Tools & Equipment

The 10 Best Wood Routers of 2021

Best Wood Router

Photo: Bosch

Wood routers are some of the most versatile tools available today for professional, hobbyist, and beginner woodworkers.  

A router can transform the wooden crafts you create whether in your professional and home workshops. If your projects involve hollowing out decorative designs on frames, desks, cabinets, and other items, then a router is a must-have tool.

Routers differ in speed, motor performance, and other features, and in this wood router review, we help you chose the wood router that supports all your woodworking projects best.

You can also read other product reviews of CNC router, wood lathe, wood planer

10 Best Wood Routers – Review

IMAGE

PRODUCT

FEATURES

Bosch 1617EVSPK

1. Bosch 1617EVSPK (Best Overall)

  • Heavy-duty 12A, 2.25 HP motor
  • Versatile fixed-base and plunge routing
  • Dual 1/2-in. and 1/4-in. collet support
  • Durable aluminum build
Makita RT0701C

2. Makita RT0701C (Best Under $100)

  • Pocket-friendly and value-packed
  • Wide versatile speed range
  • Efficient electronic speed control
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
DeWalt DW625

3. DeWalt DW625 (Best Professional)

  • High-performance 15A, 3 HP motor
  • Micro-fine depth precision adjuster
  • Robust electronic variable speed
  • Supports 1,4-in. and 1/2-in. collets
Bosch PR20EVSNK

4. Bosch PR20EVSNK (Best Lightweight & Compact)

  • Lightweight at 3.3 pounds
  • Wide 16,000 - 35,000 RPM range
  • Soft grip for comfortable handling
  • Robust productivity accessories
DeWalt DWP611

5. DeWalt DWP611 (Best Palm Wood Router)

  • Efficient electronic motor control
  • Wide variable speed range
  • LED enhanced bit visibility
  • Easy bit changes and base removal
Porter-Cable 7518

6. Porter-Cable 7518 (Best Variable-Speed)

  • 5 versatile speed options
  • Time-saving soft-start feature
  • Sealed ball-bearing design
  • Durable aluminum housing 
Porter-Cable 690LR

7. Porter-Cable 690LR (Durable & Rugged)

  • Durable aluminum housing 
  • Powerful and consistent motor
  • High-accuracy up to 1/128-inch
  • Ergonomic molded grip
Porter-Cable 892

8. Porter-Cable 892 (Great for Hardwoods)

  • Consistent motor performance
  • Fast above-table adjustments
  • Dual-position switch enhances control
  • Soft rubber grip for comfort
DeWalt DW616

9. DeWalt DW616 (Easy-to-Use)

  • Micro-fine depth adjustments
  • Simplified tool-free base removal
  • Quick-release motor latches
  • Comfortable overmold rubber grips
Hitachi KM12VC

10. Hitachi KM12VC (Low-Noise Operation)

  • 79.5 dB low-noise operation
  • Supports fixed and plunge bases
  • Simple 2-stage motor release
  • Includes robust accessories

PRODUCT

1. Bosch 1617EVSPK

(Best Overall)

Bosch 1617EVSPK
  • Heavy-duty 12A, 2.25 HP motor
  • Versatile fixed-base and plunge routing
  • Dual 1/2-in. and 1/4-in. collet support
  • Durable aluminum build

2. Makita RT0701C

(Best Under $100)

Makita RT0701C
  • Pocket-friendly and value-packed
  • Wide versatile speed range
  • Efficient electronic speed control
  • Lightweight and easy to handle

3. DeWalt DW625

(Best Professional)

DeWalt DW625
  • High-performance 15A, 3 HP motor
  • Micro-fine depth precision adjuster
  • Robust electronic variable speed
  • Supports 1,4-in. and 1/2-in. collets

4. Bosch PR20EVSNK

(Best Lightweight & Compact)

Bosch PR20EVSNK
  • Lightweight at 3.3 pounds
  • Wide 16,000 - 35,000 RPM range
  • Soft grip for comfortable handling
  • Robust productivity accessories

5. DeWalt DWP611

(Best Palm Wood Router)

DeWalt DWP611
  • Efficient electronic motor control
  • Wide variable speed range
  • LED enhanced bit visibility
  • Easy bit changes and base removal

6. Porter-Cable 7518

(Best Variable-Speed)

