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Most woodworking projects make use of a router. From applying a simple decorative edge profile to making perfect dovetail joints and everything in-between, a router is the most versatile tool in your workshop. Here at Wood Router Reviews, we’ve got detailed reviews of all the best routers, router tables and router lifts on the market, plus advice and tips on how to take your routing skills to the next level.

BEST WOOD ROUTERS 2017

Whether you want a fixed base router, plunge router, trim router or router combo kit we’ve reviewed all the best routers on the market so you can choose the wood router that’s perfect for your needs, budget and routing experience. Check out our reviews of the top Wood Routers in 2017 below.

Bosch Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Bosch MRC23EVSK

The Bosch MRC23EVSK is Bosch’s latest router combo kit but with a difference – unlike other combos that have the power switch on the motor, the Bosch MRC23EVSK has the on/off switches on the handles of each base thanks to electrical connectors on the motor unit and on the bases, so you can start and stop the router and keep hold of it with both hands at the same time, which is safer and gives better control. 11070
Dewalt Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Trim Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Dewalt DWP611PK

The Dewalt DWP611PK is Dewalt's fantastic router combo kit in the 1.25 hp trim router class. Most router manufacturers have a fixed-base trim router but Dewalt is the only one to produce a router combo kit in this class. In fact the Dewalt DWP611PK is the only plunge router available in this power bracket, meaning if you want a small, lightweight plunge router, the Dewalt DWP611PK is it.

Click here to view on Amazon

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Bosch 1617 EVSPK Router Combo
Bestseller, Bosch Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Bosch 1617EVSPK

The Bosch 1617EVSPK Router Combination Kit is Bosch's bestseller in the router combo market. One motor and two bases (fixed and plunge) means you don't have to buy two dedicated machines - two routers for not much more than the price of one. Features that make the Bosch stand out include its micro-adjust dial for setting cutter depth on the fixed base, comfortable wood handles and easy bit changing in fixed-mode.

Click here to view on Amazon

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Makita RT0701C 1.25 HP Compact Router
Trim Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Review

The Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router is a fantastic little router. It's small and lightweight and the motor is exceptionally smooth and quiet, making it very easy to use one-handed. The quick release cam lock system makes changing bases a matter of seconds and it's got a variable speed control dial as well as electronic speed control and soft start - all in all, it's a hell of a lot of router for under $100.

Click here to view on Amazon

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Bosch Router Reviews, Fixed Base Router Reviews, Trim Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Bosch PR20EVSK

The Bosch PR20EVSK is Bosch's excellent entry in the 1.0 hp trim router market. With its light weight, superb ergonomics and variable-speed motor, it sets the standard for small routers. The small size and light weight means it's very agile and easy to control, and can even be used one handed, offering the perfect balance of power, precision and control. Once you start using it you'll find yourself using it for more and more jobs.

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Dewalt Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Dewalt DW618PK

The DeWalt DW618PK 2-1/4 HP Router kit is Dewalt's complete router kit which gives you the router motor plus both a fixed and a plunge base all in one cost-effective package. Some of the excellent features include a clear LEXAN sub-base, precise, rotating depth adjustment ring and patented through-the-column dust-collection system, all of which add up to an innovative, versatile router kit. Highly recommended.

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DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router
Dewalt Router Reviews, Fixed Base Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router Review

The Dewalt DW616 is a simple, twist-to-adjust router with a lot going for it. Its depth scale is accurate. It has a gentle soft start, made smooth cuts, and is a very well-balanced machine with a low center of gravity. The grips give excellent control and the switch can be set up for left- and right-handers. Bit changes are easily handled with two wrenches which is easier than the single wrench/ spindle-lock system that some routers use.

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Porter-Cable 690LR Router
Fixed Base Router Reviews, Porter Cable Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Porter Cable 690LR

The Porter Cable 690LR is a mid-size fixed-base router for medium-duty work with a single-speed (27,500 rpm), 11 amp 1-3/4-hp motor designed along the same lines as its bigger stablemate, the 7518, although significantly lighter at 8 lbs. The Porter cable 690LR has become pretty much the production shop standard due to its excellent value for money and no frills, get the job done design.

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Dewalt Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Dewalt DW618B3

The DeWalt DW618B3 Router kit is basically Dewalt's bestselling DW618PK combo kit with an added D-handle base thrown in, so you've got all the bases well and truly covered (no pun intended). What you need to decide now is whether you want to spend an extra $25 for the additional D-handle base, and we think there's one compelling reason why you should have 3 bases.

