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How to Buy a Woodworking Router? A Complete Buying Guide

Last updated on August 30, 2022

woodworking router buying guide

A router is a power tool that is required for almost every woodworking project. Any modern woodshop would require at least one type of router. No matter if you are working in a woodshop or you are working on your own DIY woodworking project, there might be at least one operation that requires the use of a router.

But before you buy a woodworking router, you should know a few things about the routers. Here is a brief guide for choosing the right type of router. There are various features that you should look at in a router. We will discuss these features one by one.

Check this article to know how to use a router.

Types of Routers

There are different types of routers available in the market. Each type has its own purpose. When you are going to buy one you should know what exactly you want to do with that router and which type of router is best for you.

Here are the main types of woodworking routers. But before you buy one, you should check out this woodworking from beginners to pro guide.

1. Palm Routers


These routers are compact in size and used for small operations like slot cutting, edge forming, trimming, window cutouts, and small-scale dovetailing. These routers are limited to 1/4″ shank bits so they can only be used for small projects.

These routers are compact in size but offer great performance with usually 1 HP or less. These types of routers are best for DIY furniture projects.

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2. Mid-Size Routers

Mid-Size Routers

Due to ease of operations and their versatility, these mid-size routers are most popular. These routers can be used for all the operations that can be done by the palm routers along with large scale dovetailing, circle cutting, template design, and panel cutting.

These routers come in the range of 1-3/4 HP to 2-1/4 HP. These routers are compatible with 1/4″ and 1/2″ shank bits and with multiple bases. Porter-Cable 892 wood router falls in this category and it is best for the DIY specialists.

3. Full-Size Routers

best routers 2020

These routers are large in size and used for production purposes. For daily routine work and for the DIYers, these routers are not suitable and it would be difficult for them to use these heavy routers.

These routers have a power of 3 HP to 3-1/4 HP and are used for CNC operations or with dedicated router tables.

Speed Options

A few routers have a fixed speed while most modern and good quality woodworking routers in 2020 come with variable speed. This multi-speed adjustment provides you an option to vary the speed as per the requirement of the project and type of the wood you are using.

The ability to change the router speed provides a safe working space and it also depends on the use of bits and base.

Base Styles

Woodworking routers come with 3 different types of the base which are listed below:

woodworking router base types

Fixed Base: These bases are the standard bases and usually comes with the fixed knobs or handles on the opposite sides. This type of base provides a good grip to guide the router on the router table.

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Plunge Base: Operations requiring the bit to be plunged into the wood away from an edge can be done easily by a plunge base router. These bases are perfect to work on dado cuts, blind grooves, mortising, and fluting operations.

D-Handle Base: This type of base has a knob on one side and a D-Handle on the other side that provides a pistol-like grip. These bases also have a trigger power switch for locking on/off operation.

Final words

So, before you buy your woodworking router, you should know what is your requirement. What type of project you are going to work on and what type of wood you are going to use.

Then check different routers and their characteristics as mentioned above and see which router would be best for your project. Now make your decision and you will get the best woodworking router for your project.

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