Woodworking folk will call upon the powerful router when a multi-tool or oscillating hand tool is just not good enough.
Spinning at 30,000+rpm, these specialist bits of machinery are designed to hollow out, trim or shape large areas in hard materials without causing the sort of friction that leads to workshop fires.
Chamfer, Cove, V-Groove, Roman Ogee, Beading and Dovetail are just a small selection of profiles that can be made by common router bits. Does that all sound like complete gobbledegook? It's highly like a router isn't for you… Cabinetmakers, kitchen creators and decorative woodworking aficionados should read on, however.
Just to make sure before we head on; are you looking for the best wood router or the best broadband router? These are the ones that DIY experts use to cut through wood. Looking for the other type? Try this guide to the best mesh networks.
Now that's out of the way, whether you be a woodworking hobbyist or plank-whittling professional, we've got the best tools for your next routing job.
What is a router (wood variety)?
The best routers, in order of preference
This mighty machine packs a number of useful facets that make it worthy of its extremely reasonable price tag. For a start, it features a 1/2” and 12mm collet for a greater range of bit fitment, a soft start and variable speed system makes it easy to use with all cutter types and there's a handy micro-winder for fine depth adjustments on the fly.
A powerful dust extraction feature keeps the workplace clean, while numerous safety systems ensure that fingers remain firmly intact during tough cutting or routing jobs.
Triton's tools are also built to exacting standards, which means they feel heavy in the hand and come across as fairly robust beasts, which is great given the mid-range price tag.
Festool is among the leaders and innovators of the powertool world and the price tends to reflect this fact, but you do get a long lasting, ultra-reliable high-precision machine in return for your investment.
Ignore the weight, as this thing is designed to route through wood like a hot knife through butter and is arguably one of the beefiest models featured on this page.
As a result, it glides through chunky worktops and even tackles laminates without chipping, cracking or snagging.
Arguably one of the most impressive elements is the extremely well engineered dust extraction tool, which virtually rids the workspace of any harmful materials for an easy-breathing experience.
Bosch tools are typically designed for their ease of use and because of this, they can suffer a bit in terms of reliability and robustness. That said, this plunge router packs some advanced features that are typically associated with more expensive models, such as the Bosch Electronic speed setting wheel and accelerator switch, the rapid router bit change via an integrated spindle lock and a SDS system that enables easy, tool-free insertion of template guides.
It naturally doesn't feel quite as hardy as some of the pricier models on this list and the clear chip guard doesn't offer the peace of mind that chunky metal guards do, but it's a good value proposition.
Although not up to the challenge of heavy, daily use, this incredibly well priced Makita offering boasts the sort of build quality that's now synonymous with the much loved American brand.
Lightweight and easy to use by hand (rather than complicated jig set-ups), this tool benefits from a three-stage cutting depth adjustment, easy to read depth scale and an easy to operate trigger switch.
The 900W power output falls short of rivals on this page, meaning keen hobbyists and accomplished DIYers will likely get the most out of this bargain tool.
You can chalk this one up as another professional piece of kit that has been designed and engineered with heavy usage in mind.
A clever electronic speed control ensures the correct rotational speed is maintained, even under heavy loads, while its experienced maker promises a precise finish in timber, aluminium and plastics.