To many woodworkers, including beginners, plunge routers are one of the essential working tools they ought to have.
Plunge routers are beneficial when cutting, trimming and finishing off the edges of woods (Source).
Due to this, woodworkers need to consider finding top-rated plunge routers. The best plunge router ought to be overly powerful, have good speeds, durable, and easily adjustable.
What is a Plunge Router?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Plunge Router?
- 2 Comparing The Best Plunge Routers
- 3 1. Dewalt DWP611PK Max Torque Plunge Router – Best Overall Plunge Router
- 4 2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router – Best Heavy Duty Router
- 5 3. Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router – Versatile and Quiet Router
- 6 4. Porter Cable 690LR Plunge Router – Powerful and Efficient Router
- 7 5. Makita RT0701CX7 Plunge Router – Best Plunge Router for the Price
- 8 Features of the Best Plunge Routers
- 9 Most Common Issues People Have with Plunge Routers?
- 10 What to Consider Before Buying a Plunge Router
- 11 Ready To Buy The Best Plunge Router?
Woodworking requires lots of skills, tools, and expertise to be able to craft out projects like a professional. One of the most common woodworking tools is a router. Routers are great for jobs like mortising, carving edge patterns, cutting stopped dados, and so on.
Plunge routers are considered easier to use when making interior cuts when compared to fixed routers. This is because they are designed to move up and down during use, unlike fixed-base routers which stay in one position. When paired with a router table, using a plunge router can be much easier.
Comparing The Best Plunge Routers
|Dewalt DWP611PK Max Torque Plunge Router|
|Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router|
|Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router|
|Porter Cable 690LR Plunge Router|
|Makita RT0701CX7 Plunge Router|
1. Dewalt DWP611PK Max Torque Plunge Router – Best Overall Plunge RouterThe Dewalt DWP611PK Max Torque Plunge Router is a powerful plunge router with great 1.25 HP motor for the toughest applications. Its variable speed control feature enables woodworkers to regulate speed based on its applications.
The router has a soft start feature with full-time electronic feedback which maintains the machine’s motor speed all through its operation. For maximum visibility and easy operations, it also features dual LEDs.
Other intriguing features of the Dewalt DWP611PK Max Torque Plunge Router include:
- An adjustment ring that enables control of bit depth.
- A plunge base with a fine-tune adjustment rod that provides for precise depth setting.
- Multiple shaft-locks for quick and simple bit changes.
- Spring-loaded release tabs for quick and easy base removal.
- A low-pressure but large spindle lock button that provides a comfortable and single wrench bit changes.
- An aluminum housing with base construction which ascertains durability.
- Allowance of a depth travel of 1.5 inches for a standard base and a 2” plunge base depth.
- An extended sub-base that increases the surface contact for enhanced user control.
- An over-molded rubber handle for a comfortable and secure grip
- A motor that can be easily transitioned as the depth ring, and a clamping mechanism which maintains its locked position.
2. Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router – Best Heavy Duty RouterIf you are in the market for a heavy-duty wood router, the Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router is a perfect choice for you. The router comes with sophisticated features including precision bases, variable speed controls, and powerful motors.
Users take advantage of the router’s plunge and fixed bases. These two bases are quite easy to move and take mere seconds to change thanks to its quick clamp systems.
Additionally, this router also comes with a 0.75-inch and 0.5-inch collet and bit shank size which is perhaps ideal for numerous routing operations.
- It delivers a speed ranging between 8000 – 25000 rotations per minute which ascertains this router’s ability to handle diverse tasks.
- Its constant response circuitry monitors and adjusts power to maintain its desired RPM.
- Its soft start feature prevents sudden electrical surges.
Lastly, it boasts a powerful 2.25 HP motor secured with extra durable aluminum housing which allows it to handle even the toughest operations.
3. Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router – Versatile and Quiet RouterThe Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router is an easy to use and comfortable palm router. It is a versatile and perfect for wood cutting, window cutting, chamfering, pattern cutting, trimming and shaping.
