To find the best plunge router, you have to decide what’s going to be most fitting in your work environment. Some people have a massive workshop with multiple benches to use, while others might be working out of a small garage. This, along with plenty of other variables, will help determine with plunge router you should pick out of the list below.
You should also consider how often you’ll be using it, the cuts you’ll be making, and which convenience features are the most important to you.
This, along with plenty of other variables, will help determine with plunge router you should pick out of the list below. You should also consider how often you’ll be using it, the cuts you’ll be making, and which convenience features are the most important to you.
Our Top Pick:
Plunge routers are fantastic for cutting out stunning pictures into wood, crafting elegant frames, creating shelves and drawers, and numerous other applications. Certain plunge routers can double as fixed routers, while others only have the ability to ‘plunge’. This ‘plunging’ action basically refers to the bit raising and lowering into the wood, making it easy for you to begin your cut anywhere you need to without starting from the edge.
When you’re ready to get the best plunge router for your woodworking setup, check out the selection here!
8 Best Plunge Routers – Reviews:
1. DEWALT DW625 Variable Speed Electronic Plunge Router – Our Top Pick
DEWALT is known for producing all sorts of high-end tools that everyone would love to add to their collection. In this case, the DEWALT DW625 Variable Speed Electronic Plunge Router is the top choice for many woodworkers. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or if you know the ropes of using a router, this is a perfect selection.
The 3HP motor on this plunge router gives it quite a bit of power. The result is a fast, accurate, and smooth cut. Another feature that attributes to the smooth cutting is the fact that it comes with a solid bit. You can adjust the speed to your needs, increasing accuracy or letting your cruise right through the project in minutes.
Weighing in at only 11.2 pounds, this lightweight plunge router is fairly easy to control. The widened grips let you get a good handle on the machine without getting your hands too close to the action. The aforementioned adjustable speed ranges from 8,000 RPM to 22,000 RPM depending on your project’s needs.
- Made by a well-trusted, high-quality brand
- Super lightweight when compared to other plunge routers on the market
- Adjustable speed ranging from 8,000 to 22,000 RPM
2. Makita Plunge Router with Electric Brake
Next up on the list is the Makita Plunge Router w/ Electric Brake. This system is top-notch due to the numerous features that make the job much easier for you. For starters, the namesake electric brake helps you stop the cut without having to worry about lifting it when the bit is still moving. This saves you time, money from possible breakages, and it gives you peace of mind.
One of the best features of this plunge router is the built-in LED light. This light guides your work, letting you see wherever you cut regardless of the time of day. We’ve all had issues missing a cut or forgetting to bring along a headlight, which is where this LED light comes in handy. There’s actually one light on both sides of the bit.
The handles are gripped to give you better control over the process. Guide wherever you need to go with each side in hand and use the locking trigger to keep it going until you’re ready to hit the electric brake. You can easily adjust the bit size, cut depth, and more all within a few seconds of work.
- Comes with an electric brake for quick stopping
- Includes two LED lights to guide your cuts
- Uses a locking trigger to keep your work moving
3. Triton TRA001 Precision
Not all plunge routers are the same. In fact, this one is quite different from the rest of the pack. The Triton TRA001 Precision Plunge Router has an incredibly unique feature that allows you to adjust it back and forth between fixed or plunge. This lets you get the exact cut whenever you need it for all types of projects.
The rounded handles used on this multi-purpose router are ergonomic, which gives you the best level of handling that you could ask for. They’re raised far off the center of the tool to keep your hands from getting hit by debris, though it’s always recommended that you wear safety gloves when using any machinery.
Another great feature is the side vent that you’ll find on both sides of the router. These vents let debris and wood chips fly out away from the motor instead of getting caught up. You’ll notice that the vents help increase the overall lifespan and functionality of the plunge router by quite a few years.
- Comes with rounded ergonomic handles
- You can change it between fixed and plunge style
- Uses side vents to rid itself of debris and wood chips
4. Bosch 120-Volt 2.3 HP
You don’t always need insanely high amounts of power to get the perfect project completed. For those who are looking for a medium-range plunge router, this is definitely going to be high on your list. The Bosch 120-Volt 2.3 HP Electronic Plunge Base Router has a variable speed motor that can adjust from 10,000 to 25,000 RPM.
The semi-cushioned grips give you a nice and easy guide to make your cuts without getting blisters or bruises. Other routers seem to jolt and move about, but the smooth gliding bit helps you reduce the amount of movement while you’re using it. The solid base provides an unbeatable foundation as well.
