7 Best Router Lift (May 2019) – Reviews & Top Pick

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best lifts

How do you feel?

Each time you go under your router table, for adjusting the router height or changing the router bit.

Frustrating, right?

Here's the solution: you can grab a good router lift to end your under the table struggle.

Having said that, finding a router lift that is compatible with your top notch router or router table is not an easy task.

In this post:

We are featuring and reviewing best router lifts. So, you can choose the best one.

Here we go...

TOP PICK
Why it's our top pick:
  • Unique carriage clamping system.
  • Precise height adjustment.
  • Fits in popular routers. 
TOP PICK
Why it's our top pick:
  • Unique carriage clamping system.
  • Fits in popular routers. 
  • Precise height adjustment.
TOP PICK
Why it's our top pick:
  • Unique carriage clamping system.
  • Fits in popular routers. 
  • Precise height adjustment.

Ranking

Router Lifts

Our Verdict

Price

#1

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120

Winner

#2

Kreg PRS5000

Runner Up

#4

Woodpeckers PRL V2-420

High End

#5

Bosch RA1165

Budget

7 Best Router Lift - Reviews

1. Jessem Mast-R-Lift II- Best Overall

JessEm Tool Company invented the router lift and other manufacturers followed in.

As if today, a great number of router lifts made available to the market that pretty much alike.

JessEm again leads the way by introducing JessEm Mast-R-Lift II with some unique features that makes it the best router lift of 2018

Its unique carriage clamping system makes it the top router lift in the market.

You only need to adjust the clamp by moving a couple of screws to fit in almost all the popular routers on the market.

Making you stop worrying about fitting and prevents you from choosing a lift that won’t work with your router. That’s a huge benefit.

You don’t need to dedicate a router for the lift either.

You can change bits, adjust heights, lock the lift all from above the table saving your precious time, and ease the work.

However, only fixed base routers are compatible with JessEm Mast-R-Lift, it’s the norm for router lifts.

It’s unique tab-loc insert rings provide a quick bit changing function but Jessem provides only one ring with this lift.

So, you may need to buy additional rings.

But it’s not a deal breaker, considering the unique clamping feature and brand of Jessem it’s one of the best router lift available on the market.

  • Unique carriage clamping system.
  • Fits in popular routers. Check below.
  • Precise height adjustment.
  • Compatible only with fixed base router.
  • You may need to buy additional insert rings.

Compatible Routers:

  • Porter Cable 7518, 690 series and 890 series
  • Rigid R29302
  • Makita RF1101
  • Hitachi M12VC and KM12VC2
  • Makita RF1101 and RD1101
  • Craftsman 17543, 17540 and 28190
  • DeWalt DW610, DW616 and DW618
  • Milwaukee 5625, 5615, 5616 and 5619

2. Kreg PRS5000 - Best Value For The Money

Kreg PRS5000 is a rugged and simple to operate lift which is supplied with three self-levelling twist lock insert rings.

It fits a PC-75 router, but can be used with other routers using a mounting adapter.

Coarse height adjustments of the bit can be easily made to within about half inch using the spring assisted lift wrench.

After that any micro-adjustments need to be made with a thumb wheel, which can be tiresome on your thumb.

Fine adjustments can be made to within one or two thousandths of an inch.

Once you’re all set a manual brake can be set with an Allen key, ensuring the bit stays at required height during routing.

The above table bit changes and adjustments of the Kreg PRS5000 Lift eliminate the dreaded task of trying to adjust a heavy router under the table, while trying to measure those adjustments at the same time.

  • Fast and easy above table bit changes.
  • Three self-levelling twist lock insert rings.
  • Coarse height adjustments are easy.
  • Fine adjustments to 1-2/ 1000th inch.
  • A manual brake prevents slippage during use.
  • Fine height adjustments can be tedious and tiring on your thumb.

3. Bosch RA1165 - Best Budget Router Lift

Bosch RA1165 is the best router lift to add to your cart, if you are on a tight budget.

It has threaded holes for fixing it onto a router table and the wide 3 ¾ inch base opening allows for the use of larger router bits.

Check the base is compatible with your model of router and table, and that you can obtain a suitable adaptor if you need one.

This is a robust value solution for those who want the ease of above table bit management (and who doesn’t want that?),without it costing the earth.

  • Above table height adjustments are easy.
  • Good value solution for those who don’t want to splash out on a lift.
  • If you need an adaptor to fit with your router check first that the adaptor is easily available.

4. Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420PRL - Best High End Lift

Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420PRL is the best high end router lift: that is easy to install on your table and easy to setup for cutting.

You will love being able to fit bits and adjust the depth of cut from above.

There is a spring assisted lift wrench to elevate and lower the router colletto within 3/8th inch of your final height setting.

Finer precise height adjustments can then be made with a thumb wheel, which has a scale on top.

Once you’ve got the right height a manual brake is set with an Allen key, to prevent slippage from spoiling your routing.

