Best Wood Router Reviews for Woodworking and Carpentry 2024

If you’re into woodworking and carpentry, having the best wood router for the kind of work you do is a core part of your tool set. Whether you’re working on-site on a remodel, you’re building your own jigs for production work in your shop, or you’re an aspiring DIYer, our team of experts rounded up their favorites to help you sort out the right model for the work you do.


Best Wood Routers – Our Top Picks

Also in this Article

Best Wood Router Overall

Festool Router OF 1400 EQ-F-Plus

Choosing the best wood router overall isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of selection. However, we wanted one that would be the most useful to the most people. We wanted performance, features, and ergonomics wrapped up in a router that oozes precision.

Meeting those requirements, the Festool OF 1400 ED-F-Plus is the router we’d pick if we could only have one. The handle design is different than most, with a pommel on one side and a trigger handle on the other. Rest assured, Festool knows ergonomics, and despite the odd look, it works well.

The router’s 1400-watt motor pairs with a smooth plunging system with 1/256-inch micro depth adjustments and excellent sight lines. Plus, the cord insertion on the handle kicks it out of the way and there’s an excellent dust collection design.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 10,000 – 22,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4 – 1/2-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: 2 1/2 inches
  • Max Plunge Depth: 2 3/4 inches
  • Weight: 10.4 lbs

Price: $699

Best Corded Plunge Wood Router

When we talk about plunge routers, we’re really talking about a router with a plunge base. Most people are referring to mid-size wood routers around the 2.25HP range. However, the stronger 3HP+ models are also plunge routers. Both power levels often come with the plunge base but can also switch to a fixed base or install into a router table.

To top our charts, we wanted a full-featured router with plenty of power and speed, easy base adjustments, and a plunge base with a smooth action.

Best Mid-Size – Bosch 2.25HP Fixed Base/Plunge Base Router Combo 1617EVSPK

Best Corded Plunge Wood Router

If Festool is out of your price range, Bosch’s 2.25HP router combo is a popular choice because of its quality construction and value. Featuring a 12-amp motor with a 25,000 RPM top speed, this sub-$200 kit includes both fixed and plunge bases. While there are several router motors in the 1617 series, we like the wood handles for their feel and appearance.

There is a downside, though. The switch position can clog with sawdust when you have it attached to some router tables. You can clear it out easily enough, but if you’re looking for a model that’s going to live on your router table, you might want something different.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 8,000 – 25,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4 – 1/2-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: not listed
  • Max Plunge Depth: 2 1/4 inches
  • Weight: 10.0 lbs

Price: $199 including fixed and plunge bases

Best Full-Size – Festool Router OF 2200 EB-F-Plus

Best Full-Size – Festool Router OF 2200 EB-F-Plus

If you have the budget for it, the Festool OF 2200 EB-F-Plus router kit is the best full-size router for woodworkers. Its strong 2200-watt motor has an outstanding capacity with a plunge base that has more than 3 inches of travel. Like its mid-size brother, the micro adjustment dial offers 1/256-inch depth control.

This model shifts to a bullhorn style handle system that has outstanding two-hand control with a trigger mounted on it. As a consequence, the cord is on the back of the motor rather than off to the side where we saw it on the 1400.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 10,000 – 22,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4 – 1/2-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: 3 1/2 inches
  • Max Plunge Depth: 3 1/8 inches
  • Weight: 18.3 lbs

Price: $1099

Best Cordless Plunge Wood Router

Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2-Inch Router 2838

Best Cordless Plunge Wood Router - Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2838

Turning our attention to the best cordless plunge wood router, we wanted no compromises compared to the corded models we use. We simply wanted to be cord-free and keep all of the corded benefits except unlimited runtime.

As we’re writing, it’s a 2-horse race between Metabo HPT and Milwaukee, and there are ardent fans of both. Milwaukee ends up ahead thanks to its stronger performance and deeper plunge capacity. We also like that Milwaukee offers a kit that includes both fixed and plunge bases to help you get started.

