Last Updated on January 9, 2021 by Robert L. Perkins
Every woodworker who takes his work seriously knows how important it is to have a plunge router around. But it is not just about having one – but having the best plunge router.
While most of these tools can go through wood quickly and help to produce smooth & exact cuts every time, they may also be imprecise, difficult to use, or even too weak for most people’s needs.
That’s why buying one of these is not an easy job. And that’s what we’re going to help you out in this article. As we know, picking one of these takes more effort and time than expected. So we made a review list as well as a small buying guide for you to follow.
If you’re looking to get the most out of a highly versatile wood-cutting machine like a plunge router, then you’ll want to read this article to find out exactly what you need to know. Head on and learn!
Best Plunge Router – Comparison
6 Best Plunge Router Reviews
1. DEWALT DW618PK Plunge Router Base Kit
- Motor: 12 AMP
- Speeds: 8000-24000 RPM
- Dimensions: 15.9 x 24 x 9.1 inches
- Weight: 22 lbs
- Warranty: 1 year
We picked this one because it offers the chance to bring the best of both machines. If you’re a woodworker who’s always working with different projects, then you’ll want something versatile like this.
And it is not only practical for different applications, but it also works wonders with its decent power capacity. You get a motor delivering 2.25 HP of power and 12 AMP of total electric capacity. That’s enough to cut through wood super smoothly.
Yet, it is the variable-speed trigger that makes it so amazing. It offers the chance to choose anything from 8,000 up to 24,000 RPM. Whether you want something super powerful or mild, this plunge router makes it possible.
Another excellent feature is the collets availability. You get both a 1/4-inches and a 1/2-inches model. That’s enough to offer superb versatility while working, and top-notch bit retention.
The depth adjustment doesn’t stay behind either. You get different adjustments in 1/64-inch increments. And they’re all super easy to make thanks to the tool-free cam lock made of steel. Even changing the base is a piece of cake when needed.
Finally, you get a decent dust-collection system with a through-the-column design. It won’t interfere with your work when cutting wood. Overall, it comes with every feature you could hope for. And for a decent cost, it leaves no space for mediocrity.
2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router & Plunge Combo Kit
- Motor: 12 AMP
- Speeds: 25000 RPM
- Dimensions: 6 x 11.5 x 11.6 inches
- Weight: 18 lbs
- Warranty: 1 year
What makes it so amazing is the ability to offer both fixed & plunge routing. That provides the chance to use it on a vast array of applications going from precise plunging to slot cutting, dovetail cutting, and more. No matter what you want to make, this plunge router makes it possible.
Yet, it is still super potent with a 2.25 HP motor. And if you add the 12 AMP capacity, you won’t have any problem making it work for most projects. To make it even better, you can enjoy a variable-speed feature that goes from 8,000 RPM up to 24,000 RPM for extra versatility.
Something that places it above most of its competitors is the Constant Response Circuitry, which allows the router to work at a fixed speed at all times. That makes every cut more precise and clean, every time.
It is a durable product as well, coming with an aluminum build and wooden handles. Using it will be super easy and comfortable, but also reliable – so you won’t have to worry about safety.
You will also find collect chucks of different sizes, going from 1/4-inches to 1/2-inch. There’s also a shaft wrench and a collet nut wrench. And to make it super practical, it boasts a carrying case with a rugged build, for ease of transport and resilience.
3. Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial
- Motor: 11.7 AMP
- Speeds: 10000-22000 RPM
- Dimensions: 15.6 x 11.6 x 12.8 inches
- Weight: 18 lbs
- Warranty: 3 year
For those who want to take their woodworking experience to another level, the Festool OF 1400 EQ Imperial will come like a gem.
It stands out for its super powerful yet stable motor. You can enjoy 11.7 AMPs in total, which is enough to cut through most pieces of woods without problems. And with the shaft speed that goes from 10,000 up to 22,500 RPM – you can make it work at any speed depending on your needs.
But it is not only its motor that stands out. You will also receive a practical precision depth adjustment. It will allow you to do micro-adjustments with its dial. Routing in the most challenging projects will be effortless with this router, especially with the small changes of 1/256-inches each.
It also comes with a swiveling chip detector that helps to maximize the amount of dust you extract. This is another part not to overlook, as it can get rid of most residues in seconds.
The machine also attaches easily and releases in no time thanks to a tool-free spring system. That makes the whole operation even easier.
And lastly, you get super ergonomic handles that prevent exhaustion and make it easy to move around when needed. And sure enough, it boasts integrated switches so you can use it with one hand if needed.From its power to its convenience, this is an excellent router to get for your woodworking projects.
4. Bosch MRP23EVS Electronic Plunge Base Router
- Motor: 15 AMP
- Speeds: 10000-25000 RPM
- Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 9 inches
- Weight: 12.6 lbs
- Warranty: 1 year
This is an electronic plunge router that delivers 2.3 HP with a 15 AMP motor. That’s enough to get even the hardest of hardwoods routed in no time. And even more so if you add the variable-speed engine, capable of going from 10,000 RPM up to 25,000 RPM – which is simply outstanding.
