Written by Terry Smith
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Best Wood Routers [UK] reviews 2021: Top woodworking routers for beginners
This article was last updated on July 31st, 2021 at 10:43 am
So you’re picking up a bit of DIY at home and in need of a quality wood router. The best routers in this guide are absolutely ideal for beginners. You’ll find models capable of heavy rebating down to the smaller finer tasks like cutting in hinges and keeps. Talking of which, if that is what you’re intended use, you’ll probably be far better off looking at the best cordless routers as they are more than capable of getting the job done!
Table of Contents
Best wood routers
In this article I’ve looked at the best price to performance for home use. I dare say you would even consider the Dewalt as more of a commercial tool but the one selected is 240V and therefore better suited to home and residential work. It made the reviews due to the extremely sensible price to performance, ticking almost all the boxes when it comes to heavier use too! It’s easily the best wood router in this category on performance but not necessarily overall so read the review to understand the best overall value for money 🙂
Best woodworking routers for beginners
Let’s face it, if you’re just starting up, or you won’t use a router much, price and quality of build are the most important factors. You want a router that’ll fire up first press of the trigger after being put away in the shed for months on end. So for that reason I’ve only picked wood routers I know to last long or come with hefty warranty packages.
Comparison table: Best Wood Routers [UK] reviews 2021: Top woodworking routers for beginners
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For those of you who are new to using an electric router or who just want a very versatile model for general DIY projects, the Bosch POF 1400 is well worth a closer look.
While professional might want to shell out more and go for something that suits bigger jobs, most of us will find that this Bosch wood router is more than up to any of the tasks we set it to.
There are a number of features that make this wood router user friendly, and thus perfect as a first router, but to point out a few I would draw your attention to the material specific speed pre-selections that help to take the guess work out of things, and the Bosch electronic technology that controls the constant speed.
Other features that new users will appreciate are the Bosch SDS system for insetting the template guide without the need for tools, and the handle spindle lock for quick and simple cutting bit changes. To help you see what you are doing there’s an integrated work light aimed at brightening up the routing area.
The Bosch POF 1400 wood router has ergonomically shaped, soft grip handles that really help to keep the bit balanced while working, and just behind the handles you’ll find the conveniently placed lock-on switch handle.
When you become more comfortable using a wood router, there are more features for you to play with that will allow you to really dial in on those details. For example, the cutting depth can be fine-tuned from 1-10mm, as can the parallel guide, and you can pre-program successive cutting depths by using the three stage depth stop.
There is also a bayonet fitting which will allow you to use templates as a guide so cutting and shaping multiple, identical pieces is far less time consuming.
To keep the workplace nice and tidy, you can use the dust extraction adapter to connect to any vacuum cleaner via a hose. Unfortunately the hose wasn’t included in the box so we didn’t get to test it.
With a 1400W motor powering the router, you don’t have to worry about it not having enough muscle to cut through even the hardest of woods, and it can be used with bits with a shank of 0.25 inch, 6mm or 8mm. It won’t work with larger bits like ½ inch ones as this wood router is designed for DIY jobs, hence the low price, and not professional use.
Perfect for beginners or intermediate DIY enthusiasts who want something easy to operate, with lots of good features, at a more than competitive price, this Bosch power tool ticks a lot of boxes on our list of best wood routers.
2. Triton TRA001 – 2400W Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router 230V
Looking for more power to help tackle those tasks that are a bit more heavy duty? Well then you’ll be needing a wood router that is up to the job, like this one from Triton.
Boasting a mega 2400W electric motor that is capable of producing over 3 horsepower and spinning speeds of 8000-2100rpm, this power tool with cut through anything that you throw at it with ease.
Thankfully, triton were kind, and smart, enough to install a soft start which brings the power on gradually so you won’t be accidently damaging your project or yourself!
Variable speed controls are at hand to get that ideal speed for various materials, and you can even make continuous depth adjustments by using the micro winder. If you prefer to simplify things, you can always preset three different depths through the height adjustment system with a little help from the clear reading scales to keep things precise.|
This very capable wood router comes with both 12mm and ½ inch collets, giving you the freedom to use a wider range of cutting bits and offering more versatility than some of its competitors. Changing those bits is both simple and safe thanks to an automatic spindle lock that shuts of the motor when the safety cover is opened.
