Last Updated on 2021-02-15 by Harry Masterton
You're stepping up and looking to buy the Best Wood Router For Beginners? The massive 15 router slug fest that makes sure you buy the best router for your shop.
If you’re new to woodworking and DIY it’s all too easy to be totally overwhelmed by the selection of woodworking power tools and woodworking power tool brands on the market today.
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Each item advertises as a must-have product, but you will soon discover there are only a few power tools that you “really” need as a beginner to woodworking and DIY.
When it comes to working with wood in your home or out in the shop, the router ranks on most user's lists.
Finding the best wood router for beginners will provide you with a tool that is easy to use and will not break the bank. The information provided below will help you determine what is the best wood router for home use, as well as in your shop.
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- 1 Best Wood Router For Beginners
- 1.1 What is the best wood router for home use?
- 1.2 Best Wood Router Under $100 – The Top 4
- 1.3 Best Wood Router Under $100 – Honorable Mentions
- 1.4 Best Wood Router Under $200
- 1.5 Best Wood Router Under $200 – Honorable Mentions
- 1.6 Best Wood Router Under $200 – Combo Kits
- 1.7 Best Wood Router Under $200 – Cordless Wood Routers
- 1.8 The Route For Woodworking Beginners
Best Wood Router For Beginners
What is the best wood router for home use?
For most of us, this question comes down to “what size wood router do I need?” Today's market offers you three distinct size categories:
- Palm routers
- Mid-sized routers
- Full-sized routers
Many DIYers and beginning woodworkers will find a palm router to be a workhorse power tool that helps with cut-outs, inlay decorations, and trimming. They use electric motors that are usually6 one horsepower or less, as well as 1/4-inch bits.
A Palm Router is not capable of larger routing projects, though so you will be a little limited on the routing projects you can attempt.
Palm router vs Trim Router
The palm router which is also called a trim router performs the exact same tasks and is in fact the same woodworking router with a different name.
The palm router is a compact lightweight router designed to be held in one hand for trimming the edges of veneer, plastic laminates, edges and fine moldings.
Mid Sized Woodworking Routers
For many, the best wood router for beginners is the mid-sized router.
A larger 1.75 to 2.25 horsepower electric motor allows it to handle larger dovetails and cutting projects along with the work more delicate trimming work a palm router can handle.
Most designs use 1/4 or 1/2-inch bits, and many accessories are available for a mid-sized router.
Full Sized Woodworking Routers
If you are using a router table, a full-sized model is your answer to “what size wood router do I need?”
Full Sized woodworking routers use a 3.0 to 3.25 horsepower motor, providing enough torque for the larger router bits that require tabletop support.
It will also be the best wood router for beginners who plan on production-type workloads in the future.
If you have ambitions to extend your skills and the size of your woodworking projects then a full size wood router is the way to go.
Palm Router vs Full Size
The palm or compact router is designed specifically to be a lightweight woodworking power tool for trim, light edge smoothing and chamfering and the more delicate and decorative woodworking associated with hobby woodworking and helping finish off those scroll saw projects.
Professional cabinet makers use the palm trim router for veneering and fine crown moulding finishing.
The full sized woodworking router is a much more versatile woodworking power tool. Used by hand the full sized router is capable of handling any routing project in the woodworking shop.
Fitted into a router table you’ll be able to produce the finest molded edges, deep dado’s and rabbets and combined with a jig cut complex woodworking joints.
A full sized router with a router table suddenly opens up a whole new world of fine woodworking projects. You’ll soon be cutting rabbeted dovetails and angled mortise and tenon joints like a pro!
What base do you need?
Traditional router designs use a fixed base that allows height adjustment at the bit. A plunge-base provides you the chance to push the bit into your project. Some products come with a pistol-grip that replaces one of the knobs with a “D” handle.
Best Wood Router Under $100 – The Top 4
Looking for the best wood router for beginners does not require you to empty your bank account, but the best wood router under $100 can be lacking in enough power to tackle larger projects around the home.
