There is a lot to consider before you buy a router table. From finding a table with the right slots to secure the feather board and an easily adjustable bit guard to getting the right accessories and learning how to avoid injuries, there is a long way to the right purchase of the best router table.
There are surely a lot of choices on the market. After all, router tables are very convenient woodworking machines. It's also true that the bigger the machine, the better. But unless you are a professional woodworker, you won't necessarily need to spend a fortune to buy a top router table for you.
Big router tables are expensive. As long as you get a router table with the right jigs, you are in business – even if you do personal work at home.
So, let's see how we can help you choose the best router table for money – whether you are an experienced professional, novice in the job or hobbyist.
Table of Contents
- How We Can Help You Choose the Right Router Table for You?
- Top 5 Router Table for Professionals - A Detailed Review
- Top 5 Router Tables for Hobbyists - A Detailed Review
- What is the Router Table?
- What You Can Do with Router Tables?
- Why You Need a Router Table to Work on Wood?
- How to Choose the Best Router Table?
- Frequently Asked Questions About Router Tables
- Your Safety is Important – Check Out What to Do and What to Avoid
How We Can Help You Choose the Right Router Table for You?
We walk you through the process of buying by presenting the best available router tables for money on the market currently.
As consumers, we all want the same thing: to find the best possible product for our needs at the most affordable price. That's our goal here.
We take a closer look of router tables and pinpoint their basic parts and functions. After thorough research, our team has gathered 5 top router tables for professionals and the 5 best router table machines for hobbyists.
Our reviews and overall approach on the subject will help you spend reasonably and still get the best router table to meet YOUR needs.
Top 5 Router Table for Professionals - A Detailed Review
This router table is an excellent value for money.
With 2 featherboards, which are easily adjustable, a dual outlet switch, a 2-1/2 inch dust collection port and a 6-foot cord, it's very convenient. It features an aluminum fence with MDF face plates. The router mounting plate is of aluminum too.
The best thing is that it's compatible with most routers and so it includes hardware for several of them. The large workspace, which measures 18-inches by 27-inches, allows you to have plenty of room while you are working. It also has a 3/8-inch by 3/4-inch slots to use for accessories.
The box also includes 3 rings, a starter pin and guard, shims and an adjustable clear guard.
It's designed to work with several routers, its price is low, there is a comfortable cabinet, it collects dust and makes less noise, and the box also includes shims. It’s an excellent choice.
So, let’s check out some of its characteristics. First of all, it’s tall. That’s a good thing. It has adjustable MDF face 4-7/8’’ x 25-1/8’’ plates and the aluminum plate is easily adjusted and stays flat.
There is a slot for the use of featherboards and other ¾-inch accessories and it features 2 dust collector ports with 2-1/2-inch vacuum hoses.
It also has a dual outlet switch with 6-foot cord. It’s stable, flat and helps for accurate cuts. It’s a superb choice.
It's an exceptional choice if you consider that you get a great router table at a low price.It's a sturdy machine and features a cast iron surface.
It fits perfectly all 27-inch deep x 1-1/2-inch thick right-tilt cabinet grade saws and contractor-grade table saws.
So, pay attention. The motor protrudes to the left. If you use the table as a tablesaw, you can remove the fence and hang it on j-hooks provided easily. The plate has an 8-1/4 by 11-3/4 inch opening and the table has a miter gauge track.
The dual fence slot configuration allows you to use the table on both sides so you won't have space issues. That makes it perfect for small workshops.
It features a T-slot and so accessories will be well-secured. It's durable, the fence comes with a bit guard, and has a dust collection port.
This is a very good deal.
You get a sturdy router table from a reliable brand and pay a low price. It has a high quality (to industrial standards) fence with adjustable faces and also a dust collector, new cam clamps and vertical jointing.
The machine has a full size insert plate and 3 Level-Loc reducing rings, which twist into place and lock. The table measures 16'' x 24'' and features MDF surface with an easy to slide top to make your work much easier.
It's pretty stable and sturdy since the table is made of heavy-duty steel, and so you can forget about vibrations
This is a great choice.
It's not the cheapest product on the market but if you consider that it's designed for professional use, it's a great deal. If you are a professional, you know that most pro router tables cost over $1k. So, it's a good bargain considering the machine's characteristics.
It has a T-squarefence made of aluminum which helps for precise cuts and allows you to easily use the miter slot. It's a good deal if you consider that it features a durable MDF top with easy-slide micro-dot surface, which enables you to slide boards easily. It absorbs vibrations as well as noise.
The plate works with any router and that's extremely helpful. The individual fence faces allow you to use the table as a vertical jointer.
It has dual rings, a steel stand that is adjustable from 31 to 36 inches in height, and enough workspace. It's very durable.