Despite its high power, it doesn’t leave accuracy behind. You will get top-notch precision with its spring-lock plunge lever and depth rod. They help to place the router exactly where you need in no time and with no effort.
Apart from that, the machine comes with a Constant Response Circuitry, the ideal system to keep the right speed throughout entire operations. Pair that up with the Afterlock micro-fine bit-depth adjustment, and you won’t have any problem achieving exceptional precision every time.
Handling is also a piece of cake. You get a trigger control system with a conveniently located switch on the handle. And that allows smooth operation even in the hardest projects.
To make it even better, you can use the always-on LED, so you can always be aware of what you’re cutting to prevent mistakes and disasters. It even comes with a swivel power cord, so you can move around freely. Pair everything up together, and you get a great plunge router in every way.
5. Hitachi M12V2 Variable Speed Plunge Router
- Motor: 15 AMP
- Speeds: 8000-22000 RPM
- Dimensions: 11 x 19.1 x 9.4 inches
- Weight: 13.9 lbs
- Warranty: 5 year
It all comes down to its 15 AMP motor along with a 3.25 HP capacity. That’s enough to get through the hardest of woods without wasting any time or effort. Even more so, when you add its 22,000 RPM speed, so you can cut all kinds of woods, starting at 8,000 RPM for the most delicate projects.
You can change the speed using the variable-speed dial. This makes it ultra-easy to vary the speed and work, depending on your needs.
Yet, it is the practical depth-adjustment system that stands out the most. It will help you make super fine adjustments so you can cut with the utmost precision possible and without getting in danger. Also, it even comes with a dust guide that pushes dust & debris all around, so you don’t have to work in a messy area.
Lastly, you can change bits without any effort, and with its collet chuck, you can secure it fast and effectively, for exceptional results.
Even handling will be effortless with its unique design, offering a lightweight product yet highly comfortable handles. It won’t be a problem to get the most out of it. Considering that it comes from Hitachi and all of the features it offers, this plunge router should be among your first choices.
6. Ryobi RE180PL1G 2HP Plunge Router
- Motor: 10 AMP
- Dimensions: 9.8 x 10.5 x 9.8 inches
- Weight: 10 lbs
- Warranty: 1 year
It offers 2 HP of motor power along with 10 AMP and a variable-speed motor that goes from 15,000 up to 25,000 RPM. That’s enough to work well with any kind of wood, so cutting and routing become not only easy but fast.
The collet is super versatile, accepting 1/2-inches and 1/4-inches bits depending on your needs. And it still manages to come with a spindle lock, making the replacement of bits effortless.
Another exciting feature is the soft start. It will not start all crazy at the maximum speed, but give you the chance to adjust from the lowest to the highest if needed. And that matches well with the most ergonomic handles you could ask for, making every operation comfortable.
To make it even easier to handle, it weighs only 9.6 pounds, which ensures an ultra-easy experience. Even in the hardest of jobs, this machine will execute well.
Lastly, it boasts the Accu-Stop micro-adjustment system for depth adjustments. Cutting up to 2-inches in depth will not be much of a problem, especially if you’re expecting high precision.
Despite not having a dust collector and being electronically adjusted, it is still one of the most practical models out there. And that comes at a pretty accessible cost.
If you want the best router for woodworking, it is critical to know what you should be looking for. That’s why we recommend reading the next section with all the different factors that you should consider. Read up:
The first thing you need to consider is how powerful the plunge router is. You’ll see that most of these machines come with an HP (horsepower) number. Well, it will immediately tell you how powerful the tool is.
We recommend models that offer at least 2 HP of power. Anything less than that will probably be a little too weak for most operations and won’t go through hardwoods.
But there’s another measurement to look for when it comes to power: the AMP capacity. Usually, a 2 HP model offers around 12 AMP of electric power. That will be enough to power up the machine consistently.
What matters here is to get something potent but also stable. That’s why looking for the right horsepower and AMPs is so essential. Otherwise, the machine won’t work too well, or may eventually be too weak for your needs.
Apart from power, there’s another measurement to consider: the speed. Here, you should look for models that offer a variable-speed system. It will let you sort through different speeds on the bit according to your desired results.
The focus should be on getting something that can work not only at slow speed but also at high ones. That’s where the “variable” comes from.
We usually recommend models going from 10,000 RPM up to 22,000 RPM. But if you pick a router that can go to 8,000 RPM for slow speed, and up to 25,000 RPM for the highest ones, then it will be more versatile & useful.
Note that some machines offer manual changes of speed with a dial or switch. But others come with automatic or electronic speeds – those are less reliable yet more affordable.
Size & Weight
Not many people tend to consider the size as an important factor, but it is. The size of the router will let you know how heavy it is, but also how easy it will be to handle. That’s why we recommend decently sized models for the best experience.
If you get a router that’s too large, then it will probably feel uncomfortable when using it. And if you get something too small, then it may not hold the power of its motor.
