best wood router for beginners

11 Best Wood Router For Beginners (Options To Beware Of)

There are many wood routers available for a beginner woodworker, but it can be difficult to figure out which one to start with — that’s why we’ve put together this list of the absolute best wood routers for beginners.

A wood router is one of the most valuable pieces of woodworking equipment that a beginner should have in their woodworking toolbox; however, making an uninformed purchase may result in incorrect use.

For beginners who are new to woodworking, many tasks can appear overly complex without the right equipment. It can also prove restricting when it comes to what you can and can’t make.

Generally, beginners do not require as much power as professionals. It is important to select a wood router that is easy to use so you can familiarize yourself with the functionality of the wood router before you begin.

Not only will a wood router enhance your work efficiency, but it will also enhance the appearance of your projects too.

Here’s what we think are the 11 absolute best wood routers for beginners.

The 11 Absolute Best Wood Router For Beginners

We have browsed the market and selected our top 11 picks of the best wood routers for beginners. Below, you will also find a buyer’s guide.

Our Top Pick for the Best Wood Router for Beginners

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit with a Variable Speed 12 Amp Motor

Deemed to be one of the best wood routers for beginners, the Bosch Wood Router Tool Combo Kit enters the market at an affordable price and is also easy to use.

Suitable for a wide range of applications, this is a versatile wood router that can be used for precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming, and dovetail cutting.

With a 2.25 horsepower motor, this wood router delivers 8,000 to 25,000 RPM. As such, it offers the capability for tackling a range of tasks. Courtesy of the advanced speed control technology, the RPM will be monitored for consistent performance. 

The variable speed settings also provide the user with the flexibility for working on different tasks and materials.

Both the plunge and fixed bases maintain a constant speed when subject to load, and they also feature a quick clamp system. Made from aluminum, this is a durable model that features wooden handles on the fixed base and soft-grip handles on the fixed base.

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Runner Up Wood Router For Beginners

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router

Though it may be a small wood router, the Makita Compact Router certainly does not compromise on useability and performance.

With a 1.25Hp motor, it may not be the best choice for intense use and heavy-duty projects; however, it can still be used for several other woodworking projects. The ergonomically designed body also ensures that it is comfortable to hold and control.

The electronic speed control means that this model can be used for the completion of many applications. It will also maintain a consistent speed under a load.

Courtesy of the variable speed control, the functionality of this model can be altered to accommodate different uses, delivering between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM.

Aside from this, the rack and pinion adjustment allow users to optimize the speed at which it operates to achieve the most accurate results.

Using the quick releases tab, the depth can be adjusted and the base can be removed with ease. This feature will save you time during the process.

The soft-start feature of this wood router allows for smooth start-ups while ensuring that minimal noise is produced in the process. Additionally, the shaft lock allows for quick and easy bit changes and removes the hassle of the process.

With all of these features, we think it makes for a great wood router for beginners.

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The Rest of the Best Wood Router For Beginners

DEWALT Fixed Base Wood Router

DEWALT Router, Fixed Base, 1-3/4-HP (DW616) , Yellow

The DEWALT Fixed Base Wood Router is designed with a micro-fine adjustment ring which will allow the users to precisely alter the depth in 1/64 increments. The tool-free steel motor lock is also adjustable, allowing for easy alterations and quick base changes when required. 

Thanks to the quick-release motor latch, the motor pack can be removed with speed and ease when required for bit and base changes.

For improved accuracy, this unit features a sub-base concentricity gauge to ensure that the bit follows the desired direction for the cutting for the best results. 

Capable of routing and smoothing demanding hardwoods, this router has a 1-3/4 horsepower motor.

Although this may not be one of the most powerful offerings, it is still a great wood router for beginners and is more than likely to suffice in the completion of many woodworking projects.

The switch is also designed with a seal to stop any dust particles from accessing the internal components and affecting the functionality of the switch.

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AVID POWER Compact Router

AVID POWER 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Compact Router with Fixed Base, 5 Trim Router Bits, Variable Speed, Edge Guide, Roller Guide and Dust Hood

Retailing within an affordable price range, the AVID POWER Compact Router is a viable wood router for beginners on a budget.

With a 1.25 horsepower motor delivering between 10,000 to 32,000 RPM, this router is suitable for a range of applications. It also incorporates variable speed controls that can be altered using the dial to accommodate different materials.

This router accepts 1/4 and 3/8 inch collets, and because of this, it is compatible with a selection of bits. The smooth rack and pinion depth adjustment feature system allows users to precisely alter the depth of the router.

Aside from this, this wood router also incorporates a quick locking system that allows for simple height adjustments while also making it easier to release the motor when necessary.

Designed with dual LEDs, you are provided with maximum visibility so you can operate the machine safely and also clearly see the surface that you are working on.

The provision of an edge guide tool also allows for easier completion of projects. This is another feature that makes it a great wood router for beginners.

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DEWALT DW618B3 Router

DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, 12-Amp, 2-1/4-HP (DW618B3)

Offering an impressive amount of power, the DEWALT Router features a 12 amp motor with 2.25 horsepower.

