Wooden material is something that can be subjected to shaping and drilling. In fact, it is one of the most commonly used materials and people need to be able to make it look like they want it to, and serve the purpose that it is intended for. This is exactly where the best router table comes in the picture.
This piece of equipment is one of the best additions that any craftsman could possibly make in their workshops. This is why it has been one of the most common purchases during this current year.
And the tendencies are towards even further growth of sales. However, before you take off and buy your router table, make sure that you are properly informed about its features. This would ensure that you don’t end up with some table that you can’t find any use for. With all this in mind, we have compiled an informative and yet quite helpful list of the best router table reviews as well as a detailed guide that would shed some light on this particular matter. Without any further a due, let’s just jump into it.
Table of Contents
What is a Router Table?
A lot of people have never heard of a router table and this is why there should be some clarification as to what can you do with a router table. In order to get a proper answer to this question, one must first be aware of the purpose of the router table. This is a piece of equipment that is one of the most versatile additions that you can possibly make to your working place.
It doesn’t really matter if you are a professional woodworker or you are just a do-it-yourself kind of guy, a router table is surely something that would provide you with great aid. These tables are used mainly for making cuts on a piece of wood.
The workpiece itself is being placed on the table and it is mounted on it in order to stay perfectly stable. The locking mechanisms would allow you to rest assured that the workpiece is not going to move an inch, regardless of the pressure that you apply. This way you are going to have both of your hands-free to execute the perfect cut.
This additional control is going to make the overall routing operations a lot easier and also safer. Not only are you going to be able to properly control the whole process, but you can also be sure that you won’t hurt yourself if you properly follow the instructions for the routing process.
How to Choose the Best Router Table?
The router table is surely going to be a great addition and a step forward in your working place. You will be able to make your cuts faster and more precise with this one piece of equipment. You can also go for a router and router table combo and you would only have to get the work that needs shaping or cutting and you are all set and good to go. We are going to provide you with some of the key features and their specifications for you to keep an eye on when making the final choice.
It is true that there are a lot of different things that you will have to account for when making a router table purchase. This is why we are going to list the key features and their utilities in order to make it easier for you.
This is also commonly referred to as a base plate and is one of the key components of any router table that could significantly impact the overall utility and performance of the table. The first thing that you should be looking out for is the compatibility of the insert plate. You want to make sure that it is perfectly suitable for usage with as many different routers as it can. This would give you the freedom of attaching different machinery without worrying about compatibility.
However, it is also possible for you to purchase a table with a base plate which is specifically designated to fit the router that you want to use.
Even though this is a valid choice, it is commonly advisable to get a base plate capable of going along with numerous devices just to make sure that the versatility is properly ensured.
The majority of router table operations would require you to control the cut by keeping the wood piece pressed against the fence while you run it through the bit. As you may suppose, this is the main reason for which you want to ensure that the fence is capable of supporting the weight of the workpiece multiplied by the pressure you are applying. There are a lot of different router tables differentiated upon their fence design.
There are two general kinds of fences: a one-piece fence and a two-piece fence. The latter is made out of two separate sections which can be adjusted and you are able to use the router table to join a straight edge on a board if you have to nit it together, for instance. This is incredibly helpful and really does contribute to the overall utility of the unit. A one-piece fence would enable you to properly cut the workpiece without having the option to use it as a straight-edge join.
A stable base
This is as important as anything else on your router table. You want to make sure that security is provided at all times. Keep in mind that you are going to be applying a significant amount of pressure and combined with the heavy wood pieces that you are likely to cut, this could bring a lot on the table. This is why you want to make sure that the base is as sturdy and stable as it possibly can be.
Perfectly flat top
A clarification should be made here – the tabletop must not only be flat but also incredibly solid. This is due to the fact during most of the router table operations the cutting of the joinery or the treatment of the edges of a board requires thorough precision. Even some insignificant irregularities of the tabletop surface are possibly going to lead to skewed joints and uneven edges.
