Last Updated on 2020-11-07 by Harry Masterton
There will come a time in your woodworking hobby, especially with cabinetry projects, that un-finished edges just don’t cut it anymore if you’ll excuse the pun?
The fixed base router allows you to clean those edges, as well as shape them in a variety of ways. Today's market is flooded with products and can make buying a router confusing, especially for novice woodworkers.
One of the more popular designs is the fixed base router. A spindle, located on the base of the power-tool, is driven by an electrical motor. Router bits are attached to that spindle and run along the edges of boards to produce edges ready for joinery. Some bits also create decorative edges as well as hollows for hardware, such as door hinges.
With a fixed base router you can also cut grooves in your wood for inset joints.
Many woodworkers consider their fixed base router to be a critical power-tool in their shop. The best fixed base wood router will offer users features that help to justify these claims.
First off, buying the fixed base router for your particular needs will come at a wide price range. Simple designs that use lower or mid-range building materials are available for a price that can fit into a tight shop budget.
In A Hurry? Go Straight To The Reviews By Clicking The Links –
- The Best Wood Router For Professional Use
- The Best Compact Wood Router
- The Best Cordless Compact Wood Router
- The Best Wood Router Under $200
- The Best Wood Router For Beginners
Fixed base routers made from more durable materials that include a lot of user-friendly features will cause the price tag to swell considerably.
The electric motor used to power the spindle is another consideration. These components often range from three amps to 15 amps in size. You will get from 1.5 to 3.5 horsepower from them, although operating at top-speed is recommended for only short durations.
The motor will either be brushed or brushless with a brushless motor offering the most durability.
Having the ability to adjust the speed is critical for matching RPMs with a router bit's operating range. Also, many woodworkers will spend extra money to add the ability to micro-adjust the bit's height.
Fixed base routers will come with either a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch collet. The 1/2-inch bits offer more selection, especially if you need larger diameter router bits.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Fixed Base vs Plunge Router
- 2 The Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Top 5 Recommendations
- 2.1 Porter-Cable 892 2.25 HP Fixed Base Router
- 2.2 Makita RT0701C 1.25 HP Fixed Base Router
- 2.3 Makita RT0701C 1.25 HP Fixed Base Compact Router Video
- 2.4 Makita XTR01Z 18 Volt Cordless Fixed Base Router
- 2.5 Bosch 1617EVS 2.25 HP Fixed Base Router
- 2.6 Avid Power MW104 1.25 HP Fixed Base Router
- 2.7 The Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Summary
Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Fixed Base vs Plunge Router
You will discover that manufacturers offer two types of hand-held routers. The fixed base router and the plunge router dominate the power-tool market. Other categories of routers, such as the trim router, are specialized tools that use features found on the best fixed base wood router or plunge router designs.
The plunge router differs from the fixed base by allowing users to move the bit up and down as they work. Spring-loaded arms fit between the housing and the router base, providing the ability to plunge a router bit into the wood from above (instead of the edge, like a fixed base router).
You can use the plunge router to hollow out or shape wood on the face of boards. This feature also works well in creating joinery away from the edges as well. When looking at a fixed base vs plunge router, it will come down to accuracy and versatility.
Fixed base router
- Uses standard router bits
- Provides consistent depth on cuts
- Offers precision bit adjustment
- preferred on router tables
Fixed base routers use a standard router bit without a tip. These bits attack the wood from the side and cannot pierce wood like a tipped bit can.
A fixed base plate will not move once locked into place, making it easier to cut consistently.
Fixed base routers can be micro-adjusted more easily. This saves you time, and it is also the main reason that woodworkers prefer using them in a router table.
- Uses specialized bits that will cut downwards on the ‘plunge’ motion before starting the actual cut
- Can be used anywhere on your project
Plunge routers work best with specialized bits that penetrate the wood before making the cut.
The Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Top 5 Recommendations4.6 out of 5.0 stars
Recommended for: Contractors and serious woodworkers needing features provided by the best wood router for professional use.
This list of the best fixed base wood router products begins with the 892 from Porter-Cable. Solid housing and handles provide the durability needed on job sites as well as busy woodshops. A three-year limited warranty indicates the manufacturer's confidence in this product.
Porter-Cable 892 Features
You will be able to tackle almost any wood project without issue, thanks to the 2.25 HP electric motor. It is a soft start design, meaning that it builds up to top speed. That should help to extend the motor's lifespan under constant use.
