Wood is the world’s most important building material. Almost every item you want to build requires wood. This natural provision is easy to curve, cut, and shape into desired patterns or designs. If you want to be successful in your woodworking career, you need to have the right tools. Workshops have plenty of tools, and the wood router is one of the must-have. You see, wood needs drilling, smoothening and curving. All these require the perfect equipment to ensure that the precious material does not go to waste. Well, this review takes you through all you need to know about the best wood router 2018!
Best Wood Router Buying Guide
Like other products, not all the brands will make sense. Before adding a best wood router to your cart, you must be careful. Of course, technology has inflated the tools with pompous features that might distract your primary goal- getting the top router. If you are a greenhorn, choosing the router that best fits your interests may be a little confusing. Thus, you need a buying guide- or a list of things you need to check out in a good router.
The top router brands should cover these features, and help you find your match. So, no matter the kind of overwhelming features that the router has, it is easy to sort the wheat from the barley. Likewise, the makers should not trick you with technology, but you should find it easy to tell the best tool. Now, before you purchase a good wood router, be sure to consider the following features.
Type of base
The most prominent debate about best wood router is whether they should be fixed-base of plunge-base. It’s easy to set up a fixed base, but it is less flexible. The plunge base is more versatile but harder to fix, and vice versa. So, the thumb rule of making a good purchase is ensuring that you get a tool with both features. Especially, if you are a novice, you will find it worthwhile. Otherwise, you might just have to purchase both, which isn’t a good idea.
Just like a car, the strength of a router depends on its power. In brief, horsepower is the power of the motor. Better still; horsepower is the ability of a motor to convert electricity into strong movements. If a router has a high horsepower, it will cut the toughest pieces of wood in seconds. Likewise, such a tool would be heavier and possess more torque. So, when purchasing a wood router, you need a 2 horsepower for lighter duties or more than two for heavier functions.
Yes- the wood router is a powerful machine that produces sound, and you don’t expect it to be quiet. But, there are others that make so much noise that you’d think it’s a fighter jet in the skies of Hiroshima- they are not a good idea! So, when making an order, do check the noise levels lest you bring a whole volcano in your workshop!
Adjustable Depth of Cutting
The ability to tune the cut depths is a priority feature of a wood router. Of course, not all holes you drill will have equal depths. So, purchasing a model that allows you to control the depth of the holes is a brilliant idea. If you get a tool that has fine adjustments such as 1/100 inch, then you just found the perfect cutter! But, most models have increments of 1/64 of an inch.
The speed at which the tool cuts wood is an important feature to consider when making the order. If you are dealing with hardwoods, a router with a high RPM may be necessary. But, when yours is pine or other softwoods, slow speed is the right choice. If you try using high speeds on softwood, you could easily damage the router, or burn the wood. So, the rate depends on the kind of material you are cutting. A wood router with a variable speed is, therefore, an excellent purchase.
When dealing with woodcutters, sawdust is inevitable. While it can have other important uses, this dust could be sickening, too. If you have ever used a low-end cutter, you might have experienced the littering effect. Of course, you need to keep your eyes safe, and your workshop clean. That’s why you should find out if the router has a dust collection system. This is not a lumbering power saw- it is for indoor use and thus, you should do everything within your means to keep it ergonomic. A good router does not litter your workshop, but it handles the dust in a clean way.
If you are new to woodworking, you need to be careful with every movement you make. In fact, even experienced carpenters would still require being careful. Tools with a soft start have a gradual increase in rotation speed. Thus, when you press start, they will not hit maximum horsepower in a second. Instead, the speed will increase as you continue using the router. This means that you won’t have to ruin your project in the process.
Some people have a problem looking at the wood during the cutting process. So, how about you on the wood? That is what the LED lights do! Well, these lights are not a must-have feature- of course; most routers do not have it. But, if you believe in precision, then you should consider purchasing a router with this provision.
Smooth plunge action
When choosing a router, find out if it’s plunge action is smooth. If it’s rough, you might have a hard time controlling it. But, with a smooth plunge action, the travel is easy to manipulate. The best wood router reviews indicate whether the tool has smooth plunge action, so check it out!
Balance and comfort
No one wants to buy a repulsive machine or one that’s not friendly to the user. While ergonomic designs are not necessary for cutting, they play a useful role in fostering the relationship with the user. A user-friendly router is easy and fun to use. As a thumb rule, every manufacturer should have the user in mind while creating a router. At least, it needs to be well balanced and comfortable for the user. No doubt, it should have handles. So, you should not hurt your hands for using a machine.
