Routers are fantastic tools for woodworkers, and if you are looking forward to upgrading your setup, you should include one. The internet and the market are flooded with different options of router tables, and yet the question remains unanswered, which are the best router table? Is it the one with a solid top or a flat top, or is it the one with a rigid base plate or a stable base?
After scrutiny, I have come up with a list of router tables that have the in trend market specifications useful for everyone without burning a big hole in the pocket!
Many new router tables have now hit the market in the past couple of years with cutting edge technologies that you might not have even heard of.
So, it may become challenging to make a decision when you have more than one wood router as options and have a low budget. It is not feasible to buy many router tables for every wood router. Hence, it should go for the one which can fit almost every wood router.
If you are short on time, then here is our recommendation of 3 router tables that I recommend you to buy!
Kreg PRS1045 Precision
Bosch RA1181 Benchtop
Bosch RA1171 Cabinet
Best Router Table 2019
Suppose you are doing wood-works as your profession. It does not matter whether you have experienced or a simple newbie. In both cases, you require additional accuracy and support from the router table. If that’s the case, your choices for best router tables are:
Talking about the design and workspace area, Kreg PRS1045 is suitable for larger stock pieces. With a surface area of 24” x 32”, you won’t have to worry about space constraints. Even when there is a large piece of wood for routing, you can easily keep your hands and do the routing with precision. Along with this feature, the router table can also collect a larger amount of dust, which keeps the machine cleaner and helps it last longer.
We’d also recommend Kreg PRS1045 if you need a versatile machine, despite its somewhat higher price tag. Thanks to the height adjustment system, you can do routing at your levels of convenience. Similarly, during our expert-guy testing, the flexibility of the working process is enhanced due to its combo of T-Track and miter. Because the machine comes with dual feather boards, you needn’t worry about accidents either.
Coming to the build aspect, Kreg PRS1045 is something incredible. Its stand is built using stainless steel and it can manage a lot of weight, apparently. Also, according to existing users, there are no issues of compatibility either. You can use almost every wood router with this table and performance would be the same. At the end of the day, Kreg PRS1045 is the best choice if you can spend a bit more for precision, stability, and performance.
One of the top router tables available in the market, Bosch RA1181 is the best choice for professionals with any level of experience. The best thing is that the table is compatible with almost all the routers out there. So, even if you change your machine in-between, you don’t have to worry about anything.
Coming to the specifics, Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table has an Aluminium fence. You also get router mounting plates that are based on Aluminium. It has a work surface of 27” x 18”, which is large enough for professional purposes. If you want to use accessories, you can use the provided slots as well.
Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table boasts two adjustable feather boards along with dual outlet switch as well as dust collection port. Moreover, you get a 6ft power cord as well. So, adjustability is a huge point here. Because it comes with the basic hardware for connecting popular wood routers, setting up the table would take a few minutes only.
Last but not least, this router table comes with 1 Year of Bosch warranty. In short, for the amount that you are paying, Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table is the best choice in the market. The only problem is that those legs are Plastic and you may not get precision cuts using this table.
Are you looking for a compact router table that does its job? Then, Bosch RA1171 can be an awesome choice. As the name says, it’s a cabinet-style router table that is supposed to make less noise. You can use the product with the utmost precision and less mess.
One problem is that you get a work surface of 25” x 15.5”, which isn’t so big. Other options are almost the same. For instance, you have access to the Aluminium fence, adjustable feather boards and the mounting plate that is rigid enough and powerful. As you can see, the difference here is the compact design.
Other good things in Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table include the dust ports for dust collection and dual outlet switch. Also, just like the previous Bosch router table, this one comes with the necessary bunch of accessories for setting up routers of a different kind and different brands.
In short, Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table is the ultimate choice for those who need compactness. There is no lack of performance, but you basically have a smaller work surface. Also, you can save some of your money too.
Are you looking for a fully-fledged router table system? You can go for Kreg PRS1040 without much doubt. It’s a fact that you have to pay a bit more than the standard rates. That having said, you don’t have to compromise performance, precision or the quality of the router table.
