The router is undoubtedly the second most important tool in the modern workshops, next only to the contemporary table saw. But let’s cut through the nonsense and try to figure out if the router you have been eyeing or using is the best for table mounting. Remember that this post is not about brands, but it is about clearing the confusion about which router features are beneficial to woodworkers.
The router, of course, is a power tool. It features a flat base and a rotating blade that extends past its base. Moreover, its spindle may be run by a pneumatic motor or an electric motor. It is engineered to rout or hollow out an area in hard material (wood and plastic). You can particularly use the router in woodworking, specifically in cabinetry. You can affix it to a router table. It can also be handheld.
Most Recommended Routers for Table Mounting
Professional woodworkers know that routers mounted on a table provide that edge over using a freehand router. Yet, to zero in on the right router for table mounting, it is not enough to know the essential factors to consider when choosing a router. You will also get a step closer to having the ideal router if you know the following most recommended router for table mounting:
1) Dewalt DW618PK Table Mounted Router
Dewalt is a famous brand that rolls out quality power tools over the years. It maintains a remarkable line of products that includes the Dewalt DW618PK Table-mounted Router. This router comes with a powerful motor that can enable you to route through hardwood at your desired speed. It also offers precise depth adjustments.
Its motor is a 2-1/4-hp motor (12 amp) that offers electronic variable speed. It also comes with 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets for better bit retention and improved versatility. Moreover, its depth adjustment ring provides depth adjustments in increments of 1/54″ and vertically adjusts.
It also features an adjustable steel motor cam lock that you can adjust tool-free. This feature also offers quick base changes and is solid-locking. Its dust collection (through-the-column can collect 95% of dust to provide greater bit visibility.
The DW618PK can operate between 8000 RPM to 24,000 RPM. It also comes with a power cord to make you feel safe when you are working on it. Its handles are wide and are convenient to use. Besides, its switch toggle offers a good feel, and this tool is easy to maintain. This router is a great choice, and it can handle most jobs, though it is flexible enough for edge routing likewise.
2) Dewalt (DW616) Router
One of the best routers for woodworking is the Dewalt (DW616) Router. It features a strong motor that belongs to the 11 Amp range; as such, it can handle even the hardest and toughest wood surface. Its motor is a 1-3/4-hp motor that provides this router with incredible power.
The Dewalt (DW616) Router features an excellent depth adjustment system that provides woodworkers with precise depth adjustments in increments of 1/64 inch. It also features an adjustable and tool-free motor cam lock made of steel for incredible depth adjustment and quick changes of the base, along with solid-locking.
It also comes with quick-release latches for its motor for easy and fast motor pack removal of bit and quick base changes. Furthermore, it comes with a sub-base gauge (concentricity) to make sure of bit concentricity for top-of-the-line accuracy. One downside of using this router is its noise when operating it since it has a powerful motor.
DW616’s body is as much excellent as its inner systems. The sub-base component, for example, is transparent and is made of LEXAN. Thus, it affords you a better view of its bit. It also lets you work according to standard guide bushings. It has a robust housing, and it boasts of a dust-sealed switch with nickel plating. This nickel plating assists in depth adjustment.
3) Bosch 1617EVSPK
Another trusted name when it comes to power tools is Bosch. One of its best routers is the Bosch 1617EVSPK. You can use this router for various applications, like precise bit plunging, slot cutting, edge forming, dovetail cutting, and laminate trimming. It belongs to the most commonly used routers in woodworking.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK is known for its durability. It is of aluminum construction with wooden handles. Moreover, it has a fixed base. It also features a soft-grip handle on its plunge base.
It is easy to use with its rounded hardwood handles for maximum convenience. It is convenient to use and can maintain its regulated speed with its constant response circuitry. Thus, it lets you have a cleaner and more accurate result.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK kit also comes with a fixed base, plunge base, 1/4″ and 1/2″ collet chucks, collet nut wrench, shaft wrench, chip shields, along with a carrying case.