Porter-Cable 7518
  • 5 versatile speed options
  • Time-saving soft-start feature
  • Sealed ball-bearing design
  • Durable aluminum housing 

7. Porter-Cable 690LR

(Durable & Rugged)

Porter-Cable 690LR
  • Durable aluminum housing 
  • Powerful and consistent motor
  • High-accuracy up to 1/128-inch
  • Ergonomic molded grip

8. Porter-Cable 892

(Great for Hardwoods)

Porter-Cable 892
  • Consistent motor performance
  • Fast above-table adjustments
  • Dual-position switch enhances control
  • Soft rubber grip for comfort

9. DeWalt DW616

(Easy-to-Use)

DeWalt DW616
  • Micro-fine depth adjustments
  • Simplified tool-free base removal
  • Quick-release motor latches
  • Comfortable overmold rubber grips

10. Hitachi KM12VC

(Low-Noise Operation)

Hitachi KM12VC
  • 79.5 dB low-noise operation
  • Supports fixed and plunge bases
  • Simple 2-stage motor release
  • Includes robust accessories

1. Bosch 1617EVSPK – Best Overall Wood Router

Bosch 1617EVSPK

Photo: Bosch

  • Motor Power: 12A, 2.25 HP
  • Speed: 8,000 - 25,000 RPM  
  • Size: Large
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch
  • Weight: 18.2 pounds

Coming in first is the Bosch 1617EVSPK, our best overall wood router. It is a heavy-duty unit that offers both plunge-base and fixed-based routing, and superior speed control.

Powering this router is a high-performance 12A, 2.25 HP motor that is considered top-tier output. This power is converted into a superior speed range of 8,000 - 25,000 RPM for versatile cutting and wide application support.

It has a wide 6-inch base to provide firm tool support and stability during tool operation. Further user control is maximized by 2 rounded hardwood handles that are guaranteed to last for long.

The versatility of this router is unrivaled because it supports fixed-base routing and plunge routing. Both bases support microfine bit depth adjustment, which is fast and accurate. Also, it supports both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets to deliver on a wide variety of cutting styles.

You can count on the tool’s durability even in tough operating conditions. The tool uses aluminum as the motor housing and base material. Also, the power switch is completely dust-sealed for durability enhancement.

All the premium features of the Bosch 1617EVSPK make the router weighty. The tool weighs 18.2 pounds. It may feel bulky especially during extended usage.

Pros:

  • Powerful 12A motor
  • Supports fixed-base and plunge routing
  • 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collet support
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Weighty at 18.2 pounds

2. Makita RT0701C – Best Wood Router Under $100

Makita RT0701C

Photo: Makita

  • Motor Power: 6.5A, 1.25 HP
  • Speed: 10,000 - 30,000 RPM
  • Size: Palm
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch
  • Weight: 3.9 pounds

If you’re on a tight budget and desire a reliable router that does not compromise, the Makita RT0701C is a wise choice for $100.

This router has been engineered to deliver on precision routing tasks through its 1.25 HP motor and superior variable speed of 10,000 - 30,000 RPM, which is one of the largest of all the models on our list.

Motor performance is further enhanced by an electronic speed control feature designed to maintain a constant speed even under load. Another complementary feature is soft start, which ensures soft, jerk-free start-ups.

Precision cuts are ensured by a rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system. Also, depth adjustment has been made more convenient through the tool’s quick-release cam lock.

Another thing to like about this router is its low 3.9-pound weight, which helps with portability and ease of handling.

The Makita RT0701C does, however, miss out on an LED light, which has proven to enhance bit and workpiece visibility.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • A wide speed range for versatility
  • Optimized for precision cuts
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons:

  • No LED visibility light

3. DeWalt DW625 – Best Professional Wood Router

DeWalt DW625

Photo: DeWalt

  • Motor Power: 15A, 3 HP
  • Speed: 8,000 - 22,000 RPM
  • Size: Large
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch
  • Weight: 11.2 pounds

The powerful motor, plunge-base routing capability, and dual-collect support make the heavy-duty DeWalt DW625 the best professional wood router on our list.

It is equipped with a heavy-duty 15A, 3 HP motor, which is one of the most powerful for this class of routers. The motor runs smoothly and delivers clean cuts on even the toughest wood. The power is also translated into full-wave electronic variable speeds for operational versatility.

