Best Plunge Router Fine Woodworking- Top [6 Picks] of 21st Century

best plunge router

Sometimes a decent piece of the router is all we need to nail the woodworking job, get our mammoth work done in a blink! But it raises the frown when the issue of repeated depth adjustment is switched off-on again, killing a plenty heck of workhour.

Usually, such happens in the incidence of fixed-base routers. Now a relief of air comes in the form of PLUNGE ROUTER – solving your time equation… With a plunge router in hand, you can change the depth of cutting multiple times you wish, without having to turn the machine switched off!

Deciding which plunge router to choose can turn out to be a little messier than anticipated. You want to add some charms to your stock, but at the same time, you need to cover the budget restraint. You know you will require different speed amounts for different projects, but you still want a stabilized motion. Then there’s this issue, which routers to choose for compact space and which one for larger sites?

It was never easy, but surely there are always ways to do a little research and discover the right one!!

Here’s a little sneak peek over the top choice of 2020 and most probably coming years as well – the ten best-valued plunge routers for woodwork! Should groove be suitable for your mechanical workspace, be it an open-air or tight space one.

Quick Comparison of 6 Best Plunge Routers

ProductKey SpecificationsMore Info
Makita RT0701CX3 Compact Plunge Router – Sublime for Bullnose Profiling
Makita RT0701CX3 Compact Plunge Router
Max. Speed: 30,000 RPM
Motor Power: 1-1/4 HP
Collet Diameter: 1/4"
Weight: 19.46 lbs.
Dimension: 18"x14"x13"
Price
BOSCH 1617EVSPK Plunge Router – Best Premium Budget Choice
BOSCH 1617EVSPK Plunge Router
Max. Speed: 25,000 RPM
Motor Power: 2-1/4 HP
Collet Diameter: 1/4"
Weight: 18.2 lbs.
Dimension: 6"x11.5"x11.6"
Price
Makita RP2301FC – Best Heavy-Weight Plunge Router
Makita RP2301FC Plunge Router
Max. Speed: 22,000 RPM
Motor Power: 3-1/4 HP
Collet Diameter: 1/4"
Weight: 8.8 lbs.
Dimension: 13"x 9"x12.6"
Price
PORTER-CABLE 892 Plunge Router – Perfect for DIY/ Woodworking
PORTER-CABLE 892 Plunge Router
Max. Speed: 23,000 RPM
Motor Power: 2-1/4 HP
Collet Diameter: 1/4"
Weight: -
Dimension: -
Price
TRITON TRA001 Dual Mode Plunge Router
TRITON TRA001 Dual-Mode Plunge Router
Max. Speed: 21,000 RPM
Motor Power: 3-1/4 HP
Collet Diameter: 1/4"
Weight: 14.33 lbs.
Dimension: 10.2"x12.9"x11.4"
Price
Triton MOF001 Dual Mode Plunge Router
Triton MOF001 Dual-Mode Plunge Router
Max. Speed: 20,000 RPM
Motor Power: 2-1/4 HP
Collet Diameter: 1/4"
Weight: 10.53 lbs.
Dimension: 10.2"x12.9"x11.4"
Price

Top Rated 6 Plunge Router Short Reviews

Here’s a little sneak peek over the top choice of 2020 and most probably coming years as well – the ten best valued plunge routers for woodwork! Should groove as just suitable for your mechanical workspace, be it an open air or, tight space one.

So, to find out which are the best, keep reading and we’ll help you to make the best buying decision:

1. Makita RT0701CX3 Compact Plunge Router – Sublime for Bullnose Profiling

plunge router fine woodworking

Speed: 30,000 RPM
Motor: 1-1/4 HP
Collet: 1/4″

Major Features:

  • Non-marring base inserted
  • Heavy-duty Aluminum motor
  • 1.25 HP of motor
  • Variable speed control system up to 10,000 – 30,000 RPM
  • Electronic speed control system
  • Shaft lock system
  • Flat top design
  • 3 bases- Plunge, Tilt, Offset base

This Makita RT0701X3 compact plunge router comes in a much, much bigger size than the RT0701X7… With a plodding, soft start to it, this machine surely sets for an amazing routing journey!