Moreover, it is a heavy-duty router with a 2.25 HP variable speed motor. At the same time, it is also quieter than other units of the same caliber.
Additionally, its plunge base is well functional with simple fine depth adjustments and an easy to reach thumb-release lever.
Meanwhile, for utmost precision, this wood router also features a centering gauge with a 16mm and 23mm wrench, and 0.5” and 0.75” collet shanks.
Considering its price tag, the Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router is an overly functional yet versatile tool that delivers hours of quality services. To add on this, manufacturers offer a 5-year warranty as well.
4. Porter Cable 690LR Plunge Router – Powerful and Efficient RouterThe Porter Cable 690LR Plunge Router is a superbly efficient and powerful router delivering up to 27500 RPM for ascertained precise cuts. This router comes with collets that easily fits 0.5” and 0.25” shank bits for added convenience.
With an 11-Amp motor delivering 1.25 HP, users are certain of this machine’s ability to rout out all workshop and home tasks. It delivers constant 27,500 rotations per minute.
Similarly, its fixed base makes it an ideal choice for tasks that require mounting on the routing table. It also has options for plunge and D-handle bases which can be bought separately.
Furthermore, it features a micrometer depth adjustment system for accurate and precise depth judgement. Hence, the system can measure accuracies of up to 1/128 for precise cuts.
Lastly, it comes with a sealed power switch to shield against dust, an aluminum housing for extended durability, over-molded handles for firm grip, and an under-table stop feature.
5. Makita RT0701CX7 Plunge Router – Best Plunge Router for the PriceThe Makita RT0701CX7 Plunge Router is the best compact router that offers great precision as well. With its 1.25 HP and an included plunge base, this hand router targets full range precision routing applications.
The router’s variable speed control feature ranges from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM and provides the users with a variety of speed choices for various applications. The electronic speed control feature maintains the router’s constant speed even under a load.
Similarly, the soft start feature ascertains smooth start-ups while the double insulated aluminum motor housing provides increased durability. Alongside that, its smooth rack and pinion depth adjustment system enables users to read the depth scales easily.
Additional features of this product include the quick release cam lock system, high visibility base system, and a slim and ergonomic design for added convenience.
Features of the Best Plunge Routers
If you want to get a plunge router, it’s important to get things right on your first attempt. That way, you don’t purchase a product which doesn’t end up meeting your needs and expectations.
To help you find the best plunge router possible, it is important to do your homework. Below, we will discuss the most important features and specifications to check out before purchasing a plunge router.
Plenty of Horsepower (HP)
HP is one of the most important specifications to look at right away. After all, you need a model which is powerful enough to handle rough routing work for long periods of time.
For best results, make sure that any model you consider has at least 1.25 HP. This is the bare minimum you should expect without having a toll on quality. For best results, get a model with 2 HP or more.
Electronic Feedback Circuitry (EFC)
If you are concerned with the endurance of your router and need it to stay powered for long periods of time, check to see whether or not the model has electronic feedback circuitry.
Models with EFC are great for boosting the endurance of your router. To do this, the power load is carefully tracked and balanced so that the device doesn’t stop due to a simple power problem.
Different Speed Settings
It’s important to understand that certain plunge routers have only one speed setting, whereas others come with many different speed settings. Any of the best plunge routers will have different speed settings which can be customized while you are using the device.
Comfortable Ergonomic Handle
The handle is important to consider for a tool like a plunge router. Most people will need to use their plunge router for hours at a time. Even if you plan on mounting it on the best router tables, the handle comfort is important to consider.
Make sure that the handle of the device is comfortable and ergonomic. That way, you can use the product for long periods of time without getting uncomfortable. Or, end up with a hand full of blisters and calluses.
Large Enough Collet Diameter
The collet of a plunge router is the part which holds the router bit in place. The typical bit of a plunge router will be anywhere between 0.25 inches to 0.75 inches. Make sure that the model you choose will be able to attach to the routing bits you want to use.
