Top 5 Wood Routers for Beginners

5 Best Wood Routers for Beginners [Buyer Guide 2023]

5 Best Wood Routers for Beginners

Are you tired of struggling with uneven cuts and imprecise woodworking projects? Look no further—today, I want to share with you the game-changer that transformed my woodworking experience: the wood router. We try to cover a comprehensive review and buying guide of the top 5 wood routers designed specifically for beginners like you.

Your first wood router is an essential tool that can make the learning process more accessible and enjoyable. We’ve researched and compared various models based on motor power, router bits size, accuracy, precision, and ease of use.

Below, we present our top 5 recommended best woodworking routers for beginners, accompanied by pros and cons for each and personal recommendations.

Best Value

Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP* Router Kit, with Plunge Base

Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router Kit

  • 2.1 HP motor
  • 6 variable speeds from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM
  • Plunge base
  • Dust collection
  • Auto-lock plunge mechanism
  • LED lights

Best of the best

BOSCH PR20EVS Router Tool

Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS

  • 1.25 HP motor
  • 6 variable speeds from 16,000 to 35,000 RPM
  • Fixed base
  • Dust collection
  • Auto-lock plunge mechanism
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Ideal for a variety of routing tasks

Also Consider

WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router Kit

WEN RT6033

  • 1.5 HP motor
  • 6 variable speeds from 10,000 to 25,000 RPM
  • Fixed base
  • Dust collection
  • Budget-friendly option
  • Carrying case

What is a Wood Router?

A wood router is a handheld power tool that rotates a cutting bit at a high speed to shape and hollow out wood.

Image of a fixed base wood router

It consists of a motor that spins the bit, a base that controls the height and depth, and a collet that holds the router bit in place.

Routers are versatile tools used for decorative edging, joint making, hinge mortising, trimming laminates, and other applications.

Routers come in two main types:

  • Plunge routers – Allow the bit to be plunged vertically into the wood while the motor is running. Useful for starting cuts in the middle of a workpiece.
  • Fixed base routers – Feature a fixed base plate so the bit depth can only be set before turning on. Best for edging and shallow cuts. Good choice for beginners.

Top 5 Best Wood Router For Beginner

RouterPower (HP)No. of SpeedsBase
Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS1.256Fixed
Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router Kit2.16Plunge
WEN RT60331.56Fixed
DeWalt DW618PK26Plunge
Skil Router Table and Router Kit Starter Combo1.253Plunge
comparison table of wood routers for a beginner

1. Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS

Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS

Overview: The Bosch Colt Palm Router PR20EVS is a fixed-base router perfect for beginners. With a no-load RPM of 16,000 to 35,000, it provides ample power and speed control.

The bosch router PR20EVS has a 1.0 HP motor that provides enough power for most tasks. You can use different type of router bits with it like straight bits, dado bits, and roundover bits.

Variable speed dial allow you to adjust the speed to the specific application. This is important for preventing damage to the router bits and the wood.

Comes with a variety of accessories, including a plunge base, a fixed base, and a variety of router bits.

The plunge base allows you to plunge the router into the wood, which is useful for tasks such as routing dados and rabbets. The fixed base allows you to make straight cuts in the wood.

Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS


  • Easy to handle and maneuver
  • Variable speed control
  • Soft-start motor
  • Reliable brand
  • Affordable


  • Limited to smaller projects
  • Not suitable for large router bits

Why it’s great for beginners: The Bosch PR20EVS’s compact design and ease of use make it ideal for woodworking beginners who want to start with small woodworking projects.

Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS

2. Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router Kit

Best Makita Router Kit New to woodworking

The Makita 1/4 HP Router is a great option for woodworkers who need a powerful router with both fixed and plunge bases.

The Makita RF1101KIT2 has a powerful 2.25 HP motor with variable speed control from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM.

It has a 11 AMP motor that provides enough power for most tasks, and it has a variable speed dial so you can adjust the speed to the specific application.

Designed to cater to a wide range of woodworking applications, the RF1101 router kit includes some popular accessories that enhance its capabilities.

The variable speed control dial makes it easy to adapt the router’s speed to different materials and applications, enhancing its versatility.

The plunge base offered in the kit facilitates accurate depth control and allows for the router’s use in a wider variety of tasks, such as inlay work and mortising.

Considering the performance, build quality, and included accessories, the Makita RF1101KIT2 offers good value for its price.

Although it may be slightly more expensive than some competitors, the router provides consistent results, a wide range of features, and reliability – all factors that justify the price.


