Plunge Routers are an excellent tool for creating consistent cuts on wooden surfaces, allowing you to pre-set a cutting depth rather than having to manually measure a large piece of wood over and over again. They are incredibly versatile and come in a vast range of shapes and sizes, meaning that they are a common sight in both professional workshops and hobbyists’ toolboxes. Their power, convenience, and reliability have made them incredibly useful for nearly any woodwork project, so they’re worth picking up even if it’s only a short-term hobby of yours.
Below are ten of the best plunge router options on the market at the moment, along with some specific reasons why they are so useful and what kind of tasks they can perform best.
View the Best Plunge Router, Below.
- DEWALT DWP611PK Plunge Router
- Festool 574692 Router
- Avid Power Compact Router
- Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Kit
- Makita Rt0701Cx7 Compact Router Kit
- Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router
- Bosch PR20EVS Palm Router
- PORTER-CABLE 892 Router
- Makita XTR01Z Brushless Cordless Router
- TACKLIFE Plunge and Fixed Base Router
1. DEWALT DWP611PK Plunge RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This durable, compact plunge router uses a 1.25 horsepower motor to cut through a wide range of different wood types with ease. Thanks to the motor’s design, it’s able to provide a consistent cutting speed regardless of the situation, and can be adjusted to anywhere between 16,000 and 27,000 RPM as the situation requires. The clear base section makes it easy to line up each cut without having to lift it out of position, and the depth can be altered using an extremely accurate adjustment ring with an accuracy of 1/64 inches.
If you need something that’s simple and easy to use, but still strong enough to cut through tough wood at a consistent depth, this may be one of the best plunge router models for hobbyist woodworkers.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Festool 574692 RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This ergonomic and precise router is perfect for creating deep cuts in a variety of wood types, using an attachable chip deflector and dust extraction system to minimize the number of wood shavings and debris in the air at all times. Thanks to its semi-universal design, it can work alongside dozens of other attachments and tools, including guiding rail system and cutting templates.
The adjustment dial on the side allows you to make your cut depths incredibly precise, giving you control up to 1/256th of an inch (or one-tenth of a millimeter) for maximum accuracy.
The 1400 watt motor in this plunge router makes it an excellent choice for dealing with almost any kind of wood, especially if you want to stay clean and dust-free.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Avid Power Compact RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This compact and high-powered router uses a small yet durable aluminum body to endure even the roughest working conditions. The strong 1.25 horsepower motor delivers cutting speeds between 10,000 and 32,000 RPM, wearing down even the toughest wooden surfaces and allowing you to cut through them properly.
Not only that, but the rack-and-pinion system for depth adjustments makes it really easy to set a specific depth and stick to it. On top of that is the ergonomic and dust-blocking design that helps keep you safe and clean while cutting, using a rubber base to make sure that you don’t damage the area around your cutting lines.
This is one of the best plunge router models on the market if you need something small, powerful and reliable.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router KitRead Customer Reviews →
This versatile and durable router set offers multiple easy-to-adjust parts and settings, allowing it to stay useful regardless of the situation or the type of wood you’re cutting through. Made of strong aluminum, its body is much more durable than standard models, with the added benefit of having easy-to-hold wooden handles.
The 2.25 horsepower engine provides more than enough power to cut through tough wooden surfaces, and the specially-build circuitry aims to keep a consistent cutting speed in any conditions, meaning that it can stick to whatever depths and speed you’ve chosen to use it at.
This simple, convenient and reliable router is perfect for dealing with standard point-to-point woodcuts in nearly any situation.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Makita Rt0701Cx7 Compact Router KitRead Customer Reviews →
The speed settings on this compact router allow it to go as low as 10,000 RPM and as high as 30,000 RPM, giving you plenty of variation and versatility when dealing with different wood types, thicknesses, and surfaces. The different adjustment settings are incredibly precise, allowing you to perform accurate cuts every time, and the quick-release system makes it easy to alter these settings on the fly.
Not only that, but the soft-start system and consistent cutting speed mean that the entire tool won’t jam up when it’s forced to cut through a tougher surface, making it easier to get smooth and mistake-free cuts.