The Porter-Cable 892 comes with a 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collet. That will allow you to use almost any router bit on the market. That is one of the reasons it is considered the best wood router for professional use.
Another reason that it is the best wood router for professional use is the control layout. Users can adjust the speed and control during operation, and it is easier to control with balanced weight distribution.
Porter-Cable 892 – What We Like
- Full-time motor feedback. This features helps to maintain the proper speed on the bit under varying cutting conditions.
- Variable speed control. You can operate between 10,000 and 23,000 RPMs.
- Can be mounted on a wide range of tables. This is a handy feature for those who prefer to buy a router table instead of making their own.
Porter-Cable 892 – Not So Good
- Hard rubber handles are less-comfortable. These are not as ergonomic as we would like, but they will be durable.
- Router bit pin must be checked. The small pin used during bit changes may bend if not properly set in place.
Makita RT0701C 1.25 HP Fixed Base Router
4.8 out of 5.0 stars
Smaller design can be the best fixed base wood router when it comes to smaller projects. The RT0701C is ideal for edging thin boards and smaller joinery tasks.
Makita RT0701C Features
The best compact wood router on the list provides you with a smaller housing that is comfortable to hold while you work. The high-impact plastic offers protection while reducing vibration transfer when using smaller router bits.
A cast aluminum housing for the electric motor increases durability. The protection is more than adequate for most shop use. It will also reduce the chances of your router overheating.
A top RPM speed of 30,000 is another feature that the Makita RT0701C offers users. You can polish and shape thinner materials at these speeds, and the high RPMs prevent bits from bogging down to the point of inefficiency.
Another design element that makes this the best compact wood router is its ability to fit on a lift-style base. That makes it convertible to a plunge router and increases its versatility.
Makita RT0701C – What We Like
- Makita uses aluminum for the motor housing. This helps keep the weight down and it is more efficient at dissipating heat.
- A top running speed of 30,000 RPMs. You might find this useful with smaller bits that take minimal material off with each pass.
- A cam lock on the height adjustment. This makes altering bit height fast and efficient.
Makita RT0701C – Not So Good
- The electronic motor is a bit small. This 1.25 HP can bog down when working with deeper cuts or harder materials.
- It uses only 1/4-inch bits. A smaller design will prevent you from using larger bits with this router.
Makita RT0701C 1.25 HP Fixed Base Compact Router Video
Makita XTR01Z 18 Volt Cordless Fixed Base Router4.9 out of 5.0 stars
One of the highest rated power tools we have ever reviewed the Makita XTR01Z is a masterpiece of power tool engineering. This is the best fixed base wood router for remote use, where an outlet or extension cord may not be feasible to use. Woodworkers looking for the latest in cordless technology will also appreciate what the Makita XTE01Z offers.
Makita XTR01Z Features
The stand out feature that makes this the best cordless compact wood router is Makita's XLT battery packs. These items are smaller, a feature that helps to reduce the overall weight. It also helps with arm fatigue as it is not top-heavy.
Another element on the best cordless compact wood router is the operating switches. One button controls the power, while the other can lock the power on during use. They are sealed, so dust cannot damage the controls.
Five settings for speed let you match RPMs with the bit and materials. This helps prevent burning and makes the router easier to control.
Makita XTR01Z- What We Like
- It uses a brushless motor. The design is known for lasting longer because there are fewer parts that can break down.
- The computer-chip speed control maintains a constant RPM. That keeps it performing consistently as the battery drains.
- Uses Makita XLT battery technology. These slide battery packs are smaller, and they charge quickly.
Makita XTR01Z – Not So Good
- This is a tool only purchase. You will need to buy the battery pack and charger separately unless you already own other Makita 18 V XLT power-tools.
- There is no case. That makes it harder to protect when not in use and requires extra storage for accessories.
Bosch 1617EVS 2.25 HP Fixed Base Router
4.6 out of 5.0 stars
This best fixed base wood router represents the power most shops need with a price point that is not so high. You get a 2.25 HP electric motor that has control circuitry that keeps it running at a constant speed. The 12-amp motor is also capable of routing through dense hardwoods without bogging down, which makes it the best wood router under 200.