The tool boasts of an advanced depth adjustment system based on the plunge-base system. It offers a rack-and-pinion depth adjuster, and a magnified scale to assist with accurate depth settings.

It will accommodate both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets too boost the tool’s support for a wide variety of router bits, which is a plus for professional woodworkers.

Although the DeWalt DW625 is optimized for professional projects, it does not come with a bit set. You can pick a configuration that includes a bit set, but it will cost more.

Pros:

  • Powerful heavy-duty motor
  • Robust electronic speed range
  • Superior depth adjustment system
  • Accepts 1/4 -inch and 1/2-inch collets

Cons:

  • Configuration with bit set is pricier

4. Bosch PR20EVSNK – Best Lightweight and Compact Wood Router

Bosch PR20EVSNK

Photo: Bosch

  • Motor Power: 5.7A, 1 HP
  • Speed: 16,000-35,000 RPM
  • Size: Palm
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inches
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds

Many woodworkers value lightweight routers such as the Bosch PR20EVSNK, which is great for light and fast applications that are not meant to wear you down.

It weighs only 3.3 pounds, making it the lightest router on our list. You can use it for extended periods without feeling any hand strain or fatigue. Also, the wide speed range of 16,000 - 35,000 RPM compliments the weight well to support fast routing.

Because it is a palm router, comfort becomes a top priority. You’ll be glad to learn that it comes with a soft grip to enhance handling and make it as comfortable as possible.

Also, it does offer robust accessories, including a palm router, a fixed base, a roller guide, an offset base, a tilt base, and the treasured hard carrying case, ensuring you save money on all these accessories.

The Bosch PR20EVSNK is, however, not ideal for heavy-duty routing tasks as its motor has a modest output of 5.7A, 1 HP, the lowest on our list.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Wide speed range
  • Comfortable handling
  • Comes with many accessories

Cons:

  • Not ideal for heavy-duty tasks

5. DeWalt DWP611 – Best Palm Wood Router

DeWalt DWP611

Photo: DeWalt

  • Motor Power: 7A, 1.25 HP
  • Speed: 16,000 - 27,000 RPM
  • Size: Palm
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch
  • Weight: 4.6 pounds

Palm wood routers are loved for their compactness and versatility, which is what the DeWalt DWP611 offers on top of its decent performance and speeds.

The tool comes equipped with a high-torque 1.25-HP motor, which powers impressively well through fairly demanding applications.

Versatility is promoted by the router’s variable speed of 16,000 - 27,000 RPM, which is more than adequate for a wide variety of cutting styles. Consistent motor speed is ensured by the tool’s self-starting motor with full-time electronic feedback.

You’ll enjoy the well-though LED light and clear plastic base, which helps to enhance bit visibility especially in those tight spaces where maneuverability may be limited.

It is also incredibly easy to change bits using the multiple shaft-lock dents. Base removal is also fast because of the tool’s spring-loaded release tab.

There’s not much to complain about the DeWalt DWP611, other than the fact that it is not offered with a hard case for storage.

Pros:

  • Decent motor performance
  • Large variable speed range
  • Enhanced bit visibility
  • Easy bit changes

Cons:

  • No carry case included

6. Porter-Cable 7518 – Best Variable-Speed Wood Router

Porter-Cable 7518

Photo: Porter-Cable

  • Motor Power: 15A, 3.75 HP
  • Speed: 10,000 - 21,000 RPM
  • Size: Large
  • Collet Size: 1/2 -inch
  • Weight: 14.5 pounds

The Porter-Cable 7518’s robust speed settings make the wood router a great tool for handling a wide variety of woodworking applications.

Its high-performance 15A, 3.75 HP motor offers 5 speeds. You can choose between 10,000, 13,000, 16,000, 19,000 and 21,000 RPM. This speed versatility allows the router to adapt to many routing jobs, including tough ones.

Also, it is designed to save you time and effort by adopting a soft-start motor with an auto-release collet system. Both processes and simplified so that you can focus less on setup and more on the routine tasks.

By implementing a sealed ball-bearing design, the router extends its durability capacity by ensuring that all of its vital components, including the motor, remain dust-free. There’s also the precision-machined aluminum motor housing that makes the tool rugged for tough job sites.

The Porter-Cable 7518 is, however, weight, at 14.5 pounds. For intensive tasks that require constant tool handling, you may feel this bulk.

