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Home / Tips and Tricks / The Four Best Routers (The Woodworking Tool, Not the Internet Device) – Review Geek

The Four Best Routers (The Woodworking Tool, Not the Internet Device) – Review Geek

  A Bosch 1617EVS with bit placed, lying on a cherry board.
Josh Hendrickson

One of the best tools you can add to your workplace is a router. No, not the thing that makes your internet run, the rotating tool that cuts and shapes wood. Here are the four best routers that you can own.

What to look for in a router

Routers are incredibly versatile tools that woodworkers use for many purposes. If you need to glue two pieces of wood together to make a larger piece of wood, you can first flatten the edges with a router to better align them. Routers can round over sharp edges for a better feeling on a table or other furniture. You can cut slotted holes (known as holes) in your piece to create a chair or complete a door. And the list goes on.

Because of that different use, routers come in two primary types: fixed base and dive. And you will want to pay attention to what you are buying because they have different strengths and weaknesses. In addition to the type of routers, you also want to pay attention to the collet size, the variable speed range and the power (usually measured in horsepower).

Fixed basic routers

<img class = "wp-image-23713 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.reviewgeek.com/thumbcache/0/0/33fec4e212ba4200b4d97c66943a3957/p /uploads/2019/09/xb35f7f4d.jpg.pagespeed.gp+jp+jw+pj+ws+js+rj+rp+rw+ri+cp+md.ic.kY8_kzTj7L.jpg "alt =" A fixed router from Bosch with visible rotary knob. [19659009] Bosch

Of the two types, a fixed-base router is the more precise cutting tool Before you start cutting, raise and lower the cutting bit to the desired depth using a This dial and the nature of "locked depth" ensure precise measurements and cuts.

Once you have found the desired depth level, the cutting bit does not move until you turn the knob again, making long even cuts very easy. But you always start at the edge of a piece of wood and go in. Fixed routers are not the best choice for cutting holes or holes, because the cutting bit in a fixed The position remains and you cannot easily lower it straight down into your wooden piece.

Plunge Routers

<img class = "wp-image-23714 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https://www.reviewgeek.com/thumbcache/0/0/7ef100de53e1fe4d90c8da761bb85acf/p /uploads/2019/09/xb0d59491.jpg.pagespeed.gp+jp+jw+pj+ws+js+rj+rp+rw+ri+cp+md.ic.vk6_JiDNgg.jpg "alt =" A Bosch plunge- router with stop bar displayed routers differ from fixed basic routers in that you can easily adjust the depth of your cutting bit even when cutting through a workpiece.

Before you begin, set a maximum depth level to which your router can move Then put your router's cutting bit to a starting level While you work, you can easily lower the cutting bit until the stopper bar touches the milling plate.

Plug-in routers are great for cutting holes in the middle of a workpiece and for removing a lot of material.To try to remove a deep layer of wood in one go, does not work properly, so with a dip router you can remove small layers quickly until you have removed the total amount you need. However, they are not as accurate as a fixed basic router.

For most new woodworkers, a fixed basic router is a good starting place because of its precision. The strengths of a plunge router are focused on advanced skills such as insertion. Many routers are supplied as a combo kit and can be converted from a fixed base to a dive and back.


  A dive router with two keys that adjust the collet.

In addition to your router, you will also need router bits. The shaft of the cutter that is placed in your router is measured in diameter. The collet is the part of the cutter in which the bit fits. Manufacturers usually make cutters in shank diameters of 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch.

For most hobbyists, 1/4 inch is sufficient. But for large projects (such as a plate of wood) 1/2 inch works better. Cheap routers usually only support 1/4 inch bits, while more expensive routers come with two collets (one for each size) that you can swap as needed.

If you already own router bits, you want to make sure the new router has a matching collet, or you have to buy bits all over again.

Routers usually contain two keys for loosening the collet so that you can change the router bit as shown in this image.

Variable speeds [19659027] A speed dial on a router from 1 to 6. ” width=”325″ height=”325″ data-credittext=”Bosch” src=”/pagespeed_static/1.JiBnMqyl6S.gif” onload=”pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);” onerror=”this.onerror=null;pagespeed.lazyLoadImages.loadIfVisibleAndMaybeBeacon(this);”/>

Some routers offer speed settings via a rotary knob. If you need to use large cutters with a 1/2 inch shank, that variable speed is handy so that you can slow down the rotations.

