Best Router Tables — A router table is one of the most important equipment for a woodworker. It is a hand or power instrument that assists users and specialists in routing materials such as wood or plastic. Most routers are mounted with their cutting edge on a router table; however, some may also be used handheld.
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While a portable router allows you to perform a lot without using any additional equipment, it has several restrictions. Routers are huge and heavy, requiring two hands to operate, limiting their application to larger fixed items. Your hands are free to manage the workpiece when the router is firmly fastened on a table. A router table allows users to do carpentry tasks such as planing straight edges of boards, molding and freehand routing precise cuts into small pieces of wood. Continue reading to select the best router table for your woodworking projects from the top choices below.
Router Tables—Buying Guide
Consider the size of your workshop as well as the type of router you want to use when looking for a router table. You should think about the table’s size, portability, material, base plate style, and compatibility with your router. Continue reading to discover more about these and other factors.
- Benchtop vs. Freestanding
With good reason, many users prefer freestanding router tables over benchtop router tables. Freestanding tables are often built with strong supports and broad work surfaces that can handle longer and wider boards. The majority of freestanding router tables are 32 inches long and 24 inches broad. The disadvantage of freestanding router tables is their weight, which makes them difficult to transfer to job sites.
Because benchtop router tables are generally smaller (about 16 inches wide and 24 inches long), they cannot accept the same size boards as larger freestanding router tables. Benchtop router tables, as the name indicates, require a workbench for support and are not as stable as single-unit freestanding ones. Benchtop routers have the advantage of being more compact and lighter than freestanding machines, making them more portable.
Router tables can be manufactured of a variety of materials, which affects their cost and durability. The most common material for router tabletops is medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which is stiff and strong. To be robust enough to function as a work surface, an MDF top should be at least 1 inch thick. Exposed MDF will absorb water and puff up, damaging the work surface. Melamine-coated MDF tops are recommended because the melamine coating protects the wood.
- Some MDF tables include a high-pressure laminate (HPL) top, which layers protective resins with a melamine work surface for further strength. A router table with HPL on both sides is a good choice for most users since it will stay flatter for a longer period of time.
- Phenolic resin is an even higher-quality substance than MDF. This material is thinner than MDF, will not swell with water, and should retain its form for the life of the table. Phenolic resin router tables are among the priciest versions available.
- A metal router table is another high-end alternative, with designs in cast aluminum and cast iron. Cast aluminum provides a strong, long-lasting work surface that holds its form. The premium tables on the market, pro shop router tables, have a cast iron work surface. There is no material for a router table that is flatter, more stable, or more lasting than cast iron.
- Router Table Surface
When buying for a router table, one of the most crucial factors to consider is the table surface. To avoid scratches over the wood surface, the surface must be completely smooth. A smooth surface also makes it easier to push the wood along the fence and bit without snagging.
Gaps between the table and the fence should have no impact on the stability of the wood item on the table. Gaps between the table surface and the plate on which the router is placed should be kept to a minimum, and the surfaces should be flush.
The table surface must be large enough to hold the wood sizes that you typically work with. It should also be built of solid materials and aid to dampen vibrations produced by the router when it is turned on.
- Size and Router Compatibility
The size of a router table is directly proportional to the size of the workpiece it can accommodate. The work area of a router table can be as little as 22 inches long by 16 inches wide or as large as 36 inches long by 24 inches wide. A table 22 inches to 36 inches long may accommodate boards 6 to 8 feet long. Similarly, a larger table will give greater support for larger boards.
Quality router tables will include numerous base plates that match various router hole designs, making them compatible with routers from the majority of major tool brands. Router tables with universal-design base plates should be avoided. The number of holes in these plates might threaten their structural integrity while also allowing dust to gather.
- Mounting Plate
A mounting, or base, plate on a router table attaches to the router and fits into a hole in the tabletop. Because these plates must hold the weight of the router while remaining completely level, they must be made of a strong, robust material, such as aluminum or phenolic resin. The mounting plate must also be router compatible. It should have mounting holes that line up with the router’s holes.
Because it is critical that the plate be flat with the router table, a decent router table will feature a plate-leveling mechanism consisting of four or more leveling screws. It’s also crucial to examine how simple it is to install the plate. A professional router table with a difficult-to-install mounting plate will not work for those who intend to operate the router both with and without the table.
A router table must have an easy-to-use, adjustable fence. In most cases, the router operator will press the material up against the fence to guide it through the router blade. The router table fence, whether constructed of wood or metal, should be strong. When creating precise router cuts, a sturdy foundation against which to push workpieces is essential.
On router tables, fences come in two varieties: single-piece fences and split fences. Two-piece fences are more adaptable since the infeed may be positioned at a different level than the outside. The router can do complex jointer cuts with this type of fence. The disadvantage is that it might be difficult to correctly align a two-piece fence for frequent cuts. You can’t connect a straight edge of a board with a single piece, but alignment isn’t a problem if the router table fence is one solid piece from infeed to outfeed.
