Wood routers come in various sizes and shapes to be considered. You may find the selection of best wood router a kind of daunting task, especially when you are a beginner. You don’t know whether a palm-size or big router with two bases can go perfect for your working projects.
I analyzed based on working criteria. A router with both plunge and fixed base may look more considerable than buying a router with just one base. To choose between two, the aspect of variable speed and other specs come into play.
For instance, if you want dado cuts, and blind grooves, etc. the plunge base router would best go for. Not only the base, ascertain other points to buy the top-quality wood router among hundreds of options available in the market.
Let’s discuss 12 best wood routers and various valid points backing those high-end points as follows.
Best Wood Routers 2020 Comparison Chart
It will be easier if you get all the specifications regarding a product at one place. For a wood router particularly, you need to be concerned about type, speed, power, and warranty and go for best as per your needs. Compare our top 12 best wood router picks extensively based on these factors, as shown below.
|Dewalt Wood Base Router – Best Overall||Plunge and Fixed base router||16,000-27,000 RPM||1.25 HP||3 year limited warranty|
|Makita Compact Wood Router||Plunge and Fixed base router||10,000-30,000 RPM||1-1/4 HP||1 year 30 days satisfaction guarantee|
|Bosch Fixed Base Router – Best Fixed Base Router||Fixed base router||8,000-25,000 RPM||2.25 HP||1 year limited warranty|
|Triton Dual-Mode Plunge Wood Router||Plunge base router||8,000-21,000 RPM||3-1/4 HP||NA|
|Makita Compact Wood Router Kit – Best Wood Router For Beginner||Plunge and Fixed base router||10,000-30,000 RPM||1-1/4 HP||1 year 30 days satisfaction guarantee|
|Avid Power Compact Wood Router – Best Budget-Friendly Wood Router||Plunge and Fixed base router||10,000-32,000 RPM||1.25 HP||2 years seller warranty|
|WEN Woodworking Router Kit – Best Wood Router Combo Kit||Plunge and Fixed base router kit||8,000-23,000 RPM||2.5 HP||2 years warranty|
|Porter-Cable Wood Router||Fixed base router||10,000-23,000 RPM||2-1/4 HP||3 years warranty|
|Tacklife Fixed and Plunge Base Wood Router – Best Compact Wood Router||Fixed and Plunge base router||10,000-30,000 RPM||0.80 HP||3 years limited warranty|
|Metabo HPT Wood Router||Fixed base router||NA||2-1/4 HP||5 years warranty|
|Ryobi Corded Wood Router||Fixed and Plunge base router||25,000 RPM||1-1/2 HP||3 years limited warranty|
|Harvet Palm Compact Wood Router – Best Plunge Router||Fixed and Plunge base router||10,000-32,000 RPM||1.25 HP||2 years warranty|
Which Type of Router Is Best for Wood?
After going through the comparison chart, take a quick look at the short descriptions of our best wood routers list.
They let you go through preview of each wood router in not more than two lines. Therefore, digestible yet informative content is better to know more characteristics about a best wood router.
- Best Overall: Dewalt Wood Base Router
“Max Torque wood router, Multiple options, Clear sub-base, Dual LED, 1.5” depth travel, adjustment ring, No load speed range, 2” plunge base, 1/64” fixed base bit depth changes.”
- Best Fixed Base Router: Bosch Fixed Base Router
“Electronic and fixed base router, with template guide adaptor set, sub-base opening, wood handles, durable, All versatile kit components, Microfine adjustments”
- Best Wood Router For Beginner: Makita Compact Wood Router Kit
“Full compact router kit, best for beginners, budget-friendly, Soft-start, electronic speed control, Standard template guides, 3-preset depth stops, Highly-visible base design.”
- Best Budget-Friendly Wood Router: Avid Power Compact Wood Router
“Powerful motor, With LED lights, Dust hood and roller, Rubber covered handle, tool bag, Ergonomic design, powerful motor, quick locking system, durable.”
- Best Wood Router Combo Kit: WEN Woodworking Router Kit
“Whole wood router kit with carrying case, locking plunge base, both macro and micro-adjustments, accept both router bits, with circle centering pin, with dust collector and fence scale.”
