The best handheld routers are those that are easy to grip with enough power and variable speed to do the desired cut you want. A handheld router is your best option for portability and ease of use.
I’ve gone through hundreds of threads related to handheld routers on woodworking forums (i.e sawmillcreek, lumberjocks and routerforums), asked several woodworking experts about which routers will be best to use as a handheld.
Here’s what I've found to be the top handheld routers of 2023 -
2. Bosch PR20EVS
3. Porter Cable 450
Speed: 27000 rpm
4. Bosch 1617EVS
Speed: 8000 - 25000 rpm
5. SKIL RT 1322-00
Speed: 10000-25000 rpm
Table Of Contents
10 Best Handheld Routers Of 2023
1 Makita RT0701C 1.25HP Handheld Router - The Best
The Makita RT0701C measures less and weighs less than other handheld tools and the most compact, yet the best.
Best revolutions per minute
The Makita starts or drops to as low as 10, 000 RPMs, but also produces up to 30, 000 RPMs. The powerful 1-1/4 horsepower motor has improved performance with its 6.5 amps.
Ergonomic design and size
It is not only a cute little router, it is a very handy and helpful yet powerful tool that significantly reduces fatigue due to its design, size, and weight.
Cam lock system
It features a cam lock which is a quick-release making needed adjustments and changes quick and easy. The base can be locked in place when needed and when you work on a project where you don’t clip it off. The depth adjustments are just as quick.
Further Read: Router table
2. Bosch PR20EVS 1HP Handheld Router - Most affordable
The Bosch PR20EVS Colt with its one horsepower is earmarked for its compact design which makes it highly portable.
Variable speed adjustments
Its 5.6 Amp motor operates at speed from 16, 000 and up to 35, 000 RPMs
Depth adjustment system
Lower the motor and lock before effortlessly adjust depths at the micro-level with seven depth levels. The motor can be moved and adjusted easily with an integrated quick-clam feature.
Precise, durable, and solid
It is designed with rugged aluminum while featuring finger support pockets that add to work stability.
3. Dewalt DWP611 1.25HP Variable Speed Handheld Router
With a 1.25 horsepower motor, the DeWalt DWP 611 has speeds ranging from 16, 000 per minute and up to 27, 000 RPM.
Single hand control
On top of the router, in the center is its power switch which gives you single hand control. Also, on the top is the dial for variable speed control. This allows you to control and adjust speeds while in the middle of a job that requires more speed.
You can see everything from the work beneath to the base as the bottom of the base is clear. It also has LED lights that can be turned off when you don’t need them
4. Porter Cable 450 1.25HP Handheld Router
The Porter-Cable has an ergonomic design that allows for single-handed, safe, and comfortable control.
Quick base removal
Change bits quickly and easily with a base that removes fast through spring-loaded release tabs. It also features multiple shaft-lock detents.
Full-time electronic feedback
Always know that motor speeds are maintained while cutting with constant electronic feedback from the soft-starting motor.
It is made to last with an aluminum base and motor housing.
5. Bosch 1617EVS 2.25Hp Fixed Base Handheld Router
The Bosch has enough power to deliver great results with its 12 Amp motor.
Its variable speed dial gives you chance to get optimal speed depending on the job at hand. The speeds range from 8, 000 RPM to 25, 000 RPMs
Constant response circuitry
It is a model integrated with constant response circuitry which means your speeds will remain constant throughout cutting and result in accurate, clean cuts.
Safety and durability features
It is a double insulated motor with a dust-sealed switch. User control is maximized with its rounded hardwood handles.
Microfine depth adjustment
The fixed base router allows for bit height to be adjusted from the top of the table with the fixed base depth range of 1-5/8 inches
6. Dewalt DCW600B 1.75HP Cordless Handheld Router
The DeWalt DW616 is a fixed base wood router with 1-3/4 horsepower with variable speeds from 16, 000 and up to 25, 500 revolutions per minute.
Micro-fine depth adjustment ring
Adjustments are in 1/64 increments for micro-fine dept change.
Very reliable bit retention
No worries about bits with the inclusion of self-releasing collets which are eight-slotted. Bit concentricity is increased by an included sub-base gauge.
Fast adjustments and changes
The motor lathes feature durable and easy to use quick-release action. For smooth action and durability, the motor housing is nickel plated.
7. Skil RT1322-00 2.5HP Handheld Router
The Skil 2.5 Horsepower with its fixed or plunge base and 14 Amp motor is one of the smartest routers on the market with a full LCD display.
While you are routing you get electronic feedback at the top of the router that indicates its revolutions per minute are maintaining.
LCD Speed control display
You don’t have to wonder about anything as the machine gives you the material and bit type choices and at which speed settings it should be cut.
8. Dewalt DW616 1.75 Hp Handheld Router
The DeWalt combines its 1.75 horsepower router with a powerful 11 amp motor which is strong enough for tough cutting jobs.
Excellent balance and control
Rubber over-molded handles give you good grip and control over the router with its low center of gravity design.
Lexan sub base
The router comprises a transparent Lexan sub base which offers not only visibility but also improves its stability and durability.
Micro-fine depth adjustment
Precision depth adjustment at minute 1/64 micro increments. The cord and switch location stays the same with the vertical adjustment setting.
9. Bosch 1617EVSPK 2.25HP Handheld Router
This Bosch router comes with a variable speed that you adjust with an integrated dial with 2.25 horsepower and 25, 000 RPM.
Dual-use and multifunctional
While it is one of the best handheld routers, it also has a fixed base where it features three-hole patterns if you want to mount the router to a table. Excellent when you like both a fixed base and plunge router.
Easy depth and height adjustment
both bases have microfine depth adjustment for the bit. With the fixed base system, you can adjust the bit height from above the router table.
Comfort and ease
Comfort is great with soft grip contoured handles. Workpieces are easily viewed during a project with its wide base openings.
10. Enertwist 1.25HP Handheld Router
With its 1-1/4 horsepower, the Enertwist is compact and lightweight when you are looking for an easy-to-manage router especially working in a small space.
Accurate and fast dept control
It uses an adjustable rack and pinion control for precision. The graduations are in mm and inches depth scales. Depth adjustments are simplified with a quick release cam lock system.
Clever electronic speed control
The integrated clever electronic speed control produces clean and smooth cutting.
Six variable speed ranges
Different woods and materials require different speeds for better cuts. The Enertwist has six variables. Speeds start from 10, 000 and up to 32, 000 RPMs.
ConclusionWith the vast number of excellent handheld router manufacturers and top brands, many have similar characteristics while others stand out with specific features.
With the Makita RT0701C as our best handheld router choice, its standout features include its high variable speed while it has an excellent design.
All of the above handheld routers, however, suit different budgets and needs but you are sure to find a woodworking assistant that will suit you well.