Top Overall Pick
As a beginner to the world of woodworking, you really need to sit down and decide on which tools you should buy and how much you can spend. One of the main tools that you need is something called a wood router. The best models are easy to use and come with a powerful motor that can produce at least 8,000 revolutions per minute.
Beginners do not necessarily need as many features or as much power as advanced woodworkers do, but we went out and found a solid tool that will serve you well both today, and after you gain more experience. Our choice for the best wood router is the Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router, which is its model number, this is an affordable router that gives you plenty of power.
- Our Favorite Wood Routers on the Market
- Best Wood Router for Beginners
- 1. Bosch 1617EVSPK 2.25HP Plunge & Fixed-Base Router - Best Overall Pick
- 2. Triton TRA001 3.25HP - Premium Choice
- 3. DEWALT DW618B3 2.25HP
- 4. Makita RT0701CX7 1.25HP - Best for the Money
- 5. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25HP
- 6. Bosch PR20EVS 1HP Wood Router - Best for Beginners
- 7. Porter-Cable 690LR 1.75HP Wood-Router
- Final Verdict: Our Overall Winner
- Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Wood Router for the Job
Our Favorite Wood Routers on the Market
Best Wood Router for Beginners
Whether you’re an aspiring woodworker or a seasoned veteran in the workshop, a best wood router can help you get the results you want. Check out some of our top picks for the best wood routers on the market today.
1. Bosch 1617EVSPK 2.25HP Plunge & Fixed-Base Router - Best Overall Pick
With its affordable price, durable construction, and versatile functionality, there’s much to like about this Bosch wood-router kit. It’s easy to use, features maximized user control, and can perform a wide variety of woodworking tasks with relative ease, which makes it our choice for the best wood router for beginners.
This model’s 2.25 HP motor plunge router gives it the necessary power to get the job done, and it has six different speed settings for maximum adaptability.
Beyond power and convenience, this Bosch 1617EVSPK is built to last. The rugged aluminum design protects the motor well, so you can get plenty of use out of it. It also comes with both a fixed base and a plunge router base, which you can switch quickly and easily.
With its simple one-button operation and top-tier power, the Bosch 1617EVSPK leaves very little to be desired. It’s well-suited for beginner, amateur, and professional use. No matter your level of woodworking experience, it might quickly become your favorite new tool in the workshop.
2. Triton TRA001 3.25HP - Premium Choice
If you’re not opposed to spending a bit more cash for a higher-quality wood router, put the Triton TRA001 on your list of options. This top-notch router features a two-in-one base, so you can choose a fixed base or plunge base, depending on your needs.
What’s more, this Triton model comes equipped with an easy-to-use micro-winder for depth adjustment when using the plunge router base. The soft-start motor also makes turning the router on smooth and straightforward. It even has a handle design, so you don’t have to worry about your hands slipping when you’re using it on a hot day.
The Triton TRA001 is built to last, and the enclosed plastic sheets around the motor and ventilation system help promote a longer product life. In the end, we think the slightly higher price is well worth it on this model. Its convenient user features, power, and versatility help it outshine its competition.
3. DEWALT DW618B3 2.25HP
The powerful 12-amp motor on this DeWalt wood router has a horsepower of 2¼, and it can take on heavy workloads that would overwhelm lesser routers. The sub-base concentricity gauge helps you center the sub-base before cutting, which helps this router provide optimal results.
Besides its powerful output, the DeWalt DW618B3 allows for depth adjustment in 1/64” increments, so you can make fine-tuned, accurate cuts. For maximum versatility, take your pick from three different types of bases: D-handle, fixed, and plunge.
Dust control is crucial when using a powerful wood router and cutting through heavy workloads. Fortunately, the DeWalt DW618B3 features a patented through-the-column dust collection system that allows for a vacuum attachment. So, you can spend more time getting work done and less time cleaning up your workshop.
Most customer wood-router reviews have only positive things to say about the DeWalt DW618B3. Overall, we’re quite impressed with it, as well, and we highly recommend it to woodworkers who need a powerful, dependable wood router.
4. Makita RT0701CX7 1.25HP - Best for the Money
They say good things can come in small packages, and the Makita RT0701CX7 is proof of that. This handy little router has a slim design that provides the best of user ease and comfort. While its 1.25 HP may not be enough to tackle heavy-duty projects, it’s a quick and handy power tool that you can use for a variety of woodworking purposes.
