Wood Router

7 Best Plunge Routers (2021 Review)

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The best plunge router should be powerful enough to spin the router bit from anywhere between 6,000 and 32,000 rpm, and should feature variable speed controls to allow this to happen. Plunge routers are typically manufactured with a ¼” or ½” maximum collet capacity and come supplied with at least two collets, either imperial, metric or both.

The best plunge router kits can come with both a plunge and fixed base to secure to the motor. You’ll want to consider the maximum plunge depth too – 50mm is a ballpark figure – and also look for adjustable pre-set depth stops. The best plunge routers feature a soft start too.

I’ve researched and tested out some of the best ones on the market, looking for all the features above and more. Keep reading to find out what I’ve discovered…

What is the Best Plunge Router For You?

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Comparing the Best Plunge Routers

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Includes Fixed Base
  • Power
  • Variable Speed
  • No-Load Speed
  • Max Collet Capacity
  • Max Plunge Depth
  • Preset Depth Stops
  • Weight
  • Collets Supplied
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  
    • Best for stable cutting speed
    • Includes Fixed BaseNo
    • Power1,400W
    • Variable SpeedYes
    • No-Load Speed11,000-28,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/4"
    • Max Plunge Depth55mm
    • Preset Depth Stops3
    • Weight3.5kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/4", 1x1/6", 1x1/8"
    • 4.5
    • CHECK PRICE →
    • Best for power and plunge depth
    • Includes Fixed BaseYes
    • Power2,400W
    • Variable SpeedYes
    • No-Load Speed8,000-21,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/2"
    • Max Plunge Depth68mm
    • Preset Depth Stops3
    • Weight6.4kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/2", 1x12mm
    • 4.25
    • CHECK PRICE →
    • Best for precision
    • Includes Fixed BaseNo
    • Power2,100W
    • Variable SpeedYes
    • No-Load Speed11,500-28,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/2"
    • Max Plunge Depth50mm
    • Preset Depth Stops8
    • Weight4.3kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/4", 1x1/2"
    • 4.25
    • CHECK PRICE →
    • Best for light duty work
    • Includes Fixed BaseYes
    • Power850W
    • Variable SpeedYes
    • No-Load Speed11,500-32,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/4"
    • Max Plunge Depth35mm
    • Preset Depth Stops0
    • Weight2.8kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/4", 1x6mm, 1x8mm
    • 4.5
    • CHECK PRICE →
    • Best for build quality
    • Includes Fixed BaseYes
    • Power900W
    • Variable SpeedYes
    • No-Load Speed16,000-27,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/4"
    • Max Plunge Depth55mm
    • Preset Depth Stops5
    • Weight6.4kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/4"
    • 4
    • CHECK PRICE →
    • Best for ease of bit changing
    • Includes Fixed BaseNo
    • Power900W
    • Variable SpeedNo
    • No-Load Speed27,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/4"
    • Max Plunge Depth35mm
    • Preset Depth Stops3
    • Weight2.7kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/4", 1x3/8"
    • 3.75
    • CHECK PRICE →
    • Best bang for your buck
    • Includes Fixed BaseNo
    • Power1,500W
    • Variable SpeedYes
    • No-Load Speed6,000-26,000rpm
    • Max Collet Capacity1/2"
    • Max Plunge Depth50mm
    • Preset Depth Stops7
    • Weight4.1kg
    • Collets Supplied1x1/4", 1x1/2", 1x8mm, 1x12mm
    • 3.25
    • CHECK PRICE →

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Plunge Routers

Bosch POF 1400 ACE RouterBosch POF 1400 ACE Router

Best for stable cutting speed

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
CHECK PRICE →

Bosch POF 1400 ACE Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: No
  • Power: 1,400W
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • No-Load Speed: 11,000-28,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/4"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 55mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 3
  • Weight: 3.5kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/4", 1x1/6", 1x1/8"

The Bosch POF 1400 ACE is probably the best plunge router because it offers comfortable control in a sturdy package with enough power for any DIY routing task. The POF 1400 ACE forms part of Bosch’s “green” line of DIY level tools. The build quality is excellent if not for prolonged professional use.

