What Is the Best Router to Use for Woodwork

When it comes to woodworking, choosing the right tools is crucial for achieving precise and professional results. One such tool that stands out in the world of woodworking is the router. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, finding the best router for your woodwork projects can make all the difference in terms of efficiency, precision, and overall satisfaction.

So, what exactly is a router and why is it so important in the realm of woodworking? In this article, we will dive deep into the world of woodworking routers, exploring what they are, their various types and uses, as well as key features to consider when selecting one for your specific woodwork needs. We’ll also be comparing some of the top router brands in the market and providing expert recommendations from experienced woodworkers.

Understanding how a router works and its role in woodworking is essential for any passionate woodworker. From shaping edges to creating intricate designs, routers can add character and quality to your finished pieces. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a router that aligns with your specific project requirements.

Join us on this journey as we explore everything you need to know about woodworking routers. From understanding their types and features to comparing different brands and gathering insights from industry professionals, this article will equip you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when selecting the best router for your woodworking ventures. So let’s get started.

Understanding Woodworking Routers

Woodworking routers are an essential tool for anyone interested in woodworking. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced woodworker, understanding the fundamentals of a router and its role in woodworking is crucial. In this section, we will delve into the basics of woodworking routers and provide a comprehensive beginner’s guide to help you navigate the world of routers.

Firstly, let’s define what exactly a router is. A woodworking router is a versatile power tool that is used to hollow out an area or shape the edges of wood. It consists of a motor that drives a spinning bit, which removes material from the wood as it rotates. This allows for precise and intricate cuts, making it a fundamental tool in creating decorative designs, joints, and moldings.

There are different types of routers available on the market, each with its specific uses. The two main types are plunge routers and fixed-base routers. Plunge routers allow you to adjust the cutting depth while the motor is running, making them suitable for tasks such as creating dadoes or mortises. On the other hand, fixed-base routers have a set cutting depth and are ideal for tasks like edge profiling or routing grooves.

When choosing a router for your woodworking projects, there are several key features to consider. Firstly, consider the power and RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) of the router. The power determines how efficiently it can cut through different types of wood while RPM affects its speed variations and accuracy. Additionally, variable speed control is important as it allows for adjustments depending on different wood types and cuts.

Ergonomics and comfort should not be overlooked when selecting a router. Woodworking often involves extended periods of handling the tools, so having a comfortable handle and weight distribution can significantly impact your user experience. Lastly, be mindful of router bit compatibility. Different router bits serve various purposes such as shaping edges or creating specific joint profiles. Ensuring compatibility between your chosen router and desired router bits will maximize versatility and efficiency in your woodworking projects.

By understanding the basics of woodworking routers, their types, and key features to consider, you can make an informed decision when selecting the right router for your woodworking needs. In the next section, we will compare the top router brands in the market, allowing you to further narrow down your options and find the best router for your woodwork projects.

Comparing the Top Router Brands in the Market


When it comes to woodworking routers, Bosch is undoubtedly one of the top brands in the market. Known for their high-quality and innovative tools, Bosch routers are favored by many woodworkers for their precision and durability. One of their popular models is the Bosch 1617EVSPK, a versatile router that offers both fixed and plunge base options. With its powerful motor and variable speed control, this router allows users to tackle a wide range of woodworking tasks with ease.


Makita is another reputable brand that produces highly reliable routers for woodworking enthusiasts. Their routers are praised for their ergonomic designs, making them comfortable to use even during long hours of work. The Makita RT0701C is a compact and lightweight router that offers excellent maneuverability without compromising on power. It features a smooth rack-and-pinion mechanism for easy depth adjustment and provides precise cutting performance.


DeWalt is a well-known name in the power tool industry, and their routers live up to the brand’s reputation for quality and performance. The DeWalt DWP611PK is a popular choice among woodworkers due to its versatility and user-friendly features. This router offers both fixed and plunge bases, allowing users to switch effortlessly between different routing techniques. Its variable speed control enables precise adjustments according to different wood densities and cutting requirements.

It’s important to note that while these three brands are leaders in the market, there are also other excellent options available such as Porter-Cable, Festool, and Ridgid. Each brand has its own unique features and strengths, so it’s essential to consider your specific woodworking needs when making a decision.

