The 9 Best Wood Routers For Beginners (Easy Guide)

Are you new to woodworking and looking for the perfect wood router for your needs? A wood router is one of the most versatile woodworking tools and should never miss in your tool kit. The device can be used in almost every application including, trimming, carving, cutting, shaping, crafting patterns, etc. 

As someone new to wood routers, the abundance of options available can be exceptionally daunting. I understand the risk well enough since I was once a newbie struggling to make a selection. However, unlike me, you don’t have to spend a lot of time grappling around to get useful information to make a decision. 

In addition to selecting a wood router depending on your needs, you should also consider the various features of each router. To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the best wood routers for beginner woodworkers and the features to consider before buying one.

Features to Consider before Buying a Wood Router 

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when deciding to buy a wood router:

  • Size 

There are small and large wood routers. The small routers can be transported effortlessly from one point to another. The large and heavier wood routers are used in a workshop where you don’t have to move them much. Large routers are ideal for large projects or constant use.

  • Design 

You hold a router for hours when working. Therefore, it should have an impressive design and practical features. A wood router with an ergonomic design can provide maximum comfort when working and satisfaction in your projects. A well-designed router will also serve you for longer. 

  • Dust Collection System

Wood routers produce a lot of dust during sessions. If your router lacks a good dust collection system, the dust is sucked into your lungs during breathing. Therefore, make sure your wood router has a superior dust collection system for efficiency and your health’s sake.

  • Adjustment

Quality adjustability in a wood router will serve you well in many situations. With the various speed and depth dial controls, a wood router provides better accuracy and efficiency.

  • Variable Speed

Purchasing a wood router with variable speed controls helps it to work flawlessly. In addition, speed variability can help you tackle various applications in different projects. 

Which Is The Best Wood Router for Beginner Woodworkers?

Although they might appear complicated to beginners, wood routers have a very simple mechanism. Among the three main types of wood routers – fixed-base, plunge-base, and combo routers – combo wood routers are more popular. Combo routers provide versatility and satisfaction due to the combined features of the fixed-base and plunge-base routers. The best wood router is the one that provides you with remarkable functionality, efficiency, comfort, and precision in your projects. Let’s take a look at some of the best wood routers for beginners in the market today:

Bosch 1617EVSPK Router

The Bosch 1617EVSPK is an incredibly versatile wood router run by a 12-amp motor. The powerful motor enables it to effortlessly cut and trim artifacts at a great speed of up to 25000 strokes per minute. It can be used for various activities such as slot cutting, foaming edges, trimming, etc. The Bosch 1617EVSPK features an aluminum body and a wooden handle for resilience and comfort.  

The router also features a control dial for variable speeds. It has a pair of plunges to support its build and provide smooth movement for correct positioning and precision. The handy kit contains all the basic components needed for fixed-depth routing. The bit-depth adjustment capability at the base allows for easy and quick changing of bits as work continues. 

Features

  • Aluminum-built compact design
  • Comfortable wood handle for great control
  • Powerful 12-amp motor
  • Reliable speed regulator
  • Convenient power range of up to 25000 strokes per minute

Pros

  • Versatile – can be used for various applications including, cutting, trimming, shaping, etc.
  • Durable – its aluminum build and wood handles makes it last longer and work efficiently.

Cons

  • Difficult to set the motor case on the router’s base

DeWalt DWP611PK Router

The DeWalt DWP611PK Router features a powerful 1.25HP motor for all types of woodworking applications. The router allows you to work at your own pace through its variable speed controller option. The fixed-base has an adjustment knob that helps woodworkers change the bit-depth to maximize efficiency. 

The plunge base features an adjustment rod for high precision when setting the bit depth. You can effortlessly change the bits using the handy shaft lock. With the DeWalt DWP611PK, you can drill holes up to a depth of 1.5 inches with the fixed-base router and up to 2 inches with the plunge-base router. Switching the router bases is incredibly easy with this router. Its handle is made from over-molded rubber, which improves safety and comfort. 

