Woodworking is a hobby which comes with a lot of tools and equipment, some of which you would really need in your workshop if you are serious about your craft.
If you are interested in collecting tools and equipment or woodworking, you probably already own a router table so getting the best router lift for yourself would be very beneficial for you.
Having a router lift would allow you to adjust height from the top of your table instead of from under it and you'd also be able to change bits without having to remove the router from your table.
Basically, a router lift is a mounting plate for your routing table which comes with a carriage which would hold your router.
Router lifts remove the 3 major inconveniences of router tables namely, to be able to adjust height from above the table, to be able to change bits from above the table without removing the router and to be able to make precise micro adjustments.
We've tested a lot of router lifts and generally, a lot of them had performed very well, adding convenience to your whole router table system.
This article is all about the best router lifts which can serve as a guide for you to make a choice for your woodworking needs.
First off, let's take a look at the product we believe is out there on the market and would give you the best woodworking experience
Table of Contents
- How to Choose a Router Lift?
- The Best Router Lifts Available: My Top 8 Picks
- #1. Bosch Under-Table Router Base - Convenience
- #2. Kreg Precision Router Lift - Universality
- #3. JessEm 02120 Router Lift - Locking System
- #4. JessEm 02310 Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift - Affordable
- #5. AHBLQD Lab Jack Stand Table Lift - Stainless Steel
- #6. Incra Mast-R-Lift for Rockler Tables - Ball-Bearing Mechanism
- #7. Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking PRL350PADS Router Lift - Quick-Lift
- #8. SawStop RT-LFT - Four-Post Router Lift
- Why Should You Trust Us?
- How We Made Our Choice?
- What to Look Forward To?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
How to Choose a Router Lift?
When finding the best router lift for your woodworking needs, you'd have to consider a number of factors. These factors would help you make sure that you've picked the perfect product which you would be happy to use in your craft.
Aside from being easy to use, your router lift must have certain elements and pass certain standards so that you are sure that you're getting your money's worth.
Consider these factors when choosing your router lift:
1. Durable Construction
The materials used in making the router lift is probably the most important factor to consider as you would most likely want a router lift which won't break down after only being used a few times so you would be able to use it for years.
It won't be a good idea to pick a router lift made from plastic or other cheap materials.
Typically, the more durable kinds of router lifts are made with steel, cast iron or aluminum.
2. Compatibility with Routers
Especially if you already own a router, you'd have to make sure that your router lift will fit with what you have.
Manufacturers always state which routers are compatible with their products so you would have to look into that.
It would be best to find a router lift which is compatible with a lot or with the majority of available routers so that you won't have to worry about using it with different routers if the need arises.
3. The Plunge Type
Typically, router lifts are most ideal to work with a router with a fixed plunge, wherein the motor can be removed so that the lift can be placed easily.
If you have a router with a motor plunge that cannot be removed, you'd have to check the specifications of the lift to see if it fits into your router.
4. The Locking Mechanism
Choosing a router lift with a locking mechanism - whether it's a simple lever lock or a bolt lock system would allow you to fix your lift on the router, which would give you better accuracy and versatility.
5. The Height Adjustment
Height adjustment can either be done above the table or underneath the table and it can be done using a thumbwheel system or a crank handle system.
You would have to see which you are most comfortable with and check if the product you plan to choose gives you that option.
6. Small Height Adjustment Increments
A nifty feature you can look for when choosing the best router lift is that it would allow you to make even the smallest of increments when making adjustments.
This would give you more control over the height adjustment and it would ensure that you will be able to make perfect cuts every time.
This can be very useful especially when your work requires a lot of precision and the difference between cuts you need to make are very small.
Without this feature, you might have a difficult time adjusting the height to what you actually need.
7. Ball Bearings and Lift Adapters
Ball bearings allow for easy maintenance of the unit as well as a smooth height adjustment process. You have to look into units which have this feature as it is more convenient.
Also make sure that your lift has adapters and insert holes to be able to accommodate your router.
This is so that you won't have to drill the holes in the insert plates yourself.
The Best Router Lifts Available: My Top 8 Picks
Novice woodworkers may find themselves browsing through countless pages online, learning, and mastering the art of carpentry and discovering more about the trade tools.
For example, router tables are quite scary at first, but once you get the hang of it and the lifts that go with them - you'll feel like a pro.
That's why we present a straightforward, yet elegant Bosch Under-Table Router Base that removes all the troubles.
