Best Wood Router Reviews 2016 and Buyer’s Guides

If you’re new to woodworking, or just want to get into more advanced work a wood router is absolutely essential. As many carpenters and cabinet-makers can tell you, a router is one of the most versatile tools to add to your collection. A router will allow you to hollow out wood surfaces and trim pieces of paneling to make a perfect match with an astonishing amount of ease.

There’s a large amount of different brands and types of wood router available, so we’ve reviewed some and included a guide for you to get started on making an informed choice. With the aid of these wood router reviews, you’ll be able to pick the best wood router to meet your personal needs.

Our Picks – Top 3 Wood Routers For 2016

If you ask us, these three routers are probably the best on the market at this point in time. With one of these in your hands, you’ll be able to quickly and easily finish whatever task you may have at hand.

Check The Best Selling Wood Routers 2016 >>>

Brief On 5 Best Wood Router Reviews 2016

Presented here, for your reading pleasure, are five of the best wood routers available. Each of them is good for a range of things, and also stands out in a specific area. You’re sure to be able to find one that will suit your work exactly, no matter your experience level.

1. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit

The DeWalt DWP611PK is an excellent addition to your line-up of power tools for almost anyone, but novices will find it to be almost perfect. If you’re just starting out and you’re looking for the perfect a router that’s best for beginners, you need look no further.

dewalt dwp611pk - one of the best rated wood routers

4.8 Stars
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This router comes in with 1.25 Horsepower, so it’s not the strongest one you’ll be able to find but it’s packed with features that make it easy to use for anyone just out of the box. The low Horsepower is actually a bonus for beginners, it’ll still cut most things you’ll need a router for and it’s sure not to fly out of your hands.

The essential newbie-friendly feature here is a soft start however, the router will gradually come up to speed over a few seconds allowing you time to adjust your grip. Even a smaller horsepower motor packs a lot of torque, and this can be a bit jarring for a new user.

It also comes with a variable speed, so you’ll be able to get the RPMs exactly where you want them in order to get a clean cut. You’ll be able to vary the speed between 17,000 and 27,000rpm for a wide array of purposes.

Once you add in the fact that it comes with both a fixed and plunging base, you’ll find that you’re able to do almost anything you’ll need around the house quite easily. The addition of dual, bright LED lights is just a bonus and the inexperienced user will absolutely love being able to clearly see their workpiece without the need for extra lighting.

There are some drawbacks, mainly for more advanced users. It’s a bit light to be suitable for really heavy work. Those who are seeking to use a router table might also not be inclined to make the purchase of this particular router. It simply doesn’t have the horsepower most users would want for that kind of work.

That said, it comes in at under 200 dollars and it’s one of the best on the market within the price range. Even better, although it’s available at a bargain price, it comes with a 3-year warranty so you won’t have to worry about manufacturer errors causing failure. The more advanced craftsman will probably want something a bit heavier and more powerful, but the DeWalt DWP611PK is absolutely perfect for a beginner, and within its price range it simply refuses to be beaten.

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2. Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit

The Bosch 1617EVSPK is a powerful, mid-sized router that comes in with an impressive 2.25HP. If you’re looking for something that’s best for workshop applications, this is a respectable choice and might just be the exact thing you want to buy.

Bosch 1617EVSPK

4.6 Stars
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Apart from the higher horsepower, this product comes with both a plunging and fixed base which allows for versatile function. Those who might need to use both bases on the same project will be glad to know it comes with a quick-release function so you can switch the motor over quickly and efficiently. Both bases feature great handles which will allow you to handle the tool deftly.

It also comes out of the box with two different sized collets. With both a ¼” and ½” collet you’ll be able to use a wide variety of bits with this model. The more bits you can use, the more function you’ll be able to get out of it, and having the extra options directly out of the box makes this one a great way to get your workshop started.

It comes with the normal features to make it friendlier for use as well, including a soft start and variable speeds ranging from 8,000 to 25,000 RPMs. It’s not the lightest tool on the market, but for the size and power, you’ll find that it’s still easy to maneuver at just under twenty pounds. It also comes equipped with Constant Response Circuitry, which will keep your RPM level stable even when you make contact with the wood you’re cutting.

This router is tough and meant for heavy use. You shouldn’t have any problems with thelongevity of your purchase with this great tool. It also comes with a one-year limited warranty from the date of purchase, so be sure to register it just in case. Manufacturer error is pretty unlikely, but it’s still always nice to be well protected.

The only real drawback to this router is its weight. It can be a bit heavy if you’re trying to just free-hand everything, but if you’re working on a solid surface it shouldn’t be a problem to handle for most competent woodworkers.