- Best Compact Wood Router: Tacklife Fixed and Plunge Base Wood Router
“Contains 1/8” flex shaft, the 6-speed dial on top, vacuum dust collector, wide applications, compact, auxiliary handle, chip deflector, 3 meters long power cord.”
- Best Plunge Router: Harvet Palm Compact Wood Router
“Budget-friendly, palm design, convenient locking system, accurate depth settings, a straight edge guide, Fully electronic feedback, Constant cutting speed, curved edge roller guide.”
Best Wood Routers Reviews
Read on the detailed reviews on my top 12 picks of best wood routers with product specifications. Each section is thoroughly defined mentioning the features such as spindle lock, base dimensions, router bits, and depth stop etc.
1 - Dewalt Wood Base Router
The Dewalt Wood Base Router with a soft-start system and adjustable rings is one of the best overall wood routers choices. Let’s analyze the benefits of having it! To be highly noted, it's a combo pack with both a plunge base and a fixed base router. To do versatile woodworking tasks, I would always recommend variable speed controls, which this router provides in the range of 16,000-27,000rpm.
You can efficiently use the feature of adjustable rings in the fixed base for setting the bit depth within 1/64 inches. Else, you can use ¼ inch bits. However, this is a small router that can be used efficiently with a light table for your wood routing tasks.
Also, there are no bits to be included within the package. So, you are required to choose your favorite bits from a whole world of selection. I must say it as an ideal choice for small woodworking projects.
- Aluminum motor housing
- Spindle lock
- Multiple shaft lock
- Dual LED
- Extended sub-base
- Overmolded rubber handles
- Depth clamping and ring mechanism
|Warranty||3 year limited warranty|
|Weight||6.2lbs (plunge), 4.6lbs (fixed)|
- Easy to use
- Not for large woodworking projects
- Motor gets hot after some time of working
2. Makita Compact Wood Router
Here’s another high-quality compact wood router pick by Makita. I would love to mention that this router is best for ergonomic shape, along with other features. For a smooth start-up, the machine comes up with a soft start mechanism. The manufacturer is providing three options to choose from.
Two of its options are made with one base and three bases, respectively. It is further built with two systems for depth adjustment. The Quick release cam lock system is offered for simple depth adjustments and easy base installation or removal. And, for more accurate settings, the smooth rack is built.
The package includes one ¼” Collet, two Spanner Wrenches, and a straight manual guide for the installation instructions. You may find this router ideal for small to middle projects. The combo router with a standard adjustable height base and a plunge base would be a suitable fit in such a decent quality.
- Variable speed control between 10,000-30,000 rpm
- High-quality aluminum motor housing
- Shaft lock
- Simple to read depth scales
- Weight: 3.9lbs
- Uses ¼” shank router bits
|Warranty||1 year 30 days warranty|
- Ergonomic design
- Heavy-duty material
- One year 30 days warranty
- Not for large woodworking projects
- Inefficient straight guide
3 - Bosch Fixed Base Router
(Best Fixed Base Router)
Bosch is a renowned brand if you are specifically looking to buy the best-fixed base router. Besides handheld design, you can easily mount the router on the table with its common three-hole threaded patterns. The package consists of two releasing collets, mounting hardware, and the chip shield.
The base diameter of 6 inches helps to keep the machine stable in one place and let it not hover around to make those crazy woodcuts. For easy bit adjustment, the router comes with an adjustable sub-base and a re-settable indicator ring. Moreover, the router is known to offer accurate performance with its one-piece armature shaft and quick template guide change lever.
Whether you want to do dado, dovetail, or edge routing work, this Bosch Fixed base router may go perfect. The noticeable feature the router comes with is the 2-wrench system. I must say the load is somewhat heavy if we compare it with the previous wood router.
- High-quality magnesium material
- 2-inch sub-base opening and 3-3/4 inch base opening
- Classic hardwood handles
- Speed 8,000 to 25,000 RPM
- Inbuilt Constant Response Circuitry
- Soft-start system
|Style||Fixed based router|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty|
- Height adjustment above table wrench
- High base diameter for added support
- Chip deflector
- Premium wood handles
- May need to replace bearings frequently
4 - Triton Dual-Mode Plunge Wood Router
The exclusive feature of dust collection is found in this wood router, which is the primary reason I made it in my list of top picks. Triton has designed an easy to switch combo wood router with both fixed and plunge base. You can switch off to different modes using its pinion and rack mode.
