Wood Router | Top Picks and Reviews for 2018

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.

wood router reviews

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.

5 Best Wood Router 2018

1. Bosch 1617EVSPK

Best Fixed-base and Plunge Variable Speed Wood Router

Bosch Router Power Tools 1617EVSPK - Combination Plunge, Fixed Base Router Tool with 2.5 Horsepower, Variable Speed - Wood Router, Table Saw Kit with 1/4', 1/2' Collets For Woodworking, Trim Carpentry
665 Reviews
Bosch Router Power Tools 1617EVSPK - Combination Plunge, Fixed Base Router Tool with 2.5 Horsepower, Variable Speed - Wood Router, Table Saw Kit with 1/4", 1/2" Collets For Woodworking, Trim Carpentry
  • VARIABLE SPEED, VERSATILE POWER TOOLS: Electronic variable-speed with 2.5 horsepower motor from 8,000 to 25,000 RPM. The fixed and plunge base combo wood router kit allows for soft starts and micro-fine depth adjustments. It maintains constant speed under load, quick clamp on both bases. The fixed base system provides flexibility for adjusting bit height from above a router table. Use for a range of applications, including precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming.
  • PRECISION CENTERING ROUTER TOOL: Experience precision centering to keep bits on the intended cutline. When using a jigsaw, templates, dovetail fixtures and similar guidance devices, the fixed base routers have threaded holes for easy mounting to the router table. The base is positioned in a four-hole pattern and common three-hole pattern, microfine, bit, depth adjustment system on both bases. The wide base openings and 2" sub-base openings provide better visibility, right or left.
  • DURABILITY AND CONVENIENT COMBINATION ROUTER: Aluminum construction makes this one of our most durable routers for woodworking with wooden handles on a fixed base and a soft-grip handle on a plunge base Experience the convenience of built-in constant response circuitry. The hand router will maintain a constant speed throughout the cut for cleaner, more accurate results. Our collet capacity is 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 8 MM and 2" sub-base opening. The base diameter is 6" fixed/ 6-11/16" plunge.
  • EVERYTHING INCLUDED WITH ROUTER KIT: Router (1617EVSPK), plunge base (RA1166), fixed base (RA1161), fixed base chip shield, plunge base chip shield, 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch self-releasing collet chucks, comfortable forged 16-mm and 24-mm bit change wrenches, T-handle hex-height adjustment wrench, and rugged carrying case. Enjoy these hand set accessories as a single package for professional quality and control.
  • TRIM ROUTER EASY RETURNS: Bosch manufactures and promotes premium quality power tools and products for wood working projects, trim carpentry, fine wood worker, carpenters, men, women, and adults. We are a global, provider that delivers the best in quality, function, style while providing excellent customer service. We stand by our products and we'll refund the purchase within 30-days on quality-related issues along with our 1-year warranty.

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.


Best Variable Speed Woodworking Router Combo Kit

DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's
676 Reviews
DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's
  • Durable 1.25hp 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

Bosch 12 Amp 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed 1617EVS with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets
343 Reviews
Bosch 12 Amp 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed 1617EVS with 1/4-Inch and 1/2-Inch Collets
  • POWER: Amongst the most powerful routers for woodworking at 12-amps, 2.25-horsepower, and 8000-25000 RPM
  • VERSATILE: The hand router's variable speed dial allows you to set the optimal speed for the routing task and material.Base Diameter :6 inches Fixed/ 6-11/16 inchesPlunge. Rounded hardwood handles maximize user control
  • CONSISTENCY: The wood router's advanced speed-control technology monitors and maintains desired RPM for consistent performance
  • DURABILITY: Built to last with rugged aluminum base and housing. This Bosch router is backed by a one-year limited warranty, 30-day money-back guarantee, and one-year service protection plan. Case type: hard plastic, fixed-base depth range: 1-5/8 inches, height: 11.625 inches
  • CONVENIENT: Includes Bosch 1617EVS 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed Router, RA1161 fixed base, 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch self-releasing collets, drop-forged wrenches, chip shield, above-table height-adjustment wrench, and mounting hardware

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.


Best Overall Wood Router

PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
374 Reviews
PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base 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 M12VC 2-1/4 Peak HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router
288 Reviews
Hitachi M12VC 2-1/4 Peak HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router
  • 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
  • Class leading noise level, only 79.5dB for a quieter workshop

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:

See also:


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.


  1. OK. So Bosch is really number one on the list. People had been recommending it to me but I never wanted to buy it, I don’t know why. I guess I would buy it now as my old tools need to be replaced now. I had been using Porter-cable 690LR and Hitachi M12VC. Both of these did a nice job, almost the same. But I always liked Hitachi more than Porter-cable.

  2. The pc 690lr is not variable speed as the review suggests. You have to bump up to the 690LRVS model which is more expensive. ALthough I agree on the ergonomics and power of this versatile router, the bearings do not last long and costs 3/4 of the router price to change. So, Im not really sure if it is the “best buy” in the long run.

  3. What a load.

    “This wood router has all the makings to deal with the most demanding routing applications thanks to its 2.25 HP, 12 Amp motor…”

    Please explain to me how you’re making 2 1/4 horsepower without running 220v. 12 amps and 140v and you’ll trip your breaker ever 2 minutes. Oh, its bearings are **** but it has wood handles so I guess it’s #1. Do you even take these things apart and see how they’re made?

  4. Where is Festool in this? There routers are supposed to be the best.

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