It fits a Porter Cable 7518 router and, as with many lifts, you should check it fits your router and table.

As it is said you get what you pay. If you have the money to spend this is the best router lift to have.

  • Above table height adjustments are easily made and precise.
  • A manual brake prevents slippage during use.
  • Thumb wheel adjusters aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it does help you get a very precise setting.

5. The Rockler Router Lift FX

Rockler Lift FX is certainly not the best router lift out there. But, it's price tag is the reason for it to be included in the list.

It has a sag-free heavy duty plate that is made to fit Rockler’s new router tables.

The lift housing accepts a range of small to medium sized routers.

Be sure to check the lift will fit your router and table before you purchase.

The lift is supplied with a plastic insert ring with a 1.5″ bit opening, although other insert rings can be purchased separately.

The bit can be adjusted quickly and easily from the top of the router table with the crank handle provided.

The lift height setting is maintained with a tension screw.

To ensure smooth operation of the crank you do need to be careful to keep the socket recess free from dust and debris

  • Coarse height adjustments are easy.
  • A manual brake prevents slippage during use.
  • Fine adjustments to 1-2/ 1000th inch.
  • The socket recess for the crank handle could do with a cover or plug to prevent congestion with debris

6. Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router

Benchdog 40-150 is a sturdy and powerful router lift that’s easy to set up, adjust and fine tune.

Bit changes are fast and simple: remove the insert plate and raise the collet for above table changes.

It’s much easier than trying to scrabble about to change bits from beneath the router table.

Adjustments are easily made to 1/1000th inch, ensuring precision cuts to the finest of standards.

The bronze pre-load nut ensures that once you’ve set the height it stays put, giving you precise and consistent cuts.

The ProLiftis suitable for fixedbase routers with 4.2″ diameter motor housings.

Routers with smaller motors require the purchase of an additional adaptor.

The cast iron plate is compatible with Bench Dog router tables, as well as some others, such as the new Rockler router tables.

Only one plastic insert ring is supplied, so you may need to purchase others.

With the Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Adjustment System routing is easier, quicker and more precise, helping you to be more productive and consistent with your work.

  • Height is easy to adjust to 1/1000th inch.
  • Bronze pre-load nut prevents slippage during use.
  • Easy above table bit changes.
  • An additional adaptor may be needed to fit smaller routers into the collar.
  • Only one plastic ring is supplied, you may need to buy a ring set.

7. Incra Mast-R-Lift II

Incra and JessEm collaborated to build INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift whose router carriage is identical to JessEm Mast-R-Lift II.

Hence, you get all the benefits of the unique clamping system that you would’ve got on the JesseEm lift.

It comes with the unique feature of 5 different size metal insert rings that are locked down in place rock solid by magnets something the JessEm lift lacked.

You may call this lift a well-upgraded version of JessEm lift.

You can easily level the rings accurately with router plate as it provides you height adjustment screws in the four corner tabs.

It also helps you keep the table clean by allowing the dust to suck down through the dust slots.

You can smoothly raise and lower the router thanks to its exclusive ball bearing mechanism and can have a precise height adjustment of 0.001-Inch giving you the finest cut.

It has a plate size of 9-1/4-Inch x 11-3/4-Inch x 3/8-Inch that fits in all the Incra tables you may need to buy additional insert plate for other brands.

If you have decided on this lift, make sure to check the table top opening size before going ahead.

Considering the quality of the lift, it will be a good investment to buy additional insert plate.

  • MagnaLOCK allows quick  and perfectly fit ring change.
  • Smooth lowering and raising of the router
  • Above the table bit change.
  • Lock that can be used to prevent unwanted height changes.
  • Expensive.

Best Router Table With Lift -

The JESSEM Mast-R-Lift Excel II is a router lift built into a large solid phenolic table top.

This gives you the advantage of having no table insert to deal with, either for installation or, more importantly, while routing.

The tab-lock insert rings are easily removed to change the bit from above.

Height adjustments are made with a wheel and there’s an optional digital readout for fine adjustments to 1/1000th of an inch. 

A cam lock prevents the setting from changing during routing, ensuring a neat and consistent job, from the first pass to the last.

A four inch shop-vac fitting will help you keep your workshop tidy and dust free, so you’re not breathing in sawdust.

The JESSEM Mast-R-Lift Excel II can be used with 18 of the most common fixed base routers.

The only drawback is that the phenolic has a tendency to scratch easily.

It will however turn your router use from awkward to delightful, with beautiful rabbets and finishes.

  • No table insert makes for a smoother working surface.
  • Easy above table bit changes.
  • Height is easy to adjust to 1/1000th inch.
  • Shop-vac fitting for a dust free atmosphere.
  • Phenolic scratches easily and visibly.
  • Instructions could be clearer, especially the diagrams.

The DIY Router Lift

Diy router lift

Here's the catch:

Router lift is not an imeprative kit for a router table.

