Wood routers perform some critical work in the woodshop, construction site, and home improvement projects. Routers shape wood and other similar materials and they are the preferred tool for making grooves, lines, and patterns.
Our comrehensive review also discusses their role in cabinet making and in fitting precise pieces together. Routers have several types, and they do specialized functions.
The plunge router makes easy work of setting the depth of cuts and following templates. Fixed base routers are more flexible and perform a wide range of shaping, cutting, and fitting tasks.
Our Pick is Makita RD1101 2-1/4-Horsepower
The new line of routers like the Makita RD1101 (Check Price on Amazon.com) represents a remarkable advance. They have the power to spare with 2-1/4 HP motor. They have flexibility as a plunge model or a fixed base ( optional purchase).
The batteries provide high-levels of power, and the lightweight and compact form makes it an easy tool to handle in tight places.
Technology invades the workplace and the workshop as new products advance the art of woodworking and handling wood and wood products. In some cases, the new technology makes things more comfortable but not necessarily better; in the case of the Makita Lithium-Ion, the technology has made things better.
Should You Buy?
You should buy a wood router if you want your work to look professional and finished. This tool can make pieces fit precisely, it can add beautiful lines and themes, and it can make precision cuts, lines, and grooves.
It benefits woodworkers and users of every level of experience. This tool performs functions in a straightforward manner that is much harder to produce by hand or with other power tools. The difference can be remarkable even in simple applications. For example, the difference between a small table with square edges and the same item with rounded-over edges is remarkable. The rounded corners are also safer, and less likely to cause injury.
Grooves, tenons, dovetails are examples of tasks performed with this tool. Trimming laminates is another common tool task. In cabinet making projects, precision fittings are best done with routers. Developing your skills wth this tool is a worthwhile exercise. The result will be a practical and artistic skill. The model work with patterns and templates so that you can make precise cuts and repeat them exactly over and again.
Working with this tool is a satisfying effort for most woodworkers because it is a chance to complete projects with a finished look. You can add details like lines and designs. You can customize joints so that fit precisely. Routers make dovetail fittings which began as a craft in old Europe and continue to this day as a symbol of skilled woodworking. The skills go well with intricate woodwork and hand tools.
5 Top Picks on the Market
The variable speed motor has a wide range of rpm; it rises from 10,000 to 30,000 rpm to meet the load. This dynamic output range provides a high-level of control.
Maneuvering over a wood surface is more comfortable with a low and constant speed matched to the load. The unit has LED lighting for maximum visibility and control.The kit comes with a plunge base, and you can add a matching fixed base.
The machine also works with an older Makita fixed base attachments from corded models.
The benefit from losing the cord. Cords often cause difficult angles and awkward positions when working jigs, template, and freehand; the long runtime of the LXT 18-volt batteries solves this problem. The LXT cells have a recharge time of about 45 minutes; you can conveniently keep a set charged and ready to go.
The D-shaped handle and superior dust control make this machine a standout.
You can use one or two hands to achieve the control and precision you need. The comfortable grip and smooth glide will let you work in detail for long or short sessions without tiring.
We are used to having to choose between corded and cordless tools and the sacrifices of power and runtime that came with batteries. We have only recently seen the convertible models that transition from plunge to fixed base. With the Makita RD1101, we know that we can have these properties in a single set-up. We can have a convertible model that does not need a cord or electric hookup to work great.
Buyers often must choose between a fixed base model and a plunge model; they do different things and offer distinct advantages. In this product, DEWALT solves the dilemma and provides a convertible motor with a plunge setup and a fixed base.
The motor switches quickly between the two methods, and you mostly get two tools in one outstanding package.
Both methods offer a sturdy, lightweight, and maneuverable machine with depth control and variable speed. Power Control is the key to successful router work for users of all levels of experience. The spindle locks with a button so that you can change bits with a single wrench.
This compact corded model does the work of larger and pricier models quite well.
The 1.25 HP motor produces a variable speed range of 16,000 to 27,000 rpm. The variable speed system provides the right amount of power for smooth movement without too much pulling or pushing of the router. The compact cutting machine glides effortlessly through soft or dense woods.
It has dual LEDs to light the cutting area and the path ahead. The LEDs promote maximum visibility which is vital to getting the intended results in wood work.
The Plunge base uses templates and provides fine adjustments on depth. The variable speed control offers a soft start, and the plunge depth will avoid splits, crack, and marred surface lines. The weight of the plunge base is 6.2 lbs.
The Fixed base goes off and on with a spring lock.
The machine weighs only 4.6lbs. with the fixed base attached. The fixed base support is the broad and stable foundation for precise movements and cuts. The base station accepts templates for precision pattern work. It controls depth with a precision-settings on the fine-tuned depth ring.
