Best Router Table Reviews (2019): Our Top Picks & Tips For Choosing
One of the most useful items you can add to your shop or garage for woodworking is a router table. The best router tables will allow both of your hands to be free. This gives you much more control during the cutting process. This also means it is a lot easier to perform certain advanced tasks, such as creating an edge profile or installing some grooves. Here’s how you can find the best option for your woodworking needs today.
Our Favorite Router Tables
A router table gives you specific advantages over a handheld router. You can make specific joinery cuts on the rails and stiles, cut raised panels, or even start routing your narrow stock. The chart below offers the opportunity to review the top-rated router tables that are available right now.
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Working Surface (Sq. Inches)||Price|
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Working Surface (Sq. Inches)||Price|
|Bosch RA1181 Benchtop||4.3||486|| $$ |
|Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo|| 4.2 ||334|| $$ |
|Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor|| 4.2 ||352|| $$$ |
|Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table|| 4.2 ||370|| $$ |
|Skil RAS900 Router Table|| 4.0 ||490|| $$ |
|Kreg PRS1045 Precision System|| 4.9 ||1200|| $$$$$ |
|Keter Folding Compact Workbench Table|| 4.6 ||693|| $ |
|Kreg PRS2100 Bench Router Table|| 4.2 ||384|| $$$ |
|Jessem Mast-R-Lift Excel II Complete System|| 4.3 ||768|| $$$$$+ |
|Kreg PRS10404 Precision System|| 4.6 ||1200|| $$$$$ |
What Is the Most Important Feature of the Best Router Tables?
If you’re looking for the best router table today, then you’re looking for a table surface that is as flat and rigid as possible. Using a router often means creating cuts with extreme precision. If the table surface is not flat and rigid, then you can create an uneven joint, a poor edge profile, and encounter numerous other issues with your project.
There are several additional reasons why having a rigid table surface is important.
- It resists downward pressure. When you’re making a cut, you’re doing so by placing downward pressure on the table. Added rigidity on the table’s surface will counter this pressure so that you receive a cut that is more accurate. Your table should not shift when you place your working piece on top of it or if you’re adding pressure during a pass.
- It must support the weight of the tool. Extra rigidity on the table’s surface will enable it to be able to support the full weight of the tool and the materials needed to complete your woodworking project. The last thing you need to have happen is the table’s surface bending underneath the weight of your router before you proceed through a pass.
- It limits surface irregularities. Even a minor irregularity on the table’s surface has the potential to interfere with your woodworking project. Added rigidity will allow this to occur without any deflection, but it will not completely eliminate it if the table has not been manufactured correctly.
To keep costs down, many models today have been created with an MDF surface. This composite material often performs better than solid wood thanks to its combination of resin and wood fibers. It is a practical choice, but one that is typically designed for medium-duty woodworking at best.
The best router tables that remain affordable will add a high-pressure laminate to the MDF table surface. Although there may be additional surfaces that are available at a higher cost, it is difficult to find a better value on the modern router table. It is vitally important, however, that the MDF table is completely level. You will need to check on this before you begin the setup process after purchase.
If your plans entail heavy duty work, then a better option for you is a phenolic resin table. Phenolics are tough, naturally rigid, and won’t be impacted by changes in temperature or humidity like MDF or wooden tables tend to be. They maintain their flatness while remaining lightweight, but come with an added cost, so the beginner craftsman or woman benefits more from the laminated MDF surface.
How to Find the Best Router Table for Me
Most designs have the router attached to a base plate. This plate will then fit into an opening on the table itself. Without a high quality base plate, it becomes much more difficult to complete your woodworking tasks. This is because the plate must be able to remain flat at all times while still supporting the entire weight of the router.
The best router tables tend to have a base plate made from machined aluminum. A solid phenolic plate is another good option to consider. And it is necessary to make sure that your base plate is compatible with the router you currently own. The one-size-fits-all base plates with pre-drilled holes don’t actually fit every router, which can be a problem when you attempt to fit your router… and it doesn’t fit.
Once you’ve found the right base plate, here are the other options you’ll want to look at when taking a look at the best router table reviews.
- T-Slots and Miter Gauges. Most of the work that your router table is going to perform is a form of guidance. You’ll be moving your stock past the cutter with firm pressure on the table’s fence. You’ll also need to be cutting a dado across a narrow piece of stock, so having a high quality miter slot is essential for more advanced router work. T-Slots can help you secure other table attachments, such as a featherboard, for additional woodworking options.
- The fence on your router table will help you be able to control the cut. You can make your own fence by clamping a piece of lumber to your table, but the best fences tend to be the “split fence.” Split fences offer two sections that are independently adjustable from one another.
- To get a nice cut from a router, you need to have a table that is nice and sturdy. Look for stability with a base, look for steel stands with locking casters as your best option. This way you can still have a somewhat portable unit while getting the stable cutting surface that is needed.