It has a 1,400 Watt motor with soft start that powers the router from an impressive 11,000 – 28,000 rpm and the 55 mm plunge depth can be finely adjusted for intricate work. One of the best features I found on this plunge router is Bosch’s Constant Electronic system that maintains a stable cutting speed no matter what material you’re working with. It’s features like this that help to reduce tear-out and ensure a smooth operation.

The large rubberised soft grips are comfortable to use, there’s a clear plastic chip guard in front of the bit, and the LED work light keeps everything nice and visible. If you want to use jigs and templates, you can attach them to the foot without tools as well.

Pros

  • The three-stage stop is useful for locking in a depth for quick reference.
  • With a large spindle lock button, changing bits is surprisingly easy.
  • I like Bosch’s fine depth control dial. It’s easy to set a precise depth, even when plunged.
  • The plunge depth can be locked with a large cam lever. It’s right next to the grip and easy to get the hang of.

Cons

  • Even though this looks like a full-size plunge router, it only takes ¼” router bits.
  • Some users have found it hard to set up and the manual isn’t much help either.
  • The lack of soft start can knock you off track on fine work.
  • The LED light is useful, but it only works when the router is switched on. You can’t use the light to help position the router bit.
BUY HERE →

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Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge RouterTriton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router

Best for power and plunge depth

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: Yes
  • Power: 2,400W
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • No-Load Speed: 8,000-21,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/2"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 68mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 3
  • Weight: 6.4kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/2", 1x12mm

One of the most powerful routers I’ve tested out, the Triton TRA001 is a seriously powerful bit of kit.

With a 2,400 Watt motor that can spin a router bit from 8,000 – 21,000 rpm, there’s a serious amount of low end power. It might not have the highest speed compared to the Trend T4EK, but it’s plenty for most DIY jobs.

You can drop the cutting head down to an impressive 68 mm. That’s 13 mm deeper compared with the DeWalt D26204K or the Bosch POF 1400! Weighing in at 6.4 kg, it’s a heavy tool but attached to a table it doesn’t matter. That’s where the TRA001 really shines. Fix it to a table and you’ve got a capable table router as well.

I really like the intuitive controls and safety features on this router. You can lock off the height easily and fine adjust with one hand. The safety spindle lock engages only when the power switch cover is closed, protecting fingers and thumbs.

For the money, this is easily one of the best plunge routers for carpentry tasks. It’s versatile and packed with clever features. I love it!

Pros

  • Supplied with both ½ and ¼” collets, you can use just about any router bit available.
  • The base plate and fence are great. They’re solid and really well put together.
  • With 2,400 Watts of power to play with, it’s a seriously powerful plunge router.
  • It’s an ideal router to attach to a table. The depth winder accessory means you can make adjustments without buying expensive accessories.

Cons

  • The router handles are high up on the body, making it a bit top heavy compared to Bosch POF 1400.
  • If you’re looking for a lightweight and streamlined router, you’ll be disappointed. The TRA001 is more than double the weight compared to the Makita RP0900X.
  • Using this router freehand is a challenge. It’s much more suited to using with a jig or as a table router.
  • Some users have found the router creates a lot of vibration. This can cause some of the locking nuts to work loose.
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Trend T7EK Variable Speed RouterTrend T7EK Variable Speed Router

Best for precision

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
4.25
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Trend T7EK Variable Speed Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: No
  • Power: 2,100W
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • No-Load Speed: 11,500-28,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/2"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 50mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 8
  • Weight: 4.3kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/4", 1x1/2"

One of the most respected names in routing tools, Trend have produced one of the best plunge routers for DIY that I’ve tried out.

The long ergonomic handles are rubberised, and I find them more comfortable to use compared with the rounded ones on the Triton TRA001. There’s also a pair of dust extractor adaptors for removing dust from both above and below the cutting head.

The powerful 2,100 Watt motor has a soft start feature and spins up the router bit from 11,500 – 28,000 rpm. You can drop the depth down to 50 mm, which isn’t the deepest but enough for most routing jobs.

Supplied with one of the best fences I’ve had a chance to try out, it’s a router packed with clever features. I like the included trammel point. It’s a little spike that acts as a pivot for circle and radius work, a feature that will come in handy for most DIYers.

