Best Wood Router For Beginners in 2022 (Reviews and Comparison)

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Wood routers are a great tool for making cutouts, duplicates from a pattern, sharp edges, cut joints, decorative surface cuts, etc. Learn the best wood router for beginners.

There are various types of wood routers available all with different designs, features, and accessories that can suit various woodworking projects and levels of woodworker from beginner to professional. 

When you are a beginner it can be tempting to just go for the wood router with all the bells and whistles but this may not be easy to set up or use for someone without experience. Very often less is more as a beginner and this is true for a wood router beginners too. Keep it simple to the core functions and you won’t be disappointed. 

Look out for wood routers that are easy to use and set up. Having multiple bases is a plus but getting comfortable with a fixed base as a start will help. A wood router that is lightweight and comfortable to use is ideal for a beginner.

Variable speed control is also important to look for in a wood router. Other helpful accessories that will aid in using a wood router should also be looked out for as this can only benefit a beginner user. 

We have found some top choices of wood routers for beginners to help point you in the right direction to finding the best option for you.

COMPARISON CHART

IMAGE PRODUCT

Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP* Compact Router Kit

Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP
  • Comes with a range of bases
  • Setup and base changes are easy
  • Easy to maneuver
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AVID POWER 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Compact Router with Fixed Base, 5 Trim Router Bits, Variable Speed, Edge Guide, Roller Guide and Dust Hood

AVID POWER 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Compact Router with Fixed Base
  • Cheaper option
  • Includes useful accessories
  • 2 collet sizes included
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Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP* Plunge Router, with Variable Speed

Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP
  • Smooth plunge action
  • Easy turn on
  • LED deck lighting helpful
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DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 2-1/4-HP (DW618PKB)

DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
  • Well made
  • Great for plunge routing
  • A soft start is helpful
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BOSCH PR20EVSNK Colt Installers Kit 5.7 Amp 1 Hp Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with 3 Assorted Bases and Edge Guide

BOSCH PR20EVSNK Colt Installers Kit
  • Lightweight
  • Good power for a small unit
  • Micro adjustment is helpful
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Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP* Compact Router Kit

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Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP* Compact Router Kit

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Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP* Compact Router Kit

Features

  • The variable speed control dial (10,000 – 30,000 RPM) enables the user to match the speed to the application
  • Smooth rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings
  • Slim and ergonomically designed body for increased comfort and control
  • Quick-release cam lock system for easy depth adjustments and base removal/installation

The 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit (model RT0701CX7) delivers performance, versatility, and precision in a compact size. With a full 1-1/4 maximum horsepower and a plunge base included in the kit, the RT0701CX7 is engineered for a full range of precision routing applications.

The RT0701CX7 has a powerful 1-1/4 HP (maximum horsepower) motor with a variable speed control dial (10,000-30,000 RPM) that enables the user to match the speed to the application. Additional performance features include electronic speed control to maintain constant speed under load and soft start features for smooth start-ups.

The RT0701CX7 is double-insulated with a heavy-duty aluminum motor housing for increased durability.

WHAT WE LIKE

The kit comes with an edge guide, plunge base, and the standard adjustable height base with the groove for attaching the edge guide. Setup is super easy and the latch lock makes changing the base a breeze.

The body is not bulky so it’s very easy to maneuver. The motor spins up nice and fast for clean cuts, without moving the whole thing around. The bag that comes with it is very nice indeed. Lots of storage for bits, tools, etc., and is very well made.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

You cannot adjust the depth without losing your current setting. It’s difficult to hold a selected depth setting while you press the clamp down. You do not have good visibility of the cutter while doing freehand cuts. Difficult to change bits given the limited space to work with provided wrenches.