It consists of side air vents to minimize dust intake into the motor castings. Furthermore, you can easily adjust the depth using the Micro Winder via the full plunge range. The package contains router, Collet-Wrench, multi-functional fence, two collets of ½” and ¼,” and a table height winder.
Overall, the adjustments and all the related things to set the wood router are all satisfactory to each user.
- Soft-Start system
- Variable speed control
- Micro Winder
- Side air vents
- Safety-lock out cover
- Spindle lock
- 3-stage turret
- Fully enclosed guarding
- Precision collect less efficient
5 - Makita Compact Wood Router Kit
(Best Wood Router For Beginner)
Makita also released its full compact and best wood router for beginner kit with appreciating features. The ergonomic and slim design makes the product handy and easy to use even for complicated wooden projects. For base installation/removal and simple depth adjustments, the quick release cam lock procedure is given.
I want to mention the heavy-duty and durable aluminum housing. Also, the flat top design is added for convenience while changing bits. Anybody would love to buy an adequately secured router with high-quality and double-insulated housing.
In total, you are getting four essential features in this router, namely power-efficiency, durability, accuracy, and comfort.
- Variable speed control between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM
- Smooth pinion and rack adjustment system
- Soft start
- Includes fixed base
- Powerful 1-1/4 HP motor
|Warranty||1 year 30 days satisfaction guarantee|
- No hex wrench
- Inefficient straight guide
6 - Avid Power Compact Wood Router
(Best Budget-Friendly Wood Router)
Similar to my previous review, this Avid Power Compact Wood router comes with all the necessary tools you may need to do the task efficiently. There are no worries, even if you are working in low-light conditions. Its inbuilt Dual LED lights help brightens up the working area so that you can do the job more precisely.
As it’s a kind of whole lot package, so you must know what’s included. The kit consists of 5 router bits, a dust hood, roller guide, an edge guide, tool bag, carbon brushes, wrench, and ¼" Collet. You can also call it an improved version of the Makita range. For accessible visual settings, speed dial is provided on the top of it.
The Avid Power compact sized router is making all the changes in your wood router using the system to become one of the best budget-friendly wood routers. The plunge base works amazingly after I analyze the customer reviews.
- Variable speed control between 10,000 – 32,000 RPM
- Dual LED lights
- Smooth pinion and rack depth adjustments
- Quick-lock system
- 5 amp motor
- Also includes dust hood
|Warranty||2 years seller warranty|
- Comes with all accessories
- Less warranty
7 - WEN Woodworking Router Kit
(Best Wood Router Combo Kit)
Want whole woodworking router kit? WEN comes with an affordable yet feature-rich plunge base wood router. Its 7-stop turret combination consists of both micro and macro adjustment dials to increase efficiency. To get those perfect straight designs, a parallel guide fence is also provided.
The machine is quite versatile as it accepts both ½ inch and ¼ inch router bits. The whole lot package will come with a hard-shelled carrying case, circle cutting, and plunge/fixed router, template guide, parallel guide fence, profile guide, dust port adaptor, and wrench. It is also one of the best wood router combo kits.
Therefore, you must notice how all accessories are nicely provided with the router. Well, you may find the router a little bulky while usage, but functional performance always stands better.
- 7-stop turret
- Variable speed control between 8,000 -23,000 RPM
- Versatile bits
- 15-amp soft-start motor
- 1-1/2 inch dust port adaptor
- 2-3/8 plunge depth
- All-in-one kit
- Simple duplicate template guides
8 - Porter-Cable Wood Router
Porter-Cable manufactures a type of comfortable and best compact wood router with many buying options. The 12 amp soft-start motor features a fully electronic feedback system. Furthermore, the machine is offered with powerful latch lever to allow simple and quick depth adjustments.
The motor of Porter-Cable can go for smooth transitions between the plunge base and Grip Vac base, which are both included within the package. You need to use a 3/16 inches hex socket to make changes. Also, the tools are elementary to use to lock or unlock the base and make a variety of depth settings.
