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The systems and features included in any power tool, especially a wood router, are complex to understand. This, along with the vast amount of wood routers available on the market, can make choosing the right one that fits your needs fairly difficult. It’s no secret that finding a router for woodwork is challenging. That’s why we have highlighted all of the primary considerations that you should be aware of before making a purchase and investing in a router for wood. Along with this, we have also included some of our top picks for the best wood routers and the features included in each one’s design to help you choose the best wood routers for your needs.
What Is A Wood Router?
A router is designed as a power tool or hand tool that provides the woodworker with the ability to rout or hollow out a particular area in a relatively hard material, such as plastic or wood. This specific tool router is commonly used in woodworking tasks, especially cabinetry. These woodworking routers are generally fastened with the device’s cutting end face-up. You can typically use this power tool on a routing table or as a handheld power tool.
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Combo Kit HIGH IN-DEMAND
How Does A Wood Router Work?
Routers for wood are designed with a motor attached to a fixed base and comes equipped with a metal bit. This metal bit is incorporated to cut the desired shape into a piece of wood, plastic, or any other hard material.
The bits included in the structure of woodwork routers are produced in various sizes and shapes. These different shapes and sizes allow the routers for woodworking to smooth or straight edges, create notches, grooves, and tongues, and cut decorative molding or bevels in the wood.
The routers’ woodworking base allows you to adjust the cutting angle and depth to offer you a wide range of possibilities. One of the best appeals of router wood power tools is that it’s equipped with a broad range of applications and accessories, along with being very versatile.
The versatility offered for woodworking with wood routers can be used for most woodworking tasks. These tasks include structural work and cabinet making and adding decorative embellishments such as molding, chamfers, and bevels to baseboards or furniture.
Things to Consider:
When purchasing the best wood router option available, it’s essential to evaluate what you wish to gain from acquiring this device. Making this evaluation allows you to consider the elements included in the design of the particular wood routers. It enables you to identify the one that fits best with the projects you wish to conduct.
Here are some varied features that you should take into account when wanting to purchase the best wood router option:
What Are the Different Types of Wood Routers?
The majority of power tools are available in different models, with a structural difference. This is the case for routers. The varied configurations of routers provide the user with certain limitations and advantages.
Understanding these different routers for woodwork and the benefits and drawbacks these devices possess can help you find the best wood router for your specific needs and preferences. Here are the different routers tools that you have the option of choosing from:
Palm routers are designed to provide users with a compact size and an impressive performance. The device is typically equipped with 1 HP or less. A palm router is an ideal router for decorative inlays, window cutouts, small-scale dovetailing, slot cutting, edge forming, hinge mortising, and trimming.
The palm router’s design also includes 1/4-inch shank bits. Due to the inclusion of these 1/4-inch shank bits, these types of routers for woodwork are not suitable options for conducting more extensive woodwork routing operations.
A mid-sized router is equipped with a 1-3/4 HP to 2-1/4 HP feature incorporated into the structure. These mid-size routers are the most popular size out of all of the router types mentioned in this list. This popularity is due to this device’s versatility, along with the ease of operation provided.
Mid-size routers hold the ability to handle a wide selection of woodworking operations. These operations include everything a palm router can conduct, along with circle cutting, template design work, panel cutting, and large-scale dovetailing.
The mechanisms offered in the mid-size router can accept 1/4-inch shank bits, along with 1/2-inch shank bits. Moreover, these particular power devices are usually available on a multitude of bases. It should also be understood that the majority of router accessories are equipped to be incorporated with a particular type of router.
These specific types of routers are commonly seen as the workhorses of the entire wood router family. These full-size routers are generally equipped with between 3 HP to 3 1/4 HP, and the overall design of this particular type of router is prepared for production use.
Full-size routers are commonly dedicated to CNC operations or one router table. Due to the full-size router’s immense size, these power tools are deemed to be somewhat heavy and unmanageable for everyday use in handheld tasks.
What Is the Importance of Base Styles:
The style of a base can be seen as just as important as the router’s motor’s size. Several styles are available to choose from. However, choosing the right base style for you depends on the operations or projects you wish to conduct with your router for woodworking. Here are three common base styles incorporated in the design of a wood router.