This compact tool has an RPM range of 10,000 to 30,000, and the rack-and-pinion adjustment platform allows you to optimize that speed for impressively accurate results. What’s more, it starts up quietly and calmly so that you can be in full control from start to finish.
The Makita RT0701CX7 also has quick-release tabs for easy and fast depth adjustment and base removal/installation, which saves you time and energy when switching them. All things considered, we like this router because of the CONTROL, COMFORT, and PRECISION it offers. It’s an excellent choice for small and medium-sized projects that require impeccable precision.
Check this article for Makita RP2301FC Reviews.
5. DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25HP
DeWalt is a household name when it comes to excellent-quality power tools that are built to last. Its DWP611PK compact wood router features a variable speed control that you can adjust for unrivaled results. The no-load speed range is sixteen thousand to twenty seven thousand RPM, and its motor can produce up to 1.25 horsepower.
The contoured grip on the DeWalt DWP611PK allows you to maintain CONTROL throughout operation, and the extended sub-base ensures that you retain superior work-surface contact while you’re using it. Additional features is the precise depth adjustment and easy, fast motor pack removal for base and bit changes.
In terms of convenience, this DeWalt model has a low-pressure spindle-lock button means you can make single-wrench bit changes with ease. Dual LED lights also help provide maximum visibility during use.
All of the features we’ve mentioned on this model work together to deliver the cutting results you need and this router’s soft-start motor guarantees an excellent user experience from the moment you flip the ‘ON’ switch. You’ll also love its lightweight design that allows you to use the router for longer without getting fatigued.
6. Bosch PR20EVS 1HP Wood Router - Best for Beginners
The best model for beginners that we found is the PR20EVS from Bosch. Thanks to its 5.6-amp motor and its variable speed design, you can use this one at a variety of different speeds. While it produces up to thirty five thousand RPMs, you can also use it at a lower setting and produce just 15,000 RPMs.
Those cutting molding pieces and working on certain projects will like that this model comes with its own edging tool.
Made from aluminum, this tool adjusts to let you get the depth that you want or need. You can simply place the edging tool against the edge of the board and start cutting without worrying about the router leaving behind any jagged or rough spots.
We also like that Bosch gives you a hard plastic case that holds both the edging tool and the router as well as the included wrench, which lets you make adjustments to the tool. As the PR20EVS weighs a little less than 12 pounds, it helps reduce fatigue in your hands and lets you cut as long as you need.
Designed for use with a single hand, this under $100 router has a rounded top that lets you keep your hand in a comfortable position as you cut. You can reach the depth adjustment feature and all other parts while keeping your hand on the power tool too. It even has a soft start system that keeps the router from jumping out of your hands when you turn it on.
Whether shopping for yourself or another beginner to the world of woodworking, the Bosch PR20EVS is the best wood router on the market.
7. Porter-Cable 690LR 1.75HP Wood-Router
The Porter-Cable 690LR fixed-base router is proof that you don’t have to pay a lot to get a fantastic router. For its relatively low price, this Porter-Cable router is quite durable, strong, and versatile. Although it might not last as long as some of the top-tier models, you can get it for a fraction of the price.
The 11-amp motor can produce up to 1¾ horsepower, which makes it perfect for cutting a broad range of materials. It is also designed for quick and easy coarse height adjustments so that you can get exactly the cut you want.
Whenever you use the Porter-Cable 690LR, you can enjoy the added comfort of over-molded grips so that you don't fatigue during more extended projects.
Short-product life typically is the most common shortcoming with inexpensive wood routers. But the Porter-Cable 690LR has a few design features in place that put it in a class of its own. Specifically, this router’s aluminum motor case delivers you the most use out of this router.
All of its components also are dust-sealed, which goes a long way toward keeping everything in working order for longer than many inexpensive models.
Final Verdict: Our Overall Winner
Price, design features, weight, and power are all essential factors to consider when shopping for the best wood router to suit your needs. Taking all of these variables into account, we found that the Bosch 1617EVSPK was the top overall pick among other comparable, top-rated tools. Its versatility, durable design, and raw power easily put it among the upper tier of wood routers.
Other honorable mentions include the affordable PORTER-CABLE 690LR and the first-rate Triton TRA001. Once you determined your price range and the scope of projects that you hope to accomplish, we hope this review will help you choose a top-notch wood router for your needs. We have no doubt that it will be an essential and useful addition to your workshop.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Right Wood Router for the Job
What Can You Do with a Router?