Precision is important, and this is one of the best plunge router designs when it comes to making accurate cuts every time.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This single-button plunge router can switch between plunge and fixed settings at any time, making a combination of both tools in a single body. Its soft-start motor provides up to 3.25 hp of cutting power, translating to a potential speed of up to 21,000 RPM, to cut through nearly any kind of wood in hardly any time at all.
The design includes air vents at the side to get rid of dust and wood chips, as well as a micro winder that allows very careful adjustment of the current cutting depth in plunge mode.
This plunge router combines a lot of useful features into a single body, making it a great multi-purpose tool for cutting many different kinds of wood.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. Bosch PR20EVS Palm RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This miniature router acts as a convenient cutting tool for woodworkers of any kind, letting you adjust its speed between 16,000 and 35,000 RPM to deal with both hard and soft woods. Its simple-to-use depth adjustment system means that you can tailor it to each specific situation, and the aluminum body keeps it safe from the wear and tear that can destroy weaker models.
Not only that, but it’s very precise, and you can quickly adjust its depth by both small and large amounts without having to replace any parts or fiddle with awkward controls.
The best plunge router is one that you can adjust on the fly without needing special tools, and this design offers plenty of adjustments to even the most inexperienced users.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. PORTER-CABLE 892 RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This simple router uses a soft-starting electric motor to give you an excellent level of cutting consistency on both hard and soft woods, reaching anywhere between 10,000 and 23,000 RPM in terms of speed. You can adjust the speed settings at any time, as well as easily release the motor to safely alter the cutting depth and position you’re using.
Thanks to its durable body and relatively low weight, it can easily stand up to normal wear and tear without being too heavy to move around, and the comfortable over-molded grips make it much easier to use for long periods of time.
This router takes a basic design and adds plenty of useful extras without getting over-complicated, making it perfect for dealing with normal woodworking tasks.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Makita XTR01Z Brushless Cordless RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This cordless router uses a compact design that allows for faster, more reliable cuts in a variety of different situations, using a strong motor that can reach cutting speeds of up to 30,000 RPM if you don’t limit it. The power button has a special lock that allows you to avoid accidentally stopping or starting the tool at the wrong time, and the built-in speed control system means that it’ll maintain a constant cutting speed regardless of what it’s slicing through.
Not only that, but the brushless motor is more efficient than standard models, using power much more efficiently than a regular router.
Cordless tools can be a mixed bag, but this is one of the best plunge router models that don’t rely on a power cord to work perfectly.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. TACKLIFE Plunge and Fixed Base RouterRead Customer Reviews →
This compact router offers multiple different pre-set speeds between 10,000 and 30,000 RPM, giving you multiple ways to cut different wood types without forcing you to adjust everything yourself. The included flex shaft allows you to reach hard-to-cut areas, and the compass tool gives you a way to pivot your router in a consistent circular motion, making it great at cutting out smooth curves in ways that other tools can’t.
Not only that, but the anxiety handle makes it much easier to pull this off, and helps prevent your arms from getting tired from sticking in the same position all day.
While it might seem more complicated than most plunge routers, this kit contains a host of other attachments and tools that make carving, cutting and trimming wood extremely easy.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Plunge Router Buyer’s Guide
Buying some woodwork tools can be a tricky task, since it’s not like getting a hammer, hacksaw or some nails – you have to put a lot of thought into which features you actually need, since not all models and brands will support everything, and there’s always a chance that you can end up missing a feature that would save plenty of time or effort further down the line.
Of course, you could technically buy multiple plunge routers to cover all the blank spots, but not even most professionals are willing to do that. It’s better to have the minimum amount of each tool you need, and that means that you should track down plunge routers that fit as many of your requirements as possible. But what’s actually important in a plunge router, and what can you ignore?
Speeds and Speed Options
Speed is incredibly vital to any powered cutting tool since it generally shows how much cutting power the tool actually has. A big plunge router might have a large blade that can slice through thick wood, but if it’s too slow, it won’t actually make much of a difference per minute of using it. Sometimes, the weaker yet faster tools are more desirable, since they can provide more cuts in a set span of time and don’t necessarily have a bad trade-off by being slightly weaker.
