You took the plunge and purchased an excellent router. You’ve been using it for some time and realize that you need something more. Now you are looking to purchase the best router table you can afford.
Undoubtedly, you have looked at some router table reviews. Maybe they’ve left you more confused than you were when you started. That’s what we’re here for. We want to present you with a comprehensive guide that is going to help you understand what things to consider when purchasing a router table.
After reading this guide, you will clearly understand the difference between purchasing a mediocre router table and purchasing something of quality that is going to last and improve the results you get from your woodworking.
What Is A Router Table?
Before you can purchase the best bench top router table, you need to know what a router table is. Basically, a router table is a stationary woodworking machine. It allows you to connect your router to the base of the table. The spindle of the router protrudes from the table and can be activated to spin at the desired speed.
A wood piece is then fed into the table. On one side of the table, there is usually a fence. This fence is designed to keep the wood piece you are working on straight and to control the horizontal depth of the cut.
The side of your wood piece that is not against the fence is the side that is molded by the router bit.
A router table can drastically increase the versatility of your handheld router. In some cases, the router table makes it easy for you to consistently shape a large piece of wood.
In other instances, a router table provides the surface and the stability needed to accurately shape smaller pieces of wood.
Some of the common uses of a router table include:
- Edge Trimming and Template Work
- Using a Router As a Jointer
- Performing Stop Cuts
- Dovetail and Box Joints
- Locke Miter, Drawer Lock, and Finger Joints
These are just a few of the benefits of using a router table. Really, the possibilities are endless. You are only restricted by your imagination, the amount of time you want to practice, and the bits you purchase for your router.
Router Table Parts and Accessories
Even the best router table top is only going to be as good as the accessories you purchase for it. The following is a quick overview of some of the accessories that will improve the results you get with your router table.
These are the most important parts of your table. You can purchase them with shanks that are either 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch. Most people are going to use 1/4 inch shanks for the majority of the projects they do. Half-inch bits are designed for heavy-duty construction projects, like making doors or windows.
At the center of your table, there is an aluminum plate. This is where the bit is going to protrude through the table. It is important that the hole at the center of the plate is large enough to support the diameter of the bit you are going to use. The plate should also have a reducer, making it possible for you to use smaller size bits.
Most tables will have a ring set. It will have openings that range from 1 inch to 2 5/8 inch.
This is one of the most important features of your router table. This is what is going to keep the cut board straight. As its name suggests, the fence acts as a barrier or as a guide so that your wood piece does not move as you are pushing it along the table. In most cases, the only time you would remove the fence is if you were using a template.
Miter Gauge Trac
This is designed to allow you to better control the movements of your fence, increasing the precision of the cuts for your project. It is not something that is always used, but it is recommended that you purchase a table that has a miter gauge track.
These will be mounted on top of the router table track. Their purpose is to keep the wood you were working with tightly pressed against the table and the fence. They are able to accomplish this task thanks to the multiple flexible fingers they have on the edge.
In addition to improving the accuracy of your cuts, feather boards will prevent kickbacks. You can also use them to keep your fingers out of the way when you’re working on smaller boards or as a way of running wide boards through the machine.
The router base is the table the router is mounted on. It is essential that the stand or base is solid. You do not want it to be wobbling around while you are working. However, you want to be able to easily move it across the floor.
Dust Collection Ports
These are also a key part of your router table. They allow a vacuum cleaner to connect to your router table in order to get rid of any wood dust, wood shavings, or wood chips that are created.
Types of Router Table
Trying to find the right router table can be a challenge, especially because of the number of router tables and router table reviews that are available. If this is your first time looking at a router table, this quick overview of the router table styles that are available will be beneficial for you.
Benchtop Router Tables
These router tables are actually used or placed on top of a table or something that has a similar shape. They are very versatile and compact. They are designed to be used by individuals who are just learning how to use a router table.
Standalone Router Table
While these do share some characteristics with the benchtop router table model, standalone router tables are larger and more expensive. One of the nice things about a standalone router table is that it is designed to handle vibrations better than even the best portable router table.