Now that we have covered some of the key features, let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes that people make while purchasing a router table and how to properly avoid them.
Do not focus solely on brands
A great number of people go into the shop searching for a specific brand that they read about or have heard from someone else. This is not always a nice approach because the majority of unprofessional people have no idea about why this particular brand is good. Different brands offer different products and some of them specialize in the manufacturing of router tables that are specifically intended for a particular kind of use.
For instance, there are brands that provide tables that are designated to be used by professionals. They feature more complex and complicated accessories that an untrained person won’t be able to properly utilize.
Most people would prefer to stick to a brand that they have already heard about and they would often disregard newer brands. This is absolutely unacceptable because recent manufacturers tend to implement a lot of innovation into their products. They also put all of their effort into the products because they would have to make it into the market.
Buying smaller units
This is related to people who are new to router tables. The truth is that everyone that has purchased a router table is extremely content with the utility that it brings into the workplace. It literally opens new horizons and this is why it is one of the most common purchases. However, if you are new to it, it is highly likely that you want to purchase a smaller table which is considerably less expensive just to see how it goes.
You want to test it to determine whether or not you need it. Well, chances are that you are in fact going to love it, and if you initially purchase a smaller one you are very quickly going to outgrow it. This would result in wasted money. So, don’t think about it much and spend a few extra bucks in order to get a proper fit piece of equipment that is likely to last you for a considerable amount of time.
Disregarding dust collection
Keep in mind that routing does leave a considerable amount of residual dust behind. It would also impair your working process because it would make the place harder to breathe in. This is why you should properly account for the dust collector.
The ports won’t always accommodate your vacuum type and this is why you are always a better off with a universal dust port adaptor that is going to enable you to fit whatever kind of vacuum cleaner you have to the dust collection ports. This is only a matter of a few extra dollars but it would surely spare you a lot of headaches.
You should always keep in mind that safety should come before everything else. Breathing in an excessive amount of dust might cause some really serious respiratory problems so this is definitely something that you want to take into account.
As you can see there are a lot of things that need to be considered and a lot of underwater stones that you can trip over. This is why this guide aims to make it a lot easier for you and to wrap the whole process up so you don’t have to waste a significant amount of time on research.
Top 6 Best Router Table Reviews for best work
1. Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
Bosch are generally known for delivering exceptional quality and the Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table is without a doubt one of the best router table for the money you are prepared to spare. All of this is due to a variety of reasons, of course. Right of the bat, this particular benchtop router table is perfectly compatible with the majority of routers so you won’t experience any shortage of available devices.
It also comes with two adjustable feather boards which would allow you to perfectly fit a wide variety of workpiece. It also has a dust collection port to ensure that the dust won’t spread over the entire working area causing you significant inconvenience.
The router table also comes with a dual outlet switch as well as a 6-foot power cord. As we already pointed out, the unit is fully compatible with a large number of routers, and because of this, and of course, to make it even more convenient for the customer, the table has a mounting hardware that is capable of fitting a variety of routers. The table would also provide you with a significant amount of working space because it measures 27 x 18 inches in size.
The table has an aluminum fence with an MDF faceplate as well as an aluminum router mounting place, giving it lighter construction that is sturdy and stable at the same time.
The router table is going to allow you to work with a lot of different materials and simultaneously ensure precision for every cut and shape. Thanks to the tall aluminum fence you are going to be fully able to handle tall stock easily. The MDF faceplates on the other hand would let you exercise better support as well as easier and smoother operation.
2. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
The Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style router table is surely one of the top router tables on the market in the current year. This is due to the fact that it brings significant advantages and utility to your workplace.
First of all, it features a tall aluminum face which would let you handle tall stock with little to no effort and at the same time keeping the construction relatively light. The adjustable MDF Face would enable you to properly support it and to control the router movement with precision. They have a size of 4 7/8 x 25 1/8 inches and the outfeed can be offset easily in order to provide the possibility for jointing.