The best part of the 892 series is that it can easily cut via hardwoods and molding woods. Other user-friendly features include a dual-position switch. The switch allows for a power cut and still maintains that complete router control with both hands on its comfy rubber handles.
- 2-1/4 horsepower motor
- Dual-position switch
- 12 amp soft-start motor
- Durable latch lever
- Variable speed control 10,000-23,000 rpm
- Spindle lock
- Pinion and rack adjustment
|Style||Fixed base router|
|Weight||6.2lbs (plunge), 4.6lbs (fixed)|
- Easy to switch between different bases
- May be challenging to use push button lever control
9 - Tacklife Fixed and Plunge Base Wood Router
(Best Compact Wood Router)
Here’s another combo pick of fixed and plunge base wood router by Tacklife. It is again a full wood router kit consisting of a variable speed router tool, auxiliary handles, collets, and flex shaft. Its 1 m flex shaft is just amazing and even helps you do intricate wooden work like flower carving, and relief carving, etc.
The base also works precisely by every 0.25 inches. Plus, what I like the most is the 35mm dust collection port. It helps you keep the surface cleaner and more efficient. All things are apparent in the machine, such as chip deflector, depth gauge, and speed control dial at the top.
The long power cord of 3 meters is provided for convenient and flexible usage. You can easily set between the variable speeds with six-button controls given at the top.
- 6-set variable speed control between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM
- Vacuum dust collection port
- 5-amp copper motor
- Fixed and plunge wood router
- Flex shaft
- Auxiliary handle
|Warranty||3 year limited warranty|
- Ergonomic design
- Micro adjustment missing
10 - Metabo HPT Wood Router
Metabo HPT Wood router is another simple and fixed based router to be considered buying in 2020. It is said to be one of the quietest machines with a world-class noise level of 79.5 Db. You can easily switch between the bases and make depth adjustments with the 2-stage motor release clamp.
All the speed settings can be made electronically and maintain constant RPMs, even the load varies. With the fixed base router, you can do various woodworking projects such as window cutting, chamfering, groove cutting, and trim shaping, etc. Overall, the design is ergonomic and comfortable to use, even for beginners.
- Electronic and variable speed control
- 11-amp motor
- 2-stage motor release clamp
- Fixed base router
|Style||Fixed base router|
- Easy to use
- Comfy handles
- Quiet operation
- May require a separate power supply of 15 amp
11 - Ryobi Corded Wood Router
Ryobi made a lightweight, corded, and LED-powered wood router for excellent use. You will be further provided with three bits, including 5/32 inches Roman Ogee, 5/16 inches straight cut, and ¼ inches radius Roundover. Also, the handles are going to be very comfortable and ergonomic in shape.
The quick locking technology of the machine helps makes easy depth adjustments with just a push of a button. Its inbuilt LED lighting helps make your projects much faster and efficient.
- Inbuilt LED lighting
- Comfort grip handles
- Three power router bits
- Polyethelene chip guard system
- Inbuilt cam lever
|Warranty||3 year limited warranty|
- Easy to change bits
- Best starter kit for beginners
- Flimsy depth adjustments
- Not for big projects
12 - Harvet Palm Compact Wood Router
(Best Plunge Router)
Harvet comes with a convenient wood router for clean cutting efficiency. As the title suggests, it is a palm and best plunge wood router with big functional advantages. Also, the aluminum base is whole lot sturdy and durable to be worth considering.
The rich collection of accessories includes a straight edge guide, standard metal base, curved edge roller guide, wrench, collet chuck, dust collector, and replacement carbon brush set. And, you won’t face any difficulty with the full-time electronic feedback system.
However, you are not provided with any bits, which I think is not a big deal if you are getting other great features as well as accessories.
- ¼ inches collect chunk capacity
- The quick-release lock system
- Electric constant speed
- Variable speed control between 10,000 -32,000 RPM
- Required accessories included
- No bits
- Not ideal for long hours and big projects
Best Wood Routers Buying Guide
Due to the versatility of sizes and types, you may miss some functions to check upon. By far, some of the functions are need to be necessarily present in a wood router to make them countable among others. In the same ways, I have taken into account the following factors to select the best wood router.
