In this guide we’ll take a look at the best plunge routers for the UK market.
I’ve compared performance, features, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What Is the Best Plunge Router?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
The best plunge router for the UK market!
One of the most versatile and useful power tools in any DIYer or professional’s tool kit is the plunge router. The best plunge router that I tested out is the excellent Bosch POF 1400 ACE- you get an unrivalled amount of controlled power, superb build quality and it’s all from a name you can trust.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Plunge Router Reviews
Bosch POF 1400 ACE Wood Router Review
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, so 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.
Dewalt 240V 1/4-inch Combination Plunge Wood Router Review
US tool brand DeWalt pride themselves on making some of the best routers you can get, and the D26204K doesn’t disappoint there. The first thing to note is you get two routers in one with this kit, a plunge and fixed router base, making 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 and 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 that 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 for the money.
Makita 1/4-inch/ 3/8-inch 240V Plunge Wood Router Review
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, which 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 really 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 really handy. I just wish it had a work light for close inspection.
Trend T4EK 1/4″ Variable Speed Workshop Router and Kitbox Review
Trend are a power tool brand that know a thing or two about making the best plunge router, because they’ve specialised in producing them since 1955. The T4EK is designed for light duty work, but it’s still a well put together and solid feeling machine.
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.
Silverline 264895 ½” Plunge Router 1500 W Review
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 budget routers because 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, the build quality feels solid and the extra weight should just keep it steady when in use.
With a variable speed between 6,000 – 26,000 rpm, 50 mm of plunge, micro adjustment control and seven different stages of built in stop, there’s a lot to like about this plunge router, but it’s a shame that it doesn’t come with a case to keep the router and all the extra bits safe.
VonHaus Compact Deluxe Palm Router Saw Review
You might have noticed the Manchester-based VonHaus tool brand before, they’re taking the DIY tool world on with their useful and innovative products that aren’t too expensive, but still have the features you might expect to see on the best routers around.
The first thing you’ll notice about this Compact Deluxe plunge router is that it’s a bit of a beast- there’s a 1,600-Watt motor hidden under the bright orange plastic casing that can whip up between 6,000 – 26,000 rpm when you need it, it’s by far the most powerful motor on our list.
The controls are easy to work out and the depth stop includes a useful micro adjustment wheel for reasonable accuracy in the cutting head. The downside to this router is the size- it’s big and it’s heavy so don’t expect to use it for fine engraving any time soon. However, for the money it’ll make your next DIY project a lot easier to complete.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Plunge Router FAQs
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 seven 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.