Though you can do a number of things with a table saw, a wood router provides you with an easy way to do simple tasks in your workshop.
This hand-tool allows you to make cuts in a piece of wood, but you'll also find models you can mount to a surface for everyday use. You'll find models with a fixed base, as well as those with a plunge base.
In a Rush?
The most affordable wood router for home use today is the SKIL 1817, which features soft start technology.
Unlike other routers, which spring to life so quickly that your hands can fly off, this one comes to life slowly and softly to help you keep your hands in place and set up your next cut. While this model costs less than other wood routers do, it works well with most projects.
Top Choices For Your Money
How Much Does a Wood Router Cost?
Before you buy a wood router, you'll likely want to know just how much that will set you back. The truth is that you'll find products in a range of prices.
If you want a set that comes with both a plunge and a fixed base, you will usually pay somewhere between $150 and $300. Bosh and DEWALT make sets that retail for even more.
One benefit of spending more on a router is that you get both bases, as well as a carrying case. That case gives you a convenient way to carry the tool and all the accessories to any job site.
You can get a good router that does everything you want for less than $100 though.
How to Buy a Wood Router
Even though you probably have some idea in mind of what you want and need in a wood router, we'll go over some of the top features found on these tools. You can use that information as you take a look at some of the more affordable models now available.
Variable Speed Motor
One feature that we highly recommend is a variable speed motor. Unlike other types of motors that only operate at one speed, these models work at a lower and a higher speed. You can usually use a speed at around 8,000 to 10,000 revolutions per minute up to more than 20,000 revolutions per minute.
With a plunge or plunging base, you can actually apply pressure to the top and force the router to cut directly into and through the wood. A fixed base comes in handy for other types of jobs and can give you more control. We recommend models that come with both bases.
Ease of Use
The most important thing to consider as you look at wood routers is the overall ease of use of each product. If you have a hard time setting up the router and changing the depth of your cut, you're less likely to use that tool. Many users also prefer models that have comfortable handles on each side of the tool.
Top 3 Affordable Routers
Regardless of which features are the most important to you, the cost is the top thing to consider. We'll look at the most affordable routers, priced under $100 that you can buy online and have delivered to your home.
1. SKIL 1817
The top choice for many shoppers looking at affordable routers is the 1817 from SKIL. It features soft start technology that allows the motor to start out at a lower speed and slowly increase to a maximum speed. This helps you keep your hands on the conveniently located handles on each side of the base.
That base has a fixed design that gives you all the control that you need when cutting. You'll find a simple button located on the base that works like a switch to turn the motor on and off. It also has a larger than average collet capacity for making wider and larger cuts.
We also like that the 1817 has a button release that responds quickly when you need to remove the base or make changes to your measurements. If you only have $100 to spend on a router, this should be your top choice.
2. Bosch PR20EVSK
Also priced at less than $100 is the PR20EVSK from Bosch. This hand-held router has a longer power cord than those usually found on routers, which gives you the freedom to work anywhere in your shop. It also comes with a variable speed motor that allows you to work at the speed that is right for you.
Thanks to the 5.3-amp motor, this model produces more power than almost any other model currently available. The lower setting produces around 15,000 revolutions per minute, while the highest setting increases that figure up to 35,000 revolutions per minute. Weighing in at less than 12 pounds, this router works in your shop and will go with you too.
We really like the edge guide that comes with this model, which gives it an edge over the competition. That guide helps you line the tool up with the edge of your board and make smooth and even cuts in seconds.
3. WEN 6033
Though you can wait for a sale to find an affordable router, you can also shop for cheaper models anytime and find options like the WEN 6033.
Retailing for less than $90, the 6033 has rated well, becoming popular because of its low price tag and user-friendliness. A 15-amp motor with a variable speed design produces between 8,000 and 23,000 revolutions every single minute.
All the included accessories that come with the 6022 help this compete directly with more expensive routers. Not only do you get a hard-sided carrying case with slots inside for the accessories and tool, but you also get a fence scale and a centering pin. WEN provides you with an edge guide and a turret stop system that helps you make small changes to your measurements.
These three models show that you really can get a wood router for under $100 that will perform exactly the way you need it to perform.