If you’re a woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, you know that an electric router is an indispensable tool for creating beautiful and intricate designs on your projects. But with so many different models and brands on the market, how do you know which one to choose? In this ultimate guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about electric routers so that you can make an informed decision and buy the best one for your needs.
What is an Electric Router?
An electric router is a power tool that is used for cutting, shaping, and profiling wood. It consists of a motor that drives a spinning bit, which can be used to create a wide range of cuts and designs on wood. Routers come in two basic types: plunge and fixed base. Plunge routers are ideal for making cuts that start in the middle of the wood, while fixed base routers are better for making cuts that start from the edge.
Why Buy an Electric Router?
An electric router is a versatile tool that can be used for a wide range of woodworking tasks. Whether you’re making furniture, cabinetry, or decorative items, an electric router can help you create intricate designs and precise cuts that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with other tools. Routers can also be used to make joints, grooves, and decorative edges, making them a must-have tool for any serious woodworker or DIY enthusiast.
Factors to Consider When Buying an Electric Router
The power of an electric router is measured in horsepower (HP), and generally ranges from 1 to 3.5 HP. The more horsepower a router has, the more capable it is of handling tough materials and making deep cuts. If you plan to use your router for heavy-duty tasks, such as cutting through thick hardwoods, you’ll want to choose a router with a higher horsepower rating.
The speed of a router is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM), and can range from 8,000 to 30,000 RPM. The speed you choose will depend on the type of bit you’re using and the material you’re working with. For example, larger bits require slower speeds, while smaller bits can be used at higher speeds. It’s also important to choose a router with variable speed control, so that you can adjust the speed to match the task at hand.
- Base Type
As we mentioned earlier, electric routers come in two basic types: plunge and fixed base. Plunge routers are more versatile, as they can be used to make cuts that start in the middle of the wood. Fixed base routers, on the other hand, are better for making cuts that start from the edge. Consider the types of cuts you plan to make when choosing a base type.
- Bit Size
The size of the bit you choose will depend on the type of cuts you plan to make. Larger bits are better for making deep cuts and shaping large surfaces, while smaller bits are better for creating intricate designs and decorative edges. It’s a good idea to have a variety of bit sizes on hand, so that you can tackle any project that comes your way.
- Dust Collection
Routers produce a lot of sawdust and debris, which can make a mess of your workspace and pose a health hazard if inhaled. Look for a router with a dust collection system that can be connected to a vacuum or dust extractor. This will help keep your workspace clean and safe.
Since you’ll be using your router for extended periods of time, it’s important to choose a model that is comfortable and easy to use. Look for a router with ergonomic handles and a comfortable grip, so that you can work for hours without experiencing hand fatigue.
The price of an electric router can vary widely, from around $50 for a basic model to over $500 for a professional-grade router. While it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option, it’s important to consider the quality and durability of the router, as well as the features it offers. A higher-priced router may offer more power, better speed control, and more advanced features, which can save you time and frustration in the long run.
Top Electric Routers on the Market
Now that you know what to look for when buying an electric router, let’s take a look at some of the top models on the market.
The DEWALT DW618B3 is a powerful and versatile router that is ideal for heavy-duty woodworking tasks. With a 2.25 HP motor and variable speed control, this router can handle tough materials and a wide range of cutting tasks. The plunge base allows for precise cuts and easy depth adjustments, while the fixed base offers stability and accuracy. The DW618B3 also comes with a dust collection system and a comfortable, ergonomic grip.
The Bosch 1617EVSPK is a versatile and reliable router that offers both plunge and fixed base options. With a 2.25 HP motor and variable speed control, this router can handle a wide range of cutting tasks, from shaping large surfaces to creating intricate designs. The 1617EVSPK also features a dust collection system and ergonomic handles for comfortable use.
The Makita RT0701CX7 is a compact and lightweight router that is ideal for small-scale woodworking tasks. With a 1.25 HP motor and variable speed control, this router can handle a wide range of cutting tasks, from trimming edges to creating decorative designs. The plunge base allows for precise cuts and easy depth adjustments, while the fixed base offers stability and accuracy. The RT0701CX7 also features a dust collection system and ergonomic handles for comfortable use.
The Porter-Cable 690LR is a durable and reliable router that is ideal for both novice and experienced woodworkers. With a 1.75 HP motor and variable speed control, this router can handle a wide range of cutting tasks, from shaping large surfaces to creating decorative edges. The fixed base offers stability and accuracy, while the ergonomic handles ensure comfortable use. The 690LR also comes with a dust collection system and a one-year warranty.
An electric router is an essential tool for any woodworker or DIY enthusiast. Whether you’re creating furniture, cabinetry, or decorative items, a router can help you achieve precise cuts and intricate designs that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with other tools. When choosing an electric router, consider factors such as power, speed, base type, bit size, dust collection, ergonomics, and price. With so many great routers on the market, you’re sure to find one that meets your needs and fits your budget.