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The Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181, Tested and Reviewed

I found out why new woodworkers and seasoned professionals love this versatile benchtop setup.
Mark Wolfe Avatar
Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181 Review

Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

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A router table is one of the most versatile, if not most essential, tools in the shop. A router table helps the crafter create various woodworking details, including joinery, flattening, decorative detailing, and more. It also improves accuracy and workshop safety by holding the power tool securely in place so that the crafter can bring the workpiece to it rather than relying on clamps to hold the workpiece while maneuvering around it with a live tool. While many woodworkers choose to build their own custom router tables from scratch, others appreciate the convenience of buying a high-quality model. For example, I recently tested the Bosch RA1181 benchtop router table and found its sturdy aluminum tabletop and compact build to be a good fit for my small workshop.

Bosch is a Germany-based tool company, best known for its power tools, leveling tools, and range finding devices. It offers numerous benchtop router tables to support a full line of high-quality routers. The RA1181 router table is one of three Bosch router tables I tested, and the only one with an aluminum table top instead of laminated medium-density fiberboard (MDF). After assembling and spending a half day routing with the RA1181, I can confidently say that I am a fan. In this review, I will lay out my observations from working with it and explain why I consider it the best value of any router table, unless you build one from scratch.

A router bit on the Bosch Benchtop Router Table  RA1181.
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181: At a Glance

Rating: 4.3/5


  • Type: Benchtop
  • Work surface dimensions: 27 inches long by 18 inches wide
  • Tabletop material: Aluminum
  • Fence material: Aluminum with MDF faces
  • Base material: Plastic


  • Rugged aluminum tabletop, base plate, and fence for long-term durability
  • Sturdy molded plastic base includes a convenient tool pocket and cord wrap
  • Ready-to-use kit includes bit guard, throat plates, featherboards, and vacuum port
  • Compatible with Bosch routers and numerous models from other manufacturers


  • Takes extra time to properly level the base plate as compared to other models
  • Heavy-duty top and lightweight legs make the unit feel top heavy

Get the Bosch RA1181 benchtop router table at:

What is the Bosch benchtop router table RA1181?

The Bosch RA1181 is a professional-grade benchtop router table with a large 27-inch-long by 18-inch-wide aluminum work surface, aluminum mounting plate, and aluminum fence with MDF face plates. Two heavy-duty molded plastic legs support the tabletop, elevating it 15 inches above the benchtop.

If you already own a router, this table will probably support it. The mounting plate has been predrilled to accommodate most Bosch routers as well as dozens of router models from other tool brands. It also has an adjustment port that allows for above-the-table router height adjustments. And it offers an array of additional convenience features, including a 2.5-inch dust-collection port, two featherboards, a set of throat plates, 0.75-inch accessory tracks in the fence and tabletop, an extra-tall guide fence, and a storage pocket and cord wrap molded into the legs. This table also comes equipped with its own power switch with two outlets—one for your router and the other for your vacuum—and a 15-amp power cord.

I spent a half day turning scrap lumber into router dust on this table and learned some things in the process. With a fairly inexpensive router and this router table, I was able to make clean roundovers, precise dados, repeatable rabbets, and clean grooves with different types of lumber and different bit styles and sizes. I changed bits a half dozen times, raised and lowered the bit height, adjusted the fence and featherboards for different materials, and uninstalled and reinstalled the router. I checked and double-checked the various adjustments to the fence, guards, and router to make sure they held steady throughout the operation.

Throughout the test session, the Bosch RA1181 continually proved its value. It was relatively easy to assemble and adjust. The adjustments held securely throughout the work session. The table remained steady and secure, and the price was very competitive.

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181 Review
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Ease of Use: 4.5/5

It took about an hour to assemble the RA1181 router table, and another 30 minutes to install the router and level the base. The instructions were clear, and all of the parts fit together as they were supposed to. After assembly, I secured the router table to my workbench with clamps. For a more permanent fix, it could be screwed down through the predrilled mounting holes in the base.

Since several other reviewers complained that the surface on their RA1181 had high spots or low spots, I checked before going any further. A straight edge across the empty tabletop, horizontally, vertically, and diagonally, showed it to be perfectly flat. Then I installed a 10-amp Skil router on the baseplate. I found no problem matching the holes on the baseplate with the holes on the router. Finally, I used a speed square to square the fence with the tabletop, and confirmed with a measuring tape.

The through-the-baseplate height-adjustment system lined up and worked perfectly with the router I used. Large plastic wing nuts made it easy to adjust the fence, featherboards, and bit guard. The side storage pocket helped me to stay organized. The aluminum surface allowed wood to move smoothly across the surface. All in all, the experience was smooth and easy.