What pleased our vision, at first sight, is its clearly visible base construction – not dusky like some others – and this helped to have a straight-out vision of what we were doing. We fixed the plunge base first but discovered two more tilt base and offset base, including the package. The Aluminum-made motor is quite heavy built and strongly attached. Changing bits becomes all the way comfortable due to the flattened top design.

Now coming to the actual routing segment. Smoothly it regulates the power from the motor upon startup. And goes through the wooden curves like butter! Trimming laminated boards and thin working surfaces should be a cup of tea… A removable plastic clarity shield will protect you from the debris flying into the air. You can also lock the plunge lever for better hold.

To sum it up,

What We Liked Most:

What Needs to Improve:

Inclusive accessories consist of the router; three bases – the plunge base, the offset base, and the tilt base; a ¼ inch collet; two dust nozzle bases (plunge, fixed); two spanner wrenches; a tool-bag and detailed instruction manual. The Makita manufacturer claims to provide a 1-year long guarantee for this RT0701CX7 compact router of theirs.

Note to Enthusiasts

This one we got here – this RT0701CX3 may be one of the most satisfying professional routers for money. Its hefty weight makes it more perfect of a choice for corner bead, classic bead, and especially, bullnose profiling. In a clean, sharp manner, grooving sets this one as a top pick for dove-tailing, small profile routing, and many more to count on the list.

2. BOSCH 1617EVSPK Plunge Router – Best Premium Budget Choice

plunge router fine woodworking

Speed: 25,000 RPM
Motor: 2-1/4 HP
Collet: 1/4″ & 1/2″

Major Features:

  • Aluminum construction with rounded hardwood handles
  • Precision centering design
  • 2.25 HP of motor
  • Rotations per minute (RPM) within 8,000 – 25,000
  • Constant response circuitry
  • Quick clamp system
  • Double insulation system
  • Precision centering design
  • Soft start-up

To experience the best of both fixed-base and plunge routing domains – Bosch manufacturers, bring their ultimate router combination – the mighty 1617EVSPK. It has been well known for maintaining speed with a constant response circuitry, even under extreme load. What makes it worth of premium choice is choice and consistency, combined with enhanced visibility and large base openings and sub-base openings!

The motor excels based on top tier power… With the soft-startup integrated, the motor goes through a smooth transition by reducing the torque initially. This wood router’s modern speed controlling technology keeps maintaining and monitoring the desired RPM rate for consistent performance throughout the process. And thus, constant response circuitry assists in accomplishing a cleaner and more accurate result.

Factors that made us drool over were the round wooden handles – accelerating most of the user control. Optimal speed setting through the variable speed dial feature enhances flexibility even more. You can quickly adjust and derive the desired depth via micro-fine bit adjustment.

A ‘chip deflector’ keeps the cut clean and visible. Precision centering design enables effortlessly keeping the bits on the intended cutting-line, especially during jigs, templates, or dovetail features. Swapping between the two plunge and fixed bases takes no more than seconds with the quick clamping system.

To sum it up,

What We Liked Most:

What Needs to Improve:

Inclusive accessories consist of an EVS motor, a fixed base and chip shield, a plunge base and chip shield, ½ inch and ¼ inch self-releasing collet chucks, conveniently forged 16mm and 24mm bit-change wrenches, T-handle hex height adjustment wrench, a carrying case, and detailed instructions. For this combined power tool, Bosch claims to provide a wholesome 1-year of the guarantee period.

3. Makita RP2301FC – Best Heavy-Weight Plunge Router

plunge router fine woodworking

Speed: 22,000 RPM
Motor: 3-1/4 HP
Collet: 1/4″ & 1/2″

Major Features:

  • Motor of 3.25 HP
  • Rotations per minute (RPM) within 9,000 – 22,000
  • Variable speed control
  • Electronic speed control
  • Electric brake
  • Linear ball bearings
  • Quick-release plunge depth adjustment

As a trusted brand name, Makita has the same confidence in bringing the power-packed RP2301FC plunge router. Designed for momentous tasks, this heavy machine can pull off any gigantic duty with ease. Can efficiently plunge through some of the hardest material without having to lose an opportunity cost! Built-in with the strongest motor of 3.25 Horse Power (HP), this Makita RP2301FC surely places among one of the heaviest weights out there…

One of the most powerful motors of 15 Amp has got a soft start to it, and you can apply the electric brakes according to your need for steeper productivity. While the depth capacity ensures easier penetration into the workpiece, the oversized linear ball bearing smoothens the plunging action. Built-in-fan with labyrinth mechanism minimizes dust issues – keeping the surface cleaner.

