A router is a hand tool consisting of an electric motor with a cutter that rotates rapidly. Held in a cradle, when you plunge the cutter into the wood, it transforms a hole into a groove. Routers are one of the most multi-functioning tools you can find around. With the best plunge routers for woodworking, you can cut grooves and rebates, profile edges, cut in-lays, trim wood, shape wood, drill clean holes, recess hinges, and so much more. Whether you are experienced or not, these machines are worth it. The tools are small enough to be carried around on-site or be moved with ease making them remarkably versatile.
This piece of equipment is manufactured in different styles as manufacturers compete to add new features. Most modernized routers are equipped with variable speed controls and have plunge bases locked in place. There is also the aspect of a plunge, D-handled and double knob handled.
In this article, I’ve reviewed some of the very best plunge routers for woodworking that you can consider for your various projects. Additionally, I’ve included a detailed buyer’s guide with the necessary information to help you choose the right products that suits your projects at hand.
List of the Best Plunge Routers for Woodworking
1. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router
The Bosch 1617EVSPK convenient multi-functional device comes with two router bases making it the best plunge routers for woodworking. The question you’re probably asking yourself is, ‘do I need two router bases? Well, one is fine; two is better. In a fixed base router, the position of the router bit is constant. By setting it at a cut depth of a ¼, the bit protrudes past the ¼ until you change the depth. Then you get a plunge router base.
The design enables you to preset the cut depth and then lower the bit into the cut with the router’s base flat into the material’s surface. This feature allows rounding off a shelf’s board’s edges or creating a mortise at the center of a hardwood piece.
The equipment comes with two different sized collet chucks. There’s a larger one for the half-inch shank and a smaller one for the ¼ inch shank. Similarly, the device comes with two wrenches for tightening and loosening the collet. The equipment takes care of even tough routing jobs. With the powerful 2.25HP/12 Amp motor and its versatile speed range of 8000 to 25000 RPM. This range in speed allows you to set the most desirable speed for the routing task and material.
Summary of top features
- Designed for the proper use and inverted use on a router table with adjustments above the router table.
- Micro-fine bit depth adjustment system
- The fixed router base has threaded holes for mounting to the router table.
- Wide base openings and two sub-base openings
- The device provides better visibility right or left.
- Rounded hardwood handles to maximize user control.
- Durable and comfortable
- Comes with a one- year warranty
- Some of this equipment overheats and fails to function correctly.
2. Skil 14 Amp Plunge and Fixed-Base Router Combo, RT1322-00
The Skil router is quite an impressive piece of equipment. It comes with a display that lets you select the bit type and material for suggested speed settings based on the task at hand. The electronic feedback ensures the motor maintains RPM while the material is being routed. This piece of equipment has a live tool indicator, which is a unique feature. It allows you to stay safe and alert as it lights up when the plunge router is connected to power.
The woodworking router allows you to switch between fixed and plunge bases easily. This combo has the power of 14 Amps so that you can carry out more tasks depending on the project at hand. With the impressive soft start technology, the router starts small and ramps up to provide time to adjust.
The ergonomic design handles limit vibration and reduce fatigue when using it over a long period. Simultaneously, the digital display on the plunge and the fixed base router is fantastic—specially designed to succeed in any woodworking project work.
Summary of top features
- HP motor includes both fixed and plunge bases for a variety of work.
- Fixed base dust extraction adapter
- Speed control LCD
- Has three-course depth settings and micro depth adjustment to make your routing worthwhile.
- Easy to fix the plunge and fix base
- The make lets you select the bit-type
- Provides a soft and controlled start to routing
- One year limited warranty.
- At times it comes with an incorrect collet size.
3. DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed (DW618PKB)
The Dewalt router is a tool that every woodworker should have in their shop. It is equipped with a 12.0 Amp electronic variable speed motor that provides the power to rout smoothly through the toughest hardwood.
A spindle lock button allows for single wrench bit changes. Designed with an electronic variable speed with full feedback control for constant speeds under load from 8000 to 24000 RPM. The locking mechanism can be accessed with just a thumb making the router user-friendly.
An adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments in 1/6″ increments and adjusts vertically for a constant switch location. The bag of accessories comes with a half-inch and quarter-inch collet for variety use. It also offers a heavy-duty, die-cast aluminum base and motor housing for durability and low tool weight. This easy-to-reach plunge lever and switch was strategically placed in position for superior control while routing.