Top 5 Router Tables for Hobbyists - A Detailed Review
One of the greatest things with this router table is that it comes pre-assembled and its price tag will surprise you. The price is more than reasonable considering what it offers.
It has MDF top and two accessory storage containers, which are actually very convenient. There is a slot and two featherboards to help guide the workpiece. It also includes a starter pin in case you want to work with arched workpieces.
The bits change easily and no leveling is required. Although it is designed to fold (that's why it is very easy to set up), it's very stable and also features a tall fence.
It's a great table for hobbyists and is offered at an excellent price.The mounting template is designed to work with many routers.
This is a tool, which is directly attached to the workbench. It's a small router table for those with minimum expectations. It's very cheap and for a small router table it features a relatively large worktable – 8'' by 6''.
It's also versatile and fits the following tool models: 4000, 400, 3000, 398, 395, 300, 275, 285, 100, 200, 8220, 8200, 780, 800, 770 and 7700.
Although it is functional and can help you with several tasks, it might move a lot if it's not well-adjusted on the workbench. Basically it helps you convert rotary tools into a wood shaper.
If you are looking for a small router table, it's an excellent choice because it has a smooth surface and helps you edge, slot, sand and groove items easily even if they have irregular shapes.
If you are interested in a small router table at a relatively low cost, this one will do the job.
Its dimensions are ¾'' x 11-1/2'' x 15-1/2''. It is durable and made of vinyl, which is surfaced with MDF. It's compact and, thus, excellent for hobbyists interested in working on small projects.
It's adjustable and you can take it just anywhere. The pre-drilled holes at the back allow you to clamp it on the table. The base is drilled to fit most trim routers and the fence is compatible with the Rockler router table dust collector (this part is sold separately).
It's a top choice and has a fair price if you consider that the Bench Dog 40-001 is a real dog!!! It has won a prize for its one-of-a-kind forward offset router location and despite its apparent compact size, it offers plenty of workspace.
The table is 22-inch by 16-inch large and features a plastic laminate top.
What compensates for the high price is that it works with most routers since the bottom cabinet is 15'' in height and also helps to reduce noise and minimizes dust. It has an aluminum dual position fence and a T-slot.
It comes with the necessary hardware and it's versatile and portable. Although it is often recommended to hobbyists, it's an outstanding choice for professionals, too
This is a top choice for hobbyists, who can afford a tad over $100 and want their job done accurately. It's a fair bargain.
It has a large aluminum top (19-3/4-inch 16-3/4-inch), a 3/4-inch miter gauge slot, cast-in lip for table extensions support and several starter pin locations.
It features a split fence for laterally or front-to-back use, and a large 3-5/8-inch hole on the table and so you can use 3-1/2-inch diameter bits.
The legs are pretty tall and therefore many routers can be used.
Read more —
What is the Router Table?
Router tables are loved by woodworkers and hobbyists because they are versatile and can be used with or without bits to shape edges, cut slots, create moldings, form raised door panels or trim boards. The sky is the limit! The router is actually a woodworking machine, which can be fitted on a table.
Although it can be hand-held, table-mounted routers make the job easier and safer. And these are the basic reasons why you should find a top rated router table. And we can help with that.
We have selected excellent products in terms of convenience, price and quality, but before we present you the best router table reviews, let's take a tiny step back and discover some things about router tables.
There Are Two Types
#1: The plunge router– the entire body of the tool (including the bit) plunges and locks into the wood
#2: The fixed based router – the body of this tool moves into the wood manually
Both of these types can be used in router tables and the results of woodworking will be equally satisfactory. Newbies in the job or hobbyists must know that the router's bits turn counter clockwise.
To ensure the job is done well and you are safe, you must feed wood from right to left. This is imperative!
Main Parts of Router Table
What You Can Do with Router Tables?
Why You Need a Router Table to Work on Wood?
There is a very good reason why router tables are so popular among consumers – whether they are hobbyists or professional woodworkers. It's much more difficult to work with a router handfree and the results are not the same.
These are the reasons why you need a router table.
The above reasons also point out the benefits of using these machines.
As far as professionals are concerned, router tables enable them to undertake any job and have no restrictions. Their work is done much faster and the results are better.
But even homeowners, who look for home improvement solutions, or like to create their own furniture, router tables allow them to expand their options and use the machine for a plethora of tasks.
The overall safety - router tables provide - is also a plus for both professionals and amateurs.
Woodworkers spend their whole day working on wood and hobbyists do not have experience which is compensated by the stability of a first-class router table.
How to Choose the Best Router Table?
1. Get a Solid and Flat Top
It's absolutely necessary to get a table with a flat and rigid surface. This will help you cut and shape boards with precision. Tiny bumps and irregularities won't help you do the job right.
