Nowadays, a router is an essential tool for a carpenter or an artisan. They are a woodworker’s best friend because they are designed in a way to make even the trickiest cuts seemingly easy. Therefore, in this article, I will review the best plunge routerof 2019 while also covering all the basics.
Routers are an essential machine in a woodworkers shop because they give excellent results in bringing out a great finish and as a result enhancing your work. They will aid you in simplifying daunting or difficult cuts.
Our Recommended Best Plunge Routers
Now that I’ve discussed the points you need to keep in mind before making that final purchase, let’s look at some of the top plunge router reviewsso that you can make an educated choice.
1. DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge
This mid-range variable-speed router has a user-friendly design, which is suitable for personal woodworkers as well as professionals.
The initial torque of a router can be harmful to a carpenter’s wrist and this router has featured a soft start engineered with an AC electric motor, putting less stress on the wrist and the motor.
Users of this router have better control over it because it has a variable speed that has a range of 8000 to 24000RPM. You can control the speed with the help of the switch situated at the top of the router. With its aid, you can have suitable choices between the speeds you need for the job at hand.
It is said to be the best budget plunge router because it has both features of a fixed base and plunge base router. If you can’t decide between the two, you can just buy this particular router. It also has two rubber handles on its sides for comfortable grip so it makes it easier to work on tricky cuts due to better control.
It features both the fixed base and plunge base router and you can also separate the power cord. There’s also a built-in dust accumulation system.
The centering tool the edge guide will have to be bought separately.
2. Bosch 120-Volt 2.3 HP Electronic Plunge Base Router
Bosch is a popular brand and for good reason. They have a wide range of tools that caters to varying budgets, durability, and design preference. This router from Bosch is no different and is designed in a way to make your woodworking tasks easier. It has handles on the side for an easy and comfortable grip.
The router features an ‘Afterlock micro-fine bit depth adjustment’ that helps you to lock the router at the measurement you need, eliminating the issue of having to adjust it constantly. The 15 AMP motor can produce up to 10000 to 25000 RPM for more power with a horsepower of 2.3.
You will not have any visibility problems with this tool because it has an in-built LED light illuminating the areas of your work, which may otherwise not have much visibility.
However, the only issue you may have with this router is its dust collection kit because it is not up to the standard. You can buy a separate one and you’ll be good to go!
It comes with a built-in led light for better visibility and has comfortable handle design. The power switch is located on the handle for convenient control. Also, the device offers variable speed dial for accurate cuts.
It has a sub-standard dust collection kit and alignment issues have also been reported.
3. Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Next on this list is the best small plunge routerdesigned by Makita. It may seem small and compact but it has the ability to get precise as well as smooth cuts. Do not be misled by its size, this router has a 1¼ horsepower motor coupled with a 6½ amp.
Coming to its variable speed, while using this router your speed range will be from 10000 to 30000 RPM. This is helpful for you to adjust the speed as you go along from one cut type to the next. It does not put sudden pressure on the router motor due to its soft start, meaning it will take a few seconds to get to full power.
It must be highlighted here that you must be careful with the lock lever of the router because otherwise, the motor will fall out. The motor unit and the plunge router base lack friction and hence it causes the motor to lose its place. If you keep this in mind, you will be able to utilize this compact router at work or at home.
It works well in corners due to small base size and features a soft start motor. Moreover, two wrenches are available in the kit and the unit has a well-built practical design.
Motor may fall out if lock level is not handled properly. Also, the unit does not feature a built-in light.
4. Bosch 1617EVSPK Woodworking Router Combo Kit
When we think of machines and tools, we think of Bosch. This is because they manufacture durable tools. If you are looking for a router that is of an excellent quality you can look at the Bosch 1617EVSPK router combo kit. Sturdy aluminum is used to make the motor housing and the base hence sealing its durability.
The brand boasts the built-in Constant Response Circuitry of this router, which will make sure that the router continues at a constant speed. This way your cuts will be better. The variable speed of the router ranges from 8000 to 25000 RPM, giving you the ease of having better control of your tool.
With a 12amp motor and 2¼horsepower, you will get high-caliber cuts and smooth performance. It also ensures proper depth adjustment with the micro-fine depth adjustment system so you can easily achieve exact cuts that will make your woodworks beautiful and save you from making mistakes.
The device has a powerful motor. It has been designed with a dust seal and the operations is user-friendly. Also, you’ll be getting a good variable speed range.