Before purchasing a router from any brand, don’t forget to read customer reviews and ratings online. These can provide valuable insights into real-life experiences with the product and help you make an informed decision. Ultimately, choosing the right router brand requires considering factors such as performance, durability, versatility, and budget to find the one that best suits your woodworking projects.

Top Features to Look for in a Woodworking Router

Power and RPM

When choosing a woodworking router, one of the essential features to consider is its power and RPM (revolutions per minute). The power of a router is typically measured in terms of horsepower (HP) or amps. For woodworking tasks, it is important to have sufficient power to handle various types of wood and cuts. A router with higher horsepower will be more capable of tackling tougher materials and larger projects.

Additionally, understanding the RPM range is crucial for achieving clean, precise cuts. Different wood types require different speeds to achieve optimal results. Lower RPMs are generally better suited for roughing or heavy-duty cuts, while higher RPMs are ideal for fine detailing work. Having variable speed control on your router allows you to tailor the speed based on the specific requirements of your woodwork project.

Kids Woodworking Kits

Variable Speed Control

Variable speed control is a key feature that offers versatility in woodworking routers. Being able to adjust the speed settings allows you to adapt to different wood densities and thicknesses. For example, when working with hardwoods like oak or maple that tend to be denser, a lower speed setting prevents burning or chattering while cutting. On the other hand, softer woods like pine or cedar may require higher speeds for smoother cuts.

Furthermore, variable speed control enables users to experiment with different techniques such as edge profiling, joinery, and decorative routing. This feature empowers woodworkers to explore their creativity and achieve professional-level results with precision and finesse.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Woodworking projects often involve extended periods of router use, requiring comfortable handling and weight distribution for improved maneuverability and reduced fatigue. Choosing a router with ergonomic design features can make a significant difference in user experience.

Look for routers with comfortable handles that provide a secure grip without straining your hand muscles during operation. Additionally, consider the overall weight of the router as a heavy tool can become cumbersome over long periods, leading to decreased accuracy and productivity.

Taking the time to test out different routers before making a purchase can help you determine which one feels most comfortable in your hands. Remember that an ergonomically designed router can contribute to better control and precision, resulting in higher quality woodworking projects.

Our Top Picks for the Best Routers for Woodwork

When it comes to woodworking, having the right tools is essential for achieving high-quality results. One of the most crucial tools in any woodworker’s arsenal is a router. With so many options available in the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best router for woodwork. In this section, we will provide comprehensive reviews of our top picks for the best routers specifically designed for woodworking.

  1. Bosch 1617EVSPK: The Bosch 1617EVSPK is a versatile and powerful router that consistently receives positive reviews from both professionals and hobbyists alike. It offers a variable speed control feature, allowing users to adjust the RPM according to their specific woodworking needs.
    The router also has excellent ergonomics, with a comfortable grip and weight distribution that minimizes fatigue during long projects. It is compatible with a wide range of router bits, making it suitable for various woodworking tasks.
  2. Makita RT0701C: The Makita RT0701C is a compact and lightweight router that packs a punch when it comes to performance. Despite its small size, it delivers impressive power and precision, making it ideal for intricate woodworking projects.
    The variable speed control allows users to adjust the RPM between 10,000 and 30,000, giving them flexibility in working with different wood types and cuts. With its excellent build quality and durability, the Makita RT0701C is an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced woodworkers.
  3. Dewalt DWP611PK: The Dewalt DWP611PK is another highly recommended router for woodwork enthusiasts. Its compact size makes it easy to maneuver while still providing sufficient power for a range of applications. This router features precise depth adjustments that enable users to achieve accurate cuts consistently. Additionally, its compatibility with standard ¼-inch collets allows woodworkers to use a wide variety of bits on this router.
BrandModelKey Features
Bosch1617EVSPK – Variable speed control

  • Comfortable grip and weight distribution.
  • Compatibility with various router bits
MakitaRT0701C – Compact and lightweight design

  • Powerful and precise performance.
  • Adjustable speed control for different wood types and cuts
DewaltDWP611PK – Compact size for easy maneuverability

  • Precise depth adjustments for accurate cuts.
  • Compatibility with standard ¼-inch collets

These three routers are our top picks for the best routers for woodwork, each offering unique features and advantages. However, it is essential to consider your specific woodworking needs before making a final decision. Whether you prioritize power, precision, or versatility, there is a router on this list that will meet your requirements. By choosing one of these top picks, you can ensure that you have a reliable tool that will enhance your woodworking journey.