And you being a hobbyist or DIY'er you may want to build your own lift. That's completly understandable.

Here's 15 FREE DIY Router lift plans to build a router lift by yourselves. 


Incra V/S Jessem Router Lift

Router Lift

INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120

Router Carriage 

Expensive but top of the range.

Cheaper quality alternative

Bit change 

Quick, easy and from above. 

Quick, easy and from above.

Height adjustment

Easy to adjust height quickly and then make fine adjustments to 1/1000th inch.

Easy to adjust height quickly and then make fine adjustments to 1/1000th inch.

Height Lock 

Yes.

Yes.

Ring Inserts 

5 metal rings with MagnaLock system.

Only one supplied, you may need to buy a ring set.


Kreg V/S Jessem Router lift

Router Lift

Kreg PRS3000 Precision Lift

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120

Router Carriage 

It fits a Porter Cable 75 router, may need a mounting adapter for use with other routers. 

Unique and easy clamping system suits most fi

Bit change 

Quick, easy and from above. 

Quick, easy and from above.

Height adjustment

Coarse height adjustments are easy. Fine adjustments to 1-2/ 1000th inch can be tedious and tiring on your thumb

Easy to adjust height quickly and then make fine adjustments to 1/1000th inch.

Height Lock 

A manual brake prevents slippage during use.

Cam locking system prevents slippage during use.

Ring Inserts 

Three self-levelling twist lock insert rings.

Only one supplied, you may need to buy a ring set.

These router lifts  are made for easy above table bit changing and height adjustment.

The JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 fits most fixed based routers, compared with the Kreg PRS3000 Precision Router Table Lift which fits routers like Porter Cable 75, but may require an adapter with other routers.

With the Kreg lift fine adjustments to depth of cut are made with a thumb wheel.

This can be tiring and fiddly and the JessEm is easier to adjust.

Both lifts have locking systems which prevent those annoying changes in the depth of cut during routing.

While the Kreg comes with three self-levelling twist lock rings the JessEm has just one ring, so you might want to buy additional rings with this lift.

Features Of A Good Router Lift

Choosing the best router lift can be challenging, as there’s a good number of lifts, which looks similar. You need to consider many things, to avail a good router lift for your wood-shop. Here’s what you need to look for to get the best router lift-

Routers that the lift will accept.

You must pay close attention to the list of routers that are compatible with the lift. A lift designed for smaller routers like 2-1/2 HP can’t house in or support the bigger and powerful routers of 3-1/2 HP.

Above the table bit changes and height adjustment.

Make sure the lift raise the router collet above the table so that quickly and easily you can change the bit above the table. The best router lifts provide this options. Crank handle does the job easy and in quick time.

Lifts that come with adapters.

If you’re planning to grab a powerful router in near future, look for a lift that comes with adapters so that you can also use it for your small router.

Insert ring on the mounting plate.

Go for a lift that provides various sizes of insert ring. These are important for changing and using different diameter bits. It’s essential you provide the maximum support possible to the wood piece passing by the bits. You can also buy insert rings as per your need.

Fixed or plunge base router.

Most of the router lifts on the market designed to work with fixed base router that has removable motor. On the other hand, plunge router has non-removable motor. Make sure what type of routers you are using before going ahead.

Lifts that can be locked.

Locking the lift guarantees you it will not drift up and down with the router vibration, which will help you to get a precise cut. Most commercial lifts comes with this feature and it’s good to have it. But, its usefulness mostly depends on the nature of your job. 

Lifts that provide smallest increments .

The best router lifts are those that gives the smallest increments in bit heights that will make sure you can make the finest adjustment you need to make the perfect cut.

 Insert plate that will fit into your router table top openings.

That will fit into your router table top openings. The insert plates have neither standard or fixed size nor the table top openings. You should check the dimension of insert plate openings and choose a lift whose insert plate will fit into it. 

Why You Should Have a Router Lift?

George Vondriska of Woodworkers Guild of America explains the necessity of having a router lift quite amazingly check the video.

Long gone the days when router lift considered a luxury in the list of router accessories.

Nowadays frequent router table users who crave for quality and quick work considers router lift near-necessity as it’s provide unmatchable convenient by giving you mainly two benefit

  • Precise bit height adjustment with ease and
  • Hassle free quick bit changes

Now, the best part:

You can do the both from above the table giving you respite from the awkward moments that you would have passed under the table.

Also, adjusting the bit to a precise height gives you the perfect cut you always wanted.

The more precise the bit height the more perfect cut you get.

So, which one to choose...

There are a wide range of router lifts on the market to suit different preferences, router models, tables and budgets.

Whichever you choose you will wonder why you didn’t buy one sooner!

So rather than grappling with the hassle of below table bit changes and height adjustments,or grumbling as slippage spoils yet another project, take action now.

Treat yourself by picking up one of the best router lifts from above list.

It will transform your routing, improve your productivity and give an accurate and beautiful finish to your work.

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