Extension Router Tables
These have been designed to work in conjunction with your table saw. Their purpose is to increase the workspace you already have on your table saw. This is an awesome tool if your woodworking needs are expanding, but you’re not ready to spend the money on a router table combo. The extension gives you the space and versatility you need without the extra expense.
Router Table Combo: As the name suggests, this product is a combination of a router table and the router. It is perfect for a person who does not already have a router and who is looking to purchase the best router table for the money.
Benefits of Using a Router Table
The thing that most likely got you interested in purchasing a router table is that you wanted a hands-free experience that would relieve the strain that comes from holding a router for hours. And while this is a benefit derived from all router tables, the best router tables will provide you with so much more.
Router Tables Increase Precision and Speed
Even if you are using the best rated routers, you will notice that high precision comes from using a mounted router in a table setup. The table set up allows the wood to pass along without moving one way or another in any direction.
Complex Cuts and Inlay Work
When you read router table reviews, one thing that you see over and over again is how the table allows the woodworker to create intricate patterns and maneuver the wood to their liking. This is because handheld routers are primarily used to make generic straight lines.
Depth of Cut
Most people assume that if they have a good router, they will be able to best customize the depth of their cut if they are not bogged down by a table. And while this may be true when dealing with simple cuts, more complex situations where you need to pass the router over the same area multiple times can leave you with edges that are jagged and uneven.
Improved Safety and Maintenance
While it is true that a router table requires maintenance, the maintenance needed is little when compared to the maintenance a handheld router needs on its own. With a router table, dust and wood chips that could interfere with a router’s function all end up on the table.
10 Best Router Table Reviews
1. Bosch RA1181 Bench Top Router Table
The Bosch RA1181 is another example of the high-quality products people have come to expect from Bosch. It is a clear example that something can be of great quality and yet not expensive.
The Bosch RA1181 Bench Top router table has a large workspace that allows you to work with sizable wood pieces.
And the Bosch router table RA1181 is flexible. You can use it with a number of routers.
This is nice because if you need to change routers for a specific project, setup will not be an issue.
You are going to appreciate the 2 ½ inch dust collection port.
Not only does it keep your work area tidy, but it makes your work area easy to work in. This is a balanced table that comes equipped with all of the hardware you need to set up the table and get to work immediately. It has a decent amount of storage, so you can store the things you are not using.
The table is functional in that it has a nice built-in cord wrap. This makes it easy to transport from one place to another and to store.
- Product Dimensions: 27 x 18 x 14.5”
- Item Weight: 34.4 pounds
- Finish: Clear Coated Aluminum Top
- One Year Warranty with One Year Service Protection Plan
- Dust Ports: Dust collection ports in the fence can be connected to a standard 2 ¼ inch hose. This allows you to use the dust collection system or a shop vacuum cleaner to remove debris.
- Dual Outlets Switch: This 15 amp dual outlets switch comes with a 6-inch cord and a lockout key. The lock prevents unauthorized use of your table.
- Large Aluminum Work Surface: Thanks to its 27 x 18 x 14.5” dimensions, you will have more than enough workspace to get the job done.
- Aluminum Fence: Featuring a 4 7/8 inch high by 25 1/8 inch long fence, you will be able to work with tall and long stock with ease.
- Solid Aluminum Mount Plate
- Adjustment Screws for Simple Plate Mounting
- Multiple Mounting Configurations for Routers
- Power Switch Has a Lockout Safety Feature
- The Majority of the Body Is Plastic
- Assembly Is Made More Challenging Because of Confusing Instructions
Bosch is known for making a superior product. Their attention to detail is seen in this table. It is flexible, versatile, and strong enough to hold up to repeated use and abuse.
2. Kreg Precision PRS1045
The Kreg Precision PRS1045 is the perfect combination of versatility and precision. It is easy to set up, allowing you to get to your woodwork quickly. It has a very durable top and a one-of-a-kind T-square style fence.
All of this is supported by a sturdy steel stand. Many people view this Kreg router table as one of the best routing tables on the market.
One of its outstanding features is the fact that it is multipurpose. It has a self-squaring router table fence system.
It is heavy-duty, easy to adjust, and can be customized. It is everything you want your table to be.
