best wood router for beginners

Best Wood Router For Beginners Reviews and Buyer’s Guide 2022

People who are fond of woodworking and starting their own business need the best quality router. Whenever a beginner sets up his arsenal the router is the main component that needs to be packed.

No matter how much hardworking you are or how much effort you put if you don’t have an effective router you can get your job done. A good router can make and break your career as a woodworker.

Professionals have already worked with routers and they know specific qualities to check when buying routers. But a beginner always finds it hard to choose the best router that can make him a professional router.

There are a lot of options available out there. But when choosing a router we need to narrow down our requirements. We cannot compromise on the speed, construction, power, weight, and most importantly budget.

To find the best budget options for beginners we have made deep research. We have compiled this article to help beginners start their careers without any fear.

Before we move towards our best wood routers for beginners let’s understand them. We will also discuss some key features you should consider while making a purchase.

Types of wood routers

Currently, there are two types of wood routers available out there, the plunge model and the fixed base model.

The plunge router 

Plunge routers are designed with flat bases. You can lower the bit from a certain height in the case of plunge routers. A plunge router comes to an action when you need to cut the material from the center away from its edges.

You can plunge the material before cutting it with the help of two arms attached to it. Due to this attribute, this router is termed as plunged router model.

Plunge routers offer great stability while working on heavy projects. But you cannot get quality working on the edges.

Fixed base router 

As the name itself represents that its base is fixed and you cannot move the router throughout the process. This means that the depth of the bit cannot be changed once after its set. This allows you to cut the wood sheets with more accuracy without getting your hands trembled.

But with fixed base routers, you can cut the edges with perfection.

There are router packages available in the market too that allows you to switch the bases during your works. You can turn it either into a plunged router or fixed base router.

The combination 2 in 1 package seems to be very exciting. You don’t have to buy both routers separately and you will get more versatility. But you shouldn’t ignore the fact it will cost more than a single router. Also, it will slow down the process of woodworks when you swap the bases.

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How to Choose the Best Wood Router for Beginners? (Buying Guide)

For a beginner, all routers look the same and he cannot find a difference. On the other hand, experienced and professional woodworkers know minor differences in all routers. Here are some of the factors you need to consider while buying a router for yourself as a beginner.

Power 

The power of a router is often measured in the unit of horsepower and indicated by HP. We cannot deny the fact that the router with impressive power can get the job done. But you also need to know the fact that more power results in more weight.

You might be getting confused that what should you consider power or weight? Well, the answer is the “balance”, the more balance between power and weight the more performance you can enjoy.

Beginners cannot handle much weight and also lack the budget that’s why you would find beginner routers with low power. But if you want to enjoy a lot of power without carrying heavy objects then try table-mounted routers.

Speed 

Variable speed matters a lot when you are working on heavy woodworking projects. Many routers are sold due to their versatility regarding speed. This is one of the most important factors you cannot ignore while buying a router. Cutting hard alloys at an inappropriate speed can create huge destruction.

Switch 

Switches are also important parts that need to be noticed while choosing a beginner router. Because the router should have the simplest possible switch for a convenient working experience. Only professionals can handle complex switches not everyone. If your router doesn’t have a lock switch on the ON position then you may face trouble while working.

Collet 

Try to choose the collets made up of tempered steel. Also, they should fit the motor shaft. Try to select the tapered and precisely made collets.

Low-quality collets are constructed with cone-shaped lumps of steel. These kinds of collets are shallow from the inside and cannot grip the cutter shank. Low-quality collets create a lot of problems while working on heavy-duty projects. Therefore be careful while buying routers. High-end routers have mostly 1/2 “collets.

Plunge depth 

In some of the routers, you can plunge the collets through their bases. But it’s not worthy as you lose your preset depth. This can only be beneficial if in the case of a mounted router, a guide bush, and a template. Most of the manufacturers don’t let you know this kind of information. They only tell you about the distance the body of the router can cover above and down the legs.

If you are a beginner then the collet should touch the bench. If you get deeper plunges you can work best. But you can face a lot of problems with shorter ones.

Handles 

The wood routers come with two types of handles side levels and knobs.

The routers with side levels are often used in heavy woodworks because they offer increased leverage.

The routers should be as simple as possible without carrying extra functions like plunge locks and switches. Because a beginner has just started the practice he should focus on his job, not on the construction of the router. Therefore whenever you buy a router for beginners prefer comfort over extra features.

Dust Extraction 

Due to high competition, professional manufacturers introduce advanced features. Dust extraction feature is one of those features. You may not find a low-quality router integrated with this feature but every high-quality router has this function.

