Best Plunge Routers

For most woodworkers, even the beginners, a router is one of the most essential power tools they need to have. It’s a versatile tool that can be used in many cases. But there are two problems. First, most people don’t know whether to choose fixed router or pluge router. Second, they don’t know which one is the best among hundreds of products on the market. Today, we’ll tackle these two problems by reviewing some of the best plunge router you can buy.

 I am not a professional contractor or installer, but I still appreciate the value. I do have a fully stocked shop, and this is just one of many routers that I own. Everything about this router just seems better than anything I’ve used before. First and foremost is the dust collection on my Festool tools is second to none. The balance and lack of vibration in this router makes it comfortable to use. The soft-start circuitry ramps up speed, which when turning a large bit, could be the difference of the router wanting to twist your hands as you start it.

  • The ease of plunging and locking is THE BEST.
  • The ergonomics for the plunge lock are so well designed and quite literally, is not surpassed by any of the other routers I own.
  • The depth control is easy to set and stays securely locked

When you buy Festool, you are buying a system. If you are just looking for a single router, this probably isn’t the router for you. Since I have a CT vacuum, guide rails, and other accessories for this and other tools, it works in such a way that the system is more powerful than the sum of the individual parts. I have purchased the LR32 system which allows me to use this tool for drilling accurately positioned hinge and shelf-pin holes.As someone that has done scenic construction for theaters and corporate events, the mobility of my Festool system makes it ideal for the woodworker on the go.

  • Ergonomic handle with full-grip is designed for increased control and reduced fatigue with power switch and speed control at the fingertips.
  • The OF 1400 EQ Router provides a smooth 2-3/4″ plunge action on precision ground rods and a double column clamp with a quick and secure plunge lock.
  • Micro-adjustable depth control to 1/256″ (1/10 mm) with ball detents which allows you to dial in your routing with tremendous precision.
  • MMC electronic controls provide constant speed under load for improved cut quality, step-less variable speed, and overload and thermal protection.
  • Ratcheting spindle lock for quick and easy bit changes with a flick of the wrist.
  • Great product at a high price.

All Festool Tools come packaged in Systainers that allow them to stack and be stored in uniform sized containers that interlock. Now that I am only home-based, I still really like that I am not filling my shop with dust, every time I run a tool.

Bosch 12 Amp 2-1/4 Combination Horsepower Plunge

This replaces my old Craftsman and is far superior in quality and cut. While the bits are a major factor in quality of cut, the motor is key to turning the bits. The ability to use this as a plunge router adds to its value. It’s a fast and easy switch between plunge and fixed setups. The only issue I’ve had was getting the guide bushing adapter needed for this series. I did get it but I had to look in multiple sources. A few had ridiculous prices for them and yet I found them at an online woodworking website. Bosch support wasn’t exactly the greatest but we did eventually get where I needed to be. You may want to look at other sources, WoodCraft/Rockler, for the accessories, but the router itself is top shelf.
Powerful, Variable-Speed Motor with Soft Start
Take care of even tough routing jobs with the powerful 2.25 HP/12 Amp motor and its versatile speed range of 8,000 to 25,000 RPM. The variable speed dial allows you to set the optimal speed for the routing task and material. And with built-in Constant Response Circuitry, your router will maintain a constant speed throughout the cut, so you get cleaner, more accurate results.With the integrated soft-start feature, the motor reduces torque upon start-up for a much smoother transition and easier handling on your part.
Accurate Fixed and Plunge Base Cuts
This versatile kit provides all the components necessary for fixed-depth routing and plunge routing, as well. Microfine bit depth adjustment systems on both bases allow for accurate and fast bit depth adjustments. The microfine adjustment has an overall range of one inch and is accurate to 1/64 inch.Both bases also feature the Bosch Precision Centering Design, which allows the bit to be centered with the subbase or optional template guides (sold separately). This makes it easier than ever to keep the bit on the intended cutting-line when using guidance devices such as jigs, templates, or dovetail fixtures.Both of the included bases, fixed and plunge, feature quick clamp systems for quick tool-free conversions, so moving the motor between the two bases takes only seconds and requires no tools. The plunge base features soft grip handles for easier operation, and the fixed base includes threaded holes for mounting it to router tables. The fixed base’s advanced bit height adjustment system allows you to conveniently adjust the bit height from above the router table.
Rugged Design for Increased Durability
The Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge and Fixed-Base Router Kit is durable and built for years of use. The motor housing and bases are now made of aluminum, and the power switch is now completely dust-sealed for added durability. The rugged carrying case keeps all of the components protected. This routing system is backed by a one-year limited warranty, 30-day money back guarantee, and one-year service protection plan.
What’s in the Box
EVS Motor (16176), plunge base (RA1166), fixed base (RA1161), fixed base chip shield, plunge base chip shield, 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch self-releasing collet chucks, comfortable forged 16-mm and 24-mm bit change wrenches, T-handle hex-height adjustment wrench, and rugged carrying case.

DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Router 

Let me start off by saying I in no way shape or form work for Dewalt. I only own one Dewalt tool and this is it. I have owned several, including the Bosch Colt which is no comparison. That is coming from a Bosch loyalist. But no more will I be brand loyal. Dewalt has made the best trim router available. I bought mine during the Dewalt sale this Christmas and got the Combo(plunge base and fixed base), the Edge guide, and the Round sub base for less than $150 shipped. The Bosch Colt only came with the fixed base and edge guide for ~$115 YMMV.

The plunge base for it was an additional ~$90.