A fixed base router is equipped with a standard base. The design of this fixed base router generally comes with fixed knobs or handles on the base’s opposing sides. These fixed handles and knobs are incorporated into the system to hold and guide the router.
These bases can be mounted directly to the router table. However, this mounting limits the fixed base router to performing edge routing applications.
A fixed base router is also a good option for specific operations that undergo guide bushings. These guide bushings include dovetail as well as box joint jigs. A fixed base router generally consists of a quick setting ring-styled depth adjustment feature to the base’s design.
A plunge router base style offers more versatility to the user. This is because this plunge base-styled router can do everything that a fixed base router is capable of doing. Along with this, a plunge router can also be used for operations that require the bit feature to be plunged in the wooden piece (but plunged away from an edge).
These devices with a plunge base are the ideal power tool for conducting operations like mortising and dado cut, fluting, and blind grooves operations. The features incorporated in this plunge base style are that the plunge router’s motor moves up and down on the machined spring-loaded columns of the device. The feature that is generally offered by a plunge router includes various depth stop settings with the inclusion of micro-adjustments. This feature allows the user to fine-tune the plunge base router and its settings to the user’s precise depth specifications.
Unlike the standard base equipped with two knobs, the D-shaped base incorporates a D-shaped handle and a knob. This feature provides the user with a pistol grip control and an on/off trigger power switch that has the ability to be locked.
Special Considerations About Different Base Styles:
If you wish to utilize multiple base styles, you have the option of purchasing Combination Kits. The majority of manufacturers offer a combo kit, which provides the user with a plunge base and a fixed base in one complete prepackaged kit.
A combo kit is an excellent option, as you’re essentially gaining two base router styles for one price. This price for the combo kit is significantly less than buying two separate base-styled routers.
What Are the Speed Option Features Provided for Wood Routers?
A few of the router options available on the market offer a single-speed operation feature. However, the majority of more versatile routers produced offer variable-speed and multi-speed adjustment features.
The ability to adjust the speed range is primarily based on the type of operation being conducted, the bit diameter’s size, and the specific type of wooden material that’s being worked on. The correct speed range that the router is adjusted to plays a significant role in enhancing the quality of the final product and ensuring that work is being conducted in a safe environment.
What Are the Different Shaft Heights That Are Available?
There are a variety of shaft heights that can be incorporated into the design of a wood router. These shaft heights are commonly referred to as the working height of a particular router for woodworking. This working height indicates the maximum height capability of the specific router. This height adjustment capability ranges from 70 mm to more than 190 mm.
Smaller woodworking and carpentry projects can effectively perform with a height adjustment capability of 120 mm. However, you need a larger size if you wish to build an entire house or conduct a project with similar characteristics.
The shaft feature of a router holds the ability to be tilted backward or forward within a particular range. This backward and forward motion can be made to produce chamfers with conventional Dremel or straight bits.
A general rule to follow when choosing a wood router’s height adjustment capability is that the more sophisticated machine is, the more equipped the device is to perform work with a wide array of angles.
What Are the Safety Options and Features That Are Incorporated into The Design of a Wood Router?
Like any other power tool, a wood router can be extremely dangerous when used improperly or recklessly. However, an array of components and accessories can be incorporated into the woodworking router’s design and help reduce accidental injury risk. These features include:
Emergency Stop Button
An emergency stop button is a button that’s included in the design of the router. This button works to stop the machine in the case of a problem. It’s important to understand that an emergency stop button is different from the wood router’s power switch.
It can be extremely appealing to have the option of installing a feeder component to your wood router. A mechanical feeder’s functionality works to mechanically transport (with a guide) the piece of material that you’re moving. It holds the ability to be vertically and horizontally adjusted. This feature offers complete security, as well as eliminates the risk of personal injury.
Your work router machine must have a guard incorporated in the design. There is no preference for which guide to choose. However, you should make sure that the guard offers reasonable coverage horizontally and vertically. This coverage is to ensure that your fingers are safely placed out of harm’s way. Clear router models for woodworking provide an excellent balance between safety and visibility.
MEC and MAN
A few router tools are intended to be used with only one type of router or another. Tools that are labeled MAN are supposed to be used with a manual feed only. Whereas tools that hold a MEC label are only intended for use with mechanical feeds.
