A router table refers to a stationary machine used for woodworking. It harnesses the power of different router tools which are used to shape wood, and are often used in various other wood working jobs, such as cutting construction lumber, engraving wood, trimming edges, sanding, furniture making, as well as sawing.
The basic router table is composed of a fence, a tabletop, as well as a router plate where you can easily mount the router tool, allowing it to feed stock on the table in order to sand or make cuts. Router tables are beneficial if you want to make sure that the router tools perform their best.
A lot of brands and models of router tables are currently available in the market these days. Choosing the best one to suit your needs will make sure that your jobs get done at the highest quality possible.
- 1 Top 10 Best Router Table Reviews
- 1.1 1. Bosch RA1181 BenchTop Router Table
- 1.2 2. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
- 1.3 3. Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table
- 1.4 4. SKIL RAS900 Router Table
- 1.5 5. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension
- 1.6 6. KREG PRS1040 Precision Router Table System
- 1.7 7. PORTER CABLE 698 Bench Top Router Table
- 1.8 8. Kreg PRS2100 BenchTop Router Table
- 1.9 9. Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
- 1.10 10. MLCS Woodworking Router Table Top and Fence with Phenolic Plate
- 2 Benefits of Using Router Table
- 3 How to Pick the Best Router Table
- 4 Tips for Using Router Table
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
- 6 Conclusion
Top 10 Best Router Table Reviews
1. Bosch RA1181 BenchTop Router Table
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
This model can deliver the best value for your money. It has been designed with casual woodworkers and DIY enthusiasts in mind.
At first glance, Bosch RA1181 appears ergonomic and sturdy. Despite its affordability, it comes with the most important features that you will ever need from a router table. It features the standard ¾ in x 3/8 in miter slot which runs through the table. It is also compatible with any standard jig or miter guide.
Overall, it is a sturdy, well-designed and completely functional router table that can give you enough working space.
2. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
A lot of users love the fact that the Bosch RA1171 produces accurate cuts. It comes equipped with metal legs, which are highly durable.
With its cabinet style design, there is additional storage as well. The featherboards are also easy to use because they can easily be mounted on the table and fence. At the same time, the aluminum router is also rigid enough that ensures the plate remaining flat while supporting precise cuts.
This model has been especially designed in a way that it can work well with various types of routers and may also be easily mounted on any work bench. As an additional feature, it also comes with a noise reduction system which makes the working environment more comfortable.
3. Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
This particular model from Bench Dog has been well designed with excellent performance, thus the right to receive awards in this category.
It is equipped with unique and easy to use forward offset which the router is placed. This product also comes with a dual-position ProFence which provides enough working space. It also has a compact design despite being lightweight, making it easy to be moved around easily.
This model is great for both professional woodworkers, as well as those who consider themselves as beginners in this field. With its overall versatility, a lot of woodworkers are able to create precise and clean projects.
4. SKIL RAS900 Router Table
Our Rating: (4.0 / 5)
This router table model is equipped with features and efficiency which proves to be likeable to a lot of woodworkers.
It comes equipped with laminate and MDF finish for its surface, allowing work pieces to easily fit and glide perfectly to the routers, thus resulting to a precise and clean cut with just small effort. Rather than having a router insert, it comes with a quick clamp mount, together with a mounting plate which can easily mount on the router, locking it in a snap.
Changing the bit and releasing the router is quite easy and may be done in just a few seconds. The bit height guard can also easily adjust the bits for accurate cuts.
5. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension
Our Rating: (4.4 / 5)
What makes this model a standout is that it is one of the most heavy duty options currently available. It comes with a machined aluminum frame which is durable and flat. Both front and bottom surfaces come in a perfect square.
At the same time, its MDF sub-fences are easily adjustable without the use of other tools. The fence may also be easily dismounted. With the use of this router table, you can fit all grade table saws that are used by the contractors, making it useful in any type of workshop.
This model, along with its 32.2 x 21.7 x 5.1 inches dimension, is ideal for smaller shops which may have a limited space for working.
6. KREG PRS1040 Precision Router Table System
Our Rating: (4.0 / 5)
This router table from KREG has been manufactured together with its highly unique T-square style and completely enclosed aluminum fence which works its best in providing the ultimate dust collection, as well as maximum use of the miter slot. Its T-squared design or the fence complements smaller adjustments.
It also comes with an innovative edge bended MDF table surface which is coated with the use of high pressure laminate, along with an easy-slide micro dot skin which makes the pieces glide and slide easily on the surface of the table.
It is also impact, noise and vibration resistant. The insert plate of this router table also has the ability to work with any router without the need to drill extra hotels just to fit the various sizes.
