Best Plunge Router for Newbies and Experts – Model 2019

Best Plunge Router for Newbies and Experts – Model 2019

Best Plunge Router Reviews

9 best plunge router- reviews: #DEWALT DW618PK Router, #Bosch Router 1617EVSPK, #Hitachi KM12VC Fixed/Plunge Base Router, #Triton TRA001 Router, #Makita RP2301FC Router, #PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK Fixed Router, #Black and Decker RP250 Router, #Festool Router 1400 #Makita RD1101 D-Handle Router.

You might think that the best plunge router is a specialty tool that is only used by high-end woodworkers. But in reality, it is also commonly used by hobbyists because of its versatility. Some woodworkers use a router as a drill press for drilling holes. Meanwhile, others use it to put little-beaded details on the edge of the wood. Unlike its brother tool, the fixed-base router, it has a lot more functions. If you intend to buy the plunge router, you have to consider those versatile functions first.

There are a lot of great plunger routers in the market. For those who are not sure which one to buy, we have collected all the helpful product details, reviewed them, and summarized them in this article. We’ve ranked the top 8 plunger routers that you can find in the market based on their power, durability, cutting depth, and ease of use.

Comparison Chart: Best Plunge Router Reviews

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Product Name

Bottom Line

Voltage

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DW618PK

Weight: 21.9 p

Dimensions: 15.9” x 24” x 9.1”

Horsepower: 2.25 h

Volt: 120 v

Kit 1617EVSPK

Weight: 18.2 p

Dimensions: 6.2” x 19.5” x 14.5”

Volt: 120 v

Plunge Base Router Kit

Weight: 9.9 p

Dimensions: 4” x 22.2” x 16”

Volt: 120 v

TRA001

Weight: 13.0 p

Dimensions: 10.2” x 12.9” x 11.4”

Volt:

RP2301FC

Weight: 14.0 p

Dimensions: 13” x 9.1” x 12.6”

Volt: 120 v

693LRPK

Weight: 21.1 p

Dimensions: 20.3” x 7” x 17.5”

Volt: 120 v

RP250

Weight: 9.9 p

Dimensions: 11.5” x 6.6” x 11.9”

Volt: 120 v

574692

Weight: 18 p

Dimensions: 15.5” x 12.5” x 12.5”

Volt: 120 v

Makita RD1101 2-1/4-Horsepower D-Handle Router

Weight: 7.9 p

Dimensions: 12" x 6" x 9.5”

Volt: 115 v

9 Best Plunge Routers Reviewed

While CNC router works with computer-generated programming, plunge router work with an electric motor on the router table. Professional wood turner or even beginners can handle them on the table without any hassle. What most people use in today's market, we tried to focus on them. So, before you go, let's have a look at them.

1. DEWALT DW618PK Router

The Dewalt DW618PK is known for its mid-range router speed combined with power. Because it’s easy to use, it can be perfect for both the professional and the novice.

best plunge router

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When it comes to power, the Dewalt DW618PK’s 2.25 peak HP motor can carry out several tasks.  It has a tool-free steel motor cam lock that makes depth adjustment is easy and base changes quick. There is also a start feature that allows you to minimize the torque. It will reduce the load on the electrical current surge and power-train during the startup.

Speed and the Controlling system

This router can go from 8,000 RPM to 24,000 RPM. You can adjust the speed according to the type of project you’re doing by turning the variable speed dial. The speed control allows you to maintain speed under the load, thus avoiding burning and twisting. You can use the 8,000 RPM range with cutters and diameter bits. Meanwhile, you can use 24,000 RPM with laminates, plastics, and softwoods.

This router has a depth adjustment ring that can provide an accurate depth of 1/64-inch increment. It also comes with 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets for better functions. These collets serve as the steel sleeve holding the router bit. They also work with the router shaft to tighten down the collet nut.

Accuracy Level

The cutting depth of Dewalt DW618PK is top class. It has 360 micro fine adjustment ring that can control changes in bit depth. With this, you can cut up to 1.5”, allowing for smooth and secure operations.