When manually feeding material, you should feed the material with either a push plate or some stick or block type. This is especially the case if you’re feeding small and tiny pieces of material.
The reason for using such objects when manually feeding material is to keep your hands away from the spinning tool. The majority of routers are equipped with one or more of these devices.
What Accessories Are Included in The Wood Router’s Structure?
There are a variety of different features and accessories that are included in the structure of wood routers. These accessories and components are included to improve the device’s usability and provide convenience and accuracy. Here are some of the most common accessories and features included in router structures:
Some manufacturers include router templates. This is done to provide the user with the ability to create irregular shapes easily. These irregular shapes include arches. The incorporation of templates aids in making the process of creating irregular shapes incredibly convenient and accurate.
The sanding drum is a cylinder that’s made from an abrasive material. An example of this material includes pumice. The cylinder is constructed to hold a piece of abrasive paper, which holds the ability to be mounted to a router shaft. The purpose of this is to grind or smooth the edges of the object being worked on.
Sole or Foot
The foot or sole accessory is best known as the base of the model to make a precise depth adjustment to the bit. This feature is only offered with handheld wood router models and aids in making the device more convenient.
Mortise and Tenon Jigs
The incorporation of tools and bits is used to create a type of groove and tongue in the material that’s being worked on. Mortise and Tenon jigs are one of the best traditional woodworking techniques implemented to secure a wide array of joints.
Micrometer washers provide the device to conduct exact depth adjustment. The inclusion of this feature adds to enhancing the end-result of any woodworking project.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a DIY-er, complete amateur, or professional; a dust collection system is a brilliant feature to have. This collection system is provided in the form of a collar. This collar fits around the base router surface. The collar is equipped to suck up the chips and dust produced as the wood router is working.
Some additional tools that can be included in a wood router structure’s functionality are cutting discs, bushings, Dremel, routing bits, among other tools. These tools have the individual capabilities to improve the quality of work produced and make it easy to conduct the work.
It’s essential to double-check that you have the ability to safely use the tool before incorporating the specific tool into the structure. You are only required to double-check these tools if you incorporate these into the structure of a handheld wood routing model.
Our Picks for The Best Wood Routers
There is an array of routers that effectively work on wooden materials. However, choosing one can be incredibly daunting as the selection is so broad. For this reason, we have put together our picks for the best wood router options to help you decide which one fits the criteria you wish to receive from your router. Here are our wood router reviews:
The DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP is equipped with variable speed control for efficiency and accuracy while providing excellent safety.
- The router is equipped with a variable speed feature.
- The inclusion of a clear sub-base and LED lights to provide excellent visibility for added protection.
- The 1.25 HP isn’t sufficient to work on bigger projects.
The DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP is equipped with variable speed control for efficiency and accuracy while providing excellent safety. Creating the product as a combo kit allows the user to gain a router table with fixed base functionality and plunge base functionality.
The DEWALT DWP611PK also includes a soft-start motor feature, which provides full-time electronic feedback. This feature aids in maintaining a constant speed (variable speed) through the entire routing process.
The dual LED lights incorporated in the design and the sub-base provide the user with maximum visibility while routing. The inclusion of the adjustment ring ensures the precise depth adjustment control to the bit. This bit depth adjustment control is only offered to the fixed base and can change within 1/64-inches.
The compact router also provides a quick transition period. The compact router motor can change quickly and efficiently between a fixed base and a plunge base.
This PORTER-CABLE motor also includes over-molded grips for excellent comfort when the 11-amp motor is extended.
- The collects of this PORTER-CABLE accept a 1/4-inch bit and a 1/2-inch bit.
- The soft-start and constant speed features make sure that convenience is provided when starting the tool.
- Variable speed isn't provided by the router tool's motor, as a variable speed dial hasn't been included in the structure.
This PORTER-CABLE 690LR is equipped with an 11-amp motor that has a soft-start feature. The single-speed motor is capable of producing a little less than 30,000 RPM (27,500 RPM). Moreover, this 11-amp motor includes a constant speed control that provides effective fine depth adjustment.
This PORTER-CABLE motor also includes over-molded grips for excellent comfort when the 11-amp motor is extended. Durability on this fixed base PORTER-CABLE model is enhanced by incorporating sealed ball-bearing construction and dust-sealed switch features. This enhanced durability is also due to the aluminum motor base and housing.
