Wood Router Showdown: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Routers of 2024 

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by teamobn

We literally handpicked these routers for you based on their performance, toughness, versatility, and value for money.
We literally handpicked these routers for you based on their performance, toughness, versatility, and value for money.

Wood routers are an essential tool for the serious craftsman. No, we’re not talking about the kind that forwards data packets.

The wood router to which we refer is the woodworker’s most important precision tool. Woodworking, after all, is an art that demands exactitude; and exactitude demands a top-quality tool.

Since woodworkers, contractors, and DIYers will shape wood in a variety of ways, many own more than one router.  

This multi-faceted and changing need has given rise to an entire industry in which companies have built brands and enduring enterprises on the tools they produce.

The 5 Best Wood Routers You Can Buy Right Now

With a plethora of options flooding the market, choosing the right wood router can be an intimidating task. Don’t worry, though, as we’ve put a few of them to the test for you and put together a list that narrows your options to only the best on the market.

We literally handpicked these routers for you based on their performance, toughness, versatility, and value for money. So, let’s cut into the world of routers and unleash your woodworking potential. 

Since woodworkers, contractors, and DIYers will shape wood in a variety of ways, many own more than one router.
Since woodworkers, contractors, and DIYers will shape wood in a variety of ways, many own more than one router.

1. Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit: The King of the Hill

When it comes to wood routers, with think the Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit is simply outstanding. This versatile router kit offers unmatched performance and precision and is easy to use, making it an essential tool for any woodworker who takes pride in the work.

Despite its compact size, the Makita RT0701CX7 packs a punch with its 1-1/4 horsepower motor. It delivers ample power for a wide range of applications, allowing you to endeavour both light and heavy-duty tasks with ease.

This wood router’s compact design makes it easy to handle and maneuver, even in tight spaces, ensuring maximum control and precision. The Makita RT0701CX7 is incredibly lightweight and portable, too, which we are sure both professional woodworkers and DIY will appreciate. 

Power and Precision at Your Fingertips

The 1-1/4 HP motor packed into this router allows excellent performance. With this much power at your fingertips, you can work on a wide range of routing tasks.

And with a range of 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, you can adjust the speed according to the material and task at hand.  We tested the router and we found it good for trimming edges and creating intricate patterns. The motor’s high-speed capability gave us smooth and precise cuts every time. 

The electronic speed control maintains the speed of the motor under any load. This reduces start-up twists and also ensures the prevents the router from burning out. 

Easy Depth Adjustment and a Joy to Use

For depth adjustments and base installations, the engineers at Makita chose a cam lock system for the RT070CX7. The plunge base uses a depth of between 0 to 1- 3/8 inches, which permits easy penetration.

To adjust the depth, you open the lock lever from the side and make the cam move upwards or downwards. You need to keep pressing the fast-feed button to raise the stopper pole. You do that until you reach the required depth. The whole process is easy and simple.

This tool was a joy to use. Whether for the seasoned professional or the enthusiastic hobbyist, we think the Makita RT0701CX7 wood router’s powerful performance, versatility, user-friendly features, durability, and added value make it the best on the market right now.

Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit

2. DEWALT DWP611PK Wood Router Kit: Flexible and Versatile

The DEWALT DWP611PK Router Kit is a versatile and powerful wood router that delivers exceptional performance in a compact package. With its 1.25-HP max torque motor and variable speed control, this router will handle a wide range of woodworking tasks with aplomb.

The top portion of the router’s body is made of DeWalt’s now familiar yellow ABS plastic. The on and off switch is on the lower side of the plastic housing. The switch has a clear rubber protector that protects it against wood shavings and dust.

Right above the power switch is the variable-speed dial that allows you to adjust the RPM from a minimum of 16000 to a blazing 27000 RPM maximum. The soft start, 1.25 HP motor is designed with air vents that direct airflow over the motor to keep it cool.

Lightweight and Precise

The main body of the router is made of machined aluminium that helps to give a good level of precision and lightweight characteristics. 

The fixed and plunge base options provide flexibility for different cutting depths and applications. Its ergonomic design ensures comfort during prolonged use, while the durable construction guarantees long-lasting reliability.

To test the DeWalt DWP611PK, we used both the plunge base and the fixed base to make a variety of different cuts. We started by create a finished edge on a piece of pine.  We were quite pleased with the results. The router made a smooth, even edge and was easy to control due to its compact size. 

