Router tables are one of the primary staples in any workshop. Router Tables helps users to creatively make unique shapes and curves, dig grooves, and create indents on their workpieces.
While router tables are capable of cutting wood, they should not be confused with table saws, because they do not have a sawing element. During operation, the router table allows the user to work with both hands while accurately guiding the workpieces towards the router as it works on them.
Other than wood, router tables can be used to cut fiberglass, Kevlar, and other hard materials. Some of the projects that you could use this tool for include making louvered window shutters (see also ‘How To Take Blinds Down‘), clay pot hangers, knickknack shelves, and bookstands.
Due to the numerous variations in models and brands for router tables around, we totally understand the difficulty in choosing the right one to suit your needs. In this article, we will be discussing some of the best router tables in the market today and highlight some of the affordable ones that you can go for without punching a huge hole in your wallet.
For you to fully understand the review on your own here are some of the important definitions that will come in handy.
Router – A woodworking tool that is usually used to hollow out/rout workpieces.
Plunge Router – A type of router that you can lower/plunge the cutting bit and make desired cuts.
Fixed Base Router – A type of router whose cutting depth cannot be altered.
Stop cut – A type of cut that prevents the cutting blade to continue cutting past it.
Pick #1 Bosch Benchtop Router Table
The Bosch Benchtop Table is our top pick and one of the best router tables in the market. This pick is very user-friendly and does not require any level of experience to use it. In addition, it is very compatible with virtually every kind of router.
This model has an aluminum-made fence that is quite noticeable right out of the box together with its aluminum router mounting plates. The Bosch Benchtop Table comes with a 27” x 18” work surface that is big enough for large, complicated projects like cabinetry. For more convenience, this model also has additional slots where you can easily plug and use any other accessories that you might need without tampering with your work.
The Bosch Benchtop Table also features two adjustable feather boards that also comes with a dual outlet switch and a dust collection port. In addition, it is normally shipped with a 6ft power cord to give you flexibility while setting it up.
Assembling the Bosch Benchtop Table is simple enough to take anyone only a few minutes. Luckily, it can be mounted on any workbench for use. However, you should note that its supporting stands are made of plastic and do not always have a firm grip on the surface. This might compromise your accuracy and precision while working.
Another problem is that most of its parts are largely unavailable especially if you are shopping outside the U.S. market.
Other than that, the Bosch Benchtop Table is a great router table that only goes for $193 and has a 1-year warranty period coupled with a service protection plan for 1-year and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Pick #2 Kreg Precision Router Table
The Skil Router Table is our best choice for the money. Right out of the box, you will first notice how easy it is to set this model up. With this model, you can easily improve on your routing accuracy by using its 2 feather boards and clamps. These features help to guide your workpieces accurately during routing.
This model is quite versatile. This means that it supports advanced routing such as the creation of premium circular cuts thanks to its starter pin and guard features. These are also helpful when routing curved edges.
Changing bits can be a nuisance especially when you are working simultaneously on different projects. This process can be time-consuming, tedious, and frustrating. However not with Skil Router Table, as it comes with a feature that facilitates quicker router mounting and easier bit changes with no leveling necessary.
On the downside, the Skil Router Table comes with a smaller working surface area that will limit you to small-sized projects that do not exceed 28 x 9.2 x 17.8 inches. There are also claims that mounting a router is a problem with this model. In addition, this router table is priced at $124 but you should be keen as it includes extra charges for shipping and import fee deposits. Plus, it has no warranty.
Despite all these, the Skil Router Table is a great router table for hobbyists who often enjoy learning things on their own.
Pick #3 Kreg Precision Router Table
The Kreg Precision Router Table is generally a professional-grade router table and might be a great option if you are serious about woodworking. This router table comes with high-quality pre-installations parts such as a working table, stands, and fence.
Its multi-purpose 31-inch steel stand allows for alterations up to 39 inches giving you the chance to set it up to your own comfortable working height. Its fence is a 36″ T-square style fence that comes with a micro-adjust wheel, which helps users to precisely put their workpieces in the right position.
In addition, this model also features a dust collection outfeed point where you can conveniently attach a vacuum to collect all dust from the machine.
Furthermore, the Kreg Precision Router Table ranks well with over 20 positive reviews from past users who claim that it is very long-lasting. This durability can be attributed to its coated steel frames that are strong enough to withstand and resist corrosion.
Its worktable is made out of a medium-density fibreboard (MDF) that is laminate coated and designed to avoid your workpiece being stuck while routing. Going at $547, the Kreg Precision Router Table is quite an expensive buy especially now that the manufacturer has not clearly described any investment protection scheme for it.
