Best Wood Router for Beginners

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As a beginner in the woodworking world, you’ll quickly learn that having the best tools is the best way to complement your natural skill, and this applies to having the best wood router for beginner carpenters or woodworking enthusiasts!

A wood router is one of the best tools that will help you create patterns, cutouts, and decorative surface cuts. Additionally, the reliable tool will make you able to duplicate them easily.

If you want to pick the best beginner-friendly wood router for your needs, we’ve found the best option for you. We’ve also put together a complete guide with all of the features you need to be aware of to make a selection.

Beginner Wood Router Reviews

When you’re a beginner, finding the best wood router for your needs can be quite a tricky task with all the options that the market has to offer.

To help you with the process of picking the best router for your woodworking needs, here are brief reviews of the 5 best beginner-friendly options that you can find out there:

Best Wood Router for Beginners: DEWALT DW618B3 Fixed/Plunge Router with Base Kit

Kicking off the list with one of the overall best options on the market that are extremely common among first time wood router users. The Dewalt DW618B3 combines a variety of handy features along with a decent tag, which is one of the most unique aspects of the product in itself.

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The wood router has a solid construction, thanks to its industry-standard die-cast aluminum base, which gives the router remarkable durability without making it too heavy for a beginner.

The motor housing is also made of die-cast aluminum with nickel plating to give it an extra layer of durability and corrosion resistance for longevity.

Specs

  • Type of Base — Fixed, Plunge, and proprietary D-handle
  • Construction material — Die-cast aluminum with a nickel-plated motor housing
  • Weight — 27.4 lbs
  • Dimensions — ‎19.94 x 24 x 7.75 inches
  • Power Source — Corded Electric
  • Motor Power — 2.25 HP, 12.0 amp
  • Motor Speed — 8,000 to 24,000 RPM
  • Warranty — 3 years

We also like that all the switches are sealed against dust, allowing them to operate for a long time without needing thorough maintenance, which is ideal for beginners who are new to router maintenance.

Another impressive design feature of the router is that it has molded rubber handles that keep the router’s center of gravity low. This underrated design makes it one of the easiest and most balanced routers on the market, especially for an untrained hand.

The router comes with a noticeable power advantage, thanks to its 12.0 amp, 2.25 HP brushless motor that allows you to make extra smooth cuts through different kinds of wood.

The power of the motor is coupled with adjustable speed options, ranging from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM, which ensures excellent results for most woodworking projects.

You can also adjust the depth of the router to cuts in 1/64 inch increments for unmatched accuracy.

Moreover, the router allows you to choose the most suitable base design for your needs from fixed, plunge, and D handles. So, it’s quite unlikely to find a more versatile wood router at this price range!

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Dewalt’s DW618B3 is one of the most complete wood router kits on the market. It comes with a great price for the features it offers and is incredibly precise and easy to work with, making it an ideal overall pick for an entry level woodworker.

Pros

  • Features a quick release motor latch for easier removal of the motor
  • Durable construction and consistent results
  • The microfine depth adjustment with the variable speed system makes it super flexible
  • The package includes 3 wood router bases

Cons

  • Requires a wrench to remove the parts

Best Beginner Wood Router for the Money: Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit

The Bosch 1617EVSPK features durable construction with a die-cast aluminum base and motor housing. This construction gives the wood router extra sturdiness to stand the test of time and consistent use.

The router is also equipped with a powerful motor similar to the one used in the pricier Dewalt model, offering a current of 12.0 amps and an output of 2.25 HP.

The best part about this massive power is that you can optimize it to choose between 6 different speed settings ranging from 8,000 to 25,000 RPM, giving you a great window of adaptability!

Specs

  • Type of Base — Fixed and Plunge
  • Construction material — Die-cast aluminum base and motor housing
  • Weight — 18.2 lbs
  • Dimensions — 12 x 10.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Power Source — Corded Electric
  • Motor Power — 2.25 HP, 12.0 amp
  • Motor Speed — 8,000 to 25,000 RPM
  • Warranty — 12 months

Moreover, the router features two round handles on the sides of the body to give you better control over the device while operating, all the while being aesthetically pleasing!

The system also features a built-in circuit with constant response to prevent fluctuations and maintain a consistent speed while cutting for a clean finish.

The 1617EVSPK wood router comes with two bases, which is the only disadvantage it has against the Dewalt, although the two bases are more than enough for most beginners. Additionally, the package includes all the wrenches needed for removing and replacing parts.

The Bosch 1617EVSPK is brilliant for anyone looking for an all-around great option that is slightly less costly than Dewalt’s DW618B3, all the while offering a very similar high-end performance that can give Dewalt’s router a good run for its money!