Base Plate 

The routers out there are designed with plastic base plates. Some routers come with removable base plates you should prefer those. Moreover, choose the router having a base plate with threaded holes so that you can fix the router to the woodworking table.

Best Wood Routers for Beginners

Best wood routers Weight Power
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit   18.2 pounds 12 Amp
Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit 3.9 pounds 13 Amp
DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router 6.23 pounds 11 Amp
Bosch PR20EVS Variable-Speed Palm Router 3.3 pounds 5.6 Amp
Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router 14 pounds 15 Amp

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit 

One of the best routers out there with incredible flexibility is suggested for beginners. A beginner should try this versatile and flexible router to polish their skills. It weighs only 8.2 pounds but wraps up tremendous power to get your woodworks done smoothly. It is packed with 2.25 HP power to transform your imagination into reality. This is enough power to go through all wood types including cherry, pine, cedar, etc.

You can expect a long life due to its aluminum casing. No matter how much you do woodworking it will last longer than your expectations. It doesn’t vibrate during woodwork and stays stable with constant speed. That means you will be working with speed and stability at the same time.

If you want your router to pair up with a 3rd part collar then you will need an adaptor. Also, it lacks wrenches to change the parts of the router.

Pros

  • Incredibly versatile router for the beginners
  • The strong aluminum construction makes it a long-lasting router
  • Its powerful motor allows beginners to get more precise and sharp cuts
  • It doesn’t vibrate and speed is adjusted throughout the process
  • It is comfortable because of its lightweight body

Cons

  • It lacks wrenches to change the parts
  • If you want to use it perfectly you need an adaptor

Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit

If you are a beginner then you can try this budget option to start your journey of woodworking. Also, it is hard to find a great budget option to get started with when you want are going to start woodworking. But Makita compact router kit is available at a very reasonable price and allows beginners to start their journey without expanding their budget range. You would be thinking that how the router keeps the budget low. It’s because the router doesn’t come with unnecessary components and focuses on just performance. You may call it an advantage and drawback at the same time. Slim design allows you to carry and use the router conveniently.

This router weighs only 3.9 pounds that is extremely lightweight you can easily handle. Since it is lightweight so the power must be below that is only 1.2 HP. But still, it can offer a speed of 30000 rpm that is relatively high in this range.

It also allows you to customize the speed using a dial. You can precisely manage speed to the lowest possible value that is 10000 rpm. The Makita routers are designed with low power and a low budget. Hence you cannot expect it to handle heavy woodwork.

Pros

  • Easy to handle slim design
  • It doesn’t get hot due to the aluminum motor casing
  • It offers the best performance for the price
  • Soft and smooth start function
  • The best option for beginners who are low on budget

Cons

  • The motor doesn’t allow to do heavy-duty woodworks
  • It is hard to change the path due to base accessing. Also, the base adaptor needs to buy separately

DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router

DEWALT DW616 is another budget option for beginners. After making great achievements in the tool-making industry DEWALT is finally on our list. This router is quite famous due to its lightweight and compact design. Beginners can handle this easily also its amazing depth adjustment capability makes everyone’s favorite.

In this machine, you get an adjustable and tool-free depth adjustable cam lock. If you want to make precise adjustments you will get a micro-fine ring for the process. It allows you to make precise adjustments with 1/64 increment. These factors allow you to make fast and precise depth adjustments.

The router is equipped with a 1-3/4 HP motor that allows you to cut through any kind of hardwood. The router is designed with curved grips that prevent it from rumbling during the cutting process. This grip helps the users to hold the router comfortably throughout the procedure.

Just like Makita, you will observe low power issue because of the compact design. Also, you will find an issue accessing the switches during the free handing process.

Pros

  • You can adjust the depth with high accuracy that ensures precise cuts
  • Your hands stay stable during the process due to form-fitting grips
  • You can customize the speed according to your requirements
  • Compact and lightweight design

Cons

  • Lacks the power to work on heavy woodworks
  • It’s hard to access the switches during freehand working

Bosch PR20EVS Variable-Speed Palm Router

Bosch PR20EVS is no doubt the best budget option for beginners. Besides budget, you will be amazed at the stability it offers. You could be afraid of the trembling router leaving rough lines on the wood sheet in your hands. But with Bosch PR20EVS router stability isn’t an issue.

The Bosch PR20EVS is one of the best stable routers out there because of its fixed base. Rugged aluminum is used to design the base that prevents it from trembling. The rugged aluminum keeps your router at the place no matter how hard the wood is. This means you can now focus on your designs and lines.