Most Common Issues People Have with Plunge Routers?
- Not Enough Power: Plunge routers have a pretty hefty responsibility. If they don’t have enough power, they may not be able to handle certain tasks. If you don’t keep the HP specifications in mind, you can easily make the common mistake of getting a model which isn’t powerful enough.
- Sudden Stops: Imagine yourself in the middle of your routing job. Everything is working well, but then all of a sudden, the machine turns off. This is a common problem that people face when they get a low-quality plunge router just because of an affordable price tag.
- Makes a Mess: Using a plunge router can sometimes result in a pile of dust for you to clean up. If you don’t look for a model that cleans up dust while you work, you can easily end up regretting your plunge router purchase. Especially when you realize that the best plunge routers will clean up the dust while you work.
What to Consider Before Buying a Plunge Router
There are plenty of variable routers on the market. Therefore, finding the best plunge router can be confusing especially to beginners.
This is why woodworkers should consider several factors before settling on one.
Hence, some of the key features to look for when searching for the best plunge routers are outlined below.
Fixed Base or Plunge Base Router?
Fixed base routers require the user to preset the intended depth of the cut before turning the router on. Simply put, if you intend to cut a depth of 0.75”, the router should be placed in a way that it protrudes 0.75” below past the base. They are generally lightweight and less expensive.
On the other hand, plunge base routers provide the benefit of adjusting the depth of the cut when the router is on. This feature comes in handy when there is a need to make multiple passes. However, the plunge mechanism makes the unit heavy.
For accuracy, plunge base routers have death stops that enable woodworkers to cut appropriate depths as well. These type of routers are best suited to cutting mortises, dados, incised letters, and stopped grooves.
It is impossible to decide between fixed and plunge based routers if you don’t know what you intend to do with it.
Hence, for instance, if you need a router for cutting small edges and sharpening wood edges on a small scale, a trim router is your best choice. They are small enough for convenience, yet powerful enough to handle the task.
On another note, one should consider a router lift if you don’t want to completely remove the router when changing a bit.
Mid-sized routers perform better compared to trim or small sized routers. Therefore, if you are in the market for a router for typical workshop tasks including moderate and large profiling cuts or mortising and dovetailing, a mid-sized router should be your choice.
Similarly, if you need an advanced router with more features such as making repetitive cuttings and deep cutout or mortise, consider one of the plunge routers. They are suitable for extra practical purposes with their handles and motors mounted higher for enhanced plunging motion.
The common rule of the thumb that “bigger is always better” doesn’t apply to routers. This is especially true if you intend to use the machine as a handheld tool instead of placing it on the table.
Go for a router that gives you variable speed options, with each speed suiting different tasks and accuracy. Small bit cuts are achieved by mid to high speeds. Large bits are dialed down by slow speeds for safety purposes.
Electronic Feedback Circuitry
Presence of an electronic feedback circuitry in a machine enables the woodworker to focus on the technique and the cutting progress rather than watching the router. EFC helps in maintaining the durability and efficiency of your plunge router.
Putting this into context, EFC measures the load and balances it with the output torque. This ensures that your machine doesn’t labor or stall when making heavy cuts.
Soft Start Feature
As the name suggests, the soft start feature prevents your machine from blasting up to full speed immediately it is turned on. Without a soft start, be ready for startling noises or incidents such as chucking of the router jerk due to the sudden surge in power.
With a soft start, the plunge router experiences a moment of pause then gently accelerates to the preset speed. Most standard and new routers have this feature.
The other basic plunge router features you ought to look into include the presence of a spindle clock, the size of the motor, and the above the table adjustment feature.
Ready To Buy The Best Plunge Router?
Plunge routers are a must-have for any modern workshop. They are of immense importance in woodcutting, trimming, mortising, and finishing off the edges.
The best wood routers ought to have variable speeds, ergonomic handles, be well-sized and powerful, and be compatible with aftermarket accessories.
Having checked our plunge router review and buying guide above, which is your favorite product? Share with us below!