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Festool Router Reviews, Plunge Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Festool OF2200

The Festool OF2200 is Festool's top-of-the-range plunge router, which packs in so many innovative features that you really don't know where to start - ergonomic offset grips, tool-free hinged base system, retractable spring-loaded dust shroud, double locking plunge columns and ratcheting spindle lock, plus the smoothest plunge on the market and easy, intuitive macro and micro depth adjustment.

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Fixed Base Router Reviews, Porter Cable Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Porter Cable 7518

The Porter Cable 7518 is a heavy-duty, five speed, 3-1/4 hp fixed base router designed to be primarily used in a router table, and has all of the important features that you need for heavy-duty router table work, such as a 1/2-inch collet, good range of depth adjustment and the motor unit is easy to remove from the base to enable quick and easy bit changes without skinning your knuckles.

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Milwaukee 5616-24 with fixed base
Milwaukee Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Milwaukee 5616-24

The Milwaukee 5616-24 Router Combo is Milwaukee's excellent entry into the highly competitive 2-1/4 HP router combo market. As you would expect from Milwaukee with their reputation for tough, get-the-job-done power tools, the 5616-24 is one of the most solidly built router combo kits we have tested, plus it's got a wrap-around palm grip on the fixed base which makes it really easy to use and control.

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Milwaukee 5625 Fixed Base Router
Fixed Base Router Reviews, Milwaukee Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Milwaukee 5625

The Milwaukee 5625 is Milwaukee's top-of-the-range, heavy-duty, fixed-base production router with a massive 3-1/2-hp motor which will eat anything you can throw at it. It has a number of features such as an integrated router lift that make it an excellent choice for router table work, and the large, angled D-handles are more comfortable and give you more control than conventional handles when routing freehand.

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Hitachi Router Reviews, Router Combo Kit Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Hitachi KM12VC

The Hitachi KM12VC Router Combo Kit is Hitachi's complete router kit which gives you the router motor plus a fixed and a plunge base, plus 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch colletts giving maximum versatility in one cost-effective package, and at only $150 - $160 it really is good value. It's also quieter and smoother than most other routers in this class, making it less tiring to use for prolonged periods.

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Porter Cable 892 Fixed Base Router
Fixed Base Router Reviews, Porter Cable Router Reviews, Wood Router Reviews

Porter Cable 892

The Porter Cable 892 Fixed-Base Router is Porter Cable's entry in the mid-sized 2-hp to 2-1/4-hp router bracket. For all-round use, a mid-sized router can be the perfect compromise between the 3-hp behemoths and the new breed of smaller trim routers. They have enough power to cope with the majority of work, but without the bulk and weight of the larger routers than can be a handful to use freehand.

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Now you’ve chosen the perfect router there’s a couple accessories that you really need to expand your skills and take on any woodworking project. First, you’ll want to get a Router Table. Mounting your router in a router table is the single biggest thing that you can do to increase your skills and routing capabilities. Here’s some of the best:

Benchtop Router Tables, Bosch Router Table Reviews, Router Table Reviews

Bosch RA1181 Router Table

The Bosch RA1181 is an open style, benchtop table made from quality components, with a good sized tabletop plus an excellent fence, giving you two of the main advantages of larger router tables in a compact, portable form and at an excellent price too. If space is at a premium and you are looking for a router table to get out and clamp to your bench each time you use it, the Bosch RA1181 should be on your list. 4608
Bench-Dog 40-001 router table
Bench Dog Router Tables, Benchtop Router Tables, Router Table Reviews

Bench Dog 40-001 Router Table Review

The Bench Dog 40-001 Router Table is the sturdiest, most robust job-site/benchtop router table on the market with a cabinet base that will last a lifetime. Equally important in a category where portability competes with table top real estate, you get Bench Dog’s unique dual position fence slots that allow you to move the fence to accommodate larger panels, maximizing your usable tabletop space.

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Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax cast iron router table
Bench Dog Router Tables, Floorstanding Router Tables, Router Table Reviews

Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table Review

The Bench Dog 40-102 ProMax Router Table is the perfect solution for woodworkers who want all the benefits of a freestanding router table with a cast iron table top but have limited workshop space. It's got a similar sized tabletop to a benchtop router table like the Bosch RA1181, and has the added advantage of the stability that that comes with a heavy freestanding table.

Click here to view on Amazon

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Has your Router got what it takes for Router Table work?