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 13 x 8”
- Weight: 105 pounds
- The innovative anodized aluminum fence has a table saw style T-square adjustment. This is important because it guarantees that the fence and the miter gauge slot will always be parallel.
- One-hand adjustments make using this table a breeze. Dual locks, including a large paddle lock on the in-feed end as well as a quarter-turn lock on the outfeed end, keep the fence in its place.
- Built-in Dust Collection: Dust collection is made easy thanks to independent sliding fence faces. These can be positioned exactly where you need them to force dust and wood chips into the built-in dust ports.
- Built-in Jointing Feature: This table includes two jointing rods. Simply put them in the right position behind the outfeed fence face. This allows you to make perfect edges on boards.
- It is sturdy thanks to its 1-inch thick tabletop with a large core to support routers and lifts
- Adjustable from 29 inches to 35 inches
- Durable 12 and 16gauge steel with a powder-coated finish
- The table is a little small for those needing a larger work area.
If we could only say one thing about this table in our Kreg router table review, it is that this table is extremely durable. It is a beast by any standards. If you’re looking at working with larger stock, you may want to get a bigger table. But if the size fits your needs, you are not going to be disappointed by the durability and flexibility this table provides.
3. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension
Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax is a powerful extension table. When you work with the Bench Dog router table, it immediately becomes clear why having sufficient space is an important part of using a router. Even if you have a top-notch router, you will not get the quality you crave if you don’t have room to use it.
This extension is industrial grade. When you add it to your table saw, it increases your functionality without robbing you of much-needed space.
The unit comes with a nice dust collection port, making it easier for you to keep your work area clean.
The miter gauge track allows you to make whatever adjustments you need for your project. It will always be done right, and it will always be accurate.
A neat feature is the ability to turn the fence and work on either side of the table. This gives you more flexibility when selecting which work surface you’re going to work on.
- Product Dimensions: 32.2×21.7×5.1 inches
- Weight: 60 pounds
- Color: White
- It is able to fit all contractor-grade table saws
- The pro-fence can quickly be dismounted and hung on the J-hooks if you want to use the table saw
- Includes router top, fence, and the hardware you need to mount your router
- The optional Bench Dog router lift has a 3/8 inch plate
- Fits most traditional table saws
- Is sturdy
- Has an adjustable fence
- Has an efficient dust collection system
- At 60 pounds, it is heavy to move around
- The router mounting plate is not included
This is a unit that was created with workspace in mind. What is so nice about this unit is that you do not have to choose between functionality and space. The table is heavy, which can be a good thing, but it can also be a drawback if you are looking at moving it from one place to another frequently. Router table reviews verify that you will need to purchase additional adapters to make it work with your router.
4. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
Woodworkers who have had the opportunity to use Bosch tools understand that Bosch has made a name for itself by creating high-quality products.
The Bosch RA1171 is another example of that quality. It is a router table that provides functionality for the woodworker who is on a budget.
This is a cabinet design, so you must realize that it’s not going to have the same stability of a table that has four solid metal legs.
When you use it, it does not feel unstable, but it is just that most people would prefer something a little bit heavier. When you look at the Bosch router table RA1171,
However, it is durable enough that it is going to last you for years. And when you compare its expected life span to its inexpensive price point, you realize why so many people think this product is of great value.
- Product Dimensions: 4.8x 27×24.2 inches
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Material: Aluminum
- Warranty: One Year
- Dust Ports: The cabinet-style design of this unit makes dust collection and dust removal a lot easier.
- Dual Outlets Switch: With a 6-foot power cord and a lock to prevent unauthorized use, this is a secure powered unit.
- Adjustable Clear Guard
- Starter Pen and Guard
- Tall Aluminum Fence Measuring 4 7/8 of an inch by 25 1/8 inch
- Built with Bosch Quality
- Comes with Multiple Accessories
- Cheap Price at under $200
- Not As Sturdy As a Table
- Will Not Last As Long As Other Bosch Tables
This table is designed for someone who wants to take their carpentry to the next level but who at this moment cannot afford to purchase a table that is in excess of $500. It has a lot of very nice features, and it is versatile.
You will notice that the table does not have the same stability that a table with four metal legs might have. But this is to be expected from a cabinet-style table. All in all, we concur with many other reviews that consider this unit to be of good value for the money.
5. Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table
The Bench dog 40-001 is one of the best benchtop router tables you are going to find.
It is not as big as some of the other tables that we have reviewed, but it has so many features that whether you do woodworking as a hobby or whether you are a professional, you are just going to love it.
This table makes ample use of a forward outset router setting. Since the fence can be set up in multiple positions, you have a large work surface that allows you to accomplish a wide range of tasks and projects.
Even though this is a cabinet unit, it has been designed to be stable. You’ll notice the perfect balance between stability and durability.
It only weighs 35 pounds. So you should be able to move it from one place to another to get the job done.
Something else you will like about this table is that it is relatively lightweight. We would be remiss if we did not comment on the unit’s craftsmanship. It has a one-piece aluminum frame. It is designed for heavy-duty use and can stand up to whatever you throw at it.
- Product Dimensions: 26.8 x 22.8 x 5.1”
- Weight: 43.2 Pounds
- Color: White
- This unit has a feature-loaded Pro fence. It is versatile, allowing you to cut different materials of different sizes to exact specifications.
- Its one-piece aluminum frame is perfectly machined, guaranteeing a flat square surface.
- The aluminum miter track is adjustable to fit most standard miter gauges.
- T slots on the table and fence are designed for mounting featherboards, stops, and other accessories.
- Lightweight and Portable
- Made from Solid Aluminum, So It Does Not Warp
- Made to Exacting Standards
- Equipped with Easy to Adjust Sub Fences
- Since this is a professional model, you will need to read the instructions to understand its full use.
- The table may be too low for taller users.
- Some users have had difficulty installing a motor without adjusting or changing the plate.
If you are a professional craftsman or a do-it-yourselfer who is serious about quality, then this is the table for you. It allows you to expertly tackle jobs that you would not to be able to do simply using a handheld router. This product shows very clearly why having a good router table is critical to the performance of your router.
6. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
The Kreg PRS2100 bench top router table is one of the most amazing small router tables you’re going to find. What attracts most people to this model is how inexpensive it is. You can find it frequently for under $300.
It has a sturdy design, and its work surface is made from MDF. This is also true of the fence guard. This means that you are going to have a smooth yet sturdy surface to work on.
You are going to be able to work on finished products without worrying about accidentally scratching the product. This confidence alone is enough to encourage many people to purchase the product. Before buying it, it is important to realize that this is a small table.
If you are looking for a large table that allows you to work on bigger stock, then this is not what you need.
Although the tabletop is made from MDF, the rest of the table is made from high-quality steel. It is covered in protective paint, and it will stand up to just about anything that you throw its way.
Beginners are drawn to this table because of its ease-of-use. Experienced craftsmen also use this table because they know that they can work on it without worrying about damaging their wood piece.
- Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 30 x 4.8”
- Weight: 28.4 Pounds
- Color: Blue
- A unique feature of this product is its industrial quality fence. It is very versatile and contains adjustable faces.
- The dust collection feature means that you do not have to worry about wood chips or dust getting in the air or interfering with your work area.
- The extra-large 16 x 24 MDF tabletop has an easy-to-slide surface.
- High Quality Design
- Unique Features
- Smooth Easy Slide Surface
- Sturdy Metal Construction
- Ease-Of-Use for Beginners
- The table may be short for some users.
- Some have complained about the table not being sufficiently sturdy.
When you first look at its size, you may think that investing around $300 in this table is a little bit too much. But then when you take into consideration the features that it offers, its versatility, and its easy slide surface, you realize that you are investing in a high quality router table. The dividends that you get from investing in this product will be well worth it.
7. Skil RAS900 Router Table
For many hobbyists and do-it-yourselfers, the Skil RAS900 Router Table is the perfect router table.
It offers many storage containers that allow you to keep all of the necessary tools for your project safe and protected along with the router table.
One of the things that stand out when looking at this Skil router table is its price when compared to all that you get and with its high quality.
Starting at about $140, some of the things that you can expect included with this package are a miter gauge, a guard, featherboards, and bit inserts.
You will also receive a starter pin and guard that can be used when working on curved or round work pieces.