4) Metabo HPT KM12VC
The Metabo HPT KM12VC operates on an 11-amp motor with a peak horsepower of 2-1/4 hp for controlled and precise cuts. It features a motor release (two-stage) clamp for accurate and quick depth adjustments as well as base changes. It also features an electronic speed control for maintaining constant speed (RPMs) even if you vary the loads.
It produces less noise while in operation with its 79.5dB noise production. The kit likewise comes with a 1/2″ collet chuck, 1/4″ collet chuck, template guide adapter, 16-mm wrench, centering gauge, 23-mm wrench, 4-mm hex bar wrench, sub-base plate, ten hex socket HD bolts, and a case.
This Metabo HPT KM12VC model comes with an ergonomic design and is an excellent choice for your workshop. It is durable and is convenient to use. Lastly, it is lightweight at 7.3 pounds (fixed base) and 9.9 pounds for its plunge base.
5) Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
If you’re looking for a compact router with a slim profile, you can check out the Makita RT0701C. It is compact, slim, and is very agile. I’m pretty sure it will deliver incredible performance, despite its affordable price. It is powered by a 1.25 HP motor and comes with variable speed control with speeds ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM. Since it is compact and slim, it is very much portable.
The Makita RT0701C features a smooth rack and a depth adjustment system (pinion fine) for precision settings. It has an ergonomic design for optimum level of control and comfort. Moreover, it features a cam lock system characterized by quick-release for better depth adjustments and base installation and removal.
RT0701C’s electronic speed control allows you to maintain a constant speed when operating it. Besides, it comes with a soft-start feature for hassle-free starting-ups. It also comes with a fixed base and accepts standard template guides for more convenient usage.
Buyer’s Guide: Factors You Should Consider When Buying a Router for Table Mounting
If you are a tyro in woodworking, you might get confused when buying a router for table mounting. The reason is that there are myriads of brands and models of routers in the market today. Yet, you would surely get a step closer to getting the ideal router for table mounting, if you are cognizant of the following essential factors to consider when buying a router for table mounting:
The router you should choose must be able to rip the bit through just anything, depending on which materials you will work on. The power of your router is rated according to the current it draws and its horsepower. Moreover, the router with a higher current draw and horsepower can develop more torque.
Another thing to bear in mind when choosing a router is the materials you will work on. Remember that some RPMs are perfect for pinewood, while some are not sufficient to work on hard plastic materials. If you are not sure, it will be useful to choose a router with dual power options.
Look for Something with Variable Speed
Routers come in variable speeds, and thus, when choosing a router for table mounting, you need to consider the available variable speeds provided by the router. It will be best if you learn the right speed to not burn the wood or damage the router bits.
Learning by experience about which speed is best is not a great option because you may damage your materials or router bits if you learn by trial and error. Hence, it is best to consult those who are more adept in the use of the router.
Of course, you can deal with different projects if your router comes with variable speed. Moreover, if you intend to mount your router on the table, you should ensure that the variable control switch is accessible. You can add an extra auxiliary user switch if you find it hard to access the switch from above.
Easy To Replace Router Bits
One characteristic that your router should have is the convenience it offers when changing bits. It should give you the utmost level of ease when changing bits. You should be able to replace the bits without necessarily removing the router each time from the table. It should also let you change bits using a wrench above the table. With such a router, you can save time in changing bits.
Electronic Feedback Circuit
Your choice of a router should feature a soft start. If it has this feature, it is most likely equipped with EFC (electronic feedback circuit). Materials come in various densities, and these variations in density can make the engine accelerate or overlap.
EFC quickly adjusts the torque to let you have a more comfortable and convenient tailoring experience. With the EFC, you can achieve the lines with ease even if the workpiece’s thickness and depth vary.