Milwaukee 5625 Fixed Base Router

Some routers were just made for table work like the Milwaukee 5625 pictured. If you’re going to do a lot of router table works there are certain things that are important, so, if you haven’t already bought a router, or you’re thinking of buying another one for dedicated table work, find out what features you should be looking for in this article: The best routers for router table work

Learn how to get the most out of your Router Table

Ultimate Guide to the Router Table

The router revolutionized woodworking, and a router table is easily the most useful accessory that you can add, as it turns a portable router into a precision woodworking machine. To get the most benefit out of it, you need to know how to use it properly and Bill Hylton’s Ultimate Guide to the Router Table shows you how to do just that. Starting with Basic Know-How, it moves on to Cutting Profiles, Frame and Panel Basics, Cutting Joints and Using Templates. Highly recommended.

Make routing easier and more accurate with a Router Lift

After you’ve got yourself a router table, the next thing you really need to make bit changing and height adjustment really easy, and to let you make micro fine adjustments is a router lift.

Everybody knows mounting your router in a router table is an absolute priority if you want to take on advanced projects, but it does have some slight downsides – height adjustment and bit changing become more difficult when the router is upside down under the table and space is tight. That’s why they invented the Router Lift…

Router Lift Reviews

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift

The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II is the the latest version of JessEm's Mast-R-Lift router lift which has kept all the great features which made the original Mast-R-Lift so popular and added some new features as well. JessEm invented the router lift back in 1999 and continues to concentrate on producing top quality, innovative router lifts which make router table work easier and more accurate than ever. 2642

How to choose a wood router - the essential features to look for

Of all the woodworking tools available, a router has to be one of the most versatile. Most wood workers realize the value of having a router, and a lot of them have more than one, permanently setup for different applications. However, with all the different types available it’s not always easy to decide which one is best for you, so we’re going to look at a number of the features that you should be considering including router power ratings and variable speed, router bit size, the means of accurate depth setting with fine adjustment control and whether you should buy a Fixed Base Router or a Plunge Router.

Powerful Motor

When looking at routers, one of the most important feature to look for is the horsepower rating of the motor. Motors range from heavy-duty, 3-1/2 hp 12 Amp units down to 1.0 hp 5 Amp machines and the more powerful the motor, the tougher the jobs you can take on – routing smoothly through the toughest hardwoods or pushing some bigger 1/2-inch shank bits through the stock. The downside of course is the size and weight of the more powerful routers, which can make them unwieldy for more delicate jobs.

Electronic variable speed

How to Choose a Wood Router - Electronic Variable SpeedYou should also choose a router with electronic variable speed, typically ranging from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. This is particularly important if you plan to use larger bits as, the larger the bit, the more wood that is removed and so the slower the cutting speed needs to be. Whatever type of work you are planning, an electronic variable-speed motor allows the user to precisely match the tool rpm to the job in hand, and gives you more versatility to use a wide range of bits.

Soft start

A soft start motor is another important feature you should look for – in addition to easier handling on start-up, it results in reduced strain and wear and tear on the motor itself, leading to longer motor life.

Router bit size

The bit shank size of the router is another important factor in deciding on a router. The two most common bit shank sizes are 1/4″ and 1/2″ and you should consider the projects you want to complete and the availability of bit sizes you need for these projects. The most common shank size is 1/2″ and you will find a much larger selection of bits available in the 1/2″ size and you will also find that some of the more specialist bits (mainly used by professionals) only come in 1/2″. Luckily, many routers these days  come with both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets so you’ve got all the bases covered.

Accurate Fixed and Plunge Cut Depth Adjustment

How to Choose a Wood Router - Accurate Depth AdjustmentAll routers, whether fixed base or plunge, need to have a means of accurately adjusting bit depth. You should be looking at routers that give you fast, precise coarse adjustments to within about 1/8in. and then micro-fine adjustments to within 1/64in. A useful feature that is seen on more and more routers these days is that the adjustment ring – not the motor itself – turns to adjust bit depth, meaning that a constant switch/cordset position is maintained when you’re using the router in a table.

Fixed Base Router vs. Plunge Router

What’s the difference? Basically, a fixed base router is one on which you set a specific depth, and that depth stays consistent while using the tool. A plunge router, on the other hand, allows you to plunge the router bit downward and into the stock, make the desired cut, and then lift the bit back out of the stock. In general, a fixed base router tends to be used in a Router Table and a plunge router is used for hand held routing, but obviously you can use either for both types of work.

How to Choose a Wood Router - Fixed Base or Plunge BaseThe biggest advantage of a plunge base is that the bit can be lowered into the stock allowing cuts to be made in the center of the stock. Cuts like mortises and dadoes are much more easily performed with a plunge router since the bit can be lifted out of the cut once  a stopping point is reached.

A lot of router manufacturers now provide routers with both a fixed and a plunge base, once again increasing your versatility.