There’s no arbor lock in the kit and the unit isn’t packaged with templates unlike similar products.
5. DEWALT DWP611PK Compact Router Combo Kit
This resourceful router by Dewalt is designed to be multi-faceted since it comprises of the benefits of a plunge router and a fixed base router. The word ‘compact’ in its title may mislead you, but I assure you this compact router is capable of getting a variety of tasks accomplished.
With only 1.25 horsepower, this is one of the smallest yet more useful routers available in the market. The soft start technology is also incorporated in its design and because of that, the router motor is put under less pressure. This technology is also a bonus for your wrist because sudden torque of the tool may hurt you.
A variable speed toggle switch is placed at the top of the tool for your ease of adjusting the speed. It ranges from 1 to 6 that can take you from 16000 to 27000 RPM. It is equipped with electronic control to prevent burning when the machine is under load. This tool no doubt will give your wood works excellent finish.
The device is designed with a led light for better visibility and has comparatively low sound and vibration than other routers. This thing is not too heavy and is packaged with a dust collector.
No edge guide is included in the kit although it can be bought separately. And only the plunge base has a palm grip but no handle.
6. Makita RP1800 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router
The Makita RP1800 is designed to give its user a smooth and fine cut. Unlike the other routers in the list, this router does not feature a variable speed control. Rather it is a single speed router, which may not be suitable for all types of wood but can make cuts hassle-free because its speed is 22000RPM.
This wood cutting tool has a plunge depth of 2¾ inches. The depth adjustment is also easy to use and can also incorporate minor adjustments, including three presets. One amazing feature of this tool is the transparent chip deflector, which shields you from stray wood chips that may fly into your eyes.
Woodworkers are guaranteed to have good control over the tool due to its ergonomic design and over- molded handles for a comfortable grip.
To ensure safety while concentrating on a big task, the right side has a two-finger trigger for you to rest your hand. You will get sufficient power from this one-speed plunge router.
This plunge router is durable due to the built-in fan and and provides sufficient power. Moreover, the linear ball bearing gives a comfortable grip. Thu unit has a transparent chip deflector.
Not equipped to be used for different materials and does not include a variable speed control.
7. Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Base Router Kit
This plunge router from Hitachi is manufactured to produce comparatively less sound than other routers available in the market. That is a plus point for artisans who are disturbed by the sound generally produced by routers. It has a smooth start and can be powered to a nice 2¼ horsepower.
Although some have reported that the adjustment knob has an unnecessary amount of grease, the fine depth adjustment is easy to operate. The thumb release lever is also within easy reach. The motor is placed a bit high if you consider other models, which might make it look like it is lopsided.
The Hitachi KM12VC offers good value when you compare it to its price. It is able to take on a variety of tasks as long as you do not put it through different materials.
The machine has a hassle-free variable speed control and the design is roomy enough to store the motor & both bases along with other accessories. It is suitable for people looking for a router within a tight budget.
The tool looks wobbly and is not comfortable when used on a router table for the positioning of the collet.
8. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
Triton is one of the powerful routers in the market with a 3¼ horsepower and motor of 8000 to 21000 RPM, a speed range that can help you to achieve great cuts in a short time. This model from Triton has been enhanced with a three-stage turret for its user’s ease of cutting along with a direct reading for comfortable operation.
As a brand, Triton has been in business since the 1970s and their main concentration has always been accuracy. They have been designing and manufacturing high quality and user-friendly tools that have also been the recipients of many awards. So, it is safe to say that Triton is a brand to trust.
This router features a soft start and variable speed control, both of which provide comfort and ease while working. A bonus for woodworkers is the fact that they can shift from the plunge base router to a fixed base router using a single switch from the rack and pinion mode. Micro winder ensures continual fine depth adjustment.
It contains features of both plunge base and fixed base routers and variable speed control has been incorporated as well. Moreover, the precision and widening control is unmatched for plunge routing. It also includes rack and pinion mode.
Some important parts are made of plastic and collects dust easily.
What Is A Plunge Router?
Usually, woodworkers use routers of two kinds: fixed base routers and plunge base routers. The plunge router is the popular choice since they are utilitarian and can be used for making different cuts.
Plunge routers are designed to keep the router stationed above your work before you switch the router on. Subsequently, the router is slowly placed atop the wood when the motor is lowered. The said motor is positioned on a rod with springs so that you can cut the wood according to your requirement.
How Does A Plunge Router Work?
