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Top 7 Best Plunge Router Reviews – 2017

Woodworkers will tell you that the most versatile woodworking tool is a plunge router. So, what’s a plunge router? A plunge router is an advanced woodworking tool used to make precise cuts. It is quite different from the common fixed router in the sense that it can be adjusted thus achieving different depths. This makes it very convenient. Its flexibility makes it possible to handle different tasks.

Source: Mark Hunter under CC 2.0

What Are Plunge Routers Used For?

Sign Making

One of the tasks that a plunge router performs well is the design of signs. Sign making on wood has long proved to be an uphill task for designers. Well, that’s until this unique router was invented. Delivering the right message is paramount, making sign making a task that demands precision. This router allows the designer to cut along sketch lines with precision giving the expected results.

Making Dadoes, Grooves, And Flutes

Designing dadoes, flutes, and grooves involve making field cuts. Such cuts can be very tricky and prove hard to achieve free hand. A fixed router may not serve the purpose as you need to tilt the router regularly. This leaves you with the plunge router as a great solution. With it, you can be sure that you will not miss the track thus the chances of damaging the workpiece are low. Use a clamp or an edge guide to ensure the workpiece is secured in place as you work.

Routing Interior Patterns

When routing internal patterns, you need a device that can go anywhere, and that’s exactly what a plunge router can do for you. With this router, tipping is not necessary. All you need is a good extension, and your router will be free to use in every corner.

Circle Routing

Creating precise circles on wood requires expertise and the right tools. With this router, almost anyone can do it. You just need to fasten the trammel’s rod and use it to drill through the center of the scrap pivot block. Once this is done, you can then route out the workpiece with ease.

 

Comparing Different Types Of Plunge Routers

Image (Urls)NameMotorCollets capacityWeightRatings and reviewsPrice

Festool 574342 Plunge Router

 

11.7 Amp¼ inch18 pounds4.5Check Price

Porter-cable 7538 Plunge Router

 

15 AmpAuto-release collets

 

21 pounds5.0Check Price

Hitachi M12V2 plunge router

15 Amp1/4-inch &1/2-inch Collets21.2 pounds

 

3.5Check Price

Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router

 

12 Amp1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 8 mm collets21 pounds4.7Check Price

Makita RP1800 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router

 

15.0 Amp1/4-inch collet sleeve insert, 1/2-inch16.3 pounds



 

5.0Check Price

Bosch MRP23EVS Plunge Base Router

 

15 Amp1/4-inch 1/2-inch self-releasing collets

 

18 pounds

 

4.3Check Price

Black & Decker RP250 Plunge Router

 

10Amp1/4-inch collet and wrench

 

9.9 pounds4.4Check Price

Festool 574342 Plunge Router


If you are looking for a heavy woodworking router, the Porter-cable Plunge Router is the ultimate choice. It is a strong router built with a powerful 11.7 Amp motor. It is designed to handle heavy tasks and comes with fine adjustment features. One of the notable features is the dust extraction feature. Cleaning routers have always been a challenge with dust and chips sticking in inaccessible areas. This has been taken care of by the dust extraction hood. The removable dust extraction hood is aligned with the power cable. Its efficiency is boosted by the availability of a 27 or 36mm hose. The chips are taken care of by the chip catcher.

The comfort of working with a plunge router comes from the power it is able to deliver. The strong 11.7Amp motor can comfortably deliver up to 1400 watts. This is enough power to enable plunge cuts with ease. This is not to mention that it allows you to vary the speed, especially when working with larger bits. The variable speed combined with the impressive handles guarantee your safety while working with the machine. The handles reduce pressure on the hands and give you a better grip. As you will note, the power cord tube also doubles as the handle. This is in a bid to increase grip and control.

The price has been a concern to customers when it comes to the Festool router. It ranks in the high-end category making it inaccessible to many. Not to mention that one still needs to get some accessories such as the routing bits and guiding rods to go with the router. It, however, gives you value for your money and is worth the investment.

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Porter-cable 7538 Plunge Router


Getting a plunge router with a 15Amp motor is a major advantage. Porter-cable 7538 and several other routers come with a powerful 15 Amp motor. This motor provides enough power to cut through tough materials. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that it is enough power to cut through metals. Getting this machine saves you a lot of money, as you do not need to buy different tools to work on different materials. It will be all you need. It is, however, recommended that you stick to wood as this gives the router a longer lifespan.

The Porter-cable router is unique in the sense that it has a soft start feature. This feature makes it start slow and build up speed with time. Its speed can hit a high of 21,000 RPM. With this soft start feature; torque is reduced when starting the machine thus not compromising speed or efficiency.