Expert Recommendations

When it comes to choosing the best router for woodworking, there’s no better source of advice than experienced woodworking professionals. These experts have spent countless hours in their workshops honing their craft and testing various routers for different woodworking tasks. In this section, we will delve into the insights and recommendations provided by these skilled individuals.

Interviewing seasoned woodworkers, we gained valuable knowledge about their preferred routers for specific woodworking tasks. One common recommendation that emerged was the use of plunge routers for intricate detail work such as creating mortises and dovetails. The ability to control the depth of cut with precision makes plunge routers a popular choice among professionals for tasks that require accuracy and clean cuts.

For tasks that demand versatility and efficiency, many woodworkers recommended fixed-base routers. These routers are known for their stability and improved control, making them ideal for edge profiling, dado cutting, and shaping operations. Their ease of use combined with their robust power capabilities render them a reliable option for both beginners and advanced woodworkers alike.

In addition to router selection, our interviews with woodworking professionals also revealed essential tips and tricks for maximizing the results obtained from each router. One key recommendation is to always start with a lower speed setting when working with harder woods or making fine cuts to avoid burning or damaging the material. Similarly, using sharp router bits during every project was emphasized as crucial by most experts since dull bits can compromise both safety and quality.

Overall, these expert insights provide invaluable guidance when it comes to selecting the best router for your woodworking needs. By understanding which type of router is most suitable for specific tasks and incorporating professional tips into your projects, you can achieve exceptional results in your woodworking endeavors.

  • Plunge routers are highly recommended by professionals for intricate detail work such as mortises.
  • Fixed-base routers offer stability and control, making them ideal for edge profiling and shaping operations.
  • Starting with a lower speed setting and using sharp router bits are key tips provided by experts for optimal results.

Choosing the Right Router for Your Woodworking Needs

When it comes to woodworking, having the right tools can make all the difference in the outcome of your projects. One of the most essential tools for any woodworker is a router. A router is a versatile and powerful tool that can help you create intricate designs, smooth edges, and precise cuts. However, with so many options available in the market, choosing the right router for your woodworking needs can be overwhelming.

To ensure that you select the best router for your woodworking projects, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, you need to assess your woodworking requirements. Are you primarily focused on precision work and intricate designs? Or do you need a router that offers versatility and power for larger scale projects? Understanding your specific needs will help you narrow down your options.

Another crucial factor to consider is your budget and long-term investment in a router. Routers come in a wide range of prices, from budget-friendly options to high-end professional-grade models. While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option available, keep in mind that investing in a quality router can significantly impact the quality and efficiency of your woodworking projects.

To assist you in making an informed decision, here are some key features to look for when choosing a woodworking router:

  • Power and RPM: The horsepower of a router determines its cutting capability. For heavy-duty tasks such as routing hardwood or creating raised panels, higher horsepower routers are recommended.
  • Variable Speed Control: Different types of wood require different cutting speeds. Routers with variable speed control allow you to adjust the RPM (rotations per minute) based on the type of wood and cut you’re working with.
  • Ergonomics and Comfort: Woodworking projects often involve extended periods of router use. Look for routers with comfortable handles and weight distribution to reduce fatigue and improve overall user experience.
  • Router Bit Compatibility: Different router bits are designed for specific woodworking tasks. Ensure that the router you choose is compatible with a wide range of router bits, allowing you to tackle various projects without limitations.

By considering these features in combination with your woodworking requirements and budget, you can make a well-informed decision when selecting the right router for your needs. Remember, a quality router will not only enhance your woodworking skills but also open up new possibilities for creativity and precision in your projects.

Frequently Asked Questions About Woodworking Routers

Woodworking routers can be complex tools, and it is natural to have questions about their functionality, maintenance, and safety measures. In this section, we will address some common queries and misconceptions that woodworkers often have about routers for woodworking.