Analyze Different Types Of Wood Routers
Wood routers are known to be one of the versatile tools in the woodworker’s toolbox. Therefore, you can have varieties of wood routers to choose from. In this factor, I will be discussing the specifications of each wood router with pros and cons. It will help you better know different types.
Fixed Base Wood Router
Are you a beginner in using wood routers? Then, you can consider buying fixed base wood routers as they are the ones with a secure mechanism. First of all, you can fit them over the router table or any bench. Use them if your wooden project demands accuracies of straight lines such as edge cutting or molding tasks.
They are called fixed blades because you can't change the depth of the blade again and again after you set it over. It will remain the same while the tool's usage over a particular job. Therefore, tasks like over cutting or gouging are just out of the picture.
To sum up, I can say that fixed base routers are best for projects that need a router table or repeated applications.
- Ideal for beginners and home projects
- Can be easily fitted on a router table or bench
- Easy to use
- Not versatile
- Not for over cutting or gouging purposes
Plunge Base Wood Router
Professional woodworkers can go for a plunge base wood router. The tool can perform for different uses, including the template-based as well as free handjobs. You can easily adjust the depth settings even while using the plunge router. It’s one of the features that are making a difference in the fixed and plunge base router.
However, you need to learn some skills to use the router as it’s tricky than using a fixed base wood router. Ideally, the plunge base router is the best choice for making impressive center cuts in the wood piece.
- Can easily adjust depth settings while cutting
- Precise center cuts
- Increased vertical movement control
- Can’t be used on a fixed base router table
Combo Router Kits
Want to switch bases? If you are the one who frequently changes bases while working on the wood pieces, consider buying the best wood router combo kits. The significant part about the combo kits is the availability of both fixed and plunge base wood routers.
At the same time, it’s also simple to fix your design capability with these routers. In a budget-friendly price, you can get the features of both the tools and learn with them.
- Both wood routers
- Difficult to change bases
Whether you want to use a plunge base router or a wood base router, consider the option that you can afford in terms of both price and space. First, decide upon the size and then select. Sometimes you may be comfortable using a palm-sized router, or sometimes you can handle a bulky router.
Thus, it somehow depends upon the choice of your size dimensions. The main options are palm-sized, full-sized, and mid-sized routers.
The router bits are ones doing the actual job. They generate all the speed and power in a router without which your router tool will be useless. Some of the standard bits found in a wood router are namely chamfer, straight, rabbeting, edge, dado, round beading nose, dovetail, and V-groove.
A product with a warranty is always better to go with. The guarantee ensures you can use a machine for long-lasting performance. At the same time, the required assurance is provided by the product. Therefore, you should always make sure to consider the period of warranty given by a particular product.
Corded or Cordless?
You can choose between cordless or corded wood routers. Both have their own merits and demerits for being considered wisely. However, corded wood routers are the most popular ones. Corded machines can even run when you are away from the power outlet. They may be less popular but most famous.
On the other hand, battery-powered or cordless wood routers can be carried anywhere. Their downside is the limited amount of usage.
Variable Speed Control
The next thing I checked for is the variable speed control. Most of the routers come with multi-speed and variable speed control options. With these controls, you can make a customized approach to using the router machine. This speed element is especially handy when you are working with remarkable softwoods or hardwoods.
Inbuilt LED lights
The concept of adding bright LED lights to every woodworking tool is in such a trend that even you can buy routers with those facilities. Most of my top picks come up with inbuilt LED lights to enhance the working area brightness levels
Its benefits are obvious. If you are working in poorly lit and tighter environments, the use of LED lights can help you a lot better. However, it’s optional to choose a router with LED lights as most of the people may not want this facility.
Dust Collection Port
Dust collectors can retain a lot of dust and helps maintain your workshop clean. They also reduce the task of cleaning up all the mess created after doing the projects. The solution to the problem of sawdust and its association called notorious carcinogens can be easily solved with the help of a dust collection port.
The adjustment dials must be precise and straightforward to use. In case you have an adjustment dial feature with depth stops, do not just consider the price as the one can handle a wide range of wooden projects.
The feature soft-start or slow start means the prevention of forced and high activation. It's necessary to maintain the durability of the machine. With the mechanism, the full force of the tool is not activated at the moment you switch on.