If you are looking at making precision cuts, this is the model for you. It has a very efficient folded design that means you can store it easily. It is already assembled when you purchase it. You do not need to set up anything to get to work. This is great for do-it-yourselfers who are looking at spending their time working on their wood project instead of setting up a router table.
- Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 17.7 x 9.5 inches
- Product Weight: 32 pounds
- Material: Plastic and Metal
- Containers That Protect and Store Accessories
- Includes a Quick Clamp System
- A Bit Height Gauge That Ensures Precision Cuts
- Does Not Require Leveling
- Easy to Change Bits
- Includes a Starter Pin and Guard That Allows You to Easily Work on Curved Edges
- Easy to Attach and Detach the Router
- Easy to Setup and Requires Only Minimal Assembly
- Stores Easily since It Has a Folding Design
- Has a Quick Release Router Mount
- The Wooden Fence May Warp over Time
- Hard to Get Replacement Parts
This is a great product for an individual who is a hobbyist or do-it-yourselfer. Many reviews from first-time woodworkers comment on how easy it is to use this product.
It is reasonably priced and can tackle most small jobs. If only used on smaller projects, it will last for years. Its larger table, larger insert rings, and specialized router mounting plate that has a quick release all make it a great option for the money.
However, it is not the best option for individuals who are looking for something to use professionally.
08. Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
This is a package deal that is going to get you going no matter if you are a novice or a professional. Some of the things that it includes to get you going right off the bat are a router, a wrench, a table, a fence, and a 1/4 inch collet.
Some of the extras that allow you to add to detail and keep you safe include a miter gauge and featherboards.
This Craftsman professional router table package is powerful. It has a 1 ¾ horsepower motor that runs at up to 27,000 RPMs.
If you were to look at a Craftsman router table review online, you would see that this entire package gets you going no
matter if you are looking to work on rustic furniture or if you need the tools to help you with cabinetry and other work that requires precise and intricate cuts.
- Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 15.9 x 14.7 inches
- Weight: 25.4 Pounds
- Material: Metal, Plastic, and Wood
- Insert Ring Diameters: 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″, and 1-3/4″
- Everything You Need to Get Going. The package includes a router, table, wrench, fence, dust guard, 1/4 inch collet, miter gauge, and featherboards.
- A Lot Of Work Space. With 334 in.² of work space and a thick laminated top, you can work on almost any project.
- Plenty of Power. This package has a 9.5 A router. It is designed with a 1 3/4 horsepower motor that has the ability to run at up to 27,000 RPM’s
- Safety Features. This is a safe machine that includes a double outlet power strip as well as a lock.
- Dust Extraction Port. You can maintain a clean and dust free work environment thanks to the extraction port for dust that comes along with this Craftsman professional router.
- Powerful Router with up to 27,000 RPM’s
- Adjustable Fence
- Comes with a Complete Package to Get You Started on Woodworking Projects
- Cutting Depths Are Easily Adjusted
- A Lot Of Work Space on the Table
- Easy to Set up
- The Plastic Used To Make the Fence May Be of Low Quality
This is a great product for individuals who want a complete package to begin a woodworking project. It is affordable and has a nice compact design. It is also a great product for individuals who already have years of experience woodworking and would like to upgrade their current router and router table.
It offers quite a few advanced features that allow you to get precision cuts. And the power that is behind the motor in this router will allow you to work on a variety of pieces of wood. Overall, this is a quality product.
9. Trim Router Table
When you read the reviews about this product, you are going to notice that the Trim Router Table is very reasonably priced. It comes in right at around 60 bucks.
It is an affordable tool and is perfect for individuals who are working on smaller pieces and are just getting started and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg.
This router table has been constructed of durable vinyl wrapped MDF. It has pre-drilled holes on the back that allow users to put it just about anywhere.
You can use an auxiliary clamping strip in order to attach it to a workbench, table, or even the tailgate of a truck. It is best for small applications.
It is extremely easy to set up and take it down. You can detach your router from this table without using any tools at all.
The Trim Router Table is pretty versatile. Since it includes a 1/4 inch thick acrylic base, you can do some freehand work just like you would with a standard router. It can fit some popular Trim router models. And since it includes T-knobs, you are able to adjust the fence quickly and safely.
