between 8000 and 25,000 RPM. Plus, it also features two collet sizes for inserting the bits: ¼ inch and ½ inch so you can adjust the depth of the cut.

It also features an aluminum body which means that this router has good durability. And finally, with its soft-grip handles, you can get both comfort and style in the same router kit.

Dewalt DWP611PK Variable Router

While Dewalt DWP611PK Variable Router is not as powerful as Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router, it is still quite efficient and should be considered by beginners. This is undoubtedly the best router in this Dewalt series and is an Amazon Best-selling product as well.

With its 1.25 HP motor and variable speed settings which can move from 16,000 to 27,000 RPM, this router can handle all major woodworking tasks. So, no matter what you throw at this router, it emerges out victorious and is definitely a good product to buy for hobbyists and beginners.

Our Top Recommendation: Festool 1400 EQ Router

One of the toughest wood routers available, Festool 1400 EQ Router has been outfitted especially with an 11.7 AMP motor. As a result, it can do a lot of heavy-duty woodworking tasks with efficiency in just a short amount of time. It is sturdy and durable and will easily handle a wide range of applications with great ease.

So, if you are looking for a powerful, durable, and sturdy router for daily use then Festool 1400 EQ Router is the best choice. Below, we have highlighted a few of its features which are worth noticing and which will help you decide if this is the right tool for you or not.

Dust Extraction System

It is no secret that using a wood router create a lot of wood dust and debris. This can be very difficult to clean up as these particles often get into small crevices which becomes a cleaning task later. That’s not all though, it can be a big safety hazard as well and can also cause health issues.

But this is where the Festool 1400 EQ Router differs from most of the routers in the market. It features a dust extraction system where you will find a dust extraction hood which helps in capturing the dust which gets generated during the routing process. And then the dust is channeled away so that it doesn’t disturb the woodworker who is using the router.

This helps in improved visibility and is safe for your health and safety as well. Plus, there is minimal dust or debris in the workshop to clean up which ends up saving a lot of time and effort as well.

And the best thing is that you can easily detach the hood and clean it up. And it can be work with two types of hoses: 27 mm and 36 mm.

Chip Catcher

Apart from the dust extraction system, there is also a chip catcher which is helpful in capturing the wood chips that are formed while routing. This is helpful as the chips get detached easily from the wood and then can be disposed of safely.

There is also a chip deflector that is included with the Festool 1400 EQ Router. This component is useful when you are routing curve or corner edges. This component helps in improving the function of the dust extraction system and chip catcher so that you always work in a safe and clean environment.

And similar to the dust extraction system, you can detach it and then clean it using a spring clip system.

Powerful Motor

One of the most important things to pay attention to is Festool 1400 EQ’s power rating. On first glance, it does have a low power rating so you might wonder if it is even capable of performing the woodworking tasks.

However, this router comes with 1400 Watts which can easily manage the toughest cuts with considerable ease.

And with its variable speed setting, you can easily choose the right speed for your cuts and have an excellent result, regardless of the router bit’s size.

Ergonomic and Comfortable Handles

This router also comes with an ergonomic handle which makes it easy to hold the router while operating it for long periods of time. The handle ensures that you don’t find the router heavy to hold and includes the control settings as well. As a result, you can change the router speed without moving your hand too much.

This handle plus control is a great design as it makes maneuvering the router easy and saves a lot of time in the long run.

Easily Adjustable

If you are looking for the utmost precision, then this is the best router in the market. This router allows you to easily adjust and change the depth of the cut for a precise cut. In fact, it can easily manage up to 1/256 – inch which basically means that you can get a desired cut for any type of fitting with this handy tool.

It also offers you a 3-position depth turret which can be used to change the routing depth for precise cuts. The main difference between a professional woodworker and an amateur is how precise cuts they have made.

So, if you want 100% precision then Festool 1400 EQ Router is the best choice for you.

Better Management

Another great thing about this router is that it is easy to clean and doesn’t take as much time as the other routers to clean. Due to the presence of dust extraction system, there is not a lot to clean, to begin with. So, it takes a short time to clean up your environment and get it ready for the next project.