First off, even the best wood router under $100 will usually fall into the palm router or compact router category. That can be fine for trimming the edge of boards or small dovetails, but these often lack the horsepower needed for many jobs around the house or shop.
Another consideration is the type of base you want. You might be limited to fixed-base designs that struggle with detail work or cutting away from the edge of your lumber pieces.
The best plunge router under $100 also lacks features that make for easy and accurate depth adjustments and fine.
Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
One of our favorite contenders for the best plunge router under $100 is the RT0701C by Makita (thanks to several bases that you can purchase separately). It has a maximum horsepower output of 1.25, but that is under ideal conditions. With most projects, you will experience closer to one horsepower or less.4.8 out of 5.0 stars
Makita RT0701C – features
The Makita RT0701C palm router discussed here might be the best wood router for beginners due to the compact design. It is a one-handed design that allows you to grasp the router near the base. You can maintain control while keeping your off-hand free to manipulate the wood that you are routing.
Another group of features that make it the best wood router for beginners is the adjustments. They are easy to manipulate and provide accurate adjustments. You can make micro-adjustments with the controls while securing them in place once you have your depth.
The 1/4-inch collet will not handle the larger router bits, but it does allow you to connect small and medium-sized accessories. A soft start design will help to extend the motor's lifespan.
Makita RT0701C – Things We Like
- It has a slim design that allows you to hold it in one hand. That permits you to manipulate your workpiece without sacrificing control.
- You will find this router easy to adjust. The knobs operate smoothly and hold well once you set the desired depth.
- The design provides plenty of heat dissipation through the vents and an aluminum body. Removing heat fast is important to prevent the smaller motor from overheating during use.
Makita RT0701C – Not So Good
- Those looking to keep the RT0701C under $100 will need to purchase the tool without a base. You can buy the router with a single base or in kit form with three bases as well.
- The padding on this hand-held router is thin. You will notice more vibration transfer, especially where the fingers hold beyond the padding.
Ryobi R1631K 1-1/2 Peak HP 8.5 Amp LED Corded Router
Ryobi's R1631K is another small motor that many consider the best wood router under $100. The 1.5 maximum horsepower motor is a slight upgrade to the Makita, but it may seem small in the medium-sized router housing. Most tasks will force the output below the 1.5 HP potential as well.
4.8 out of 5.0 stars
Ryobi R1631K – features
The Ryobi R1631K might be the best wood router for beginners, especially homeowners looking for an all-around performer. A larger body allows Ryobi to include two hand knobs to hold and move the router during operation.
These sit at a natural angle and are ergonomic in design, providing a comfortable grip.
The electric motor is single speed, providing up to 25,000 Rotations Per minute under no-load conditions. Single-speed designs are less intimidating for new users, and the simplicity makes it the best wood router for beginners with no power tool experience.
The depth control knob may lack the micro-adjusting found on other models, but it is simple to use. It also provides a secure purchase that will not slip during operation.
Ryobi R1631K – Things We Like
- A traditional two-knob handhold provides smooth control as the router moves. It can also prevent the router from skipping or tilting as you do edge work.
- The depth adjustment button is large and easy to read. You can make fast adjustments with one hand, and it holds the depth without moving.
- Additional items include three router bits to get you started. Your purchase also includes a hard case for storage and protection.
Ryobi R1631K – Not So Good
- The 1.5 horsepower rating is a bit underwhelming for a medium-sized router body. That rating is also under ideal conditions, with a lower rating experienced in all but the smallest projects.
- The integrated polyethylene chip guard system can become clouded by dust. It can also create clogging as wood chips build up behind the plastic.
PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 4.5-Amp Single Speed 1/4-Inch Laminate Trimmer Router
The PCE6430 from Porter-Cable represents a bigger palm router motor design. The 4.5-amp electric motor operates at only one speed, but it generates up to 31,000 Rotations Per Minute. That will allow it to excel at smaller tasks that do not require larger bits with slower speed settings.4.7 out of 5.0 stars
PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 – features
The aluminum housing of this model looks like a traditional palm sander cylinder. It is thicker, though, and you will benefit if your hand is above average.
