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So why would a wood worker want to mount his router (wood :p ) on a table?
Mounting a router on a router table gives you precise control, option to use more powerful router and larger bits in a safer way.
You can also use featherboards, miter gauge etc. these enables you to cut the wood conveniently which won’t be possible with a handheld router.
But, the tricky part is:
Deciding which one is the best router for a router table.
In this article, we will introduce you to the things that make a router best for table mounting and will reveal the ones that are currently meeting these requirements.
Let's dive in…
Variable Speed (rpm)
Porter cable 892
PORTER CABLE 895PK
Things To Consider For Picking The Best Router For A Router Table -
Some routers are better hand-held. We don’t want to worry about those just now.
If you’re starting out, then the router can seem a little scary. They’re a powerful tool to use free-hand.
A great way to get started with woodworking projects is to use a table.
A router table changes the game. You only have to think about getting a nice finish.
The router in a table allows you to experiment easily with different router bits.
In no time, you’ll be using it like a pro.
So let’s take a look at the features that make a router good for mounting.
Release the horses!
With a mounted router you don’t need to worry about losing control of the machine.
So it’s good to have power.
You’ll be able to bite off bigger chunks and get your work done quicker. The more powerful the router, the less it will struggle with harder woods.
You’ll be fitting the router upside-down in a table.
So we need to think about position of controls.
The more you can adjust and control from above, the less bending you’ll do.
The more controls on the front of the router, the more time you’ll spend cutting.
Changing router bits:
You want to be able to lock the spindle – which is the shaft that holds your bit.
And change your bits easily from above the table.
Without having to remove the router from the table every time.
One-handed bit changes above the table using one spanner are the target. This will save you hours of messing around when you use your new router.
Let’s get deep.
This is a big deal when choosing a router for a router table.
We’ll be looking at five routers with different methods of depth adjust.
Depth adjust is just moving the router up and down in the table, to give you a shallow or deep cut.
One of the number one things you need with a table router is above-table adjustment.
And you want a good method for doing this.
This is a feature that can either save you lots of time and effort, or cost you lots of time and effort. It’s that simple.
Slow it down…
This isn’t complicated. Some routers spin at a fixed speed.
Others have a speed adjuster to control the rate the router bit spins. Different bits and types of wood work best at different speeds.
A variable speed router will have a simple speed control.
Often just a wheel that goes from fast to slow and everything between.
With trial and error, you’ll soon figure out how to get a great finish on all types of stock, with all types of router bits.
It's that simple really. All you need to keep in mind is
- Bit changing.
- Depth adjust.
- Variable speed.
It’s all you need and it narrows the choice down. A lot.
Ignore other features when you’re looking for a good router for table mounting.
Keep it simple and just look for the features you’ll need. And you’ll soon be set up.
THE 5 BEST ROUTERS FOR TABLE MOUNTING
1.Triton TRA001- The Best
For us The TRA001 is the best router for router table.
At 3-1/4 HP, it will get through any stock with ease. The first thing you notice with this router is the build quality.
Everything feels solid in the hand, it’s sturdy and has a bit of weight to it. It doesn’t feel like it would break easily.
Here's the features in this router that make it ideal for use with a router table -
Stay cool: The TRA001 has side vents on the motor. Designed to prevent overheating when it’s inverted in a table. They’re sited to avoid dust build-up and keep the motor running cool and calm.
Single-handed: The router has a Spindle-Lock and a Safety Switch Cover. This means you only need one spanner and one hand to change a bit. This makes changing your bits fast and easy.
The spindle locks and the Safety Switch Cover engages when you raise to full depth, automatically. So there’s no messing about bending under the table and the motor can’t start. You’re changed safely and ready to work again in seconds.
Fine times: The router also has a really nice fine adjustment control. This takes the pain out of getting your setting just right. It has a really great range of variable speed control – 8000 to 21000 rpm. You can achieve very fine, detailed work with this machine
Stand up straight: The TRA001 has Above-Table Depth Adjust, carried out with a really cool Winding Handle. Combined with the rack and pinion system in this router, it’s the best of the bunch for ease of use and accuracy.
The way I see it, this is what makes this already great router amazing for mounting . Other routers fail on this feature with awkward-to-use T Wrenches. The depth of the cutter can be wound and set from your normal working position. Just like with a Router Lift but without the bill.
With rival machines, you’re spending double to get this feature. Or you’re bending double to adjust the depth – it’s as simple as that. This feature puts this router in a different class. It’s a home run.
The Triton TRA001 is head and shoulders above its rivals as a router for use with a router table. It’s my top choice because it comes with more than enough features to make it an enjoyable, easy table router. It has no equal.
2. Porter Cable 892 – Best Alternative
The Porter Cable 892 is a 2-1/4 HP router with a fixed base. It’s got a decent speed range. The 800 series Porter Cable routers aren’t for my money, as well suited to the table as the Triton in number one spot.
The design, power level and weight and feel are all more akin to a hand-held machine. However, with its fixed base, router table mounting is possible. It’s a good second choice based on cost and features.
