How To Choose a Router

Written by: Erica Spangler
Design Specialist
(800) 375-3403

Types of Router

Fixed Base

  • Most popular router type
  • Simple to use
  • Handles and wide base adds stability
  • Cut depth set prior to turning router on
Shop Fixed Base Routers

Plunge Base

  • Can adjust the cut depth while router is on
  • Convenient when making several passes on a board
  • Death stop included to accurately place the tool to desired depth
  • Can cut mortises, stopped grooves, and incised letters
Shop Plunge Base Routers

Multi-base & Combo Routers

  • Considered the most versatile tool
  • Accomplishes most routing tasks
  • Switch between fixed-base or plunge base
  • Combo can include adjustable grooving, router compass, monitoring and more
Shop Multi-base Combo Routers

D Handle

  • Least popular and most costly
  • Pistol-style switch for fast shut off, safety and control
  • Handle style promotes better control on meticulous jobs
  • Compromised stability during shut off
Shop D Handle Routers

Trimmers

  • Smaller size allows greater maneuverability
  • Rotation of bits are faster
  • Greater accuracy and precision for smaller projects
Shop Trimmers

Palm Routers

  • Smaller router option
  • Addresses most needs for an amateur woodworker's needs
Shop Palm Routers

Considerations

Terminology

Stroke length determines distance the blade travels in operation. Longer stroke lengths equal quicker cuts, smaller lengths allow for tight working areas.

Voltage is the required operating voltage for the router. This correlates to the longevity and power of the tool.

Collet capacity is the collet size. It’s the sleeve and nut that fasten the bit in the router.

Dust collection is an attachment that helps keep your work space clean.

No load RPM is the revolutions per minute a bit makes when there is no load.n This is a measurement of speed when the bit is spinning freely and not cutting wood.

Spindle lock is a pin used to lock the router's spindle allowing you to remove the bit.

Depth stop is a piece of metal used as a measurement to determine the potential depth of cut.

Accessories & Features

Bits and accessories

  • Router bits come in a variety of sizes and shapes
  • Classified as carbide-tipped or high-speed steel
  • Edge bits differ in functionality from design bits

Anti-kickback bits

  • A grooved bit to prevent blockage and kickbacks
  • Anti-kickback bits makes the router safer

Variable speeds

  • Typically most routers have 1 or 2 speed options
  • For more versatility, more than 2 speeds maximizes your potential and scope of projects

Power and accessories

  • Commercial routers range from 1 to 3 horsepower

Soft start

  • Router motor builds up speed gradually
  • This increases safety because beginning at full speed can cause problems

Chip collection system

  • For a cleaner working area, look for a router with a chip or dust collection system

Router Safety

  • Wear eye protection
  • Maintain sharp bits
  • Keep hands at a safe distance when the router is in use
  • Be wary of cutting poor lumber
  • Always hold the router with two hands
  • Make sure the router is off before you plug it in
× Shipping Rates & Methods

The cost to ship items varies by item, shipment and shipping option.

Free Ground Shipping on Orders Over $49 *

Standard ground shipping transit time is 5-7 business days.

Free Freight Shipping on Orders Over $1500 *

Curb side delivery (also called freight or "LTL" shipping) is reserved for large, heavy, or oversized items like chandeliers, bathtubs, shower doors, etc. Items are palletized and loaded onto a large truck for shipment, and delivered to your curb by scheduled appointment. Transit time is 7-10 business days.

* For exact shipping costs, add the product(s) to your cart and enter your zip code. All offers pertain to the lower 48 states and do not include deliveries to Alaska, Hawaii or Canada.

Learn more about shipping rates and policies