Metabo HPT’s ability to run corded or cordless is compelling, though, and the bare tool comes in at a lower price.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 12,000 – 25,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4 – 1/2-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: not listed
  • Max Plunge Depth: 2 1/2 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs with battery

Price: $349 bare tool, $599 kit with plunge base, 6.0Ah High Output battery, and charger

Best Corded Compact Palm (Trim) Wood Router

Bosch Colt 1.25HP Variable Speed Palm Router GKF125CEN

There are a lot of compact palm routers to choose from, and our crew looked to the 1.25HP class to get a performance boost over the 1HP models. From there, it was a matter of finding a strong feature set with an ergonomic physical design to set the winner apart.

Nearly every woodworker and carpenter has heard of the Bosch Colt palm router, and most have used one at some point. It’s a well-built, reliable workhorse of a trim router that’s comfortable to use. While it doesn’t have as low of a speed on the bottom as some routers, its top speed is well beyond what its competitors are capable of and cements the Bosch Colt as the benchmark for palm routers.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 16,000 – 35,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: 1 5/16 inches
  • Max Fixed Base Depth Range: 1 3/16 inches
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs

Price: $139

Best Cordless Compact Palm (Trim) Wood Router

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Compact Router 2723

Best Tool Gifts for Father's Day 2020 | Milwaukee M18 Fuel Router

Similar to our requirements for the plunge routers, we wanted the best cordless compact palm router to be a seamless transition to battery power with no compromise in the performance or design. This race was tight, though. Nearly every cordless brand has a trim router, and several are worthy contenders.

With the final votes tallied, Milwaukee walked away with another win. The 2723 doesn’t necessarily top the charts in every single category, but it does everything well, and our team didn’t have any negative feedback after using it.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 10,000 – 31,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: 1 1/2 inches
  • Max Plunge Depth: 2 inches
  • Weight: 3.0 lbs with fixed base (no battery)

Price: $199 bare tool, $387 bare tool with fixed, offset, and plunge bases

Best Wood Router for the Money

Skil 14-Amp Fixed Base/Plunge Base Router Combo RT1322-00

Skil 14-Amp Router with Fixed and Plunge Bases

To determine the best wood router for the money, we were looking for a Pro-level build and performance at a price that saves significant money compared to the premium models. While there are some high-value cordless options, the corded class can give you more bang for your buck, and you don’t have to worry about the cost of batteries.

Looking at the range of possibilities, we really like what the Skil 14-amp router combo has to offer. Its 14-amp variable speed motor offers plenty of power at 2.5HP and makes it a joy to pair with a router table (which Skil also offers). The combo comes with fixed and plunge bases, giving you a ton of bang for your buck when you consider the $149 price tag.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 10,000 – 25,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4 – 1/2-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: Not listed
  • Max Plunge Depth: 2 1/8 inches
  • Weight: 12.2 lbs

Price: $149

Best Budget Wood Router for Beginners and DIY Projects

Masterforce 1.25HP Compact Router ERM106

For beginners, we highly recommend starting with a corded router to get your bearings. It can also be helpful to start with a palm router so you can learn the basics on a smaller tool that’s easier to handle. At the same time, we didn’t want something underpowered. As you move up in your skill and add a larger router, your palm router should have what you need to continue delivering quality results until you’re ready to upgrade it.

There are a handful of quality choices under $100, and Masterforce has the best overall package we were able to find.

