The Best Wood Router

Wood Router Reviews

Our Top Pick is the DEWALT DWP611PK

A Wood Router is a tool that can do everything from making traditional cuts, plunge interior cuts, and even decorative moldings on wood or plastic. It is one of the most versatile toolsbecause they can cut grooves and rebates, carve decorative flutings, profile edges, cut inlays, trim wood flat, shape wood, drill clean holes, recess hinges, cut screw threads, cut traditional joints, create new joints and the list goes on. They are machines that can provide cuts that no other tool can adequately accomplish.

Due to their high level of versatility they also come with a wide range of features and prices. Wood routers can turn any project into a master piece, and give your work a professional finish.

Before electric router existed, wood working professionals had to dig out the holes and designs they wanted by hand. Electric hand held routers have been around since the early 1900’s but have advanced significantly over the last decade. The key is to operate the motor at a speed fast enough to carve the wood without burning it. Today’s machines are inexpensive, easy to use and provide exact cuts for circles, molds and intricate design work in wood.

After extensive research on a variety of makes and models available on the market todaythe DEWALT DWP611PK rose above its competitors as our top pick. With its durable 1.25HP motor, variable speed control options, duel led lights, and five star ratings on Amazon, there was none other that could match the quality, features and value of this wood router.

Who Should Buy This

Wood Routers are perfect power tools for anyone with an interest in woodworking. These machines can assist in almost any project using wood material. They can create both curved edges and internal cuts. Decorative moldings, joint cuts, elaborate profiles, drill holes, straight cuts, duplicate shapes or trim veneer. There are very few tools that can do so many different functions with a single tool.

Routers allow you to build professional looking products because you will be using the right materials. Want to build a chair, cabinet doors or cabinet facing, a router will give you a professional finish. Want to build a shoe rack or dog house the router can make intricate cuts and inside cuts with ease. Anyone who regularly works with wood or love to tackle week end projects, having a router in your tool arsenal will expand your abilities and the projects you are able to complete.

What Makes a Good Wood Router?

The key to selecting the best wood router is to determine what functions you need to perform. There are four basic types of routers. The trim router, mid-size and full size routers along with combo routers. A trim router focuses on creating soft edges, fine joints and cutting hinge.

Wood RouterA mid-size router is small enough to be hand held but powerful enough for hobbyist and small professional shops, and comes with a power of 1 ½ a horsepower to 2.25 HP. Full size routers have even more power (3 to 3.25 HP) but are larger and not as versatile.With routers bigger is not always better. They are generally best for dedicated professional workshops. Combo routers offer a fixed base and plunge option, which gives you the largest number of cuts and the maximum versatility. The combo units are like getting two tools in one and are available in both mid and full size options.

The fixed base gives you a full range of potential cuts and allows for fixed depth range cuts and precise depth control creating perfect grooves in wood. The operation requires two hands and can complete tasks including profiles, dovetails and general woodworking needs.

The plunge feature allows you to go below the wood surface and can create plunge cuts with ease. Need a large internal hole, the plunge will make the job fast and efficient. The plunge feature comes with spring loaded posts that are located on the base of the unit. You can vary your cut depth instantly, without even having to turn off the machine. Simply unlock the level and raise or lower the housing to make the cut. These come with a depth stop system for cutting at a specific depth.

Other key considerations include the power and size of the motor. This will limit or expand the type of wood that can be cut because it determines the maximum speed of the router. For use with plastic or thicker more rugged types of wood you’ll want to get a motor to support that. A good reliable motor is going to be between 1.00HP and 2.25HP. Most home users and semi-professional will not need more power than this. This size will also provide a small enough router that is easy to handle and portable.

Variable speed control is another consideration. Top quality models offer a soft start, which gradually increases the speed offering better control. Variable speeds will also allow you to change speeds based on the material being cut. It will also ensure that the motor speed stays consistent during the entire cutting process which significantly increases control and comfortability during the working process.

The size of the router is also an important consideration. Most mid-size wood routers are relatively compact and are easy to transport, if needed. The size of the unit and size of the motor will largely determine the weight. The unit is fixed on a table making the specific unit weight not at critical as the power. Although a heavier weight makes it more difficult to transport.

Other useful features might include a vacuum port and dust collection system. Wood has a tendency to create a lot of sawdust and a dust collection system can keep the work area cleaner. A quick lease motor latch and adjustable depth control that is easy to operate will make adjusting the machine simple. Difficult adjustments can be frustrating when you are focused on getting the job done. A spindle lock is also a convenient feature to have included.