It is fitted with a 1 HP, 5.6 amp motor but doesn’t underestimate its power as it can offer a speed of almost 35000 rpm. If a stabled router can offer you such kind of speed without using a lot of power then it’s incredibly an advantage. You can get your trimming and edge-forming tasks done conveniently.

In simple words, if you are working on projects needing the highest accuracy this router fits your requirements. But you know everything comes with some drawbacks too. There are some weak points of Bosch PR20EVS too. You need to turn the router once while routing the four edges that seems quite tiring.

Pros

  • Offers the highest stability that turns into precise cuts
  • It offers the highest possible speed even with a weaker motor
  • Its fixed base increase the stability
  • The base is engineered with rugged aluminum that improves stability

Cons

  • You need to turn it while cutting the edges
  • Less durable that means you need to keep it well maintained

Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router

Triton has been manufacturing high-quality products for years. Due to the quality of products that have gained huge fame. The price of the Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router shows the same behavior. But you will see the quality in this model too similar to the other famous models.

If you are a beginner with a high budget and can start your journey with professional behavior then this router is for you. You can switch between fixed and plunged router bases to make the process easier and versatile.

Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router is one of the most powerful routers on this list with a 3.25HP motor. This is the only router in this list that can be used for heavy-duty woodworking projects. The motor and exhaust vents are covered by a plastic sheet to prevent them from dust. These sheets add an element of durability to your router.

If you are concerned with durability then aluminum body is here to fulfill your demands.

We cannot forget about the downsides of the Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router. Dust can easily build up on the plastic sheets raped around motor components. That’s why regular maintenance is necessary. Also, its handle is placed in an uncomfortable place.

Pros

  • Incredibly high power motor that allows you to handle heavy-duty woodworks
  • Its base is adjustable and offers stability so that you make precise cuts
  • The high-end aluminum casing makes the router highly durable and reliable
  • Offers ideal depth adjustments
  • The plastic sheets wrapped around the internal components make them durable

Cons

  • The handle is placed on uncomfortable location
  • Requires regular maintenance

FAQ’S:

Which size of wood router is best for beginners? 

Control and ease of use is the primary requirement of beginners. Therefore I will suggest the beginners start with a ¼” router as they can be handled conveniently. If you are working in heavy-duty woodworking projects then you can choose a ½” router.

How to use the router for the first time? 

First of all, insert the bit by losing up the collet, and they tight it gradually. After that draw a neat line on the wood piece you are required to cut.

To keep the process safe throughout you must be wearing the necessary protective gear.

All you need is to make the router follow the line on the wooden sheet you have drawn earlier. The router will do its job smoothly once it is started. If you need more guidance you can consider watching YouTube video tutorials.

Can we insert 1/2” bit in a 1/2” router? 

There are two options the collet and motor Horsepower. If your router has collets indicating 1/2”, you can put ½” bit. Moreover, if your router has 2HP or higher it can be operated with 1/2” bit. Otherwise you cannot use 1/2” bit in a router of 1/4”.

Can we replace trim bits with pattern bits? 

Yes, trim bits are a nice replacement option for pattern bits. The difference between the trim bits and pattern bits is their bearing location. The bearing location of trim bits is at the end of the bit. Where the location of bearing for pattern bits in between the shank and cutters.

How to trace the spinning direction of the wood router? 

Grab your router and observe the bottom from top. If you look from the top the bit’s spinning direction is always clockwise. Note the direction and draw an arrow on the base in the direction the bit is spinning.

How to install the wood router? 

Clean the bits, collet, and router before you install your router. Make sure you are having bits that fit your wood router in size and length. Now insert the bit in the collet so that it is 1/6 from the bottom.

Once you have achieved the required depth you need to tighten up the collet gradually until you observe a firm grip.

Can we use a wood router to plane the wood? 

Yes, you can plane the wood by using a wood router with the help of a jig. In order to plane the wood set it parallel to the blade of the router and start smoothing it. After a short interval of time, you would get your wood prepared and planed.

Final Thoughts

Whenever you buy a wood router you consider important factors such as speed, power, handles, and flexibility. These requirements vary according to your woodworking projects and their types.

If we consider these requirements then Bosch 1617EVSPK Fixed Base Router and Plunge Router Combo would be the best options for you. Both Wood routers carry 2.25 HP respectively that is enough to achieve a speed of 25000 rpm. There is also a benefit that both can be changed switched between fixed base and plunge routers.

If you are a beginner with a low budget then you should consider Makita as it is easy to handle and delivers sufficient speed. With this router, you can achieve up to 30000rpm to go through hardwood.

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