- Product Dimensions: 3/4” x 11-1/2” x 15-1/2”
- Weight: 6.7 Pounds
- Material: Durable Vinyl Wrapped MDF
- A Small Device That You Can Take Almost Anywhere and Setup
- Includes Pre-Drilled Holes that Fit Most Trim Routers
- Includes T-Knobs That Allow You to Make Fence Adjustments
- Has a Durable Acrylic Base
- Affordable Price
- Portable And Handy
- Easy to Set up Almost Anywhere Since You Can Even Set It Up On the Tailgate of Your Truck
- Not Universal
- Fence Can Be Problematic
- Not the Sturdiest Router Table on the Market
Overall, this is a pretty decent product for the price. It is great for individuals who want a portable product that is quick and easy to setup and take down. If you want to set it up in your shop, you will need a workbench or work table.
We have seen that it is not necessarily the best for novice wood workers right out of the box. With a few adjustments and after learning how to use the product, we would recommend this affordable product for small applications and projects.
10. Grizzly T10432 Router Table
The Grizzly T10432 Router Table is a great product for individuals who are looking for a solid and sturdy router table. It has head sliding rails that offer gab plates that are fully adjustable.
Router table reviews are full of comments made by individuals who are impressed by the sturdiness of this table. It is good for dust collection, it is easy to operate, and set up is a breeze.
The table has a very stout base and good fence support. You will feel comfortable using a variety of jigs and hold downs on this table. It is definitely not flimsy.
If you are looking for a product that has a respected manufacturer to stand behind it, this is the right product for you.
Grizzly Industrial, Inc. is one of the largest companies in the United States that produces machinery. Their products are used for large industrial production as well as in small shops across the nation.
This is a great router table for individuals who are looking to build rustic tables and other pieces of rustic furniture. If you are going for a shabby-chic look for all of your woodworking projects, this is a great product for you.
- Product Weight: 37 x 25.5 x 4.8 inches
- Product Dimensions: 37 x 25.5 x 4.8 inches
- High Quality Product from a Well-Known Manufacturer
- Head Sliding Rails That Offer Adjustable Gab Plates
- Sturdy Stand
- Mounting Plate Made of ABS Plastic
- Affordable Price for a Router Table with a Stand
- Easy to Mount a Variety of Routers
- Dust Collection Is Good
- Adjusting Cutter Height Is Simple
- Set up May Take a Long Time
- Not the Best for Precision Projects
- Table Surface May Not Be Even
This is a great product for individuals who are looking to make rustic or vintage furniture. We do not recommend it for individuals looking for precision cuts.
We feel that this table has a lot going for it. However, one of the biggest challenges is the way the router mounts work. They are little bit difficult to use. You might want to purchase a dedicated router base and leave it attached.
The Grizzly T10432 Router Table is great for beginners and those looking for a pretty sturdy router table that includes a stand. It is perfect for those who want to get a feel for woodworking and may eventually purchase a higher end product.
Buying the Router Table vs. Building One
The odds are that if you are sufficiently interested in carpentry and you are reading this guide, it is likely that you’ve asked yourself whether or not it would be better to simply build a router table as opposed to purchasing one. While the idea sounds novel at first, when you take the time to seriously examine the situation, the better of the two options becomes apparent.
The biggest upside of building a router table is that you can customize it for you. Whatever components you want and whatever height you want, you can make the table exactly how you need it.
The biggest upside of purchasing a router table is that you do not have to go through the trouble and the complex task of building a router table.
Unless you are an expert carpenter, welder, or construction professional, the do-it-yourself option is going to take a lot of time. Additionally, buying all of the parts that you need to build your own table can be extremely expensive. In fact, building your own table is often times more expensive than just going online and looking for the best table router.
As you have seen in our guide, the majority of the table routers offered today have all of the features you need. When you read router table reviews, you see that this is even true of entry-level models.
There is a good reason why even professional woodworkers opt to purchase a router table as opposed to building one. Buying a router table that is already made is simple, it does not require any do-it-yourself knowledge, and in the long run it is going to save you a ton of money.
When you buy your router table or a router table combo and you have it sitting in home or in your shop, you are going to be happy that you are spending your time working on projects you want to do instead of wasting your time struggling to make a router table.
