The Best Router Table For The Woodworker In You
One of the essential tools for any DIY enthusiasts or weekend woodworkers is a router table to have more control. The top selling router tables in the online stores are Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table, Kreg PRS3000 Precision Router Table Lift, Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension, Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo and SKIL RAS900 Router Table.
A comparison of the five best router tables below will help you find the product that offers the best value for money:
|Model||Bosch RA1181||Kreg PRS3000||Bench Dog Tools 40-102||Craftsman||SKIL RAS900|
|Router Table Type||Benchtop||Router Table Lift (Accessory)||Extension||Router and Table Combo||Benchtop|
|Table Top||Aluminium||NA||Cast-iron||Laminated MDF||Laminated MDF|
|Warranty||30day moneyback guarantee, 1yr limited warranty, 1yr service protection plan||On Request||Limited Lifetime Warranty||On Request.||On Request.|
Further details help us understand why Bosch RA1181 is the number one selling router table on amazon.com, why Kreg PRS3000 is the highest rated and Bench Dog Tools 40-102 is called the choice of the professional contractor.
Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
This table is from Bosch which is known for producing high quality products at affordable prices.
- Benchtop router table
- Package includes mounting hardware for a variety of routers.
- Good size worktop surface with dimensions of 27×18 inches.
- Made of mostly aluminium parts. It has a sturdy aluminium base, a rough-ground cast-aluminium table top, rigid aluminium router mounting plate and a tall aluminium fence with 2 adjustable MDF faceplates.
- Comes with 2 way adjustable feather boards, dust collection port, dual outlet switch, starter pin and guard for router curved work pieces and 6-foot power cord with a built in wrap.
- Weighing in at 34.4 pounds, it is extremely portable.
- Priced between $150-$160
The various mounting hardware provided and the predrilled holes in the mounting plates ensure this table can be used with variety of routers and not just with Bosch routers. It has a larger work surface area as compared to other router tables making it easier to manage longer pieces of wood. It is also possible to work with larger wood pieces as the fence is 47/8 inches tall. The rigid mounting plate and a high quality fence ensure that your cut is precise and efficient. Has a maximum fence opening of 25/8inches.
Made of Aluminium, this table is extremely durable. Aluminium does not rust or corrode and can take a lot of rough usage as compared to plastic and stainless steel.
Availability and affordability:
Available at most hardware stores and home improvement stores but probably the best deals are online on websites like amazon.com. Priced at less than $160 it is one of the most affordable tables in the market. It also comes with a 30day money-back guarantee which no other manufacturer offers. It also has 1year limited warranty and service protection plan.
- Can be used with any router
- Can handle a wide range of wood sizes.
- Good dust collection port which is easy to attach to a vacuum.
- Easy to assemble
- Very affordable combined with a great warranty program.
- Issues with the flatness of the worktop for a few machines which is being rectified.
- The assembly instructions need to be more detailed especially for newbies.
Kreg PRS3000 Precision Router Table Lift
Kreg PRS3000 is an accessory to a router table which enables a woodworker to adjust the height of the router by just adjusting a thumb-wheel instead of using a hand-crank.
- Mounted on a heavy-gauge aluminium insert plate which fits into a 9¼X11¾inches opening.
- Has a micro-adjust thumb-wheel which replaces the traditional hand-crank.
- Has a spring-assist lift wrench
- Has three self-levelling, twist lock insert rings for more accurate results
- Weighs 84pounds.
- Priced between $340-$350
This is a strong machine which is easy to operate especially while changing table-top bits. It has a direct drive so no belts to deal with. The thumb-wheel is smooth and easy to use with each revolution moving the router 1/16inch. The height adjustment is quick with the spring-assist lift wrench.
The Kreg PRS3000 is made of high grade aluminium with the carriage made of aircraft grade aluminium.
Availability & Affordability
This machine is available online on amazon.com. Priced below $350, this is an expensive machine but it is considered one of the high end accessories; you get what you pay for.
- Makes it easy to set the bit height accurately.
- Can be used with a wide variety of router tables.
- The adjustable reference scale can be set to zero at any bit position.
- Easy to install.
- Some customers find the process for raising the router incrementally too tiresome.
Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension
Bench dog tools 40-102 is an extension type router table which can be attached to the end of a table saw to expand a workshop’s capability in woodworking.
- An industrial grade cast-iron router table designed for a professional woodworker.
- Fits any contractor grade table saws.
- Includes a router top, fence and mounting hardware.
- Fence is the high-end ProFence that can be dismounted and hung when not in use.
- Has a provision for additional mitre slot and for MDF sub-fences.
- A compact unit measuring 32.2×21.7×5.1inches and weighing 60pounds.