  • Q: How often should I clean and maintain my woodworking router?
  • A: Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity and performance of your router. It is recommended to clean your router after every use by removing debris and dust from the motor, base plate, and collet. Additionally, lubricating the moving parts periodically will ensure smooth operation. Consult your router’s user manual for specific instructions on maintenance.
  • Q: Are routers safe to use?
  • A: Routers can be safe tools when used correctly with appropriate safety measures. It is essential to wear protective gear such as safety glasses, ear protection, and a dust mask when operating a router. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage and ensure that the router is securely fastened to prevent any accidents or kickbacks.
  • Q: Can I use any type of router bit with my woodworking router?
  • A: Router bit compatibility depends on the specific model of router you own. Most routers come with a collet that accommodates 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch shank bits. However, there are also specialized routers that accommodate larger diameter bits or feature unique collet designs. It is important to check the compatibility specifications of the router before purchasing new bits.
  • Q: Are plunge routers or fixed-base routers better for woodworking?
  • A: Both plunge routers and fixed-base routers have their advantages depending on the woodworking task at hand. Plunge routers allow for precise cuts at different depths by plunging the bit into the material. They are ideal for tasks like creating grooves or mortises.
    Fixed-base routers provide stability and control as they are set at a predetermined depth and are suitable for tasks like edge profiling or trimming. Determine the specific needs of your woodworking projects to choose between plunge routers and fixed-base routers.
  • Q: Can I use a router for cutting metals or materials other than wood?
  • A: Woodworking routers are primarily designed for wood materials and may not have the power, speed, or suitable bits for cutting harder materials like metal or plastic. It is best to use specialized tools designed for cutting these materials. Attempting to use a woodworking router on metals or inappropriate materials can result in damage to the router and potentially pose safety hazards.

By addressing these frequently asked questions and providing valuable information about woodworking routers, we hope to assist readers in making informed decisions when it comes to choosing and using a router for their woodworking ventures. Remember to always prioritize safety and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure successful and enjoyable woodworking projects.


In conclusion, choosing the right router for your woodworking projects is essential for achieving successful results. Throughout this article, we have explored the world of woodworking routers and provided a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision. We have discussed the different types of routers, their key features, and even compared the leading brands in the market.

When it comes to finding the perfect router for your woodworking journey, there are several factors to consider. Power and RPM are crucial in determining how efficiently your router can handle various tasks. Variable speed control is also important as it allows you to adjust the router’s speed according to the wood type and desired cut. Additionally, ergonomics and comfort play a significant role in ensuring a pleasant user experience.

To aid your decision-making process, we have provided detailed reviews of our top picks for the best routers specifically designed for woodworking. Each router has been evaluated based on its unique features, benefits, and potential drawbacks. By considering your woodworking requirements and budget, you can choose a router that suits your needs perfectly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best router for wood?

When it comes to selecting the best router for woodworking, several factors need to be considered. Firstly, it is important to choose a router with enough power to handle different types of wood and various cutting tasks. A router with a motor ranging from 5 to 2.25 horsepower should provide sufficient power for most woodworking projects, allowing you to effectively shape and trim wood surfaces.

Additionally, look for routers that offer variable speed settings as this allows you to adjust the rotation speed of the bit, ensuring greater control and precision. Other features such as soft-start technology and an efficient dust collection system are also worth considering when selecting a router for woodworking.

What is the best brand router for woodworking?

While there are numerous reputable brands that produce high-quality routers for woodworking, one brand that continually stands out is Bosch. With their commitment to innovation and reliability, Bosch routers have earned a strong reputation in the woodworking community. They offer a wide range of router models suitable for both beginner and professional woodworkers, ensuring there’s something available for every skill level and budget.

Bosch routers often boast powerful motors, excellent build quality, user-friendly features, and advanced technologies that enhance performance and safety during use. When choosing a brand for your woodworking router, prioritize reliability, durability, and the availability of accessories or replacement parts.

How big of a router do I need for woodworking?

The size of the router needed for woodworking depends on both the scale of your projects and personal preference in terms of maneuverability. Compact palm routers with small bases are ideal for lightweight tasks like rounding edges or creating decorative details on smaller wood pieces or in tighter spaces where precision is paramount.

These smaller routers are also more portable and easier to handle if you frequently need to transport them between job sites or workshops. On the other hand, larger fixed-base or plunge routers are more suitable when working on bigger projects such as cabinetry or furniture-making where there is a need for increased power and stability over extended use periods.

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