When you’re using a router in your workshop, but not on a table just yet, you want something versatile and fairly lightweight so that you’ll be able to make use of your tool for almost any purpose. The best quality wood router for your purchase might just be sitting in front of you here, and it’s available at a fairly low cost.

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3. DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router Kit

The DeWalt DW618PK is a superior router for around the home usage. It comes in with an impressive 2.25 Horsepower and makes for a superior, compact wood router for your around the home needs. It offers some of the best quality you’ll find anywhere and can make those projects around the home a whole lot easier.

 DEWALT DW618PK

4.4 Stars
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This router comes in with the features that you’d expect in any high-quality tool, including soft start and a variable speed control. The variable speed will allow you to go from 8,000 to 24,000 RPMs in order to match things best with your individual project.

It comes with both a standard and a plunging base. You’ll be able to do almost anything you need with this router right out of the box, add in a couple of different sized collets to allow for a range of bits you can use and you have a winner.

For your around the home needs, it’s rather important to have a versatile machine that can fit almost anywhere but still has the power to get through tougher woods and let you really make the modifications you need. The DeWalt DW618PK has you covered for home use, whether your needs are aesthetic or strictly practical.

Anyone who’s worked with a cheap router knows how much of a pain it can be to clean up afterward, they simply send saw dust everywhere. A dust collection system is a completely necessary feature for any router used indoors, and especially in your home. While the DW618PK’s system won’t completely eliminate dust, it can help you keep things down to a manageable level that you’ll be able to quickly clean with a shop-vac.

Of course, no power tool is actually perfect. This model is a bit heavy but not unmanageably so. They also seem to have sacrificed some of the durability in order to make a router that’s easy to handle and fits the hand well, so it’s not suited for a workshop setting where it will see extremely heavy use. It does come with a one year warranty, though, so if something happens quickly you’ll be able to get it fixed or replaced.

All said and done, however, the DeWalt DW618PK is the best all around router for home use. If you’re looking to buy and need something for occasional use to touch up items around your house, you’re looking at the right tool to get the job done. Best of all, it offers a great value for your money.

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4. Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router Pack

The Bosch MRC23EVSK is a powerhouse, coming in with a substantial 2.3 Horsepower it’s suitable for all but the heaviest tasks you might have for a router. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty, durable tool to use for your profession, you could do a lot worse than this unit.

Bosch MRC23EVSK - the best router for router table

4.6 Stars
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This excellent router from Bosch offers a surprising amount of utility, and it’s the best router for router table in order to maximize the use you’ll receive from it. It has all the standards allowing for easy use, including ergonomic grips, soft start, and a variable speed motor which can run from 10,000-25,000 RPMs.

It also comes with an always-on LED lighting system. This makes for a fantastic way to keep your eyes on your project without the need for an additional work light.

This router is one of the best heavy duty options available to the consumer. With the high horsepower and Bosch’s great quality you’ll soon have it up and running. It will be more than ready to tackle anything you might want to throw its way.

Even if you’re not quite ready to commit this powerful tool to a router bench, you’ll find that it’s one of the best combo routers available. This isn’t one for a beginner, however, the higher horsepower will lend itself to lots of torque which can make it a bit unwieldy for those who aren’t used to using a wood router. The experienced craftsman shouldn’t have any issues here, though.

If you are ready to commit it to a bench, though, this is a professional quality tool which is sure to serve you admirably for a long time to come. It also comes with a one year warranty, so you can put it to use immediately and get it fixed in the unlikely event of manufacturer error. Once you have it going, you just might wonder how you ever got by without it.

There aren’t many disadvantages to this model except for the fact that it’s not the most user-friendly option on the market, and really isn’t suited for someone without a bit of experience. It also weighs a bit over twenty-five pounds, so it’s not really suited for freehand use by those who aren’t sure of themselves.

If you have the experience and the money and you need a tool which is perfect for the professional craftsman, the Bosch MRC23EVSK is a fantastic addition to your shop.

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5. PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router

If you’re looking for a less modular unit to work with, the Porter Cable 690LR is a compact unit that comes with a fixed base. It comes in under 150 dollars, as well. If you don’t need the plunge feature on your wood router, you might want to look at this bargain priced tool.

porter-cable 690lr

4.6 Stars
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The 690LR has a decently strong motor that comes in at 1.75 Horsepower, so it’s suitable for most light to medium applications. The motor is single speed, however, and only moves at an impressive 27,500 RPMs. That’s fine for most edging applications, which is really most of what you’ll be doing since you lack a plunge feature, but you’ll still want to be careful not to burn anything.