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Pros

  • A great value for its price
  • Equipped with constant response circuitry to prevent speed fluctuations
  • Features an ultra powerful motor with a wide speed range

Cons

  • Lacks the D-handle base option

Best Cheap Wood Router for Beginners: Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router Kit

The Makita RT0701CX7 is an excellent example of how compact yet efficient a wood router can be if it cuts the right corners and focuses on what matters for woodworking beginners.

For starters, the Makita is among the most affordable options on the market, coming at a fraction of what some other options would set you back.

In addition to its heavily discounted price, the wood router’s most noticeable feature is portability.

Specs

  • Type of Base — Fixed and Plunge
  • Construction material — Die-cast aluminum motor housing
  • Weight — 3.9 lbs
  • Dimensions — 17 x 10 x 7 inches
  • Power Source — Corded Electric
  • Motor Power — 1.25 HP, 6.5 amp
  • Motor Speed — 10,000 to 30,000 RPM
  • Warranty — 1 year and 30 days

The router weighs only 3.9 lbs, which is several pounds lighter than its nearest competitor in the compact category.

Despite that, the router is equipped with a relatively powerful 1.25 HP motor with a top speed of about 30,000 RPM.

With such speed, you can guarantee a smooth finish along with a smooth performance due to the soft-start technology.

The compactness of the router, coupled with the aluminum motor housing and base, makes it a remarkably durable option that can tolerate transportation.

Another beginner-friendly feature that makes this model unique is the shaft lock design that allows for easy changing of the cutting bits.

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This model is ideal for all beginners who don’t want to spend big on their first ever wood router. The Makita also happens to be quite a compact and lightweight option, which makes it perfect for those who value portability and have a “to-go” quality in their tools.

Pros

  • A perfect pick for buyers on a strict budget
  • Highly compact and lightweight
  • Features a soft-start technology that makes startups smoother

Cons

  • Not the most powerful router

You should also read our reviews of the best wood routers under $100.

Best Cordless Wood Router for Beginners: Dewalt DCW600B Max XR

Another product from Dewalt, which shows the level of quality and variety that their products offer. The most unique aspect of the Dewalt DCW600B MAX XR is, of course, its cordless design.

Unlike other options, this model gives you the liberty of working in remote areas with no access to wall electricity.

The model is decently balanced with a nice design that makes it easy to control, which is ideal for beginners.

Moreover, the wood router is equipped with LED lights that illuminate your working area. The router also has adequate power when compared to its small size.

Specs

  • Type of Base — Fixed Base
  • Construction material — Die-cast aluminum
  • Weight — 2.6 lbs
  • Dimensions — 8.38 x 5.82 x 5.75 inches
  • Power Source — Cordless
  • Motor Power — 20 volts (equivalent to 1.25 HP)
  • Motor Speed — 16,000 to 25,500 RPM
  • Warranty — 1 year free service and 3 years of limited warranty

The speed dial is a nice feature that allows you to adjust the motor speed, although it would’ve been much better if its detents are tougher.

However, for the price of the model, this cordless router is an excellent choice and would get the job done nicely.

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Dewalt’s DCW600B Max XR is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a smooth router that offers independence from the wall electricity.

Additionally, it also counts as a viable solution for those who are looking for an inexpensive and compact alternative to the Makita wood router.

Pros

  • Ideal for those who work in remote areas with no wall electricity
  • Backed with a long-term warranty
  • Equipped with a depth adjustment ring for easy and precise optimization of the cuts

Cons

  • The speed dial control is very sensitive and changes speed easily by accidental touches

Best CNC Wood Router for Beginners: FoxAlien 4040-XE CNC Router Machine

Last but not least, if you’re looking for an advanced, computer-controlled router that is suitable for beginners, you should consider the FoxAlien 4040.

In fact, the powerful system features a 300 watt motor with a current of 10.0 amps. Not only that, but the system cuts, engraves, and drills at a maximum rate of 2,000 mm per minute.

In addition to working on wood, this through a wide range of materials, including resin, nylon, acrylic, carbon fiber, MDF, and more! This makes it an excellent long-term investment for those who don’t want to upgrade when the time comes

Specs

  • Type of Router — CNC Router
  • Construction material — steel and aluminum
  • Weight — 57.6 lbs
  • Dimensions — ‎15.75 x 15.75 x 2.56 inches
  • Power Source — Corded Electric
  • Motor Power — 300 Watts, 10.0 amp
  • Motor Speed — 2,000 mm per minute
  • Warranty — 1 year of full warranty

One of the reasons why this system is quite efficient is that it comes with the main parts pre-assembled, so it would take a beginner anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes to put it together.

The only drawback here is that it requires a pretty spacious workshop as well as a computer to have the system up and running.