System Integration

A good router not only performs its tasks well but can also be integrated with other tools. And our Festool 1400 EQ Router is designed in such a way that it can easily integrate with FS Guide Rail System and the MFS multi-routing templates.

This can help in guiding your cuts and getting creative with your router.

What doesn’t work?

As is the case with most products, Festool 1400 EQ Router is not all sunshine and roses. Firstly, it is super expensive due to the high-end features and components that it offers the customers.

And one of the major drawbacks of Festool 1400 EQ is that the accessories which make this router so popular need to be purchased separately. This means that you won’t get the FS Guide Rail System with the wood router and you will need to buy it.

Also, since Festool 1400 EQ gives you the best, it costs the same as well. However, apart from this, it doesn’t have any integral design flaw. It does get a little edgy when you are using the highest speed but that is definitely not a deal-breaker.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Ergonomic handles for safety and comfort
  • Dust Extraction port
  • Chip deflector
  • Easy to make precision adjustments

Cons

  • Highly expensive
  • Requires you to buy the accessories separately

Final Words

Festool 1400 EQ Router is a great tool for both experts and beginners. It not only allows you to experiment around with its numerous accessories, but it is quite easy to operate as well. And its smooth handling, ergonomic features, and safety components make it a popular product among the woodworkers.

If you are a beginner who is trying to kickstart a career in woodworking, then this is definitely one of the top routers to consider.

And professional woodworkers can manage a lot of complex projects and can take their work to the next level with the help of this router.

Recommendation 2: Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router

If you are in search of a sturdy fixed base router which can perform multiple tasks, then Porter Cable 960LR is definitely the best router for you. This router has one of the strongest motor, 11 AMP motor, in this class which makes it such a good choice for woodworkers.

Apart from that, it also includes several amazing features which can help you manage a variety of woodworking jobs.

Powerful Motor with a Single Speed

As mentioned above, the Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router features an 11 AMP motor which can basically do anything. In terms of speed, it works amazingly at the single speed setting of 27,000 RPM. And it can handle a variety of tough jobs with great ease which makes it such a good choice for professional woodworkers.

Durability

The next important thing which makes this router such a steal is its durability. This router is sealed with ball-bearing which protects the router and its components from dust damage. Also, it has an aluminum casting on the outside which is the reason behind its high durability and integrity.

Its handles are also built out of top-grade metal which is protected from rust or corrosion and allows you to enjoy a solid, comfortable grip on the router.

Honestly, it is a good, durable tool which will easily work extensively for a long time without any signs of damage.

Flexibility

One of the best things about Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is that it can easily adjust with all kinds of bits, regardless of their size. As a result, it makes the best choice if you are looking for an efficient handheld wood router.

Drawbacks of this Router

Although Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is a clear winner, there are a few cons of using this router as well. While it does happen to be one of the most durable routers in the market, it doesn’t have an ergonomic design and can be slightly uncomfortable to use.

While the high-grade metal handles are durable and sturdy, they are definitely not comfortable to hold for long periods of time. So, if you do choose this product, make sure that you take sufficient breaks while operating this router.

Also, use this router as a table-mounted router than a handheld device to make it more comfortable to use.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Extremely powerful and precise
  • Includes dust-sealed components
  • Quick bit removal

Cons

  • Handles are uncomfortable to hold for long durations

Final Verdict

One of the most durable and powerful fixed base routers in the market, Porter Cable 690LR Fixed Base Router is a good choice for most professionals. Its powerful motor can handle all kinds of jobs and makes it easy to operate the router.

So, if you wish to purchase a powerful handheld router then this is the one for you.

Recommendation 3: Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router

One of the most versatile tools in the market, Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is the best router for beginners and hobbyists. This is because it includes both fixed base router and plunge base router features so, you can use it for a wide range of woodworking tasks.

It has a robust and durable design which makes it a good investment for long-term use. Apart from that, it has some kickass features which will make woodworking fun and exciting for you.

Powerful Motor with Soft Start and Variable Speed Control

One of the best things about Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is that it has a powerful motor. With its 12 AMP 2-1/4 horsepower motor, you can easily handle all the tasks without breaking a sweat. From moderate to heavy-duty routing jobs, this wood router can do it all quite efficiently.