The housing is not too tall and is easy to keep balanced. That is critical for designs considered to be the best wood router for beginners. Its cord feeds out of the top and angles away so that it will not get in your way as you work.
A micro-set collar permits finer adjustments that you can set without too much difficulty. Small adjustments are critical for trimming various materials flush, and this will make it the best wood router for beginners working with laminates.
PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 – Things We Like
- The 4.5-amp electric motor will help generate a consistent speed as you work. It should not have problems with cutting hinges, edgework, or with trimming.
- You have a good view as you work, thanks to the clear base. An LED light also helps in lower-light situations.
- An aluminum, fixed base, has been machined. That will make it even and provide a durable surface over time.
PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 – Not So Good
- The 31,000 RPM speeds will be a bit high for router bits one-inch or larger. You will find the higher rotational speed best for small diameter bits.
- Its body is a bit wider than other palm router designs. That could make it less comfortable to use for people with smaller hands.
Bosch PR20EVS Colt 1-Horsepower 5.6 Amp Electronic Variable-Speed Palm Router
The PR20EVS Colt from Bosch uses a traditional palm router design. Weighing just over three pounds, the compact design and ergonomic grip make it an option for the best wood router for beginners making cabinets or laminated edge work.
4.6 out of 5.0 stars
Bosch PR20EVS – features
The manufacturer uses a fair bit of high-impact resistant plastic for the housing. An aluminum base adds durability, and its machined surface provides a flat contact point that keeps the bits straight.
A one horsepower electric motor powers the “Colt,” which is fine for cutting out hinges and doing other work along the edges. It will be insufficient for larger cuts like dovetails and deep cutouts that could overwork the motor.
One feature that many consider essential for the best wood router for beginners is speed control. The PR20EVS has variable speed control, allowing you to adjust between 16,000 and 35,000 Rotations Per Minute. Its lower range will see less work from 1/4-inch bits, which operate more effectively at 24,000 or more RPMs.
Bosch PR20EVS – Things We Like
- Its variable-speed motor adds versatility to the bits sizes that you can use. You can make adjustments between 16,000 and 35,000 Rotations Per Minute.
- A metal edge guide is included that helps to keep things flush as you cut. It will prevent knicks and uneven routing along the edges of your timber.
- The finger support pockets and cushioning make this comfortable to use. The padding does absorb some vibration as well, which increases the ergonomics.
Bosch PR20EVS – Not So Good
- One horsepower limits the usefulness of this design. It will struggle with projects beyond simple finishing techniques along the edges of boards.
- Bosch's one-year limited warranty is a bit underwhelming. Considering that several brands offer two or more years in coverage, one year seems out of place in the top four.
Best Wood Router Under $100 – Honorable Mentions4.5 out of 5.0 stars
Avid is an alternative for the best wood router for beginners for the accessories included with your purchase. Like many Chinese manufacturers, the company offsets cheaper materials and manufacturing controls with more versatility right from the box.
That includes features expected from the best wood router for beginners, like multiple tool guides and router bits. You may also appreciate the dust hood and dust extraction nozzle.
Avid Power MW104 – Things We Like
- The motor controls are operated with one hand. You can use your off-hand to adjust the speed and turn it on or off.
- Its depth gauge is clearly marked. That helps when making adjustments in various light settings.
- Avid includes four bits to get you started. They are stored in a box to prevent damage.
Avid Power MW104 – Not So Good
- A rougher texture has been left on the aluminum housing pieces. It can make handling uncomfortable for some users.
- The components for the edge guide are not of the best quality. You may want to keep this in mind as you tighten the knob once you set the width.
Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router
Versatility is a requirement for any product you consider as the best wood router for beginners. The base on this plunge router locks, allowing it to function as a fixed-base power tool. A straight edge fence, template guide, circle cutting center pin, and a 1/2-inch dust collection port round out the purchase.
4.4 out of 5.0 stars
- It comes with a plunge base. That, along with the guides, makes it a contender for the best plunge router under 100.