So go for something with the right size and weight. We usually recommend models that are between 9 and 13 pounds. Anything less than that will probably feel too light, and over 13 pounds will feel too heavy.
Sure enough, size also changes power. The largest ones are usually more potent, and the smallest ones are weaker. Choose accordingly.
Grip & Comfort
After going through the size and weight of the machine, we also heavily recommend considering how comfy they are to handle. That’s where grip and handles enter into play, as well as the unique design it may offer.
While heavy routers can be difficult to handle, you may solve that with the right grips. Similarly, if the router is too small, you may still struggle to use it correctly with uncomfortable handles.
So be careful when choosing. Pick a comfortable router that you can use without problems, and that will be your best choice.
Electronic Feedback Circuitry
This is a feature that allows the router to stay stable at the right speed. It is also called a Circuitry Monitor, which helps to maintain proper speed during every cut.
Most routers that come with this feature will be easier to use and also much more effective. You won’t have to worry about the machine changing speeds or losing power during a cut. Instead, they will stay firm and precise – offering outstanding results.
But not all routers come with this feature. So be careful when choosing. While a router with this won’t necessarily be imprecise or messy, having this feature will ensure that it is not.
This is another desirable feature that we heavily recommend you to consider. It consists of making the router start softly.
That means, not making much noise and starting from the lowest speed possible. This is super important not only because it helps to prevent any accident when you’re first starting the machine, but also lets you adjust the speed to the right one with ease.
Most routers that come with a soft start tend to be slower to turn on. But that slow start also means a safer and easier-to-control system. So you’re getting tons of advantages without really harming performance.
Most routers that come with a soft start feature also offer an electronic feedback circuitry system. So if you get something with one of these features, you may get both.
The vacuum port is another essential feature that you should consider, especially if you want something practical.
For that, make sure it offers a vacuum port of the right size. But also, make sure it is a handy or straightforward design. Otherwise, you may end up with a messy vacuuming system that takes more effort to set it up than needed.
If you can connect the vacuum system directly to the port of the router, then that’s something to look for. But be careful, not all plunge routers are so convenient. In fact, some models don’t even come with a vacuum port.
Other than that, dust collection or anti-mass features also help to reduce dust & debris when working. That makes the experience even more comfortable.
Every plunge router should offer the chance to change the bit. Mainly because these bits tend to wear off over time, so you will need to replace them. But changing them is not always easy. That’s where a spindle lock enters into action.
This feature allows you to change the bit in no time and without making much of an effort. Just push a spring-loaded pin or switch, and the system will release the bit. It will work alongside the collet that holds the bit so you can replace them almost directly.
Without a spindle lock, you may need to use wrenches to replace bits. That doesn’t mean the router will be less useful, but it won’t be as practical.
Finally, you need to consider how easy and precise the machine is when changing depths. Usually, most plunge routers offer fine adjustments of less than a few inches. But some of them go even further to provide less than 0.1-inches of total adjustments.
That’s something ideal if you want to get the perfect precision for every project. Especially if you’re trying to make something super neat and accurate, then you want the most precise depth adjustments out there.
That’s why we always recommend micro-fine adjustments and the like. Those that go up to 2-inches in depth are often ideal as well. These routers will offer the chance to make the most accurate cuts possible depending on your needs, so you can achieve the most amazing results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Trying to buy a new tool as a woodworker or DIYer is not easy. And if you’re a beginner, then you’ll have lots of questions. Here are some of them, with their respective answers:
Q: Can I use a plunger router on a router table?
A: Yes, they’re actually made to work that way for safety and precision. But some plunge routes work better than others in tables, so be careful when choosing compatibility & mounting options.
Q: What’s the difference between a plunge router and a trim router?
A: Trim routers are smaller and less potent than plunge models. They are ideal for cutting thin laminates and wood composites. With a plunge router, you can cut almost any type of wood, as they’re larger and more potent.
Q: Is it possible to cut MDF with a plunge router?
A: Yes, as long as you use a delicate or slow speed, you can always cut something as fragile as MDF. But for this material, a trim router would be the ideal choice.
Q: Should I push or pull a router when using?
A: To use a router correctly, you need to avoid pushing or pulling. Instead, you should focus on moving the router in the direction opposite to the bit rotation. That will help you cut straight and cleanly.
Q: What can I do with a plunge router?
A: You can do anything from cutting plants to giving shape, making grooves, creating templates, cutting mortises, adjusting wood shapes with precision and much more.
So, What Should You Buy
Working with wood is way more enjoyable to do if you have the right plunge router. That’s why you need to pick the ideal option from this list. It won’t be easy, though.
If you go for the Festool OF 1400 EQ Imperial Router, for example, you will obtain excellent quality in every way. It is not the most powerful out there, but it delivers unique stability, precision, and precise results.
Otherwise, you can go for the Hitachi M12V2 Variable Speed Plunge Router. It is a more practical model with tons of power to use. Yet, it doesn’t leave precision or ease of use behind – and for a decent cost.
Whatever you go for, be sure it is the best plunge router for your needs. You won’t regret making the right choice.
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