  • Comes with a fixed base and plunge base
  • Powerful motor
  • Electronic speed control for consistent speed
  • Soft-start motor
  • Includes accessories


  • Slightly more expensive
  • Heavier

Why it’s great for beginners: The included accessories and versatility of both fixed and plunge bases make this kit well suited for beginners looking to explore various woodworking techniques.

If you are looking for a powerful router that can handle demanding tasks, the Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router Kit is a great option. If you are looking for an affordable router that comes with a wide variety of router bits, the Bosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVS is a great option.

Makita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router Kit

Here is a table comparing the two routers Bosch PR20EVS VS Makita RF1101KIT2 :

FeatureBosch Colt Router Tool PR20EVSMakita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router Kit
Motor1.0 HP11 AMP
Variable speedYesYes
AccessoriesPlunge base, fixed base, 12 router bitsPlunge base, fixed base, fence, 16 router bits

3. WEN RT6033

WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge Woodworking Router

The WEN RT6033 is a beginner-friendly fixed base router equipped with a powerful 15-amp motor for a maximum speed of 25,000 RPM.

However, the WEN RT6033 offers a solid set of features that make it a fantastic choice for beginners.

Its has a 15-amp motor that provides enough power for most tasks. It can handle a variety of router bits, including straight bits, dado bits, and roundover bits.

Micro Adjustment dial enables precise control by advancing the depth stop in 1/128 of an inch per quarter turn, perfect for those intricate projects.

Variable Speed provides rotation speeds ranging from 8,000 to 23,000 RPM, allowing you to handle various work materials with ease.

The spring-loaded base with lock-down knob allow plunge router convert fixed router quickly.

Parallel Guide Fence is easy to attach, helping beginners to route perfectly straight designs without any hassle.

The WEN RT6033 accepts both 1/4 and 1/2-inch router bits with a plunge depth of up to 2-3/8 inches.

Some users have reported difficulty understanding the manual; however, this issue can be mitigated by referring to online tutorials and guides.

WEN RT6033


  • Powerful motor
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Affordable
  • LED work light


  • No plunge base included
  • Some users reported difficulty with bit changes

Why it’s great for beginners: The WEN RT6033’s ease of use and powerful motor make it a solid choice for beginners who want a fixed base router.

WEN RT6033

Here is a table comparing the two routers:

FeatureMakita RF1101KIT2 2-1/4 HP Router KitWEN RT6033
Motor11 AMP15 AMP
Variable speedYesYes
AccessoriesPlunge base, fixed base, fence, 16 router bitsPlunge base, fixed base, 12 router bits

4. DeWalt DW618PK

DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

The DeWalt DW618PK is a versatile wood router tool combo kit with a 2.25 HP motor, both fixed and plunge bases, and easy adjustment capabilities.

The DeWalt heavy-duty router has a 2-1/4 horsepower motor that delivers smooth and powerful performance.

It is designed with a soft-start feature that reduces torque at start-up, making it easier to handle.

Electronic Variable Speed allow you to control between 8,000-24,000 rpm, ensuring optimal performance regardless of the workload.

The depth-adjustment ring provides precise adjustments in 1/64-inch increments, ensuring perfect cuts every time.

The adjustable steel motor cam lock and quick-release motor latches make depth adjustment and base changes fast and easy, crucial for beginners to stay efficient and avoid frustration.

The handle is well-positioned and the router is lightweight, making it easy to use for extended periods of time.

The built-in dust collection system collects up to 95% of the dust, keeping your workspace clean and providing excellent bit visibility.

It is slightly heavier than some other routers available in the market.

DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit


  • Powerful motor
  • Includes both fixed and plunge bases
  • Easy to adjust
  • Soft-start motor
  • Dust collection system


  • Some users reported issues with the plunge base lock
  • Expensive

Why it’s great for beginners: The DeWalt DW618PK is an excellent investment for beginners looking for a versatile router kit that can tackle various woodworking projects.

Best DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

Skil Router Table and Router Kit Starter Combo for Beginners

Skil 10Amp fixed base router model RT1323 and the Skil router table SRT1039. The Skil 10Amp router 2HP motor that provides decent power for most basic routing tasks.

The Skil router table and fixed base router combo kit

It has a fixed base, so depth adjustment needs to be done from above the table. The kit includes both 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets.

Variable speed control from 10,000 to 22,000 RPM allows you to match the speed to the material and bit size.

Soft start is a useful feature that prevents the router from jerking at startup. An LED work light and clear base help with visibility.

The table has a laminated MDF top with an aluminum miter gauge slot. Fence height can be extended using adjustable MDF face plates.