Router Table Safety Tips
Router and router table safety are exceptionally important. This is because router bits spin very fast. Some spin with more than 27,000 RPM’s. It’s very easy for an accident to happen, and when it does, it’s usually pretty bad.
There are a few very simple things you can do to protect yourself when using a router table.
- If you’re going to use the router freehand, clamp the piece of wood onto the table. If you are working with small pieces, it is better to use a router table.
- Every time you need to do adjustments, maintenance, or clean the table or the router, make sure the router is unplugged. All it takes is you accidentally bumping a control to suffer an injury.
- Never use your router table combo without having safety goggles, a dust mask, and hearing protection.
- If you are using a router table extension, make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Protect your fingers at all costs. Use push boards and featherboards.
- Before using the table, guarantee that the fence is stable and that it is well aligned.
- Never start the router with the board already touching the bit. Start the router first, and then advance the wood toward the bit.
What to Look For When Buying a Router Table
As we have talked about multiple times in this review, a good router table is essential. If you purchase a sub par router table, you are not only putting the end quality of your work at risk, but you are also putting yourself at risk for injury. For this reason, we want to talk about a few factors that you should consider when purchasing a router table.
Whether you are purchasing a standalone router or a router and table combo, you want a steady base. If the base is not steady and constantly rocks back and forth, you run the risk of damaging any project that you are working on. Additionally, an unsteady base may cause you to lose your balance as you are working with the wood and could lead to some serious injuries.
As we have considered in our guide, cabinet style router tables do not to provide the same level of stability as a table with four legs. Additionally, a benchtop unit will not be as stable as a standalone unit.
Router Table Top
There are multiple factors to consider when purchasing a router table top. One of the first factors to think about is the material that the tabletop is made from. Some high quality tabletops are made from aluminum. This is an excellent choice because aluminum is a strong and smooth material.
We have also reviewed units made with MDF board. One of the benefits of this material is that it is exceptionally smooth. You will be able to guide the wood you are working on along the table without worrying about snags.
Another factor to consider is the size of the table top. At the end of the day, this is going to determine how big the stock you can work with can be.
As we have discussed, the router fence serves as a guide. It guarantees that the stock you are pushing across the table stays straight. You want a router fence that is going to be high enough to provide good support for any size material. In most cases, you would not want a fence for your table that is a less than 4 and 5/8 of an inch.
The more versatile your router fence is, the more types of wood you can work with. It is also important to consider the material that the fence is made from.
Router Insert Plate
You want your router insert plate to be flat and rigid. Any unevenness in the insert plate is going to be seen in the quality of the cut in your material. You want a table that has a versatile insert plate so that it is compatible with any router you want to use.
Dust Collection Port
A dust collector that is not of a sufficient capacity is useless. It will not keep your work space clean. Many times when beginners look for a table, one of the things they ignore is the dust collection port because they do not realize how important it is until they are working in an area that is full of dust.
Occupy Less Space
This is especially important if you have limited work space. Thankfully, a lot of modern router tables have been designed to be space efficient. Something to remember is that getting a smaller table to save space is not always the best idea, especially if it forces you to compromise on quality. You want to find something that is a perfect for your projects and work space.
The importance of having storage space cannot be overestimated. You will find that you are going to spend a lot of time at your router table. You do not want to be walking around looking for tools and accessories. A good storage area is going to allow you to organize some larger size tools as well as smaller accessories in an easy to find and easy to reach way.
The stability of your table is going to determine the quality of your end product. Remember why you are purchasing a router table. You want to be able to use both hands to work on your project in a stable way.
Price is an important factor when looking for router tables for sale. Something to remember is that just because a router table is inexpensive does not mean that it is of poor quality. Make sure that the router table you are purchasing has the features you need. There is no reason to spend a lot of money for features you do not need or will never use.
Tips on Choosing the Best Router Table
The best router table is the table that is going to work best for your needs. There are a wide range of router table tops on the market. While one table may be better for you, it may not work as well for someone else.
First, ask yourself, what type of table do you want? If you have limited space, then maybe a benchtop router table is what you need. It has a compact design and will allow you to hone your skills as a woodworker.