Excellent Reliability and Cutting Performance

When we switched the router on, we felt the motor slowly ramp up to the desired speed. Now, that is not to say that it took long. Slow, by our standards, is just a few tenths of a second. The advantage of slow start motors in this case is that you get none of the jerking you usually experience when the full torque of the motor surges instantly.

We found using this router quite satisfying. Whether you’re a professional or a DIY enthusiast, we are sure the DEWALT DWP611PK Wood Router Kit will exceed your expectations with its reliability, excellent cutting performance, and efficiency.

We are equally sure that it deserves the second spot on our list of the best of the best wood routers of 2024.

“No problems with this machine, is sturdy, well made, and can handle everything,” says one reviewer on Amazon. “This brand is a guarantee of quality and durability …” We could not agree more.

DEWALT DWP611PK Wood Router Kit

3. Bosch 1617EVSPK: The Powerhouse Performer

When it comes to power and performance, the Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Combo Kit stands tall. This beastly wood router boasts a robust 2.25 horsepower motor. This guarantees a tool that can slice through the toughest wood without the slightest hiccup.

We had fun testing this tool. The variable speed control allowed us to adjust the RPM from 8,000 to 25,000, providing the versatility we needed to accomplish delicate tasks as well as those that require razor-sharp brute force.

Sturdy and Versatile 

The device comes with two bases. You get a standard wooden base that with a clear bottom, allowing you to track the router as it cuts wood.  You also get a plunge base for more precise and detailed cuts.

The motor as well as well as its bases are inside an aluminium case that feels sturdy and strong and should last a few years without any damage.

Bosch includes an adapter for use with this tool’s snap-in guide bushings. But you will need to buy another adapter to use Porter-Cable-style guide bushings.

Of all the models we tested, the plunge-base depth scale on the 1617EVSPK wood router was the easiest to read. The depth is marked in inches and millimeters and the spring-loaded plunge lock is easily accessible. You do not even need to remove your hand from the handle.  A clear chip shield on the plunge base flips down for easy access to the collet.

Small But Powerful

The Bosh 1617EVSPK is a beast with its 2.25 horsepower motor. This is at par with large table models. And even though it is a medium-sized router, it has a variable speed dial that ranges from 8,000, the lowest speed setting, up to 25,000 rotations per minute.

You get six different settings. The first 3 range from 8,000 RPM to 16,000 RPM. From testing, we say these speeds are perfect to use with large diameters and cutting through metals.

On the other hand, the next 3 settings range from 20, 000 to 25,000. They are ideal for cutting through smaller diameters and softer materials, like plastics.

The ergonomic design and comfortable grip make theBosch 1617EVSPK wood router a pleasure to use, reducing the risk of fatigue during long woodworking sessions. The included plunge and fixed bases offer flexibility and precision for various cutting depths.

We think Bosch has truly delivered a powerhouse, versatile performer with the 1617EVSPK. We loved this wood router so much that we might just buy it as a gift for our editor. We think it more than merits a place on our list of the top 5 of 2024.

Bosch 1617EVSPK

4. DEWALT DW618PK: Precision at Your Fingertips

The 12-amp motor delivers ample power to handle a wide range of tasks, while the electronic variable speed control maintains consistent cutting speeds.
The 12-amp motor delivers ample power to handle a wide range of tasks, while the electronic variable speed control maintains consistent cutting speeds.

When it comes to precision, the DeWalt DW618PK is unmatched. This wood router features a precise micro-fine depth adjustment ring that enables accurate cuts to the smallest fraction.

The 12-amp motor delivers ample power to handle a range of tasks, while the electronic variable speed control maintains consistent cutting speeds. This kit is extremely easy to maneuver, making it suitable for beginners and amateurs.

That said, we think even those with some experience using wood routers will find things to like about this kit, too. It offers durability, versatility, and enhanced features that allow it to make perfect cuts.

That’s why we think the DeWalt DW618PK router kit is a great option for those who are a little inexperienced with routers but will need a more advanced and versatile option after a year or two.

Sufficient Speed Settings 

The clear sub-base on the DW618PK enhances visibility, allowing you to monitor your work closely. This is a router that answers the needs of precision-oriented woodworkers.

Like the other routers on our list, the DeWalt DW618PK has a variable speed setting. This setting allows the device to range from 0 to 8,000 and 0 to 24,000 RPM. To shift speed, you simply turn the variable speed dial, which is easy and convenient.

The first dial produces a maximum speed of 8,000 RPM. When you dial up to 3, the tool then gives you speeds of up to 14,000 RPM. The DW618PK will then go up from 18,000 to 24,000 RPM when you switch the dial from 4 to 6 for smaller bits and cutters.