The table top must be durable because you will apply pressure while feeding boards. So, give great importance to the material of the surface. Due to its low price and durability, MDF is the best choice on the market. It should be 1'' thick at the very least.
The problem with this material is that it's not slippery enough to allow you to push boards, but there is a solution. Choose MDF tops surfaced with melamine. This material is slippery enough and will also protect MDF from wear. Another option is to get MDF surfaced with high-pressure laminate. It's even more durable, but also more expensive. So, go for it only if you are a professional.
Are you a professional?
In this case, you can forget about MDF altogether and select cast iron tops. This is the top material because it is extremely durable, flat and stable and absorbs vibrations, but it's also the most expensive choice.
2. Make Surer the Base Plate is Rigid and Flat
This is the part, which is nestled in the hole at the center of the router table. It must be durable enough to support the heavy weight of the router.
It must also fit perfectly at your router table so that the top surface will be flat. Since it hosts the bits, it must be easily adjusted to work with bits of all sizes.
Make sure the plate you choose is compatible with your router because some manufacturers drill them to match specific router models on the market.
Also avoid one-size-fits-all plates because they often lack the required strength. If you are planning to regularly remove the router to use it manually, make sure the router is mounted and removed easily, or you'll waste time.
3. Prefer Router Tables With Miter and T-slots
You might not need the miter slot in every job, but it's good to know that your router table includes the slot in case you want to create dadoes for example.
Some tables have T-slots so that the featherboard and other accessories will be well-secured.
4. The Fence Must Be Adjusted Easily
In order to control the cut, you need to apply pressure against the table but also against the fence. So, it must be very durable.
You must be able to set it straight and adjust it easily. It must also stay in place otherwise your job will turn into a nightmare.
There are one-piece and two-piece fences. Although split (two-piece) fences allow you to adjust the two pieces closer to the bit, their alignment can be very difficult.
And we remind you that the fence must be perfectly aligned or the board you are currently working on will bump in the protruding/misaligned part of the fence.
You won't have the same problem with one-piece fences since this is one solid piece of wood covering both the in-feed and out-feed sides.
The downside of one-piece fences?
You cannot adjust the opening around the bit, so it must be big enough to receive big bits. When you work with small bits, the board will not be supported when it travels along the opening.
Another disadvantage with one-piece fences is that you won't be able to set the in-feed section of the fence at an offset in the out-feed part, but that's solved by using shims.
5. The Base Must Be Stable
If it's not, your efforts might get wasted and your safety will be compromised.
Remember two things: first, the cutting must be precise and second, you will apply pressure. The base must be sturdy enough to withstand force. It shouldn't wobble.
Don't forget that the cutter spins rapidly and you must be able to rely on the base of the router machine. Make sure it's made of durable materials and has locking casters so that it will remain stable, but still be portable.
6. The Dust Collector is NOT a Luxury Tool
With so many jigs needed for router tables, consumers often leave dust collectors out of their shopping list. Don't do it!
For starters, it suctions dust as you are working and not afterwards, and so you won't work amidst mountains of shavings. With chips and shavings out of the way, you will breathe better.
Long exposure to dust can create serious respiratory problems let alone eye and skin irritation, headaches and nasal dryness. Dust collectors will also help you avoid accidents. Accumulated shavings make the floor slippery and can easily catch fire.
Frequently Asked Questions About Router Tables
Your Safety is Important – Check Out What to Do and What to Avoid
Bits spin with incredible spin and are sharp. Injuries can happen easily. There is a lot you can do to avoid accidents and health problems. Here are some simple safety tips.
When you have to pay a few hundred dollars on one machine, you surely want the best router table for money spent.
Although there isn't such a thing as a bad router, some router tables are better than others in regard to their quality and the price you pay for them.
What we tried to do here was to give you an account of the best router table machines available on the market taking into consideration their characteristics in relation to their cost. We have offered options to both professionals and hobbyists since needs vary.
Without thinking too much, we have two pretty obvious winners here: The Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181 is for professionals and Skil RAS900 Router Table for beginners and DIYers. Both come from industry leading brands, trusted for years and are a worthy investment on every penny. With their help, you don't limit your creative horizon!
Though, at the end of the day what's important is to do the job with precision and without jeopardizing your safety. So, make sure you get a durable table with a flat and easy to slide surface top and a T-slot, an easy to adjust fence and accessories.If the fence is not well-adjusted, the job won't be done properly.
Remember that it's best to push the board with another piece of wood. With a push board, you make sure that the wood you are currently working on is flat against the bit and keeps it from tearing.
It's also important to get a plate, which can host bits of all sizes. Getting the best router table possible in terms of characteristics and stability, and still stay on budget is essential.
We hope our router table reviews were helpful and just wish you super-great wood creations!