Other features of this tool include the dust-sealed switch. This allows you to collect up to 95% of the dust so that you’ll have superior visibility. It also comes with rubber over-molded handles that give the best comfort, balance, and control. The router motor has a cut-out channel which makes it easier for you to line up with the locking needles.

Market demands for Dewalt

Dewalt's products are said to be the top quality because of the features it offers, and Dewalt DW618PK is not an exception. The operation on the plunge base is even and facile, which makes it one of the best plunge routers. Despite the solid quality of the router, the tool is handy and comfortable to use.

On the downside, we can still find challenges in using this router. For example, the dust collection system is a bit weaker compared to other tools in the market. Some of its parts can easily be detached. This can be an advantage and a disadvantage. The product also does not come with a centering tool, so it’s hard to precisely center holding collets.

Pros​​​​​​​​​​

  • Adjustable speed and power
  • Ergonomic grips
  • Has powerful tool-free steel motor
  • Lexan sub-base for enhanced durability
  • Convenient toggle switch

Cons

  • Does not come with a centering tool
  • Easy to overheat

Verdict

The basic features of the Dewalt DW618PK make it easy to use for beginners. However, the added advanced features also make it perfect for professionals. Its cam motor housing, collets, and sub-base improve its overall performance. However, like other plunge routers, it has its own problems. If can overlook them, then this router is for you.


2. Bosch Router 1617EVSPK

Bosch Router 1617EVSPK is a superb package deal with a stable base wood router. This router has a rugged design and is made from aluminum. So there is no question about its durability. Though it is usually used in mid-size range projects, it can handle almost any workload.

Bosch 12 Amp

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Also read: review on cheap woodworking tools

Power Generating System

This powerful router comes with a 2.25 horsepower motor. It uses an AC electric motor. So, you can reduce the powertrain load and electrical current surge during a startup. The soft start feature also reduces the torque on the motor. The plunge router is not exhausting for you.

Its versatile speed ranges from 8,000 RPM to 25,000 RPM with six different speed settings. Settings 1 to 3 can be used with cutters, nonferrous metals, and diameter bits while settings 4 to 6 can be used on laminates, plastics, and softwoods.

If you will check its dimensions, the range of its collet bit size is 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and 8 millimeters. Because you can change the collet sizes, you can install the router on the table and adjust it whenever you need.

Soft-grip Handle and accurate cuts

Bosch Router 1617EVSPK comes with a soft-grip handle, and because of its built-in constant response circuitry, you can maintain a fixed speed throughout the cut. The tool’s cutting depth adjustment system comes with re-settable indicators, so you can choose microfine or coarse bit depth. The microfine plunge depth allows for superior routing accuracy.

With these kinds of features, it is no wonder why Bosch Router 1617EVSPK makes one of the best plunge routers in the market. However, you may complain about the lack of the spindle lock, especially if you are not comfortable using two wrenches. There are also complaints about the weakness of the screws, causing the c-ring to break or fail. The release clamp can be too tight, scratching the motor when you change the bases.

Pros

  • Variable-Speed motor with soft start
  • Self-releasing collet chuck
  • Removable chip shield
  • Motor alignment arrows
  • Accurate Fixed and Plunge Base Cuts
  • Rugged Design for Increased Durability

Cons

  • Weak screws
  • Lack of spindle lock
  • Tight release clamp
  • Difficult changing of bases

Verdict

Bosch Router 1617EVSPK is a good tool to use for intermediate and advance woodworking enthusiasts. You can install it on a router table to perform a wider range of jobs. It’s not only a good plunge router because of its horsepower but also because it is designed to allow depth adjustment. Though it does have some problems with its construction, these do not outweigh the router’s great features.


3. Hitachi KM12VC

Hitachi is well-known for its high-quality power tools and their durability. Hitachi KM12VC plunge router is one of the best product of this brand for wood-turning.

Hitachi KM12VC

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What makes this router different than the rest?