From the looks of it, the sheer design of this device might not seem promising, but its efficiency lies in simplicity.
This lift is compatible with most of the router tables on the market, and it allows for bit height adjustment from above the table.
It also features a T-wrench that enables you to set the height without bending over and losing valuable time and effort.
It also features threaded holes that are needed to mount the lift onto the table, and all the hardware you'll need to do this is included in the package.
The base of the lift is wide enough to support the use of more substantial bits while the quick-clamp system does its job.
Besides, this router lift is quite affordable compared to the other products on the market, which is a huge bonus considering that the average price is not that low.
All in all, there's no going wrong with a Bosch product that's proven to be a customer favorite. The universality and overall efficiency of this product make it the best one currently on the market!
Moving on, we have another terrific product that some would argue also deserves the first place. We present the Kreg Precision Router Lift.
First off, every handyman and artisan know that Kreg is a well-respected company when it comes to the manufacture of tools, especially ones used for woodworking. That's why you can take a breather when it comes to this product.
One major problem that all professional woodworkers face is if their router lift will fit the specific router table in question.
Rest assured, this lift supports all Kreg router tables, and it fits the most competitive brands on the market. You won't have to deal with extensions or modifiers anymore!
The lift itself is quite straightforward and easy to operate.
The crank reaches from above the table and enables you to adjust the height without having to reach down; it's all done in seconds.
Also, the entire process simplifies the adjustment of bits because it allows you to do it from a straight position.
It features a bearing-guided carriage that allows for a quick and smooth operation without any hassle.
However, once you buy and start using this product, you'll notice right away that it's not as fancy and elegant as some other competitive products on the market. Still, it's a fantastic purchase you'll not regret!
For our third pick, we have an exclusive product that you'll undoubtedly encounter online while searching for router lifts. Take a look at the JessEm 02120 Router Lift.
By comparing the price and the quality of this product, you'll see why it's so well regarded in these circles.
First off, it has five double-sealed bearings that keep the lubricant inside and keep the contaminants outside, thus prolonging its life span.
Furthermore, the threaded spindle in all JessEm products has a tension feature that eliminates vibration, backlash, and any unexpected changes during routing.
Also, for professional use, there's a locking system that's added on the top of the device that helps perform heavy-duty operations. You'll operate it with the same crank handle you use to adjust the height of the router table.
In terms of durability, you'll be amazed by how much this device offers. It's built out of premium materials, and combined with the double-sealed bearings; you'll be set for many years to come.
However, some customers have noted having trouble with setting up the device.
To install it, you'll need to secure all the bolts and nuts safely, and the problem is that the instructions don't seem to be too helpful.
Also, price is a more significant problem, but if you're serious as a woodworker and want the right equipment, it's worth the investment!
As you know, router lifts are capable of transforming any type of working surface into a steady and stable router table.
So, why would you invest a lot when you don't have to? Here's our budget pick, the JessEm Rout-R-Lift.
Let's first see what the design has to offer.
This router lift's dimensions are 9.25 x 11.75 x 10.1 inches, and it weighs 8.8 lbs, which is less than average for router lifts and can come in handy in terms of portability.
Now, what makes most of these lifts special is that they're able to fit a variety of router motors thanks to their build, and this one doesn't disappoint.
It's not compatible with many different models, but it's still applicable for many different manufacturers’ choices, such as Bosch, DeWalt, PC, and Craftsman.
Features it has should be familiar to you since they didn't invent hot water with this product. It has a ball-bearing, double-sealed construction that allows you to adjust the height with ease and smoothness in the middle of your work.
Also, it has hydraulic shafts that are fastened in place for more stability.
Now, even though it can withstand the pressure, can the material hold up?
Well, it's made from aluminum in combination with a phenolic plate that offers superb resilience.
Speaking of which, resilience is something you get accustomed to quite fast with CNC-built machines, which is the one in question.
Mounting and dismounting will take you some time, and that's the main disadvantage of this router lift.
So, if you have multiple routers and you purchase this lift, you should be careful to switch them only when it's completely necessary.
Moving on from the top three picks, we present the persuasive AHBLQD Lab Jack Stand Table Lift, a device that will make a massive impact in your working shed.
From first glance, you'll notice that this is not a regular router lift.
It's a table lift with universal applications that can serve in many fields, such as an accessory in work stations where heavy-duty objects need support.
However, this table lift has proven to be quite efficient as a router lift since it accommodates any table you want to use.
Still, it does lack some of the functions that router lifts are typically known for, such as the top crank handle that enables you to adjust the height without needing to bend over or crouch.