SKIL RT1323-01 Router Table and 10Amp Fixed Base Router Kit

A starter pin helps guide material when making initial contact with the bit.

The table also comes with a router clamp, two featherboards, and onboard bit storage.

The table provides a nice stable platform for using the router compared to free-hand routing, which helps build confidence.

Depth adjustment from above the table takes some getting used to, but the clear base helps visualize bit depth.

The starter pin is great for guiding the material into the bit safely. Dust collection could be better, but attaching a shop vac hose helps manage most chips.


  • Good value combo kit for the price
  • Table provides stability and easy depth adjustment
  • Soft start and variable speed help prevent mistakes
  • Clear base and LED light aid visibility
  • Enough power for basic tasks in softwood


  • Table top could be thicker for better stability
  • Dust collection is subpar
  • May need more power for hardwoods
  • No plunge base available

For beginners looking for an affordable starter router kit, the Skil RT1323-01 is a solid choice.

Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars

SKIL 10 AMP Fixed Base Router

Buy Guide Choosing The Best Wood Router For a Beginner

Why Do You Need a Wood Router?

For DIYers and woodworking hobbyists, a router opens up many possibilities that are difficult or impossible with other tools:

  • Cut decorative edges and apply ornate patterns.
  • Cut precise and smooth-bottomed grooves and channels for joinery.
  • Cut joints like dovetails, mortises, and tenons accurately.
  • Trim the edges of laminate or veneer flush with the surface.
  • Hollow out an area for inlays and accents.
  • Shape and sculpt wood by freehand routing.

Even the most basic fixed base router allows you to do things not possible by hand. For advanced techniques like joint making, a plunge router offers more versatility.

Power and Speed

The power rating, measured in HP or amps, determines how much material the router can remove in a pass. More power allows deeper cuts and working with hardwoods. For beginners, look for a router with at least:

  • 1.5 to 2 HP
  • 10 to 15 amp motor

Variable speed control, typically ranging from 10,000 to 25,000 RPM, gives you flexibility matching the bit speed to the material and task. Lower RPMs around 15,000 are better for large diameter bits, while higher speeds near 25,000 RPM work well for smaller bits.

Base Type

Fixed Base – The standard base with no vertical movement capability. Depth is preset before turning on the router. Easier to control and more stable for edging and shallow cuts. Good for beginners.

Plunge Base – Allows plunging the bit vertically into the workpiece while running. Useful for starting cuts in the middle of a workpiece. Provides more versatility but harder to control.

For first-time buyers, start with a fixed base router and add a plunge base later if needed.

Depth Adjustment

Precise adjustment and locking of bit depth is crucial for accurate cuts. Look for:

  • Rack and pinion mechanism for fine incremental depth changes
  • Quick release cam lever to easily lock depth settings
  • Clear markings on the depth rod showing height

Collet Size

The collet is the clamp that holds the router bit shank. Common sizes are:

  • 1/4-inch – Good for small profiling bits like pattern and flush trim bits.
  • 1/2-inch – Accommodates larger cutters and provides greater torque. Recommended for most general routing.
  • 8mm – Common in European routers. Adapters allow using 1/4″ and 1/2″ shank bits.

Getting a router with both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch collets gives you the most flexibility.

Comfort and Control

Look for design elements that make the router easy and comfortable to handle:

  • Rubberized grips that are gentle on your hands even with prolonged use.
  • Low center of gravity for better control when moving the router.
  • Convenient motor release lever to easily change bits.
  • Ample clearance between base and handle so your hands aren’t cramped.

Dust Management

Routers generate a lot of chips and fine dust when running. Built-in dust collection helps keep your workspace clean. Handy features include:

  • Dust extraction ports to attach a vacuum hose
  • Enclosures around the base to contain dust
  • Vacuum adapters that interface with hoses

Safety Features

Essential safety elements like:

  • Spindle lock button to prevent accidental motor startup when changing bits
  • Switch protection that prevents turning on when locked
  • Non-slip rubber feet to prevent sliding

Where to Buy a Woodworking Router

You can purchase routers online from Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, and woodworking specialty sites like Rockler and Woodcraft. Check router reviews on YouTube and forums. Buy from an authorized dealer to ensure you get a genuine product with warranty support. Also consider buying at a physical store so you can test out the handle comfort and feel.

Getting Started with Your First Router

  • Start with scrap piece of wood to get a feel for the controls before moving to real projects.
  • Always use safety glasses and a dust mask when routing.
  • For extra safety and control, use a router table instead of free-hand routing.

I hope this beginner’s guide gives you a good overview of what to look for when buying your first wood router. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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