Kreg PRS1040 comes with an Aluminum fence that is fully enclosed. This is a useful feature when you want precision cuts. Being a professional router table, you have the benefits of MDF top and micro-dot surface.
It offers a decent work surface, and compatibility isn’t an issue. You can use almost all kinds of routers with this table. Moreover, it’s an easy task to assemble the Kreg PRS1040. Other major features include better alignment and other lack of vibration and noise.
Altogether, Kreg PRS1040 is the true professional’s choice for almost all kinds of routers. Being a complete system, it does not require much of additional hardware. Also, when compared to the features you get, the price tag is reasonable too.
We would recommend Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax if you don’t want to spend much for wood routing needs. You can have professional features, combined with superb build too. One thing to love in this router table is its versatility. You can use the machine for different purposes.
Thanks to the dual slot fence configuration, you can use Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax from both sides. Also, you can use the T-Slot for storing the necessary accessories. In short, the design is compact and is useful for small workshops out there.
Coming to the performance, the table is quite sturdy. While using, you won’t feel much of vibration. Its dust collection method is also effective. All these are here, in spite of its minimal design and space consumption. You also get a limited lifetime warranty from Bench Dog Tools.
In short, Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax is the best choice when you need the best performance in small workshops. However, the machine can be a bit noisy and you may need some more time to assemble it.
Another professional’s pick from Kreg, Kreg PRS2100 comes with a reasonable and impressive price tag. Coming with a measurement of 16” x 24”, this router table is suitable for small studios as well. At the least, you won’t create a mess by placing this machine.
Increased stability is a solid point in Kreg PRS2100. No matter what you are doing, the table is sturdy enough. It also comes with MDF top, extruded Aluminum fence and heavy-duty steel stand in the package.
As far as professional woodworkers are concerned, Kreg PRS2100 is a minimal yet effective solution for performance. The fence is easily adjustable and the total time required for assembly is comparatively lower.
Compiling all these, Kreg PRS2100 is an impressive package for every professional in the industry. It costs less but provides a sturdy and powerful environment for your wood-routing needs. So, the idea is to go for it.
Dremel 231 is perhaps the most affordable product you will find on the list. It’s a simple yet functional router table to be used for versatile purposes. Thanks to the smoother surface, you won’t get any trouble while edging, slitting or grooving items.
Another aspect people love Dremel 231 Shaper/Router Table is the ability to deal with irregular shapes. Dremel 231 will work fine with objects like soft wood. Of course, you have the benefits of portability and lesser space consumption.
We don’t, however, recommend Dremel 231 if you are going to deal with hard objects. Also, the dust collection method isn’t really effective. That having said, if you are just starting with the world and have basic knowledge, you can go ahead.
If you are looking for an even affordable router table, go for SKIL RAS900 Router Table. You are going to save a lot of time because the table comes pre-assembled. You can start using the product right away. Along with MDF, the table has two containers for accessories as well.
Work surface offered by SKIL RAS900 isn’t big enough. That having said, you don’t have to be worried about most of your routers and projects. The sturdy design and precise cuts will help you deal with almost all kinds of routing.
One problem with SKIL RAS900 is that you are getting a small working area. Also, some users say it’s hard to plug in the router. Despite all that, we can count it in when you are a hobbyist who wants to learn things gradually.
Another worthwhile choice, PORTER-CABLE 698 can be an awesome choice for most of the hobbyists out there. It’s also the best choice if you are looking for a router table that you can easily move.
Compatibility can be an issue here, though. It may not work with all types of wood routers in the market. You may need additional accessories to finish some projects. Then, keep in mind that the router is for hobbyists and not professionals.
In short, you can have a sturdy yet portable router table. However, the quality of the materials used is not top-notch. So, you have to compromise at some point. Even then, on a sub-$200 budget, this router table is making enough sense.
Trim Router Table is the cheapest router table you can purchase right now. Still, in the budget category, it’s one of the best too. It’s a product made of Vinyl and the construction is sturdy enough, and it comes with MDF surface too.