Features

  • Combo router kit
  • 1.25-HP motor
  • Aluminum build
  • Extended sub-base for a larger work surface
  • Large plunge base
  • Variable speed dial control

Pros

  • Reliable speed optimization for 
  • Provides a comfortable grip and better control 
  • Durable and efficient
  • Ideal for heavy applications

Cons

  • Slightly sloppy depth-adjustment system

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Precision Plunge Router Dual Mode

Triton is one of the few brands that effortlessly offer a combination of ease and versatility in one package. The TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router features a 3.25 HP motor. The powerful motor cuts through wood at a speed of 8000-21000 revolutions per minute (RPM). You can adjust the speed depending on the task at hand and personal preference. The TRA001 features a soft-start technology to eliminate kickback when working. You can easily switch the bases and change bits for precise cutting. 

The built-in router lift and quick-release spindle lock make it easy to change the bits with a single tug. This wood router also comes with a totally enclosed guard for the complete protection of the operator from the cutting zone. It also has a safety adjustment mechanism that locks as the user changes bits to prevent an accidental power flow. The Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router is a long-lasting tool. Avid users say the only issue with the router is dust buildup, which can be offset by using the side air vents on the wood router. 

Features 

  • Single button switches with rack and pinion mode
  • Automatic spindle lock to enable single wrench bit change
  • Micro winder enables continuous fine depth adjustment 
  • Soft start to avoid kickback during switch-on
  • Has side air vents that reduces dust intake into the motor casings

Pros

  • Adjustable motor speed
  • Great plunge base application
  • Remarkably lightweight
  • Ideal for professionals and beginners alike
  • Soft start system for easy operation

Cons

  • Excessive dust accumulation

Makita RT0701CX7 Wood Router

The Makita RT0701CX7 is a versatile wood router featuring a 6.5 amp motor for superior performance. It has an ergonomic design that provides maximum comfort and control when working. Its variable speed mechanism allows you to set your working pace from a range of 10000 to 30000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The smooth rack adjustment system allows you to effortlessly fine-tune the depth of the bits. The technology enhances accuracy and efficiency during applications. Base removal and depth adjustment is further improved by the automatic-release lock system that prevents unnecessary accidents. The RT0701CX7 features a solid aluminum build to enhance durability and functionality.

Features

  • Powerful 6.5 Amp motor for improved performance
  • Control dial for variable speeds ranging between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM enabling the user to match the speed to the application
  • Smooth adjustment system for more exact settings
  • Slim design and ergonomic body
  • Quick release cam lock system 
  • Electronic speed control 

Pros

  • Features an ergonomic design with a compact body
  • Comes with an adjustment control system for accuracy and control
  • Easy bit adjustment and base replacement
  • Convenient depth adjustment mechanism for clean cuts and trims
  • Soft start option for effortless starting

Cons

  • Every time you adjust the depth, you lose the current settings

PORTER-CABLE 7518 Wood Router 

The Porter-Cable 7518 router comes with a 15-amp electric motor, powerful enough to support all routing tasks. The powerful motor delivers a remarkable speed that ranges from 10000 to 21000 revolutions per minute (RPM). This router features a soft-start mechanism for minimizing kickback while starting the device. It has a collet system that has an automatic lock that allows easy bit replacement or removal after use. 

The PORTER-CABLE 7518 Wood Router is a perfectly crafted and designed tool. Its sealed ball-bearing design enables it to protect its delicate parts, accessories, and the operator from dust and wood splinters. This way, the device can’t get clogged or damaged from inside. The aluminum solid build allows it to serve you efficiently for a long time. The joined casting handles offer you a comfortable and firm grip that comes handy in rough and tough applications. It has a great visual appeal and is also a good bargain. 