When you first start doing woodworking projects, you might hesitate before buying a router because you want to know what you can actually do with it.
Many woodworkers like these tools because they can use one to get the completely flat and smooth edges that they want when creating molding pieces. You can use the tool to get flat edges on a piece of furniture, too.
Routers will also help you create the grooves in a piece of wood that lets you make shelves that easily fit together. Not only can you create grooves that are perfectly smooth, but you can use the tool to clean out those grooves before connecting two pieces of wood together.
Have you ever wanted to recreate a piece of wood for a new project?
You can use a router to carefully create a pattern and then use that pattern to make a new piece. A good example of this type of project is one that requires fixing a wood table.
You might have a table with a broken or otherwise damaged top. With a router, you can put the old surface on top of a new piece of wood and trace around the edges to make a brand new top that looks exactly like the old one. You can also use the tool to trace a pattern made from cardboard or another material.
Cutting and making edges is really the most common use for a router though. You can clamp a piece of wood down onto any table or surface and run the router along the sides of that wood to create the edges that you want. As long as you have a steady hand, you shouldn't have any problems getting the smooth edges that you need.
Projects for Beginners
Let's take a look at some of the woodworking projects that are suitable for beginners such as creating a sign. All you need for this project is a router and a piece of wood. You can move the tool around that piece of wood to cut out the letters and numbers that you need.
As routers leave behind smooth edges, you may not need to sand the wood once you cut out the pieces. You can apply a coat of wood stain to the pieces or apply your favorite color of paint. This is a great way to make address numbers for the front of your home or a sign for an upcoming party.
A cutting board is another fun project that beginners can do. You'll want to pick out a solid type of wood that can withstand daily or weekly use such as cherry or maple. The basic design features a rectangular board with a rounded handle on one end.
With your router, you can cut a small hole right through the handle for hanging the cutting board in your kitchen. You'll also want to use the tool to cut a small channel roughly one-inch away from the edge of the board, which catches any liquids that come off the meats that you cut. Once you feel more comfortable with this type of project, you can make cutting boards that you give as gifts.
Routers are also great for making picture frames and mirrors. As long as you have some thin pieces of wood, you can use the tool to create beveled edges and then glue or nail the pieces of wood together. When making a picture frame, you can simply add a paper or wood backing and a piece of glass to the front. For mirrors, you can skip the backing and add a piece of mirrored glass to the frame.
It may take some time before you feel completely comfortable with a router, but you can experiment and use the tool in your own workshop. Once you feel confident in your skills, you can tackle all these projects and many others.
Things to Consider
As we stated above, beginners typically don't need as much power as experts do. We'll go over some of the more important features that beginners need to help you find a good router. You can use this information to decide if the Bosch model we found is the best one for you.
Plunge vs. Fixed Base
The first feature you need to look at is the base of the tool. You can choose a fixed base model or one that comes with a plunge base. A plunge base lets you make vertical cuts, while a fixed base only works around the edges or on top of the wood.
The Bosch tool that we picked for beginners has a fixed base, which makes it good for those with less experience. With a fixed base, you can simply run the tool around the edge of the wood to make shallow or deep cuts. A plunge base will require a little more work and experimentation to use.
We also recommend that beginners look for models that come with a variable speed motor. When you use one of these tools, you need to have more control. This keeps you from making mistakes or using such a high speed that you cut right through a piece of wood.
Variable speed motors run at both a higher and a lower speed. You can adjust that speed with a simple flip of a switch or with the way you hold and use the tool. We recommend choosing one with a low speed of at least 8,000 RPMs and a high speed of at least 15,000 RPMs.
Many beginners benefit from routers that come with an edging tool, too. This type of tool looks like a small and flat piece of metal that attaches to the bottom of the router. When cutting, you can place the router directly on top of the wood and line the edging tool up against the edge of the board.
As you move the tool, it runs right along that wood to create a smooth and even edge. This takes some of the guesswork out of creating edges and allows you to finish your project faster.
Ease of Use
The most important thing to consider when choosing a router is how easily you can actually use it. We liked that the Bosch model is suitable for beginners, but it will grow with you as your skills develop. You can use this tool with just one hand, as well because you can reach all switches and features with the hand that you place on top of the router.
We have also reviewed best router tables. Read the article if you are interested.