We didn’t notice on the first go but was definitely useful later – the shaft lock key. It enabled quickie-squeaky shank bit changes. And also, the tool-less template guide provides swift installation as well as base removal. The top design was kept flattened to supply stability while changing those bits.

And if you’re a beginner, then most handy for you may be the ergonomically designed rubber handles with a 2-fingers switch. For the dark days (not the Harry Potter ones!!), comes the twin LED lights…

In a gist,

What We Liked Most:

What Needs to Improve:

Inclusive accessories consist of the plunge router, a ½ inch collet cone, a ¼ inch collet sleeve insert, an extended depth adjustment knob, and a wrench. The Makita manufacturers claim to provide a wholesome 1-year of the guarantee period.

4. PORTER-CABLE 892 Plunge Router – Perfect for DIY/ Woodworking

plunge router fine woodworking

Speed: 23,000 RPM
Motor: 2-1/4 HP
Collet: 1/4″ & 1/2″

Major Features:

  • Flexible based plunge router
  • A motor of 2.25 Horse Power (HP)
  • Variable speed control trigger
  • Rotations Per Minute (RPM) at 10,000 – 23,000 counts
  • Soft starting operation installed
  • Dual-position switch

Based on the principle of minimalist outlook – the Porter-Cable’s version no. The 892 plunge router serves brilliantly for projects of the woodwork. The smoother function allows collision-free movement between distinct bases. As a clear-cut consequence, you save the time of table-top changing!

Inbuilt with convenient operational mode, the base can be swiftly unlocked, enabling cuts of various depths. Adding to the brownie point, you may make those changes from above the router table too. Electronic feedback luckily backs up the tricky motor speed, even during the toughest applications. Moreover, all the following motor releasing, bit height adjusting, spindle locking, and motor clamping procedures – everything will be done within seconds – thanks to the easy-go-use!

Even with the power gone while operating, you can still maintain control of the router due to the dual-position switch. If you want to change a single wrench bit, that’s also doable because of the spindle lock feature. Till a depth of 1/128-inch, the rack and pinion ensure refined adjustments. Both a ¼-inch and another ½-inch shank bits are usable in this version no—892’s collet.

To sum it up,

What We Liked Most:

What Needs to Improve:

Inclusive accessories consist of a router motor, a plunge base, ½, and ¼ inch separate collets, a collet wrench, a carry-able case, and a detailed instruction manual. The Porter-Cable claims to provide a wholesome 3-years warranty for this corded-electric plunge router of theirs.

Note to Enthusiasts
Since the Porter Cable 892 possesses the capacity to ace the majority of daily wooden works – without complexing necessary bits – we would like to rate it an A grade for usual DIY or woodworking jobs.

5. TRITON TRA001 Dual-Mode Plunge Router

plunge router fine woodworking

Speed: 21,000 RPM
Motor: 3-1/4 HP
Collet: 1/4″ & 1/2″

Major Features:

  • Robust Motor of 3.25 HP
  • Rotations per minute (RPM) is at 8,000 – 21,000
  • Single switch conversion from plunge base to fixed-base
  • Rack & pinion mode
  • Micro winder
  • Soft startup
  • Side air vents
  • Automatic spindle lock
  • Variable speed control

Established in the 70s decade, Triton power tool has been known for expertise in woodwork. Triton’s history of innovative designs launches another production with the TRA001 precision dual-mode plunge router. The toughest motor available of 3.25 HP plunges through even the toughest workpiece at 8,000 – 21,000 RPM.

