To many woodworkers, including beginners, plunge routers make up some of the most essential working tools they ought to have.
Plunge routers are versatile tools that comes in handy in many woodworking activities around the workshop. Plunge routers are beneficial when cutting, trimming and finishing off the edges of woods.
Due to this importance, finding a top rated plunge router shouldn’t be an option for woodworkers. The best plunge router ought to be overly powerful, have good speeds, durable and easily adjustable.
Having looked at the various models, our extensive plunge router review below will help you easily find the most efficient plunge router on the market.
Best Plunge Routers 2018
|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, variable speed 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’s soft start feature with full-time electronic feedback, which maintains the machine’s motor speed all through its operation. For maximum visibility, the router features dual LEDs for easy operations.
Other intriguing features of the Dewalt DWP611PK Max Torque Plunge Router include:
- Features an adjustment ring that enables control of bit depth.
- The plunge base features a fine-tune adjustment rod that provides for precise depth setting
- Multiple shaft-lock for quick and simple bit changes
- Spring-loaded release tabs allow for quick and easy base removal
- The low-pressure but large spindle lock button provides a comfortable and single wrench bit changes
- The router’s aluminum housing with base construction ascertains durability
- It allows depth travel of 1.5 inches for a standard base and a 2” plunge base depth
- The router’s extended sub-base increases the surface contact for enhanced user control.
- Features an over-molded rubber handle for a comfortable and secure grip
- Its motor can be easily transitioned as the depth ring, and clamping mechanism 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 among other advanced features.
Users take advantage of the router’s plunge and fixed bases. These two bases are quite easy to move and take seconds to change, thanks to its quick clamp systems. The router also comes with 0.75-inch and the 0.5-inch collet and bit shank size, perhaps ideal for numerous routing operations.
Like other high-end models, the variable speed feature can’t miss. It delivers a speed ranging between 8000 – 25000 rotations per minute. This ascertains this router’s ability to handle diverse tasks. Besides, the machine’s constant response circuitry monitors and adjusts power to maintain its desired RPM as well as consistency.
The soft start feature plays a crucial role in preventing sudden electrical surges as well as provides for a soft start-up. This helps the Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router achieve and maintain a consistent performance.
Perhaps the highlight feature of this plunge router is the powerful 2.25 HP motor secured with extra durable aluminum housing. Armed with such amount of power, the Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router handles even the toughest operation.
3. Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router – Versatile and Quiet RouterThe Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router is an easy to use and comfortable palm router, perhaps a perfect unit for discerning craftsman. It is a versatile router perfect for cutting, window cutting, chamfering, pattern cutting, trimming and shaping.
It is a solid router with 2.25 HP variable speed motor, a perfect receipt for handling heavy-duty tasks. It is also quieter than other units of the same caliber. Its plunge base is well functional with simple fine depth adjustments and easy to reach thumb-release lever.
Switching from the plunge base to fixed base takes barely seconds. Thanks to its two-stage motor release clamp, that provides easy base change. For utmost precision, the Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Router features centering gauge with a 16mm and 23mm wrench, 0.5” collet chunk and 0.75” collet chunk.
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, among the longest warranty in router industry. This guarantees the quality of this product.
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.
This router’s ergonomic design with an under-table stop guarantees comfort and ease of use for both long term and short-term operations. 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.
Porter Cable 690LR Plunge Router’s fixed base makes it an ideal choice for tasks that require mounting on the routing table. It also has options for a plunge and D-handle bases, which can be bought separately.
For accurate and precise depth adjustments, the machine features a micrometer depth adjustment system. The system can measure up to accuracies of 1/128 for precise cuts. Despite having a single motor, it delivers constant 27,500 rotations per minute, perfect for quality and efficiency.
You may also like the fact that Porter Cable 690LR Plunge Router comes with a sealed power switch that prevents entry of dust particles, 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 a perfect choice for woodworkers looking for a compact yet performing and precise router. With its 1.25 HP and an included plunge base, this router targets full range precision routing applications.
The router’s variable speed control feature ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM 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 as the double insulated aluminum motor housing provides for increased durability. Its smooth rack and pinion depth adjustment system enables users to read the depth scales easily for precise settings.
Additional features of the Makita RT0701CX7 Plunge Router include the quick release cam lock system, high visibility base system and a slim and ergonomic design for added convenience.
What to Consider Before Buying a Plunge Router
There are plenty of variable routers on the market currently. Therefore, finding the best plunge router can be confusing especially to beginners.
This is why woodworkers should consider several factors before settling on one.
Some of the key features to look for when searching for the best product are outlined below.
Fixed Base or Plunge Base Router?
The first decision involves deciding if you want a fixed or plunge base router. Fixed base routers require that the user presets 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. Fixed base routers 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, especially where there is need to make multiple passes, taking off little more wood with each pass on the board.
For accuracy, plunge base routers have death stops that enable woodworkers to cut appropriate depths. These type of routers are best suited to cutting mortises, dados, incised letters and stopped grooves. Nonetheless, the presence of the plunge mechanism adds extra weight, making them heavier.
It is impossible to decide between fixed and plunge based routers if you don’t know what you intend to do with it. This is especially true, noting that both routers are the same, and perform similar jobs, only with minor differences.
Bearing that in mind, deciding or identifying what you intend to use it for will make it easy deciding the most suitable product. 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. They also offer an easy grip for control and compact. Also, one should consider a router lift if you don’t want to completely remove the router when changing a bit.
Mid-sized routers definitely 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, 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.
The router’s variable speed is an important aspect that proficient woodworkers understand vitally. 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. With variable speed, users get to control the router in one way or another.
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 starting noise 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.
Our Final Review
Plunge routers are a must-have for any modern workshop. They are of immense importance in woodcutting, trimming, mortising and finishing off the edges.
However, not all plunge routers deliver, but only the best plunge routers.
The best routers ought to have variable speeds, ergonomic handles, well sized, powerful and of course, compatible with aftermarket accessories.
Having checked our plunge router review and buying guide above, which is your favorite product? Share with us below!