- The 1.6 horsepower electric motor is a small increase to others in this price range. It will help when doing router work away from the edges of your lumber.
- Adjustments are located on the same side of the housing. You can keep all controls facing you as you work for fast alterations.
Lotos ER001 – Not So Good
- The router does weigh a bit more than others in this price range. It would not be an issue except that the router is a bit top-heavy.
- A one year warranty is standard for many Chinese manufacturers, but it is at the low end of North American power tool coverage.
Best Wood Router Under $200
For many, the best wood router for beginners will cost more than $100. Doubling the top end of your wood router budget offers access to:
- Mid-sized routers
- More powerful motors
- Greater versatility
Spending $200 or less will open up a selection for many mid-sized routers. These wood routers use two-handed controls and usually come with one or more base types. At the very least, you will see a wide selection of plunge-based routers that allow you to work anywhere on your woodworking projects.
Another stand out at this higher price range will be an increase in power output. The woodworking routers in this range tend to use more power as many use larger collets and bits.
Depth adjustments, variable speed controls, and other features are easier to find at this price range. Most models will still be corded, however, as the battery-powered routers can cost more.
DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router 1-3/4-HP
The DW616 is a fixed-base router from DeWalt that fits into the mid-sized product range. A diecast aluminum base and nickel-plated motor housing add to the durability, making it the best wood router for beginners looking for a long-lasting power tool.4.7 out of 5.0 stars
DEWALT DW616 – features
A sub-base made from clear Lexan offers a smooth contact point with your wood, but you will need to enlarge the hole for wider router bits to fit. That is in addition to the diecast aluminum base that is machined to provide a flat surface.
A 1 3/4 horsepower electric motor comes with this router. It represents an upgrade to most palm router designs, providing enough power to drive wider bits. You can use both 1/4 and 1/2-inch collets, giving you access to a wider selection of bits.
A feature found on most tools in the running for the best wood router for beginners is easy height adjustments. An adjustment ring provides clear markings as well as micro-adjustment abilities. Increments can be as small as 1/64-inch, and the ridges allow you to fine-tune without overshooting.
DEWALT DW616 – Things We Like
- The wider base profile keeps your router flat on the surface. It helps when you are doing work along the edges by providing more contact with the project.
- A depth adjustment ring provides fine-tuning for your desired depth. It is an efficient design that turns easily.
- It has large handles that provide plenty of room for a solid grip. They do not transfer vibrations and have an ergonomic angle that is natural.
DEWALT DW616 – Not So Good
- In a cost-cutting move, DeWalt has elected to use a rough textured aluminum for the housing. It can feel rough to the touch and make operations less comfortable for some users.
- The base opening is rather small. It will partially block visibility and require modifications to accept larger router bits.
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Makita offers the RT0701CX7 as a palm router design. The aluminum housing around the motor is smooth and has a thin profile. That will make it easier to wrap your hands around, no matter how small that they are.4.8 out of 5.0 stars
Makita RT0701CX7 – features
A fixed base palm router provides you with the ability to trim and make cuts. Adding the plunge base to this product is easy and increases the versatility of things you can do.
A quality motor is an important feature for a product to be the best wood router for beginners, and the soft start on this unit helps extend its life. Add to that effective heat dissipation, and the 1.25 horsepower electric motor should last you a long time. The only issue is the maximum output, which may seem a bit low for the higher price tag.
Two ergonomic hand knobs on the plunge base help you maintain control during operations. It is also clearly marked so that you can make adjustments without eye strain. A fine-adjustment knob is marked separately, and it is easy to operate.
Makita RT0701CX7 – Things We Like
- A rack and pinion system for depth adjustments. It allows you to turn the depth knob smoothly without skipping the mark.
- The slim housing is easy to grasp and control as you work. The compact router is lightweight, meaning less fatigue during use.
- A fixed-base can be removed quickly to install other bases. Makita offers a full line of matching accessories.
Makita RT0701CX7 – Not So Good
- The kit does not come with a case to carry your stuff. That simple addition would make it easier to protect and store.
