Need to hollow out an area inside some wood?
In my experience, your best bet is to use a wood router.
In this review, I’ll recommend some of my favorite products on the market for all skill levels and projects.
I will also give you some buying advice about what features to consider such as power, base plate, collect size, and more.
Best Wood Router
DeWalt 20V Max XR Cordless Router
- Double LED illumination for work sites
- Depth adjustable ring allows you to quickly and easily adjust height settings
- Electric brake features help slow down the motor quicker when the unit shuts off
- Variable speed adjustability from 16 000 - 25 500 RPM
- Soft start with complete time digital feedback for maintaining speed when cutting
- Weighs 2.6 lbs
The DeWalt 20V Router features a cordless design that boasts equal power when compared to a corded unit. This makes it highly convenient, and the perfect tool to take wherever you go.
The router also has a double LED illumination and a plastic base that offers advanced visibility while working.
Another convenient feature is the variable speed regulation that enables you to maintain the maximum bit speed for all applications.
Base and bit swaps are also fast and straightforward, thanks to the unit’s excellent release clamp.
What customers are saying
Customers gave this unit great reviews. Most of them loved the cordless design and powerful operation. Many of them also mentioned that the unit works well for small jobs.
However on the downside, a few customers received units with damaged base plates.
Best Compact Router
M18 Fuel Compact Router
- Powerstate brushless motor
- Variable speed adjustment from 10000 to 31000 RPM
- Macro adjusting button with an adjustable range of 1.5”
- Fine adjustment screw for adjustments exceeding 1/64” increments
- Cordless design
- Dual LED lights
The Milwaukee Fuel Router is a combination of speed, power, and precise depth adjustments that produce smooth & accurate cuts in various applications.
The unit features a powerstate brushless motor with advanced redlink plus intelligent electronics, as well as variable speed adjustments between 10000 to 31000 RPM for cutting harder materials.
It’s powered with an M18 red lithium XC5.0 battery and has a compact cordless design with an extended runtime for increased productivity.
Depth adjustments are straightforward with the macro adjust button and micro adjust dial.
What customers are saying
Customers love this unit, and many of them said that it’s easy to use, lightweight, incredibly powerful, and produces great cuts.
Best Router Combo
DeWalt Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
- 2-1/4 horsepower, 12A variable speed motor
- Variable speed adjustment from 8000 to 24000 RPM
- Micro fine depth adjustable ring for accurate depth changes in 1-6” increments
- Vertical adjustment for continuous cord set location
- 95% dust collection system
- Steel motor cam lock that is adjustable without the need for tools
- Rubber overmolded handles
- Die-cast aluminum motor housing and base
The DeWalt Router Combo comes with a 2-1/4 horsepower and 12A digital variable speed motor that allows you to effortlessly route through the most resilient hardwood materials.
The unit delivers between 8000 to 24000 RPM, with a soft start for maintaining control and reducing torque when starting up.
Depth adjustments and base swops are effortless with the adjustable steel motor cam lock, and you can keep your work area dust free with its 99% dust collection feature.
Other standout features include its rubber overmolded handles for comfort, die-cast aluminum motor housing and base for robustness, and 8 self releasing collets for increased bit retention.
This router combo has everything you need for advanced control when routing.
What customers are saying
This router received excellent reviews. Customers were most happy with its variable speed control, soft start features, user-friendly operation, and quality.
However, some customers had issues with broken collets and burnt out brushes.
Best Fixed Base Router
Bosch Electronic Fixed-Base Router
- 12A motor with speed adjustment settings
- Adjustable speed from 8000 to 25000 RPM
- 2” sub-base cavity
- Threaded openings on a fixed base for mounting it to a router table
- Microfine bit depth adjustability on the base
The Bosch Fixed Base Router comes with a variable speed of 8000 to 25000 RPM, which enables you to handle various routing applications.
The motor delivers fantastic power, along with its variable speed settings. It has a fixed base so you can use it in an upright position or on a router table.
This kit has plenty of features that enable you to make fast and precise cuts. You’ll also have access to all the important components needed for jobs that require fixed depth routing.
The unit is designed to be used with template guides that can be bought separately or centered with a sub-base.
This allows the bit to stay aligned on the cutting line, especially when working with tools like templates, dovetail fixtures, or jigs.
What customers are saying
Customers were incredibly satisfied with their purchase, commenting on its sturdy design, accuracy, variable speed control, and height adjustment lock.
Ideal For Beginners
Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Router
- Run time of up to 50% longer
- Variable speed of 10000 to 30000 RPM
- On/off switch with lock button for prevention of starting up accidentally
- A cordless unit that matches corded power
- Batteries and charger not included
The Makita Brushless Router provides the power of a corded unit without the cords.
The unit is battery operated and has a super powerful Makita brushless motor that offers a 50% extended run time, boosted speed, and extended tool life.
This tool is designed for use in various woodworking and cabinetry applications and features a variable speed of 10000 to 30000 RPM with a soft start feature.
It also has a rack and pinion fine depth adjustable mechanism for more accurate settings, LED lights, and a fast release cam lock device for depth adjustment and removing or installing the base.
What customers are saying
This router has the approval of most tradesmen.
Most people who bought the router had nothing but praise for its powerful operation, lightweight design, extended battery life, and soft start feature.
