In this guide we’ll take a look at the best wood routers for the money.
We’ve compared performance, features, build quality and cost
to give you our top recommendations.
What Is The Best Wood Router?
More Detailed Wood Router Reviews
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Bosch POF 1400 ACE Wood Router Review
The Bosch POF 1400 ACE Wood Router is powerful and versatile. Its 1400 Watt soft start variable speed motor can produce 11,000 to 28,000 rpm.
The build quality of this tool is excellent and it is sturdy and well balanced yet light and easy to control. The ergonomic design and soft grip handle make this wood router comfortable to use and the working light is a great feature that makes working in difficult conditions a lot easier.
The bits are simple to change, and the settings are accurate and easy to adjust. At 106 dB it is noisier than the DeWalt, but not bad for such a powerful machine.
This Bosch router is powerful enough to chew through wood quickly and get the job done. It has a plunge depth of 55 mm and comes with ¼ inch, 6 mm and 8 mm collets. It also comes with an 8 mm straight bit, parallel guide, spanner, dust extraction adaptor, and a sturdy plastic case.
This is a powerful wood router, comfortable and easy to use and suitable for all but the heaviest DIY and woodworking tasks. If you are looking for a powerful and comfortable tool this is the best wood router for you.
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Makita 1/4-inch/ 3/8-inch 240V Plunge Wood Router Review
This Makita Wood Router has a 900 Watt motor that delivers up to 27,000 rpm. The build quality is really great, and the tool feels sturdy and comfortable to use. It is also a well-designed product that is intuitive to work with.
The Makita router has a plunge depth of 35 mm and has collet capacities of ¼ and 3/8-inch. At 100 dB it is also fairly quiet. The item comes with 1 straight guide, 2 wrenches, 1 collet cone and 3 bits in a sturdy carry case.
This is a high quality, well-built router and comes with everything you need to get started on your woodworking project right away.
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Dewalt 240V 1/4-inch Combination Plunge Wood Router Review
The powerful Dewalt 240V 1/4-inch Combination Plunge Wood Router has a variable speed 900 Watt motor that produces between 16,000 and 27,000 rpm and includes a soft start facility. The build quality of this plunge router is excellent, and the tool is very sturdy. The ergonomic design also means it is comfortable to use. The tool also features full wave speed control technology for consistent results.
The two in one design means that this wood router can be used as a fixed or plunge router making it extremely versatile for a wide range of woodworking tasks. The router has a plunge depth of 55 mm and the plunge base has a fine tune rod that allows for precise depth adjustment. The 5-position adjustable turret enables stepped or repeated plunge cuts.
This DeWalt plunge router also features LED lights to light up your work and the spindle lock allows for easy bit changes. At 88 dB it is also extremely quiet for such a powerful tool. The kit comes with a ¼ inch collet, 1 plunge and 1 fixed base, a centreing cone, dust extraction adaptor, 2 parallel fences, a spanner and guide brush all supplied in a sturdy box.
The DeWalt router is sturdy and powerful yet still relatively light and easy to use. Adjusting the depth and changing attachments is simple and intuitive.
This is a premium 2 in 1 product that makes this one of the best wood routers on the UK market, and certainly versatile enough to take care of all your DIY and home woodworking needs.
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VonHaus Compact Deluxe Palm Router Saw Review
The VonHaus Compact Deluxe Palm Router has a variable speed 710 Watt motor that can output between 1,000 and 32,000 rpm. It comes with two bases so it can be used as a plunge router or fixed trimmer. The tool accepts bits with a 1/4″ or a 3/8″ shank. The tool is small enough to be used single handed and is ideal for a range of woodworking and craft tasks. It comes in a sturdy fabric tool bag.
This VonHaus router does not have the power of the larger tools and making deep cuts will require several passes, trimming 2- 3 mm at a time. This means it is not really suited for heavy-duty work but that is to be expected at this price point.
However, for light woodworking and craft applications, this is the best cheap router to buy on a budget.
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Katsu Tools 101748 220V Electric Wood Router Review
This Katsu Tools 101748 220V Electric Wood Router is suitable for craft applications and light woodworking use. It has a 710 Watt motor and feels lightweight and easy to use. The aluminium body feels sturdy and the machine accepts ¼ and 3/8 collets. The tool can cut to a depth of 20 mm.