Pros:

  • Robust speed settings
  • Fast starts and collect management
  • Dust-sealed ball-bearings
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Durable construction

7. Porter-Cable 690LR – Durable and Rugged Wood Router

Porter-Cable 690LR

Photo: Porter-Cable

  • Motor Power: 11A, 1.75 HP
  • Speed: 27,500 RPM
  • Size: Mid-size
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch
  • Weight: 8.0 pounds

For any power tool, durability is highly valued and while many of the models on our list are built to last, the Porter-Cable 690LR takes it a notch higher with its rugged construction.

The motor is sealed in a precision-machined aluminum housing and base. The tool’s switch and ball-bearing construction are also sealed to reduce tool wear and tear, for the tough job site.

Its 11A and 1.75 HP motor is fairly powerful and will accommodate most of the woodworking tasks you will undertake in your workshop. You can count on consistent and steady tool performance through the cam-lock lever for height adjustment.

Another area where the tool excels is inaccuracy. It is accurate to within 1/128-inch, which is notably high. Also, for stability and operating comfort, the router has an ergonomic molded grip.

To the disappointment of many, the Porter-Cable 690LR comes with a fixed speed of 27,500 RPM, which can affect the tool’s versatility.

Pros:

  • Rugged and durable build
  • Consistent motor performance
  • High-accuracy cutting
  • Stable and comfortable operation

Cons:

  • Fixed motor speed

8. Porter-Cable 892 – Great Wood Router for Hardwoods

Porter-Cable 892

Photo: Porter-Cable

  • Motor Power: 12A, 2.25 HP
  • Speed: 10,000 - 23,000 RPM
  • Size: Mid-size
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch
  • Weight: 9 pounds

If your projects involve a significant amount of hardwoods, then the Porter-Cable 892 is the wood router to consider because its performance is optimized for such material.

Its 12A, 2.25 HP motor is more than capable of cutting through even the toughest wood, but this tool guarantees optimal performance by implementing full-time electronic feedback on this motor to ensure constant speed under heavy loads.

You are assured of fast above-table changes to the tool because, in just a few seconds, you can achieve so much including motor release, bit height adjustment, and much more, all with the help of a 3/16-inc hex socket.

Some user-friendly features, such as the dual-position switch enables you to cut power to the tool and still maintain complete control over it with both hands resting on the rubberized handles.

A slight inconvenience we noted in the Porter-Cable 892 is that a vital accessory, the 3/16-inch hex socket, required for most adjustments on the tool, is not included.

Pros:

  • Enhanced motor performance
  • Fast adjustments and maintenance
  • Superior tool handling
  • Rubber grips for comfort

Cons:

  • 3/16-inch hex socket sold separately

9. DeWalt DW616 – Easy-to-Use Wood Router

DeWalt DW616

Photo: DeWalt

  • Motor Power: 11A, 1.75 HP
  • Speed: 24,500 RPM
  • Size: Mid-size
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch
  • Weight: 7.1 pounds

The DeWalt DW616 is loved by many for its enhanced ease of use. Its simplified operation makes the tool ideal for wood router beginners.

Depth adjustment is controlled by a micro-fine ring, which offers 1/64-inch adjustment increments. The ring adjusts vertically to support a constant cordset/switch location.

Ease of use is further enhanced by the tool-free steel motor cam lock, which is also adjustable for fast and easy base changes. Also, the motor has quick-release latches for fast and easy component removal.

Finally, the router comes fitted with overmold rubber handles, which combine well with the tool’s low center of gravity design to maximize operating comfort, control, and balance.

A shortcoming of the DeWalt DW616 is that it is a fixed-speed wood router. Some may find the absence of speed adjustability limiting for some applications.

Pros:

  • Advanced depth adjustment
  • Tool-free motor lock and base changes
  • Simplified motor pack removal
  • Superior comfort, handling, and control

Cons:

  • Router speed is fixed

10. Hitachi KM12VC – Low-Noise Versatile Wooden Router

Hitachi KM12VC

Photo: Metabo HPT

  • Motor Power: 11A, 2.25 HP
  • Speed: 8,000 - 24,000 RPM
  • Size: Large
  • Collet Size: 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds

Hitachi has been an industry leader in power tools’ production for many years, and it lives up to this reputation with its low-noise KM12VC, which is also packed with unrivaled versatility.

The wood router boasts of class-leading reduced noise levels with a loudness of only 79.5 dB, which is pretty low for a wood router.

