Last Updated on September 22, 2022 by Barry Gray
I openly admit that I love using my router. I enjoy seeing the end results I can achieve and the difference it can make to a project in very little time. I also admit that I have various accessories and add-ons that allow me to use my router in many ways, and one of those items is a router lift.
Now, if you don’t know what a router lift is or even what it’s used for, then don’t worry, as I will clear all of that up for you.
Most people are guilty of only viewing a router lift after having bought everything else for their router. Also, when people discover what a router lift is used for and how it can help, they suddenly realize how it could have made life so much easier with a particular project.
Basically, a router lift makes the task of both raising and lowering a router out of a table a quick and painless job. That means you can change the bit without struggling, while it also makes adjusting the bit depth substantially easier.
I see a router lift as indispensable if you use a router table regularly.
But that then opens up another tricky question that we need to answer. Which router lift should you then go ahead and purchase?
Well, I have five different tables listed below that I feel represent real value for money and will make your entire job of dealing with your router much easier.
- Best Budget Router Lift – JessEm Rout-R-Lift II
- Best Router Lift for Adjustments – KREG PRS5000 Precision
- Best Premium Router Lift – Woodpeckers Precision PRL-V2-420
- Best Router Lift with Locking Mechanism – JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120
- Best Professional Router Lift – Incra Mast-R-Lift II
But that’s not all.
After introducing the five different router lifts, I will also give several tips on the key things you need to look out for when making your purchase. The overall aim is to make this entire process a whole lot easier and to ensure you do indeed get your hands on the perfect router lift for you.
How I Made My List
I have been using power tools for over 20 years now, and I know quite a lot about them, so my direct experience proved helpful when checking out the different router lifts.
However, I also wanted to ensure each option was extremely easy to use and adjust. The key here is how it allows you to lift and drop your router, and I had to check that each model didn’t complicate matters when there’s just no need.
But I also checked that the lift was robust and reliable. The last thing you want is for it to simply break when in use and leave you stranded on your project. So, I not only checked out the mechanics of the list but also what other people had to say regarding their direct experience of the lift.
In the end, I was then able to come up with this list of five different router lifts, and I’m confident that they do indeed represent the best router lifts on the market right now.
Best Budget Router Lift – JessEm Rout-R-Lift II
If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t believe in spending a lot of money on a router lift, then this model is the one I would suggest. However, don’t think that a budget router lift means it cannot do the same as more expensive models, as that’s not the case.
This particular lift will work with most routers with a 3 ½” diameter, so if that’s your router, expect this lift to be suitable. Also, I find that this model makes life very straightforward when it comes to making those adjustments, and you can even do it in the smallest of increments without too many problems.
Every metal piece is CNC milled, so we are talking about absolute precision. That does improve the accuracy aspect of lining up the table and bits, and as it’s all metal, then durability should not prove a problem either.
But then there’s the act of changing the bits. You can do this above the router table, and I find this lift makes the entire process exceptionally easy. After that, it’s a painless task to drop the router back down and continue your project.
Overall, I just feel that this router lift is quick to set up, easy to use, and works with a wide range of routers. For all those very reasons, it’s a wonderful accessory to have at your disposal.
- It makes changing router bits effortless
- It’s precision milled leading to even greater accuracy and precision
- It has pre-drilled holes on the lift table, making it easier to set everything up
- You can make slight incremental changes with ease
- It weighs under 9lbs, so it isn’t heavy
- It doesn’t have ball bearings on the lift mechanism, so it’s a bit shaky
Best Router Lift for Adjustments – KREG PRS5000 Precision
You may find that some projects need to make exact adjustments, so if that’s the case, you want a router lift that doesn’t complicate matters. That’s where the KREG PRS5000 comes into its own.
With this model, you get complete precision when it comes to those adjustments, which is crucial. It also comes with a precision indexing ring, and I guarantee you will love how you can line things up exactly as you want them.
The crank handle plays an important role here. Each rotation leads to a change of precisely 1/16” at a time, so there are those fine adjustments I was talking about. But that’s not all.
This model also allows you to make even finer adjustments to the most minor level you would ever think possible. That means this lift is there for you no matter what you need your router set at.
But I think the most important thing is that it’s done with so much ease. Yes, it does take time to get used to those minuscule adjustments, but when you do, you can see how this router lift allows you to do pretty much anything you want with your router.
Finally, it’s also capable of being used with a number of the most well-known brands of routers. That’s a huge deal, but I would still double-check suitability with your router before you purchase any router lift.
- Those tiny adjustments are out of this world
- The crank handle makes life easier for you
- It fits so many well-known brands of router
- You no longer have to change router bits below the table
- It’s lightweight and extremely precise
- It’s not a universal lift, so you need to check your brand fits
Best Premium Router Lift – Woodpeckers Precision PRL-V2-420
If you prefer a premium router lift, then this model by Woodpeckers Precision is certainly one I would have no problem recommending.
One feature that stands out for me is the spring-assisted wrench. That allows for faster height changes, and I appreciate the ability to do things at speed. I feel it then permits you to go ahead and get on with your project without being held back for too long.
Crafted from aluminum, it comes with micro-adjust thumbwheels, so lining everything up just as you want it should never prove problematic. Also, with it being made from aluminum, weight is not an issue, and I feel that also helps with the operational side of things.