Now, this might seem like a concern for most people because if the router always exudes so much power, it can easily damage the wood as well. However, this is not the case with this versatile wood router.

Bosch 1617EVSPK also features a soft start feature with its 12 AMP motor of 2-1/4 HP. As a result, when you start your router for operating on the wood, the torque of this motor is reduced to protect the wood pieces.

Also, it features a variable speed setting, which allows the users to change the speed up to 25,000 RPM. So, unlike other routers in the same class, it can work efficiently with larger bits as well. For low speed, you can use larger bits and for high speed, you can use smaller bits.

It also includes a consistent response circuitry which ensures that the speed stays consistent while being used on wood. So, you have precise, consistent cuts on the wood pieces. And due to the variable speed control, the chances of the router motor burning out and getting damaged reduces considerably.

Trust me, with its powerful motor and variable speed control, you will be able to complete a lot of tasks without much struggle.

Versatile

One of the top features of Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is that it has two bases. And you can easily switch between the fixed base router and the plunge base router to perform the desired woodworking tasks.

The fixed base router has clear measurements and allows you to make precise cuts on the wood pieces. On the other hand, the plunge base router allows you to make cuts at a predefined depth and angle which can be useful in making intricate designs on the wood.

Also, its variable speed control feature allows it to work with both smaller and larger bits with great ease, unlike other routers in the market.

Ergonomic Handles

Another great thing about this wood router is that it has a separate handle for both the fixed base router and plunge base router. As a result, there isn’t too much pressure on your arms when you are using different bases and are able to complete the task efficiently and quickly.

A lot of other combo wood routers don’t have this option which makes handling these router quite difficult and stressful.

Also, the handles are made of wood and soft-grip quality, so it is quite comfortable to hold for long periods of time. They absorb the shock and pressure easily which makes using these handles a complete delight.

And the gentle grips allow you to focus on your delicate cuts easily. Honestly, ergonomically designed handles are one of the top features of Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router.

Convenient to Use

Bosch 1617EVSPK is also quite convenient to use which makes it such a top choice for the hobbyists. With the option of both fixed base and plunge base, you can easily switch between the settings when required.

It has a smooth locking mechanism and base adjustment feature so, it barely takes any time to change the bases while working with the router. In fact, you can easily make the change in between a cut as well if you want to add more details to your wood piece.

And the ergonomic handles really make it quite convenient to use the router for a long time while working on the projects.

Overall, this is hands down the most convenient router in the market and you would definitely not be disappointed after purchasing it.

Adjustable

Another good feature of Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is that it has room for a lot of adjustments. It works with both ½ and ¼ collets which makes it perfect for making the adjustments.

In fact, this router actually allows you to make microfine adjustments on it up to 1/64 inch. Also, you can adjust the depth of the cuts on your fixed base with the help of the knob on it. All these adjustment options allow the users to work greater details in their project and produce some of the best work.

What are the drawbacks?

This is a good, versatile router but there are still a few improvements to be made on this model. One of the main issues with Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is that experiences a lot of jamming issues with plunge base router. And it is difficult to carry out heavy jobs with this base as well.

So, it would be advisable to not work on a lot of heavy jobs with this router if you don’t want it to get damaged anytime soon.

Another major issue with this router is that the wood handle on the fixed base is not as great and could be designed a little better.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Powerful motor with a soft-start
  • Variable Speed Control feature
  • Durable and Robust design
  • Amazing ergonomics with comfortable handles

Cons

  • Likely to jam when using the plunge base
  • Cannot handle a lot of heavy jobs

To Sum it Up

In conclusion, Bosch 1617EVSPK Variable Speed Router is versatile and flexible which makes it the perfect choice for beginners and hobbyists. With its good wood router kit, easy adjustment features, and ergonomics, it really makes a good choice for medium woodworking tasks.

And it is quite inexpensive as well! So, if you are just gaining interest in woodworking projects then this is definitely the best, functional router to consider at such an attractive rate.

