The Best Wood Routers for DIYers and Hobbyists
Beautiful edge profiles and fine joinery are now possible for amateur woodworkers with these top-notch wood routers.
BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.
- Best OverallDEWALT Router, Fixed Base, 1-3/4-HP (DW616)Check Latest Price
- Best Bang for the BuckPORTER-CABLE PCE6430 4.5-Amp Laminate TrimmerCheck Latest Price
- Upgrade PickFestool 574692 Router OF 1400Check Latest Price
If you’re a seasoned DIYer or hobbyist, you know the difference that a wood router can make on the quality of your finished product. From simple roundovers to fancy ogee edges, the best wood router for your needs will kick your results up a notch.
There are some things to consider when choosing the best wood router for your project. Most wood routers have adjustable speeds, but you need to be sure the RPM range works for you. Do you want a fixed-base router for creating smooth edges, or would you prefer a plunge-base model that can carve fluting and mortises into your workpiece?
The quality of the tool matters the most, but it’s hard to tell what you’re getting from the outside of a fancy box. This guide will help you decide on the best wood router for your needs by pointing out a top-of-the-line product in several categories.
Our Top Picks
Before you spend your money on too much router, or waste it on a router that can’t get the job done, consult this list of top picks. This guide will point you in the right direction when choosing the best wood router for your projects and budget.
BEST OVERALL: DEWALT Router, Fixed Base, 1-3/4-HP (DW616)
If you’re looking for a do-all router with a mix of quality, price, and ability, then the DEWALT DW616 fixed-base router will serve you well. This router features a single-speed 1 ¾-horsepower, 11-amp motor that runs at 24,500 RPMs. Bit depth is easy to dial in, with a cam lock for gross adjustments, and a micro-fine adjustment ring to be as accurate as 1/64th of an inch. The motor’s top is flat, so it can sit upside down on a table and allow the user to make depth adjustments. For easy bit changes, the base releases with two motor latches, allowing the user to get right to the bit collet. Another great feature is the clear Lexan baseplate, which provides easy viewing of the workpiece and bit.
The one downside is that users can’t adjust the speed, but since it does so many other things well, this is still one of the best general, do-all routers.
BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 4.5-Amp Laminate Trimmer
Don’t let the “laminate trimmer” designation fool you. This PORTER-CABLE router has the capability to tackle a wide range of jobs. This router can cut countertop laminate to shape, but it can also cut profiles on materials like pine, poplar, and cedar. It has a 4.5-amp motor, and spins at 31,500 RPMs, though it’s not adjustable. It has a quick-release motor clamp that allows users to make large adjustments quickly and a micro-adjustment ring to fine-tune the depth of a cut. The quick-release clamp also allows the user to remove the motor and change bits without working a wrench through the base. The thick clear plastic baseplate is stable and very easy to see through, making accurate trimming much easier than with some other routers.
The single-speed motor is really the only con to consider. However, at this price, you’re still getting a lot of capability from a small router.
UPGRADE PICK: Festool 574692 Router OF 1400
It’s a well-known fact that Festool is a favorite among pros and contractors, and the 574962 router is an excellent example of why. This feature-rich, highly capable router features an 11.7-amp motor that spins bits at speeds between 10,000 and 22,500 RPMs. It has ergonomically designed handles for increasing the control the user has over the router while also reducing fatigue—excellent for the job site and all-day use. The dust collection does an excellent job of removing dust from the workpiece, which helps preserve your expensive router bits. It also features a chip deflector to keep small bits of material from flying back at the user while using a larger bit. Adjustments are quick and easy, but also incredibly accurate, allowing the user to dial within 1/256th of an inch. Accuracy coupled with a 2 ¾-inch cutting depth, makes this router one of the best in its class.
BEST CORDLESS: DEWALT 20V Max XR Cordless Router, (DCW600B)
Anyone who’s ever had a cord snag while routing the edge of a workpiece knows the inconsistent profile and devastated feeling it can create. The DEWALT 20V Max XR Cordless Router saves you from encountering this scenario by allowing you to run uninhibited along an edge. A 20V Max battery powers the motor to speeds between 16,000 and 25,500 RPMs. Speeds adjust through a dial at the top of the motor. It features soft-start technology to keep the router from jumping. It also uses electronic feedback to monitor the bit’s speed while routing, adjusting output if the bit starts to slow down, which helps produce consistent results. There is a quick release for macro adjustments and a micro-adjustment ring for fine-tuning the depth of a cut. Just be aware that this is a tool-only purchase. You’ll need to purchase a battery separately unless you already use DEWALT’s 20V Max lineup.
When it comes to possibilities, the Bosch 1617EVSPK Router makes them endless. This router set comes with a plunge base, a fixed base, and a benchtop router table, all compatible with the included 1617EVSPK router. The router itself features a 2 ¼-horsepower, 12-amp motor with speed adjustments between 8,000 and 25,000 RPMs. Electronic feedback allows the router to adjust to maintain speeds through tougher sections of wood. The bases swap on and off the router easily, allowing the user to move from plunging to edge-profiling quickly and easily. They also let the user dial in the accuracy for the best results. When it comes to creating the finest edges, users can clamp the motor into the benchtop router table. The aluminum fence adjusts to produce consistent results, while the large on-off switch is highly visible for safety.
BEST PALM ROUTER: Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
The RT0701C from Makita is the ultimate choice for palm routers, as it has a powerful motor and some impressive features. The 1 ¼-horsepower, 6.5-amp motor adjusts for speeds between 10,000 and 30,000 RPMs with a dial on the top of the tool. Depths are easy to adjust, with the quick release base and rack-and-pinion-style adjustment knob. This router weighs less than four pounds, which can be a problem for some palm routers as they tend to jump on startup. However, this isn’t an issue for the RT0701C. It features slow-start technology for safe and easily-controlled startups, regardless of the router’s weight and the size of the bit installed. The base also separates from the motor easily for bit changes—a key feature for palm routers with small bases that are hard to get a wrench inside of.
BEST PLUNGE ROUTER: Bosch MRP23EVS 2.3 HP Plunge Base Router
A plunge router can increase your capability and workflow, as they can tackle many jobs with one tool. Whether you’re creating custom fluted trim or furniture joinery, the MRP23EVS from Bosch will help you achieve incredible results. This 2.3-horsepower, 15-amp router has a speed adjustment range of 10,000 to 25,000 RPMs. You’ll be able to dial in just the right speed for softer materials like pine and for hardwoods like oak and maple. Users make speed adjustments with the dial in the top of the motor. Bosch’s handle-mounted trigger helps the user work as accurately as possible without one-handing the router. Also, this electronic router features soft-start technology, which reduces initial torque during startup. This keeps the router from jumping in the user’s hands, particularly while using a larger router bit.