Features

  • 15 Amp powerful motor for tough applications
  • Versatile, electronic five-speed motor ranging from 10,000 to 21,000 RPM
  • Soft-start feature reduces kickback force and maintains constant speed while working
  • Auto-release collet system for easy bit removal after use
  • Aluminum motor housing and base for durability
  • Dust-sealed switch and sealed ball bearing construction 

Pros

  • Features a powerful 15-amp motor
  • Has five different stop-point speed controller with an impressive RPM
  • Comes with a soft-start motor system.
  • Features an auto-release collet for better functioning
  • Ball-bearing dust blocking mechanism for dust-clearance

Cons

  • Has a pretty challenging bit-changing method

Makita RP2301FC Plunge-Base Wood Router

The Makita RP2301FC Plunge-Base Wood Router is a 15-amp powerful motor device that allows it to route through any type of wood. Its electric speed control system enables it to remain constant throughout the session. 

The motor produces 9000 to 22000 RPM. Its soft-start mechanism allows for a quiet and smooth start since it significantly reduces the kickback force. The Makita RP2301FC plunge depth varies from 0 to 2¾ inches, making penetration easier when changing the bits. Its automatic shaft lock also makes changing bits easier and quicker. It also comes with a labyrinth build to keep dust away and improve its durability.  

The ergonomic friendly rubberized handles allow for a comfortable and firm grip. A two-finger switch and a built-in LED light is very useful, more so when using the router in dark settings. The lighting provides convenience for efficiency and accuracy. Additionally, the Makita RP2301FC Plunge-Base Wood Router contains a quick-release with a micro control option for plunge depth. It also features three fixed depth stops. 

Features

  • Powerful 15 AMP motor for smooth routing
  • Variable speed ranging between 9,000-22,000 RPM
  • Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load
  • Control dial to set various speeds depending on the application
  • Soft start feature for hassle-free switch-on
  • Electric brake for increased efficiency

Pros

  • Easily legible depth-scales
  • Comes with a chip deflector to move chips and dust away from the woodworker
  • Durable design with a flat top for superior control during bit changing and adjustment
  • Comfortable and firm grip
  • Built-in LED light for accuracy and clarity 

Cons

  • Its accessories and spare parts are not readily available

Ryobi R163GK 8.5 Amp 1.5-HP Wood Router

The Ryobi 8.5 Amp Wood Router is an incredibly versatile router among Do-It-Yourselfers and professional contractors alike. It’s a great choice for newbie woodworkers. Similar to other wood routers, the Ryobi 8.5 Amp Wood Router has a clear working area that’s protected to keep debris away from the operator. 

It comes with replaceable bits, a combo router kit, and an ergonomic design with a comfortable handle. While presenting all the characteristics of a modern wood router, this Ryobi device is not as functional. It’s a good bargain for its price even with the cord. Being a popular brand, Ryobi has a lot of accessories compatible with this wood router. If you are looking to add more tools to your woodworking arsenal, this router will work just fine.  

Features

  • 8.5 Amp powerful motor
  • Practical in-built LED lights
  • Lightweight

Pros

  • Easily adjustable
  • Features useful accessories
  • Can be used with three bits
  • Affordable 

Cons

  • Corded
  • Features only one speed

Avid Power 11-Amp 2 HP Wood Router

The Avid Power 11-Amp 2 HP Wood Router is an excellent wood router for Do-It-Yourselfers. The powerful motor lets you undertake most of the woodworking tasks with ease. It’s the most affordable option in the market today. The rubberized handle provides superior comfort and control for operators who use wood routers for extended periods. The rubberized handle also reduces the vibrations from the device while working and prevents your hand from suffering a lot of exhaustion too soon. 

It’s lightweight, which makes moving it from one place to another very easy. The aluminum build makes this Avid model one of the most durable routers around. It comes with a convenient storage case that you can use to transport it. The only drawback is that the bits detach quite easily, which forces the operator to pause their work and tighten them first. 