This product has a noise level of 79.7 decibels, which is well-suited for noiseless operations. It also operates with less vibration. The product is built with a motor of 11 Amp with 2-1/4 peak horsepower. It has a 2-stage motor release clamp and an electronic speed control. It means it can operate control cuts every time. You can make load transitions without any trouble. The router starts smooth and handles any projects with ease.

Hitachi KM12VC has nickel-plated housing. It is three times heavier than the palm routers. However, it can handle heavy operations on harder woods. You can use it if you have projects that involve fine groove cutting, chamfering, window cutting, trimming, shaping, and pattern cutting.

Depth Adjustment and Accuracy

This router is a recommended tool for its versatility. It has depth adjustments that are easy to operate. The thumb-release lever can be easily reached while you are using the tool. It can accept 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch bits. The handles are ergonomically designed so that they promote better control and accuracy.

A bit of discomfort!

However, the router has a problem with balance. The plunge base is narrow and the motor is in the higher position compared to other models. The collet is too far from the plunge base. So some bits might not sit properly in the collet. Unconscious attempts might risk the damage. Again, the adjustment knobs are too greasy. The grease does allow for smoother operation, but it can make you uncomfortable.

Other things are great! Some excellent kits are a centering gauge, ½ and ¼ collet chucks, 16 mm and 23mm wrenches, template guide adapter, and sub-base plate.

Pros

  • Powerful yet quiet motor
  • A 2-Stage motor-release clamp
  • Designed for both comfortable and portable benefits
  • No battery needed

Cons

  • Unstable plunge base
  • Unbalanced design
  • Greasy adjustment knobs

Verdict

Hitachi KM12VC is an aesthetically attractive tool that is both versatile and functional. You can use it for any of your projects. Unlike any other models, you might need some time to get used to running it. Though it has some cons, considering other features you will definitely find this as the best plunge router in the market.


4. Triton TRA001 Router

Triton TRA001 Router looks heavy and big as it is. It weighs 13 pounds, and this can be attributed to its durable design. Only high-quality materials and engineering are used in the construction of this plunge router. It is made from durable and high-grade steel. So it’s sturdy and performs heavy-duty operations.

Triton TRA001

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Powerful and Accurate

With a 3.25 HP motor, Triton plunge router is incredibly powerful. The blade can rotate from a speed of 8000 RPM to 21000 RPM. With this power, there are only a few projects that it can’t handle. The complex job requires precisions. Triton TRA001 Router also comes with multi-function fences. This allows you more control over accurate cuts. If you have the skills, you can even make tiny cuts also.

The top selling points of the router include its automatic spindle lock. This makes complex tasks simpler. It will also keep things in place while you are changing the tip. The control is great, especially if you are working with softwood. Depending on your skills, you can also work with hardwood.

Easy Controlling System

Aside from the automatic spindle lock, Triton TRA001 Router also has a micro winder and a single button switch. The micro winder allows you to make depth adjustments. You can also adjust the speed depending on the cut you’re going to make. The side air vents can reduce dust ingestion.

If you are particular about your safety when working on a project, then you’ll be happy to know that this plunge router has a safety switch shutter lock. This blocks the motor while you are changing the modes. The air vents also act as a motor protector against debris.

Thought the safety switch shutter lock has its advantages, it may also get in the way when you use the plunge router. Adjusting the router’s height can also be tricky. You can get used to the lock-in time, but if you're a first-time user, you might struggle a bit. Its weight might also affect your control.

For expert and professional woodworkers, Triton TRA001 Router is a best fit and profitable. I'll highly recommend this to them.

Pros

  • Well-suited for heavy duty woodworking
  • Powerful and durable
  • Automatic spindle lock
  • Smooth starting
  • Safety switch shutter lock for safe usage

Cons

  • Heavy and big
  • Not for light routing
  • Safety switch shutter lock can get in the way

Also Read: Bosch Ra1171 Review

Verdict

The Triton TRA001 Router can allow you to make precise cuts, so you can use it for complex projects. It has great features which you can’t find in any other plunge routers. It works best for people who do lots of table works and plunging.


5. Makita RP2301FC Router

This full-size plunge router may be big and heavy, but it offers superior performance. Makita RP2301FC is a trusted power tool packed with great features.