In terms of performance, the Porter-cable router gives you value for your money. Its depth rod has a six-position turret that is adjustable. This turret allows you to choose between stepped and repeated plunge cuts. It also has a 3-inch precision motor that takes its precision to another level.

It is important to note that this router doesn’t come with a dust collection bag. It, however, comes with a plastic screen. This screen will keep the dust away from you as you work with the router. It also has a fan that is located below the motor. The fan keeps the dust away from you and the machine.

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Hitachi M12V2 plunge router


The Hitachi M12V2 plunge router is a heavy duty router designed to handle tough tasks in commercial shops. It is fitted with a 15 Amp motor that makes it perform flawlessly. Its build quality is definitely beyond reproach as the motor runs smoothly giving precise plunges. Its continuously variable speed control is located on the right handle. This control allows you to vary the speed between 8,000 and 22,000 RPM.

It shouldn’t bother you while working with this router as its ON/OFF switch is located within your thumb’s reach. This is quite important as you do not need to let go of the router to shut it down. This reduces chances of ruining your work plate. The switch is designed to lock into position. There is thus no need to hold the trigger as you work. It is, however, a bit too straight and may not receive your thumb as expected but works just right.

When it comes to dust collection, a clear dust collection shroud has been attached to the base. This may not be enough to collect all the dust given by this powerful machine, but it has cleverly positioned fins built into its shroud. These fins pull dust from below and air from above funneling the dirty air towards the dirt port. This results in a virtually dust-free environment which sometimes makes people think that it doesn’t produce any dust.

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 Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge Router


The Bosch 1617EVSPK has for long been on top of Bosch’s bestselling list. It gets its popularity from its unique features. This router is famed for its 12 Amp motor. This router gives its user enough power to push bigger shank bits (1/2 inch) through the stock. It also features the soft start feature. This ensures low torque on start up and reduced strain. Consequently, you will get a smoother transition making the router much easier to handle.

Routers vibrate to some degree and getting one with the least vibration ought to be one of your goals. Bosch 1617EVSPK has minimal vibrations making it very comfortable to work with. This may not be noted when testing the machine but will surely make a huge difference after prolonged use of the machine. A router with stronger vibrations leaves the user with lots of fatigue hindering their productivity.

This router is designed for precision. You can thus expect to find a micro-adjust dial. This dial is used to set the depth on both aspects. With it, the settings can narrow down to 1/256 inches on a fixed base. Its base also gives you the option of adjusting its height from above the table. You thus have a wide range of variations that you can work with increasing the router’s functionality.

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Makita RP1800 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router


Trusted for its high power output, the Makita RP1800 comes with a 15 Amp motor. For your heavy duty tasks, this router will not disappoint. It has the capacity of delivering a speed of up to 22,000RPM. This is the maximum speed you will get from most high end routers making it a great piece for its price.

Its fine adjustment feature makes it very precise. It is characterized by a micro-control that comes with a three pre-depth set. With it, you can achieve different depths and shapes. The 3 ¼ HP router processes fine and precise plunges guaranteeing the user of a great and delightful experience. It gives one the confidence to use it when making doors, windows, furniture, and even countertops. It gives great finishes.

Comfort is quite important when working with a router and the Makita RP1800 guarantees high comfort by including linear ball bearings. The ball bearings give it splendid performance. Being combined equipment, you can also expect to find ¼ inch and ½ inch collect sleeves. These together with an extended depth knob and a wrench perform to yield great efficiency and smooth operations. It is comfortable and gives the user a memorable working experience. It will surely give you value for your money.

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Bosch MRP23EVS Plunge Base Router


Bosch MRP23EVS is yet another professional plunge router from Bosch. This is a two-piece router that combines a sturdy base with a 15 Amp motor to give you the ultimate plunging experience. It is the successor of the 1617 router and succeeds it with strength and precision. It’s most advanced and useful feature is the trigger. This is located on the right-hand handle and allows you to keep your hands on the machines when making cuts. This increases your stability, safety, and control.

The body and features are proof that quality and style can be found on the same piece. The 15 Amp motor is cast from a single piece of metal a, d the tolerances are always tight. To bring some style and comfort, the handles are covered with rubber. This ensures that you are having a good grip of this monster that roars in the speeds of 10,000 and 25,000 RPM.

If you have had challenges changing the parts with other routers, your needs are catered for by the Bosch MRP23EVS. It comes with a flat top which makes it possible for the unit to stand upright even in an upside-down position. This way, you can work with ease giving excellent results especially when loosening or tightening the collet.