The FoxAlien 4040-XE is specifically designed with precision and ease of use in mind. For that reason, it’s ideal for beginners who work with a wide range of materials and are planning to buy a future-proof CNC router instead of a regular one.

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Pros

  • Extremely precise due to its computer-controlled system
  • The large working area gives you more versatility
  • Capable of cutting through various materials for added value
  • Quite easy to put together for a CNC router

Cons

  • Quite expensive and requires a large free space in your workshop

Features to Look for When Buying Your First Wood Router

Although all wood routers on the market may look like they’re created equal, they can vary greatly in terms of quality, especially when you’re browning entry-level wood routers.

For that reason, there are some essential aspects that you need to keep in mind in order to land yourself the best option there is! Let’s have a quick look at each one of them:

Type of Base

One of the first things that you’ll need to decide on before buying a wood router is whether it should be a fixed base or plunge base. This is because the two of them work slightly differently and will fulfill seemingly different needs.

For example, a plunge base router is designed specifically so that it can make vertical cuts on the wood. In other words, you set the cut depth that you want about the piece and then lower (plunge) the router’s cutting bit on the surface of the wood.

On the other hand, fixed base routers’ bits are usually “fixed” in place. This allows you to work it around the edges because the bit will cut past the base until you adjust the depth.

Ideally, a beginner can go for either of the options, although the plunge base can be more specific and give you more versatility.

Luckily, some models on the market today offer fixed/plunge base routers to spare you the confusion of picking one, making them the most versatile options!

Durability

A wood router is one of the handiest tools that you’ll have in your workshop, so you’re going to use it more often when compared to many other woodworking tools. Additionally, the costs of repairing one can be pretty inefficient, pushing you to buy a new one when it breaks.

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For that reason, you should always go for a durable router rather than a flimsy one that will break down shortly after a few uses.

The durability of the router shouldn’t only include external materials, but also the motor. The best types of motors on the market are brushless motors.

These motors have relatively high efficiency, so they don’t heat up quickly and operate at a higher power for longer.

Motor Speed

The speed of the router is another essential aspect that reflects its quality because higher speeds mean cleaner cuts and lower chances for errors, which is more common for a beginner who is new to handling such a device.

While the power of a device is measured in horsepower or volts, the operational speed is usually measured in revolutions per minute or RPM. Ideally, you should look for devices that give you variable speed options for added versatility.

The best ones will give you a range of 8,000 to 15,000 RPM, which is perfect for cutting woods of different thicknesses.

Ease of Use

For someone who is going to use a wood router for the first time, it’s essential that the model you pick is easy to use. After all, any machine is as good as you know how to use it.

Routers will require adjustments of heights and changing bits so you can get the best results from your projects, so make sure that the ones you get provide simple procedures that allow you to do that.

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If any tools are required for the process, make sure that it either comes with the package or are readily available.

In addition to ease of use, the router should also be easy to clean and maintain after each use to extend its lifespan.

Size

A heavier or bulkier wood router will always be trickier around corners and require more effort and expertise to adjust.

To solve this problem, you should opt for a router that is relatively compact and designed for portability.

While there are compact corded options, almost all cordless options will occupy less space in your workshop and are designed to support one-handed operation.

Edging Guide

The edging guide is a flat and thin piece of metal that is usually attached to the router at the edge. This attachment allows you to align your wood router properly to make perfect cuts with a smooth and even finish.

The edging guide is a perfect tool for beginners to save time and spare the effort needed to align the router manually.

The best value options will have a built-in edging guide. However, if the model you like doesn’t have one, make sure that it allows you to install one on your own.

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Budget

Most beginners prefer to buy an option that is pretty cheap. However, a good router shouldn’t cost you less than $150 because anything lower is usually too flimsy and will break down after a couple of uses.

Final Thoughts

This wraps it up for today’s guide about the best wood router for beginner carpenters and enthusiasts.

As you can see, there are plenty of aspects to keep in mind while picking your first wood router, and with this handy guide, you shouldn’t find any trouble choosing yours!

Ideally, we pick the DEWALT DW618B3 Fixed/Plunge Router with Base Kit as the best overall option because it achieves a great balance between having a variety of features and coming at a reasonable price.

However, if you’re on the lookout for a portable cordless router, you may opt for the DEWALT DCW600B Max XR Cordless Router.

Besides how easy it is to operate, the model happens to be a budget-friendly option, which is ideal for someone who’s starting their woodworking career!

Raised with a fix-it and improvement mindset, my wife and I completely restored our Craftsman-style home. Learning how to DIY a variety of home improvement projects, I started SawsHub with my father. He's the fine woodworker, I'm the DIYer!