It is quite efficient in carrying a heavy load - it can support 6.6 lbs, and the height ratio spans from 43 to 150 mm (1.69" - 5.90"). The height itself is regulated by the blue knob that you can see on the pictures.
Nevertheless, some customers noted that when you use it as a router lift, it has some problems starting from the flat position, but once you crank it up to a higher place, it'll work like a charm.
The most significant benefit of getting this table lift instead of a regular router lift is the price - it's incredibly affordable. If it does the job for you, it's undoubtedly worth the risk.
Next up on the list is another premium product whose price might shock you, but so will its efficiency. Meet the Incra Lift for Rockler Tables.
First, the most crucial question is the one revolving accessibility, meaning will this router lift fit your table.
You'll be glad to know that this lift is compatible with a lot of competitive brands on the market, including Makita, Bosch, Porter-Cable, Milwaukee, DeWalt, and more.
Since it is a premium product, you know that all the features are there.
You don't have to bend your back and spine to adjust the height of your table; you can do it from the arms-reach. The crank handle is neatly located at the top and allows for quick access.
Furthermore, the ball-bearing system that this device is proud of having is there to make the entire process go smoothly but also to keep the friction at a minimum. This will allow you to do the job with no vibrations, backlashes, and unexpected jerks of any kind.
Also, it's quite easy to set up and install since the instructions are so clear. You'll get all the right info regarding where all the bolts and nuts go, and you'll be done in a flash.
Based on the customer reviews and overall effect that it had on the people that purchased it, it's safe to say that this device deserves a spot on the best router lift list.
However, price does pose a bit of a problem, but it's definitely worth the investment.
If you're looking for a straightforward router lift to get the job done without much hassle, it's time to try out the Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Router Lift.
The reason all people love this router lift, professionals and beginners, is due to the fact that it's simplified to the point that you don't need to bother much to use it.
Furthermore, it features three self-leveling rings that lock in by twisting and save you a ton of time.
Thanks to the Quick-Lift feature, you can adjust the height and the position with a single move of a thumb. If that doesn't work for you, the Quick-Lift wrench can bypass the adjustment system and elevate the router manually.
It can work with most standard-sized routers, but you'll see that the best fit is with 28190 routers.
Also, it's compatible with certain models from DeWalt, Craftsman, and Porter-Cable. If you're thinking about table holes, the router lift can fit 9 1/4" x 11 3/4" x 3/8" plates.
Many customers have noted that the best part of owning this router lift is the fact that you can mount and dismount new routers relatively quickly and without much hassle.
However, every product has some flaws and, in this case, it could be that it's a bit overpriced. It's still worth the money, but you can find a similar router lift for a smaller investment.
Still, you're getting great quality, durability, and peace of mind.
In the end, we've saved another fantastic product that you should by no means disregard for landing in the last place. Take a good look at the SawStop RT-LFT.
Professional-use tools often differ from those made for beginners - even though they may look the same, specific characteristics can be real game-changers.
For example, this router lift is built to withstand heavy-duty processes with the utmost precision, due to its four-post design.
This type of design gives the lift more durability and strength, which is vital for lifting heavy objects and workpieces.
Also, it features adaptive collars that make this lift compatible with most router tables on the market, which is again a great bonus.
A locking system is included to ensure that the table's height stays the same during doweling, drilling, or gluing without damaging the workpiece.
Still, you might opt-out for some other router lift, considering that it does not go well with the most router tables on the market without the collars.
So, it's essential to do your research and contact SawStop to get the right info since this is an expensive product, and you shouldn't waste your time or money if it's not worth it.
In conclusion, it goes without saying that it's a quality product that deserves to be on this list!
Why Should You Trust Us?
Woodworking can end up as a very expensive craft or hobby as it comes with a lot of tools and equipment needed to be able to accomplish tasks easier.
Whether you're a beginner or a pro, you would always put a lot of thought and consideration into how much you would be willing to spend on quality items for your woodworking.
There are tons of products out there which claim to be the best and it can get extremely difficult to actually find the best product which would suit your needs as well as your budget.
If you are a professional woodworker, finding the best product on the market is crucial especially if you are willing to spend more just to get the model with the best features.
If you're a newbie, on the other hand, you may want to start with more basic units or models which are affordable as well then move on to more expensive equipment as you gain more experience.
We know the value and importance of finding the best products in the market so we put in a lot of time and effort in doing research regarding woodworking equipment, such as router lifts.