Bosch 1617EVS Features
Two polished wooden handles stand out and make this a distinguished-looking tool straight from the box. Another visual difference is the dial controls used to adjust the height, which operates from the horizontal. It offers contrast and clear markings that can make small adjustments easy to do.
The quick clamp base is another component that makes this the best wood router under 200 dollars. It allows you to switch between the fixed base and the plunge base (sold separately). The quick clamp will still provide a secure hold during use.
Bosch 1617EVS- What We Like
- It offers six different speed settings. That provides more versatility and lets you more closely match RPMS to bit size or application.
- A left or right switch option. You can adjust this to match your control hand, making it more comfortable for left-handed users.
- Easy-to-read dial. This makes micro-adjusting easier without having to strain your eyes.
Bosch 1617EVS – Not So Good
- It has wood handles that seem gimmicky. They are hard and slick, providing little comfort or extra grip during your cuts.
- You do not get the extra base. The price remains under 200 as it does not include the plunge base.
Avid Power MW104 1.25 HP Fixed Base Router4.5 out of 5.0 stars
The Avid Power MW104 is the best fixed base wood router if this is your first plunge router purchase and you’re testing to see if using a router will benefit your hobby.
Its low price includes a router as well as an assortment of standard router bits to get things started. Additional parts are included to keep the router running properly and aid with dust collection.
Avid Power MW104 Features
One thing that makes this the best budget wood router is the weight. It comes in at just over seven pounds and should not wear you out with longer router sessions.
The best wood router for beginners needs to include extras that make it easier to operate. Avid Power's MW104 includes an LED work light that lets you see in low-light conditions. That can be a big plus on job sites or in basement shops.
Other controls that make it the best budget wood router include a well-marked depth gauge, quick lock, and a rotating speed dial.
Avid Power MW104- What We Like
- It includes a lot of extras. Bits, an edge guide, and even gloves make this a nice first-time purchase.
- 32,000 RPMs at max speed. That speed helps to keep bits running fast during a cut with the smaller motor.
- A rock-bottom price. You can fit this into any budget, especially with the accessories that are included.
Avid Power MW104 – Not So Good
- Made from lower-quality materials. Let's face it, the build quality is going to suffer a bit to keep the tool this cheap.
- Customer support may be lacking. This brand is not a top-tier manufacturer, and you may struggle to get decent customer support if there is an issue.
The Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Summary
Hollowing Out The Best Fixed Base Wood Router For You
Each of the products on the best fixed base wood router list has unique features that provide either accessibility or performance (or, perhaps both) that can match-up to your woodworking needs.
For those needing a power-tool that can handle both shop and work site conditions, the Porter-Cable 892 is designed for constant use and rough work environments. This is the The Best Fixed Base Wood Router for professional use and with it's rugged build should withstand job-site and construction environments well.
The Best Fixed Base Wood Router – Compact and cordless compact?
The Makita RT0701C offers a router in a compact design. Woodworkers that enjoy smaller projects that require light workloads may find the smaller design perfect for their needs.
Cordless products can go anywhere. They also provide the latest operating technology on the market. The Makita XTR01Z offers plenty of power at 18-volts, and the XTR battery platform uses smaller designs that charge quickly.
Bosch's 1617EVS represents a compromise between professional-grade tools and budget products. It offers 2.25 HP and the ability to operate with either a left or right hand control, all at a price point under 200. If you're looking for the best fixed base wood router for a serious woodworking hobby shop then the Bosch's 1617EVS makes a great fit.
If you are just starting out, the Avid Power MW104 is a complete kit that offers beginners a router and accessories. You can get working straight out of the box without extra purchases. This also represents a low-priced router that can fit into any woodworker's shop budget without breaking the bank, so to speak. Definitely the best fixed base wood router to take a serious look at if your a beginner and this is your first wood router purchase
If you've enjoyed our best fixed base wood router review then checkout our complete coverage (constantly updated) of the essential woodworking power tools for your shop with links to reviews for each category.
A fixed base hand-held router can help you to step up your game by shaping your project's edges. This type of tool can also help to create rabbet joints and other joinery. Each power-tool reviewed here can be adjusted to a variety of depths, and some products can convert into a plunge router with the addition of a plunge router base.
Where ever you are in the woodworking hobby choosing the best fixed base wood router for your wood shop and your specific needs will make sure that you get maximum enjoyment and satisfaction out of your projects.