The collection feature works incredibly well by collecting 95% of the dust and provides superior bit visibility.
Summary of top features
- Variable speed from 8000-24000 RPM.
- Consists of a soft start
- 12 Amp motor
- Tool-free steel motor cam lock
- Spindle lock button.
- They are designed with a fixed and a plunge router base.
- Rubber over-molded handles.
- Three-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
- The high-quality dust collection process
- The collet can break when used over a long period.
4. Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit
This durable router comes with speeds that allow it to go as low as 10,000 RPM and as high as 30,000 RPM. Made of massive aluminum motor housing for increased durability. The device is engineered for precision with a smooth rack and pinion adequate depth adjustment system with easy to read depth scales for more accurate settings.
This woodworking tool has an ergonomic design that weighs only 3.9 pounds with a durable flat top design for added convenience when changing bits.
The base of the Makita router can be quickly removed to change into other bases. With a full 1-1/4 HP maximum horsepower motor, with a variable speed control dial that enables the user to match the application’s speed. Additionally, the equipment is ideal for trimming edges on wood material, with the fixed base having a dust nozzle for improved dust collection.
The router accepts three optional bases. This tool base can be used to cut grooves and dadoing, mortising, or inlay pattern work. This plunge comes with an optional dust nozzle that attaches to the base. The base is standard with three preset stops for added precision, and it takes three industry-standard template guide.
The tool can also be used with the guide rail system for multiple applications. The tilt base provides routing at different angles, while the offset base allows routing to reach areas.
Summary of top features
- Durable flat top design for added convenience
- Has a shaft lock for quick and easy bit changes
- Sober duty aluminum motor housing
- A fixed base that accepts industry standard template guides for convenience
- Easy to read depth scales
- Double insulated
- The base can be removed to install other bases.
- Soft start features for easy start-ups
- Easy to adjust speed settings
- Has got a heating problem
- Not a good grip
5. Plunge Router Electric Brake
One of this tool’s many great features is the ergonomic rubberized handles with a built-in large two finger switch; for added control and usage. The lock-on trigger switch gives continuous operation with a shaft lock for easy bit changes. This simple router has been engineered for fine woodworking, cabinetry, furniture making, countertops, windows and doors, and general carpentry.
No matter who you are, you can use this equipment since it has been designed with easy to use features. Among these is an LED light that illuminates the work area and increases visibility. Thanks to the quick-release plunge depth adjustment with micro-control that increases precision. We cannot forget to mention the plunge lock lever that has been conveniently located for efficient operation when handling a task.
Summary of top features
- Powerful 15 Amp motor that delivers 9000-22000 RPM for smooth routing.
- Oversized ball-bearing construction
- Electronic turn off brakes
- has got a one-year warranty from the date of the original purchase.
- Uses a ¼ inch and a ½ inch shank router bit
- Plunge Router Electric Brake for more prolonged use
- Accessories to mount the tool to a table do not exist.
6. DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, (DW618B3)
If you’re prioritizing power in your search for a plunge router, opt for this 12-Amp electronic variable Dewalt. This model is an exceptional plunge router that provides power to run smoothly through the toughest hardwood. DW618B3 model is forever fitted with not one, not two but three of a kind plunging base. The exact base section enables it to line up each cut without lifting it out of position.
The router’s fixed base has been perfectly designed with a micro-fine depth adjustment ring that provides precise bit adjustments. Because the ring turns to adjust bit depth, a constant switch is maintained when you’re using the router in a table. This function minimizes the difficulty in turning the unit on and off.
Similarly, the D-handle base provides excellent balance and control as well as comfort during long routing hours. Great minds beautifully design this good two-position rubber over-molded handle. Moreover, the sub-base and other bases are designed to make both base and bit changes easy and fast.
Summary of top features
- Composed of fixed, plunge, and D-handle bases
- Features an easy motor pack removal
- It has a depth adjustment ring that provides for adjustment in 1/64 inches’ increments.
- Designed with a dust-sealed switch that protects against dust ingestion
- Backed by a three-year limited warranty
- You can work on the switch and cord-set on either your left or your right.
- Easily handles even the toughest hardwood.
- Not easy to use for beginners.
7. Makita RP1800 Plunge Router
Makita’s group of tools is a respected name in the tool world, with each piece of equipment delivering superior performance. It is manufactured with a 15 Amp motor with a no-load speed of 22000 RPM. A powerful motor makes it possible for a woodworker to have a great day at the woodworking shop.