Recommendation 4: Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router

Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Kit Router is an Amazon bestseller due to a lot of reasons. A compact and convenient router to use, this router includes some of the best features despite the small size.

At the same time, it is quite affordable and easy to operate as well, which makes it the perfect fit for beginners. Here are a few of its top-notch features which makes it such a popular router to use in the woodworking projects.

Variable Speed

Let’s start with the best feature of this compact router which is the variable speed control option. It features six speed options in the range of 16,000 and 27,000 RPM which allows you to manage different tasks quite easily.

It is quite easy and simple to change the speed as well and can work with different sized bits to get your work done. You can make cuts on both wood and plastic with this router which makes it such a versatile tool to use. And since there is an electronic speed control feature, your router stays protected under too much load and doesn’t burn out.

This makes it a good choice for beginners and hobbyists as it is simple to operate and the chances of damage are quite low.

Low Power Motor with Soft Start

Although Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Router Kit has a low power motor at just 1.25 HP but it has a maximum speed of 27,000 RPM. As a result, you can use it for various jobs quite easily with this router. But due to its design, it cannot be used with heavy woodworking tasks. So, make sure that you don’t use this router on any project which will put a high load on it as this will put a strain on the router and it will stop working.

But you can change the speed of the router to work with different bit sizes which can help you make the desired cuts. Also, this router includes the soft-start feature so you don’t have to worry about damaging your wood. You tend to get a precise cut from the start itself.

And you get all these amazing features at a completely affordable price. How awesome is that?

Fixed Base and Plunge Base

Another great thing about this router is that it features both a fixed base and plunge base. And interchanging these bases is super easy and smooth, especially at such a low price. And you can easily adjust the depth of the cuts as well by moving the bases at the desired position.

There is also a 5-adjustable turret that can be used to change the depth of the cut by ¼ inches every time. And you have fixed base for precise cuts and plunge base for designed cuts which makes this router such a versatile model in the market.

LED Lights

One of the top features of Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Router Kit is the LED lights which are fixed at the bottom of both the bases. This LED light will help you during the cuts as it clearly illuminates the path that is being followed by the router.

When you use a router, it is difficult to see the angle where you are making the cut. But with this LED feature, you will be able to make any edged cuts that you want as the LED will be lighting up the cutting path.

It might seem like an unnecessary feature in the beginning but once you start using it, you will have a hard time using routers without the LED lights.

Affordable Pricing

Usually, we don’t include price as a product feature when reviewing it but Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Router Kit is not like any other tool. This router features two amazing bases which are easily interchangeable, a 1.25 HP motor with variable speed control, a maximum speed of 27,000 RPM, a decent design and build, and LED Lights for convenience. And it offers all of this at the most affordable price ever.

So, if you are a beginner and you want a router which is budget-friendly as well then Dewalt DWP611PK is the one for you.

What is not Impressive?

Well, as we mentioned earlier, Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Router Kit cannot perform heavy-load jobs. While this is not a deal-breaker, one will have to be careful when using this router.

One of the biggest issues with this router is the handles. Firstly, only the plunge base has a handle but even that is not ergonomic and won’t be comfortable to hold for long periods.

Another drawback is that this router has a lot of plastic in its design. As a result, it is not as durable as the other routers in the market. So, you will have to be extra careful when using and store it properly when you are not using it.

Finally, the accessories and components which come as a part of this router kit are not the best. But you do have the option of purchasing these accessories separately from a different manufacturer. It is compatible with other brands as well so ordering separately won’t be a problem.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • LED lights for clear view below both the bases
  • Variable speed motor
  • Soft start feature
  • Extremely affordable

Cons

  • Cannot manage more than a medium load
  • Use of plastic makes this router less durable

Final Verdict

Dewalt DWP611PK Combo Router Kit works as an amazing trim router and is quite useful in multiple applications. And its affordable cost ensures that beginners and hobbyists can experiment and see if woodworking is for them or not.

Plus, with so many amazing features, it also allows the hobbyists to learn and grow their woodworking skills.

What is a Wood Router?

A wood router is a woodworking tool which allows you to create cuts and hollow out areas in a wood stock. Sounds simple right?

