The 6 Best Routers For Table Mounting In 2018 – Reviews And Analysis
Since their invention, table mounted routers have been hugely welcomed by woodworkers, be they professional or amateur. Being able to use your router on your work table gives much wanted extra control for your cuts.
Table Of Contents
- Best Router For Table Mounting Compared
- Top 6 Best Routers For Table Mounting 2018 Reviews
- 1. Bosch 12 Amp 2-1/4 Combination Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit
- 2. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's
- 3. PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
- 4. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
- 5. PORTER-CABLE 895PK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Fixed and Plunge Base
- 6. Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router Pack
- How To Choose The Best Router For Table Mounting
- Safety Tips
- Final Note
While there is much debate about whether plunge or fixed base routers are best, every craftsman will have their own opinion. Some say fixed base routers give better control as your hands are closer to your workpiece, others swear by the versatility that plunge cutting gives.
Best Router For Table Mounting Compared
Whichever side of the well-cut fence you're on, here's our guide to the best routers for table mounting in 2018.
Top 6 Best Routers For Table Mounting 2018 Reviews
1. Bosch 12 Amp 2-1/4 Combination Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit
Designed and made by one of the most trusted brands on the market, this Bosch two base router set will provide control and precision for all your basic routing needs.
With both the plunger and fixed bases coming in sturdy aluminum, this kit should last you a long, long time.
Bosch technology also means that you can feel your way as you're working, and the speed of the motor will stay exactly the same no matter how the wood in the workpiece varies.
With the rotor speed adjustable between 8,000 and 25,000 RPM, this router should be able to cope with just about any job.
2. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router Combo Kit with LED's
From another trusted manufacturer comes this great plunge and fixed based combo router kit. An unmistakeable DeWalt product, the robust design, as you would expect, houses some excellent features.
The motor has a soft start to help ease into your routing jobs and its speed range is between 16,000 to 27,000 RPM, giving great versatility.
The bit can also be controlled to an amazing 1/64” depth on the fixed base application.
Another great feature of this router is its dual LED illumination and clear base, which allows you to see exactly where you're cutting as you go, rather than just relying on feel.
3. PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router
This fixed base router is designed to be simple to use while giving exceptional control, powered by a great motor.
While this model cuts down on the choice of combo kits, what it delivers it delivers very well.
It has a single speed, 27,000 RPM motor which will give you precise cuts every time no matter how long your working day.
The collet also takes both 1/4” and 1/2” shanks, and has a great cover feature which extracts dust and clippings as you work.
This leads to even cleaner cuts, as well as being somewhat healthier and more pleasant to work with. According to my personal experience this is the best table mounted router on the market.
4. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
This Triton router is a top of the range workhorse with a load of great features that professionals will appreciate. One of the most expensive routers on the market, it still represents great value.
The machine has a single switch to change mode from plunge to fixed base; just like that. Because of the incredibly sturdy design, you will feel in full control whatever mode you use.
And Triton guarantee equal precision in both cases.
The router has an automatic spindle lock, making bit changing easier and safer; and the base design give excellent visibility while you're changing. Highly recommended.
5. PORTER-CABLE 895PK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Fixed and Plunge Base
A great plunge and fixed base router kit from Porter Cable, this comes with some excellent design features other combos miss out.
Its handle designs are ergonomically right for use in both modes. The plunge mechanism has machined brass and steel fittings which make the mechanism very smooth in either direction.
You can achieve variable depth cuttings in plunge mode thanks to the six position adjustable turret.
The machine also has a very handy dust remover. Although the variation in speed is somewhat less than other combo kits, this model has features that many will feel make up for this.
6. Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router Pack
This Bosch two mode plunge and fixed base router kit comes with added specifications for precision cutting most likely to appeal to professional craftspeople.
The calibration tool on the plunger is extremely precise and easy to use, giving control of depth to 1/58” standard. There is a trigger control, and this model has the excellent feature of a power switch in the handles of both plunge and fixed bases.
