Choosing Wood Router: Beginner’s Guide

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

There are multiple offers of wood routers on the market. This power tool is incredibly popular among both professionals and amateurs who work with wood or plastic. Though it is not easy to find the perfect wood router for a beginner, it is still possible if you know which features to look for.

8 Features You Need in Wood Router

While the router still keeps the reputation of “the most versatile tool” in any workshop, you need to make sure it offers the exact features you need. You have to take lots of factors into consideration. Before you proceed to the analysis, think about the work you want to perform with its help.

1. Power

You don’t need too much power for making small boxes. The less power a router provides, the less heavy it is. If you need the tool for commercial use or have to work non-stop on the different types of wood, you might need extra power. The device might be heavier, but you can always use the mounted tool on the table.

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2. Speed of motor

The lightweight model and high speed are a perfect match. It provides you with more options for work. Some materials like alloys and plastic must be cut at a specific speed only. Heavy routers do not often provide high speed, so read the description carefully.

3. Base aperture

A large base aperture is the best choice for heavy-duty work. It allows you to cut the wood with a large diameter. It also helps you to see better while you are working.

4. Switch

The switch must be as simple as possible. You will not have time to think about it twice once you are working. It must be easy to reach as well.

5. Collets

The perfect collets are usually made of tempered steel and fit into the tapered motor shaft. Affordable collets are made of cone-shaped steel and are too shallow to grip lots of cutter shank. These collets can easily wear off. It is up to you which ones to use.

6. Plunge lock mechanism

You can either choose a separate clamping lever or twist-knob handle to lock the plunge. Professionals recommend using twist-knob handles on lightweight routers and clamping levers on heavy-duty models. It is up to you since at the end you might find a separate clamping lever more comfortable.

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7. Handles

Choose between side lever and knobs. Side levers provide you with better leverage access. Handles don’t have to carry the switch. They don’t have to combine the plunge locks feature as well.

8. Baseplate

Routers usually have a facing plate made from plastic. Check whether it is removable so that you can replace it when the time comes. The guide bush holes on some models are useless nowadays, but they still can restrict the choice for the table you pick.

Checklist of a Buyer

Make sure you don’t forget to look for the following features:

  • Variable speed when you buy heavy cutters of large diameter;
  • Weight and size;
  • Power and motor;
  • Collet plunge and collets;
  • Height adjustment;
  • Handles;
  • Side fence;
  • Size of the base;
  • Guide bushes;
  • Suitability for use on the table.

Specifics of Each Wood Router

Before you pick the model you like, think about all the features that you would like to have. Go for the tool with positive reviews and from a trustable developer. The wood router is not that cheap, and you will unlikely be happy to buy several tools instead of one.

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