- Its 1.25 horsepower electric motor is a bit underwhelming at this price range. That will work fine for small projects, but medium bits need more power to drive them.
Best Wood Router Under $200 – Honorable Mentions
A fixed-base router can be the best wood router for beginners, especially if it generates enough power.4.7 out of 5.0 stars
The Bosch 1617EVS from Bosch equips a 2.25 electric motor, one of the bigger power units we have examined. That is strong enough to turn larger router bits that will create wider paths.
The product also offers you variable-speed control. A range of 8,000 to 25,000 Rotations Per Minute allows you to adjust based on bit size and the material you are using. The lower ranges are best for large bits, while higher speed settings are best suited for smaller trimming bits.
Bosch has made it easy to mount this unit to a router table. The motor size and fixed-base make it an easy transition, and table support will increase safety and versatility.
Bosch 1617EVS – Things We Like
- A 2.25 horsepower electric motor generates plenty of torque for most bits, especially those a beginner will use.
- It has a nice output speed range. It runs from 8,000 to 25,000 Rotations Per Minute.
- There is a three-hole pattern and threaded holes for simple mounting to a router table. The fixed-base design is ideal for this application.
Bosch 1617EVS – Not So Good
- Its design seems to promote more vibration transfer than other units. That could be the motor size, solid wood handles, or perhaps both.
- The wooden knobs look nice but are slick. They do not provide a great hand-hold.
The R22002 offers users a comfortable design, with Ridgid providing ergonomic handles that help make it the best wood router for beginners looking for ease of use. Each knob is angled so that you can hold the router naturally. The texture prevents slips, and the material used does dampen vibrations a bit.
4.8 out of 5.0 stars
A clear base provides visibility on one side of the router, and dual-LED lights keep things illuminated (even in low-light conditions). The controls are scattered on top and around the router's housing. That prevents you from bumping or loosening something, but it also takes more time to set things up.
Ridgid R22002 – Things We Like
- The knobs have a nice texture on them. It will not dig into your skin, but it does prevent slips.
- A feedback feature helps to maintain operating speed through the job. You will get more consistent routing and cuts.
- The cord extends from the base a few inches, helping to keep it out of your way as you work. It is safer and less hassle with this feature.
Ridgid R22002 – Not So Good
- The electric motor is rated at two horsepower maximum, under ideal conditions. You will likely be working with output closer to 1.75 under most situations.
- It is heavier than other models, coming in at about 10-pounds. That may be an issue if you have long router sessions.
Best Wood Router Under $200 – Combo Kits
Some homeowners and woodshop enthusiasts alike feel that the best wood router for beginners comes in a kit. They could be right, as kits often contain things like:
- Protective cases
- Extra bases
A protective case can keep your router in good condition for years. That is even more important if you travel with your power tools. Hard cases are better than bags or pouches, but something is better than nothing at all!
Most products come with a single base. It is often a fixed-base design, but there are products available that come as a plunge-base straight from the box. Kits usually come with a fixed-base router and extra bases (plunge, angled, etc.).
Kits, especially from Chinese manufacturers, will include additional components. From dust extraction parts to extra router bits to start you out with, accessories can make kits a wise purchase for beginners.
Recommended for: Users needing both a fixed and plunge-based router.4.6 out of 5.0 stars
The RT1322-00 is a mid-sized router design that uses several materials in the housing and bases. Each base has its own set of hand knobs, positioned for the base design they are attached. You will note that the fixed-base knobs are more horizontal, and the plunge-base knobs have more of an angle to them.
Skil RT1322-00 – features
Medium-sized routers designated as the best wood router for beginners will provide the power needed for inlay work and plunging. Skil has included a 2.5 horsepower electric motor with this kit. That will handle any edge work while also having the ability to drive pointed router bits through their destination on your boards.
Adjustment knobs on both bases allow you to set your router bit height. Markings on the knobs are in a contrasting color and line up for fast setup. An LCD screen and knobs provide you with speed information and allow for adjustments as you work.
Other features that might make it the best wood router for beginners include a soft start feature that extends the motor's life and an indicator light that lets users know that the router has power. An edge guide is included with your purchase to keep things aligned as you work.
