October 4, 2023
We can argue that hanging a sign is human nature. It’s one of the best ways any person can recognize a place, and you can mark your territory. But just getting any sign isn’t the best idea. Instead, you can get it handmade with custom designs!
There’s nothing more charming than a handmade wooden sign. It’s a warm touch to any place. To make customized designs by yourself, you can use sign-making routers.
You may already be familiar with these mechanical tools. Despite the diversity of its shape, size, and design, sign-making routers are simple enough to use. Please don’t make it too complex for yourself!
Today, we’ve listed down the best routers for sign and letter making. You don’t have to go on a quest to find it! Plus, we list down some considerations before making your first buy. From value to accuracy, you’re sure to get every detail down.
Ready to read? Prepare for some in-depth product reviews and insights!
Our Top 5 Recommended Routers for Making Signs
Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1) DEWALT DWP611
Need something for challenging projects? The 1-¼ HP motor promises enough power to last for whatever you’re working on! Despite its strength, the DEWALT DWP611 never lacks speed. In fact, speed control allows you to be flexible, from one application to another. The optimal rate may vary, and the DEWALT always catches up to give you professional speed.
Even if you have the speed set too high, its performance won’t falter. The electronic feedback maintains the motor throughout every cut! Dial down or up according to your needs without fear.
Aside from the speed, your project will always be well-lit. The dual-LED lighting ensures every detail can be seen! If you need to change up the wrench bits, you can access the spindle locks easily. No effort required, we promise!
- Extended sub-base for more exhaustive surface work
- Allows control and comfort existing in one device
- LED lighting illuminates the work area
- Screws can be hard to access
- Dust collection can be weaker
2) Bosch PR20EVS
Once again, this product boasts a lot of power! Route your signs at a high RPM with a 15-amp powerful motor. You don’t always need that much intensity, and the device allows for that. You can adjust it from a range of 16,000 to 35,000 RPM.
And guess what? That kind of flexibility makes it perfect for DIY and professional work.
But a lot of other routers have the same kind of power. A unique, unparalleled feature is the depth adjustment system this device has! The individual finger pockets allow you to control the Bosch. Then, there are measurement lines embedded in the machine for you to follow easily. Raise and lower the outer head as you like!
Whatever you do, you can count on the base to be firm and durable. It isn’t just a purchase but an investment! This woodworking router will last longer, so the price you have to pay won’t matter as much. For years, you can have unaltered, durable movement.
For this router, the only thing you need to do is change the bit inside every now and then. With the help of two wrenches, you can get the router bit and replace it with a newer one.
- Small in size
- Lightweight for easy handling
- Great for beginners and those who want easy woodworking projects
- With unique finger pockets for control and durability
- Macro and micro depth adjustment system
- Has limited diameter bits of 1 3/8″
- The motor can overload at anytime when making heavy cut
- Cuts can affect speed
3) Makita RT0701CX7
If precision is your number one priority for your project, look no further. This device has got it all! The smooth rack-and-pinion scales can make every adjustment all about the finer details.
You won’t have to squint or push yourself too hard trying accuracy, either. You have to read the depth scales and adjust the base as you like! Install and remove with ease, all in high visibility. And with all that, you won’t have to worry about this machine breaking down on you!
Its heavy-duty motor is built for the long run. Whatever project you do, you can count on this device to last for years! Its performance boasts constant speed and power, with double-insulation and a variable speed dial for flexibility.
After you’re all done, you can use the dust collection port to clean things up.
- With an edge guide
- Plunge base for ease of use
- Adjustable height base with grooves
- Latch and lock system for base-changing
- High cutting visibility
- Depth control adjustment can be hard to use
4) Porter-Cable 450 Router
The ergonomic design makes comfort reign supreme! It’s also a smaller, lightweight router than what we’re usually used to, so you’ll have a better handle on this machine. Don’t think that its size compromises anything! It’s just as robust and durable as all the other top routers out there.
Just a note of caution: you might need to replace the small base. It’s pretty tall for its size, and you might not be able to glide this router as smoothly as others. Once returned, you can make your signs with one hand! Intelligent design goes a long way.
You’re not stuck with one measurement. You can make adjustments with the rings to regulate height and depth. It’s as simple as dialing the ring to ensure the most accurate settings!
Though you can adjust its depth and height, you can’t change the speed. The soft-starting motor maintains the speed at 27000 RPM. Though flexibility is a significant factor, the 27000 RPM is a good speed for whatever project you’re working on!
It’s compact, so you can go ahead and bring it around. But if you need to lock it in place, don’t worry. There’s a clamping mechanism made for it!
- Ergonomic design for maximum comfort
- Tough 1.25 HP motor
- Soft-starting for full electronic feedback
- Fine adjustment depth
- Locks the motor in position for better stability
- A smaller base than usual makes balancing a problem. Thus, you might need to replace the base.
5) Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router
This router has a balance of everything. The electronic feedback setting keeps its variable speed up to par with power! Adjust the speed as you see fit for your project – and remember to adjust the depth as well. It won’t be too hard with this router. The micro-adjustment dial allows you to hone in on the finer details.
To make sure you get each cut right, the Ridgid R2401 has a LED light to help you out. Increase your visibility and work on your project the best you can! Grab onto the over-mold grip – yes, even your hand can be comfortable with this router. Change up the bits with a spindle lock.
No marring is possible with the no-mar top and overmold. Overall, this router is a mixture of everything you’d need for your projects.
- Precise cutting guaranteed
- Variable speed settings starting at 20000 RPM to 30000 RPM
- Has both round and square bases
- Quick-release lever removes base in one swift motion
- Has a micro-adjustment dial for depth control needs
- It’s quite challenging to change the bit on this router as compared to other models.
What Makes A Good Router for Sign Making?
An informed buyer always makes the best choices. Before you go out to the shops, see the following considerations for the best router possible:
A Solid Base
Routing signs by hand need a strong base. A simple plunge base is a must if you want to remain safe and efficient! You can place the router on top of the wooden workpiece and plunge when necessary. After, you can cut inlays into the grain.
You can also consider the base size. More width on your base means more work done!
LED and Lighting
It’s simple enough: you don’t want your vision going bad. You don’t want to have incidents, either! LED lighting in some routers helps you see what you’re working on, so you can see each handmade detail. Light up the work underneath and work on!
It isn’t a must. You can always work in bright places or during the day! However, there’s no denying how much it helps.
Flexible Speed Settings
Sure, you want something fast. But you must get to control it. A sign-making router shouldn’t just be in one setting! You want to have the flexibility to handle various speeds and bits. The router should cut into the wood cleanly without the motor giving out – or yourself. Keeping up with speed is no joke!
Listen, you don’t want to make things any harder for yourself. Routers can be hard to handle! The physical effort you exert is a lot more than you expect. Sadly, this amount of action is a must if you want the best sign possible.
Not all of us are blessed with the stamina and strength to keep working a router forever. But then, you won’t be able to make the most of your machinery, anyway.
The best compromise is going for an ergonomic design. Any tool you buy should be lightweight, easy to use, and comfortable. Handlebars are a must, and they must have a comfortable grip! Rubber and soft fiber are something to always look for when buying a router.
Convenient Depth Adjustment
Not all letters on those handmade signs are made the same. Simply put, the depth varies. You want to adjust the router height every now and then as you move from one letter to another.
So, it’s a must… But can you do it manually? You can try, but that’s a lot of detailed work on your part. A depth adjustment system can help you out! A simple and functional one takes a load off your shoulders and makes adjustments accordingly. It’ll be precise, too – as long as your depth adjustment system has measurement markings available.
Tips and Tricks for Making Wood Signs With a Router
When working with a router, some techniques are only gained by experience. But guess what? We’re willing to share these tips that we’ve sampled over the years with you. We just want to make sure your project is a success!
Know the Function of All Router Bits
You don’t want to stick to just one router bit. In woodworking, especially cutting curves and fancy shapes with a router, you want to get the most out of your tools. For your router, know the different types of router bits possible! A V-groove, round nose and square route bits can help you to personalize every single letter. Please make the most out of their functions!
What Router Bits Can You Use for Letters & Signs?
Well, figure out the fonts you want to use first! After you settle one – or a few, we don’t judge – see the depths you’d like. A straight router bit is standard for wider bits, and everything else depends on your preferred font and depth.
Get The Project Done Quick
For such a detailed and customized project, is a quick finish possible? Always! Go for a big router instead of a smaller one. It’ll get you there quicker than you think.
Remember to Be Safe
Have the necessary precautions when doing any woodworking project. With sign-making, use both of your hands! Hold the machine down for extra detail and control. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to avoid complex information about your designs.
Avoid images with complicated patterns or high-end details. Don’t risk injury for the sign’s aesthetics!
Prepare Before Using a Router
You don’t want to waste high-quality wood with mistakes! To ensure that your sign is a success, you can test out the router bits with wood scraps. When you’re sure it works well and is your preferred bit, go for the router.
You can practice on scrap bits, making sure you leave enough wood for the edges.
After you cut the signs, you can use polyurethane and varnish to maintain the shine of the wood. After all, you want to keep it looking brand new!
Congratulations! You made your handmade sign. Customized ones add a warm, charming touch to any place, and your home and workstation always deserve it. Use the best router for the best signs you’d love!
We always recommend a plunge router, but a laminate router is enough if you want to go for something small.
Let us know how your woodworking projects go! We’d love to learn more about the signs you’ll make.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.