Best Router Table
Skil RAS900 Router Table
- Storage containers for storing accessories
- 2 containers with a fast clamp mechanism included
- 2 feather boards to guide the workpieces for more precise routing
- Bit height gauge for easy setup and accurate cuts
- Guard and starter pin to support workpieces when curved edges are routed
- Router mounting with straightforward bit swops and no beveling needed
The Skil Router Table comes fully assembled and is perfect for storing all vital parts such as the router bits and fence.
Included with your purchase are the guard, miter gauge, bit inserts, feather board, and tall fence along with adjustable MDF faces.
The bit height gauge is convenient for easy bit setups and precise cutting. The fast release router mounts attach and detach within seconds, and the folding design requires minimum setup.
What customers are saying
This item received great reviews with customers saying that it works well, it’s easy to use, and it provides great value for money.
Still, some customers had issues with the quality of the materials.
Other Recommended Routers
WEN Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router Kit
The WEN Router Kit comes with a powerful 15A variable speed motor that provides a soft start feature and 8000 to 23000 RPM.
The plunging base conveniently locks when facing downwards, which is great for functionality and for using it as a plunge or fixed router.
This router is compatible with ¼” and ½” bits with plunge depth not exceeding 2-⅜”. The micro and macro adjustment dials and 7 stop turret ensure you get precise cuts every time.
The unit comes in a hard shell carry case and includes a template guide, fence scale, straight edge fence, centering pin for circle cutting, dust collection port, and warranty of 2 years
Bosch Router Tool
The Bosch Router has a 1 horsepower, 5.6A motor with a variable speed of 16000 to 35000 RPM.
The straight edge guide makes straight cutting easier, and the angled cord exit ensures the cord doesn’t get in the way while cutting.
This unit is built to last with a durable fixed base made of aluminum, and the unique pockets for finger support offer stability, particularly when you need to trim edges.
Micro and macro adjustments can be made with the depth adjustment device, and the fast clamp mechanism makes motor adjustment a lot easier.
Porter-Cable Compact Router
The Porter Router has an ergonomic design with one hand operation. The robust 1.25 horsepower motor boasts a fixed speed of 27000 RPM to tackle even the roughest applications.
The soft start motor comes with electronic feedback to keep the motor speed even while cutting. Bit depth adjustments can be made within 1 to 64” with the adjustment ring.
The clamping device and depth ring are handy for keeping the motor locked securely in position.
Bosch Variable-Speed Palm Router Combination Kit
The Bosch Router Combo has everything you need when it comes to power and precision.
This includes a 1.25 horsepower motor, superior-performance base, ergonomic design, and progressive electronics.
The motor provides enough power for both trimming and routing jobs, and the forward-thinking fixed base with a depth adjustment system ensures you make the perfect cut every time.
The plunge base with a spring lock plunge regulation lever also allows for straightforward plunge action.
Wood Router Uses
A router can be used for a myriad of applications and is an incredibly handy tool to have for making decorative or functional cuts or trims.
What makes this tool even better is that it’s versatile and portable. Some of the most common applications it is used for include:
- Decorative molding
- Making grooves
- Recreating patterns
- Cutting perfect edges
- Cutting slots for shelves, bookcases, etc.
- Cutting spaces for lock faceplates or recessed door hinges
Types Of Routers
Fixed base routers
This type of router is a good choice for beginners since they are extremely user friendly. For best results, they must be attached to a workbench or your router table.
They’re mostly used for applications that involve straight cutting lines like edge cutting or molding.
Fixed base routers weigh less than plunge routers, and the blade depth cannot be adjusted while using the machine. The blade depth must be set in advance.
Plunge routers are an excellent choice for professional workers since it is a multi-functional tool that can be used for numerous tasks including freehand ones or any template based application.
The soft start motor is ideal for maintaining control and steadiness while using it. The cut depth can be adjusted when the router is switched on.
These routers are typically used for cutting mortises, grooves, incised letters, etc.
Combo router kits
Combo router kits are a good choice if you need to swap bases in many of the applications you use. The benefit of these machines is that they offer both fixed base and plunge choices.
These machines also offer design flexibility since you can have one to carry around with you while leaving another one attached to a router table at your shop.
Features To Consider
Power & speed
The more powerful the router, the easier it will be to cut hard materials, make deeper cuts, or do larger diameter cuts.
Consider the weight and size of the router to match the application. For instance, bulky, large, and powerful machines would not be a good fit for delicate and light work.
The unit speed generally ranges from 800 – 30000 revs per minute.
Most contemporary routers have motors with variable speed. The cutting speed is contingent on the type of material being cut and the size of the cutter you’re using.
The role of the base plate is to position the cutter at the appropriate angle to the material.
The bottom of the plate should glide over the stock, this is a must to ensure you don’t mark it while you work.
The collet size regulates the cutter shank size that must be fitted. You can purchase different collet sizes according to your needs.
The standard size collet fitted to a router should be contingent on the unit’s power. You usually need ¼” for light duty routers, ⅜” for medium duty, and ½” for heavy duty applications.
There are typically 2 hand grips found on either side of the motor housing. They must be placed as close to the base plate as possible for advanced user control and balance.
The handles must be round and light for comfort while working.
The plunge refers to the fluctuation in height when the body of the router descends to the base plate. It is useful when the collet is projected under the base plate.
Plunge depths are different depending on the model, but they generally range from 2” to 3.5”.
Bear in mind, the depth of the plunge might not be a credible depth underneath the bottom part of the base plate.
The plunge stop is adjustable and restricts the highest depth the cutter is able to travel below the base plate.
You can adjust this with a basic spanner tightened mechanism or fingered tightened knob. No matter which stops you fit, it must be adjusted each time you change the cutter.