Skil RT1322-00 – Things We Like
- The kit is fixed-base, with an additional plunge-base included. That provides you plenty of versatility for your router work.
- Its handles are made from multiple materials. That provides comfort and protection from vibration.
- The router has electronic feedback, providing data to the motor controls. That will help maintain a constant speed as the bits dig into the wood's grain.
Skil RT1322-00 – not So Good
- Ventilation is supplied for the electric motor, but it does get warm during use. You will notice it if you work on multiple boards or for repeated cutting.
- The materials used on the build of the router are not top-quality. That may cause early wear on components, especially those that move.
DEWALT DW618PKB Router, 2-1/4-HP Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
Recommended for: Anyone looking for a durable product will find it in this kit.
DeWalt provides you with both a fixed-base as well as a plunge-base in the DW618PKB combo kit. Each base uses machined metals, impact-resistant plastics, and rubber components to create durable components. The products are tough enough to survive construction site or production shop environments.4.8 out of 5.0 stars
DEWALT DW618PKB – features
The router is a medium-sized design, offering two hand knobs as control points in either fixed or plunge setup. You can get up to 2.25 horsepower out of the electric motor, but it will likely be closer to two HP with most jobs. That is still sufficient for larger bits and fast removal of wide sections of wood.
A depth adjustment ring allows you to make micro-adjustments of 1/64-inch to your bits. There is no play once a bit's height is selected, giving you the cut you desire the first time. It is on the housing and not on the bases themselves.
Dust collection is important, especially in home shops or for projects in the house itself. DeWalt uses column designs for collecting debris, gathering up to 95-percent of the wood dust made as you work.
DeWalt covers this with its usual 30-day money-back/one-year of service/and three-year limited warranty.
DEWALT DW618PKB – Things We Like
- DeWalt is known for its build-quality, and this kit is no exception. The materials feel solid and will not detract from their performance.
- Both bases use the same materials on their hand knobs. It is great at absorbing vibrations and providing a comfortable hold.
- A powerful dust collection system keeps things clean. It can gather up to 95-percent of the dust generated.
DEWALT DW618PKB – not So Good
- A weaker collet could be the weakest point on this rugged design. It is worth mentioning here and keeping an eye on in the field.
- The product comes with a soft carry case. At the higher price point, a lack of a hard case is surprising.
Best Wood Router Under $200 – Cordless Wood Routers
Battery-powered tools are a favorite for many wood shops and homeowners alike. They do not require an extension cord, which allows them to be used almost anywhere. Batteries also let you to work without an extension cord getting in the way.
The best wood router for beginners might be cordless, especially if you do not have a dedicated workspace. Cordless tools are easy to store, and today's battery platforms offer more consistent power output and battery life than packs from even a couple of years ago.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2723-20 Compact Router
Within this price range, you can find cordless tools. The trick is, they are usually sold as “tool only” or “bare tool,” which means that you have to buy a battery and charger separately.
4.8 out of 5.0 stars
For many, products like 2723-20 by Milwaukee would be the best wood router for beginners as it is cordless.
A full charge will get you 1.25 horsepower, which is common among palm router designs. That will generate between 10,000 and 31,000 Rotations Per Minute. You will likely use the higher RPMs for the work that this product excels doing.
Adjustments are easy to make, and this router comes with both macro and micro-adjustments for depth. A clear sub-base plate measures four-inches, providing plenty of support as you work.
Milwaukee 2723-20 – Things We Like
- A macro adjustment allows for quickly getting to a rough depth. The fine adjustment knob can then dial in the final depth.
- Its variable-speed control dial is thumb-operated. A convenient location allows you to reach it with your thumb.
- The 18-volt line from Milwaukee is a strong platform. There are many tools for aspiring woodworkers that use these batteries.
Milwaukee 2723-20 – Not So Good
- The unit is top-heavy, as you would expect with a cordless router. Care must be taken when working on thin boards and doing edge work.