With a plunge range of 0-68mm and the ability to change from a plunge router to a fixed mode router, this tool has a lot of versatility and you will be moulding, decorating, cutting, and everything else you can think of to your heart’s content.
I’ve said many times before, and I’ll say it again, with more power inevitably comes more weight, and it rings true once again here. The 6.4 kilograms that this cutting monster weighs, and the slightly bulky frame, makes it ideal for using on a fixed table or bench, but not so much for jobs that require you to use it otherwise unless you are quite strong with very stable hands.
Still, for cutting through multiple pieces of hardwood and other heavy duty materials, this wood router just can’t be matched by any of our other reviewed products, so I guess it’s just a good old trade off- power for manoeuvrability.
This is a very powerful, well-made piece of woodworking kit for people who intend to work with tougher materials and large pieces of wood. At the time of writing this, it is available at a reduced price and that makes this a bargain and definitely one of the best wood routers available in the UK.
3. VonHaus Compact Deluxe Palm Router Saw - Plunge Trimmer 710W
Deciding on what type of wood router to go for can be a bit tricky. You might be thinking that a plunge router offers some things that a trimmer router doesn’t, and vice-versa, so which should you go with?
Well, how about a power tool that offers you both options? That’s exactly what you get with the extremely versatile VonHaus compact deluxe palm router saw.
This electric wood router comes with two bases, a plunge base and a trimmer one, and all you need to do is insert the motor unit into the one that you need to suit the job at hand.
First off we tried the plunge base and were initially worried about the little bit of wobble that it had, but I’m happy to say that once we locked it down there wasn’t any sign of any unwanted movement or motion.
Handling the plunge base was easy enough, and while the round shaped handles do sit comfortably in the hand, I still have to admit that I preferred the ergonomic handles found on the Bosch POF 1400 wood router.
Used as a trimmer router, it performs really well and the design of this model makes it really easy to see what you are doing while working, especially if you attach a dust extractor pipe to clear the debris as this actually works really well with this model.
If I was going to complain about something, it would be that the power cord on this wood router is a bit too short for my liking, but an extension lead or even replacing the power cord with a longer one is a pretty easy option.
This particular wood router has been designed for light DIY tasks so don’t buy it and expect it to cut through thick pieces of hardwood or steel as the 710W motor is simply not made to do that.
Compatible with bits with a 3/8 inch or ¼ inch shank, you can actually do some varied work with this router if you use your brain a little and learn how it likes to be used. For example, using a smaller cutting bit to make a channel before switching a larger one works well, as does listening to the motor and laying off a little if starts to sound laboured.
The VonHaus compact deluxe palm router comes with a free carry bag and I have to say that it is actually better quality than I expected. The sides are padded to prevent damage during transit and it is a good size with a decent carry handle. With the router measuring 33 x 25.2 x 23.1 cm and weighing 4.9 kilograms, it won’t kill you to move it either.
All of this comes at a very competitive price, and it is easy to see why so many people are leaving positive feedback after buying this wood router. If you know what it designed to be worked on, i.e. smaller tasks, and you abide by that it is a very good little tool to add to your collection.
4. Ryobi R18TR-0 ONE+ Cordless Trim Router (Zero Tool), 18 V
Ryobi’s cordless trim router is part of its ONE+ range of products which can all be powered by the same type of Ryobi lithium ion battery (so you can use it on the Ryobi cordless planer or Ryobi cordless nail gun too) and made it to the best cordless routers page as well. So, this means if you already own a Ryobi product from this line, you can use that battery in this product. If not, you will have to buy one separately as there is no battery included with this power tool.
When you figure in the price of buying a Ryobi battery, it does push this wood router further up the price range, but it is a quality product, and their batteries are absolutely top drawer when it comes to charge time and power output.
It is this modern technology that will allow this portable wood router to reach spinning speeds of a stunning 29,000rpm. That is incredibly impressive for a cordless model.
Being cordless brings its own pros and cons. On the plus side, the lack of power cord gives you complete freedom of movement, making modifying woodwork that is already installed in hard to reach places a much less stressful affair.
