Having a dependable wood router is crucial to woodworking, whether for work or hobby. There is no shortage of available word routers in the market and that expansive pool carries with it the risk of choosing the wrong one that doesn’t fit your unique needs and preferences. Suffice to say, there are a lot of high- performing and decent routers you can find, Comparoid provides a detailed review on the best routers in the market today. For first- time buyers, choosing the right one can be quite challenging, but with the right guidance and maybe good recommendations from friends, you might be able to make the smartest choice.
For beginners in routing we recommend starting off with a small fixed-base router, also known as trim router. Don’t buy big powerful routers, something in the range between 1-hp and 1-1/2-hp will be sufficient to all your needs. When you master the skills of routing you can move up to a larger fixed-based or plunge router in the range from 1¾ to 3½ hp. The main features when you’re buying a wood router must be: soft-start motor, smooth-operating depth-adjustment mechanism, comfortable handles or grip, push-button arbor lock for one-wrench bit changes, and a flexible power cord that’s at least 8 ft. long.
After you find routers with mentioned five features, you also need to look out for the following characteristics of your new router:
Using Handheld V/S Mounting The Router On A table
A router can be used handheld or mounted on a router table. With a handheld router you get more portability, and can do intricate cuts. On the other hand a mounted router is more precise and safer to use with larger router bits. Table mounted routers are used mostly for grooves and dadoes.
A fixed base router with above table height adjustments is the best router for table mounting. For us, Triton TRA001 is the best router for router tables. However, usually routers with above table height adjustment are comparatively expensive. But, you can mount any fixed base router along with a router lift. For a handheld router it will depend on the types of work you will want to do such as a plunge base router is best for work that requires router bits depth adjustment whereas a trim router is best for doing intricate cuts.
You can also interchangeably use your router as handheld or mounted. But, the ideal setup would be to have a dedicated router for a router table. It will save you from the hassle of setting up the router each time you need to work on the table. This will get very tiresome if you do lots of work with the router and router table.
Go For Comfort
Deciding primarily based on comfort may not sound like a smart idea when choosing a wood router, but in the long run, it spells much of the ease and satisfaction in woodworking. A router you are comfortable handling means more time at work without putting a strain on your body. To do this, hold a router in a position like you are actually using it for a project. If possible, do a test drive to see if you are okay with its weight and you gain good control. If you have the time and opportunity, try out at least five wood routers and you’ll notice a huge difference between them in handling.
Choose a Well-Built Router
When it comes to doing excellent woodwork, settling for a half decent router for the sake of affordability is not a wise decision. It will only cost you more over time. Doing projects need precision and control and one that easily gives up on you while working on projects is a price no one would be willing to pay. Choose a router with a strong built and solid base, this is extremely important for a good woodwork performance.
Wood routers consist of a case that houses a motor which spins the router’s blade or bit. Wood router case is important for insulation of the motor and comes equipped with handles to guide the router across the material to be formed or cut. The next important part is the collet or metal clamping sleeve that holds the bit in place at the base of the router. All of these parts must be made from high quality and durable materials if you want a dependable long lasting tool.
Plunge vs. Fixed Wood Router
There is much difference between plunge routers and fix routers, so you need to set up initially on what you prefer. Fixed routers are good for basic works like shaping edges and making joints. A plunge router, on the other hand, allows cuts away from the edge and provides more precise control on router bits entry. The difference, of course, in price is evident also.
The plunge wood routers have a spring-loaded base that allows the bit to be pushed down into the wood. You can also lock the base at a specific depth. With plunge router you can change the bit depth while running by unlocking the depth release and moving the base in or out. The advantage of plunge wood router is evident because the cut can begin in the middle of a piece of wood instead from the edge. Also, plunge wood routers offer you more versatility but they can be harder to use.
With fixed base wood router you must fix the depth of the blade prior to use and you can’t adjust it while the router is running. Adjustments are most commonly made by twisting the housing to screw or unscrew the router in the base, thereby moving the router bit up and down. Fixed base wood routers are great for edge cuts and moulding designs that require straight line precision. They are lighter weight and easier to use than plunge routers. In general, fixed base router is a popular choice of beginners and performs well when fitted to a router table.
Choice of Horsepower
Power is important to any wood router and this is something you need to give ample consideration. We already said that for basic works like shaping and basic joints creation, a router with lesser horsepower may suffice. However, for more intricate woodwork when you become skilled in handling a router, you may need a stronger power. Work that takes off larger router bits requires more power. The power of the router is always connected with the difficulty of the tasks and the amount of time you use the router. For larger tasks that require a lot of time you’ll need a stronger router, it’s simple as that.
The number and type of router bits serve as a clincher when comparing routers that have almost similar price and power. When the bits necessary for your project is not included in your choice, you may need to buy a separate on, which means additional spending. However, be wary of irregularly inexpensive routers with a huge range of bits, it may have a setback in performance to compensate for the wide router range.
You probably noticed that router bits come in a variety of styles to create many different design cuts in a piece of wood. Some bits are used to cut grooves in the wood, while others are made to shape designs on the edge of a piece of wood. Some of most commonly use router bits are: beading, chamfer, cove, dado, dovetail, rabbeting, Roman Ogee, round nose, round over and V-groove.