The routing table has a rigid aluminum router mounting plate which is designated to stay perfectly flat in order to allow you to exercise precision and to work accurately. At the same time, it is pre-drilled in order to enable you to attach a large abundance of different routers.
The unit also has an accessory slot that is capable of accepting a feather board. There are optional accessories that you can also purchase such as the miter gauge. The table comes with 2 dust collection ports and you can attach 2 ½ inch vacuum hoses in order to make sure that no dust is going to escape and pollute the working environment.
The product also has a dual outlet switch as well as a 6-foot power cord which would allow you to put it at a relatively long distance from the outlet. It also has a lock that is specifically designated to prevent usage that is not authorized.
The overall cabinet styling is especially great for dust removal and combined with the two dust collection ports you can be sure that the air will be perfectly breathable while you operate the router.
3. Bench Dog 40-001 Router Table
Being one of the top-rated router tables on the market in 2019, the Bench Dog 40-001 surely does have a lot to offer to the workers. The table is incredibly well designed and has a significantly ample surface of 16 x 22 inches. This would allow you to easily put larger stock on it in order to properly shape it. The surface is has a plastic laminate which would allow you to perfectly utilize it.
The clear acrylic insert is specifically designed to accept the majority of routers which contributes to the overall versatility of the table.
The extruded aluminum fence is going to provide you with undeniable stability which would allow you to handle larger pieces that need to be shaped with precision. At the same time, the manufacturer has made sure that the surface is perfectly flat and it won’t move an inch while operating the router in order to provide you with sturdiness and control.
Everything that you would need for the installation in terms of hardware is included in the package as well as with assembly instructions to make it even more clear and easy to install. The unit also comes with a limited two-year warranty.
This product is incredibly well suitable for both professional craftsmen and people that like to do the job themselves. The top tier fence would allow incredible performance and the one-piece, heavy-duty aluminum frame guarantees safe usage.
The table is going to present you with an opportunity to utilize the full range of different router applications varying from cutting slots to crafting precisely made joints. The table also features dual fence slots which would enable you to work with larger panels.
4. SKIL RAS9000 Router Table
This is another one of the top router tables that are available on the market during the current year and it is quite an economic one. The SKIL RAS900 router table offers you a lot of utility as well as the possibility to precisely utilize your routers.
The table features accessory storage containers which are specifically designated to protect and store your accessories within the unit itself. Not only won’t you worry about damaging them, but you can also rest assured that you are going to have everything that you need just right next to you during all the time. It comes with 2 containers and it also includes a quick clamp system.
You are promised perfectly accurate routing thanks to the two feather boards that will help you to guide the workpiece with absolute precision. The bit height gauge is simplifying the overall set-up and greatly improves the accuracy of the cuts and shapes. The router table also has a starter pin as well as a guard that would help you support the workpiece when you have to make routing curved edges.
At the same time, the mounting of your router machine is going to be incredibly easy and there is not going to be any kind of leveling involved.
The machine originates from China and it weighs only 32 pounds which would make it really easy to move around if you had to do some changes to your working place. At the same time, it offers a significantly spacious working surface due to the fact that it comes with dimensions of 27.7 x 17.7 x 9.5 inches.
SKIL RAS9000 is one of the best solutions that would truly accommodate most of your routing needs, regardless of your level of professionalism. And all of this comes at a perfectly reasonable price.
5. KREG PRS1045 Precision Router Table System
If you had to make a router table comparison amongst the best of the units on the market during this current year, you are surely going to find out that the KREG PRS1045 Precision Router Table System is one of the best-executed pieces of equipment. The price is also significantly higher, but it sure is worth it, especially if you utilize it for professional affairs. The unit comes with a fully enclosed aluminum fence which is going to bring superior precision and is going properly collect the residual dust.
At the same time, it features an edge-banded MDF top that is specifically designated to absorb the vibrations and to significantly reduce the noise which is pretty convenient.
