Woodworking Router Reviews
Compare Woodworking Routers
Woodworking router reviews compare woodworking routers with emphasis on the best woodworking router.
Some of the newer woodworking routers have improvements, but some still have drawbacks. Woodworking router reviews concentrate on plunge/fixed base combo package. This is the best woodworking router package, providing one mounted in your Custom-made Router Table and one for portable use. I give you my thoughts on the better routers.
Dewalt 618PK - Combo Package Top Choice
One of the best combo packages is the Dewalt 618PK with a 12-amp 2-1/4 HP motor. This is adequate power for 90% of your router work. Normally it includes both the 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets. I would consider this package the best woodworking router for your woodworking projects.
The plunge/fixed base combination is loaded with convenience, comfort, and response. The plunge router is similar to the well-liked Dewalt 621, and the fixed base (618K) is a good replacement for the mature 610. The electronics of the quiet variable speed and soft-start motor are excellent. The motor is quick to respond, powerful, and nicely finished.
This package has a detachable cord set at the motor. The socket end of the wire twist locks on the motor for safety and easy storage. This is a Dewalt exclusive.
The well designed fixed base is an impressive hand router. The motor adjusts (up/down) easily. This router performs well upside down or right side up. The motor clamp is generous and works very well.
The Dewalt plunge router is clearly above average. The plunge action is excellent and allows over 2 1/4" plunge travel. The collet nut is small enough to go through a PC collar guide, which is a big advantage for template work. Dust collection is built-in by a plunge tube similar to the Dewalt 621.
Both the plunge and fixed base routers are ergonomic and good-looking.
The Porter-Cable 693PK Fixed and Plunge Base package is underpowered with a 10-amp 1-1/2 HP motor. It will handle a lot of your router work, but the Dewalt will handle more. In addition, the motor does NOT have soft start or variable speed and gives a slight jerk on start up.
It does give you Porter Cable quality, but I have heard complaints on maintaining the depth of cut. The plunge action is not as good as the Dewalt as well.
The motor (2-1/4 HP) is light (under 6 pounds), agile and well-made. The speed control seems solid, but the motor has an more awkward start than most variable speed woodworking routers. The rocker toggle is okay, but not easy to find. You should look for a router that has its toggle (switch) within thumb's reach. But not this one. Since you must take your hand from the right control on the plunge base to start it, there is some risk.
The depth of cut adjustment is a little sloppy. When using the router, the knob control spins a little. You tend to guess at cutter depth, which is a drawback. In addition, the screw has no safety catch. You could have the motor fall from the base in your router table - a possible safety concern.
Short Woodworking Router Reviews without Combo Packages
Festool OF 1400 EQ
There have been some good woodworking router reviews of this Festool router. However, the switch is susceptible to an accidental start. It is not as impressive as the Dewalt 621. If you grab it unintentionally, it may start. The depth stop (turret) seems complex and is apt to get in the way. Like most routers, it tends to tip on outside cuts. I think it is way over-priced for what you get.
A few USA woodworkers mentioned the Triton Router. The Triton router has some good reviews. However, this router does NOT adapt well to innovative jigs.
In addition, another review said, "After 5 months I've given up on this product. The design is nifty, but the product itself is poor. Quality is really not up to snuff, with problems occurring after only a couple hours use. I have been through 3 of these things, with a failed switch in all three ... I'll buy something that works like Porter Cable or Dewalt."
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My Choice for the Best Woodworking Router
Plunge then Fixed-Base - Without Combo Package:
Woodworking Router Reviews - Dewalt 621: 2HP Plunge Router
- Electronic variable speed motor with soft start. Runs at 8,000-24,000 rpm with constant speed under load to ensure a quality finish.
- The 621 has the best plunge action.
- The best hand ergonomics of all routers. You can plunge, lock, start the motor, steer, and stop with your hands always on the control knobs. Safety Upfront!
- You can easily hit target depth of cut. Rack and pinion depth adjuster, with micro-fine adjusting allows quick, accurate set-up.
- Dust Collection is built-in. It works Great!
- Easily change router bits. Spindle lock button allows one-wrench bit change.
- Easy to change collet sizes.
- Excellent use of edge guides.
- Guide Bushing adapter plate accepts standard guide bushings for template work.
Woodworking Router Reviews - Porter Cable 7518: 3-1/4 HP Fixed Base Router
- Speedmatic 5-Speed motor maintains constant speed under load.
- Soft start for smooth performance.
- Very precise depth adjustment Works great!
- Aluminum motor housing prevents heat build-up.
- Auto release collets.
- Low vibration and clean cuts Really nice!
- Ideal for table mounting.
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