Most of the big brands make routers with brushless motors. Brushless motors run peacefully and have a more durable life as compared to other motors. Therefore, you will not lose having the feature if brushless motors.
Maintenance also comes with available tools provided with the router. On the other hand, some routers also feature tool-free changes to the chunk system. They are one of the helpful tools because you can easily maintain and alter them within a matter of seconds.
Then, you can check upon the bits changing system.
The Process Of Wood Routing
Routing refers to cutting, shaping, and trimming of various materials such as plastic, or wood, etc. In the wood routing, you trim and design the wood pieces to produce those finished edges and shapes.
Let’s understand the process of wood routing and how you can use different types of woodcutting.
Build Drawers and Boxes
The period around five millenniums ago, the woodworkers used to make boxes and drawers. Yet, they were not adequately designed because the wood masters were introduced to facilitative tools like wood routers. As soon as these power tools come in the woodworking scene, the usage of hand tools gets reduced to a significant extent.
You need to run the grain direction from side to side while making the drawer with a wood router. Today, you can make several joints, wood boxes, and drawers while using the various wood routers. For instance, you have decided to build a wooden box with a wood router, make sure to cut the passes no more than 1/8 inches to reach the desired depth.
Begin by routing the cavity circumference. Meanwhile, you should place the pilot bearing pressed against the pattern. Then, start to move the router back and forth to clean the cavity’s waste.
Wooden Edge Routing
To get those practical and aesthetic designs, the woodworkers always recommend working on wooden edge routing. The work of edging is to enhance the shape and configuration of your wood piece. Even the precise rabbets and dodoes can be significantly achieved with the unblemished wooden edge routing.
Well, you should consider using the elegant and sharp bits. You should also make sure to work your router in a counterclockwise direction around the work piece's top area. Use ‘Climb-Cutting’ to solve the problem of wood chips away from the edges.
Dadoes are made to support shelves on the side of cabinets. It is a flat-bottomed and square-walled channel to cut across the wood’s grain. To create a perfect dado, you should first consider using the suitable bit that well matches to your desired dado width.
After clamping the jig on a wooden test piece, you need to set the bit at ¼ inches. From the right side of the jig, make a pass via its ‘T’ part. Push the wood router away from you while cutting through the right side of the jig. In case you try to rout on the left side, your woof router will tend to wander away from the jig.
Dovetails are known as a hallmark of wooden crafts. With the addition of dovetail tenon and dovetail socket, the dadoes are kind to get more powerful. The three basic dovetail joints are namely through dovetails, half-bling dovetails, and sliding dovetails.
To make the best dovetail socket, you need to set the dado at least ¾ inches in width. The dado width should be identical to the stock thickness of the drawer.
Rabbet cutting is one of the fundamental learning mechanisms of rabbet cutting. They are practical and easy to use in many situations. Rather than going through the different rabbet sizes, you can go for a simple rabbet bit. These bits are usually significant in diameter as compared to other bits.
It is also essential to follow the recommendations of bit’s guides and the guide of router’s manufacturers. Moving the router too slow can also cause the wood-burning issue.
Inlay banding means to decorate the wooden pieces by cutting those shallow mortises and covering them up with inlaid strips of patches of parquetry and marquetry, veneer, strands of wire, slabs of mother-of-pearl, and colored epoxy, etc.
You should start by measuring the thickness and width to inlay vertical banding correctly. Then, rout dado, shallow rabbet, and groove to fit in by using the table-mounted or handheld router.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Got some questions? Here, I tried including the most common frequently asked questions about the best wood router. No matter, you are a beginner or a professional; some questions remain the same for everyone when it comes to selecting the high quality wood router.
My Top Pick
My Top Pick is a Dewalt Wood Base Router. It comes with both the bases, namely fixed base and plunge base wood router. Although the speed may look a little less as compared to other routers, I am more concerned about the quality and functional performance. The Dewalt Wood Base Router stands well, among others, and offers most of the quality features.
So, this is how the comprehensive review of best wood routers looks like. I have tried to include each aspect related to the wood router, such as a comparison chart, detailed reviews top 12 wood routers, and the ultimate buying guide. After reading all of this, you may feel less or no burden in choosing the right product.