Much like one of the previous entries on the list, this plunge router by Bosch has an LED light. However, this LED light is always on, which gives you a non-stop illuminated area to get your work finished. You can easily adjust the depth of the cut in seconds, lock it in place, and get to creating a masterpiece right when you want to.
- Made by a well-known brand in the tool industry
- Comes with an always-on LED light to illuminate the work area
- Adjustable RPM to give you the exact speed and motion that you need
5. DEWALT DW621 2-Horsepower
Another great DEWALT plunge router is the DEWALT DW621 2-HP Plunge Router. This router is quite literally built from top to bottom to ensure a longer lifespan before it runs out. There’s even a massive vent pipe that shoots excess debris out of the router, preventing it from building up inside and clogging the motor.
The ergonomic circular handles are very similar to the Triton model earlier in the list. They’re perfect for gripping and moving the router around without slipping out of your hands. There’s also a trigger right on one of the handles which is essential for quick cuts. This trigger makes it easier to stop right when you need to instead of having to move your hands elsewhere.
The adjustable motor lets you switch speeds between 8,000 through 24,000 RPM, making it one of the broadest ranges on the market. Whether you’re cutting out a wooden frame design or a simple notch in the side of a dresser drawer, you’ll have the right tool and RPM for the job whenever you need it.
- Comes with two circular handles and an on/off trigger
- Vents all excess debris out of the motor
- Solid base to prevent slipping and cracking
6. Makita RP0900K 1-1/4 Horsepower
For beginner woodworkers or people who only need a few simple cuts here and there, the Makita RP0900K 1-1/4 HP Plunge Router is the most budget-friendly choice on the list. Its low price tag is made even better by the efficiently of the two bits that are included with the purchase, as well as the solid base.
At a steady 27,000 RPM, this plunge router has an incredibly smooth, high-power motion for such a small motor. The good news about it being a smaller motor than the other entries on the list is that it won’t use nearly as much electricity. Speaking of which, the electrical cord is placed on the top of the tool to prevent it from getting in your way.
There’s also an external tube that vacuums out any extra debris caused by the cuts. Using a router tends to create small wood chips and dust that builds up in a motor. However, you won’t have to worry about any of that, nor will you have to worry about wood dust getting all over your hands and eyes as much.
- Uses a 1.25 HP motor for low-cost electricity
- Includes a vacuum vent to remove extra wood dust and debris
- Soft handles that help with a smooth cut
7. PORTER-CABLE 2.25HP
PORTER-CABLE is one of the leading tool companies, especially across the internet. They always make high-end products that usually come with a budget-friendly price range. The PORTER-CABLE 2.25HP Plunge Router is a durable, long-lasting router that woodworkers of all experience levels should consider adding to their collection.
Since it’s a variable speed router, you can adjust the RPM from 10,000 all the way up to 23,000. This gives you a wide range of choices, which is perfect for people who do all sorts of different projects. The low-sitting handles are soft, ergonomic, and great for those who like to get up close and personal with their work.
These plunge routers by PORTER-CABLE are also nice because there are numerous accessories that attach to them. You can use quite a few guides, straight edges, collets, and so on. They even have recommendations to find exactly what you need to get the job done. As with all tools made by this company, this plunge router is made with tough materials.
- Variable speed range of RPM from 10,000 to 23,000
- Adapted to all sorts of guides and additional tools
- Low-sitting handles to make the cuts even easier
8. Trend T4EK Plunge-Base Router – Best for the Money
If you don’t want to break the bank and you’re looking for a plunge router that you’ll use a couple of times a year, then this is your best bet. The Trend T4EK Plunge-Base Router costs a fraction of most other plunge routers and it’s super lightweight as well. Weighing in at just under 12 pounds, you won’t have to lug it around at all.
The variable-speed motor adjusts whenever you need it in order to make the perfect cuts. For such a low price tag, it’s no wonder that so many customers are running to get their hands on one of these. You can lock it in place, follow the guided base, adjust or change the bit, and so much more whenever you feel like it.
With rounded knobs on both sides of the router base, you can make precise cuts in a matter of seconds. The aforementioned lightweight nature of this plunge router puts the control back into your hands. It’s incredibly easy to move around and you don’t have to worry about the bit slipping out of place in the middle of a project.