It has an easy-slide micro dot skin for effortless operation. The machine is perfectly compatible with any router machine thanks to the 37.48 x 25.51 x 36.5 inches thick phenolic insert plate. The unit comes with an individual fence faces which are designed to enable it to double as a vertical jointer in order to provide more utility and versatility. The KREG PRS1045 Precision router table also features automatic squaring which would allow you to properly and fully utilize your miter slot. It also makes it a lot easier to make some small adjustments to the fly.
The fence itself is made out of rigid aluminum extrusion that is perfectly capable of supporting even some of the largest work pieces. At the same time, the insert plate is standard sized in order to accommodate a variety of routers. All of these incredible and innovative features are undoubtedly going to allow you to finish your projects significantly faster and more precisely. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional or not, the table is rather easy to use and it would truly be a great addition to your workplace.
6. Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
In order to be considered as one of the best router and table combos amongst all of this abundance of products, the unit must truly offer a lot. The Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo would provide you with everything that you are going to possibly need, besides the lumber, in order to get started.
Craftsman router and router table combo would offer you with a variety of different tools that are specifically designated to ensure that the work you conduct is perfectly accurate as we as clean. Right of the bat, the router has a permanently lubricated and sealed ball bearings which are intended to provide a significantly longer motor life in comparison to other top products.
You are also provided with 334 square inches of working space on an 11/16 inches thick laminated tabletop that is perfectly flat to ensure maximum precision. The cutting depths are capable of locking down in micro-fine adjustments for accurate execution of your work. At the same time, the fence is adjustable in order to ensure proper bit clearance.
The Craftsman router table comes with a double outlet power strip that has a safety lock. This would let you rest assured that no one that is not authorized is going to be using the table. The miter gauge is capable of adjusting up to 60 degrees in both directions to ensure maximum versatility and utility.
How to Set Up a Router Table?
There is really not much to know about setting up the router table itself. It will most often come in assembled and all you have to do is to install the router. However, this might sound simple but it requires a few gentle touches now and then and it does have its specifications. With this in mind, we have prepared an easy step-by-step tutorial in order to properly instruct you on how to successfully set up your router machine to the table.
- The first thing that you need to do is to determine the exact place that you want it to fit. Make sure that you leave yourself enough working space. The place where you fit your router is going to directly impact the usability of the router table. Don’t worry if the insert plate is not pre-drilled, not all of them are. You can easily get it drilled to fit your particular router.
- The next thing you want to do is to chuck a ½ inch cutting bit into the router that you have decided to install and get the right measure of the distance between the cutting edge and the one on the base of the router. You are now ready to make the jig which is going to create the groove on which your router would sit. Make sure that you properly check all of your measurements and double-check if needed.
- Center the jig and place it directly on the router table and make sure that it is positioned precisely because once you begin with the cuts you won’t be able to make any adjustments.
- Put some masking tape on the surface of the table in order to make sure that if your cut is not deep enough you are going to be able to remove some of the tape and cut again. This would eliminate the risk of deep cutting.
- The next step you have to undertake is to plunge the router into the router table. Make sure that you do this slowly and with great precision in a clockwise direction. Once you are done with this you should not remove the jig.
- After this, you should place the circular saw where you want to make the cut for the whole. After this, you should finish off the corners with a standard jigsaw. After you are done with this you should not be removing the jig.
- Take the base plate or the insert plate as it is also commonly referred to and see if it fits. This is the reason for which you shouldn’t have removed the jig – it would allow you to make proper adjustments if you failed at some of the measuring. This is where the masking tape would also serve a great purpose. Simply make the adjustments and try again.
Basically, that is all you need to do in order to properly set up the router table and make it properly usable. You can always hire an expert to do it for you if you don’t feel comfortable enough that you can handle it. If you are prepared to spend a few extra dollars, you are at least going to be sure that everything is going to be done by the book.
How to Use a Router Table?
Using a router table is really not that big of a deal but you have to be really well used to it in order to carry out your projects with ease. If you are new to routing it is highly recommended that you start with a fixed base router that is rather small or a trim router for instance. You should aim at something that has one horsepower of one and a half horsepowers at most.