7. PORTER CABLE 698 Bench Top Router Table
Our Rating: (3.8 / 5)
This router table model is created out of lightweight machined aluminum surface which is both durable and convenient to use. Transferring this table from one place to another is extremely easy and it also comes with an adjustable table height.
It is equipped with a large table top surface which has a cast in lip, thus providing maximum support on the table extensions. This router table can easily attach any size of routers on the working table, allowing it a stable fit which can easily be snapped off for easy transfer.
It also comes ready with predrilled table holes with 3-5/8 inches that can cater to mounting, as well as adjusting router bases well, while accommodating router bits of about 3-1/3 inches.
8. Kreg PRS2100 BenchTop Router Table
Our Rating: (4.3 / 5)
The KregPRS2100 router table model comes with an extra large and solid tabletop as well as an easy to slide surface. It is also covered with the use of high-pressure MDF as laminate on the surface, thus being able to provide support even for the largest routers available.
This table also features camp clamps which have been integrated using ungraded fence system which allows different users to customize, as well as securely lock the fence right in place easily. It is equipped with an open design which can significantly help in reducing noise while operating.
There is also a dust tray and bit guard included in order to protect and prevent the users from the risk with wood chips and sawdust while working.
9. Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
Our Rating: (4.1 / 5)
There are a lot of advantages in choosing this model. For one, it comes with a powerful and long-lasting router that runs in 1-3/4 HP motor, which is strong enough to operate even hickories.
Aside from its longer life, it also has permanently sealed and lubricated ball bearings. It comes with a motor housing and cast aluminum base which offers more durability and reduced vibration while operating.
It has an extendable, multi-functional, as well as adjustable fence system, which can also be easily customized in order to achieve correct bit clearance, and extended infeed and outfeed features up to 2 inches.
With its reasonable price and great features, it is perfect for both professionals and even beginners in woodworking.
10. MLCS Woodworking Router Table Top and Fence with Phenolic Plate
Our Rating: (3.0 / 5)
This is another model which comes with heavy duty features.It comes with a heavy and white melamine surface, as well as a high split fence and router insert plates.
With its 24” x 1-3/8” thick tabletop, this model boasts of thicker tabletop which also comes with a sturdy MDF core, polyethylene plastic edges and durable melamine surface. Its aluminum miter slot provides the assurance of accuracy and it is very easy to mount the router fence in its aluminum T-Track slots.
Benefits of Using Router Table
Any average woodworking professional would agree that router tables can relieve the hands of the pressure and strain that is often experienced when holding the router table for an extended period of time.
As a matter of fact, even the most basic model can provide this benefit. This only means that the top rated ones can offer a whole lot more than just ease of use.
These features may vary from router table to another, but technology has designed different features which have provided convenience at the same time. Here are some of the benefits of using router tables.
Speed and Precision
One of the most common benefits of using router tables is its high precision. This is a result of using mounted router with a table setup, in contrast to a handheld router. True, the precision may still depend on the skill of the user; a router table offers a fixed platform which allows the wood to easily pass along without having to move in different directions. Also, since the router table will not go off course, cutting of wood becomes faster.
Complex Cuts with Inlay Work
The use of handheld routers is initially designed to cut straight lines and geometric patterns. However, when it comes to cutting irregular wood pieces or complex patters, a fixed router table can serve as a platform for cutting. In fact, several router table models come with pin slots that can serve as markers. This feature is often not available with standard handheld routers.
Depth of Cut
Router tables come with a fixed and easy to access bit assembly which allows for rapid modification. This results to easier choosing as well as modifying of the cut depth. Since all of the cuts now have enhanced precision, the output is a wood piece that comes with smooth and well-defined edges.
Safety and Maintenance Enhanced
Maintaining a router table is very simple. For one, the sawdust which would otherwise get stuck on the router niche will just be left on the table with a smaller portion of it moving under the table and on the router. By vacuuming the bit assembly, cleaning and maintenance is easily done.
How to Pick the Best Router Table
Currently, there are various brands of router tables that are available in the market these days, but reality dictates that there are only a few brands that provide the best features. The following are some of the things that you can consider in order to select the best one that can perfectly suit your needs and preferences.
Solid and Flat Work Surface
One characteristic of a good router table is one that has a solid and flat work surface. Without a surface that is flat enough, it would be impossible to come up with precise cuts. As a matter of fact, even seemingly minor flaws may lead to skewed joints, uneven edges, as well as other problems.
Flat and Rigid Base Plate
The router is generally connected to the base plate, fitting to an opening that is found on the table top. A good router table is one with a base plate that is of high quality, and should stay flat even though it still has to support the weight of the router. For this, the ideal material for the base plate is a solid phenolic or aluminum.
