10 Best Wood Routers of 2023 – Top Picks & Reviews
One of the most important tools in any craftsman’s workshop is the router. Routers have so many diverse functions and depending on the bits used, they can help make up for certain tools that might not be in your workshop. They round edges, cut to depth, and if used properly, can create intricate designs in your woodworking project.
Since we know how important the router is, we now need to select the right one to match our needs. This can be a difficult task with so many options to select from. Luckily, we have done the work for you and reviewed the best options.
Comparison of Our Favorites (Updated in 2023)
|Best Overall||Makita RT0701CX7||
|Best Value||Enertwist Compact Wood Router||
|Premium Choice||DEWALT DWP611PK||
|Triton 3-1/4 HP||
The 10 Best Wood Routers
1. Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Wood Router Kit – Best Overall
The Makita Compact Router Kit has a powerful motor and a smooth touch. With a blade speed of 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, the tool can cut and shape wood in many settings, and the locking control mechanism will not change speed during the cut. The precision depth adjustment system allows for the user to set the depth quickly and, more important, accurately. The tool itself is durable and easy to handle.
The slow-start component is one of the nicest features of the Makita kit. It’s a useful feature for newer router users, but also nice for more advanced users who know the chance of a tear-out at the start. One drawback to this tool comes to light after prolonged use. When used for longer periods, the user will notice some vibration, which can cause slip-ups.
2. Enertwist Compact Wood Router – Best Value
One of the best wood routers for the money is the Enertwist Compact Wood Router, a smaller unit that provides a constant running speed of 10,000 to 32,000 RPM. This helps the router make precise and clean cuts, giving your project a professional look. For the price and size, this is a great buy for the casual woodworker and domestic projects.
There are both positive and negative aspects of the smaller size of the Enertwist Compact Wood Router. The positive is that it is easy to store and transport. The negative aspect is less power, which can limit project size.
3. DEWALT DWP611PK Wood Router – Premium Choice
The DeWalt Wood Router is a solid router set at a premium price. This router operates on a 1.25-horsepower motor and can run anywhere from 16,000 to 27,000 RPM with ease. This router can tear through woodworking projects that are both large and small due to its ability to set and control speed. Another major plus for this tool is the fact that it has two LED lights and a clear base to help the operator see exactly what they are doing and where they are cutting. The DeWalt Wood Router has a compact design, which is easy to use and very portable.
One drawback to this machine is that it can sometimes run hot when used heavily. This happens with overuse, especially at higher RPM.
4. Triton 3-1/4 HP Wood Router
Although the Triton HP Wood Router was designed with newer woodworkers in mind, it is still used by many experienced craftsmen. What draws people to use this router is its simplicity. It is a single-button machine that switches from conventional plunge setting to fixed-base router. The router can run from 8000 to 21,000 RPM, which provides a stable cutting speed that is great for first-time and newer users.
Again, with simplicity in mind, any adjustments that need to be made to the Triton HP Wood Router can be done with a wrench that is included with the tool.
This router also provides for dust removal, keeping the tool running clean, which helps keep the motor cool. The drawback for this router is price. It is on the expensive side with fewer features than other routers.
5. PORTER-CABLE 690LR Wood Router
The PORTER-CABLE Wood Router is one of the more powerful models on this list, and designed and typically used for larger projects. It has an 11-amp motor and can spin 27,500 RPM, which means it can tear through any kind of wood like it was melted butter. Aside from the high-end motor, the PORTER-CABLE Wood Router is great for large projects or extended use because the dust-containment system keeps the motor from getting overheated.
Aside from good power, it also can be set to a precise depth, making for intricate cutting at a high speeds. One drawback is that, like with many high-powered machines, the motor can vibrate pretty aggressively.
6. SKIL Fixed Base Corded Wood Router
The SKIL Fixed Base Corded Router is a nice 10-amp fixed-base router that makes clean, crisp cuts and can be adjusted to desired depth. What is nice about this tool is that it lets the operator select the speed based on the project. This makes it a great tool for more artistic and intricate projects. To help even further with detailed cutting, the router comes with two LED lights to help guide the work. The router uses a soft start, which gives the user a more controlled and safer start. The shape of the handles makes this tool easy to use for extended periods of time.
7. Avid Power Fixed-Base Wood-Router
The AVID Power Fixed Base Wood-Router is perfect for the hobby woodworker. This router contains an 11-amp motor and can spin up to 25,000 RPM, which allows the machine to cut through many different types of wood. This tool allows for specific depth of cuts, which is great for precise bit plunging and edge work cutting. Other factors that make it a tool to consider are the comfort operators have while using the tool, and the comfort you feel when buying this router.
The tool itself is comfortable to use for extended periods and you won’t have uncomfortable conversations with your significant other about how much you spent for the tool. However, there is one item that makes us uncomfortable—the bits can become loose while working, which is a safety concern for both the user and the project.
8. Ridgid R2401 Trim Wood Routers
If you’re looking for some versatility in a router, look to the Ridgid Trim Wood Router. This tool comes with adjustable round and square bases, making it easier to maneuver depending on the project. The router has a built-in quick-release trigger to help speed-up the process of removing the motor from the base, which helps when switching base plates.
