Let Woodhutt share an insight into my experience when I first heard about compact routers; my first reaction was why would anyone purchase this if they have a full-fledged router already in their workshop. But I had an epiphany, the manufacturers and designers would be on something after all, and after some contemplation, I realized that was its size and less cumbersome, which makes it unique and innovative. So I do my extensive research on the Best compact router and finally got one.So in this buying guide, we will look at some of the best compact routers across categories to augment your routing experience.
Best Compact Routers 2020
DeWalt DWP611PK Compact Routers
Bosch 1617EVSPK Compact Routers
Triton TRA001 Plunge Router
Porter-Cable Compact Routers
DeWalt DW618PK Compact Router
Bosch 1617EVS 2-1/4
Bosch PR20EV Colt Trim Router
Festool 574692 Compact Routers
RoutersMakita XTR01Z Compact Routers
BobsCNC E3 CNC Router
1. DEWALT DWP611 Compact Router
This is the perfect marriage between the ergonomically design and durability; if you want a lighter weight and substantial trim router for your workshop, this is the ideal product as it has so many noticeable features like Dual LED and clear sub-base having D-shape for clear visibility during hand-held routing.
It has variable speed setting ranging from 16000- 27000 RPM which can be monitor and regulate as per your needs also it has soft starting motor has electronic speed control feature which maintains the speed when encountering different resistance which supports in change between different kinds woods and reduces the risk of twisting and helps you in making sophisticated cuts with ease.
Besides, it has a powerful 1.25hp motor, which is a handful for more complex applications that can be transitioned easily between fixed and plunge bases, and it also comes with combo kits, and it has three years limited warranty.
2. Makita RT0701C Compact Router
In simple terms, Makita compact router is suitable if you want a slim and ergonomically designed body for control and accuracy, and its weighting only 3.9 easy to carry and it’s one of the best palm router, which helps in a firm grip and excellent control while trimming which is fantastic.
Due to its variable speed control system, which ranges from 10,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM, enables you to accommodates various applications and match their speed, its electronic speed control maintains constant speed during operation.
Its noticeable feature is its quick-release cam lock system for easy depth adjustments, which means you can make exact cuts as you want to make it. It has a double insulated powerful aluminum motor, which is durable and due to its double insulation, so dirt can go inside it.
What kept this model second on the list is due to its non-compatibility of its plunge base with standard templates and have to buy separate adapter for making it compatible though the regular base incompatible another thing which is mentioned to note is that it comes with only three preset depth stops in plunge base as some products have five as compared to this.
3. Bosch Colt PR20EVS Compact Router
This palm router is simply a champ. It comes with 1hp motor, which isn’t overwhelming but isn’t weak either and powerful enough to take a 1/4″ bite with a 1-1/4″ core box bit in maple, ash, and other softwoods and also it can handle a 5/16 ogee in treated pine in one pass.
The palm grip fits your hand pretty well, and the base has an imprint for using your thumb as a guide, which provides a firm hold. It’s excellent that it comes with two real wrenches one for the shaft and another one for the nut rather than a stamped piece of steel that you can replace.
The power cord is about a foot long and made with a soft material not weak, which doesn’t get also tangled. It comes one-year limited warranty, which is fantastic.
The only downside of this compact router is not having a plunge base; this small router with plunge base would be excellent for doing inlay work and stringing if Bosch comes with it soon.
4. Porter-Cable 450 Compact Router
Porter-cable’s compact router is an exciting option as it is easy to hold with one hand and ample power for laminate and woodworking as it is perfect for rounding over and cove cuts.
The exceptional feature is its Compatibility as its kit came with a fixed base and plunge base, allowing the motor to switch between the bases for configuration flexibility.
It’s aluminum motor and base construction provides long term durability and having 1.25HP motor delivers the power to meet the most robust applications. Its Large, low-pressure spindle lock button allows for comfortable but single wrench bit changes.
Its Depth ring and clamping mechanism combine to ensure motor remains locked in position, and adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to with-in 1/64.
5. MasterWorks Tool’s Avid Power MW104 Compact Router
Every once in a while, you buy something inexpensive you use it, and you almost feel like you stole it same goes for this product like having a kit with more attachments than the other kits and have two pair of gloves included in it for safety purpose as this might heat-up while operating.
Furthermore, it comes with a lot of accessories like vacuum attachment and dust hood, 3/8 collet, and two edge guides, which are included in it and have a box of router bits, moreover its accessories are interchangeable with other brands too which is stand out benefit of this product.
It has features like Dual LED Lights to illuminates the dark working area, and its smooth rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system provides precise depth adjustment.
The variable speed control dial allows users to choose a more appropriate speed for different applications.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Trim / Compact Router- Buying Guide
In the past, trim routers were tools designed for a single carpentry task trimming countertop laminate. Recently, however, manufacturers have responded to user feedback with features that make these tools more versatile and easier to use.
The best trim routers in this new crop are perfectly suited to a variety of furniture-making tasks: rounding over and chamfering edges, routing hinge mortises, flush-trimming veneer, and edge banding, routing cavities for inlay, and more. Their small size and lightweight make them agile, so they are easy to move around corners an along curves and to balance on edges and narrow parts like legs.
They can be used one-handed, which means you can fly around a workpiece, holding the router and easing the edges with one hand while holding and repositioning the workpiece with the other. There are a lot of new models on the market, and choosing one is difficult if you can’t get them all in the shop and try them So now, let’s dig deep into the factors to consider before making the purchase, which may impact your decision in buying the specific product as you need.
- Adjustable Bit Height
Bit height should be easy to adjust. Trim routers are used for small work, where a bit that is a few thousandths of an inch too deep can spell disaster. Bit-height changes should be uncomplicated and accurate and simpler design gets the job done as in below picture the lead screw on the Makita Palm router controls all bit-height adjustments.
The twist is good too. When using the fixed base on the Porter-Cable (below) and its close relative, the DeWalt, all height adjustments are made by releasing a locking lever and then turning the motor in the base, another system that works very well.
- The Clear View for Easy Routing
When routing mortises for inlay or hinges, you need to stay within the layout lines, so visibility is key. A base with a large cut out and clear sub-base, like the DeWalt’s, creates the perfect window, letting you see exactly what you’re routing and gives you a clear picture of the application. (See the below image)
But in Porter cable they have a tunnel vision as the base on the Porter-Cable offers a great view of the bit up high, but the sub-base is opaque and has a small opening, so it is very difficult to see what the bit is routing and does not give clear visibility of it. (Refer below image)
There are a lot of options for compact routers in diverse price ranges. The wide disparity in prices also leads to some significant differences when it comes to real-world performances. Our pick of the lot would be DEWALT DWP611 Compact Router due to its outstanding Compatibility with a fixed base and plunge base and ergonomically design and durability and clear visibility of its base and sub base.
All the other items are likewise the best each category they feature. Depending on your needs, they are the ideal choice for you.
All I can assure you is you won’t regret it if you pick from the products under review. I now leave you to select the best compact router of your choice.