Well, don’t be fooled by its simplicity because a wood router is an indispensable tool for woodworking projects. You could be manufacturing furniture or performing door constructions or making cabinets and all, the wood router is the main tool which will help you in these project completions smoothly and efficiently.

An example of this is when you want to make a wardrobe or room door, you would need the wood router to make space for the hinges to attach the doors. Well, this is where the wood router comes into use, it helps you in creating a hollowed-out area so that you can attach the joints. And the process is known as rout out which is why the tool is called a router.

Over the years, there have been several different types of routers available for the woodworkers. Earlier, there were manual routers which were used like a hand plane. But now, we have tools which use an electric motor to operate the spindle and make cut out the wood pieces.

So, the manual hand tools are called router planes and the motorized versions are known as wood routers. Also, wood routers are also frequently called Computer Numerical Control (CNC) wood routers.

Since both routers are quite popular in woodworking projects, it can be a little confusing to know which one the perfect fit for your current task is. However, there are many woodworking professionals who use the older version i.e., the router plane, as they are more familiar and comfortable with it.

But one thing is certain, a router is one of the most important tools in your woodworking tool shed. And if you love making different items from wood pieces then a good router and some accessories can really help you with it.

Fixed Base Routers vs Plunge Base Routers

A lot of people are often confused between the applications of a fixed base router and a plunge base router. And if they can use one in place of the other.

Well, the first thing that you need to understand about both the routers is that they have the same job. Both are used to create hollows in the wood at a predefined depth. The plunge base router is used by people who are into more handy work as it is said to be more flexible. However, the fixed base router is a better choice if you need to make precise cuts on the wood.

You can set the router bit’s depth in a fixed base router and can even lock it into place. This is extremely helpful when you need to make predefined cuts and don’t want to worry about extending the cut on the wood piece.

But if you need to make a cut a defined depth and angle, then the plunge base router is a better choice. You can easily place it at a particular position and then plunge your router bit into the wood to make the cut.

Best Uses of a Wood Router

So, now that you understand the difference between a fixed base router and a plunge base router, we can focus on how you can use your wood router.

One thing that you should never forget is that a wood router is the most versatile tool that you shall ever own. This is why it is a must-have tool for all DIY enthusiasts and woodworkers.

You can use the wood router for several tasks like edge trimming in your furniture, work table, wooden cabinets, etc. It is an important tool which can also be used to make creative patterns on different wooden objects.

And the best thing about owning a wood router is that not only it is easy to use, it can also allow you to handle small woodworking jobs at home. So, you don’t need to call someone for every small job at home which you can easily manage with the wood router.

A few woodworking tasks require a special kind of router. So, it is always a good idea to have both the fixed base router and plunge base router which usually comes in the form of router kits. This will end up saving you a lot of trouble when you are looking for a special tool for your tasks.

In this article, we considered several routers and then chose the best models for you. And to choose the best products, we majorly focused on these five major qualities:

  • Versatility of the Routers: This basically means that a router should be useful for handling several different applications. This will reduce the need for other tools and will ensure that you can perform most of the tasks with the help of your router only.
  • Adjustments: A wood router should be easy to adjust so that you can make your desired cuts with great ease.
  • Ergonomics: This deals with handling comfort and positioning of the tool. If a tool is safe to use and comfortable to handle, then it is a good choice. On the other hand, if using a tool is too stressful then it is a big no-no and won’t be included in the best products’ list. After all, woodworking is a talent and one needs comfortable tools to complete a project successfully.
  • Durability –  One of the most important things to look for in a tool is durability. If a product gets damaged easily then it is no use to anyone. So, in this article, we have selected only the most durable wood routers and listed them for you.
  • Safety – Another thing which is of utmost importance is safety in your workspace when using a tool. This is why we have only chosen the safest wood routers for you to consider.

Conclusion

So, did you find what you were looking for?

We know it can be confusing and intimidating to choose the best router for yourself, especially when you are just starting out. But just follow the above tips to choose the right router for yourself. And you would easily find the best product for your woodworking tasks.

Honestly, these are some of the best routers in the market. So, you would be sorted if you decide to buy any one of them for your woodworking workshop.