- Its depth adjustment knob is half-buried beneath the on/off switch. The location makes it more difficult to use.
Makita XTR01Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Router
An 18-volt battery platform powers this router. The LXT system offers users a longer run time and more consistent battery output once it starts to drain. That means even performance through your cuts.4.9 out of 5.0 stars
Makita XTR01Z – features
The aluminum housing used for the router is machined metal. It is smooth to the touch and should not mare your work piece or feel rough during operation.
Its battery pack fits snuggly at the top of the router unit. The design is compact enough that it will not feel top-heavy as you work. Your hand should fit comfortably around the housing, and the rubber grips should prevent some vibration transfer.
Makita XTR01Z – Things We Like
- A separate lock button helps prevent accidental start-ups when you bump or drop the router. That is worth considering for those new to power tools.
- There are 1/4 and 3/8-inch collets included with your purchase. That allows you to install a wide range of small and medium wood router bits into your tool.
- The 18-volt LXT platform is the most popular size from Makita. There is a wide range of tools that share this battery system.
Makita XTR01Z – not So Good
- The depth markings on the housing cylinder are not colored. It might be hard to see the depth in low-light situations.
- You will find this tool-only purchase to be at the upper end of the price category. That can be difficult for new woodworkers, who will need to buy a battery and charger separately.
DEWALT DCW600B 20V Max XR Cordless Router – Tool Only
The 20V MAX battery platform is with more DeWalt cordless power tools than any other battery pack size combined. The MAX indicates a state where the battery has a maximum potential of 20-volts. Its output is 18-volts, but the extra charge will allow it to perform at an 18-volt peak for longer.4.9 out of 5.0 stars
DEWALT DCW600B – features
Durability is key for a tool wanting to be called the best wood router for beginners. The cast aluminum housing provides a stable platform that will not twist during use. High-impact plastics help dissipate heat from the motor and will absorb shocks from a drop.
The product is more of a palm router, but the strong battery will supply the torque needed for medium-sized router bits. A soft start motor, electric speed brake, and variable speed controls provide users with versatility and protection for the tool and themselves.
DEWALT DCW600B – Things We Like
- A very balanced design. The width and height (with battery) will limit tipping problems, making it easier to control.
- An electronic brake helps slow rotations down once power is off. That makes it safer and will improve workflow over the day.
- The 20V MAX platform provides a consistent 20-volts output longer than a standard 18-volt battery will. That means longer peak operations with a full charge.
DEWALT DCW600B – not So Good
- A large split down the yellow plastic on the top of the motor cover has wide gaps. You can catch items, including your skin, on it.
- The router comes with just a 1/4-inch collet. That will limit the size of router bits used with this power tool.
Which is better? Fixed base or plunge routers?
It might be better to ask where each stands out and where they fall short.
- Good for working edges of boards
- A better selection for use on a router table
- The the best wood router for beginners unsure of cutting depths
- Harder to use for inlay work
- Not designed for plunging bits into wood
- Can handle fixed positions as well as plunging
- Better at cutting and routing grooves on interior surfaces
- Deeper reach for router bits
- Plunge-base useless on router table
- Usually more expensive than fixed-base of same size
You will find more fixed-base products at a lower price point. A plunge-base router will usually grow with your skill and projects.
The Route For Woodworking Beginners
The best wood router for beginners needs to provide you with a tool that helps with upcoming tasks while having room to grow. You need to ask, “What size wood router do I need,” and then determine if your budget can manage it.
The best wood router for beginners needs to have sufficient power. If you only plan to DIY door hinges or perhaps laminate the edge of a few projects, then a palm router with one horsepower or less will suffice. If, however, you want to do a lot of inlay work for cabinetry, a medium-sized router with a motor of two or more horsepower will be required.
Spending $100 or less will get you a decent palm router, or perhaps a medium-sized router from a Chinese manufacturer online. You may need to raise your budget to $200 for a stronger motor and a selection of router bases.
Finally, base your purchase on the work you plan to do. Finding the right products for your woodshop might produce different results than what is the best wood router for home use. Have fun, and be safe with your hobby!