Numbers to Know

  • Speed: 10,000 – 32,000 RPM
  • Collet: 1/4 – 3/8-inch
  • Max Cutting Diameter: Not listed
  • Max Fixed Base Depth Range: Not listed
  • Weight: 4.4 lbs

Price: $74.99

Best Wood Router Bits

There are a lot of choices when it comes to the best router bits, and we lean toward several brands. Which one you decide to go with may be as simple as which retailer you prefer to shop at. There are some differences between brands, though, and some are higher quality with longer life than others. These are the brands we turn to most frequently:

CMT Orange Tools Router Bits

CMT Orange Tools makes excellent cutting accessories, and their router bits are no exception. The range is excellent and covers well beyond the basics with quality construction and performance. Competing at the higher end of professional router bits, you can rely on CMT for outstanding results on your routing projects.

Bosch Router Bits for Wood

Bosch router bits offer an excellent upgrade when you’re looking to move from inexpensive entry-level bits to ones that are higher quality. Bosch’s range is exceptional, and the pricing tends to be a bit lower than high-end options.

Freud Router Bits for Wood

Freud is highly regarded in the woodworking industry for the quality of their premium accessories. Their router bits are some of the best you can buy, and there’s a phenomenal range, but they tend to be expensive.

Best-Selling Wood Routers

Checking the best-selling router lists at trusted retailers is a great idea when you’re shopping. They’re often the best value, so models that are less expensive or on sale often show up at the top of the list. We dropped links to what was at the front at the time we were writing, but they change often, so be sure to click the buttons to see what’s hot right now.

Amazon

Best Wood Routers at Acme Tools

Lowe’s

Home Depot

More Recommendations from Brands We Trust

Best Professional Wood Routers

Bora 3.25HP Fixed Base Router PM-6250
Strong full-size fixed-base router with a basic feature set that doesn’t over-complicate matters

Price: $269.99 router motor, $399.99 fixed base kit

DeWalt 20V Max XR Brushless Compact Router DCW600
Popular cordless model based on DeWalt’s best-selling corded version that’s an all-around excellent choice

Price: $219 bare tool

Flex 24V Compact Trim Router FX4221
Top-tier performance paired with a solid feature set and physical design with an available plunge base

Price: $199.99 bare tool, $349.99 kit with a 3.5Ah Stacked Lithium battery and charger

Metabo HPT 36V Cordless Plunge Router M3612DA
The first cordless mid-size router ever, featuring solid performance and an excellent design that can run corded or cordless

$249 bare tool, $419 kit with a 2.5Ah battery and charger

Makita 18V LXT Compact Router XTR01
A popular cordless trim router with outstanding ergonomics, a refined design, and plenty of accessories from a brand that runs deep in the router space

Price: $199 bare, $359 kit with a 5.0Ah battery and charger, $489 kit with a plunge base, 5.0Ah battery, and charger

Ridgid 18V Brushless Compact Trim Router R860444
Next-gen brushless model for value-seeking Pros that offers a proven design and feature set

Price: $179 bare tool

Triton 3.25HP Fixed Base Router TFBR001
Strong full-size option with a trigger on the fixed base and a quality Pro-grade build

Price: $349.99

Best Prosumer Wood Routers

Craftsman V20 Brushless RP Compact Router CMCW400
High-speed brushless option that checks off all the right boxes for Craftsman V20 fans

Price: $99 bare tool

Kobalt Fixed Base Router and Router Table Combo K11RTA-0
High-value 12-amp router and router table combo that’s a great fit for new woodworkers that want more than what DIY models offer

Price: $179

Ryobi 18V One+ Compact Trim Router PCL424
Upgraded cordless option that’s more compact and adds variable speed control while remaining affordable

Price: $79 bare tool, $119 kit with a 2.0Ah battery and charger

Best DIY Wood Routers for Home and Project Use

Greenworks 24V Compact Trim Router PA271K
High-value brushless model that packs high-speed performance into a surprisingly affordable package

Price: $119.99 bare tool, $129.99 kit with a 2.0Ah battery and charger

HART 20V Trim Router HPRR01
Affordable single-speed cordless option that comes in under $100 with a battery and charger

Price: $88 bare tool, $99 kit with a 1.5Ah battery and charger

Masterforce 2 1/2HP Plunge/Fixed Base Router Combo
Solid high-value starter set with more power than most mid-size models and includes a case to store everything in

Price: $179.99

What Are Wood Routers Used For?