The fixed base also has three machined holes in the exact configuration for the router to be mounted on work tables. This will give even more stability when using the machine in its fixed mode.
How To Choose The Best Router For Table Mounting
Choosing the best router for you could be quite problematic. Obviously, you will have a work table and all the other essentials for serious woodworkers; but the question of which router could drive you crazy.
As we said before, there is the old argument about whether plunge or fixed base machines are “best;” but really, best is as best does. You need to ask yourself what kind of cutting you're going to need a router for.
Here are some things to think about:
One of the advantages of fixed base routers is that using one is simple. You decide on how deep you want your routing cut before you switch on. Once you have set this depth, you're off. In wood working terms, you will only be making one pass at this depth on your workpiece.
If you're using a router mainly to round off edges, of shelves or furniture pieces, then one pass is all you will need. In this regard, a fixed base router will definitely be best for you.
Plunge routers are probably most useful when making cuts of different depths on one workpiece. In this case, you will need to make multiple passes, possibly over the same area. This type of cutting is known as stepping; as the depth of the routing goes down in steps.
To carry out this sort of work, you may well be following a template, and will be well versed in adjusting your router as you work. Probably by definition, you will be a very skilled craftsperson.
In this case, you will require a plunge router. As we have seen, however, there are some great combo kits by excellent manufacturers which combine both functions.
As more functions on any machine generally means more cost, you should think about how often you will be making what sort of routing cuts. There are some excellent specification routers which only come in fixed base, because a lot of woodworkers will only ever need to cut at one depth.
Fixed base routers are often cheaper than multi function models. They also often have better ergonomically designed handles. This is because fixed base cutting is by definition close work. Your hands will be a lot closer to the workpiece, and you will have a better feel for the cut.
After a time, this puts strain on the joints of your hand, especially at the base of your thumbs. Hence, the well designed shape of the handles on fixed base cutters. A lot of craftspeople say working like this gives them more satisfaction.
That is not to say that plunge units are cumbersome. As with at least one model described here, thought has been put into the ergonomic design of handles for use in both routing modes. Perhaps it's just that, by definition, plunge routing can often mean your hands are further away from your workpiece.
Advanced features like LED illumination and suction hoses for dust removal come at a cost, and will probably only really benefit full time woodworkers. Take your time and think about what features you actually need.
Having confidence is key to using routers safely, either in plunge or fixed base modes. As with any power tool, they can be extremely dangerous if used negligently or incorrectly.
Here are some safety tips:
1. Keep your cable safe. Routers are designed to move along work pieces from left to right and the cable is similarly designed to attach to the motor from the left as you look at it.
However, with more complicated cuts, especially when following a template, there may be a risk that your cutting bit comes in contact with the cable. Always switch off immediately and get your cable clear before re starting work.
2. Set up your work table properly. Make sure that whatever stocks you are using are properly secured, and that you will be working on a section which gives you room to move. Again, bear in mind that routers move from left to right.
3. Wear safety goggles and any other protective equipment you think necessary. Remember that power tools often produce a lot of dust and debris.
4. As you will probably be working close to the wood surface, you will need full control and therefore not be able to wear gloves. This should make you even more aware of the need to protect your hands. This is the case when using manual chisels; it is more important by an order of magnitude when using power cutters.
5. Don't cut corners. This might sound like peculiar advice for a woodworker; what it means is, even if you only have a very small area to cut, take every precaution you would when embarking on a big project. It only takes a fraction of a second to lose a finger.
6. Always use the right bit for the job. If this means a particularly large bit, this will be better fitted to a suitable worktable rather than a hand tool. All of this machinery is designed for a purpose.
Becoming proficient in using a power router can be very rewarding. It adds to the feeling that you can take on really quite sizable jobs. As you gain experience, you will know and appreciate the different qualities of plunge and fixed base routing.
In conjunction with a good work table, the right kind of router for you will be a great boon to your working and leisure hours.
As we have seen, there is a great choice of equipment out there from some of the best manufacturers in the business. We hope you enjoyed our roundup of the best routers for table mounting in 2018.