Speed Control and Versatility

The speed comes with an electronic speed control. This helps the tool maintain its speed under load. This also reduces stress on the tool’s parts and prevents burning. 

Between the variable speed and its combo base, the DeWalt DW618PK is one of the most versatile routers on the market. You can have just about any diameter bit or cutter with this tool. You can make also your specific cut with either base. If you are looking for a router with versatility, then this pick should be on your shortlist.

So, why does the DW618PK’s older brother, the DW611PK, occupy a higher spot on our list? Well, our test kit came without table mount screws.

The kit came with a manual but there was no mention of the size of the screw we needed to mount the tool properly. We eventually found out through another reviewer that electrical screws work fine.

Still, we liked the DW618PK’s functions and performance, and the missing screws and the obvious lack of much-needed information were not enough for us to exclude it from our list.


5. PORTER-CABLE PCE6430: Compact and Efficient

The PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 Laminate Wood Router is a compact and efficient tool that offers reliable performance for your woodworking needs.  Powered by a 4.5-amp motor, this corded router delivers a single speed of 31,000 RPM, ensuring consistent and precise cuts.

This laminate trimmer router comes with a micro-set collar and single-hand control features. These features combine for easy use and quick, effortless, and accurate bit height adjustments.

At 3.6lbs, it is an ideal product for DIY enthusiasts and homeowners who require the service of a portable router for trimming and hinge routing operations. 

One Speed, Multiple Woodworking Applications

With its ability to trim 1/4-inch laminate, it’s perfect for a variety of applications.  The PCE6430’S power and performance suits most trimming, edge forming, hinge routing, and other woodworking applications.

While the single-speed feature might make it seem limited when compared to the flexibility of the other wood routers in this short catalog, the durable construction of the PCE6430 offers real durability.

This Porter Cable router features ¼ inch trimmer to handle small jobs making it a handy tool for cutting different wood applications and a straightforward micro-set collar for quick and accurate bit height adjustment.

We think this single-speed compact router is your best choice for dovetails, mortises, and some small edge forming and hinge routing. This is all mostly thanks to the robust 31,000 RPM 4.5amp motor and smart ergonomics that permit single-hand control.

Ergonomics and Maneuverability

The PCE5430 boasts features that permit easy maneuverability and adjustments, as well. There are quick-release clips to remove the motor from the base. You can also make simple and easy single-wrench bit changes with a spindle lock button.

The PCE6430 also features an LED light and a clear sub-base that improves visibility during operation. The LED light also allows easy usage in places with insufficient lighting. 

This unit includes a durable aluminium base that lasts you a long time to come while the attached depth ring allows rapid and precise bit height modifications. The smart ergonomics included in this unit enable easy, single-handed control.

The compact design makes this router easy to handle even in tight spaces. We liked the grip, too. The ergonomic design provided comfort during lengthy testing.

If you’re seeking a wood router that will stand the test of time, we say the Porter-Cable 4630 is a great choice. That’s why it takes the fifth slot on our list of the best.


How to Choose the Right Wood Router for Your Project

Choosing the right wood router for your workshop can be a challenging task, considering the wide assortment of models and special features available on the market. Before choosing a tool for the list above, it’s best to determine your specific requirements.

Are you a hobbyist or a professional woodworker? What types of projects do you usually undertake? Answering these questions will help you identify the key features you should look for in a wood router.

Next, consider the product’s horsepower rating. Higher horsepower means greater cutting capability, which is crucial when you work with tough materials. If you mainly work with softer types of wood, a lower horsepower wood router should suffice.

There are two main types of wood routers: fixed-base and plunge routers. Fixed-base routers are more straightforward to use and provide stability for edge shaping and grooving.

On the other hand, plunge routers offer more versatility, allowing you to make plunge cuts and control the depth of the cut.

Pay attention to the variable speed options in the brands and models that are inclined to favor. Different projects require different speeds, so having a router with adjustable speed settings will give you greater control over your cuts and help achieve smoother finishes.

Ergonomics is also important. Woodworking can be a demanding task. You want a word router with comfortable handles and a well-balanced design to minimize when you need to – or simply feel like – working a few hours more on your project.

Consider the brand reputation and read customer reviews, too. The more reputable brands are likely known for their quality and reliability. Reading feedback from other users can give you valuable insights into the performance and durability of each router on this list.

By following these simple guidelines, you should be able to choose the best wood router for your specific needs. Remember, selecting the right tool is an investment in your woodworking journey. The right one will produce the best results.



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