The negative side of cordless tools, is of course the unescapable fact that the battery will run out at some point and need recharging before you can use the tool again. Thankfully, new battery technology has made running times much longer and charging times much shorter, but it is still something that you have to consider.
This Ryobi trimming router is super lightweight at just over a kilogram so you can wield it all day without getting tired, and it also helps you to keep control of the tool under operation.
But don’t let its lack of weight fool you. This is a very capable little wood router that is ideal for smaller jobs like rebates, edging, trimming, and shaping, and has a maximum plunge depth of 38mm.
With the 6 mm collet, 6.35 mm collet, 6.35 mm straight cutter, ¼ inch shank, and parallel guide, you can tackle a wide range of jobs, and the 22.6 x 105 x 163 cm dimensions are perfect for getting into those tight, awkward spaces.
Height adjustment is quick and painless thanks to a well-designed quick release system, and for finer tuning the accuracy of the cut there is also the micro wheel control. Ryobi have opted to include a handy integrated LED work light too.
The outer casing of the Ryobi cordless wood router is extremely solid and robust, and the aluminium base will ensure it will remain rust free for years to come, so if you are looking for a truly portable, cordless wood router that is super lightweight but durable, you’re looking in the right place.
5. DEWALT D26204K-GB Premium Plunge & Fixed Base Router Combination, 900 W
This Dewalt Premium plunge & fixed base wood router combination is another two-in-one product like the VonHaus model we already reviewed earlier. Only this one will cost you three times as much.
So, what do you get for splashing out the extra?
Firstly, you get the peace of mind that this is a Dewalt power tool, a brand that has proved itself again and again, over decades, to be trustworthy when it comes to delivering solid, reliable, products.
That build quality is clear to see here too, from the largest components to the smallest, everything has that Dewalt hardwearing durability feel to it, and I’m sure you would get a lot of miles out of it before you ran into any problems. Plus, there’s always the three year warranty if you bother to register the product.
Like the name implies, this tool can be used as either a palm router or a fixed base model, and performs very admirably in both settings. With adjustable cutting speeds from a minimum of 16,000rpm, all the way up to an impressive 27,000 rpm, this has more than enough power to get most DIY jobs done with ease.
If you’re looking to do some stepped plunges, the adjustable turret can be set up into five different stages, and with the fine tune rod on the plunge base, it is so easy to get just the right height for the job. The cuts will be as smooth and accurate as you can get too with Dewalt’s electric speed control keeping the rpm constant.
With dimensions of 47.4 x 42.6 x 16.2 cm it is fairly compact even as a fixed wood router, but becomes very easy to manoeuvre when used as a palm router, so you should be able to get int some tight areas. To help you see in those dark spots, there are dual LED work lights that work exceptionally well when compared to many of its competitors.
Included in the packaging are the super high quality 900W aluminium motor unit, a plunge base, a fixed base, two parallel fences, an 8mm/1/4” collet, a cantering cone, a 17mm spanner, a dust extraction adapter, a 17mm guide brush, and even a tough kit box to store it in.
All this, a surprising amount of power, top tier build quality, and an extra-long warranty go a long way to justifying Dewalt’s higher than average price tag on this excellent wood router.
6. Makita DRT50ZJ Cordless Router Trimmer
Makita have long been the chosen brand of professional workmen, especially when it comes to battery powered, cordless tools like this trimmer router.
Does it live up the Makita name? I’d have to say that it does and certainly warrants the extra you are required to pay for it.
One of the main factors when choosing a cordless wood router is just how portable it is. It’s no good the router being cordless but still weighing in at 7+ kilograms as it would just be too unwieldy to take advantage of the tool’s portability.
Thankfully, those chaps at Makita are clever enough to have thought have that, and this trimmer router, without the battery installed, is the lightest that we tested, weighing less than a few kilos. The batteries are compatible with the entire range so can be used on all tools – I use it with my Makita cordless jigsaw and cordless lawn mower 🙂
Longevity is another trait that all good Makita products possess and again, it is clearly evident in this portable wood router. The base has been made out of high quality aluminum, which not only keeps the weight to a minimum, but is also strong and almost impervious to rust.
The inside of this tool also got the Makita durability treatment, with a brushless electric motor. Brushless motors are so called because they don’t have the common copper brushes inside them. This helps to keep the motors cool which gives us better energy economy so the batteries last longer and also a longer working life.