Similarly, like most of the top routers, it comes with ergonomic rubberized handles built in two finer switches and a lock-on trigger for continuous operation. The router has been engineered for finish woodworking. That’s why it comes in ¼ inch and a ½ inch shank router bits. It’s an ideal tool for any professional woodworker, deck builder’s cabinet makers, furniture makers, boat builders, and general contractors looking for quality work.
The durable flat-top design gives stability when changing bits with an attached chip deflector that directs chips away from the controller.
Summary of top features
- Shaft lock for easy bit changes
- No-load Rpm 22,000
- Electric brake for increased productivity
- Rubberized handles
- Delivers powerful precision with a smooth plunge action
- I year warranty
- At times the switch button is hard.
8. DEWALT Router, Plunge Base, Variable Speed, 3-HP (DW625)
DW625 with a half-inch router is the big giant of routers portraying a 2000 W of power. It is incredibly easy to use. A switch on the right side turns it on/off, so you can control it with your thumb without letting go of the control sticks. You can adjust the depth, together with slight incorporated adjustments.
For the extreme woodworker, you can do that a repeated number of times with ease. It is excellent for all material, even hardwood, coupled with variable speeds, and we all know it depends on what material you are working on to the finish. Together with electric speed control, it delivers excellent results.
The great thing about this is that if you are using this equipment in the workshop, you will need dust extraction. Just get the adapter, clip it, and lock it into position. You get to put the hook over your shoulder, flip it around, and you are ready to start working. This plunge router combines a lot of useful features into a single body. Generally, it makes it a tremendous multi-functioning tool for cutting different kinds of material.
Summary of top features
- 15 Amp motor that is powerful and smooth running.
- Consists of full-wave electronic variable speed between 8000 and 22000 RPM
- It has got a template guide bushing adapter.
- Powered by a three horsepower
- Comes with a three-year limited warranty covering any defects
- Ergonomic total comfort handles
- Comprises of a ½ inch and a ¼ inch collet
- Designed with a micro-fine depth adjuster that providing fast and accurate depth settings
- Installed with a dust extraction adapter
- It is not durable
9. Metabo HPT Router Kit, Fixed/Plunge Base, Variable Speed, (KM12VC)
Plunge routers are reliable for creating consistent cuts on wooden materials. Particularly necessary when you’re working on the top of aboard. It takes on applications such as fluting, grooves, rebates, mortise, and dados. However, they can as well be used for profiling edges with a round-over bit.
The router is locked at a fixed location in the base for fixed-base routers, and the cutting bit cannot move or plunge from top to bottom. Therefore, engaging the material from above is impossible.
For the Metabo HPT multi-functional router, the fixed and plunge base correctly work hand in hand. The two-stage motor release clamp makes the process quick, whether you adjust the depth or changing bases. Electronic speed control allows a woodworker to have a wide range of speeds to match your applications. The tool kit is a fantastic addition to any workshop
Summary of top features
- Maintains constant RPMs of between even as the load varies
- Fine depth adjustment
- 2-stage motor release clamp
- 11 Amp motor
- Does not require batteries to function
- Five years’ warranty assurance
- Good value for your money
- Functions as both a plunge and fixed router
- Collets seem to freeze in the barrel.
10. WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router Kit
The breathtaking WEN RT6033 woodworking router kit comes with a carrying case and edge. This powerful 15 Amp variable-speed motor provides speeds from 8000 to 23000 rotations per minute. It is essential to know that routing quickly causes tear out and burn marks on the material. This outcome results in dulling the bit faster.
The plunge functionality enables locking it in a downward position as both a plunge base and a fixed base router. The unique feature of this kit is the seven-stop turret. This allows the increase and decrease of your cutting depth by 1/8 inch increments. The lock-down knob has been strategically placed to turn your plunge router into a fixed router. As a result, this engineered kit outperforms your expectations by having two routers in one.
The half-inch collet includes an additional ¼ inch adapter, allowing you to experience compatibility together with a wide range of bits. There is also an included guide fence in the kit that lets you route perfectly straight lines. In the end, it helps you create dadoes and grooves along with the workpiece. We cannot forget the impressive customer service that comes with WEN products. They have a nationwide network of skilled service technicians always on the line whenever you experience challenges.