By the time you start to getting used to it this machine is likely going to be outgrown and this is when you should consider purchasing a larger router. There are certain things that you want to know about using a router.
Right of the bat, you want to move right not left. A lot of people start advancing with the wood router towards the wrong direction. The general rule of thumb is that you must always move the router against the direction in which the bit is rotating. This would allow you to exercise proper control over the machine. If you fail to do this and start moving at the same direction it is highly likely that you will lose control over the machine which may result in some certain complications.
In order to put it into a visual perspective, if you are routing the edges off a certain board, you want to move the router from the left to the right towards the edge that is at the closest distance from you.
However, when you are routing the opposite edge you want to advance from the right to the left. These are just some basics that you would want to know when you begin using the router table. Below you will find a more detailed and advanced list of different tips and techniques that may turn out to be of significant aid.
The Best Router Table Tips and Techniques
Using a router table surely does have its secrets. There are a lot of developed techniques that would allow you to carry out different kinds of routing tasks with great ease and with little to no effort. This is due to the fact that craftsmen have inevitably discovered certain techniques to speed the working process and to make it a lot more precise and efficient. This is why we are bringing to your attention some of the most useful tips and techniques that there is. Once you have gone through them, you would have a deeper understanding on how to properly utilize a router and its full capacities.
Flattening wide boards
The truth is that almost every tabletop is made out of a big, wide board. However, there are a lot of situations in which your board won’t be fitting through the planer, and flattening it could require you to put in a significant amount of effort. Of course, all of this could be spared if you use a router. The first thing you want to make sure is that you have enough working space that you can lay the board on. Lay the latter down after placing shims underneath in order to prevent it from rocking.
In order to achieve perfect precision when flattening whiteboards, you want to take them according to measurements and mill two guide boards in which you will fit the router. This would allow you to take off what you need without worrying about excessive routing which could ruin the whole board. Using those guide boards is certainly something that would greatly help you.
The perfect miter joints
Some of the table saws are not going to do a great job cutting the miters while the blade is tipped over to up to 45 degrees. If you had to go through such an issue, you should opt to use a chamfer bit that is always going to cut exactly at a 45-degree angle. However, once you are done setting up the table, go for leaving a point right on the very end of the workpiece, but make sure not to shorten its length. You may also make some adjustments to the fence or the height of the bit if you want to alternatively achieve this result.
In both cases, the adjustments should be insignificant and once you are all set you are good to go. Rest assured that the miters are going to offer a fast and easy cut.
Create a rigid routing sled
This is going to provide you with additional sturdiness and stability while carrying out your routing projects. You should add a board on the front of the sled and two top boards that are going to be working as a bridge right above the workpiece. This is going to provide you a perfectly rigid sled as well as incredible joints.
Cutting Tenon’s on Longer boards
Let’s imagine for a second that you are carrying out a project regarding the building of a bed for your bedroom. This would require you to use very long rails. In order to cut the tendons on said rails, you won’t be able to simply use a table saw. On the other hand, the whole thing is quite easy if you use a router table and two parallel guiding blocks. These are just two bigger pieces of wood that are generally connected by alignment pins.
The first thing you want to get done is to cut your rails one or two inches longer than the desired final length. You should install a half an inch in diameter bit in the router and start measuring how far it is going to cut from the edge of the router insert plate. You want to mark the tendons and clamp the guide blocks to the rail and make sure that they are properly and well squared to the rail and they are placed at the appropriate distance. Afterward, you are all set to start routing the two sides of your rail.
Get rid of router burn marks
There are several things that may be causing burn marks while you are using your router. Right of the bat you want to turn down the speed. This is due to the fact that the fast turning is likely to be the cause of the generating of wood-burning heat. Make sure to lower it. The next thing you want to do is to make sure that you are taking off not more than 1/8 inches of material with each and every pass of the router and even less on the last one.
