10 Best Wood Routers in 2020 – Reviews

Easy-of-use and durability are the two main features that this tool provides the operator. It has a 1.25-HP motor that delivers the power needed to cut through just about any job. It also features a soft-start motor with electronic feedback that allows the tool to maintain a constant motor speed throughout the entire cut. This tool also features spring-loaded release tabs, over-molded rubber handles that are easy-to-grip and depth of travel of 1.5-inches. Other features found on this unit include variable speed control, dual LEDs and a depth ring that ensures the motor stays in position every single time it’s used.

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How To Buy A Wood Router

Regardless of what you need a new wood router for, you are going to want to make sure that you do your research and buy the best model available. These tools come in a variety of different styles and with a number of different features, so paying attention to specs is definitely a must. Now that we’ve stated the obvious, let’s go over some of the features you should consider before purchasing your next router.

Step One: Choose A Base

The first thing to consider is the base that you need. Wood routers typically come with one of three different bases: Plunge Base, Fixed Base, and Interchangeable Bases. Each of these allows the router to be used for a particular, dedicated purpose. Let’s take a closer look at each of these base types.

  • Plunge Bases: These routers have a housing design that allows for vertical movement during a cut, so the operator can plunge the bit down into the wood. Because of the way it’s designed, with the motor mounted between two posts, it can be adjusted by the operator on the fly without having to turn the tool off. Tools with a plunge base allow for more precise cuts than other types of bases.
  • Fixed Bases: Fixed base routers are generally good for edge shaping a piece. It’s often easier to control than plunge-cut routers because it has a lower center of gravity. This type of router is often used for table router applications and since it’s compact is a good general tool for any woodworker to have in their workshop.
  • Interchangeable Bases: Some routers have the advantage of switching between bases. These bases allow the operator to leave one of the bases attached to their table, so the operator can simply remove the motor and attach it to another base. The disadvantage of these bases is that they’re often more expensive than routers with other types of bases. However, it should be noted, that it is usually more inexpensive to buy a router with an interchangeable base than to buy two different routers.

Step Two: Choose A Size

After the base has been chosen, it’s time to pick a size. Without getting into semantics and speaking only in a general manner, there are typically three different sizes of wood routers. There are Palm Routers, Mid-Size Routers, and Full-Size Routers. Since each of these sizes has its own specific uses, we examine each one a little bit closer.

  • Palm Routers: These routers are small but still are capable of delivering performance. They typically offer 1-HP of power or less and usually use 1/4-inch shank bits. These routers are usually used for edge forming, making small dovetails, hinge mortising or for trimming. Their small size and shank router bits make them ill-suited for larger jobs, however.
  • Mid-Size Routers: These routers are usually over 1-HP but under 2.5-HP and are known for their ease-of-use and versatility. They can handle all of the jobs that are typically done by palm routers, but they can also do larger scale dovetails, circle cutting, and panel cutting. They’re also well suited for template work as well. Usually, these routers will use both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch shank bits, which is what allows them to do a wider variety of jobs.
  • Full-Size Routers: These routers are rated at 3-HP or higher and are designed for heavy woodworking projects. They are often installed on a dedicated table or used for CNC operational use. Although these units are extremely powerful, they are usually a little bit more than what amateur or home woodworkers will need for their home projects.

Step Three: Consider Additional Features

Now that the basics are out of the way, woodworkers will want to consider the other features they may want their router to have. Modern wood routers come equipped with all kinds of different features, so it usually pays to look around a little bit and find the model that has the features that you may need. Below are some of the more common features found on both home and professional wood routers.

  • Variable Speed Control
  • Dust Collection Feature
  • Electronic Motor Feedback
  • Soft Start Feature
  • Micro-Fine Depth Adjustment
  • Dual LED Lights

One More Thing…

It should be noted that woodworkers don’t have to just decide on one wood router. Most professional woodworkers have several different routers for different jobs, so feel free to buy multiple tools to accomplish multiple jobs.

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