Makita RP2301FC

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This tool has a powerful motor of 15 Amp with 3.25 horsepower. The power tool can perform for any heavy-duty tasks with ease. You can also apply it to the hardest materials without risk.

Speed Control for accurate cuts

When it comes to speed control, Makita RP2301FC can range from 9,000 RPM to 22,000 RPM. This is a safe speed range for 1-inch to 3.5-inch bits. The router will not run at the chosen speed right away from its activation period. It will start at a lower speed then slowly accelerate. The soft start can ease difficult cuts without ruining your materials.

Makita RP2301FC weighs 14 pounds. It has an electric brake for better safety and linear ball bearings for smooth plunge action.

As an additional control system, it comes with a two finger switch. It has a lock-on trigger and LED lights that make it easy to operate. The router also comes with a shaft lock for quick and easy bit changes.

Knowledgebase

On the downside, the replacement parts of Makita RP2301FC can be difficult to find. And when you do find them, they can be expensive. This tool does not have a dust collector, so dust and other particles can enter the motor.

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • LED lights for better visibility
  • Spindle lock for convenient changing of bits
  • Easy to control

Cons

  • No dust collector
  • Replacement parts difficult to find

Verdict

The Makita RP2301FC can efficiently plunge through tough materials. Thus, this router can be perfect for industrial work. You can use it in making windows, doors, cabinets, and more. Despite its being heavy in weight, it is easy to control.


6. PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK

PORTER-CABLE has not updated their design for plunge routers for a long time. In fact, PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK looks the same as the 690 model. The reason for this is that the design still works. So, why change?

PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK

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What makes PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK different from the older models is that it has a better handle for a more comfortable use. This router has an 11 AMP motor with 1 3/4 peak horsepower and 27,500 RPM single speed motor. This may be less powerful and versatile compared to other routers in this list, but it can still perform a number of projects.

Accurate cuts in the right depth

Adjusting the depth can be easy with the micro adjustment system and fix base cam level. You can lock the router into place in a snap. Once the depth is set, you no longer need to worry about moving around at the time of working on it.

PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK also has 6 adjustable turret positions. This will allow you to work for precise and easy cuts. Its micrometer depth adjuster maintains precision up to 1/128 of an inch. This plunge router weighs 21.1 pounds and is made from machined aluminum. Machined aluminum is a kind of material that is lightweight yet strong.

The power switch has a dust cover to protect it. For your safety, the line of sight is also guarded with plastic.

Pros

  • High-performance start-up motor
  • Adjustable turret positions for flexibility
  • An easy micro-adjustment system

Cons

  • No variable speed dial

Verdict

Though there are more powerful plunge routers in the market, PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK can compete in terms of ease of control, set up, and use. It’s a great tool for entry and mid-size jobs.


7. Black and Decker RP250 Router

The Black and Decker RP250 is considered to be an entry level plunge router. In terms of power, it’s weaker than your average router. However, it’s still strong enough to drive the bits you install.

Black & Decker RP250

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So what’s the edge of this plunge router compared to other products in the market? First of all, it has one of the smoothest plunge action. Its spring resistance is the same from start to the lowest point.

Variable Speed Detector

The plunge range of Black and Decker RP250 is great. It can give up to 2 inches of cutting depth. It has variable speed selector, allowing you to choose from 8,000 RPM to 27,000 RPM. This adds a level of sophistication to this tool. It also comes with a powerful motor of 10 amp.  Unlike other plunge routers at the same price range, the Black and Decker RP250 can produce quality work compared to more expensive tools.

The plunge base, main body, and support column of the router are all made of metal. Thus, you can’t question its durability.

However, there might have some miniature mistakes with the design of the plunge router itself. For one, the opening of the base plate, which is over 1 inch in diameter, goes over the opening limit of the bit size you can install in the router. The plunge lock lever is not loaded with spring. You must pull on it if you want to lock the router. You might think that this is not too bad, but the lever is positioned far from where the handle.