The only slight hangup I ran into was the amperage on my equipment. I didn’t feel confident running my 10-amp router and 5-amp vacuum together on a 15-amp circuit. To avoid tripping breakers, I plugged the router into the onboard power switch and then plugged the switch and the vacuum into separate outlets on different circuits. Those in newer homes with 20-amp outlets may not have this problem.

Stability: 4.5/5

Before it was clamped to the bench, the table felt top-heavy. However, the legs fit securely, with zero wobble, and the bottom of the base spreads wider than the dimensions of the tabletop. It’s clearly a well designed platform but really shouldn’t be used without first being fixed to a stout bench, cart, or other sub-base. After clamping, the table felt like an extension of the bench and was completely stable.

The other point of stability to consider in a router table is vibration transfer from the motor through the tabletop to the workpiece. It can make the experience quite uncomfortable. I’m glad to report that the Bosch RA1181 did a great job of deadening or isolating vibration. It didn’t matter whether I was routering with or across wood grain; table vibration was not an issue.

A person adjusting the router table on the Bosch Benchtop RA1181 during testing.
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Quality: 4.5/5

Had I rated this router table right out of the box, I would have undervalued the quality. I am biased against plastic, especially when it comes to structural components like table legs—and doubly so when it involves power tools. In this case, so far, the heavy-duty plastic has held up well with no signs that it will fail anytime soon. The only issue here is that the base is so much lighter than the tabletop that it feels top-heavy. But it also keeps the weight down, giving the Bosch RA1181 a semblance of portability, even though it does not fold.

On the other hand, I have to give it high marks for the aluminum tabletop. Most of the other popular router tables at this price point are equipped with laminated MDF tops that are eventually subject to the effects of humidity and temperature swings. This one should have no issue regardless of environmental conditions. The baseplate and fence frame, both also being well made of aluminum, add to the value.

The only part that appears lower in quality is the power switch. It looks and feels cheap, like something I’ll have to be really careful with instead of simply knocking it with my knuckle to shut down.

Is the Bosch RA1181 worth the money?

The Bosch RA1181 benchtop router table appears to be a solid value in terms of getting your money’s worth. On price alone, it’s more expensive than cheaply made MDF tables, as it should be, but less pricey than those of its competitors made with upgraded materials like coated steel bases, specialized surface coverings, and precision adjustment features. All of this seems fitting since this table has an upgraded top but a budget base. That’s a great way to offer the best quality for a little less, especially when the “cheap” base is well executed.

From a functionality standpoint, there is little value in shop equipment that barely solves the problem. The good thing about this table is that it does its basic job well: The surface is perfectly flat, well supported, and allows workpieces to slide smoothly across the router bit. It comes with a few extras so you can get started right away. If you already have a router and bits, this kit includes exactly what you will need to get up and running with a router table. Some of the other kits I tested did not include things like featherboards or throat plates, and one didn’t even include a baseplate. This combination of quality, convenience, and price is a really good value.

A person clamping a piece of wood onto the Bosch Benchtop Router Table during testing.
Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Bosch RA1181?

Building your own router table is an interesting option. Most would-be router table buyers have a knack for making things, so skills shouldn’t be the barrier. They could customize the table to get exactly what they want, and may or may not save a few dollars in the process. New woodworkers would learn valuable skills by building rather than buying. But building a DIY router table takes a little time, and maybe you are simply not interested in doing so. If that is the case, then it is time to buy one.

When it comes to buying a router table, there are lots of options to consider. Freestanding or benchtop? Open base or cabinet style? And there are plenty of other minor features that can come in handy. But the basics include what we’ve covered above: a sturdy flat plane with a secure router mount and a convenient way to control the height of the bit.

The RA1181 benchtop router table offers good quality and functionality at a reasonable price. It features one of the larger work surfaces among benchtop router tables, a well-constructed fence system, and a high-quality router mounting system that accommodates adjustments above the tabletop. This is a good general-purpose option for those who do a variety of large and small routering projects, especially where shop space is limited or for occasional remote projects. It may not be the ideal pick for every woodworker all the time, but any woodworker will find several reasons why they would be glad to have it.

Where to Buy the Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181

Get the Bosch RA1181 benchtop router table at:

Meet the Tester

Mark Wolfe is a writer with an extensive background in the green industry and an avid DIYer who lives in a 50-year-old home. When he isn’t writing, he spends his time upgrading, repairing, and replacing anything and everything in his home, yard, and garden. He tests and writes reviews about hand tools, lawn care and home repair products, and outdoor living goods.

Mark Wolfe Avatar

Mark Wolfe

Staff Writer

Mark Wolfe is a second-career freelance writer based in Georgia and has an extensive background in the horticulture industry. Since 2020, he has contributed numerous gardening and home improvement articles to, along with a variety of consumer product reviews.