What will it cost me to buy the Best Router Tables?
Router tables are a bit of an investment for many who are first getting started with woodworking. A professional quality model can be several thousand dollars and that doesn’t include any of the additional accessories you may want to have.
Entry-level models tend to be priced between $300-$750. These tables are usually foldable, portable, and have a reasonable level off stability. You’ll have access to several different accessories at this point, but you may be given 1-2 options instead of 3-5 as with premium units.
Bottom line: if you plan to generate hobby money from your woodworking efforts or have contracts to fulfill, plan on spending around $1,000 minimum for your router table. If you’re looking to build up your skills, then the entry-level models can meet your needs.
If you’re searching for the best router table, you need look no further than the KREG PRS2100, a versatile yet affordable model.
Let’s Have a Look at Some Reviews
This precision routing system will provide users with a fully enclosed aluminum fence that provides a superior level of precision. Dust is also minimized with this table’s design. The MDF top isn’t the best in the world, but it does absorb vibration very well, which improves the accuracy of each cutting pass. Individual fence faces can also work as a vertical jointer if preferred by the user. It’s strong, sturdy, and gets the job done – that’s why it earns our recommendation.
If you’re looking to step up your routing skills, then this is the complete table system that will help to make it happen. It fits most cylinder router motors and supports your working piece with a phenolic table and an aluminum extruded miter track and T-track. The fence is also aluminum and features fully adjustable fence faces. The stand is made from steel and has upper and lower stretchers, offering strength that is virtually beyond compare in this category. Once you try this model, you’ll never want to go back to an entry-level model ever again.
This benchtop router provides you the precision of a full router table, as well as the flexibility of being able to mount it to your bench. It has a full-size router insert plate with precision levelers so you don’t have to worry about making an inferior cut. The table, made from MDF, is 16×24 and has an easy-slide surface that contributes to the quality of your work The fence features adjustable faces, allowing for vertical jointing. New cam clamps are also included, as is a dust collection system, and it’s a recipe for woodworking success.
This work table, which features a routing system in addition to multiple other uses, is a great entry-level option for those who haven’t tried using a router before. The working surface holds up to 1,000 pounds, so it can handle your working piece with relative ease. It’s also lightweight folds down to just 4.4 inches, so you can even toss it into the trunk of your commuter car if you wish. It’s not a traditional routing table, however, so keep that in mind before finalizing your purchase to make sure it meets your needs.
This precision system effectively meets a woodworker’s needs for a surprisingly fair price. It’s a high performance system that offers a self-squaring table fence system. This allows for each pass to be extremely accurate, even if you are focused on extreme precision. The stand, made from steel, is heavy duty and performs well even under the toughest pressure. We especially appreciated the precision insert-plate system, which boosts the final quality of each task you complete. We loved it and think you will too.
The assembly of this model is remarkably simple. The instructions are thorough and everything lined up as it should. We did find it necessary to avoid tightening the fasteners all of the way until most of the assembly work was done. The mounting plate was also quite easy to level out. The dust port can be somewhat difficult to work with because it can interfere with the guard adjustment. It should be noted that there are two different configurations that are available to the user. One does interfere with the guard adjustment, but the other does not.
The design also includes a quick-release router mount. Switching between bits is a fast and simple process, since you can attach or detach the router in literally seconds. We found the table to be quite functional, especially at this price point. The fence guard is clearly the key feature, but there are various measuring devices included that allow you to get to work pretty quickly. The cuts are accurate, but your router does need to have a height adjustment feature to maximize the use of this table.
One of the best things about this particular design is that the dual fence design is actually useful. You can flip the fence around so that the table can accept larger panels. Twin steel rails support the router for added strength at the same time, giving you a consistent surface with the laminate flattop that will let each piece track and cut with precision. This table also supports a full range of router applications. There are slots to help you craft a precision joint. You can be cutting dadoes with relative ease. With the T-slots on the table, you can also mount your featherboards, risers, switches, or stops without much difficulty.
We appreciated the fact that the router in this combo kit has been permanently lubricated with sealed ball bearings. Although the router is somewhat underpowered compared to other models that are available right now, the construction of the tool makes it possible for it to provide several years of cutting power when used for light-to-medium tasks. The fence of the table also adjusts so that you have the proper but clearance. Both the infeed and the outfeed are able to extend for up to 2 inches to support your working piece. The jointing fence also offsets by up to 9/16 of an inch.
All of the essentials that you need from this table come with it. There’s even a 15-amp dual outlet switch with overload protection and a lockout key. You receive the start pin and guard, giving you the opportunity for routing work on curved working pieces. It also features a dust collection port that fits a standard 2.5-inch hose so you can use one of the best shop vacs to keep your working space clean.
The best router table reviews will help you to discover the inner craftsman that lives inside of you right now. Embrace your creativity, join Woodwork Nation, and you will enjoy creating more sawdust every single day.