I will now discuss how a plunge router works for the newbies using this machine for the very first time. This guy gets its name ‘plunge router’ from its ability to plunge due to a plate that is designed to slide on a rail. This actually makes the bit go into the wood you are working with.
On-Off Switch- The operation begins with an on-off switch, which is generally located by the right handle. You have to press it upwards to start and downwards to switch it off. So, to make your cut push the button up and when you’re done, push the button down.
Two Handles- Another feature of the plunge router is its speed switch, which works according to the size of your bit. You will usually find this switch at the top of the router. Plunge routers also give you the pleasure of having excellent grip on it due to the two handle situated on its two sides.
Depth Adjustment- A feature that comes in handy for woodworkers is the depth adjustment that will you find on the backside beside the left handle. You may push the plunge router down to your required depth and lock it there.
Installing Bit- Get a wrench to adjust the collet of the router. Slide the shank of the bit into the collet all the way up and then back it up a quarter of an inch. Start tightening it by hand until the shaft begins to turn too. Push the button near the collet that locks the armature of its motor. Use the wrench to tighten it all the way.
Operation- After you’re done preparing all the things, you have to plug in the router. Because of the rotation of the bit, you have to work from the right to the left on the wood.
Best Plunge Router Buying Guide
Here’s a guide for you to use as a checklist while you’re in the market shopping for a plunge router. I will list down the basic things you’ll need to consider before you make that final purchase.
This is the most important feature to look out for so I’ll talk about it first. It is highly recommended that you buy a plunge router that has a motor power of 2 HP. You will need it to push a larger bit of wood to push through the stock.
Plunge routers designed with speed adjustments will let you work more smoothly and efficiently when you’re working with larger bits of wood.
Diameter Of The Collet
It is preferable to get a router that has a diameter of 1/4in or 1/2in. The 1/2in one is more expensive but works better.
Control And Grip
Proper grip on your router, while you work, is paramount. Hence, buy a router that you can hold properly. This will aid you for working long hours at a time as well as put a lot less strain on your wrist.
We all know how much dust and debris accumulates when we cut wood. So, you should look into the dust control feature of the router you want to buy to see if it comes it a vacuum port. This way, you will save a lot of time cleaning.
A router that features a soft start is a plus point because a router that starts the moment you switch it on can startle you with the sudden sound and the torque can catch you off guard hurting your wrist. If you make a soft start it will give pause for a few seconds when you can prepare yourself.
If the router has a spindle lock, you will require only one extra wrench to tighten the bit into the collet. It helps you when you cannot separate the motor to adjust the bit better.
Sinceplunge routers are usually used as a handheld router. Size is necessary to be considered. Depending on the type of woodworking, you’ll be doing, you should think of the appropriate router you’ll require.
Plunge Router Uses
You may be wondering what you can use this versatile tool for. Well, let me assure you that you can safely invest in this tool and produce beautiful woodwork with a fine finish.
Here are a few things you can do with them, keeping in mind you can do more than this list covers: template routing, inlay grooves, mortises, comes with specialized bits, allows fine depth adjustment and can be used with some jigs to cut complicated tasks.
Plunge Router vs Fixed Base Router
Generally, there are quite a few differences between plunge and fixed base routers. Let’s have a look at what they are.
Beginning Of Operation– While in a plunge router the bit remains in the unit when you position it over the wood and only comes down when you lower the bit with a pointy bottom, the bit in a fixed router is positioned in a way to stay lowered with flat bit bottom.
Shallow Indentations– When you have to do shallow indentations plunge routers are the better option because fixed base routers are steady depth cutting.
Even though there are some differences in these two routers, you will find the plunge router attachmentthat you can use whenever you need a fixed base router.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is it okay to use a plunge router on a table?
Ans: Yes, you may use a plunge router on a table depending on the setting of your router.
Q: Can a plunge router be used as a fixed base router?
Ans: Yes, it can be used as a fixed base router since there are available router attachments that you can use to use it as a fixed base router.
Q: What is the advantage of buying a plunge router?
Ans: Woodworking tasks such as mortising including stopped dados and inlay pattern work become easier to do with plunge routers.
Q: When should I use a plunge router?
Ans: Plunge routers are generally used when you have to place the tool from above.
Woodworkers have many creative ideas and visions, which cannot be brought to life without the help of useful, efficient and advanced tools. Plunge routers are such tools that add a lot more value to an artisan’s work because they help in realizing difficult designs and give an excellent finish.