The noticeable point here is the simplicity of design. You can carry Trim Router Table anywhere you like. It’s no strings attached and you have the benefits of ultimate portability. Thanks to the pre-drilled holes, you can easily attach the router table to a bigger table.
Long story short, Trim Router Table is for the ultimate beginners out there. We won’t recommend this for professional needs. if you are getting started and need the support and safety of a router table, be blind and go for this.
Now that you have seen the router tables for both professionals and hobbyists, it’s time to move on. We will now have a look at the major reasons why you should have a router table.
What is a Router Table?
A router table is one of the primary serviceable pieces of gear you can add to your garage or shop. It is a power tool or hand tool that a craftsman uses to rout an area in a comparatively dense material like wood or plastic. Routers are hand-held or fastened, cutting end-up in a router table.
It is a particular type of table where an appropriate hand-held router is fixed, and the router cutter protrudes through a hole in the surface of the table.
When choosing a router table, you want one that can free up both your hands so you can adapt and guide the wood as necessary without having to keep a hand steady on the piece of wood you’re working on. This ensures the overall safety of the task and makes it much easier for you to perform advanced projects, including installing grooves, forming edge profiles, and more.
The two main classes of router tables are free-standing and benchtop. Free-standing router tables are typically larger tables that can are used as standalone tables. Benchtop router tables are generally smaller and lighter, making them easier to handle and transport.
Why Should You Have a Router Table?
While there is a huge amount of benefits, let’s narrow them down to a few. So, here are the few benefits of using a router table for your projects.
- Router Tables can provide you better stability while routing wood and other materials. This is better when compared to the process of using routers as such. This is even useful if you are trying to do an intense shape or something. By making the work surface stable, you can get the job done quickly.
- When you are using a router table, it’s easy to shape as well as to cut wood. You have the benefits of better precision and care.
- More importantly, you can focus both hands for the routing process. When you don’t have a router table with you, you need to hold the router using one hand, for the sake of precision. When you have a table, it’s pretty stable and you can concentrate on the shape that you’re molding.
- As it goes without saying, router tables offer better safety. Chances are very low that you will come across accidents.
When you are a professional, you can have better precision and safety with these router tables. We believe it’s a great thing too.
How to use a Router Table?
Excellent Straight Edges on Plywood or Boards:
The vertical surface left by the router bit makes it easy to make a right seam when you’re gluing wood, which is edging to plywood. Sand the edges because the router bit will transfer every imperfection in your pattern to the piece you’re working on.
The Router Table Used as a Jointer:
With individual bits available on the internet and market, it only takes a few moments to turn a router table into a working jointer.
Freehand Routing With a Starting Pivot:
Pivot the wood against the starting pivot block for better control when it contacts the bit. It doesn’t matter what you use as a pivot as long as it’s attached and placed 2 to 3 inches from the bit. Edge profiling some hundred feet of wood or base molding can be done with a handheld router.
Working With a Narrow, Long and Small Stock:
With some efforts, the long and narrow stock can be easily installed on a router table.
What Can You Do With a Router Table?
Router tables are used to improve the versatility of a hand-held router. Each method of its use is particularly suited to specific applications, e.g., substantial larger workpieces are challenging to support on a router table and are routed with a hand-held machine.
We have mentioned some standard woodworking procedures that you can use a router table for, including:
- Dovetail and box joinery.
- Using a router table as a jointer.
- Making raised panel doors.
- Grooves, dadoes, and slots.
- Stopped cuts.
- Working with long, narrow or small stock.
- Lock-miter, drawer lock, and finger joints.
- Edge trimming and template work.
Things to Consider in the Router Table
Now that you have decided to purchase the router table for professional or amateur needs, you have to know a few things. So, here, we are listing out the major aspects to consider while purchasing the router table for your needs.
The Surface is Top Priority
Obviously, the work surface is the most important aspect of every router table. All the time, you should look for a rigid, flat and powerful surface. Also, make sure that there are no bumps or other types of problems. It is only if you have a rigid surface that you can have an environment of precise cutting and routing.