If you are quite conscious about safety at work, then good for you – this one has a safety switch shutter lock that blocks the motor while changing modes. The side air vents work as side-kick against debris and dust particles. And coming to the dangerous cut zone… Well, the fully enclosed guard provides full protection from it.

With the enormous 3.25 HP of power, only a few jobs it can’t handle. Its heavy-weight and complexity of the job require even more precision. And if you’re crafty enough, you can make tiny cuts as well.

Through the rack and pinion mode – you will be able to switch from the conventional plunge mode to fixed-base mode – with a single button switch. There is a three-stage turret with direct reading scales. And it ensures accurate pre-determined cutting depths.

To sum it up,

What We Liked Most:

What Needs to Improve:

Inclusive accessories consist of the router, a collet wrench, a ½ inch collet, a ¼ inch collet, a multi-function fence, and a table height winder. The triton manufacturers claim to provide 3-years of the backup period.

6. Triton MOF001 Dual Mode Plunge Router

plunge router fine woodworking

Speed: 20,000 RPM
Motor: 2-1/4 HP
Collet: 1/4″ & 1/2″

Major Features:

  • 2.25 HP of motor
  • Rotations per minute (RPM) is within 8,000 – 20,000
  • Dual-mode compact plunge router
  • Soft startup
  • Variable speed
  • Micro winder
  • Auto spindle lock

As big as it looks, the Triton MOF001 is heavier than that! The superior quality of materials and classic engineering contributes to the production of this heavy-weight router. Deemed as ideal for circle cutting, it is equally apt for table mounting.

The MOF001’s differences with the previous TRA001 model basically occur in the horsepower and the weight. The TRA001 had a higher horsepower of 3.25 HP and weighed heavier too. Nonetheless, this one makes a heaven of a compact tool as well!

The most lucrative point we found of this MOF001 was its automatic spindle lock. To get rid of the complexion, it keeps things in place while you’re tipping with the changes. Great control can be provided with both softwood and hardwood, depending on your skill.

Though the safety shutter lock is basically advantageous, many say it has downsides also. For a beginner, it may get in the way while using the router during initial times. And adjusting the router’s height from above can prove to be a bit struggling along.

What We Liked Most:

What Needs to Improve:

Inclusive accessories consist of the router, ¼ inch collet, 8 mm collet, collet wrench, table height winder, multi-function fence, extended base plate, and detailed instruction manual. The Tritons claim to provide the backup service for 3-years.

Things to Consider – Before Buying a Plunge Router Worth of Money

If you’re tired of reading until now, then make your routing journey smoother – here are some sorted lifesavers that the best plunge router for money should certainly possess.

I. ROUTER BASE: FIXED or PLUNGE?

plunge router vs fixed base router infographicFixed-base router and plunge router have lots of similarities to start with. Both of them do routing jobs. But their differences are greater in an account. Fixed-base routers, like its name, have a fixed depth of cut. And it maintains the same depth all along the cutting process. If you need to change the depth in mid of job, you simply CANNOT! You will require to stop the machine and manually adjust the depth again. That’s how you adjust the depth with different requirements here.

On the other hand, a plunger router had been invented to address this very “fixed” limitation of the fixed-base router. There is no limit to the depth adjustment in the best kind of plunge routers. It eliminates the hassle of turning on/off the machine repeatedly to fix the cutting depth. And it makes your job easy-peasy! Even while working with the router and when they are still plugged, you are free to adjust the depth of the required cut.

On the sunny side, plunge routers minimalize the probability of accidental cutting. This is the secret to their widespread acceptance among the professionals or the DIY-ers. Plunge routers possess the capability to handle intrinsic, complex, small jobs and heavy-weight, bulk work.

II. POWER SYSTEM: HOW MUCH OF VOLTAGE?

Most of the plunge routers run on 110 – 120 Volt motor. If you live in the United States of America, Canada, or neighboring countries, then good for you – this power source is compatible with your country’s grid system. But if you live outside the North American region, then better check your grid system first because your country’s electrical grid may run on 230 – 240 Volt AC.

In that case, you will require a plunge router with a convertible dual-voltage motor. That way, the flow of electrons will be swiftly converted from the motor’s 110 – 120 V to your grid system’s 230 – 240 V.