Handling and Construction
More often, it will help if you choose routers from reputable brands because these brands tend to maintain a high standard to protect their brand names. If you settle for budget tools, you will most likely end up with a low-quality tool with less durable parts. So, you should choose something with proven sturdiness, durability, and quality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Having known the essential factors to consider and the most recommended routers for table mounting, you will also benefit from reading the following most frequently asked questions about routers for table mounting:
What Types of Shank Bit Types That Are Compatible With Router?
The majority of wood routers can function with 1/4″ or 1/2″ shank bits with the exceptions of some models that can even handle sizes like 1/8″ and 3/16″. You can choose something with a collet kit that has various sizes for covering the bases.
What is the Maximum Power or Revolution Per Minute (RPM) of the Router’s Motor?
The speed of the router varies depending on which router model you are using. Nevertheless, the average RPM or speed of wood routers is from 16,000 RPM to 27,000 RPM. Hence, if you are desirous of buying a new router or want to replace your old one, it will help if you engage in product research to ensure that you know the product specifications of the prospective router model you would like to buy. It will also be useful if you directly contact the router manufacturer to ask more about the product specifics.
Does the Prospective Router You Want to Buy Come with a Carrying Case?
If you would transport your router from one place to another, you might as well look for something with a carrying case. You can check the drop shipping option in platforms like Amazon to avail of this carrying case. Nevertheless, be ready to shell out some money for such a case. Of course, having a carrying case provides you with enough flexibility in carrying and transporting your router from one place to another.
Where Was the Router Manufactured, and What is it Made of?
Different countries have varying standards and regulations that govern the manufacturing of power tools. Some have high standards, while some have no standards at all. So, the location where the router was manufactured matters. In the U.S., for example, regulatory compliance is high, and standards are strictly followed.
To Which Outlet Should I Plug My Router?
Routers with higher horsepower necessitate higher power input. Moreover, different countries also differ when it comes to their AC voltage supply. In Japan, for example, most outlets are 110 outlets. Hence, if you buy a product there, chances are, you will need a transformer or a voltage converter.
What is the Product’s Warranty?
Some products do not expressly state the warranty in their product specifications. Nevertheless, if you want to know, for sure, the warranty policies, you should contact the company directly to inquire about the warranty concomitant with the product. Warranties of routers, of course, vary from one to five years. Some manufacturers also offer free service for a particular period.
Can It Be Mounted to Different Types of Tables, & Does It Require a Certain Type of Accommodations?
Router tables come in different varieties. Some popular table brands are the Rockler and Skil. These two, of course, are known for their quality tables, and you can select any of these two. When it comes to mounting a router on a table, you don’t need to worry much about it, for it is relatively easy to do.
How Loud Does a Router Run?
As mentioned above, routers come in different varieties, and thus, they also create a diverse range of noise. Moreover, if you run them at different speeds, they will also create different levels of noise. Woodworkers, of course, know that 18,000 RPM will only produce around 80dB of noise.
Can You Interchange the Templates of the Sub-base and Base Components?
Some companies produce router models with interchangeable components. One such company is Bosch, and it is known for making compatible components for the base. Ryobi, on the other hand, is popular for customized or made-to-order pieces or parts.
Does the Manufacturer Offer Replacement Parts & Screws?
Another succinct factor you need to pay attention to when buying a router is the manufacturer’s customer service. With an excellent customer service, you can quickly resolve problems with part replacements or screw replacements.
Your choice of router for table mounting will have a bearing on your woodworking tasks. As such, you need to select the router you would purchase for your workshop carefully. As a power tool, the router offers woodworkers a professional edge over those who make use of traditional routers. So, when choosing a router for table mounting, it will help if you are cognizant of the essential factors to consider.
Know the router’s power and figure out if it offers variable speed and easy bit replacement. It will also help if you check its electronic feedback circuit and its construction. Moreover, when shopping for a router, it will help to know the most recommended routers in the market today to ensure that you will be a step closer to zeroing in on the best router for table mounting.