Dual power switchs: You know what the best feature on this router is? It’s the dual power switches. These switches make this router a steady all-rounder. Switches in two different places make controlling the motor a lot easier hand-held.
The need for speed: The speed range of this variable speed router is pretty good too. It goes from 10000 rpm to 23000 rpm and gives you scope for a nice finish on most timbers and with most bits. A router with a good turn of speed is always a good thing, and the Porter Cable 892 does just fine in this department.
Power: Power comes from a decent, mid-range unit at 2-1/4 HP. This doesn’t reach the levels of a lot of the routers on the market. It’s respectable and enough to do most jobs in most timbers, though. Even at this level of power, this router performs well.
Back to base: Another notable feature of the Porter Cable 892 is that it comes supplied with a really nice, sturdy fixed base. It’s a great basis for mounting this router in a table. And it’s nice to know that the point of contact between the table and router is well made.
The Porter Cable 892 router is good value for what it is. It features a good fixed base which is important for table mounting. The dual switches are a good feature. Speed range will give you good results. It’s disappointing that you have to pay extra Above-Table adjust and easy bit changes.
3. Bosch 161EVS - Best Budget Option
The Bosch 161EVS is another router in the 2-1/4 HP mid-range. And again, it’ll handle most jobs in most wood types. It comes with both fixed and plunge bases. This is a big plus because its weight and power level make it ideal for using hand-held.
The fixed base means it can also be used in a router table. So it’s a versatile option and a good one for woodworkers planning on only owning one router.
Your turn: The Bosch has one of the best ranges of speed control out of the five routers we’re looking at here. And the controls and their positions add to the user experience with this router.
Collet a day: It’s well worth noting that this comes with both ¼ inch and ½ inch collets as standard. So you’re not limited so much in terms of what bits you can buy. And also that if you already own a trimmer router, you’ll be able to use the bits for that too.
Has all the tools: The Bosch isn’t too expensive. It’s not the top router in this list but it really does come with a lot of stuff in the box. It’s also really nicely engineered and everything feels great to handle and to use. It’s the best router for the money.
The Bosch 161EVS is a well-engineered router. It’s versatile without being too expensive. It has a decent 2-1/4HP motor and nice hardwood handles on the base. It can also be used hand-held with a plunge base as standard so it’s a good budget option if you don’t want to buy two routers.
4. Milwaukee 5625-20
This router is a very powerful 3-1/2HP and comes with a fixed base. The speed range is a respectable 10000 – 22000 rpm and it’s a rugged unit that feels good in the hands.
As with the Bosch, this router is very well made and just feels great to use and to handle. The power of this router make it one more for the table, for me. And lack of a plunge base further indicates that.
Cards on the table: The Milwaukee offers Above-table bit changing, which as we know is a great plus with a table router. The system is pretty easy to use and it does make life easier than with some of the other routers in this list.
Speed adjustment: on this router is a fairly decent 10000 – 22000 rpm. It’s a narrower range than with some of the other routers in this list, which for the price is disappointing. It’s enough to get most things done, though.
Time for T: The 5625-20 comes with an Above-table T-wrench height adjuster. This is probably the second best adjuster in this list behind the Triton router system. It isn’t too bad at all and it does the job. The cost of this router does reflect this, though. But at least it’s a standard piece of kit with the Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee 5625-20 is no doubt a great piece of kit. It’s well made and features Above-Table adjust and an ergonomic fixed base. It’s let down by a poor on/off switch. It also suffers from a slightly narrow speed range and it’s at the very top end of the price range for a router of this type.
5. Porter Cable 895PK
The Porter Cable 895 Router is the cousin of the Porter Cable 892. The 895 version is the same motor as its cousin but comes with both a fixed and a plunge base as standard. It’s also an upgrade on the 892 because it has a Spindle Lock.
Power is the same as the 892, as is everything else – except the 895 comes with an Above-Table Height adjuster as standard. Which is a great feature to have. It isn’t the best system out of the four on show here, however.
Speed adjust is good on this router, same as with its cousin at 10000 to 23000 rpm. This router also features the same dual switches that were a hit on the 892. The motor is identical too, giving a decent 2-1/4HP.
The Porter Cable 895 is a well-made router and a good option for using all over the workshop. Both in and out of the table. Issues with its plunge base let this router down and for the price, make the 892 a better option for the table.
So, What Does It All Mean?
I’ve told you how a router works and how versatile it is. We know it’s a simple device that performs the tasks of many tools. You’ve figured out what features you need in a router for a router table. And we’ve looked at the best five available.
By now you’ll also have realized that a router in a table increases what you can do. And that it makes life in the shop a lot easier. It’s safer and more fun to use a fixed router. And a router table is great for repeat jobs and accurate work.
The truth is. There is no mystery to the router. It’s just a case of jumping in. Once you start, you learn quick.
So, give it a go! It’s easier than you thought. And trust me – you’ll be glad you did.