The inclusion of aluminum provides a fine depth tool for the bit device. Safety is also made a priority with the emergency stop button located under the table. This stops the motor from inadvertently rotating at nearly 30,000 RPM out of the fixed base.
This Bosch router device is capable of producing a combination HP of between 2.5 and 1/4 HP.
- The variable speed dial allows the motor to conduct work with a variable speed to adjust to gain the best results. The motor speed also provides a soft-start function.
- The fixed base incorporates a system that effectively adjusts the bit height located above the router table. This provides precise bit functionality.
- The tool doesn't offer the best visibility as LED lights aren't included.
This Bosch router device is capable of producing a combination HP of between 2.5 and 1/4 HP. This combination of HP is provided from the combo kit. The Bosch router has the ability to transition from a plunge base to a fixed base.
Moreover, the 12-amp motor is equipped with variable speed functionality. The variable speed dial is geared to offer a soft-start function while maintaining a constant speed. A quick clamp system is also incorporated on the plunge base and the fixed base. Besides, the collects hold the ability to accept a 1/2-inch bit and a 14/-inch bit.
his Makita compact router tool is equipped with 1-1/4 HP provided by the powerful motor. The motor is also equipped with variable speed.
- The fixed base provided grants the use of industry-standard template guides, making it convenient for the bit to create irregular shapes.
- The 1-1/4 HP and variable speed dial functionality equip the router to work on larger material pieces.
- There is a shaft locking system for quick and effortless bit changes.
- There isn't an effective dust collection system incorporated in the design.
This Makita compact router tool is equipped with 1-1/4 HP provided by the powerful motor. The motor is also equipped with variable speed. The variable speed control makes it possible to change the RPM from 10,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM.
Moreover, the variable speed control dial’s inclusion also allows for this 1-1/4 HP to have a soft-start. One fantastic feature included in the structure of this compact router is the quick-releasing cam locking system. This provides the bit with easy depth adjusting, along with effortless base installation and removal.
This Makita variable speed compact router tool is a combo kit. This provides the user with the ability to work on either a plunge base or a fixed base. Also, electronic speed control is incorporated in the design to maintain the constant speed under the load. This constant speed is held after the variable speed dial has been used to select the desired speed that the user wishes to conduct work under.
This Triton Router is equipped with button switch features that transition the router base from a fixed base to a plunge base. Moreover, these switches also offer height adjustment.
- The automatic spindle lock only engages once the power switch is in a closed position.
- The variable speed dial provides you with the ability to adjust the speed setting and effectively cut different material types.
- When the table is mounted, the removable plunge spring offers an effortless bit adjustment to fit the material you're cutting.
- Micrometer washers aren't included in the design.
This Triton Router is equipped with button switch features that transition the router base from a fixed base to a plunge base. Moreover, these switches also offer height adjustment.
One of the best features incorporated in the router is the soft-start functionality and inclusion of a variable speed dial. These elements allow you to find the right speed for the material that you’re working on.
Another excellent feature is the multi-function fence. The integration of this function into the router’s structure offers exceptional control when using the device as a handheld router or cutting circles.
Dust collection is provided with the side air vents. These reduce the user’s intake of dust and the airborne dust particles present in the workspace.
The different wood router models differ in practicality from each other. Many of these wood router models are equipped with simple adjustments, such as interchangeable tools and bits, depth, and speed control. Moreover, the majority of handheld models provide similar control and handles.
In contrast, high-end machines provide enhanced accuracy, more options for the power tools, and a wider range of speed control. Some of these high-end model wood routers incorporate electronic controls rather than manual controls. These devices are seen as being more convenient. However, this convenience comes with a cost.
Taking all of your needs into consideration when choosing helps you invest in the best wood router for you. This is because you can identify the features that provide you with the outcomes you wish to receive from using a wood router and make the necessary decisions.
Nevertheless, no matter what model you ultimately choose, you should also conduct personal protection practices when working with the wood router. Taking proper precautions is one of the best ways of preventing injury from occurring. The best safety precautions to include when using a wood router include wearing protective gloves, goggles, and noise-canceling gear or head coverings.