Because of this, this wood router can handle more intense projects without becoming overwhelmed, and it will achieve smooth cuts through tough hardwoods too. 

Delivering 8,000 to 24,000 RPM, this unit constantly works with speed, even when subject to a heavier load. It also features electronic variable speed controls so that the functionality of the machine can be adjusted to accommodate different woodworking projects.

The soft-start function will also reduce soft-start torque, providing the user with a greater amount of control when using the machine.

Using the micro-fine depth adjustment ring, the depth can be adjusted in 1/64 increments to achieve fine-tuned, precise cuts.

The motor pack can easily be removed for convenient bit and base changes courtesy of the quick-release motor latch. This router consists of a fixed, plunge, or D handle boss, and because of this users will be able to select the option that is best suited to their requirements.

Simply put, this is a great wood router for beginners.

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Milwaukee M18 Fuel 2723-20 Compact Router

Milwaukee's Cordless Compact Router,18.0 Voltage

With a 1.25 horsepower motor, the Milwaukee Compact router delivers 31,000 RPM. Because of this, this wood router is capable of achieving clean, high-quality cuts in tougher materials.

Additionally, the Power State Brushless Motor and trim routers account for excellent performance. 

As a cordless router, beginners are provided with plenty of flexibility when using this machine, and despite not having a cord like many competitor offerings, it continues to function with the same amount of power.

The micro-adjust dial and the micro-adjust button allow for fast and accurate depth adjustments when needed to ensure that accurate cuts are made.

The variable speed settings deliver between 10,000 and 31,000 RPM, allowing users to alter the functionality of the wood router to cater to particular applications. This also provides greater control, ensuring that clean edges and detailing are achieved. 

The robust 4 inch sub-base plate provides greater stability, and the addition of dual LED lights will enhance your visibility by illuminating your workspace so that you can see what you are cutting clearly.

We love this model and think it’s a great wood router for beginners.

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SKIL Fixed Base Corded Router

SKIL 10 Amp Fixed Base Corded Router —RT1323-00

Providing an excellent choice for those on a budget, the SKIL Fixed Base Corded Router combines impressive performance with affordability.

With a powerful 10 amp and a 2.0 HP motor, it functions smoothly to deliver accurate results. The strength of the motor also means that the unit copes well with tougher materials.

The variable speed settings provide between 10,000 to 25,000 RPM, allowing you to adjust the speed to suit the material that you are working with.

Impressively, this router has been designed with a Live Tool Indicator. As such, users will be informed when the router is connected to power via the LED. This helps to eliminate any accidents.

This router is compatible with 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets and features three course-depth adjustment settings for easy alterations to height to accommodate different materials. The soft-start function ensures that the router starts safely and that beginners have plenty of control.

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WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router

WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router Kit with Carrying Case & Edge Guide

The WEN RT6033 has a 15 amp motor that offers speeds ranging from 8,000 to 23,000 RPM. For this reason, it is ideal for cutting through tough woods and is a great wood router for beginners.

As a soft-start motor, it will begin operating safely, ensuring that users are provided with plenty of control. 

As a two-in-one router, this unit can be used as a plunge router or a fixed router, and it is easy to alternate between each by locking the plunge base in a downward position. The fine-tune micro adjustment dial allows for alterations to the height of the unit for maximum precision. 

An accessory that is likely to be appreciated in this wood router for beginners is the parallel guide fence that can be attached to the router for achieving perfectly straight cuts and designs.

This unit also incorporates a dust collection duct that will produce less mess as all of the dust particles are going to be contained within this duct.

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Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

For woodworking beginners who are still getting accustomed to the functionality of a router, the Triton Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router can be an ideal choice.

It isn’t overly complex and has three different buttons that users will need to familiarize themselves with, which makes it an ideal wood router for beginners. The built-in router bit also allows for easier bit changes when necessary.

The powerful 3.25 horsepower motor delivers between 8,000 to 22,000 RPM, and because of this, the router can cut through tough materials with great precision and smoothness.

As a versatile wood router, it can be used as a handheld unit or table-mounted unit depending on your preference, and it can also be changed with a single click of a button.

Designed with multiple vents, this router will refrain from overheating. The vents will also reduce the intake of dust for smoother operation and a cleaner experience.

The variable speed controls allow users to alter the speed to suit different materials. While the micro winder allows for fine depth adjustments when used in plunge mode, the rack and pinion allow for precise adjustments when used in fixed mode.

This is an excellent wood router for beginners.

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Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router

Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router with Edge

Made with a durable motor with a maximum horsepower rating of 1.6, the Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router may not be the best option for tough woods; however, it delivers enough power for a range of other woodworking applications.

It also functions as a plunge and fixed-base router. Simply lock the plunge base in a downward position so that it works as both.

The variable speed controls deliver between 16,000 to 30,000 RPM so that beginners can control the speed to accommodate different materials.

The macro and micro depth adjustment feature allows for easy alterations to the height to allow for excellent precision and accuracy. 

Durably constructed, the aluminum base and body have been built to last. Because of this, the router can withstand frequent and intense use without becoming easily damaged, which makes it a great wood router for beginners.