This Makita wood router has 3/8” and ¼” collet capacity and a luge capacity of 0-40mm with the trimmer base. Cutting speed is very high with a maximum 30,000rpm, and the quick release cam lock system gives quick and easy depth adjustments.
Some outstanding things that I noticed while using this tool are that there was very little vibration while in operation, it ran quieter than I expected, the electronic brake works really well, and the dual work lights are nice and bright.
This unit, like many Makita products, is modular and can be used with other products such as the Makita plunge base, offset base, tilt base, and vacuum cleaner. All of these, and the Makita battery to run this tool, are sold separately.
Best Wood Routers Reviewed UK
I would need to write multiple pages on all the uses for a top wood router, and even after years of using one I’m still finding new things mine can do, but to save time and valuable page space, let’s just say that they truly are indispensable tools and something that will leave you thinking how you ever got on without one.
If you’re brand new to using a wood router and are not sure how they work, I’ll spare a moment to explain. To keep it simple I’m just going to talk about modern plunge routers.
Basically an electric router consists of a rotating cutter bit that is powered by a motor to spin extremely quickly. This action cuts away the material you are working on in a beautiful, uniform manner, making shaping wood so much easier than using hand tools.
The cutting bit is inserted into the collet, often referred to as the jig, and this helps to hold everything in place and also gives you something to hold onto while you guide the router where you want it to go.
If you’ve never used a wood router before, I would suggest watching a few YouTube tutorials first, as even with a user friendly tool like this one, accidents can still occur if you’re not careful
So, which of the many models available in the UK should warrant your pounds and pennies?
Which is the best wood router in the UK?
To answer that, we have tried and tested a selection of the best-selling wood routers out there on your behalf and offered up our thoughts in the form of our reviews that you can find below.
If you are finding the information in the reviews a little confusing, you can read our helpful buyer’s guide at the bottom of this article that will try to clarify things for you. Enjoy.
Best Wood Routers Buyer’s Guide
Jigs, bits, collets, rpm, watts?? There are so many things that go into the best wood routers.
If you’re struggling to decide if the product you’ve got your eye on is worth buying or not, then this little buyer’s guide might help you to make up your mind.
The power of an electric wood router, no matter what the type, is measured in watts. The more powerful a router is, the higher the rpm or speed the cutting bit can spin at. There are other factors that go into cutting power too, like the quality of the cutting bit, but as a rule you can abide to- the larger, thicker and hard the material that you want to cut, the higher the wattage needs to be on your electric wood router. Sometimes, power is displayed in horsepower instead of watts.
if you intend to buy a very powerful wood router, for example something that is 4 horsepower or 2400 watts like the triton model we reviewed, a soft start function is a must. This function controls the power and torque so that they come on gradually, making it much safer to use such powerful tools.
Some trimmer routers are cordless, which makes them great tools for jobs when manoeuvrability is a main factor. Most cordless routers are less powerful than corded versions, but there are exceptions like the Ryobi and Makita models we reviewed above.
If you are thinking of buying a cordless wood router, please bear in mind that you might have to buy the battery separately, and also have to remember to keep batteries charged when not in use.
There are different sized router bits, and some of them won’t work with certain sized collets, so make sure you know what kind of bits you’ll need to do the kind of work you’ve got in mind, before buying. Then you can decide on the right kind of router model.
Other features to look out for
Things like LED work lights can be very helpful when working in dimly lit places or tight spaces, and many models these days have these fitted. Another common feature is a dust extractor attachment so you can use a tube to connect the wood router to a vacuum cleaner and keep the workplace clean and tidy. Then there are important safety features like the motor cutting off when you lift the chip guard and electronic braking.
And no product can be included in the best wood routers list without having quick bit changes, good depth adjustment controls, and a great build quality.
All of these, plus many more can be a good indicator that the router is a quality product.
It has been called the most versatile tool in the world, and is that one addition to your tool collection that is sure to take your woodworking skills to new heights.
With one of the best wood routers at your disposal you will soon be making perfect grooves, creating all kinds of interesting shapes, profiling edges, and giving all your wood projects that decorative finish they deserve.