It has an adjustable dial for control of depth. The tool is compact making it easy to store. However, a majority of the tool is also made out of plastic, making it less durable than other routers on the market. Unfortunately, there’s no dust containment feature, which could cause the tool to overheat and possibly breakdown.
9. TACKLIFE Fixed Base Wood-Router
The TACKLIFE Fixed Base Wood Router allows users to adjust settings based on their needs for the project. This router operates at six variable speeds that allows for the best cut depending on the material. It operates at 10,000 to 30,000 RPM. This router slightly different from others in that it allows for intricate carving if the user is skilled enough to operate the tool in that capacity. The tool has a built-in dust filtration system to keep particles away from the motor so it stays running clean. On a positive note, the router comes with wrenches to adjust the router. On a negative note, even with those tools, the router is hard to adjust and can become complicated to use.
10. Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router
The final wood router on the list is the Lotos Electric Plunge Wood Router. The router has a 1.6-horsepower motor that spins at 16,000 to 30,000 RPM. Like most routers, this router allows users to adjust their speed based on their material and project needs. The tool can be set at variable depths and provides clean cuts. One issue is the placement of the power cord, which is placed on top of the handle. This sometimes can get in the way and become a distraction. A second issue is the machine seems a bit bulky. It weighs around nine pounds but seems heavier in use.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Wood Router
Telling you about all of these wonderful routers was the easy part. Now, you have to decide which one you want to buy. With so many models to pick from how do you know which one is right? Relax and read on. There are some factors you need to consider that will help take the stress out of finding the right router for your woodworking needs.
Motor and Speed
One factor to consider when looking at buying a router is the motor. What can the router do in terms of cutting dense wood versus thinner material? How fast can the machine cut? Good routers typically have variable speeds so the user can adjust the tool to their needs. Nobody wants to get to a point in their project where they need the router and there is a tear-out due to improper speed. Adjustable speeds are a must.
Larger motors tend to get hot and create more vibrations. Users can shut the tool off and let it cool down, but that takes time..
A final item to consider when looking at motor speed is how much you can tolerate a loud machine. Obviously a more powerful motor will make for a louder tool. If you prefer to work in a more quiet setting a smaller motor is for you. If you don’t mind the noise or use hearing protection, a large motor isn’t anything to worry about.
Ease of Use
Most of us want to use our new machines as soon as we get them home. However, routers can be a bit tricky for the inexperienced woodworker. Users should look to buy a router that fits their style. If you are new to the woodworking game, stick to lightweight models that allow you to make more artistic and intricate designs.
Size is important depending on the type of project. If you are looking to work on larger more industrial-sized projects, a larger more powerful router is needed. However, not all projects require a massive router with enormous power. For smaller hobby crafts, a palm router might be your best bet.
Whatever model you select it should fit how you want to work, meaning you should be comfortable when using the tool. Users should focus on models that are the right size which will help control the router. An out of control router can completely destroy a project and worse can cause a serious injury to the user.
All routers come with the ability to adjust the depth of cut, but some are easier than others. Can the depth be adjusted by dial? Is there a lever that needs lifted? Is there a series of steps? Do you need to use other tools? The more simple the process the better the experience.
Some routers also come with methods to help you see what you are cutting. Routers with lights are nice for improving your field of vision. This is especially helpful when making more detailed cuts.
Dust collection is reall the name of the game when it comes to router features. If there is a system to collect dust, less heat will build up in the motor and hence, you’ll have less worry about the tool breaking down. If it is in your budget, some of these features make for a more enjoyable woodworking experience.
You should look for items such as safety guards around the bit as well as how secure the bit is when the router is running. Another safety consideration is heat. Routers are turning high RPM and can get hot. You should look for where the motor is and what part of the machine gets hot. If it gets heated by where you place your hands you will want to know before a mistake is made and a hand gets burnt.
See also: our favorite router tables of this year.
Routers are a very diverse classification of tools and therefore have a wide price range. The larger the motor the higher the price. The same can be said with the extra functions, the more you add the higher the cost. Focus on your needs rather than price. Once you run through the checklist of what you want out of a router, you can narrow in on a price range. The worst thing that you could do is buy a router for a great price that doesn’t fit your project or your comfort and ability style.
As you can see there are many different types of routers out in the world for purchase. Finding the right router for you depends on many factors, most of which we hoped to highlight for you in this post.
If you want the best overall router that is powerful, durable, and cuts like a dream for a price that won’t break the bank you should check out the Makita Compact Router Kit. If you’re looking for a router that checks those items mentioned before off your list but don’t necessarily need all the power then look into the Enertwist Compact Wood Router.
And if you’re into bells, whistles, and extra features the DeWalt Wood Router is where you should look for an excellent router that won’t hit your wallet too hard. The bottom line is the router is an awesome tool and every woodworker should have one. Hopefully, you now have enough information based on these reviews to make the best selection for your needs.