- Comes with a variable speed motor to adjust for the job
- Uses rounded knobs for quick and easy handling
- Ultra-lightweight in comparison to other plunge routers on the market
FAQ’s and Tips for a New Plunge Router
When you start looking around for the best plunge router that you can get your hands on, it might seem like there are far too many options. Should you just grab the cheapest one? Or does a low cost mean they’re terrible? Don’t worry about having too many concerns, you’re not alone! In this section you’re going to learn everything you need to know before you buy your next plunge router, so stay tuned and find all of the answers here.
What is the difference between a plunge router and a fixed router?
There are several differences between plunge routers and fixed routers. Although they’re both incredibly useful for woodworkers throughout the years, you might only need one or the other. In fact, many beginner woodworkers find that plunge routers are far more useful in daily life due to the fact that they can cut into wood at any point, not just the edge.
Fixed routers have a bit that stays at one depth point. You can adjust the depth with knobs, dials, and so on depending on which type of fixed router you’re using. Once you’ve set the desired depth, the router bit stays wherever you locked it. You can then proceed with the cutting on a stagnant surface for the best results. Using guides and straight edges can help you optimize results. If you’re looking to round corners, cut out edges, or narrow down a piece of wood, then fixed routers are a good choice.
On the other hand, plunge routers work with a bit that goes up and down while it moves. This subtle change in motion from stagnant to a raising and lowering motion lets you start the cut wherever you’d like. This means that you can create hollowed-out wood cuts from any point that you see fit. For this reason, many woodworkers prefer plunge routers over fixed routers. While trimming edges might be a little bit more difficult for plunge routers, many of them can double as fixed routers. You’ll even notice a couple of choices on the list above that work as both types.
Can a plunge router be used in a table?
Plunge routers can absolutely be used in a table. The only difference between using a plunge router in a table and using a fixed router is that you can to control the movement a little bit more. Always make sure that you’re using clamps and various other security measures to lock everything in place. You should also wear the proper safety equipment when using any type of router or other woodworking tools. This includes eyewear, gloves, shirts, and even jackets if wood chips are flying everywhere.
How much horsepower should a plunge router have?
The required horsepower for a plunge router depends on the work you’ll be using it for. Higher horsepower means you’ll be using a little bit more electricity, but it also translates to a quicker cut. It’s far more powerful, hence the name. Don’t be deceived though. You can make very smooth cuts with a low horsepower motor on a plunge router. All you have to do is go slow and let the tool guide you easily through the process.
To answer the question more directly, the horsepower of a plunge router should be higher if you want to use it on a tough material. Deep cuts into hardened woods should use a high horsepower, whereas low indentations can be fine with a low horsepower. If you only use the plunge router a few times a year, you shouldn’t have any issues with using either of them. Figure out the type of wood, the depth of the cut you need, and how often you’ll be using it to determine how much horsepower you require. The range generally goes from 1.25 HP to 3.5 HP.
How do you make a plunge router last longer?
You can look through dozens of plunge router reviews, but it seems like most of them don’t mention how to keep your tools around for a long time. If you treat them right, these tools can last over a decade. On the other hand, poor usage and bad maintenance can lead to a short lifespan. In order to keep your plunge router from rusting out, you should make sure that there isn’t any water on it at all times.
Other considerations to help your plunge router last longer include wiping it down after every use to remove debris, changing out bits so they don’t wear down too quickly, and inspecting it regularly for any signs of wear and tear. While many of the routers on this list have vents or vacuums to remove wood chips and dust, some of them do not. It’s not a bad idea to have a fan going by the cut when you’re working. This can prevent the debris from building up inside of the motor. When it’s time to replace the motor, you might as well buy a new router.
Don’t forget to follow traditional safety guidelines as well. It’s definitely going to save you from unnecessary injuries, but it can also prevent damage to your power tools. For example, many beginners find themselves cutting right through the power cord of the exact tool that they’re using. It might seem unbelievable, but it’s much more common than you think. Clear up the workspace and stay on top of every motion to save yourself money, time, and headaches from an otherwise exciting experience.
How do you change a plunge router’s carving pattern?
Plunge routers provide a simple way to carve beautiful patterns into wooden surfaces. You might be using it for practical purposes like making divots to slide in drawers, doors, and cubbies, but they can also be used for artistic purposes. If you’re new to using a plunge router, then this is something that’s essential to getting the results you’re working for.
Changing up the carving pattern is as easy as changing out the bit. Certain bits are wide and rounded, while others are short and square-shaped. They can be used to cut out hollow bowl shapes, 90-degree corners, and much more. When you map out a project, try to figure out all of the bits you’ll need before starting the first cut. Keep in mind that you can save yourself some time by buying wider bits instead of doubling over with a narrow bit. Having multiples of each drill bit is a good idea too since it’ll save your project if one of them brakes or gets dull.