Versatility is achieved by the router’s support for both fixed-based and plunge-base routing. With this tool, you can execute a wide variety of cutting applications.

You can make fast and easy depth adjustments and base changes using the tool’s 2-stage motor-release clamp. Also, switching from the fixed base to the plunge base takes no more than a few seconds.

Lastly, the router comes with plenty of accessories to get you up and running without incurring additional costs.

A potential shortcoming of the Hitachi KM12VC is its power switch design. Its placement is far from the thumb, and it has no protection to prevent accidental triggers.

Pros:

  • Low-noise operation
  • Fixed and plunge base support
  • Ease motor release
  • Offers plenty of accessories

Cons:

  • Power switch design could be better

How to Buy the Best Wood Router

How to Buy the Best Wood Router

Photo: DeWalt

1. Fixed Base or Plunge Base Wood Router

Routers come in 2 main configurations: fixed-base and plunge routers. Fixed-base routers, as the name suggests have their router locked at fixed positions in the base. The bit on this tool does not move or plunge (from top to bottom).

Fixed-base routing is ideal for precision-cutting applications because they allow you to set depths more precisely. That’s why they excel in edge work.

On the other hand, plunge routers allow the lowering of the bit onto the workpiece being cut. The base rests flat against a block of wood, and the use of the spring-loaded arms on the size to lower or “plunge” the bit into the workpiece.

Plunge routers are thus great for pointed-bit applications such as grooving, rabbeting, insets, dados and mortice, and fluting. 

2. Size

Routers also come in multiple sizes. The three discussed below are the most common.

Trim/Palm

This is the smallest kind of router you can use for common router-specific applications. As the name suggests, a palm router is designed to fit comfortably in the hand.

They tend to be lightweight, such as the Bosch PR20EVSNK, which weighs on 3.3 pounds. However, the compactness does introduce a small dip in performance for most palm routers.

Mid-Size

Mid-sized routers fall between small and large ones. They are mostly fixed-base with 2 grips on either side to aid with handling and maneuverability during tool operation.

These routers are popular among woodworkers because of their all-round versatility. They are fairly powerful and will deliver on most cutting applications without taking up so much space.

Large

Large routers tend to offer more robust features and performance compared to the previous 2 types.

And this is partly because most large routers support both fixed-base and plunge routing, which combine to make the tool highly-versatile for multiple applications’ support.

They also tend to have more powerful motors, but all these bumps in performance may translate to steeper prices.

3. Power

A wood router is powered by an electric motor, which rotates bits at varying speeds. Motor power is measured in ampere (A), and horsepower.

The more amps a motor outputs, the more powerful it is. High-performance routers have their motor power in the range of 10A - 20A, at least for consumer models.

That doesn’t mean that routers with motor below 10A are low-performance. On the contrary, most routers with 5A and above of output can deliver on many light-to-medium-duty woodworking tasks.

4. Speed

Speed matters when it comes to routers because the feature has a significant impact on the kinds of routing techniques your tool can manage, alongside the degree of cutting versatility.

The speed of your router’s motor is measured in RPM. Router speeds tend to range between 5,000 - 35,000 RPM. High speeds are great small-size bits, while slower speeds are recommended for large bits, as a safety precaution.

You stand to gain a lot more operational versatility from a variable-speed router compared to a fixed-speed one. Luckily, most of the routers available today have variable speeds.

5. Router Bits

When working with routers, using different kinds of bits is inevitable because these accessories are designed for different applications, which are common in most woodworking projects.

While most routers accommodate different kinds of bits, it’s important to consider the tool’s collect capacity. Collets are the attachment points for bits on the router.

The most common size is 1/4-inch, but some routers accept 1/2-inch collects to enable support for a wider bit variety. The configuration you get depends on the nature of tasks you wish to undertake and their required bits.

Conclusion 

Our wood router review demonstrates the immense benefits you can reap from acquiring a wood router.

If you want the best of them all, choose Bosch 1617EVSPK, a router that is powerful, versatile, and configured for intensive usage with the most vital accessories included.

If you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to compromise on performance, the Makita RT0701C offers some decent features for less than $100.

And for the professionals who demands constant performance across all woodworking tasks, the heavy-duty DeWalt DW625 offers the power you need, and much more.

Thanks for letting us know!
Was this page helpful?