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
- Top 3 Router Tables: A Comparison Chart
- 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
Top 3 Router Tables: A Comparison Chart
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
When it comes to professional router tables, you'll hear the name Bosch pronounced quite a lot. That is why we present to you their best product, the Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181.
The main attraction around this device revolves around versatility. You can use this table with almost any professional-grade router on the market and get the best results. Furthermore, the aluminum plate at the center of the table is pre-drilled, meaning that compatibility is the least of your concerns.
It has two adjustable feather boards that allow you to apply pressure against the workpiece without worrying whether it'll be flat. Also, during the entire process, debris and dust are bound to cover the table. That is why this model has a dust collection port that will keep things running smoothly.
The size and the material of the top part of the table will allow you to not only work with smaller pieces of wood and plastic but also more substantial objects that will fit the table like a glove. The dimensions of the table are 18-inches by 27-inches - this much size will grant you the space to work with pretty much anything, including the fact that 3/8-inch by 3/4-inch slots give you extra space for accessories.
A neat little addition is the power-cord lock, a device that disables any unauthorized use by anyone except you. And if you take into account the prices that other professional router tables for, this one is somewhat rational.
All in all, if you scout the current market, you won't find a better router table than this one!
Moving on, we have another popular Bosch product that will not disappoint you. Say hello to the Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table RA1171.
First off, having a cabinet-style router table goes a long way in terms of efficiency. The sheer amount of storage and extra working space you'll get is unmatched compared to standard router tables. Furthermore, this style enables this table to have two dust collection ports that fit standard-sized vacuum hoses.
Like the previous product, this one has a pre-drilled aluminum mounting plate that amounts to extra versatility and compatibility. Alongside two feather boards and adjustable MDF faceplates, precision will be none of your concerns.
Also, if you feel like you have to adjust the position of your tools in the shed to fit this table next to the power source, you'll rest assured knowing that it has a dual outlet switch with a six-foot power cord.
You should know that the extra tall aluminum fence will help you establish more control in the entire process and overall quality of your work.
However, if you do not live in the US, you should reconsider purchasing this product. This table supports 110 V outlets, whereas the UK, for example, has 220/240 V outlets. If you plan on getting this model, contact Bosch for information regarding this problem.
Otherwise, it is a fantastic product that will undoubtedly do you good in your woodworking endeavors!
Next up is a slightly different product, an extension to your regular woodworking table that helps add space and room for maneuverability, the Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron.
A medium-price product like this will undoubtedly come in handy for every expert woodworker out there. The primary attraction regarding this product is space.
First off, this router table gives you a ¼-inch T-slot that is perfect for securing and mounting accessories such as feather boards. Then, the dual fence slot allows you to use the table from both sides since it's rotatable. This comes in great when working with more massive objects or workpieces.
In order to save space, if you decide to use this router as a table-saw, you can dismantle the fence and hang it on the j-hooks while you operate. You can fit this model to any 27-inch x 1-1/2-inch table-saws with ease, which says a lot about its universality.
The cast-iron finish on the top says a lot about this router table's quality, considering that this type of material is used for all heavy-duty products, not just in the woodworking world.
Just know that some customers have noted that this table is quite heavy and can make a lot of noise at times. If this doesn't break the deal for you, you should seriously consider getting this fantastic router table.
When you're having a conversation about woodworking and metalworking, Kreg is bound to come up. They have been a household name in this world for some time now and continue to impress. We give you their Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table.
The first look can be entirely deceitful. By looking at its pictures, it may seem like a child's toy, but it's so much more. This compactness says a lot about the portability of this product, but it has the features of an industrial-quality router table.
The top is constructed out of noise-resistant MDF faceplates, and the skin features a high-pressure laminate that is helpful when you're changing and moving workpieces around the table.
The plates are large enough to support the biggest routers on the market, with 3/8" x 9-1/4" x 11-3/4" dimensions. Their locking system ensures router stability as they twist and lock themselves in place every single time.
You'll have enough horizontal space to maneuver with this table, but if you use the jointing rods that come in the package, you'll gain some vertical stability and room.
One of the common problems router tables face is the noise that comes from all the hard work. However, this product is sturdy enough to bring the sound down with the help of its noise-dampening rubber feet.
Just remember that you will probably have to adjust the insert plate each time before using the table. Aside from that, it's as good as it gets!
And for the last item on the professional list, we give you another remarkable Kreg product, the KREG Router Table System PRS1045.
What everyone wants to know is, "Can you fit a standard router into this table?" Well, the answer is yes. Three molded reducing rings with the router insert plate enable you to fit nearly all router machines with ease and lock them in place for extra stability.
Similar to the previous Kreg model, it also has noise-resistant MDF plates and high-resistant laminate construction. Also, it features an aluminum miter channel and a T-slot that is ideal for accessories.
The reason this professional-grade router table is a tad pricier than the rest stems from its construction. It's powder-coated for resilience and durability, plus, a stand and a tabletop provide extra balance and sturdiness.
Even though it seems bulky, it's quite easy to set up and assemble. Just follow the instructions, and you shouldn't encounter any problems. Moreover, with the accessories you'll get in the package, you'll still have extra space.
The biggest problem with purchasing this device is the price itself. It is quite expensive, but if you factor in that a lot of professional router tables go for more astronomical prices, this device's characteristics should help you make the final call.
To conclude, the overall combination of this model's features and the fact that the steel stand is adjustable in height should be enough for you to invest in a fantastic product like this one.