Lastly, you should find out if your plunge router has the ability to change to a fixed router when you need it to. This can save you money instead of buying both types of routers. You can round off or shave the corners and edges or make a straight cut right through the center. Having this double-style router will help you create the best carving patterns around.
If you want to test out a pattern before you cut the main piece that you’ll be working with, buy a few extra pieces of scrap wood. 2 x 4’s and other extra pieces of wood lying around will let you carve out a quick piece, similar to an artist who sketches their drawing before starting on canvas. While it’s not necessary, it’ll save you from making mistakes in the long run.
What is a plunge router base?
A plunge router base is simply the part of a router that makes it, well, a ‘plunge’ router. There are two types of bases: Plunge and fixed. The differences are listed at the beginning of this section. Many people get confused about what a base is with routers, but it’s just the piece that turns it into a plunge or fixed router. Some routers let you change the bases to have both styles, and you’ll even find a kit with everything you need occasionally. Always research the kits though, as they can cut corners to reduce prices. You don’t want to end up with a cheap, broken router simply to save a few bucks!
The base of a router can also refer to the actual bottom surface that comes in contact with the wood. Many of these bases are made out of solid steel, aluminum, or cast iron. You should try to get a base that smoothly glides along the surface. To help your cut be as good as it can possibly be, consider sanding the wood down a little bit before using the plunge router. All of the bottom bases on the plunge routers listed above are perfect for gliding right over the surface as you need it to.
What is a plunge router trigger?
A plunge router trigger is found on some of the handles of certain models. This trigger lets you hold the handle or knob will squeezing it to activate the router. Some routers come with an on/off switch at a different part of the tool. Many people prefer triggers on a plunge router because it keeps the switch right at your hands, kind of like a brake is positioned on the handlebars of a bicycle. With the power right at your fingertips, you don’t have to worry about holding the router down to find the on/off switch elsewhere on the machine.
While it might seem like trigger handles are the only way to go, there are a couple of benefits to the traditional on/off switch. For example, some people bump the trigger on accident while moving the router. This can turn it off, which leads to a jagged edge and frustration if not anything else. Having a dedicated on/off switch is also convenient at times because it frees up space on the handles to give you a better grip without having to worry about bumping the trigger.
Ultimately the choice is yours. If you’re used to using a trigger right on the handle, then that’s the way to go. Otherwise, a traditional on/off switch shouldn’t be something that you pass up too quickly.
When should you consider a variable speed plunge router?
Variable speed basically refers to the ability to adjust the RPM on a motor. While this is applicable to virtually any motor in the tool industry, plunge routers are excellent hosts for variable speed motors. Changing the speed lets you get quicker cuts, smoother cuts, and easier guidance for people who aren’t as professional with their woodworking skills. Finding that happy medium with RPM is likely to give you the desired results.
However, variable-speed motors aren’t always necessary with plunge routers. The best plunge routers that are single-speed often have more power since you won’t be constantly putting pressure on it to change. Higher power might cost slightly more on the next electricity bill, but it’ll certainly let you cut much deeper.
On the other hand, if you have problems making accurate, precise cuts, then variable speed should be on your requirements list. Being able to reduce the speed down to 8,000 to 10,000 RPM will slow down the process, which helps you follow guidelines and straight edges while you get used to using a plunge router. When you’re ready to step up your skill level, try increasing it gradually to the max level eventually. Many of the routers on the list above go all the way to up to 23,000 and even 24,000 RPM.
The main thing that you want to remember is that higher RPM isn’t always better. Having the ability to utilize a variable speed motor is an unbeatable feature, but it isn’t entirely necessary. However, beginners will find it easier, and experts would love the range of possibilities.
What does a woodworking router do?
If you’re new to woodworking and you’re trying to figure out the overall purpose of owning a router, you’re in the right place. Routers are designed mostly for aesthetic appeal. They let you carve designs into wood, which improve the value and appearance of the piece. Certain routers can cut into other materials like hardened plastic to give it multiple purposes. Either way, they’re a great way for changing the look of a piece of art.
That being said, routers are definitely not limited to artistic designs. They’re also essential in crafting certain pieces of furniture. These items include dressers, certain doors, tables, cabinets, bed frames, headboards, and tons of other projects. Once you start using a router, you’ll understand that the possibilities are endless. Anyone who’s considering starting up a woodworking hobby or career will eventually have to use a router.