PROS

  • Comes with a range of bases
  • Setup and base changes are easy
  • Easy to maneuver 
  • Motor works well for clean cuts
  • The bag is functional and well made

CONS

  • Depth changes are not smooth
  • Visibility is not good for freehand cuts
  • Difficult to change bits
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AVID POWER 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Compact Router with Fixed Base, 5 Trim Router Bits, Variable Speed, Edge Guide, Roller Guide and Dust Hood

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AVID POWER 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Compact Router with Fixed Base, 5 Trim Router Bits, Variable Speed, Edge Guide, Roller Guide and Dust Hood

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AVID POWER 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Compact Router with Fixed Base, 5 Trim Router Bits, Variable Speed, Edge Guide, Roller Guide and Dust Hood

Features

  • Powerful Motor & Variable Speed – 6.5-Amp motor with the max horsepower of 1.25 delivers abundant power for a variety of routing and trimming applications; The variable speed control dial (10000-32000 RPM) allows users to choose a more appropriate speed for different materials.
  • Precise Operation & Led Lights – Smooth rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system ensures precise operation for a range of cabinetry and woodworking applications; Dual bright LED lights to illuminate dark working areas.
  • Ergonomic Design & Convenience – Rubber-covered handle for a comfortable grip; The quick locking system for convenient depth adjustments and base change.
  • Durable Housing & Clean Jobsite – The aluminum body and base for long-term durability; the Dust hood removes dust to leave a clean workspace.

Avid Power 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP wood router tool with fixed base, variable speed, dual-LED working lights, an edge guide, roller guide, and dust hood, is perfect for a variety of routing and trimming applications. Its smooth rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system provides precise depth adjustment.

Ergonomically designed body for increased comfort and control. Dual LEDs ensure maximum visibility in operation.

WHAT WE LIKE

A cheaper option in terms of other wood routers. It comes with a lot of accessories, including a vacuum attachment, 2 edge guides, and a box of router bits.

It includes a 1 /4 and  3/8 collet adding to its versatility. The LED lights light up the working area which is helpful. The motor is well machined with a good fit and tight tolerance.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

Quality control is lacking. There is a large variation between units. It runs louder and hotter than similar units. Feel vibration slightly more than similar units at higher speeds. The fit and finish of the base are very rough as well.

PROS

  • Cheaper option
  • Includes useful accessories
  • 2 collet sizes included
  • LED lights functional
  • The motor is well machined

CONS

  • Poor quality control
  • Runs hotter and louder
  • Feel vibration more

3. Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HPPremium Choice

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Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP* Plunge Router, with Variable Speed

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Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP* Plunge Router, with Variable Speed

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Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP* Plunge Router, with Variable Speed

Features

  • Powerful 15 AMP motor delivers 9,000-22,000 RPM for smooth routing
  • Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load
  • The variable speed control dial enables the user to match the speed to the application
  • Soft start feature for smooth start-ups

The Makita 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router with Variable Speed (RP2301FC) delivers powerful precision with smooth plunge action and superior performance, with added features including variable speed, electronic speed control, and an electric brake.

The RP2301FC is engineered with 15 AMP power, ease-of-use features, and increased plunge capacity for various applications, including fine woodworking, cabinetry, windows, doors, and more.

WHAT WE LIKE

The plunge action is as smooth. The connection of PC template guides is simple and secure. The plunge measurement is quite smooth and requires only reasonable force. The control to hold the plunge depth is well-positioned and easy to use. The turn-on is smooth.

The electronic turn-off brake works well. LED deck lighting and handgrip trigger control are simply fantastic and make this one of the easiest-to-use routers.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

Two nuts — a wing nut and a cap nut– keep the plunge mechanism from getting loose. Both are made of plastic which is quite weak. The dust collection (which requires an optional attachment) is mediocre. Height adjustment additional rod is not usable.

PROS

  • Smooth plunge action
  • Easy turn on
  • Connection of PC template guides simple
  • The electronic turn-off brake works well
  • LED deck lighting helpful

CONS

  • Weak plastic nuts on plunge mechanism 
  • Dust collection mediocre
  • Height adjustment is not usable

4. DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base KitBest Combo Base

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DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 2-1/4-HP (DW618PKB)

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DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 2-1/4-HP (DW618PKB)

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DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 2-1/4-HP (DW618PKB)

Features

  • 2-1/4 HP (maximum motor HP), 12.0 amp electronic variable speed motor of DEWALT router provides the power to rout smoothly through the toughest hardwoods
  • DEWALT plunge router features electronic variable speed with full feedback control for constant speed under load from 8,000-24,000 rpm and soft start to reduce start-up torque for enhanced control
  • Micro-fine, depth-adjustment ring provides precise depth adjustments in 1/64-inch increments and adjusts vertically for a constant switch/cordset location
  • Adjustable, tool-free, steel motor cam lock makes depth adjustment and base changes quick and solid-locking

The DW618PKB 2-1/4 HP EVS Fixed Base / Plunge Router Combo Kit w/ Soft Start has a powerful motor for routing through tough hardwood at the user’s desired speed. DEWALT fixed router features precise depth adjustments and fast, easy motor pack removal for bit and base changes.

