A plunge router is one of the most popular equipment to have for woodworkers. And as flexible routers, they often come as compact routers that allow people to work with any kind of big or small projects. We’ll be reviewing the best plunge routers that not only us, but people love to work with. And then, we’ll spill out the beans why it’s always best to have one ready in your woodworking space.
Then, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about a plunge router and how to choose the right one for you. Of course, we also want you to see the benefits of owning one. We’ll also be answering common questions people have regarding plunge routers and compact kits.
Top 7 Best Plunge Router to Own This Year
Dewalt is a company that focuses on producing handheld construction tools and equipment. Safe to say they are one of the experts in the field and have made some pretty great and durable equipment, including this Dewalt 1.25 hp Max Torque Compact Router. As a compact router, this baby can turn in between fixed and plunge router which is great because you can always alternate between which one you need the most right now.
The router has a 1.25hp motor which is definitely good enough for most tough applications. You can also control the speed to your liking from between 16,000 to 27,000 rpm with no load speed. The motor has a very smooth start and also constant electronic feedback which keeps users stable throughout the cut.
The design is made so users are able to look through the machinery comfortably to see the results of their cuts. Two LEDs are built-in with clear sub-base for this result. Adjustment ring allows controlled bit depth in fixed-base mode. As for plunge router mode, it allows up to 1.5” of depth travel with the standard base and 2” with a plunge base.
The con? Make sure not to run it for an extended period as it might melt the parts. Go easy on it, wear your goggles if you’re not buying the dust collector and you’re all set!
Makita is another popular choice for woodworkers having made high-quality tools for bench top, woodworking and power tools. Their Makita 1.25 hp compact router kit is another product we definitely love to recommend.
As the name implies, it runs at a max 1.25 hp for its motor. Add to that, it also has a speed control dial which lets you set it anywhere between 10,000-30,000 rpm.It has a really smooth rack as well as a highly accurate and precise fine depth adjustment system for its pinion.
The design is also ergonomic for maximum control and comfort of users. It’s also designed to give users high visibility on their work through the base. The durable construction has the router made of heavy-duty aluminum for its motor housing.
It has a smooth start-up feature and runs at a very stable speed no matter how heavy is your load. And for those of you who need a fixed base to work with, this thing can easily transition to it as it’s compatible with industry-standard template guides.
The plunge base allows between 0 to 1.375 inches range of depth capacity with smooth penetration into your work piece. It also comes with 3 different preset depth stops for easy fine adjustments. Depth adjustment is also supported with quick release cam lock system.It also comes with a removable clear plastic debris-blocker which reduces airborne wood debris.
The only con is that for the router to work on plunge mode, you will have to buy the necessary adapter for it to function. Once you’ve got that, this might become something that you won’t ever want to replace.
We’re now entering the 2+ HP motor-equipped kits. Bosch’s 1617EVSPK router combo kit comes with this powerful motor that allows for even more intense work and higher speed. If the 1.25 HP models are meant for light and simple jobs, the 2.25 HP motor will help you drill faster with the same accuracy and quality.
Its 2.25 HP motor with advanced speed-control technology allows you to adjust and maintain your router to run at 8,000-25,000 rpm. It has integrated soft-start feature which lets you handle and control the router easier. It also comes with microfine bit-depth adjustment on the base which is accurate down to 1/64 inch.
The router has durable aluminum construction and is paired with wooden handles for fixed base use or soft-grip handle for plunge base. It is also built with Constant Response Circuitry that helps keep the router cut at a constant speed and allow you to make clean and accurate results. Switching between plunge and the fixed router is also as easy with the quick clamp system.
The kit comes with the necessary collets and wrenches for you to adjust the router aside from both plunge and fixed base as well as the chips. You can also purchase their Quick-Change Template Guide Adapter separately.
And now, the con. As popular as Bosch brands are, it’s pretty noticeable after just a few uses that sliding the motor in and out of the houses is not easy and may cause scratches. They are also notoriously known to not include the smaller collet (which you can immediately complain to their support team).
Hitachi KM12VC is a fixed-router which comes with a choice to purchase with the plunge router. It is an 11-amp motor that runs at max 2.25 hp. The motor has nickel-plated housing. Whenever you need to switch base, it has a 2-stage motor release clamp so switching is a breeze. Thanks to the 2.25 hp motor, this router runs between 8,000-24,000 rpm which is fully adjustable.
The motor also features Hitachi’s electronic speed control that retains the router to run at a constant speed no matter what kind of cutting it runs on. Hitachi also prides in their powerful motor which is also quiet, producing only 79.5 dB with very little vibration that increases accuracy. Plunge base also features a fine-depth adjustment knob that allows you to make precise adjustments in 1/64 inch.
The KM12VC was also engineered with ergonomic design for its handles that allow high control and accuracy. It is also portable, weighing only 9.9 pounds for the plunge base and comes with an included protective case for those who work mobile. All collets, wrenches, seven template guides are included as well.