You need a strong drilling ‘needle’ to make perfect holes into wood. Router need to have two wrenches, one for holding the motor shaft, and the other to tighten the collets. The spindle lock is not a basic need for the router, but it will help you access the bit with ease.
Cost: Your Ability
Sorry but Amazon and other shopping sites are not your buddies to give you a free wood router for your birthday! So, you must be ready to part with a few dollars. The best wood router are a little expensive, but in the long run, you will note that they are worth it. Likewise, low-end cutters may come at a throwaway price. While it is necessary to spend some cash on buying the best cutter, it is also important to consider the amount of money you are ready to pay.
What are the types of routers available?
There are three types of routers woodworking, namely; plunge, fixed and interchangeable base routers. While you can use any router can serve the purpose well, several advanced functions need you to have a high-end device. Here are the three types of top wood routers that you should know about.
FIXED BASE WOOD ROUTER
If a router is fixed based, it means it attached to the table. The base is mountable on the workshop table. While this is not a versatile tool, it is in easy to use and ideal for home works. For instance, they can get an edge for different patterns by moving the bit up and down while changing the base’ height. Moreover, you can adjust the height anytime, thus allowing you hold the bit for finer depths.
Fixed base wood router allow you to cut edges as well as mold straight shapes. Unlike the Plunge Based routers, the fixed models are lighter and more user-friendly. The depth of the blade is usually fixed, but you can adjust it before you start cutting. If you are dealing with strong wood, the fixed base router is the top-notch device for you!
PLUNGE BASE ROUTERS
No matter how inexperienced you are, the plunge base router will help you make great cuts. Many experts admit that plunge routers are perfect in making interior cuts. Although they are somehow difficult at day one, they are worthwhile as time goes. If you are new to woodworking, you will understand how to use it after a few trials.
In brief, the plunge base router has a spring base that lets you change the position of the bit while drilling into the wood. It is easy to adjust the blade depth, and you can cut from the center as opposed to starting from the edge. They pose more difficulty for beginners, and they are expensive too, though.
The most advanced routers let you experience the two bases. To get these options, you only need to purchase a wood router with the fixed base and plunge based. The interchangeable best wood router let you switch to a different base. For instance, you can remove the motor from a base and place it to another.
Thus, with the interchangeable bases, you can explore your creativity by perfecting furniture designs. Also, it gives you the advantage of having two types of bases without paying more. Because it is a multipurpose device, the interchangeable base router is far better than the other two.
Best Wood Router Maintenance Tips And Tricks
After you have read the best wood router reviews and taken the tool home, it is time to know how you can keep it functional and durable. Many people have excellent tools at home, but they don’t use them right. If want to take care of your tool, follow the tips below.
- Clean your wood router after use. A decent router is free from dust and dirt that may clog on it and damage it.
- Sawdust is your machine’s number one foe. If it is not well handled, dust can clog and damage your router. So, consider having a dust collector, especially for enclosed tables.
- Resin can damage your router’s bits. In most cases, it concentrates on the bits and causes overheating. So, after using the router, use a toothbrush to wipe off such kind of dirt. If the bits are piloted, you need to detach the bearing and clean them. Solvents are the best router bearings cleaner.
- Check your power cables before you using the router. In most cases, router damages and accidents occur due to faulty power cords.
- Store bits in a spacious place so that they don’t get damaged- they are expensive to replace.
- Of course, you need to sharpen the bits on a regular basis to increase their performance.
- Lubricate all moving parts as indicated in the user’s manual
Now, make the decision
After reading this thorough and honest review on the best wood router, it is time to make your decision. Like every expert will tell you, it is always important to take your time before investing in a workshop equipment. Of course, you need to consult your peers and financial advisors.
Well, we know decision-making can be mind numbing, so, we made it simple for you. Depending on the answers you give to these questions, you will be able to buy the wood router that best fits your needs.
i) What is your budget?
ii) For which purpose or applications do you need a wood router?
iii) How much do you intend to gain? Or, what’s the net profit of selling the furniture you make using the router?
iv) What router design is the best for you?
v) which router to buy woodworking?
Use this guide to get answers to these questions. Then, your decision-making process will be simpler, and more efficient. Of course, there are other questions to answer before making the final decision.
Then, read customer reviews from the Amazon site- these are comments from people who have bought tools from Amazon. There, you will find real stories about the experiences of other woodworkers for using each brand. From there, you will be able to make an intelligent decision and buy the best wood router 2018!
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