Pros

  • Variable speed selector
  • Sturdy base and durable construction
  • Powerful motor

Cons

  • Can't make a straight cut
  • Not so productive design

Verdict

Despite its many failures in design, we added Black and Decker RP250 in this list because it performs almost in the same level as the other top listed plunger routers in the market. It has a powerful motor, a sturdy frame, and a reliable plunge mechanism. It is perfect for beginners who are looking for the best cheap plunger router.


8. Festool Router 1400

There are only a few reviews for Festool tools, which we find unfortunate as they do offer quality products. Though they can be expensive, the price is reasonable for the value they add to your job. For instance, Festool 574692 OF 1400 EQ Router is smoother compared to a lot of plunge routers in the market.

Festool 574692

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This tool has 1400 watt power and can perform up to 2.3 horsepower. You can use it to cut through hickory, oak, beech, and other hardwood. This is more than any handheld router can do. The power switch is conveniently positioned on the main handle. The locking switch allows you to maintain the power without keeping the trigger depressed. This will significantly lengthen the lifespan of the router.

When you use the Festool 574692 OF 1400 EQ Router, you’ll be surprised at how comfortable it is to grip. The handles are ergonomically designed, so you can use the router for long periods with a good level of control.

The best feature in Festool 574692 OF 1400 EQ Router may be its spindle brake. This allows you to stop the bit in a matter of seconds. It is time-efficient as you can finish tasks more quickly. It also gives you extra safety assurance. Pair this feature with a chip deflector, and you can work with both curves and corners.

This router is customized with MFS multi-routing templates, an FS Guide Rail system, and a wide range of other accessories.

Pros

  • HEPA-certified
  • Offers good user control
  • Spindle brake for quick and safe bit stops

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Limited visibility because of the plastic protector

Verdict

Festool 574692 OF 1400 EQ Router is powerful that’s perfect for mid-range and heavy jobs. Its ergonomic design has addressed several issues with the standard plunge router. The accessories included in the set are also a plus. Overall, it’s a high-quality plunge router.


9. Makita RD1101 2-1/4-Horsepower Variable Speed D-Handle Router

Finally, I got fed up working with heavy torque router and decided to find one that has a soft startup feature, and run under the controlled vibration. Makita RD1101 D-handle router with ball bearing mechanism has just reached to my hand to get me into its complete satisfaction. 

Makita RD1101 Variable Speed Router

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Makita RD1101 comes with a D-handle design which is different from any other models, and people find it's easier to control even at the constant speed. 

The soft-start feature offers the ease of control with electronic speed control mechanism under load. The high-speed electric motor produces the highest levels of speed up to 8000 to 24000 rpm. Users can easily match the speed levels to the application with the soft-start variable speed control dial. 

Additionally, it introduces cam-lock for faster depth adjustment, and the sub-base allows standard template guides, which means you are now free of tension when it happens to reset up with the template guides. 

It comes with a powerful 11.0 amp motor and rugged aluminum motor housing and produces the highest level of speed at a controlled and lower vibration. So, it's the quietest at all. 

One downfall is that while most other routers include micro-adjuster to ensure 100% accuracy, it lacks that. 

Pros

  • Powerful motor with 11.0 amp
  • Industry standard template guides
  • Low vibration and less sounding
  • Variable speed and a soft-start feature
  • Aluminum housing 

Cons

  • Lack of micro-adjustment system 

Verdict

The piece of router kit is the best option for the beginners and the hobbyists who are passionate about working with a handheld router. The speed it generates along with some components is sufficient enough to satisfy any woodworking expert in the workshop. 


Final Thoughts

A woodcutter needs a powerful tool to get the job done with ease and precision. Each plunge router has its advantages and disadvantages. The best plunge router means is not a kind that each and every feature will be similar to the things you need. One or two features may go your disfavor but other things will be the awesome pieces. 

So, consider the task you have at hand. Also, try to list down the most important features that you need to accomplish the job. Your choice will largely depend on how you plan to use the tool. 


Richard K. Christensen
 

As a hobbyist, I love DIY and want woodworking life better. I took writing as a profession and never looked back.

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