LED lights make it easier to see your cut while the tool is in operation. A router than accepts both ¼ and ½ inch collets will increase the versatility of the machine significantly. Those with interchangeable sub bases is also an added convenience worth investigating.

dewalt-router-review

How We Tested

After reviewing the top 35 wood routers currently on the market we were able to narrow our search by reviewing each product and assessing them all based on quality, durability, accessibility, and added features. We looked at both quality and price to establish the units with the best value. Once we narrowed down the list we furthered our investigation by consulting leadingindustry experts as well as product reviews from the average customer. We then completed a final review and what Amazon customers recommended when it came to a top quality wood router.

Our Pick

Specifications

  

Motor Size 1.25 HP
Router Style Fixed and Plunge bases
Weight 8 pounds
Maximum Depth 1.5 inches
Speed Variable speed ranges from 16,000 to 27,000 RPM
Dimensions 19 X 10 X 6.8 inches
Warranty 3 years

The DEWALT DWP611PK with a 1.25Hp motor that is durable and powerful enough to complete both home and professional projects. A variable speed motor with no load speeds that range from 16,000 to 27,000 RPMs allowing you to adjust the speed to the workload. This provides the optimal bit speed for a variety of applications increasing its versatility. The unit comes with both a fixed and plunge base.

This DewaltDWP6111PK also has a soft starting motor that features a full time electronic feedback to maintain motor speed through the entire cut which also makes for extreme comfortability for beginners and advanced users alike. An adjustment ring is provided on the fixed base that enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64-inch as well as an adjustable clamp for smooth and secure actuation and a plunge mechanism that delivers smooth stroke for enhanced control.

The built in LED lights and clear sub base give you maximum visibility during operation so you can see your work as you make the cut. The two handles have rubber non-slip grip as an added safety measure and are designed ergonomically for a comfortable grip. This low profile unit is has a grip that is close to the surface giving you greater control and precision over cuts.

On the plunge base the depth scale and marker are easy to read and adjust for exact cuts. The lever can be released and locked quickly for faster adjustments. The adjustable turret stop allows you to create exact measurements for multiple cuts for increased accuracy and consistency. It also comes with a 3 year warranty.

Who Else Likes It

The guys at router-reviews.com sum the Dewalt DWP611PK with this, “Has a very smooth plunge action with a depth stop that’s just out of this world; quite precise and very easy to adjust. It also provides users with a very solid and secure depth locking adjustment and an easy bit change option. It also has offers users and excellent balance and control when in fixed base mode.”

Wood Craft Tool Talk said this: “The DWP611PK 1.25 HP …combines power with an ease-of-use that makes this wood router perfect for both the home wood worker and the professional tool shop. Some of the basic features built into this router make it easy to use for the beginning hobby wood crafter, but the added advance features on the DWP611 allows the intermediate and advance wood worker to want this one for their tool shop.”

Amazon reviewers gave it a 4.8 out of 5 with 335 reviews weighing in. One 5 star review writes, “I bought the Dewalt 611 for cutting inlay channels and decorative routing in small hardwood keepsake boxes. I have used it, for example, to rout a quatrefoil design in the lid of a small rosewood box. It produced superb results. It is powerful enough to do the job well and yet small and light enough to be very mobile and controllable. The two small LED lights embedded on the underside of the motor housing work very well, providing light right where it is most needed for this type of work. “

The Step Up

Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 amp features an electronic variable speed plunge and fixed base router kit, as well as a soft start motor and micro fine depth adjustments. If you are looking for a unit with more power this router comes with 2 ¼ horsepower with variable speeds of 8,000 to 25,000rpms.

With its aluminum construction design and wooden handles on a fixed base for added support and comfortability.

Top Wood Router Comparison

Position
Visual
Tool
Amperage
RPM
Warranty (Years)
1Dewalt7.00
27,000
3
2Black & Decker10.00
27,000
2
3Bosch-PR5.60
35,000
1
4Porter-Cable11.00
27,500

1
5Dewalt-DW11.00
18,000
3
6Skil10.00
32,000
1
7Bosch12.00
25,000
1
8Hitachi11.00
24,000
5

Care Use And Maintenance

As with all power tools following the safety recommendations will lead to safe operations. These include:

  • Keep the work area clear and well-lit.
  • Always wear protective eye wear to protect yourself from debris.
  • Keep handles dry and free of oil and grease.
  • Keep hands away from all moving parts.

The following maintenance tips to keep your device running strong.

  • Always clean after each use
  • Lubricate as recommended from owner’s manual
  • Ensure clamps are clean and clear of debris so that they will latch properly

Wrapping It Up

Wood routers are extremelyuseful tools and can be used to build and create some of the most advanced projects or jobs. They make a great investment due to their high versatility and wide range of applications. Anyone who is interested in wood making or DIY projects will benefit from owning a wood router.

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