Overall, the T7EK is a well- built and powerful plunge only router. It might not have the deepest cut depth, but the accessories are quality and make it one of the best routers for counter cutting jobs.

Pros

  • The eight depth stops are going to come in handy. Being able to quickly change set cutting depths saves a lot of time and hassle.
  • I really like the micro adjustable side fence. Dialling in a precise width is always a pain, but this feature takes most of the effort.
  • This is a powerful and capable plunge router. The 2,100 Watt motor is strong compared to the Bosch POF 1400.
  • You get a ½” and ¼” collet to fit most router bits.

Cons

  • The lowest minimum rpm is 11,500. It would have been nice to be able to control the speed a little more.
  • Some users have found the base plate to be a bit heavy. In comparison to some lightweight aluminium baseplates, it’s a bit of a beast.
  • You can’t adjust the cutting depth from below. There isn’t a winding mechanism like on the Triton TRA001.
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Trend T4EK Variable Speed RouterTrend T4EK Variable Speed Router

Best for light duty work

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Trend T4EK Variable Speed Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: Yes
  • Power: 850W
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • No-Load Speed: 11,500-32,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/4"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 35mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 0
  • Weight: 2.8kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/4", 1x6mm, 1x8mm

Trend are a power tool brand that know a thing or two about making the best plunge router. They’ve specialised in producing them since 1955. The T4EK is the T7EKs little cousin. It’s not as big or as powerful, but it’s still a very capable little machine. If you need a lightweight ¼” router for light DIY jobs, this is the one for you.

The 850 Watt motor has plenty of grunt, and seeing as it weighs less than 3 kg, it’s incredibly light and easy to handle. The range of speed from 11,500 – 32,000 rpm is impressive and will help you get the most from the 35 mm plunge depth available.

My favourite feature must be the hex head collets- it’s a little thing but it makes changes much easier. The only thing missing from this router is a fine depth adjustment feature- it’s a bit fiddly to dial in a precise depth.

Pros

  • Weighing in at just 2.8 kg, this is a great lightweight plunge router. It’s ideal for freehand work, but still strong enough for most tasks.
  • I think this is one of the best plunge routers for light duty work. It’s well made but affordable.
  • The router comes packaged in a quality blow-moulded case. It should keep everything together and out of trouble.
  • Trend have even thought to include a 16 mm hinge jig.

Cons

  • With a plunge depth of just 35 mm, this is a router best suited for edge trimming.
  • Make sure you hang on tight if you turn it on above the workpiece, because there’s no soft start feature.
  • Don’t forget that this is a basic plunge router. You can lock off the depth but not make micro adjustments.
BUY HERE →

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DeWalt 26204K Combination Plunge Wood RouterDeWalt 26204K Combination Plunge Wood Router

Best for build quality

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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DeWalt 26204K Combination Plunge Wood Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: Yes
  • Power: 900W
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • No-Load Speed: 16,000-27,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/4"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 55mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 5
  • Weight: 6.4kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/4"

US tool brand DeWalt pride themselves on making some of the best routers you can get. The D26204K doesn’t disappoint. The first thing to note is you get two routers in one with this kit! A plunge and fixed router base make it ideal for all sorts of different tasks in just the one set.

Using a 900 Watt motor, the cutting speed can be adjusted between 16,000 – 27,000 rpm. You can make fine adjustments to the 55 m cutting depth on both plunge and fixed router bases easily with a large nut assembly. There are even two different parallel guides for each base type.

I particularly like the dual LED work lights as well as the clear plastic dust extraction port. They both help to keep the router bit visible during operation. It’s a nice touch you’d expect to see on one of the best fixed routers on the market.

Pros

  • A high quality router from one of the best names in the business, with one of the best fences you can get.
  • It’s two routers in one. You get both a plunge base and fixed base for just about any job.
  • This router uses my favourite type of adjustment mechanism. Raising and lowering the cutting head with a screw action is precise and easy to lock off.
  • The dust collection system really works. The clear plastic shroud covers the whole cutting area and picks up almost everything.
  • As you’d expect from DeWalt, the tough case is brilliant and ready for hard work.

