Any woodworker that aspires to be a professional must invest in a decent wood router. Palm routers are good enough for DIY projects and routing as a hobby. However, routing at a larger scale and complexity demands that you buy the best router for router table installation.
The most significant benefit of a table-mounted router is stability. Whichever the brand, all palm routers suffer from a degree of vibration. That makes them prone to mistakes, and you have to be extra careful while using them. Routers for table mounting are usually stable despite being significantly more powerful than their palm-held counterparts.
Buying a Router for a Router Table Mounting
What HP Router for Router Table?
You can’t overlook this attribute when shopping for a table-mounted router. Without enough power, your router will stutter on specific jobs or ruin your workpiece. You’ve got to make sure it has enough.
Even so, be careful not to be too power-hungry. A powerful machine is a heavy one, and you want to keep your router compact and manageable. Your intended use of the table router should help you figure out the best upper and lower power limits for your case.
For a table router that’s capable of professional work, aim for a minimum of 1.25 HP.
Variable Speed Control
A router that can speed up or slow down for different jobs is an invaluable tool. Even if you’re making the same design, you may not always work with the same materials.
Variable speed control is useful when working with different woods. It’s probably the most crucial feature a table router should have. With complete control over your speed, you can cut various materials at the right speed to ensure cleaner finishes and less waste material.
Motor speed is measured in rotations per minute (RPM), and the higher the difference between the upper and lower speed limit, the better the versatility.
You have two choices when it comes to router handles. The first is the knob-style classic handle, which is easier to control, smaller, and cheaper to buy. You’ll see it in most of the light woodworking routers you’ll come across.
The other type of handle is the side level handle, a great option if you’re thinking of buying a heavy-duty table-mounted router. Side levels are the best types of grip to get adequate leverage while you work. They’re primarily found inexpensive, industrial-grade wood routers.
An excellent mounting table router must have the ability to adjust the cut depth. Depth adjustment lets you quickly switch from deep to shallow cuts. That's useful for projects that require cuts of different depths, which is more often than not.
The best depth adjustment technology is the three-stage turret.
Although overlooked by many beginners, the switch is just as important a consideration when buying a table router. It should be as accessible as possible. You don’t want to be searching for it while the router is running.
More importantly, it should lock in each position properly. If not, you’re bound to have a router that turns off randomly while you work, which can damage your workpiece. Even worse, it may turn on accidentally and cause injury.
Now that you know the basics of router buying, your next quest is to find the best router for table router installation. There are a lot of them—more than you may care to learn about—which is why you should check out the following options first to find the perfect tool quickly.
Fixed Base or Plunge Router for Router Table
Best Bosch Router for Router Table: 1617EVSPK
Looking at its 2.25 HP motor, its wooden knob handle, and its variable speed control, the Bosch 162EVSPK is as good as any router that you’ll mount on your table. This combination kit offers you the fixed and plunge bases for the price of one and has a 1-piece armature shaft, much better for longer bit shanks.
The fixed base supports micro and macro depth adjustment, giving you more freedom when cutting various materials. Meanwhile, variable speed, soft start, and constant response electronics provide flexible performance and protect your workpiece from jolts, varying motor speeds, and inappropriate speeds for the selected material.
The plunge base locks and unlocks using a spring-lock release lever. Capable of 8,000 – 25,000 RPM, this Bosch table router is a solid choice for beginners and professionals.
WETOLS Compact Router Set
Another combination kit worth your attention is this WETOLS compact router toolset, a powerful option with a 1.25-HP motor and six variable speed settings. This combo kit includes a fixed base router, a plunge base, an edge guide, a parallel guide, and a carrying case.
The powerful motor offers six adjustable speeds starting from 10,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM. In addition, a soft start feature gives you a smooth start, preventing jolts that can damage your workpiece or dangerous kickback that may cause injury.
With the fixed base, you get smooth rack-and-pinion action for your fine depth adjustment, while a Quick-Release cam lock lets you swap it out for the plunge base in record time. The fixed base also features two dust-extraction attachments, which stop up to 95 % of the sawdust from getting into the air.
With this mountable wood router, you can create moldings, beaded patterns, grooves, and designs on multiple pieces of wood.
Best Budget Router for Router Table
Makita RT0702CX7 1.25-HP Compact Router Kit
The RT0702CX7 is the gold standard of mounted routers. It’s a solidly-built router with a modest 1.25-HP motor and a decent price tag. Even before looking under the hood, its slim, ergonomically built body tells you that it’s a modern iteration of the classic router designed for comfort and control.
The motor is capable of up to 30,000 RPM, but a variable speed dial lets you set the speed between 10,000 and 30,000 RPM. Therefore, you can match your specific application and work with different materials. The speed remains constant under load thanks to electronic speed control.
It comes with both a fixed base and a plunge base. The fixed one offers depth adjustment through a rack-and-pinion fine adjustment system. A Quick Release cam lock system makes it easy to replace it with the plunger base provided in the kit.