Features

  • 11-Amp powerful motor to handle various tasks
  • Micro-fine depth adjustment 
  • Aluminum solid build for durability and comfort
  • Multifunctional battery pack
  • Offers great compatibility and edge guide

Pros 

  • Very pocket friendly
  • Features a compact aluminum casing to protect the motor from damage
  • Has a storage case, which eases transportation

Cons

  • The bits tend to detach easily, which may be dangerous

TACKLIFE Plunge and Fixed Base Router

The TACKLIFE wood router allows you great flexibility in your various projects. It’s a highly customizable model that you can modify to fit any application that you need. This wood router is ideal for professional woodworkers and armatures alike. The TACKLIFE wood router features a variable speed dial control with six-stop points to boost control and accuracy of the work at hand. The speed dial ranges from 10, 000 strokes per minute (SPM) to 30,000 SPM and can effortlessly handle light and heavy tasks effectively.

The kit also features several wrenches to allow you to adjust the wood router for your various tasks. The kit has a lightweight, compact, and durable build for easy portability to different workshops. Nonetheless, its major problem lies with bit changing. It’s very difficult to remove and replace this router’s bits, making it pretty tough getting it up and running again.  

Features

  • Six variable speed dial control from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM
  • The one meter flex shaft is perfect for carving work
  • Can be converted into a router table
  • Compass and auxiliary handle to reduce fatigue and allow the operator more control

Pros

  • Features convenient variable speed control system
  • Versatile 
  • Comes with useful accessories to help you work effectively and efficiently

Cons

  • The bits are very hard to change

How to Use Wood Routers as a Beginner?

The concept of the router is very intriguing and investing in one is a very wise decision. After making your purchase, learning to use your wood router perfectly in various applications takes time. Here are a few ways that you can use your router:

  • Trimming the Edges

Edges require utmost accuracy, which is extremely difficult for newbies to achieve. Nonetheless, you can easily pull off the task with basic woodworking knowledge and a good quality router.  The different bit sizes can help you create impressive cuts depending on your preference. 

  • Carving-Out Rabbets

Rabbets are recess cuts shaped as a step and typically created on the edge or surface of the wood. They are the shapes you see on the window jambs or on the edge of a door’s back panel. Rabbets are the easiest cuts to begin with for green carpenters or craftsmen. 

  • Creating Decorative Molding

Edges and rabbets enhance the visual appeal of your pieces. However, decorative moldings are more alluring. Utilize the numerous bit sizes at your disposal to bring out your unique creativity. Creative moldings have been in use for a long time to create stylish outdoor and indoor furniture. 

  • Creating Patterns

Each person has something in their lives that they hold dear. Graving personal memes, patterns, signs, or names on personal artifacts can bring boundless joy to you and your loved ones. In the right hands, a wood router can help create marvelous designs, patterns, shapes, grooves, etc. 

How to Take Care of Your Wood Router?

Although a wood router is a simple tool, it requires care and maintenance to last long. Here are a few tips on wood router care and maintenance:

  • Clean the Grime – your router will collect dust and other foreign matter by the time you are done with your project. Check for any sawdust and dust particles in the inner slot of the router. For cleaning purposes, use a hair dryer or compressor. You can also disassemble the router completely and clean it.
  • Correct Use – each router is typically designed for a specific purpose. Make sure to use each router for its intended purpose to prolong its lifespan. This will also ensure that the wood router serves you effectively and efficiently. 
  • Check your Bits – buying a wood router without the ideal bits defeats the purpose. Bits are responsible for the cutting, trimming, shaping, and designing of your artefacts. Check for bluntness and change them when need be for maximum efficiency and precision.
  • Lubricate the Blades – lubricate your wood router accordingly using a high-quality lubricant to achieve superior performance. 

Final Thoughts

There are a ton of wood routers in the market, each promising efficiency, and durability. Picking the ideal one for your needs can be overwhelming. However, our detailed review on the best wood router for beginner woodworkers can help end your dilemma. Remember to always settle for the product that best suits your needs. Also, what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. 

James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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