We also put a lot of effort into making objective and honest reviews to help guide you in making your choice.
Not only that, but we take a step further and give you information on why it is beneficial to find the best router lift as well as a guide on how to choose the best one to suit your needs.
How We Made Our Choice?
Having to choose the best router lift from the wide array of options available online and in shops can be a big chore.
To make it easier for you, we've done enough reading and research in order to narrow down the options and find the best router lift in the market.
To be able to do this, we took into consideration all the factors you need to think about when choosing the best product. Keeping these factors in mind, we did research to find out which are the best products out there and made a list.
From that list we compared the products according to features and specifications as well as actual customer reviews about the different products. The latter was extremely helpful as it clearly discussed the product based on experience from actual users.
In reality, some of the router lifts had minor flaws which were not declared in some reviews. By looking through different resources online as well as woodworking forums, we were able to learn about these flaws and add them in our objective reviews.
We took all these necessary steps in order to give you a short list of the best products out there.
What to Look Forward To?
There are a lot of benefits to finding the best router lift and actually installing it into your router table.
If you are new to woodworking, you may be excited by these benefits while if you are a woodworking pro, you may still learn something new from the benefits we've listed for you.
Either way, it would be good for you to know these advantages so that you can apply them when you are already using your router lift.
1. A Solid Base Plate
Router lifts come with a sturdy and solid base plate which offers a lot more strength and stability that the insert plates of a typical router table.
If you have a more stable base, you will be able to enjoy working with less vibration and a lot more steadiness.
This is very important especially if you are planning to work on projects with finer details.
2. Ease of Use
Probably one of the major reasons why people get router lifts is the ease of use.
It can get quite tricky and challenging to have to adjust the height of your router bit and throughout a project, you'd have to do this a number of times.
With a router lift, height adjustment is made easier because of the mechanisms built into them.
3. Superior Precision
A router lift is an even device which typically comes with a ball bearing system. This allows you to adjust height smoothly and precisely.
You can even adjust the height up to a fraction of an inch without difficulty without compromising the accuracy.
4. A Standard Mount
Usually, a router lift comes with standard mounts which would allow you to easily attach your router insert on.
A majority of router inserts already have holes pre-drilled into them but if yours doesn't, all you'd have to do is drill the holes yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a router lift?
If you're not that thrilled about purchasing a brand new router table, a router lift could solve most of your problems.
It is a mounting device that can be integrated into any piece of working surface or a bench and transformed into a router table.
It's placed underneath the bench and serves as a socket for the router motor that holds it and helps adjust its height and position.
The cutting bit protrudes from the top, and you get an improvised router table.
Furthermore, having a router lift makes your job really easy since you can quickly change bits from the top without having to reach down and dismantle the router or the lift.
Is a router lift necessary?
In most cases, it is necessary if you don't have a quality router table.
In order to finish up a project and cut wood, you need stability for your router and its bits for maximum precision.
Not only does the router lift help you achieve that, but it also supports the router from underneath the table and gives you plenty of room to maneuver.
Are router lifts universal?
Most lifts can fit standard-sized routers, the 28190 models with 3.5-inch diameter motors, but that's not always the case.
As you can see from our reviews, most router lifts are made with design characteristics that fit certain models or routers from some manufacturers.
So, before you rush in to buy a new lift, either check the description or contact the manufacturer to see if the lift will fit your router.
Getting the right type of tool can mean the world to both a professional and beginner carpenter - precision is of utmost importance, and it yields the best results.
To ensure that your final product is in top shape, you should do the job using a proper router table that goes toe to toe with the Bosch Under-Table Router Base.
Bosch has been the leading manufacturer in appliances, tools, and machines for years and continues to impress with products such as this one.
The quality, build, and the price is something to aspire to. Don't waste your time and money with products that will not do the job the way Bosch's will.
- NEW AND IMPROVED: The Bosch RA1165 Under-Table Router Base is the new base for the 1617 1618 series routers, replacing the RA1164.
- ADUSTABLE: The RA1165 conveniently allows depth adjustment of bit height from above the table. The router base is designed for use with 1617, 1617EVS, 1617EVSPK routers.
- MOUNTABLE: The RA1165 base has threaded holes positioned in Bosch’s 4-hole subbase pattern and common 3-holes subbase pattern for mounting
- CONVENIENT: The wide 3-3 4 base opening allows for the use of larger bits while the quick clamp system allows the motor to be moved with ease for tool-free base changes.