The hood also removes dust particles for smoother operation and a cleaner working environment after use.

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Metabo Fixed Base Router

Metabo HPT Router | Fixed Base | 11 Amp Motor | 2-1/4 Peak HP | Variable Speed | M12VC

For those looking for power and ease of use, look no further than the Metabo Fixed-Base Router. Equipped with an 11 amp motor and 2.4 peak horsepower, this wood router is capable of cutting through tougher materials with great accuracy and precision. 

Courtesy of the electronic speed control, the speed at which the router operates can be altered to suit different loads and materials. It also features a 2-stage motor release clamp that allows for quick and accurate depth adjustments and base changes to accommodate different projects.

Robustly constructed, this router has been made with a nickel-plated motor housing that offers the durability to withstand intense and frequent use.

Aside from this, it boasts an ergonomic design as the gripped handles provide users with control when the router is operating. It is also extremely comfortable, making it a great wood router for beginners.

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Wood Routers for Beginners Buyers’ Guide

As a beginner, selecting the best wood router can seem like a challenge, particularly if you are not familiar with the different features.

Below, we have identified some important factors that will help you to determine which wood router is best for your needs.

Plunge Vs Fixed Base

The first thing you must consider is whether you require a plunge or fixed base router. A plunge base router is used to achieve vertical cuts in the wood while a fixed base router is used for edges or on top of the wood. 

When used in conjunction with a routing table, a fixed base router tends to be the preferred option for beginners because adjusting the depth of the bit is easier.

They also tend to maintain a more accurate locked position. 

I wrote an in depth article on plunge vs fixed base routers what’s the difference. Check it out for an in depth comparison.

Compatibility with different bits

Most wood routers can accept ¼ inch or ½ inch bits. Although the latter tend to be more expensive, they offer more stability. Preferably, you should opt for a router that is compatible with both sizes for greater versatility.

Router Speed Settings

Ideally, wood routers for beginners should have variable speed settings. If the speed setting is too powerful, it may end up cutting right through the wood. 

A router with variable speed settings will allow the user to set it to function at a high or low speed, depending on the wood that they are working with.

When working with small bits, a single-speed router is viable; however, a slower speed is required for larger bits.

Router Weight

The weight of the router is another important consideration. As expected, heavy-duty routers tend to be the largest and bulkiest.

Because of this, these wood routers are the heaviest to handle. Medium duty and light duty routers aren’t as heavy, but they aren’t suitable for intense use. 

Instead, they should be used for the completion of delicate tasks. Most beginners will likely be able to handle a moderately heavy wood router comfortably while also still being able to control it.

A wood router that is overly heavy is going to be more difficult to control and is also likely to result in wrist fatigue, making it not a great wood router for beginners.

The Durability

Your wood router should be durably constructed from high-grade materials that can withstand intense use.

You don’t want to invest in a model that breaks easily when used for heavy-duty applications.

Best Router Design, Grip

Your router should be comfortable to hold as this will allow you to use it for lengthier periods without tiring. Check the quality of the handles.

Those that are coated in a comfortable material are going to feel much more pleasant to handle. Also, ensure that the handles allow you to maintain a secure grip.

Dust Control

A wood router will create a lot of dust. Because of this, many have a built-in vacuum port that collects the dust.

Not only will this save you from having to clean up your work surface afterward, but it can also protect those that suffer from health issues that are triggered by dust particles. This makes it a must-have feature on all wood routers for beginners.

Router Size

For many, the size of the wood router is going to be another influencing factor. If you have a small workshop, you will likely benefit from investing in a compact model.

Also, if you’re looking for the best compact routers, you’ll want to check out our post on the subject

Also, consider whether your router will be needed at other locations as a smaller option will be easier to transport.

Pricing

When looking for a wood router for a beginner, it is worth having a budget in mind. As such, you can filter your search to accommodate this.

The price of a wood router can vary between brands, with some offering high-end options and others providing cheaper alternatives. 

It is important to ensure that your router has all of the features that you require while boasting a high-quality construction. You will likely find that many affordable wood routers for beginners deliver impressive performance.


How much horsepower do I need in a wood router?

The horsepower of a motor can differ between models. While some basic options have around 1 HP, other models can have up to 3.5 HP.

The type that you require will depend on what you require its use for. For simple edging tasks, a model with a lower amount of horsepower is likely to be sufficient.

Now That You’ve Seen the Best Wood Routers for Beginners, It’s Time to Get Into Woodworking

Woodworking doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby, and for beginners, it can be a ton of fun and a great way to pass the time.

That’s why we put together this list of the best wood routers for beginners — we’re passionate about helping woodworking beginners get started on their journey.

If you’re ready to get into woodworking and you have your wood router ready to go, then check out our post on how to get into woodworking.And if you’re looking for a compact router, we have you covered — check out our post on the best compact routers.

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ABOUT GizmoPlans

Hey, this is Brian and Gene Luoma. Since the two of us have pretty much been self-employed our entire lives, we have a lot of experience designing and creating all sorts of DIY projects for businesses and homes—projects that have helped us make money or save money through the years!

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