It’s great if you can go for tops that are made of MDF. For enhancing its durability, you can try surfacing the MDF top with melamine or high-pressure laminate. The second option can be expensive, but worth it’s one long-term investment. On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a lot for professional needs, we would recommend going with cast iron tops. The advantage here is that you don’t have to worry about vibrations.
The fence is another important part of the router table and it should be easily adjustable. Trust us, this can save a lot of time when you take up a project. Easily adjustable does not mean not being strong. The idea is to get a fence that can be adjusted easily but sits in the place when required. You also have a choice between one-piece and two-piece fences. The selection should be based on the control you need while handling boards.
A Decent Dust Collector
You produce an incredible amount of dust while making the perfect project. So, in order to keep the studio clean and aligned, you should get a router table with the best dust collection method. Needless to say, it can help your health. Overexposure to dust is a common problem encountered by people who work in the industry. So, it’s a necessary precaution.
The Best Base
You should also look for a sturdy base for the router table. You should keep in mind the fact that you will be applying a lot of pressure while routing. So, the base should offer better protection and stability while doing so.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here, we have answered a few questions that are frequently asked when it comes to router tables.
1. Why are Router Tables Useful?
When compared to the process of holding a router and using it, router tables will give you a more stable and effective experience. You can also use both your hands on the work, as opposed to the handheld version. Its other advantages include safety and precision.
2. What are the factors that affect the lifespan of a router table?
Obviously, there are a few things involved, starting from the type of material being used. For instance, make sure that the router table is made of high-quality materials. The top should be able to tolerate the maximum level of pressure you’d apply. It’s also important to know how sensitive the material is towards vibrations as well as noise being produced. All these will have a cumulative impact on the longevity of your router table.
3. Suggest me a router table for a beginner workshop?
The answer to this question depends on the exact purpose of yours. If you are just starting, you should try to get the standard router table. Make sure that the performance is enough for your needs. By the way, if you have a smaller studio, we recommend going for a compact router table. This way, you can make sure that space is adjusted for maximum productivity.
4. What are the different types of router tables?
Although the sub-sections are high in number, router tables can be classified into three. First of all, there are the compact router tables, which are easy to use. They can be carried around with ease. Also, you don’t need to worry about other portability issues. Second, there are standard router tables that give you the stationary feel while working. Third and the most expensive one in the list, you can have full router-table systems. They come with the full set of hardware for your all types of woodworking projects.
We hope these answers will help you in the long run.
Some Safety Tips to Use Router Tables
Let’s go through some crisp safety tips to use router tables.
- Make sure that you’re wearing safety glasses, dust masks and protection for ears
- The fence of the table should be properly set
- Fix the bit in the right position as not to come out during operation
- Always feed wood from right to left
- Before you change the bits, make sure that the power plug is turned off
- If you are using small wooden stocks, always clamp the router to the table.
These tips will help you in the long run, to safely and effectively deal with wood routing.
The router table is a high gear for you to optimize your woodwork projects and create excellent pieces. It is devised to make your job efficient and make you much more comfortable. For instance, if you are an ultimate beginner when it comes to wood routing, it is unnecessary to get a fully-fledged router table set.The amount of time it saves while processing a portion of wood on a router table is much shorter than the time spent working with older gears like a handheld router.
The possibilities are endless, and the very same goes for the variety of router bits designed stringently for use on a router table. There are a variety of functional applications that will come to your mind. Fortunately, the best router table makes available are plentiful, as well.
Here's a list of the best router tables we found:
- Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
- Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
- SKIL RAS900 Router Table
- Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension
- MLCS 2394 Extension Router Table Top & Fence with Universal Router Plate
- Grizzly T10222 Router Extension for Table Saw
- Dremel 231 Shaper/Router Table
- Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
- Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
When buying a quality router table, one must look for sturdiness along with maximum workpiece control during wood crafting. This enables a professional to gain extra control on routing operations and allows for hands-free precision in carving or slicing the appropriate length with zero irregularities on the workpiece.