If you are looking to take your woodworking to the next level, then maybe you will want to purchase a standalone router table. It is going to be a little bit more expensive, but it is going to give you the flexibility that you need.
If you do not have a router, then you may want to look at a combination router table.
When looking at your router table top, always remember that it needs to be flat. If it is not flat, you will have uneven edges, skewed joints, and a whole host of other problems.
Also, look for a table that is rigid. A table that flexes with downward pressure is not something that you want. It will have a negative impact on your cutting accuracy.
Router table reviews are a great source of information when it comes to finding a router table that is right for your needs.
Router Table FAQ
How will I know if my router will fit my table?
This is a good question. Thankfully, most tables are designed to work with most standard router models. They have pre-drilled plates, making assembly easy. It is a good idea to check with the manufacturer to make sure that your router is compatible with the table you are thinking about purchasing.
Which company makes the best router table?
The answer to this question is going to be relative. In our guide, we have discussed the top router table makers within a certain price range. The question is not what company makes the best router table, but instead the question is, what is the best router table for your needs? Most companies make a range of products to meet the needs and skill levels of their customers.
Who needs a router table?
Anyone who works with wood, especially professional woodworkers. They are a useful way to enhance do-it-yourself projects, and they allow professionals to achieve accurate cuts on different pieces of wood.
Should I use a fixed base or plunge router?
With most tables, you have the option of using either one of the two models. However, it is going to be easier for you to make adjustments with a fixed base router. Changing bits is easier when you use a fixed-based router with your table as well.
Which table size should I go for if I already have a router ?
If you are purchasing a free-standing/floor-standing table, there is no reason to worry about the size dimensions of the table. The hole of even the mediocre table should be able to fit even the largest of the most common routers, though operation might only be successful on the best ones. Further, the best units come with a wide range of base plates so you never have to worry about your router being too small for the table.
Can I use raised panel bits with the router table ?
In most cases, the answer would be no. Some special units allow for the use of raised panel bits but they also make removal of the router from underneath the table a difficult chore. In any case, raised panel bits are not meant to be used with router tables so they are best avoided.
I find it convenient to use the miter gauge. Why do you discourage it ?
Miter gauges are meant to be used with fences that are completely fixed and non-adjustable. This is because the miter gauge’s rail is fixed and any change in the distance between it and the fence would lead to weakening of the functionality of the miter gauge and a poor cut.
Is safety equipment necessary ?
Absolutely. The cutting procedure may be safer than those of comparable machines but high speed bits of wood would still fly into your face and eyes. Wear safety goggles and hand protection to keep wood chips from harming you. Further, since a lot of sound is produced, noise-cancelling headgear is advised as well.
What are the starter pin and cutting bit specifications for the router table ?
The same as those for the router. Note however that because you would be pushing the wood against the bit and not the other way round, you would ideally go for the ½” bit as opposed to the ¼” bit as the latter is prone to bending. The starter pin specifications will vary according to the router used.
Where to Buy the Best Router Table
After reading this review, undoubtedly, you are looking for the best cheap router table. But the question is, where should you go to buy it? You have the option of purchasing your router table at a hardware store. And there is nothing wrong with that.
However, we have seen that there are a lot of benefits that come from purchasing your router table online from stores like Amazon.com or directly from the manufacturer. One of the benefits is that the manufacturer often offers discounts to individuals who purchase online.
Additionally, before purchasing your cheap router table, you can read reviews and see what other people who have purchased the same table think about the product you are considering buying. The nice thing is that online there are many router tables for sale. You are able to review them and then make your decision from the comfort of your home.
Making the Decision
We hope you enjoyed this guide to purchasing router tables. As you can see, there are a lot of excellent choices available. Whether you are a professional carpenter or you are a do-it-yourselfer who wants to take your work to the next level, something that we can all agree on is that having a router table is a must.
Do not allow your woodwork to suffer anymore. If you do not purchase a router table, you are limiting what you can do. You are limiting what you can offer your customers. And you are putting yourself and your work at unnecessary risk. So what are you waiting for? Hop online, read some more reviews, and then pull the trigger. Buy yourself a nice router table. You will be so happy that you did.