Slower rotations provide more torque that in turn easily chews more through the wood. Inexpensive routers usually have one speed, while other routers come with a dial to speed up or slow down the bit as needed.


The size of the motor of a router determines how much power it offers. The larger the engine (measured in horsepower), the easier it can be used on large-scale projects. But routers with less power will also be smaller and easier to handle, which is handy when you need to trim a small piece such as a box.

Router manufacturers usually state the available horsepower (usually between 1/4 HP) on the low side and 3 1/4 HP on the high side) or describe the router in terms of size. A palm router is usually 1 HP or less. A medium-sized router is often about 1.5 to 2.5 HP and a full-sized router is 3 to 3 1/4 HP. For most hobbyists, medium size is ideal for your first router, although palm routers save you money if your budget is tight.

Best overall: Bosch 1617EVS Wood Router Tool Kit

  A Bosch 1617EVS router, with wooden handles.

One of the best-known tool brands, Bosch offers you everything you want with the 1617EVS router. This medium-sized router is 2.5 HP, which must offer sufficient power and has variable speed when you have to work on larger projects. And speaking of support for larger projects, the router comes with two collets, 1/4 and 1/2 inch.

Although this is a fixed-base router, the base can be removed and you can purchase an additional router to convert it as needed. Apart from incredibly large professional projects, this router should be able to meet all your needs.

Best overall

Premium choice: Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit

<img class = "wp-image-23673 size-full" data-pagespeed-lazy-src = "https: // www. reviewgeek.com/thumbcache/0/0/1551196ac2258f9d2ed2231e2fc8f532/p/uploads/2019/09/x1cfb596d.jpg.pagespeed.gp+jp+jw+pj+ws+js+rj+rp+rw+ri+cp+md. ic.lk9w6FhVD0.jpg "alt =" A Bosch 1617EVS in addition to an optional base. [19659036] Bosch

No, you will not experience déjà vu if you think you have already seen this router. The Bosch 1617EVSPK is an upgrade from our overall choice, and all that is good about that router applies here. You get the same horsepower, collet dimensions and variable speeds, but this kit comes with both a fixed base and a plunger base.

buy separately, and we definitely recommend doing this if the price for this kit is too much in advance, but by going with the kit you usually save $ 60 in the long run.

Premium Pick

Budget Cue she: Makita Rt0701C

  Makita Rt0701C router with fixed base attached.

If you don't do that & # 39; If you need a powerful router and plan to use it mostly to round off the edges of your material or cut flat, the Makita Rt0701C is a great choice. You will make some compromises, such as the 1 1/4 HP motor and the single 1/4 inch collet. But the smaller motor is also a potential advantage, because this router is compact and you can use it with one hand.

You still get a variable speed adjustment and the fixed system ensures precise cuts. And with four pounds it's almost half the weight as our overall choice, so your arms will be less tired when you finish cutting.

Although this is a router with a fixed base, you can switch to a model with a diving base as well.

Budget selection

Makita Rt0701C 1-1 / 4 HP compact router

The Makita is a smaller router with a 1 1/4 HP motor. But it fits better in the hand and weighs less. This router only accepts 1/4 inch end mills.

Battery power: Ryobi Trim Router

  Ryobi Trim Router without a battery installed.

The only problem with all other routers on this list is the power cord. Used free-hand (instead of with a milling table), move the router over the wood that you want to saw. But as you move around your workpiece, the power cord inevitably gets in the way, or worse, it ends up short.

The Ryobi Trim Router is a small router with a fixed base that works on batteries. Like most small routers, it is best for border work and trimming (as the name suggests), and only accepts 1/4 inch end mills. Although it has variable speed controls, you will not find horse power here due to the nature of the battery. Suffice it to say that you do not make any cuts with this tool, such as a dado. This is only the best for edge work.

The battery is sold separately, but if you have a Ryobi tool, you may already have a compatible One + battery.

A good router bit set: Hiltex 15-piece set

  Hiltex 15-piece router bit in a wooden storage box with images of the bits.

Just like a drill, a router does nothing to you without putting bits into it. In general, you probably want at least a straight bit, a round bit, and a Roman OGEE bit. Buying router router bits piece by piece can be expensive and if you prefer, it is best to buy a little bit when you need it. And then until you need the next piece before you buy more.

But to start, you can buy this 15-part kit. You get all common router bits, plus a few and a handy storage case. Bits found in such a & # 39; n kit usually don't last that long, but they are a great starting point to learn what the different bit types do and which ones you use the most.

Good router bit set

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