Summary of top features
- Fine-tune adjustment dial that advances it 1/128 of an inch per quarter turn
- The half-inch collet with an additional ¼ inch
- Powerful 15 Amp variable speed
- 7-stop turret
- Best customer service
- Designed with a 1-1/2-inch dust collection duct
- Bit changing wrench
- Template guide creating more complex shapes
- Hard-shelled case
- In the beginning, the plunging is a little stiff
Best Plunge Routers for Woodworking Buyer’s Guide
In this section, I’m going to discuss some of the important aspects of the plunge router that you need to consider even as you go shopping for your respective products. The aim of this section is to ensure that you land the very best plunge router in the market.
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Plunge Router for Woodworking
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to consider to figure out if the router you have is the right one.
- Fixed or plunge base
Fixed base routers are more compact, they are usually lighter, and they have handles mounted near the base. They lower the center of gravity and makes it easier to balance on the edge of a workpiece. They are also less expensive than the more complex plunging models, and they are also often easier to mount upside down on a router table.
On the other hand, there is no denying the benefits that come with that plunging mechanism. Especially if you are stopping or starting weight from the edge of a workpiece, if you are cutting a deep mortise, a plunge router may also be a better suitor for removing material in stages. A plunge routers depth stop is also fitted with a subtle micro adjuster making it easy to dial in that perfect cut.
If you could only pick one, I would suggest going with the plunge one. You can do everything you could do with a fixed base tool. That plunging action is just a game-changer in some situations.
In time you should also get a fixed base router to mount in a router table permanently. Or better yet, look for a router set that comes with both plunge and fixed bases. You can leave the fixed base in your router table and just pop the motor out and into your plunge base. You can even buy a second base separately.
- Electronic variable speed
Some routers come with Electronic variable speed. This is an essential feature. If you use large router bits, you just have to slow the tool’s spindle speed if you are going to work safely. Even small bits can benefit from slower speed when routing certain materials that burn easily.
- Soft start
Rather than jumping from 0 to 23000 revolutions per minute the instant you hit that switch, a soft start motor takes 2-3 seconds to ramp up. Dramatically reduces the sudden twerk on the motor, which can be hard on the bearing and your wrist.
- Integrated feedback system
This feature keeps the bit at a constant speed. For example, if your bit enters a hard place, the motor gets just a little bit boost of power to keep its speed consistent and give an excellent finish. It is worth buying a new router if the one you have doesn’t have an essential EVS feature.
You may try to save money by buying an after-market speed control device that attaches to the cord, but the additional features common to modern EVS equipment make an actual new upgrade well worthwhile.
Router power rating can be confusing, even misleading. How can the tiny motor have three horsepower when your giant table saw motor is only a horse and a half? It is because induction motors on big machines are rated for their continuous horsepower while your brush type router motor is rated for its pick course power.
Your router may be capable of 3 horsepower but only for a few seconds at a time. All this can be confusing and misleading. Fortunately, under routers laboratories, there’s an organization that rates motors by testing how many Amps or Wats they can draw continually rather than just a few seconds. So when you buy a power tool, like a router, look for the rating. The higher the rating, the more power your tool has.
You need at least 11 Amps for a handheld router. 12 Amps are better, especially for more massive cuts and hardwood, and the extra weight of a 12 Amp motor compared to an 11 Amp will help reduce vibrations.
- ½ inch and ¼ inch collet/bit
Router bits with a half-inch shaft vibrate less, and the extra circumference around the shaft gives you four times the surface area for the collet to grip. The extra metal cools faster and cooler bits stay sharp longer. Most routers that accept a half-inch bit will also accept a quarter-inch bit with an included adapter. So it is safe to buy one that will take ½ inch, and you can use it for a quarter-inch as well.
In a perfect world, we could have a different router for every bit, but routers are expensive, so the advice is. Get a good 11 or 12 Amp plunge router. You can useth for both handheld and table-mounted tasks. Look for one with an easy to adjust micro-adjustable depth stop. If possible, test the springs before you buy to ensure that the plunge mechanism works smoothly. There is nothing worse than a sticking plunge mechanism. Look for one with variable speed and soft start and buy the most reliable brand you can afford.
Other tools aside, the router is the most crucial tool in a modern workshop. With one, you can do everything from cutting profiles to clear join ups. If you don’t have a good router then you most definitely need to get one. The idea is to have one router with multiple bases to give you a lot of versatility for a lot less money.
Amongst all the plunge router that I have used in my woodworking profession, the Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router still stands out as the best. It has multiple and desirable features that will make your routing tasks enjoyable. Our preferences might not be the same which is why you are free to go for the product that will work for you.