Cons

  • Compared to the Trend T4EK or even the Bosch POF, this is an expensive bit of kit. If you’re only doing light DIY work, this is probably a bit over the top.
  • Don’t think you can use this with ½” router bits. This is a ¼” inch max router.
  • The split fence rail can make things difficult. You’ll want to add a strip of wood to it for a continuous surface to guide with.
BUY HERE →

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Makita RP0900X Plunge Wood RouterMakita RP0900X Plunge Wood Router

Best for ease of bit changing

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Makita RP0900X Plunge Wood Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: No
  • Power: 900W
  • Variable Speed: No
  • No-Load Speed: 27,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/4"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 35mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 3
  • Weight: 2.7kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/4", 1x3/8"

One of the most trusted tool brands around the world, Japan’s Makita are well-known for professional quality routers, drills, and saws. I tried out the RP0900X plunge router to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Another 900 Watt router, this motor powers up the business end up to 27,000 rpm. This is fast enough to deal with all sorts of materials without binding up or chipping delicate surfaces. The trigger-style on switch is well placed on one handle, making it an easy router to use as well.

You can plunge down to 35 mm using the comfortable dual handles, but my favourite feature is simple- the specially designed flat top makes changing bits easy. You don’t have to balance it awkwardly like some other routers.

And if you want, you can set up to three different depth stops when you need to gang up routing tasks. It’s simple but I think it’s going to come in handy. I just wish it had a work light for close inspection.

Pros

  • The build quality you expect from a Makita tool is there. Everything is robust and built for hard work.
  • The depth scale on the body is great. You can set the cutting head to any depth quickly and easily.
  • The flat top on the body makes for quick cutting head changes.
  • The handles are ergonomically designed and incredibly comfortable to hold.
  • Makita have thrown in a small pack of three router bits to get you started.

Cons

  • A maximum plunge depth of 35 mm isn’t much compared to the Triton TRA001. It’s not the best router for cutting deep grooves.
  • Fine depth adjustment isn’t as accurate in comparison to the DeWalt RP0900X. There’s no simple micro adjustment wheel.
  • It seems strange that Makita haven’t gone for a two-stage safety power switch.
  • There’s no variable speed control. Compared to any other plunge router on my list, this is a bit of a let-down.
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Silverline 264895 Plunge RouterSilverline 264895 Plunge Router

Best bang for your buck

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of use
Value for Money
Overall
3.25
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Silverline 264895 Plunge Router Review

Specifications

  • Includes Fixed Base: No
  • Power: 1,500W
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • No-Load Speed: 6,000-26,000rpm
  • Max Collet Capacity: 1/2"
  • Max Plunge Depth: 50mm
  • Preset Depth Stops: 7
  • Weight: 4.1kg
  • Collets Supplied: 1x1/4", 1x1/2", 1x8mm, 1x12mm

Budget tool heroes Silverline produce an enormous range of tools and accessories that won’t empty your wallet. I got hold of their 264895 ½” plunge router and put it through its paces. It’s a versatile and powerful router for the money.

With 1,500 Watts of power, it’s one of the best routers for those on a budget. You can fit ½” router bits for heavy duty cutting jobs like kitchen worktops and door hinges. It’s definitely not a router for continuous professional use though. The build quality feels solid, and the extra weight should just keep it steady when in use.

You get a variable speed between 6,000 – 26,000 rpm and 50 mm of plunge. I like the micro adjustment control and seven different stages of built in stop too. There’s a lot to like about this plunge router, but it’s a shame that it doesn’t come with a case. I’m not sure how I’ll keep the router and all the extra bits safe.

Pros

  • An affordable, powerful, and deep plunging router. Compared to the Trend T7EK, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
  • Four collets allow you to work with ½”, ¼”, 8 mm and 12 mm bits. That should cover most router bits you can get hold of!
  • The fact that it’s a ½” capable router means you can tackle even heavy duty jobs.
  • The soft start feature is great. It means there’s less torque on start-up that could snatch the router away.