Top 5 Router Tables for Hobbyists - A Detailed Review
If you're on the market for something cheap and worth the trouble, we recommend the Skil RAS900 Router Table.
When comparing the price and overall quality of its features, you'll feel amazed knowing that you can get such a terrific product. And the best news yet? It comes pre-assembled.
There's no more hassle with combining the parts, spending countless hours exploring and sweating - it's ready right out of the box!
You'll notice two storage containers on the sides that are excellent for keeping your accessories and safely storing them. One of the common issues with router tables is the lack of space for work and general storage, which is why this is a fantastic feature.
Moreover, it includes two feather boards that ensure your woodworking process is exact and precise as they apply pressure against the workpiece. The bits are maneuvered easily and can be adjusted to improve the overall accuracy of your router cuts. With a tall fence, you'll undoubtedly be able to work with some more substantial objects.
It also features a guard and a starter pin that support the object when you're routing curved edges. However, the overall quality of the fence is something you should keep your eye on. In time, it will probably wear off, so if you require something that will last you a long time, this might not be the product for you.
Overall, it's a fantastic product for the price and excellent for anyone that's just getting in this world.
If you're just getting in the woodworking world and you're not sure what router table to get, you won't go wrong with the Dremel 231 Shaper/Router Table.
This one is compatible with all corded rotary tools and most of the cordless ones. If you're a novice woodworker, this is undoubtedly a characteristic you'll appreciate. Unlike traditional router tables, this product is an extension that you'll align with the edge of your working table and transform your workstation in a light-duty wood shaper.
Dimensions of this model and its overall compactness will allow you to use it like a pro without worrying whether you'll have enough space for your hard work. As is the case with all the best router tables, this one has an adjustable fence to help you stabilize your workpiece and do precise work.
It is not ideal for any professional work, but if you're a hobbyist wood-shaper, you'll appreciate this product as it is excellent for crafts and metalworking since it can be bolted on to your work table.
The great news is you'll get a 1-year warranty to protect yourself in case the product is faulty or stops giving out the best quality. Dremel takes care of its customers and offers a 24/7 service.
However, the overall quality is matched by some other products on the list, and if you get this product, you'll probably feel you're ready for a new one after some time. However, for a novice woodworker, this one will go long ways in your future endeavors.
The next model on our list is a solution to the most common problem router tables face - space. We present to you the Goplus Electric Aluminum Router Table.
Alongside the main table, this device also features two extension tables on each side. Having this much space is crucial in completing heavy-duty tasks with larger workpieces. They measure 8" × 18" and have a gliding surface that makes it easier to switch between objects and do general handy work.
It does not feature a dust collector, but inside the fence is an inserted guard that keeps small pieces of wood from flying around. Also, it has a miter gauge that will help you in making precise cuts along the way.
The construction of this set is based on aluminum and steel, sturdy metals that help provide a strong background and maintain a long life for your product. As you can see, it is not that heavy for such a large router table, which is undoubtedly a bonus in terms of portability.
It fits all the mainstream routers that novice woodworkers buy, and you'll undoubtedly have one that matches this table's specifications. Also, it's good to know that it's straightforward to assemble and use compared to some other products on the market.
However, some customers claim that the extension tables are not perfectly aligned with the main router table, which may come as a problem if you plan on working with more massive workpieces.
All in all, the ratio of quality and price is undoubtedly in the balance, and you should definitely consider purchasing this model.
Next up is another product by SKIL, an older version of the model that we've previously covered, but still worth mentioning since it's always sold and used all over the US. We give you the SKIL RAS800 SKIL Router Table.
Even if you're an expert woodworker, you'll appreciate the capabilities of this model since it has so much to offer. It's fantastic for DIY projects at home, but also professional-grade work at the office.
A bit gauge helps with the entire set-up process and improves the precision of your cuts along the way. Also, a guard and a starter pin are included in the package, and they help regulate the support for your workpiece while you're routing the edges.
As its follower, the RAS900, it also comes pre-assembled, thus eliminating the need for extra hassle and sweat. It comes with an accessory bag that's ideal for storing away your tools and extensions that get in the way.
The table itself may appear a bit flimsy, but you should follow the instructions clearly stating, "Do not over-tighten." Over-tightening may result in cracking the fence or the board, and you'll be left repairing the pieces.
In general, you'll probably make a better investment if you purchase the newer model, but this one has the charm and resilience that the newer one will never replace.
For the last model on our list, we give you the XtremepowerUS Deluxe Aluminum Electric Router Table, a versatile and reliable product that does not disappoint.
First off, this model has a broad operating surface, which is a must-have with these products. However, that often implies weight, yet this model is extremely portable and lightweight - ideal for beginners.
It features a 2-1/2" port for dust collection that is vital when working with wood. Dust and chips continuously fly all over the place, which is why this addition is essential for woodworking.
Also, it has a built-in scale for precise measuring and a miter gauge to help with the precision cutting. Router attachment is relatively easy as well. Your job is to tighten the router beneath the table using screws and clips, and it will bolt in place.
The overall quality, materials used, and construction is quite sturdy, which makes this router table a valuable work tool for professionals, but also amateurs. However, the legs and extension tables are not quality-grade, so you should pay attention while transporting it and take good care of them in general.
Overall, it's not that standard product that most people use, but the price they go far will undoubtedly benefit a beginner woodworker. Plus, the dimensions and efficiency of this model will undoubtedly provide an excellent service for everyone.
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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!