- Miter and T-Slots
A T-slot on the surface of most router tables enables for the use of a miter gauge and other accessories. A miter gauge is a tool that keeps work pieces at an angle while they are being cut, and it features an adjustable router table fence that the user may set to almost any angle.
The gauge is fastened to a long metal guide that spans the length of the table through a T-slot. Though the fence will receive most of the attention on a professional router table, there will be times when a miter gauge is required.
- Extra Features
Many router tables have extra features that improve usefulness, storage, and even assist keep the work area clean. Router lifts are devices that enable micro adjustments in bit height, quick bit changes, and simpler access to lift handles. If your router table lacks router lifts, they can be ordered as an add-on.
Those who want to have all of their equipment within easy reach may select router tables with built-in storage bins. This additional storage area is useful for storing extra base plates, router bits and miter gauges. Routers with exhaust ports allow the user to connect a hose to the table and siphon sawdust into a waste container.
The Top Router Tables in 2023
The following are some of the best router tables from well-known tool makers. Continue reading to choose a model that is appropriate for your tasks.
1. Kreg PRS1045 Router Table
|Product Dimensions||37.48 x 25.51 x 36.5 inches|
|Height Adjustable||31″ – 39″|
|Table Dimension||24″ x 32″|
|Price Range||$ 597|
The fence lock is a standout feature of this router table. Its quarter-turn action lets users tighten it with one hand while also swiftly removing it for free handwork. That versatility will be appreciated by advanced woodworkers.
The table surface is big and smooth, allowing you to effortlessly move items of various sizes across it. Taller joiners will appreciate the ability to modify the table height from 29 to 35 inches. It also has Kreg’s T-track for a miter gauge and a measurement scale on the fence to help with setup.
This router table is recommended, particularly for skilled woodworkers who use the table frequently.
2. Bosch RA1181 Router Table
|Material||Aluminum fence with MDF face plates; Aluminum router mounting plate.|
|Product Dimensions||22.75 x 27 x 14.5 inches|
|Table Dimension||18″ x 27″|
|Price Range||$ 239|
Along with the table, this entry from Bosch provides consumers with a variety of accessories. It comes with feather boards, plates, two guards, and a sacrificial fencing face. The on/off switch is positioned on the table’s front.
All surfaces line up evenly, reducing the possibility of your product catching as you run it along the fence. The track system is smooth and safe in its acquisition of the miter gauge. A clear guard keeps the bit covered while allowing you to see.
The canal in which the bit rests have plenty of clearance. Because of the light frame, the table is loud to use and produces some vibration when the wood router is switched on. The feather boards keep the wood project from snagging, while the MDF faceplates serve as a sacrificial surface for the other sections of the fence. This product is suggested for woodworkers searching for a complete package right out of the box.
3. Dremel 231 Portable Rotary Router Table
|Product Dimensions||10.1 x 8.5 x 7.2 inches|
|Table Dimension||6″ x 8″|
|Price Range||$ 34.65|
Even if you have limited space in your workshop, a router table will fit. Dremel’s portable table, at only 8 inches by 6 inches, may be the smallest router table on the market. This accessory attaches to a Dremel corded or cordless rotary tool and converts it into a wood shaper.
The Dremel 231 is composed of durable and lightweight plastic, making it simple to store and transport to the jobsite. This table may be mounted to a workbench with ordinary C-clamps or permanently with screws through pre-molded mounting holes.
A fence for accurate cuts and a plastic safety shield are also important features of this Dremel router table accessory. One restriction of this portable router table is that it is only compatible with Dremel corded and cordless models.
4. Skil RAS900 Router Table
|Material||MDF and plastic|
|Product Dimensions||17.72 x 27.87 x 9.17 inches|
|Table Dimension||17″ x 27″|
|Price Range||$ 109|
When you’re through using this SKIL router table, fold it up and store it securely. With a quick-mounting mechanism that connects and uninstalls the router in seconds and legs that neatly fold into the body, SKIL’s router table sets up and breaks down quickly. The surface is made of robust MDF, while the base is made of a long-lasting molded plastic.
Despite its portability, this table has a changeable MDF fence, storage compartments for bits and supplies, a bit height gauge to increase cut accuracy, pin guards for routing curved components, and two adjustable feather boards. The SKIL router table is compatible with all major router manufacturers.
5. Bosch RA1171 Router Table
|Material||MDF and aluminum|
|Product Dimensions||15.88 x 25.5 x 18 inches|
|Table Dimension||15.5″ x 25″|
|Price Range||$ 219|
The fence on this Bosch cabinet router table is nearly five inches tall, allowing it to operate with heavier wood than comparable versions. When the router is turned on, a variety of attachments, such as feather boards and guards, serve to secure workpieces and give additional safety.
With two exceptions, this router table will function similarly to the Bosch model discussed above. For starters, placing the router within the cabinet reduces noise. Secondly, the closed cabinet will aid to keep waste in place. However, you must visually examine the interior to guarantee that it does not clog.
This table is suggested. The addition of function and safety elements to the design makes it an ideal worktable.