This trimmer can get hot for heavy duty tasks but for lighter woodwork applications and crafts, it is great. It is light, easy to use and manoeuvrable. It is also one of the best budget routers and great value for money.
Wood Router Buying Guide
Wood routers are versatile tools that allow you to create a range of shapes and joints in wood.
A wood router is a powerful tool that can be used to hollow out an area in wood. Routers can be handheld or secured in a router table. They remove small chips of wood to create the desired form such as a hole, groove or shape. A router consists of a base housing and a motor. This motor has a collet on the end of a shaft to which a bit can be attached, and this bit protrudes through an opening in the flat sole plate beneath. There is a huge range of bits available that enable you to achieve a myriad of effects.
You can use a wood router to create curved edges, such as for work surfaces and table tops, create traditional joints for building furniture, decorative work, cutting out shapes and characters, trimming wood, veneers and laminates, shaping wood, drilling holes and recessing hinges. This makes a wood router a great tool for DIY enthusiasts, woodworkers and crafters. Using a wood router enables you to create precise cuts easily and quickly and gives your work a professional finish.
When choosing a wood router or trimmer then much will depend on what you want to use the tool for. The larger machines have powerful motors and cut deeper so will be ideal for major DIY tasks. However, for smaller DIY jobs, woodworking projects and crafts then a smaller router or trimmer will be a better choice. These trimmers are more compact, cheaper, lighter and can often be used single handed. These tools are also ideal for trimming laminates and veneers and can be used for minor DIY tasks like cutting out door hinges.
Motor size is something to consider when choosing the best wood router for your needs. For large projects where you need to do a lot of cutting and make deep cuts, then look for at least 900 watts. However just checking the wattage is not always enough to give you a clear picture of the tool’s capabilities. You should also check the tools rpm. In addition, look for other features that will make the machine work more consistently and smoothly such as full wave speed control technology.
A soft start and variable speed motor will also help make sure you achieve the most professional results from your wood router and avoid burning the wood. When cutting with smaller bits, you will use a higher speed, but when using large bits, a slower speed will be more effective and safer.
What is the different between a plunge router and a fixed router?
With a plunge router, the sole of the base is placed onto the face of the work with the cutter above the work. You then turn the machine on and lower the cutter so that it is lowered into the piece. This gives a neat clean cut and allows you to start work in the middle of a piece with ease.
With a fixed depth router, the depth is set before turning on the machine. You then place the sole plate on the workpiece with the edge overhanging the work so that the bit is not in contact with the piece. You can then enter the workpiece from the side once you turn the machine on. Alternatively, you can place the sole plate at an angle to the work and then rock the bit into the work.
What do I use the parallel guide that came with my router for?
Because a wood router works by spinning the bit, the tool will tend to drift in the direction of the spin. Using a parallel guide or fence will prevent this and help you cut true to your line.
What are different router bits used for and how do I choose the right bit for the job?
Router bits consist of a shank and a cutting edge that is called a profile.
Router Bit Shanks
The router bit shank is the cylindrical part of a router bit that goes into the collet of the router. There are two common sizes of bit shanks 1/4″ and 1/2″. So, when choosing a bit, ensure that it will fit in your machine.
Router Bit profiles
The cutting edge of a router bit is called its profile. These cutting edges can be made of high-speed steel (HSS) or have carbide tips. Carbide tipped bits which will hold their edge up to 25 times longer. However, they are more brittle so you should handle and store them carefully to avoid chipping.
Here is an explanation of the most commonly used router bits and what they are used for.
Straight bits are versatile and useful router bits. These bits are used to cut a straight groove or dado (a dado is a groove that is cut across the grain of the wood). They can also be used to hollow out an area for a mortice or inlay or to cut out a section of wood for a hinge. Straight bits come in a variety of diameters and lengths.
Rabbeting bits are used to cut a rabbet (shoulder) in the edge of a workpiece to allow two pieces to be joined together such as when making a cabinet.
These bits are used to trim one material flush with the edge of another material. They are commonly used when applying laminate of veneers to other woods such as MDF.
Chamfer bits cut a bevel on the edge of a surface for decoration or to allow pieces to be joined cleanly.
Edge Shaping Bits
Edge forming bits are used to create decorative edges. They come in a range of designs to help you create the final decoration for your woodworking project.
Rounding Over Bits
This is a type of edge shaping bit that can be used to round off the sharp edges of woodworking projects such as shelves and table tops.