III. SIZE: THE BIGGER, THE BETTER?

To efficiently manage the workload, project requirement, user safety, protection from micro-particles – the size of a plunge router is immensely significant. The workspace and work type should always determine the size.

If your projects are mostly of tricky genre and need to access tight space, then a small router should serve your purpose better. On the contrary, if your work requires a bulk amount of exertion such as construction, site projects – then a large size plunge router is likely to suit your need. 

IV. SOFT STARTING MECHANISM

Upon startup, the power is regulated from the motor. The startup can be heavy, cranky, noise-making, or disturbing. The significance of soft startup is that it amplifies action predictability and reduces shakes or shocks’ chances.

Soft starting mechanism works as a tri-dimensional factor, together with variable speed control and electronic circuit feedback. Three supreme features come together to ensure the routing journey is much less temperamental.

A soft startup technology enhances the router’s capacity by starting it with more quietness, more consistency, and without much applied kinetic force. It allows the machine to build up and accelerate speed eventually and smoothly, rather than at a jolt.

V. VARIABLE SPEED CONTROLLING MECHANISM

The perfect types of plunge routers have a prototype – named as the variable speed control option. This variability allows controlling the speed at which the router will turn the cutter. When you quickly need to change your cutting depth at a lower or higher speed, your router must also be kept pace with you. And the variable speed controlling measure helps you to accomplish exactly that.

First, for SAFETY – variability in speed control is essential. If the plunge router goes to a certain speed, too, it can cause unwanted cuts, and you may end up with an accident or injuring yourself.

Second, for specific and PRECISE WOODWORK – on the heartiest wood even, if you cannot control the speed according to your need – the woodcutting is bound to go haywire, which is why, without a variable speed feature, your plunge router will accommodate only a limited number of applications.

In general, a number dial denotes the router speed. A chart is usually displayed on the router’s side. And the numbers on this chart depicts at which speed the router is running.

VI. ELECTRONIC FEEDBACK CIRCUIT MECHANISM

Electronic feedback circuitry saves the tool from over-exhaustion, which is often caused by the application of fewer forces. The majority of the modern plunge routers display this attribute of electronic speed control. In this system, the design’s circuit sensors consider your cutting type and depth to determine how much torque output you will need from the router’s motor. And hence, electronic feedback circuitry contributes a long way in ensuring an ideal plunge router’s durability.

VII. ABOVE TABLE ADJUSTMENT (ATA)

In the traditional router tabletop, you need to bend down your neck to get a proper grip over things. And in the long run, bending downwards can prove to be injurious for anyone’s neck muscles.

Above the table adjustment feature – also popularly called ATA – denotes that you can comfortably adjust the plunge router on fly position – from above the table itself. And that’s how the ATA mechanism eliminates the need to lift a router repeatedly, again and again. In addition to the benefits, users may extend the collet’s position on the top of the table too!

VIII. SPINDLE LOCK SYSTEM

To safely route on the surface material, the collet needs to be well-functional and acquire a firm grip on the router’s shank bits. But the bits are not always easy to loosen and may turn out to be stubborn nuts. The spindle lock feature solves this hassle.

To use it first, the spindle lock needs to be pressed. Second, collect a wrench (pneumatic or electric) from tightening or loosening (according to your need) the collet. Third, when the collet has been tightened or loosened properly, at last, release the button of the spindle lock. And afterward, you see the spindle rotating on its own.

IX. PRODUCT GUARANTEE

Before purchasing a product, it is always wiser to check the guarantee period. A handsome quality of plunge router manufacturers shouldn’t hesitate to offer a generous lifespan either. Along with that, also check the quality of customer care service in case of future maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Answers

 All About PERFECT PLUNGE ROUTING

What is a router?

plunge router fine woodworkingA router is a hand-held tool or power-driven tool which hollows out a particular portion on specifically hard (i.e., wood) or comparatively soft (i.e., plastic) working material. The history of woodworking has an immense significance for routers. The handheld router, invented in 1915, was the first kind of router, which now also goes by the name of ‘hand plane.’