6. Kreg PRS2100 Router Table
|Material||MDF and steel|
|Product Dimensions||19.25 x 30 x 4.75 inches|
|Table Dimension||16″ x 24″|
|Price Range||$ 249|
This router table is compact enough to be moved about a job site or business. Kreg delivers a durable table for experienced carpenters and interior contractors when paired with the steel frame and aluminum fence. It features an edge banded MDF top that will remain sturdy over time. It is made of materials that allow for smooth movement along its surface.
This item is ideal for customers who spend a lot of time on their router table due to its durable construction.
7. JESSEM Mast-R-Lift Excel II Router Table
|Material||Extruded aluminum router table fence, Aluminum extruded miter track & T-track|
|Product Dimensions||33.75 x 9.6 x 32.92 inches|
|Table Dimension||24″ x 32″|
|Price Range||$ 810|
This table contains the Mast-R-Lift Excel II, a design feature that should allow most cylindrical routers to mount without difficulty. This router table has a remote power switch and a digital readout.
It comes with a steel stand that gives lots of stiffness when using the router. A plethora of stretchers help to strengthen that stability. Solid metal dials enable for very smooth and accurate adjustment. A solid base for movable faces is provided by an extruded metal fence.
The cost will be prohibitively expensive for inexperienced woodworkers and casual enthusiasts. I can, however, suggest this product to experienced woodworkers and professional joinery firms.
8. Grizzly G0528 Router Table
|Material||Cast iron and aluminum|
|Product Dimensions||35.25 x 26 x 7.75 inches|
|Table Dimension||10″ x 31″|
|Price Range||$ 1069|
If you enjoy woodworking, you should think about getting a nice router table like the Grizzly Industrial G0528 Router Table. This product assists users in improving their routing abilities and progressing their careers to a professional level. The Grizzly Industrial G0528 Router Table has a large surface area of about 31″ x 10″, which is sufficient for a variety of woodworking jobs. This table is compatible with most routers on the market, with a hp range of 0.75 to 5, and it is composed of cast iron for better strength.
Other little details that appear prominent and helpful on the Grizzly Industrial G0528 Router Table include a sliding table and a safety paddle switch. When users desire to lift the panels for safety during operation, the sliding table comes in helpful. The safety paddle element positioned at the product’s frame is one of the features that drew us in. This allows you to easily turn the switch on and off without bending as on other tables.
9. Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
|Product Dimensions||13.5 x 11 x 10.38 inches|
|Table Dimension||11″ x 13.5″|
|Price Range||$ 350|
This Kreg router raise takes a router table to the next level by drastically enhancing the accuracy and usefulness of the base plate. The lift replaces the router table’s default base plate with one that allows for micro changes to bit heights down to 1/1000th of an inch, enabling for precise router operations.
This lift also enables the operator to raise the bit to a height adequate for bit changes without having to remove the router from the table. There’s no need to grope under the table to modify the height of the bit now that the adjuster handle is at the top. The router lift plate is 38 inches thick, 914 inches wide, and 1134 inches long, and it is compatible with most router table manufacturers. The mounting pattern on the plate is compatible with the majority of routers.
10. RYOBI Universal Router Table
|Material||MDF and aluminum|
|Product Dimensions||18 x 25 x 32 inches|
|Table Dimension||16″ x 32″|
|Price Range||$ 165|
A router table is only as good as its capacity to function in tandem with your router. The RYOBI table is compatible with all major router manufacturers, even some older ones. This table provides exceptional durability and performance in addition to amazing compatibility.
A big laminated MDF work surface and robust plastic legs give a stable and smooth work area. An adjustable fence, five various throat plate widths, and an aluminum T-track for mitered router cuts round out the excellent features.
The RYOBI’s integrated power station has adequate space for the router and additional power equipment, such as a shop vac. This router table has a built-in vacuum connection that accommodates 114-inch and 212-inch accessories to keep sawdust under control.
FAQs about Router Tables
What is the main purpose of a router table?
In order to manage the material, you are milling, router tables provide you with a safe, level work surface. This makes it extremely simple to cut joinery, slots, and rabbets. When dealing with bigger materials that would be difficult or unsafe to set up and router by hand, using a router table promotes shop safety.
What is the best surface for a router table?
Solid phenolic sheet material is a great choice for the top of a router table because it is strong and durable by nature. Most of the time, phenolic router table surfaces will keep their original size and flatness for the whole time they are used. They are also resistant to moisture. Hey also offer exceptionally high impact resistance.
Do you need a special router for a router table?
A table-mounted router has a lot of potential uses. But it’s crucial to pick a router made specifically for that function. The best support comes from bit changes above the table as well as bit-height modifications. A router that requires you to reach underneath it to make these simple changes will get old very soon.
Are all router tables universal?
A good router table will have a number of base plates with different router hole designs that make it compatible with routers from most of the major tool makers. Avoid using router tables with base plates that have a universal design.
Is a router table better than a router?
For dealing with larger amounts of material that may be more difficult to support on a router table’s surface, hand-held routers are typically preferable. Also, operating with a hand-held router gives you a greater view of the router cutter and the cut you’re making, allowing you to adjust the feed rate as necessary.
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