Pros:
1) The LED lights. They are positioned perfectly to light you path. Why haven’t they made these sooner.
2) The Plunge base adjusts with ease. Press the lever to adjust and release to hold with confidence that it will not slip.
3) Changeover from the fixed base to the plunge base takes literally seconds.
4) Micro depth adjustment just simply WORKS! You couldn’t ask for anything easier.
5) Amazon had the lowest price I found. The big box houses couldn’t come close. Good Job Amazon!

Cons:
1) I couldn’t find anymore

I will definitely look at Dewalt more seriously.

Features

  • Durable 1.25HP motor delivers the power to meet the toughest applications.
  •  Variable speed control feature enables bit speed to be optimized for changing applications.
  •  Soft-starting motor features full-time electronic feedback that maintains motor speed through the cut.
  •  Dual LED’s and clear sub-base ensure maximum visibility in operation.
  •  Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64″ (fixed base only).
  •  Plunge base incorporates fine-tune adjustment rod for precise depth setting.
  •  Large, low-pressure spindle lock button allows for comfortable, single wrench bit changes.
  •  Multiple shaft-lock detents enable quick and simple bit changes.
  •  Depth ring and clamping mechanism combine to ensure motor remains locked in position (fixed base only).
  •  Spring-loaded release tabs allow for quick base removal (fixed base only).
  • Motor can be transitioned quickly and easily between fixed and plunge bases.
  • Overmolded rubber handles provide a comfortable and secure grip (plunge base only).
  • Allows up to 1.5″ of depth travel with standard base & 2″ with plunge base.
  • Aluminum motor housing and base construction provides long term durability.
  • Extended sub-base provides greater work surface contact for improved user control (fixed base).
  • Large plunge base platform provides added stability for heavier applications and sub-base accepts universal template guides.
  • Extended 8-slot 1/4″ collet maximizes surface contact with router bit shank for a tighter grip.

OVERALL

  • The Dewalt DWP611PK is the absolute BEST router you can buy.

DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge Router Kit

Pros:
~ Excellent quality! People love to complain about Dewalt’s products no longer being produced in the US, but I find no signs of that effecting quality in my purchases so far. I own several new Dewalt tools and they are very well built and packaged. Dewalt has responded to criticism by now returning some manufacturing to the US and actually branding their tools “Built in the USA with GLOBAL MATERIALS”, but frankly in my experience the tool quality seems totally fine (produced in the US or otherwise).

The action on the plunge base is smooth and easy. The adjustable height stops have a clean positive click for each stop. The handles are sizeable and comfortable to use. Even the toggle switch has a feeling of solid quality. Everything considered, this just feels like a substantial well made tool.

~ Soft start motor is perfect. An added benefit of the soft start is it makes this tool less scary to use for the inexperienced newcomer since it doesn’t come screaming to life the second you hit the switch.

~ It has the all the required accessories for a kit in this price range: 1/4″ & 1/2″ collets, dust collection shroud, included wrench, hard case for storage, adjustable speed, etc.

~ I love that the power cord is detachable at the base. I have found with nearly every power tool I own, that interface–where the cord enters the tool– ALWAYS eventually becomes the point of failure. Sometimes it takes years, sometimes it takes months, but this system will prevent that. The included cable is pretty durable, but if you were to damage it somehow, you can easily just purchase another and swap it out, no mess, no fuss. EVERY POWER TOOL SHOULD USE A SYSTEM LIKE THIS, PERIOD.

Cons:
~ I think the dust collection shroud is a bit wimpy. It is just a small plastic piece and I often find it a bit clumsy to attach. Once attached however, it does work well.

~ Would be nice perhaps to include the edge guide. Even if that raised the price slightly its fine because I see this as being a router KIT and so many routing operations are well served with the edge guide. The hard case already includes a space for it, so why not include it for a few extra bucks.

~ Their claim that the solid base allows for 1/64″ adjustments is frankly bogus. There is a large collar threaded onto the motor shroud and by turning that you are supposedly able to make 1/64″ adjustments. There is just no way, and that isn’t even a knock against the tool they just shouldn’t say it in the description. If you need perfect 1/64″ adjustments, you would never expect to get that from a collar threated to something like 0.5″/turn. Its just not that accurate for repeatable cuts, but it also shouldn’t be, that’s why its a fixed base. You might be able to get it with the plunge base, but I bet not even there could you make repeatable 1/64″ cuts just on the basis of the measuring guide. You would have to make test cuts to actually ensure you got that level of accuracy. Its not a router lift, its a hand held router.

OVERALL

In summary, I love this router and both bases. The motor size makes it big enough to tackle most any jobs within reason and still compact enough that it remains versatile for edge routing.

The 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit (model RT0701CX7) delivers performance, versatility and precision in a compact size. With a full 1-1/4 maximum horsepower and a plunge base included in the kit, the RT0701CX7 is engineered for a full range of precision routing applications.

The RT0701CX7 has a powerful 1-1/4 HP (maximum horsepower) motor with a variable speed control dial (10,000-30,000 RPM) that enables the user to match the speed to the application. Additional performance features include electronic speed control to maintain constant speed under load, and soft start feature for smooth start-ups. The RT0701CX7 is double-insulated with a heavy-duty aluminum motor housing for increased durability.

The RT0701CX7 is engineered for precision and includes a smooth rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system and easy-to-read depth scales for more precise settings. The quick release cam lock system is designed for easy depth adjustments and base removal/installation, with a high-visibility base design for improved handling and performance.

Additional features include a slim and ergonomic design that weighs only 3.9 lbs., with a durable flat top design for added convenience when changing bits. The base can be removed quickly to install other bases, and the shaft lock is engineered for quick and easy bit changes (uses ¼” shank router bits).(we have written a guide about Impact Wrench and chainsaw).