The 4 Best Routers for Table Mounting – Reviews 2017

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Photo by Mark Hunter / CC BY

So why use a router on a table? Well, using a router freehand and using one with a table can be quite a different affair. For the most part, however, your primary advantage in using a table comes from the ability to use a powerful motor without the error inherent to human hands.

Something big and heavy is usually good enough, but if you’re looking for only the best routers then you’ve got some other big considerations to keep in mind. Below we’re going to look at some routers that would be ideal for table mounting, then, after our recommendations, we’ll go into more detail what qualities you should be looking for in the ideal product. So . . .

Here are our reviews of the 4 best routers for table mounting on the market:

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

If there is one router which you’ll find most often recommended by the modern woodworker for under the table mounting, it’s the Triton TRA001. It may not have the name or the warranty, of the Bosch and Porter-Cable brands which you’ll see most commonly recommended, but it’s seen its fair share of use in the field and one thing is certain: it works.

This one comes with an astonishingly powerful 3 ¼ horsepower motor it’ll handle both ¼” and ½” shank bits without a problem (see full specs). The main flaw here? It’s simply too big and heavy for hand-held use but if you want a top notch way to take your router table to the next level, here it is.

PORTER-CABLE 690LR 11-Amp Fixed-Base Router

If there is one thing that Porter-Cable always does right, it’s definitely their wood routers. They stand head and shoulders above the competition even when they end up costing less. This particular router is impressive if only for the fact that nearly anyone can afford to add it to their table without breaking out the big bucks.

What’s more, you’ll quickly find that it’s also an amazing router once mounted. This one is light on the frills, but big on the quality and has enough power to handle pretty much anything you might throw at it. If you’re not looking to spend big money but want a hard-working tool that’ll cut for years then look no further. For the money, this is one of the best routers for table mounting period.

PORTER-CABLE 895PK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Fixed Router and Plunge Base

Porter-Cable outdoes itself again with this router. It’s got ample power, and the modular bases make it a bargain even if you decide that, somehow, it just isn’t right for your table. You likely won’t though because it’s got soft start capabilities and will handle nearly any bit you can throw at it.

The variable speeds here are a really nice touch. They’re smooth enough to keep you going no matter what, and that’s a big bonus in and of itself. What you’re really going to love here is the smoothness of the entire ordeal, from setting up to shutting down, it’s a wonderful experience all the way around.

Bosch MRC23EVSK 2.3 HP Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Variable Speed Router Pack

Bosch is one of the best names in the business, and this 2.3 horsepower little router is one of the coolest you’ll ever be able to find. While the bases and ergonomics don’t matter too much when you’re using it with a table, the smooth speed control and impressive power will.

Due to its relatively small size (see full specs), it also makes a good option for those who are planning on a smaller shop as well. Bosch routers are notoriously good at dust collection as well, making this the perfect solution for the home craftsman working in cramped quarters.

Picking the Best Router for Table Mounting

You’re looking for two main properties, other than the usual which are inherent to routers like soft start and a solid shaft.

Variable RPM and excessive power are the main things you’re looking for. In human hands, anything over 2 horsepower or so becomes hard to manage in a hurry. This can lead to ruined work pieces or, even worse, severe injury to the user.

Power

Almost any modern router will attempt to maintain RPM despite the hardness of the material if the motor is powerful enough. 15,000rpm being maintained in a wood like pine is way different than doing the same through hardened oak.

The different materials you’ll be working with will greatly determine the power needs you’re working with. If you’re not sure, then anything over 2 horsepower is probably fine. If you’re planning on working extensively with hard woods, go big or go home.

This plays into another factor you’ll be needing however.

Variable Speed

In order to produce high quality craftsmanship with a router of any sort you need to be able to match the RPM to the wood. Something which will leave a fine, smooth jig in oak might just burn low grade pine without a thought.

Running things too quickly will also burn through bits a lot faster, and it’s really more of an art than a science to get the right speed.

What this ends up meaning to you, the aspiring carpenter, is that smoothly variable and easy to access controls are of the utmost importance. Something with only five speeds is fine if you’re working with the same things day in and out but many of us dream of creating masterpieces.

That means that you don’t just need variable speed, but smooth variable speed.

Combined with the right amount of power and the right router table, you’re well on your way to making masterpieces. Combined with the wrong qualities and even a would-be talented wooden artist is destined to make only chips and burns as time goes on.

Conclusion

Picking the best router for table mounting you can find is one of the most essential tool choices you’ll ever make within your carpentry career. Take things to the next level, instead of delving into frustration, by choosing carefully and you’ll be well on your way to making the furniture your grandchildren will speak lovingly of. Good luck!

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