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Black & Decker RP250 Plunge Router


The cost of buying tools is what has kept people from exploring their woodworking hobby. Well, everyone wants to have a versatile machine that will handle everything thrown at it but how do you get such a high quality tool without breaking bank? The Black & Decker RP250 is the solution. This is a relatively cheaper router that comes with the functionalities you can expect from high end routers. It will fit in your budget, and help you get into your hobby with ease.

This router is characterized with high power. Stocking a 10 Amp motor, one may think that is too big of a motor for it. For a router its size and price, this is quite a good motor considering that it can handle any woodworking task. This doubled with the fact that it can act as a fixed and plunge router makes it very reliable.

The slow start feature that every wood worker appreciates is present too! With this feature, you do not have to worry about poor cuts. The router gains power with time giving you adequate time to get accustomed to the vibrations. It also has a sightline base and an easy depth setting scale that makes it easy to see and focus on what you are working on. As a bonus, it also gives you the option of using an adjustable parallel guide, wretch, and the ¼ inch collets.

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Plunge Routers Buyers Guide

The purchase of a plunge router, especially for beginners, can prove to be an intimidating task. There is a lot that one needs to consider and this leaves many in total confusion. Well, why not focus on just a few features that will shape your experience with plunge routers? Let’s analyze some of the major concepts that you need to pay keen attention to when making the purchase.


Bit Shank Size And Router Bit Shank Changing

The selection of the right bit shank size defines how versatile your plunge router will be. Typically, plunge routers take bit shanks ranging from ¼ inch to ½ inch. There are routers which will only take one size while others can take two or three sizes. Entry level routers only accept ¼” buts. More powerful routers on the other hand take more powerful bits of up to ½” diameter. This is made possible by the availability of an interchange collet.

There are a number of advantages that you will enjoy from using the larger bit shanks. Though they will cost you more, these shanks have a larger cross sectional area. This minimizes lateral pressure deflections and also provides enough clamping surface area for the collets. If the shanks aren’t secured in place, spillage may be experienced.

Before making a decision on a plunge router, holding one and finding out how hard or easy it is to change bits is quite important. Holding the unit in hand also lets you feel how comfortable it is to work with the power button’s position. “Hold it by hand” is a rule that applies in many woodworking tools and this is no exception.

 


Plunge Router Power Ratings

The selection of a plunge router will definitely be influenced by the speed and horsepower it can deliver. Commonly, these routers range between 1.5 and 3.5 HP. This is a good range as it covers all the different types of wood. While working on softwoods, anything between 1.25 and 2 HP would deliver adequate power. Routers with low horsepower ratings are best used for occasional purposes while those with higher ratings can be used regularly for heavy duty purposes.

The purchase of a higher rating tool requires more attention than a lower one. This is because you also have to be keen about the revolutions made per minute. This is the measure of speed that the router can achieve. Most of the routers fall in the range of 9,000 and 30,000. Such a range needs control for the router to reach its peak speed. Having a variable speed control option makes it possible to work at the right speed avoiding mistakes. As you will realize, small bits can give clean cuts while running on mid or high speeds while bigger bits will need lower levels to give safe cuts. With the variable speed control, you will have an easy time as you just need to twist to get the desired speed level.

 


Plunge Router Design

The design adopted by a plunge router means a lot to the user. The design will determine whether you will be comfortable using the router or not. It is the design that will dictate the handles, blades, motor, base, and even the collets to be used. A router with an ergonomic grip gives the user an easier time working with the tool and also ensures accuracy. If you are going for a router to achieve precision in your artwork, this will be a major factor to consider.

A plunger router spends a good number of its operational hours hanging under the table. You therefore, need to be sure that it has the features that will make this possible. First and foremost, ensure that the router can allow you to adjust the height from above the table using a handle, knob, or crank. This beats stooping over to change the depths from underneath. Secondly, go for the router that is designed to extend its collet above the table. This way, you can change the bits without necessarily lifting the machine.

 


Conclusion

Plunge routers rank among the most popular woodworking tools due to the wide range of tasks they can handle. By using the different bits available, you can make designs that cannot be achieved with any other tool. The market has a wide range of plunge routers to choose from. Make your decision based on what you want to do with the router, the power it has to offer, its versatility, and ease of operation. This will ensure that you are getting value for your money.


Resources

[1] wikihow.com : How to Use a Plunge Router

[2] woodmagazine.com : 10 Ways to Get the Most from Your Plunge Router

[3] pinterest.com : Plunge router

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