The Porter-Cable Speedmatic is the classically fixed base model. It is made of carefully machined metals and meant to last for many years of heavy usage. The unit weighs 14.5 lbs. It has integrated handles with no flex or gives.
You will have total control of the movement because you also control the starting speed. The machined aluminum body contains a sealed motor area that protects the parts against dust and debris.
The motor is a 3.25 horsepower powerplant. It has the power to cut through the most robust hardwood.
The speed control has five settings at 10,000, 13,000, 16,000, 19,000, and 21,000 rpm. You can select the power level to match the load and enjoy the smooth operation of the solid cutting tool. The start-up is important to avoid damaging the surface. The machine has soft start technology, and you will have maximum control from the outset.
The Speedmatic has safety features that also add to the value of his remarkable machine. It guards against accidental turning on the spindle by locking it out during changes. The lights add to safety because the maximize vision when working conditions can often provide poor lighting.
The depth settings are precise. You can get an exact and repeatable setting. The machine permits fine adjustments without a lot of additional setups.
The bits determine the type of action that the tool can take. They vary from thin lines and grooves to broad swaths that can round corners and smooth edges. The machine spindle has a quick release for changing bits and collets. You can move from half-inch format to quarter inch without tools.
The spindle accepts large – one-half inch- and small -one-quarter inch- collets so that the machine can work with a wide range of router bits.
The unit runs quietly at low speeds and only slightly louder near the top range.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Kit is a high-value purchase with a price point that can appeal to nearly every type of user. Th variable speed range runs from 8,000 rpm to 25,000 rpm. You can control the speed on the speed dial. The machine automatically performs a soft start and adjusts the speed to match the load at a constant rate while cutting.
The machine can hold up to professional level excessive daily usage, and it would serve the homeowner well that might only use it for improvement projects. The goal is to have a versatile, high-quality tool whenever you need it. The Bosch Variable Speed with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets fits the bill.
The Bosch variable speed router converts from plunge to fixed-base format without tools.
It uses a quick snap-in system and provides an easy way to move back and forth. It is like having two tools. The fixed base uses classic wooden ball handles. These comfortable grips provide a high degree of control and an excellent feeling. The plunge attachment uses foam grips that offer stability when making plunge cuts and moving along the cutline.
The plunge set-up works with a template adapter. You can work I intricate patterns and make repeatable cuts following the guide. The ability to switch between large and small collets is essential. The formats accommodate different types of model bits, and the switch should be smooth and easy so as not to disrupt progress or discourage change because they require tools and extensive adjustment.
The depth settings are important to fixed base and plunge router operations. In either mode, you can make significant and small adjustments. The base uses a ring, and the plunge has a fine adjustment setting.
This is the ultimate in smooth operation for a powerful plunge model. The machine is quiet, smooth, and powerful.
Users noticed the difference immediately in the solid feel and added the sense of control. When using the plunge, one can go as thick as 2-1/8 inches. Once in the material, you can quickly set the plunge lock; the lock keeps the plunge level constant as you dedicate your attention to moving along the cutting path.
Dust and debris build up in any router operation because it does remove martial and non-through cutting. The build-up can immediately cover the line of the cut and make following the path more difficult.
The Festool solution adds a powerful dust control system with a dedicated port for vacuum hookup. They offer an excellent portable vacuum, but the coupling will meet most standard spaces.
The soft handle grip allows you to hold material or guides with one hand and use the other to move the machine.
One hand operation is not only possible but recommended with this smooth-running machine. The MMC system controls speed while in the process, and it matches the selected range with the current load. This results in a feeling of a constant rate even though the machine raises and lowers the spin. The load matching gives the user a continuous level of motion.
One negative on this model is that it does not use large collets and you will have to limit your bits to one-quarter inch equivalents. You can get the same results, but many users already have extensive collections of favorite bits in the one-half inch format.
The Best Choice for Most People
Router work can make any project special. It add creative designs, patterns, interlocking grooves, and rounded edges. The range of possible actions is limited only by the user’s imagination and creativity.
The compact size, easy handling, and sturdy pair of 18V batteries make the Makita RD1101 cordless model kit the best choice. You get the best of a fixed base and a precision plunge unit all-in-one. Either the plunge mode or the fixed base set up would be an excellent machine, but together, they are a winning combination.
The quick recharge batteries will keep this machine in the middle of the workshop action. The motor transitions from plunge to base in a few simple steps with a spring assisted locking connector. For all levels of experience and nearly every type of work, this kit can fill the bill.
Our Budget Pick
This full-featured DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque offers an attractive price for users from beginners to experienced professionals. It has enough power for tough jobs, and it provides a beautiful blend of speed and handling for detailed work.
This is a starting point to grow a flexible collection of bits and templates. It is a reliable tool for serious woodworking and well-equipped for light professional use.