Decades passed by, and further refinements were introduced. Such a line of newer inventions produced the first-ever plunge router around the 1950s in Germany. Better adapted for a multitude of work, this one is nowadays loved by many more.

Variety in the router family till this 2020 includes fixed-based routers, plunge routers, combo routers, variable speed routers, CNC wood routers, laminate trimmers – all excelled for different purposes of use.

Why do people use the plunge router?

Plunge routers have been around the mechanical world for nearly half a century now. Though die-hard lovers of fixed-base routers often attempt to outweigh it with fixed-base routers, they fail to realize a plunge router’s wholesome versatility.

Here’s a glimpse over a few significant milestones the plunge router can achieve:

  • Template routing alongside guide bushings
  • Jigs for making joints
  • Cutting mortises
  • Tenon
  • Dadoes
  • Doweling
  • Dovetailing
  • Circle routing
  • Captured inlay work
  • Milling stopped grooves and flutes.

How much HP does a plunge router need?

Routers come in several motor size classifications.

Palm routers – considered ideal for trimming, hinge mortising, edge forming, slot cutting, small-scale dovetailing, window cutouts, and decorative inlays – are typically within 1 Horse Power (HP) or even less.

Mid-Sized routers – considered ideal for plus large-scale dovetailing, panel cutting, template design work, and circle cutting – are typically available within the range from 1.5 HP to 2.25 HP.

Full-Sized routers – considered ideal for the router table or CNC corporation – are typically available within the range from 3 HP to 3.25 HP.

What should be a good size for the router table?

An irreplaceable part of a woodworking workshop, a router table helps a technician gain precise control over his work, like creating molded edges, cutting the slide dovetails, making raised panels, or practice many other technical hacks.

A router table’s standard size mainly depends on the user’s need, comfort, and routing type. However, the most used size of the routing table, in general, is 24-inch (depth) × 36-inch (width). The larger the table size, the bigger the workspace for routing.

What are different router bits used for?

router bitsRouter bits come in nearly FIFTEEN THOUSANDS of varieties. Routers bits are generally used to create decorative effects and joint aids. Almost any imaginable profile can be made, matching with a router bit shape.

Based on the material used, routers bits can be classified into High-Speed-Steel (HSS), Carbide-tipped, Solid Carbide, and many more. Furthermore, based on the respective shank diameter, routers can be categorized into ½ inch, ¼ inch, 3/8 inch, 12 mm, 10 mm, 8 mm, and 6 mm shanks.

The router bits’ average speed usually ranges from 8,000 to 30,000 rotations per minute (RPM).

Can plunge routers be used as fixed-base routers?

Fixed-based routers lack many components that plunge routers possess. Despite the lacking, fixed-based routers cannot be turned into plunge routers.

The case is quite the opposite with plunge routers. Many of the plunge routers available on the market have the alternating capabilities to switch between plunge and fixed-base mode. In addition to the bright sides, with an additional kit attached – some plunge routers can be temporarily turned into fixed-base routers.

Is owning a plunge router really necessary?

A plunge router is like one of those deluxe kitchen accessories that many people can’t utilize because they don’t realize its full potential. Too often, this multidimensional tool gets compared with its older sibling- the fixed-base router.

Speak of circle routing, signature making, inlay serving, slotting keyholes, dual-light offset subbases, dust hoods – plunge router nails it all. And these activities- other routers can’t even afford to initiate.

Editor’s Choice – Best Plunge Routers of 2020 – Grooved in a Nutshell

Surely different choices comes with different individuals. But the very best way out there is: Exploring the market, Comparing among favorite products and Evaluating for yourself.

Now if you’ve thoroughly read all the above information, then it’s equally courteous on our part to break down a few things for you – making the choice struggle simpler!

And hence, we would like to sort the ____ Research Team’s favorite machines for plunge routing, right below:

By opting for a plunge router purchase, you have put your best foot forward to a safer, smoother and more comfortable journey. Surely it will preserve a mechanic’s desired expectations. Since you’ve put the first bit right, now take your time and judge among the stocks…

Hope you make the appropriate call for your ultimate toolbox!

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