A wood router can handle woodworking jobs that would generally be done on stationary machines- often doing the work more efficiently, more safely and more economically.
When hand-held, the good wood router can mill a wide array of edges, as well as do template work. Mounted in a table, this powerful tool works like a shaper, giving you the ability to create moldings, raise panels and mill different profiles for concealed woodworking joints and building doors.
The remarkable range of jigs, bits as well as accessories that are available in the market only adds to the endless possibilities offered by this powerful woodworking tool. It’s no wonder that several woodworkers own many routers of different sizes- from tiny trimmers to 3-HP beasts- to accomplish wide ranging routing jobs.
You cannot simply rely on specs alone when shopping for a router; you could do with some insights into how it feels and performs in the real-world woodworking scenarios.
In this roundup, we take a look at some of the best wood routers available in the market that offer the best bang for your buck.
Table of Contents
5 Best Wood Router 2020
1. Bosch 1617EVSPK
Best Fixed-base and Plunge Variable Speed Wood Router
- Versatile: this versatile kit can be used for a broad range of applications, including precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming and dovetail cutting; making it one of the most widely used routers for woodworking
- Durability: aluminum construction makes this one of our most durable wood routers yet with wooden handles on a fixed base and a soft grip handle on a plunge base
- Ease of use: rounded hardwood handles maximize user control
- Convenient: With the built in constant response circuitry, our 1617EVSPK wood Router will maintain a constant speed throughout the cut, so you get cleaner, more accurate results
- Kit contents: Includes a plunge base, fixed base, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch collet chucks, shaft wrench, collet nut wrench, chip shields and carrying case
The Bosch has good-looking, well-finished wood handles on fixed base and soft grip handles on plunge base. This tool has a threaded rod for fine depth adjustment, and the mechanism feels more precise. The 2-1/4 hp 12 Amp motor of this combination kit has a soft start and features variable speed, covering the range of 8000 to 25000 rpm.
Wood router reviews say that two things made customers love this router. The maker has made it completely easy to make depth adjustments and change the depth of the guide bushings.
The fixed baseplate has a couple of mounting holes for approximate centering of the plate, and the other for precise adjustment. The quick clamp system makes it easy to remove the motor from base to base, and the wide base openings ensure that larger bits are accepted. Another remarkable feature is the wrench collet system which helps to keep the wrench in place and makes changing bits a fairly simple process.
Complete with variable speed, soft start and a very low level of noise, the Bosch router is a precise and refined tool.
2. DEWALT DWP611PK
Best Variable Speed Woodworking Router Combo Kit
- Durable 1.25 horsepower motor delivers the power to meet the toughest applications
- Variable speed control feature enables bit speed to be optimized for changing applications. No Load Speed range 16,000-27,000rpm
- Soft-starting motor features full-time electronic feedback that maintains motor speed through the cut
- Dual LED's and clear sub-base ensure maximum visibility in operation
- Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64-inch (fixed base only)
This light duty router from Dewalt is packed with power, has a solid build quality and one of the smoothest plunge action if some wood router reviews have to be considered. This compact wood router features a relatively less powerful motor (1.25 HP) that cranks out enough power to help you finish your woodworking jobs effectively. Thanks to its variable speed control mechanism, you can have a better control of the tool and determine the best speed suitable for the application. Its soft start motor with electronic feedback makes sure that the speed of the motor is maintained throughout.
This has the smoothest plunge action you will see in a tool of its type and allows you to precisely lower the bit into a cut. For depth adjustment, Dewalt has a rod that adjusts quite smoothly right through its range, and a quick action release for pulling the motor from the base quickly. While the collet depth (only ¼ inches) is a bit of a shame, it is good enough to grip the shank of most bits (edges, ogees, roundovers, straights) etc.
Overall, this lightweight wood router is easy to use on most small applications, and delivers great value of money.
3. Bosch 1617EVS
Best Fixed-base Woodworking Router
- 12 Amp router motor - combines ample power with adjustable speed settings, allowing users to glide along cutlines
- Adjustable speed dial (8000-25,000 RPM). 2 In. sub-base opening
- Fixed base has threaded holes for mounting to router table positioned in common 3-hole pattern
- Now includes RA1161 fixed-base with system for adjusting bit height from above a router table
- Compatible with optional RA1129 Template Guide Adapter Set – for easy change of Bosch quick-release template guides and common threaded template guides; includes RA1126 Template Guide Adapter and RA1100 Interface for Threaded Template Guides
The power tool is worthy of the brand name and reputation that Bosch has built for itself. It’s got plenty of torque to spare, and that’s quite impressive, given that it comes with ¼ inch and ½ inch collet to accept both normal and fairly bigger router bits respectively. As for its depth adjustment, it’s quite top notch and it feels just like a tool designed to offer great refinement.
This wood router has all the makings to deal with the most demanding routing applications thanks to its 2.25 HP, 12 Amp motor which also features a speed range of 8000 to 25000 RPM to help you strike the right speed for the task at hand. With its integrated constant response circuitry, the tool will stick to a constant speed right through the routing operation so you are sure to get accurate finish all the time. The aluminum construction of the bases and motor housing and the dust proof power switch means that this tool is designed to last longer and offer exceptional service.
Quiet, lightweight yet sturdy, and precise, this is one wood router that will not disappoint.
4. PORTER-CABLE 690LR
Best Overall Wood Router
- 11-amp motor producing 1-3/4 peak horsepower
- 27,500 revolutions-per-minute single-speed motor
- Precision machined aluminum motor housing and base
- Cam-lock lever enables simple coarse height adjustments and motor release
- Micrometer depth adjuster accurate to 1/128-inch
If you like a small, nimble standard wood router that grinds out necessary power to take care of most routing jobs, you will love this machine pretty much for the same reason that the DEWALT DWP611PK is a good tool. The only main difference between these tools is that the P-C is single speed.
Here is a variable speed tool that is quite easy and fast to set up and has a rocket switch that is sealed from dust and externally accessible brushes. If compatibility with several aftermarket items such as bushings, edge guides matter, you cannot go wrong with it. This is still the benchmark in routers.
5. Hitachi M12VC
2-1/4-Horsepower Variable-Speed Router
- Hitachi Power Tools has renamed to Metabo HPT. Same great tools, with only a new name.
- 11 Amp motor (2-1/4 Peak Horsepower), for precise, controlled cuts
- 2-stage motor release clamp, for quick and accurate depth adjustments and base changes
- Nickel plated motor housing, for smooth depth adjustments
- Electronic speed control, maintains constant RPMs even as load varies
Soft start, precise depth control, good power, impressive noise level in the category make this Hitachi powerful one of the top 5 wood routers you could lay your hands on. With ¼- in. collet chuck, a hefty 2-1/4 hp 11 Amp motor that offers the flexibility to operate at variable speeds, ranging from 8000 to 24000 RPM, this tool is without doubt one of the top contenders of the best wood router title.
Hitachi has fitted the base with elastomer compound to prevent slippage and reduce vibration for superior control- for those who have always preferred something with a little texture and flexibility. The fixed base construction offers great ease of use in form of a smooth work area where you can glide over the actual work piece without damaging it in any way.
You certainly will appreciate this tool’s simplicity – it has got a set of height adjustment wrenches to help you set up your workspace.
Wood Router Video
If you have never used a wood router before, here is a good YouTube video explaining their operation:
There you have it. So, what’s the best wood router for you? If you are a professional who needs a heavy duty router for continuous duty and expects durability, look for one with high horse power. Otherwise, you can look for a versatile, medium sized, light weight router in 2 to 2-1/4 HP range for precision work like inlay and dovetails.