Let Us Help You Find the Best Plunge Router After 2015
Plunge routers allow for precise and controlled vertical movement when making cuts. As its name suggests, a router with a plunge base can “plunge” the bit into the material’s surface. This makes it easy to make mortises, deep grooves, and other complex cuts and patterns.
DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router
Our favorite for 2017
Black & Decker RP250 10-Amp 2-1/4-Inch Variable Speed Plunge Router
A great value option
Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router Pack
With 10,000-25,000 RPM and 2.3 HP
Finding the right plunge router may seem like an overwhelming task (especially if this is your first time buying one), but it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to review five of the best models you can buy. Keep these things in mind when you compare these routers:
- Combination Kits: A combo kit will give you the best of both worlds: a fixed-base and a plunge-base. Fixed-base routers are considered great overall routers, so if you have a need for one, you may consider a combination kit. While some kits can be pricey, they are worth the cost because of their added versatility.
- Variable Speed: All of the routers on our list offer variable speed motors, which allows you to use all of your bits with the same router. Smaller bits work better at higher speeds, while larger bits are better suited for slower speeds. Being able to control the speed of the motor means you don’t have to change routers mid-project just to swap bits.
- Quality: Just like with any other power tool, the quality of the router is important. All of the models on our list are from well-known companies that have a reputation for quality. But don’t take our word for it – read through the reviews from consumers to see what people liked and didn’t like about each router.
The Best Router Tool Reviews for 2017
DEWALT DWP611PK – The DWP611PK is a torque-variable compact router with a 1.25hp motor and adjustable speed control. With a load speed of 16,000-27,000 rpm, this router is ideal for woodworking and other applications that require precision control.
The adjustment ring also allows for control of the bit depth to within 1.64”.
This router features a soft-starting motor and an electronic feedback system that maintains motor speed throughout the entire cut.
If you’re working in low-light conditions or a darker workshop, the clear sub-base and dual LED lights will ensure maximum visibility as you work.
The great thing about this model is that you have the option to buy just the compact router, or the router with an edger, with a round sub-base, or with a round sub-base and edger.
Bosch 1617EVSPK – Bosch’s 1617EVSPK router model also offers numerous options when buying, and those options are a little more robust than the previous model. For example, you can purchase the router with a bench top table, or with an edge guide.
Like many of the fixed-base router kits on our list, this one offers an electronic adjustable speed plunge. This model allows for ultra-fine depth adjustments for precision trimming.
The 2-1/4 horsepower motor delivers variable speeds of 8,000-25,000 rpm.
The aluminum construction of this model makes it lightweight, while the wooden handles add to the durability. The plunge base has a soft grip for comfort.
Included with this kit is the fixed bases, plunge, wrenches, collet chucks, chip shields and a nice carrying case.
DEWALT DW618PK – Another great router from DEWALT, the DW618PK has a 12-amp, 2-1/4hp motor with variable speed to rout through even tough hardwood smoothly and with precision.
A 1/2” collet and 1/4″ collect are included for better bit retention and added versatility.
Like the other DEWALT router on our list, this model has an adjustable ring for precise depth adjustments in increments of 1/64”.
Depth adjustments are simple with the tool-free motor cam lock, and base changes are quick and easy.
One great feature that this model offers is a through-the-column dustbin that collects 95% of the dust. It also allows for maximum visibility, so you can always see what you’re doing.
Black & Decker RP250 – The RP250 from Black and Decker is the most attainable router on our list, but the powerful 10-amp motor still delivers the power and precision you need to get the job done right.
The variable speed motor delivers 8,000 – 27,000 rpm. The gradual start system allows for added precision and control.
Designed for decorative cutting, this router works from the center of the material. The unique ability to be able to start cutting from the middle allows you to create stunning inlays and cut-outs to really enhance your work.
Included with the kit is a wrench, 1/4″ collet and a parallel edge guide that’s adjustable.
Bosch MRC23EVSK – The MRC23EVSK from Bosch features a 2.3hp motor that delivers 10,000 – 25,000rpm. The variable speed dial makes it easy to adjust the motor speed for added precision without interrupting your flow. The fixed-base depth adjustment also adds to the versatility of this router.
The trigger control system features a trigger switch right on the handle of the machine for optimal control. And the afterlock microfine depth adjustment allows for precise adjustments no matter which plunge setting you’re using.
Included with this kit is a plunge base, motor, fixed base, 1/2″ collet, 1/4″ collet, M4 screws, hex wrench, bit wrenches and a carrying case.
Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Right Plunge Router for You
How do you know which router is the right choice for you? We talked about some considerations earlier, but here are some other things to keep in mind when making your decision:
- Soft Start Feature: Many of the models on our list have a soft start feature, and while not absolutely necessary, it is a nice one to have. Without a soft start, the router will start working at full speed the moment you turn it on. The loud sound and quick jolt of power may startle you and even jerk your hands. A soft start allows for a moment of pause after starting up before gradually increasing to your desired speed.
- Electronic Feedback: We see this feature on a lot of newer routers, and what this does is ensure the motor does not stall or slow during a heavy cut. This feature will allow you to focus your attention on your technique and continue working without having to wait for the router to catch up to you.
- Above-Table Adjustments: Experts recommend choosing a router that allows for over-the-table adjustments, meaning you don’t have to crouch down under the table just to adjust the cutting height. Many modern models offer this feature, and it allows you to make these adjustments from above the table using a crank, handle or a knob.
- Price: The final thing to keep in mind is the price. A good router will cost you a reasonable amount of money, but if you’re serious about woodworking, you know these models are worth the price. We do have an affordable model on our list, and this is a great option for anyone who is just getting started or on a tighter budget.