The plunge base integral dust collection provides superior bit visibility.

WHAT WE LIKE

The variable speed dial comes in handy for dialing the best speeds for small to large router bits. This is a well-made tool. It is sturdy and does a great job with plunge routing. The soft-start is a great feature. Multiple bases are handy. The detachable power cord is a pretty neat feature.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

Lack of above-table adjustment. It would have been nice for Dewalt to include an edge guide in the kit as opposed to having customers buy one themselves. The noise level is only acceptable/mediocre; other options are better in this area.

PROS

  • The variable speed dial is functional
  • Well made
  • Great for plunge routing
  • A soft start is helpful
  • A detachable power cord is handy

CONS

  • Lack of above table adjustment
  • Edge guide not included
  • Noise level not ideal

5. BOSCH PR20EVSNK Colt Installers KitBest Palm Router

CHECK PRICE

BOSCH PR20EVSNK Colt Installers Kit 5.7 Amp 1 Hp Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with 3 Assorted Bases and Edge Guide

CHECK PRICE

BOSCH PR20EVSNK Colt Installers Kit 5.7 Amp 1 Hp Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router with 3 Assorted Bases and Edge Guide

Features

  • Variable-speed palm-grip router kit; soft-start and quick-lock systems
  • 5.7 amp motor with 16,000 – 35,000 rpm; depth adjustment system and finger support pockets
  • Aluminum construction and soft-grip
  • Includes palm router, fixed base, roller guide, offset base, tilt base, undescribed attachment, drop-forged collet and shaft wrenches, collet, straight-edge guide, case

The Bosch PR20EVS Colt variable-speed palm-grip router puts routing power and precision in the palm of your hand. The PR20EVS has an ergonomic palm-grip design with a soft grip to make it very comfortable to hold, yet it also has ample power, making it typically easier to use than larger routers.

It’s more than just a laminate trimmer, as it is the ideal tool for putting round overs on deck railings, mortising for hinges, slot cutting, and much more. The motor features a soft-start, a variable-speed control, and Constant Response circuitry to maintain speed under load.

The PR001 fixed base features macro- and micro-fine depth adjustment. The PR20EVSK also includes a self-releasing 1/4 In. collet chuck, comfortable forged bit-changing wrenches, edge guide.

WHAT WE LIKE

Great lightweight palm router. Good power for its size, variable speed, easy setup, and usable case. The two-stage locking mechanism that allows you to micro-adjust is very helpful. It is comfortable to work with. The grip is ergonomic. The depth adjustment is quick and easy to use.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE

The case will not hold the optional plunge base, so you’ll be looking for a larger case once you purchase that extremely useful attachment. The edge guide is inexpensive and useful for lighter work, but it’s difficult to hold for higher precision work.

There are double arrows embossed to facilitate alignment when re-connecting the base and motor. They are not easy to see.

PROS

  • Lightweight 
  • Good power for a small unit
  • Micro adjustment is helpful 
  • Comfortable to work with 
  • Ergonomic grip

CONS

  • The case cannot hold a plunge base
  • The edge guide is not ideal for high precision 
  • Arrows for reconnecting the base and motor are very faint

FINAL VERDICT 

Choosing woodworking tools as a beginner can be overwhelming to know what features will be helpful or not but we have highlighted the features that will serve a beginner best with our top choices. With these great options, we have to recommend the  Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP as the best choice.

This wood router comes with a range of bases that can serve your various wood routing needs. The variable speed option means you have control of the tool and you can get it to perform the task as needed. Setup and base changes are simple and easy to do.

The body of the wood router is not bulky and easy to maneuver which is helpful for a beginner. The motor spins quickly to allow for clean cuts. The accompanying bag is an added plus to store your wood router and accessories all in one location.

Overall this is a quality and easy-to-use wood router that will set up any novice user for woodworking success. 

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