I do also appreciate how this model comes with three individual self-level Twist Lock rings. That does mean this router lift can work with almost any router on the market, so finding something that works with your model should not be too problematic.
Finally, I find this model to be very durable, but the fact it’s lightweight does help. It just feels like a quality lift and one that will last for some time.
- It’s lightweight but also robust
- It works with almost any router on the market
- It’s very easy to adjust
- Those three twist lock rings make attaching your router easy
- It has a single-piece motor carriage
- Some people report the thumbwheels start off quite stiff
Best Router Lift with Locking Mechanism – JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120
Some people are concerned about a router lift’s stability and how it locks everything into place. So, if that is indeed a concern, then this version is one that should stand out for you.
You see, I love this model so much thanks to the cam locking system that comes with this version. It basically stops any chance of a dropout happening while using the router, and that’s great from a safety perspective.
But that’s not the only thing I love about this model. I also like the double-sealed bearing construction, as I feel it makes a massive difference in those smooth movements. However, the entire thing is still crafted from aluminum, which is lightweight and highly durable.
Furthermore, they have added some extra tension to the spindle, which I find does work well when it comes to reducing the vibration you experience with the router. This leads to better results and adds to that smooth operation.
Overall, it’s the locking system that does stand out. You just know this router lift is going nowhere, and that applies to almost any router on the market, as it’s pretty universal regarding the attachment of the router.
- This router lift remains exceptionally stable when in use
- It’s lightweight but also highly durable
- It locked everything in place with ease
- It doesn’t produce a lot in the way of vibration
- It works with almost any router on the market
- The crank handle is a bit stiff
Best Professional Router Lift – Incra Mast-R-Lift II
I understand that if you are new to using a router lift, you want something simplistic in nature, and that’s where this model by Incra comes into play. It works with any Incra table, and it’s pretty straightforward to incorporate almost any router brand on the market.
It comes with standard measurements, which means the lift measures some 9.25” x 11.75”, which is perfectly normal.
Regarding this router lift, I find that the ring system makes life easier on this model, and it’s thanks to their MagnaLOCK system. Everything fits perfectly, and I find that there’s not too much in the way of messing around or things become too tricky to operate.
In addition, you do have the ability to go ahead and adjust things to an absolute fraction of an inch, so getting that precision will also not prove to be too difficult. This is all thanks to the clear keyset that sits above the plate, so you always know what’s happening from an adjustment perspective.
I should also mention that these adjustments are set on ball-bearings, so it means you get a smooth movement allowing you to really get those small changes you are looking for.
Overall, I feel this simple way of adjusting the router lift makes this one you need to pay attention to. I find it smooth, and it doesn’t tend to throw too many problems in your way.
- It’s so easy to fine-tune those adjustments
- Everything operates so smoothly
- The increments are easy to identify and apply
- The entire lift is robust and durable
- Changing router bits is straightforward
- Some argue it’s not ideal for beginners, but I disagree
How to Select the Best Router Lift
The different router lifts listed above are all fantastic, but how do you even choose the right router lift? Well, I have several tips that could make life that bit easier.
Does it Fit?
The first problem is whether or not the router lift works with your own router. That’s the first thing you need to look at, or it’s pointless even getting the router lift in the first place.
If you find yourself in any doubt, then contact the manufacturer and ask them directly. Remember that most of these router lifts are more universal in nature rather than a particular router brand producing a specific router lift purely for their own models.
I prefer my router lift to come with the ability to make even micro-adjustments with absolute ease. This can often be carried out in two different ways.
First, the crank handle on some models makes adjusting easy to do. You may find that one rotation or movement of the crank handle results in a specific level of adjustment.
Another option is via thumbwheels. These thumbwheels can offer set adjustments of bits whenever required, and most will prove easy to operate.
Height and Setting Locks
You must know how to lock everything into place once you feel content with the adjustment aspect. You need this to ensure your router lift does not then go ahead and drop the router when you least expect it.
Check how the router lift model plans to click into place. It’s essential you feel the router itself is held securely, or it becomes impossible to feel confident in using your router in the first place.
Ease of Changing Bits
One of the best things about a router lift is that it makes changing the bits on your router a lot easier when used in conjunction with a router table.
You want a router lift that picks things up, allows you to change the bit, and then drop everything back down into place. That is one of the key components of a router lift, but each model I’ve included above will make this part of the process as easy as possible.
Overall, the primary thing you need to consider when purchasing a router lift is how to adjust it and that it indeed fits with your router table and router. As long as those things all link together, then using a router lift won’t be difficult, and it could drastically improve how you use your router in general.
So those are my five top router lifts on the market right now, and I feel that any one of them can carry out the task of making life easier when dealing with your router on a router table.
If you plan on using your router regularly, then I strongly suggest you go ahead and get a router lift. I promise it will completely change how you go about your projects and don’t be surprised if it speeds everything up as well.
But if you are concerned about which one to choose, I suggest running over those tips I included above to make life easier. After that, I believe you will find yourself in a much better position to then choose. I promise that it will completely change how you use your router, and you will wonder how you have previously managed to cope without a router lift.