- Priced in between $290-$300; comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Designed for professional wood projects, this router table ensures technical precision. The ProFence has a heavy duty bit-guard for additional safety. It has a 2½ inch dust collection port which fits any commercial vacuum cleaner. Has a dual fence configuration so you can work from either side, allowing you to have the entire table top as your workspace for larger projects.
This table is made of cast iron which is considered the best material for router tables. It can take many knocks and still keep going.
Availability and Affordability:
Available in most professional hardware stores, but for the best deals go online to websites like amazon.com. Priced at just below $300, it is expensive for a regular woodworker, but on the lower side for a professional set-up.
- A well designed router table for a professional who needs to work with technical precision
- Can mount any professional router.
- Made of cast-iron, will last forever.
- Designed to sit flatly with the table extending the table’s usage.
- Sturdy and level.
- Easy to install
- There are issues with mounting screws and washer which sometimes means drilling extra holes in the table saw and the router table
- Some people have complained about the finish of the product.
Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
This is an affordable combination for those who are starting wood working.
- A combo pack which includes both a router and a table along with 1/4″ collet, wrench, fence, dust guard, dust collection port (2¼inches), feather boards, and mitre gauge
- Router has a 1¾HP motor which operates at 27,000RPM. It is built with permanently lubricated and sealed ball bearings which increase life of the motor.
- The router table is a benchtop with 334sqinch laminated MDF table top set on a cast aluminium base. It has a double outlet power strip with a safety lock.
- Extremely light-weight with the entire combo weighing 28pounds
- Price between $120-$130
This is a combo pack which means you don’t have to buy anything else to start woodworking assignments which require a router. The router has a powerful motor which will help you work even on tough woods like hickory. It is a lightweight benchtop router table which has 3 insert rings and is portable.
Has a powerful router which will last forever. Aluminium table base is lightweight but strong and durable. The laminated MDF top will start to warp after some use. Fence is made of plastic.
Availability and Affordability:
It is available in most hardware stores, but this cheap combo is available only on amazon.com. Priced at less than $130 this combination is cheaper than most routers and tables in the market.
- Powerful motor on the router which is long lasting.
- Excellent table for most amateur wood workers
- Mitre gauge can be adjusted to 60o in both directions.
- Plastic Fence is flimsy and gets warped easily.
- Table is not sturdy.
SKIL RAS900 Router Table
This table is one of the most popular tools from Skil which has been producing power tools since 1924.
- Benchtop router table with storage containers and a quick clamp system
- Comes with 2 featherboards, bit height gauge, starter pin and guard, meter gauge and a tall fence.
- Laminated MDF table top on a toughened plastic base with a MDF fence.
- Legs can be folded for easy storage.
- Priced in between $110-$120.
Laminated MDF offers a flat and smooth working surface. MDF fence has adjustable faces. The bit height gauge makes setup easier and more accurate. The folding design ensures easy set-up and storage.
The plastic base toughens with age and can become brittle. MDF surface warps over time.
Availability and Affordability
It is available in all major hardware stores and online on websites like amazon.com. Priced below $120 it is probably one of the cheapest router tables in the market today.
- Affordable price
- Minimal set-up
- Perfect for someone who is starting woodworking.
- Build quality not good with things not fitting properly or being higher than the table top causing a wobble in the wood being shaped.
- Legs are not sturdy
- Incompatible with many routers.
If you are a DIY woodworker who is building items as a hobby or for your home, then you need a router table that is durable, dependable, well-built with quality material but at an affordable price. Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table is the best value for money in the market today.
How to buy a router table?
A router table gives greater control and makes it safer especially when doing intricate work. What factors do you look for when selecting a router table?
- There are three types of router tables. Selection depends on the space available in the workshop and the budget. It will also depend on the skill level of the buyer – professional or amateur.
- Benchtop: Portable, less expensive, occupies less space on the floor versus the other types of routers
- Floor standing: Independent, has its own table, occupies floor space, meant for professionals and regular users, expensive.
- Extension: Meant to be added to the end of a table saw/other woodworking table.
- Some features of the router table that you need to consider:
- Table top: If the surface is not perfectly flat or rigid, you will have imperfections when you use the table to shape wood. The best choices from a durability, flatness and stability standpoint in descending order of preference are cast iron, aluminium, solid phenolic resin and MDF.
- Base Plate: This needs to be solid and substantial as the router is attached to the base plate. Plates should have minimum number of pre-drilled holes to ensure strength, but these holes should fit a maximum variety of routers. The base plate needs to have a levelling system.
- Fence: Helps control the piece of wood being shaped. A fence should be accurate, easy to position, straight, rigid and stay in the locked position. There are two types of fences
- Should be equipped with a mitre and have an option for a variety of t-slots for flexibility in usage.
- Base: Should be stable and sturdy.
- A wide variety of router tables are available at local hardware stores or home improvement stores. Checkout a few, try using a few and select the one that you are most comfortable with. But for a wider variety and better deals, go to websites like amazon.com.