Wood routers spin a bit at a high rate of speed for the purpose of removing material, usually wood. They do more than simply shape, though. The design of router bits gives them a wide range of applications such as cutouts to make letters or patterns, adding a decorative edge, and cutting dovetails or other joints.

Best Wood Router Buying Guide – What We Look For

Corded vs Cordless

As cordless routers become more prominent, it’s certainly understandable to draw toward their convenience. However, they’re not a good fit for everyone. At least not yet. Routers are power-hungry, and the battery life is usually measured in linear feet based on a roundover in softwood. Brushless compact models might cut up to 250 feet on a charge. If you’re in a production situation, you can easily outwork your charger’s ability to keep one battery charged while the other one is in use. In that case, a corded model is the better choice. Cordless models are often the best choice for DIYers, jobsite carpenters, and remodelers who are working in smaller batches.

The other big consideration is price. Corded routers are less expensive once you add the cost of batteries and chargers.

Power used to be more of a conversation, but with brushless motors and advanced batteries, cordless models really can keep up with their corded counterparts. While there are plenty of compact palm routers that use battery power, the choices are limited in the plunge router space, maxing out around 2.25 HP. For anything stronger than that, you only have corded options.

Power and Speed

Routers typically come with an HP rating to give you a relative idea of their power. The collet also gives you a clue—compact palm routers often won’t accept the larger 1/2-inch shank router bits to keep you from overworking the motor.

For the top speed, 22,000 is a good baseline, and higher than that is even better. The big thing is to make sure you get a model with variable speed, so you can dial down that speed when you’re working with materials that require it.

Depth Adjustments

Routers have two main adjustments—macro and micro. The macro adjustment gets your depth in the neighborhood and your micro adjustments dials it in perfectly. No matter which model is the best wood router for you, you’re going to be using both adjustments frequently.

Our favorite models have a quick release clamp or lever for the macro adjustments to make lightning-fast changes (or to swap bases) paired with a smooth micro adjustment dial.

High-contrast markings on the depth ring are another nice bonus.

Sight Window

While some routing is a simple roundover across the edge, other jobs require a significant amount of precision on your part. Having an excellent line of sight to the router bit is critical to ensuring you cut everything you need to while avoiding cutting into what you don’t.

Look for a large viewing window that keeps the bit visible while you’re holding it, along with LED lights to help you keep an eye on things.

Ergonomics

The physical design of your router can help make the tool an extension of your hands when it all comes together just right. Most compact palm routers have a simple barrel design, but they can vary in diameter and the placement of rubber overmold. Plunge and fixed router bases have a bit more variation in their designs.

Whatever model you’re considering, see how the grip feels in your hand from a working position to see what’s going to be the most comfortable for you.

Available Accessories

There are a number of accessories you may want right out of the gate or in the future, so take a look at what’s available for the models you’re considering. Many third-party accessories are also available, so it’s not necessarily critical that your brand has them all. Some of the top accessories we use include:

  • Fixed bases
  • Plunge bases
  • Fences and edge guides
  • Vacuum adapters

Price and Value

Nearly everyone starts their search for the best wood router with some kind of budget in mind. Price isn’t everything, though. Take a look at the router as a whole to see which one offers the best bang for your buck. Start with the performance level you need for the kind of work you’re doing. Then consider what must-have features are on your list. From there, see which one feels the best in your hands. At that point, you should have narrowed it down to a couple of models at the most and it’s a much easier choice.

If you’re shopping for a cordless router, you can get the bare tool for a lower price than buying a kit if you’re already stocked up on batteries. However, kits are a great way to add a fresh battery or two for much less than buying them individually, and there are also some woodworking bundles that bump the value proposition even higher.

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