Cons

  • Don’t expect this to last for months of heavy use. It’s designed and built for occasional or DIY use.
  • At 4.1 kg, this is a heavy beast. It’s not ideal for freehand work unless you have an incredibly steady pair of hands!
  • The micro adjustment mechanism is made from plastic. It does the job, but I wonder how long it will last.
  • Some users have complained about the quality of the accessories. Compared to the Bosch POF 1400, they’re not as beautifully finished.
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Things to Know Before Buying a Plunge Router

It might not be the first power tool you think of, but the humble router can do more than you might think. But before you pull the trigger on the best plunge router you can afford, here’s what to look out for:

Speed Matters

The power of the motor inside your router and the variable speed controls work together to spin the bit from anywhere between 6,000 and 32,000 revolutions per minute, or rpm. Being able to control the speed of your router bit accurately really helps to make clean cuts and avoid chips and tear out.

There are plenty of guides available online to help you pick the right speed for different bits:  whether you’re cutting straight into the workpiece, putting a chamfer on the edge or even making a fancy dado, the general idea is the wider the bit, the slower the rpm.

Take the Plunge

There are two main types of router- fixed base (palm) and plunge. Fixed base, like it sounds, is held in place by a static collar, and plunge base can be raised and lowered during operation by a pair of handles and a spring mechanism. One of the best ways to get the most from your router is by investing in a router kit like the DeWalt D26204K– you can fit a fixed or plunge base to the motor and get the best of both worlds.

Top of the Table

A table router is another versatile tool for creating mouldings, or when you want to work on narrow or awkward shapes of wood. They work by turning the router upside down so the cutting bit extends through the surface of a table so you can trim or shape long workpieces with ease. You can buy purpose-built router tables or mount the fixed base of a router to a workbench to make your own DIY version as well.

Different Bits for Different Jobs

What makes the best plunge router a versatile tool is the wide range of bits you can get that all perform different tasks:

The most common bits are for straight cuts, but you can also get round-over bits for creating curved edges on timber or fancy bits such as Roman ogee for making decorative mouldings or edges. Another useful bit for woodworkers is the dove tail, which is a brilliant shortcut for making dovetail joints or flush trim bits that have a guide wheel on the top for following patterns and making copies of any shape you like.

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Plunge Router FAQs

What’s the best router, a plunge or fixed base palm one?

Deciding between the best plunge or palm router is the first big choice you must make before opening your wallet. The main difference between them is a fixed base or palm router cuts at a consistent depth while a plunge router’s depth is controlled by the user.

I’ve already compared the best palm routers in another article to help you decide, but don’t forget that some of the best router kits allow you to change the base from fixed to plunge without having to buy another motor.

Why is there a bearing on the top of my router bit?

The little wheel on the top of some router bits is your best friend when you need it- it allows you to follow the shape of the workpiece and cut an accurate chamfer, dado or rabbet without having to rely on your own skill. They’re a game changer for any budding furniture maker.

What’s the best use of a plunge router?

The best plunge router can do what most tools wish they could- cut accurate grooves or attractive designs into the middle of a workpiece without needing much skill on the part of the user. All you need to do is create a template or use the included guide rail to get the bit in the right place, switch on the motor and carefully plunge the bit into the workpiece. With a bit of practise, you’ll be doing what master joiners or carvers spend all their lives getting right.

Do I need to move the router in one direction?

One of the common issues that people have with using a router is chipping the edge of the work piece or leaving scorch marks that can ruin an otherwise fine piece of work. You should always move the router against the rotation of the bit, in the same way that you would push a circular saw into the workpiece rather than pull it. It’s probably easier to demonstrate this technique rather than explain it, so make sure you always practice on a bit of scrap with any new router bit.

How can I get the most out of my plunge router?

Most novice DIYers probably don’t know just how useful the best plunge router can be for a wide range of tasks. One of the best things you can do is purchase a set of templates or jigs- they’re not expensive and when used with piloted bits, you can do anything from cutting hinges to making custom signs. They’ll open up a whole new world of craft projects to try out as well.

Do I need to wear any special protective equipment?

You should always wear the proper PPE when operating power tools, but especially eye and hearing protection- routers are incredibly useful yet extremely loud bits of kit.

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Sources

“Glossary: Router”A History of Woodworking

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