Otherwise, if you have enough cash to buy the Kreg Precision Router Table, it is worth every penny and that it will revert with high-quality products.
Pick #4 Dremel 231 Router Table
Priced at about $30, Dremel 231Router Table is perhaps the cheapest router table that you will ever find. It might appear smaller but is very functional and can be used for a number of projects such as slitting, grooving, and edging materials.
The model weighs about 3 pounds and does not need much space for storage and operation. This also makes it more portable and easier to use especially when working with workpieces of irregular shapes.
Dremel 231Router Table works best with softwoods such as cedar, juniper, pine, yew, and many more and should not be used for hardwoods or you will risk breaking it. This model features a dust collection compartment but is rarely effective.
Apart from being inexpensive itself, this model also saves you more money that you would have rather use to buy add-ons such as a worktable as it fits most regular shop benches and tables. Therefore, it is a convenient and very budget-friendly tool to have if you are pressed for money.
Moreover, it also features an adjustable fence that can be customized appropriately to fit your needs, but the same cannot be said for the table height. This is strictly dependent on the workspace that you will attach to the model.
Its table measures 8-Inch X 6-Inch providing enough workspace for most basic woodworking tasks making it a great tool for beginners. In addition, it is entirely made of plastic and therefore not very durable.
Therefore, if you are a novice level woodworker and you are looking for a cheap router table to help you hone your routing skills then the Dremel 231Router Table is perfect for you.
Pick #5 MLCS Router Table
Unlike the previous models, the MLCS Router Table comes with a universal router plate that enables it to be compatible with almost any type of router from any brand. While this is a huge plus, the manufactures failed to include brackets to hold the routers in place. For this reason, experienced users often tend to create and use their own brackets while newbies tend to fumble around.
Furthermore, this model also comes with a base plate that is of low quality and makes leveling very difficult. On the downside, the MLCS Router Table is said to be very weak and therefore tends to sag even when under the average weight.
Unlike the other tables discussed in this review, this model has been made in such a way that it can only be mounted on the sides of a worktable. This feature tends to discourage most lefties from using it. However, its high split fence will allow you to route edges of your workpieces and perform vertical routing safely.
In addition, this model costs about $212, which is almost, double the price of our top picks. Given its several flaws, I would recommend going for a much better option that will not put you through many hassles.
In summary, the MLCS Router Table is a much-improved version from its previous models and still needs a number of upgrades.
Pick #6 Trim Router Table
For durability purposes, its manufacturer decided to make its worktable is made out of MDF boards. However, the model weighs about 7 pounds and can be moved around as you please.
Its design is noticeably simple and it comes with pre-drilled holes that will allow you to attach it to a larger workbench when working on a slightly bigger project. However, it is critical to note that the Trim Router Table is best meant to tackle the simplest woodworking tasks that involve only softwood materials.
With this in mind, this model seems perfect for beginners who are interested in taking deeper steps into the woodworking field. For advanced users, you will have to look for other router tables better equipped for your professional needs.
One problem expressed from customer reviews is that the Trim Router Table is not compatible with most routers. Despite that, if you are an ultimate beginner and need help on how to get started with routing, then this should be your first choice.
How We Picked The Best Router Tables
We hope that our review has provided you with helpful information as to which models are the best router tables in the market today. For a more in-depth discussion on how to pick the right one for you, below is a criterion that we used in picking the models for our review. Feel free to compare and contrast some of the units based on the metrics below.
It is always important to set a budget first before making a purchase. While doing this, it is also vital to compare price ranges of similar models to that of your most preferred one. While setting a budget you could also consider the size of your project if it is smaller then you could go for models going for less than 100 dollars such as the Trim Router Table. For a more professional feel, you can opt for good choices like Bosch Benchtop Table and Skil Router Table that will slightly cost you more than $100 but less than $200.
Quality of materials
The overall material used to make a router table says a lot about it. For instance, the Trim Router Table is made of Vinyl wrapped MDF and is quite durable compared to the Dremel 231 Router Table that is made out of plastic and is prone to breaking apart.
If you are an advanced user who occasionally works on different projects simultaneously, then you would require a more versatile router table. In this case and from our review, we’ve seen that options like the Skil Router Table and the Dremel 231 Router Table are quite versatile. However, the former is capable of handling larger projects while the latter will crumble if used for bigger projects.
Warranty is a crucial aspect whenever it comes to buying anything. This acts as a protection plan for your investment and the longer it is the better. From our picks, it is only the Bosch Benchtop Table that has a clearly stated warranty period while the rest have not. If you ask me, it is much safer to buy our top pick as your investment will be protected for one year and you can return it for a refund if you become dissatisfied with it.