The quality of the base plate plays a vital role in the overall strength and quality of the plate. Keep in mind that choosing a one-size-fits-all type of plate can turn out to be a good option because your router is highly compatible with different brands that are currently available.
Easy to Use Fence
There are different fences for router tables out there and they perform various functions. There are ones that are simple but the best options need to be precise along with incrementing positioning system. This means that the fence needs to be rigid, straight and should not shift even though the portion is locked.
A Firm Base
There are various differences when it comes to router table bases. There are routers that are placed on top of a cabinet base, and others are also literally the table base itself. A lot of users typically would choose a base that comes with more functions, including a cabinet base.
T-Slots and Miter
These two represents the accessories that should readily come with your chosen router table. A good router table should come with a miter gauge, T-slots that are located in different locations in order to secure the featherboards, as well as stops and attachments, along with other accessories.
Almost all brands of router tables have to be assembled. This is one of the most vital factors to take into consideration when choosing the best product. It is highly recommended to select a model which comes with fewer steps for assembling. This can also mean that a manual should come with the table, complete with images and steps.
Search router tables that come with built-in features for safety such as a safety power switch as well as a secure base. These may be considered as small things, but they count a lot in terms of safety. A child lock feature like a lock system could also matter a lot.
Tips for Using Router Table
Router tables are often considered as among the most powerful tools used in woodworking. Since it is a machine that can spin sharp bits at fast speed can be ultimately hazardous, unless safety practices are maintained. The following are some tips on how to use a router table effectively and safely.
Secure your hands all the time
Make sure that you always keep your fingers and hands clear of the bit. For a safer operation of your router table, the table needs to be fitted well with a guard which covers the area right above the bit. If possible, you may want to use a push block or push stick in order to propel the work just past the bit. This is necessary for narrower or slower workpieces, thus helping in keeping your hand out of danger.
Unplug the router first before making adjustments
Keep in mind that it is dangerous to make any adjustments on the router without first unplugging it. Disconnect the power first before changing bits, mounting attachments, serving the router, and others. Ensure that the switch is off before you plug it back in, as well as in confirming that the attachments and collet of the router are tightened securely before turning the router back up.
Chuck the bit appropriately
After choosing the bit that you are planning to use, check it out first for damage, or any visible dullness. After ensuring its condition, insert the bit completely to the collet, pulling it at about 1/16 inches. By leaving the bit in complete contact with the collet bottom, it may end up loosening while routing, which is a very dangerous possibility. At the same time, make sure that you do not over tighten the locking nut of the collet. Avoid using grinding points, carving burrs or drill bits as this can also cause a problem later on.
Rout in the right direction
This is very important to ensure safety all the time. The workpiece should be fed always against the bit rotation. With a router table, the workpiece should be fed past the bit in a direction from right to left. Feeding the workpiece in the direction of the bit may be dangerous and may result to losing control of the workpiece or router.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What features can make a router table fence secure and versatile?
A: Since fences for router tables are very important, it is important to consider extra security and versatility in your fence. The fence should also be straight and locked right in place. This is to make sure that it does not mess up the cuts and wobble around. The fence should also be adjustable so that it can work with different shapes and sizes of wood stock.
Q: What is the difference between a one-piece and a split-fence design?
A: A one-piece fence design is just a single solid metal piece which goes through the entire table. On the other hand, a split-fence design comes with two sections that you can independently adjust. The advantage of the latter is that you may easily move the sections closer towards the bit for better support.
Q: How much do these router tables cost?
A: The prices vary depending on the brands. There are router tables which may cost about $100, while others may have a price of about $400. The difference mainly depends on the accessories and features included.
Q: Which is better to use – fixed base or plunge router?
A: The decision is up to use. However, when taking adjustments into consideration, the fixed base is easier to make height adjustments and changing bits.
Q: Will the router fit the table?
A: Most of the time, router tables are designed in a way that they can work with different routers.
If you are planning to make furniture or other wooden projects at home, a good quality router table is very important. These tools can enable you to do precise cutting, as well as shaping of edges of wood pieces quite easily.
As seen in the list above, there are a lot of options that you can choose from in the market these days. There is a specific router for a particular use. For example, if you consider yourself as a professional woodworker or a DIY expert, models such as the KREG PRS 1040 or the Benchh Dog 40-102 models may be perfect for you.
On the other hand, if you are a hobbyist, and just starting your way with woodworking, the Bosch RA1181 BenchTop or the Bench Dog 40-001 Pro Top models may be the best options for you.
Therefore, it is very important to start by identifying the features that you want from your router table and make a well-informed decision based on your needs and preferences, while comparing them with the features of each of the model highlighted in the list above.