Router Combo Kits for Maximum Value and Versatility

As with all tool choices you need to start out by considering what you will use the tool for, because different projects require different capabilities from the router. Whilst professional woodworkers will have a number of routers set up for specific applications, most of us only buy one at a time.

Luckily, these days, an increasing number of top manufacturers produce router combos that have both a fixed and a plunge base, as well as letting you use both 1/4-in and 1/2-in router bits, giving you maximum versatility from one machine. You can easily check out the features on all the top router combos side by side by looking at our Router Combo Comparison Chart

Tips and Advice on how to use a router correctly and safely

Knowing the correct way to use a tool as high-tech and powerful as a router is essential to get good results and to ensure your safety. That’s why we’ve put together a collection of routing videos. There’s some great advice on getting the basics right – how to correctly insert a router bit, how to keep it clean for the best possible cuts and how best to secure your workpiece as you rout it. Then we move on to more advanced topics like cutting mortises with a plunge router, making cope and stick cabinet doors and how to make a use a pattern routing jig.

All
Basics
Advanced
Products
How to Avoid Router Tearout
Basic Routing Skills
How to Build Cope and Stick Doors
Advanced Routing Techniques
How to Install a Router Bit
Basic Routing Skills
How to Hold Work for Routing
Basic Routing Skills
How to Clean a Router Bit
Basic Routing Skills
Quick Change Collets Make Routing Easier
New Products
Safe and Fast Pattern Routing Jig
Advanced Routing Techniques
How to Cut Mortises with a Plunge Router
Advanced Routing Techniques
Zero Clearance Router Table Fence
Basic Routing Skills
How to Rout a Half Blind Dovetail Joint
Advanced Routing Techniques
Advanced Router Table Techniques
Advanced Routing Techniques
Safe End-Grain Routing
Basic Routing Skills
Beginner's Guide to Router Bits
Routing Accessories
Router Joinery Basics: Loose Tenons
Advanced Routing Techniques
Using A Pattern Routing Bit
Basic Routing Skills

Whatever your level of experience, whether you’ve just bought your first router and you’re feeling intimidated by the complexity of the tool in your hands, or you’ve been routing for years and you’re looking to hone your skills, we hope you found something useful in these routing video tutorials. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at it, there’s always something new to learn to increase your routing skills and capabilities.

BEST TRIM ROUTER 2017

Trim routers are one of the most versatile tools in the workshop. Typically with a 1-1/4 HP motor, they can be used for a wide variety of tasks including routing for inlay cavities and hinge mortises, rounding over edges, flush trimming hardwood edging, and a whole lot more. They’re small and lightweight making them comfortable to use, and can even be used one handed. Plus you can get handy accessories that you’d be more likely to find on a bigger router, such as an edge guide, a guide for a track system, and even a dust-collection shroud. Find out which one is the best.

BESTSELLING WOOD ROUTER 2017

The Dewalt DWP611PK is Dewalt’s fantastic router combo kit in the 1.25 hp trim router class. Most router manufacturers have a fixed-base trim router but Dewalt is the only one to produce a router combo kit in this class. In fact the Dewalt DWP611PK is the only plunge router available in this power bracket, meaning if you want a small, lightweight plunge router, the Dewalt DWP611PK is it.

ROUTER COMBO COMPARISON CHART

Router Combo Kit Comparison Chart

Router combo kits have both a fixed and a plunge base which share one motor unit. In addition, most of them also come with both 1/4-in and 1/2-in colletts, giving you maximum versatility from one machine. Our side by side Router Combo Kit comparison chart lets you easily compare the specifications of all the best selling router combos on the market in 2017.

#1 BESTSELLING ROUTER CUTTER SET

MLCS 8377 15-Piece Router Bit Set

The MLCS 8377 15-Piece Router Bit Set with Carbide-Tipped 1/2-Inch Shanks is the best selling router bit set by a mile and it's easy to see why. With 15 top quality carbide-tipped bits for under $40—it’s a complete no-brainer. If you've just bought your first router and you need a comprehensive set of router cutters to get you started you really won't find a better set anywhere.


NOW you’ve chosen your perfect router, got yourself a great router table and a router lift, there’s a couple of accessories that you really need to make sure you really can take on any woodworking project.

FIRST, you’ll want a Dovetail Jig, which lets you cut perfect dovetail joints quickly and easily. Nothing gives your work a more professional look than perfectly cut dovetails. Find out which one is best for you.

THEN you’ll want a top quality miter gauge to give you perfect accuracy and repeatability when routing end grain or mitering. Find out who makes the best, most accurate miter gauges on the market.