It’s not the most user-friendly model either, apart from the single speed motor it also lacks a soft start feature. An experienced user will be fine with this since they’ll know how hard they need to grip and how to angle their wrists to account for the sudden torque output but it’s really not suitable for a novice.

If you can handle the torque by hand, however, the router itself runs smooth and will cut cleanly. The grips are some of the best around and the whole device weighs less than ten pounds. Once you account for the power of the motor and lack of soft start capabilities, you’ll be able to easily manhandle this tool to fit whatever you need it for.

It also takes two wrenches to be able to change the bits, which can be a bit of a hassle if your project requires you to frequently change them out.

This isn’t the perfect tool, but it comes at a bargain price and is easily usable by the journeyman woodworker to make their pretty much any application, where you don’t need to plunge, simple and easy. The motor is fast and powerful and if you stick with edging applications you’re unlikely to encounter any problems with any normal type of soft or hard wood.

That said, you simply won’t be able to beat this option in the price range. It’s one of the best fixed base routers available within the horsepower range, and it’s perfect for edging applications. If you’ve been looking for an affordable, fixed base wood router this might just be one of the best options available.

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Ultimate Guide to Buy A Best Woodworking Router

What to Look For?

When you’re looking to make an informed purchase of a wood router, you’ll want to keep your eye on a few specific qualities. Different tools are best suited for different jobs, but if you make sure to keep these simple things in mind you’re sure to end up with the best one for your use.

Soft StartHorsepowerVariable SpeedBase TypeGrips
Soft start is the absolute first thing that a novice wants to make sure they have. The motors in a wood router produce a high amount of torque, but with a soft start, a slightly misplaced hand won’t end in ruining your project. Experienced woodworkers generally want this as well, but it’s of top priority to someone without much experience with these tools.
The power of the motor is probably the first thing that most people will be looking at. Higher horsepower means more cutting power, but it also means the router will be heavier and has more torque. For most light applications you’ll want something under 2 Horsepower, but go over if you’re planning on heavy usage or using a router table.
Variable speed is something which is an absolute must have for someone who works with a wide variety of different wood types, especially for plunging applications. If you run things at too high of an RPM you risk burning your piece of wood, but some harder woods might require it. You can get away with a single speed if you have some experience, but you’ll be risking damage every time you use a new material.
Simply put, even the best fixed base router won’t be able to plunge. That’s fine for edging applications, and for some light applications you’ll even be able to make the starting hole with a drill and drop your router in, but it’s completely unusable for some other applications.
You might be tempted to overlook something so simple in favor of going cheaper, but wood routers can be hard on your hands and wrists even with the best of grips and cheap ones will wear you out quickly. A good set of grips is also vital for precision purposes. All you need to remember here is that grips aren’t just an aesthetic feature, they’re your direct connection with your tool.

Bosch 1617EVSPK - One of our best wood router reviews 2016

Types of Router

The router might seem like a relatively simple device, after all, it’s just a motor attached to a shaft which holds cutting bits, right? The thing is, these simple tools are used in a huge variety of applications and come in more specializations than you’d think at first glance.

There are three main types of router which you’ll want to be aware of:

Trim RoutersMid-Sized RoutersFull Sized Routers
Trim routers are the smallest of this family of multi-use tools. They typically come in light horsepower and don’t always have a plunge base available. They’re mostly suited for edge work, and a beginner in woodworking will definitely want to start with one of these.

The best one we’ve reviewed here is definitely the DeWalt DWP611PK, it’s suitable for any light purpose and any user no matter their level of previous experience. It also comes with a combo of base kits, so you’ll be able to get more versatility out of the tool.

A bit bigger than trim routers, but smaller than the full sized ones. These are primarily useful for work in the medium range of things and make for a great tool for your workshop or around the home. They’re able to handle more work than a smaller router, and most are even suitable for table mounting if you want to go that way.

The best one of the above is the Bosch 1617EVSPK, it’s durable, sturdy and has a manageable weight. If you’re starting to get serious about using a router, it’s the product for you.

These are the big workhorses that novices should definitely stick clear of. Most of them are heavy enough to be a bit unwieldy for free hand use, although some of the smaller models might still be able to be used freehand over a solid workbench or table. In reality, though, these are best mounted on a router table in order to be able to maximize their potential.

The Bosch MRC23EVSK is a fantastic option if you’re going to take the leap and get a full sized router. It comes in light enough weight to not be unrealistic to use freehand, but once it’s mounted to a table you’ll be able to quickly and easily do whatever you may need.

