Best wood router 2018: precision cutting for serious DIY jobs

Route holes through worktops and woodwork to the delight of your family and friends

TODO alt text

First up, are you looking for the best router or the best router? These are the ones that DIY experts use to cut through wood. Looking for the other type? 

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)?

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.

The best routers, in order of preference

1. Triton TRA001 2400w Dual-Mode Precision Plunge Router

Best wood router

Specifications
No load speed: 8,000-21,000rpm
Power output: 2400W
Weight: 7.7kg
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Robust+Powerful
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy

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.

2. Festool OF 1400 EBQ-Plus GB 1400w Router

Best high-end router – the pinnacle of power tools!

Specifications
No load speed: 10,000-22,500rpm
Power output: 1400W
Weight: 4.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Pro-level routing+Super efficient
Reasons to avoid
-Price tag puts it firmly in the 'pro' area too

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.

3. Bosch POF 1200 AE Electric 1200W Router

Best mid-price wood router

Specifications
No load speed: 11000-28000rpm
Power output: 1200W
Weight: 3kg
Reasons to buy
+Good balance of price and performance 
Reasons to avoid
-Flimsy chip guard

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.

4. Makita 1/4 inch Router

Best budget wood router

Specifications
No load speed: 27,000rpm
Power output: 900W
Weight: 2.7kg
Reasons to buy
+It's cheap+It's light
Reasons to avoid
-It's not suitable for tough jobs

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.

5. DeWalt DW625EK-GB 2000W Router

The yellowest of all pro-grade routers

Specifications
No load speed: 8,000-20,000rpm
Power output: 2000W
Weight: 5.1kg
Reasons to buy
+Withstands heavy, daily use+Very powerful, very yellow 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricier, naturally

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.

(function(){ function loadGTM(){ (function(w,d,s,l,i){w[l]=w[l]||[];w[l].push({'gtm.start': new Date().getTime(),event:'gtm.js'});var f=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0], j=d.createElement(s),dl=l!='dataLayer'?'&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.defer=true;j.src= '//www.googletagmanager.com/gtm.js?id='+i+dl;f.parentNode.insertBefore(j,f); })(window,document,'script','dataLayer','GTM-TLPWP6'); } // Can't be in asset loader until we can call custom loader functions ;(window.Promise ? Promise.all([ window.reliablePageLoad, window.reliableConsentGiven ]) : window.reliableConsentGiven ).then(function(){ setTimeout(loadGTM, 1500); }); })();