In most cases, speed is measured in RPM, and each model’s motor will have a set minimum and maximum that it can reach. It’s a bad idea to buy a router based on speed alone, but if two are identical in every other way, the one with the higher speed is often the best choice. It’ll cut faster, provide smoother curves if you’re turning it, and won’t jam as easily thanks to the constant motion. Speed shouldn’t be the most important part of the purchasing process, but it also shouldn’t be the least, since it’s one of the key parts of any cutting job.
Keep in mind that most models will let you adjust the speed yourself, either manually or through pre-chosen speed options. Designs that have set speeds have slightly less versatility, but they’re far easier to use, whereas those with freeform speed adjustment knobs or dials can be set to almost any speed you need within its physical limits. Again, neither is better than the other, but it comes down to your needs and your level of expertise using the routers.
Speed consistency also matters more than you may think. A router that’s able to keep its speed levels even while cutting through thick wood will provide a much smoother and more natural cut, as well as making the entire cutting experience less of a hassle. A model without features that do this can easily start to jam or jerk around if it’s suddenly pushed against a solid piece of wood, which can ruin the entire cut.
Related: Router Bits in Review.
Like any tool, size can make a difference, and not just in terms of performance. Larger tools often weight more and are harder to move around but will usually have more features, tools, options, or power to compensate. This doesn’t mean that a larger model is always better, so don’t make that mistake: size is mostly a guideline over what kind of tool it actually is, rather than a hard rule that always applies.
Weight isn’t the only difference: larger routers will usually have bigger blades or larger motors, giving them slightly more cutting power or a larger cutting area as a result. Some of them might even have multiple blades that can be swapped out or a built-in battery that allows them to work without a cable connection for long periods of time.
There are four distinct sizes of router: palm routers (the weakest yet smallest type, often meant for cutting smaller wooden items or decorations), mid-size routers (extremely common, usually around 1-2.5 horsepower, and strong enough to deal with most normal woodworking jobs), full-size routers (designed to be used for major production and destruction work, since they’re too bulky for most people to use around the home) and industrial routers (anything larger, usually meant as stationary tools in extremely large factories).
Sometimes routers will be on the borders of these sizes or have features and power levels that are better suited to another type, but the majority follow this size convention quite closely.
Plunge routers aren’t the only type on the market, nor are they always the best option. There are multiple router styles available, each with their own general purposes and different extra options. The first, fixed-base routers, are the most restricted, having fixed bases (as the name suggests) and are usually meant to be used for edge routing. This is where you cut down the edges of wooden items to make them smooth and get rid of any damaged or flaking parts. Because of these limitations, they’re not very good at handling general-purpose cutting work, but they’re often the cheapest models available and can easily become a useful tool in their own right.
The second, plunge-base routers, are much more versatile and fill a range of different purposes. The ‘plunge base’ itself allows them to be adjusted up and down for different cutting depths, and they’re often perfectly able to fill the same role as a fixed-base router as long as the settings are locked in correctly. In addition, they’re generally much easier to adjust when it comes to speed and cutting power, and there’ll be more options on offer compared to fixed models.
D-handle base routers are the third kind, and add a pistol-style grip to the side of an existing router model or design. They’re generally meant to be easier to control, using a proper trigger rather than a regular switch and having a body that can be moved from one side. Smaller models can even be used one-handed if you don’t mind the slight loss of stability, and they’re far easier to use on walls or other vertical surfaces that need to be cut slightly.
Plunge-base models are often seen as the most useful, but the others can also have their moments, especially in complex woodworking operations. Keep in mind that some kits will come with ways to convert or swap between them (for example, a plunge-base that can be switched to fixed-base, or one that comes with an attachable d-handle grip). This isn’t always the case, and they might require these extras to be purchased separately, so look into it ahead of time just in case.
Even if a model only has one grip, or you only need one to operate it properly, try to use both hands anyway. It makes it far easier to keep control of the tool and avoids the problem of accidental cuts in the wrong directions if you’re using your weaker hand.
Did you know?
Most routers are designed to work with clamps and grips, allowing them to be attached to a surface before cutting it. This can be extremely useful if you’re trying to make holes through a sheet or block of wood since router blades are generally bigger than those of a standard power drill.