Base Types

There’re two options available for routers when it comes to the base, although plenty of routers come with interchangeable bases. Make sure that you have the one that’s most suitable for your uses.

Fixed bases are primarily used for edging applications since you can only move the bit up and down by changing the height of the base. They’re fantastic for most easy, around the homework but fall a bit short when it comes to some applications. They can hold a precise depth quite a bit better as well since you won’t have to worry about accidentally pressing too hard and changing the height your bit is at.

Plunge bases are much more suitable for work in the “interior” of a piece, and allow for a greater variation of techniques when it comes to cutting depth. They can be a bit more difficult to use as well, but it’s well within reach of a few hours of practice for even the most inexperienced woodworker.

If you’re not quite sure which type of base you want, you’ll be glad to know that there’s a ton of combo kits out there that will let you quickly and easily change the motor between bases as your needs may dictate.

DEWALT DW618B3

Picking the Right Router for Yourself

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s talk about how exactly to pick up the best woodworking router for your purposes so that you don’t have to make a costly mistake. It’s easy to just list the different variables that go into making a tool, but it can be a bit different trying to tie everything together.

First, you’ll need to consider your applications. If you’re looking to start building a whole new cabinet set your needs will be completely different than someone who just wants to clean up a bit of wooden or laminate paneling.

For paneling, or even just making a nice edge on a piece of wood for a project, a trim router is the way to go. Don’t be fooled by it being the “smallest” of the bunch, trim routers are still extremely powerful and versatile tools. If you’re planning on running grooves or notches into the piece you’re working on you’ll also want to get something that comes with a plunge base.

If you’re starting to get into woodworking in a big way, your best bet is something heavier. Plunge cutting functions are even more essential here, and you’ll want heavier horsepower to handle hardwoods with ease. Variable speed is another important piece of this puzzle, a lot of us work with different types of wood even within the same project and each different variety will have different tolerances before it gets damaged. The greater control over your speed can help keep things clean and unblemished as you go.

Of course, a lot of us still need to keep on budget. If you’re not dead broke, you may still want to avoid dirt cheap options, replacing a $100 router three times a year still costs more than buying one that costs $250 once. The latter is also likely to last for a long time to come. Price is certainly an important consideration, but try not to go too cheap or you’ll just end up with junk.

Router Accessories

Bosch PR20EVSK

Anyone who uses power tools on a regular basis knows that the cost is rarely just the initial investment. You’ll often end up needing specialized components to keep you going through all the functions you need to take care of. Woodworking routers are no exception, but let’s break things down a bit and talk about the kinds of things you might be interested in.

Router Bits

The bits for routers come in an absolutely huge variety. They range from things as simple as differently sized bits for grooving, to specialized bits which are used to make amazing, complex edges with a single pass. Try to avoid high-speed steel bits, they simply don’t stay sharp for long. The ones that you definitely want to keep an eye out for carbide edged ones, these will last for a long time and stay sharp with proper maintenance.

>>> LEARN MORE: How to choose the best wood router bits?

Router Tables

For the serious woodworker, a router table is essential. They come in a variety of sizes, so pick one that’ll fit your needs and budget. They’ll invert your router and allow you to gain a level of function you simply aren’t able to achieve if you’re still holding the tool in your hands. Buying a router table is one of the fastest ways to improve your ability to modify and shape pieces of wood in your workshop and the investment is always well worth it.

>>> LEARN MORE: A Purchasing Guide for Router Tables

Jigs and Guides

Jigs and guides are important for times when you need to make precision cuts. There’s a large variety of high-quality ones available. Guides are generally used to keep edges straight, particularly for interior work, while jigs are for getting the joining edges of a project perfect. If you’re the type who loves antique techniques like dovetails, these accessories can make sure that you get the perfect cut every time.

D-Handle Bases

Most routers with an interchangeable base have a D-handle variant available for use. If you’re working freehand often, you might just find one of these to be a great investment, as they allow for a unique grip that allows for a wide variety of techniques which can be hard to achieve with normal grips.

Conclusion

We hope that we’ve helped you reach a conclusion on the router which is best suited for your needs. As you can see, there’s quite a bit of stuff that goes into picking out the best router to suit your needs, but they’re available for pretty much any use and every user. There’s no need to limit your ability to enter into the exciting realm of woodworking if you’re remotely interested you need to buy the best wood router you can afford right now. Once you get started, there’s no turning back.

[Total: 43    Average: 4.2/5]
Best Wood Router Reviews 2016 and Buyer’s Guides on May 22, 2015 rated 5.0 of 5

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