Make sure that you really go at a slow pace, keeping into consideration the directions we pointed out earlier in the guide. You would also like to maintain your bits because they are likely to get weary due to extensive usage. Make sure to properly sharpen them or get new ones if these cannot be sharpened.
Transform the defects into properly shaped details
Chances are that not every cabinet case and the face frame are likely to go together perfectly. For instance, the frame might be overlapping the different sides of the case of some gaps that may show up after the glue-up. This is where you might want to search for a solution to turn those defects into details. The solution is actually here – a flush-trim V-groove router bit. This single piece of equipment is going to form a groove on the joint line between the frame and the case which would allow you to properly make up for or cover the defects that may arise in a mismatch like the one stated above.
Get your stuck bit removed
This is something that absolutely everyone that has been using a router table for a long period of time has surely come across. This is an incredibly annoying issue that may slow down your working process or if you don’t know how to fix it – to ruin it completely until you fix it. Stuck bits are best removed by applying a small amount of penetrating lubricant and let it go through the port that holds the bit. Afterward, you should hold the spindle with a wrench and use your other hand to twist back and forth the bit in order to free it.
Prepare a template
This would allow you to work with ease and with absolutely no significant effort. Decide on the effect that you are hoping to achieve and create a basic template that will guide the router. You can use the feather boards to get it stable on the piece of wood that you want to shape up. This would ensure enough stability and it would allow you to utilize both of your hands for greater control and further precision. A template is one of the most common and simple solutions that a lot of people underestimate.
As you can see, there are tons of different tips and tricks of the trade, so to speak. There are a lot of things that can make your work with the router significantly easier. All of this will come with time. Most of the people tend to learn on the go – while they are working. However, if you want to get a head start it can never hurt to read up on some particular information.
For instance, if you have to carry out a certain project, you can go online and check how it’s done. With the advancement of technology and the internet, everything is literally one click away. However, with the help of the internet, you can find invaluable information that would surely enable you to handle your work more properly. Using a router can be tricky, but thanks to tips and techniques that are stated above and some additional information you can learn how to perfectly handle this device in a matter of days.
Router Table Safety
Regardless of the undertaking that is at hand, you should always be putting your safety and that of your surroundings above everything else. Keep in mind that a router can be a heavy-duty piece of machinery that is more than perfectly capable of doing significant damages if not used as it should. This is even more dangerous if you are not taking the necessary safety precautions before using the router table. This is why you should always make sure to do the best you can to keep yourself safe.
- You should use push blocks in order to position your hands to a safe distance away from the bit. It is highly advisable that you use large-diameter bits only with a router table because if you use it without one you are very likely to lose control over the machine which might really bring a lot of troubles.
- Make sure to always wear eye and ear protection. After all, you are going to be subjected to an excessive production of dust. This might cause some respiratory problems and the loud noises that are made from these machines might cause some hearing impediments.
- It is absolutely mandatory to use a feather board to properly support and secure the working piece to the router table or the fence you are using.
- You should always make sure to move the router from the right to the left if you want to avoid quickly losing control over the tool. For your own safety, you should choose to avoid reshaping smaller stock because it is a lot more dangerous for your fingers.
- You should also check if the motor is secured in the base before starting the router itself.
- Never force the bit because this might lead to some overheating. Should you choose to follow most of those instructions you can rest assured that it is highly unlikely that you get injured. However, don’t take safety lightly, and make sure that you have done everything that I have told you.
It is due to a variety of different reasons for which the best router table is one of the greatest purchases that every craftsman can make. This is the perfect addition to any workplace, regardless of the level of professionalism of the people that stand behind it. Router tables are especially easy and rather straight forward to operate, provided you have taken a handle of them.
They are unlikely to surprise you if you follow the instructions and at the same time, they bring a significant amount of benefits. This is why we have compiled this precise list of the best router table reviews for the current year. The hope is that it would properly inform you and after you are through with it you would surely have a better insight on the router tables.