It’s very typical to see Dewalt making it into these lists because that’s just how good they are. Another one of Dewalt that we’ve decided to include on the list is the 2.25 hp router kit with the model number DW618PK. It runs with a much more powerful motor that requires 12 amp. The construction is made of heavy-duty metal housings, precision-machined brass bushings, and case-hardened steel guide rods for plunge base.
The router is engineered with Soft Start which keeps your control in check.The speed can also be adjusted between 8,000 to 24,000 rpm depending on your needs. Full electronic feedback assures users that the router is running at constant speed even under pressure. Rubber over-molded handles with a low center of gravity gives that sweet balance and control which reduces user’s fatigue.
It comes with a depth adjustment ring which gives you precisely 1/64 inch of increments vertically. The plunge base has five-position turret stop for quick change and adjusting.
You can also easily switch between fixed and plunge base with its tool-free steel motor cam lock which also helps with quick and solid-locking. Detachable cordset removes users’ need to find ‘shorty’ cord motor pack.
A really good feature about this particular router is its integral, through-the-column dust collection which removes up to 95% of dust together with durable LEXAN sub-base and keeps your sight clear. It also has Dust-Sealed switch which prevents dust from entering the system and keeps the switch alive.
We’re entering even more powerful range of routers for those of you with even heavier needs. This 120-volt Bosch Electronic Plunge Base Router runs at 15 amp with a motor that runs at max 2.3 hp. This Bosch’s plunge router is able to run between 10,000 to 25,000 rpm that can be adjusted through the variable speed dial. It is also equipped with a trigger control system; the power switch is conveniently installed on the handle.
It’s also equipped with Afterlock microfine bit-depth adjustment that gives it easy and precise adjustments for different plunge settings. Throughout the cut, Bosch’s Constant Response circuitry delivers constant feedback that your router is running at the same speed.
The only con is its not-so-smooth plunge action, which may require more power from user to pull up and push down.
The most powerful out of our list is Triton’s 3.25 hp dual-mode plunge router. Yep, it’s equipped with a motor that runs at max 3.25 hp and requires 15 amp current to work. Thanks to this, it’s able to drill and route through the toughest timbers and other heavy projects. It has a soft start that allows users to retain their control and adjust the variable speed on the dial along with electronic speed maintenance which keeps your cut stable and constant.
Single wrench bit change can be achieved thanks to the automatic spindle lock which is accessible through the base and can only be used when switch cover is closed. Micro winder allows the route to give continuous fine depth adjustment in full plunge mode. There is also a safety switch shutter to prevent the router being switched on accidentally.
Side air vents exist to keep dust from entering the motor casing even when it’s mounted upside down. The casing also encloses the whole router which provides maximum protection from cut zone and extracts dust. Quick-fit pins provide fast fitment and removal from the fence and router table. A 3-stage turret comes with reading scales to provide the most precise cut.
The con is that this router is a bit weak on the spring based on reviews of several other users, which you want to pay more attention to when using.
Everything Important About a Plunge Router
And here is everything you need to know before getting and using your very own plunge router:
- Get to know what your plunge router main purpose is! This means you need to classify what kind of jobs it’s responsible to decide the minimum motor power your router should be equipped with.
- Get to know where it’s going to be used at! As for this one, you need to decide whether it’s something you want to be mobile and easy to carry, installed or mounted on your table or used standing or upside down. Every router works differently in different positions and situations; some are light but less powerful and some are heavy but more powerful.
- Stay safe. Get a dust collector and wear goggles! Using a router always means flying bits of wood and dust which can be seriously damaging to the eyes. A lot of routers come with side air vent or dust collector that helps keep the dust away from your sight, the machine and from getting into your eyes.
- Light-duty trim routers are probably what you want to get for flush-trimming plastic laminate and similarly thin materials. Don’t use large bits on them or you’ll burn the motor! Run it at a lower speed if you’re operating with huge bits.
- Use plunge routers for routing inlays, grooves or holes.
- Route left to right in a counterclockwise direction to prevent damage on your bits and router. It’ll also be smoother and easier to control.
- Bits require the right collet size to work and it’s either ¼ inch or ½ inch. Some routers, especially combo kits, usually come with both collets, and it’s best to check before you finish your purchase, so you don’t have to wait a few more days to get yours to work.
- Use wrench to lock the collets in place by turning them together.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Woodworking is all fun but only if you have the right tools. That’s how we came to review specifically plunge routers which come with all the versatility that fixed base doesn’t offer. We’ve also made sure to include the specifications and how they will benefit users as they work on their projects.
Make sure that before you make your purchase to check our important section on everything you need to know before buying and using one. We want you to make the best out of your new tools and make sure it’s one that lasts long. Remember, safety first!
And finally, we have several commonly asked questions regarding plunge routers. Who knows, maybe you have questions or answers to the ones you haven’t yet asked!