A handheld router is a helpful tool to have around your workshop. Many woodworkers will tell you that the possibilities with a router seem to be endless. However, with a handheld router, you will be limited in your precision. That’s where the router table comes into play.
Holding a router and holding a project in place can be difficult, especially if you are making quite a few of the same cut. If you think it’s time to add a router table to your shop, we have some very helpful information.
Things To Consider When Purchasing A Router Table
Bench Top or Stand Alone
There are two main types of aerators that you can purchase. One is going to go on top of your existing work bench. Another is going to be a stand alone router table. You will have to choose a model that works for your needs and the size of your current shop.
The bench top tables are great when you are short on space. However, some professional woodworkers have a hard time getting the same balance and stability with a bench top table. The stand alone models are usually priced a bit higher. It’s important to consider the height of these to make sure that it is suitable for your needs.
Router Table Important Features
Not all router tables are compatible with all routers. The last thing you need is to purchase one and find out that it does not work with your router. A router table will have a plate at the bottom, and this is what is used to attach your router. If your router plate is not adjustable or compatible, you will need to purchase a new router.
Most router tables will list what routers they are compatible with. You should be able to make this determination before completing your order.
Size of Table
Router tables come in several different sizes. Whether you are purchasing a router table that is a benchtop or stands alone, several sizes are available. It’s essential to consider the size of the material that you work with to make sure your table is compatible.
Many of the tables in our review are going to have extensions on either side. The extensions will allow you to work on larger pieces. The nice thing about these extensions is that they will fold in for easy storage of your table. These three considerations are the most important when you start looking at the top ten best router tables on the market.
Top Ten Best Router Tables
1. Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table RA1171
Tall cabinet style design
It fits a variety of routers
Dust collection ports
Comes with mounting plates
Feather boards to help with guidance
At the top of our list is the Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table. With the Bosch, you are going to get a combination of value and performance. This is a cabinet-style design. Although we will review both the cabinet and benchtop, it is essential to note a cabinet-style design’s benefits.
This Bosch Router Table stands on its own, comes with a mounting plate, and can work with several different types of routers. The Bosch router also comes with a tall aluminum fence that can help when working with taller pieces.
The bottom of the cabinet on the Bosch is equipped with two dust collection ports that will remove both dust and debris while working on your project. The collection ports will also allow you to attach a vacuum and eliminate all debris while working.
The Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table also comes with dual switches to make sure that you can plug it in from either side of the table. If you are serious about some work you need to do with your router, the Bosh is without question a great choice.
2. Ryobi Universal Router Table-A25RT03
It comes with five throat plates
Clear marking on table
Integrated Vacuum port
32 in x 16 in
The Ryobi Universal Router table comes at a great value. Although this is not the cheapest model on the market, what you get for your money is quite impressive. The router table is 32 x 16 inches, which should be large enough for most at home projects.
You will also get five throat plates and an integrated vacuum port in addition to the router table. The vacuum port is a huge benefit and will make cleaning up after yourself a much easier project.
Some people worry that the Ryobi router table is only going to work with the Ryobi router. Although this table is a seamless and easy fit with the Ryobi router, there are others that it is compatible with. You can check the compatibility before purchasing to make sure this model is a good fit.
3. KREG Precision Router Table System, Kreg# PRS1045
24” x 32” router tabletop
Allows for precise setups
The steel stand is height adjustable
Comes with insert plate, fence
Can get casters to work with it
The Kreg products are known for being very high-quality top of the line router table systems. With the Kreg Precision Router Table, you will have lots of adjustability for height and measurements. Many of the router tables will come at a very low height and be priced a bit cheaply; this is not the case with the Kreg Precision.
The Kreg is easy to assemble and meant to last for a very long time. Although you will spend a bit more money on this router table, it has quite a few features. The T Square style fence helps to make sure that you can get a very precise setup as well.
Potentially the best feature of the Kreg Router Table is the height adjustability from 31 to 39 inches in height. The adjustability in height allows you to be comfortable while you work. Although you can put casters on the Kreg to wheel it around, this is still not your best choice for a true portable router table.
4. Leegol Electric Benchtop Router Table WoodWorking Craftsman Tool
Extra large size, has extensions
You will have a hard time finding a router table for less than the Leegol Electric Benchtop Router Table. If you are looking for a decent quality router table but don’t have much extra money to spend, this one will do the trick.
Our favorite feature of the Leegol is the extensions on the main table. The extensions help to make sure that you can accommodate any size piece of wood. The extensions slide out quickly and make it quite easy to work with.
The Leegol comes with a retractable guard that is designated to help make sure that no wood chips come flying up to damage the user. If you want a router table capable of making precise cuts, this one will certainly do it.
Since the Leegol is made with rustproof material, it will last you quite a long time. For the price and the ability to move this around from one location to another, it is hard to complain about the Leegol model.
5. Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181
Tall aluminum fence
Works with a variety of routers
As you may remember, the Bosch Cabinet Router was our top choice. This Benchtop Router has many of the same features, although it does not come with its own cabinet. This router is going to fit right on your current workbench. You will have lots of room to complete your work when using this 22 x 27 inch router.
On the bottom of the Bosch Benchtop router, you will have a place to put your 2.5 inch vacuum hose. This is especially important on the benchtop router as there is no cabinet that will naturally collect the dust coming out of the bottom.
On the side of the Bosch, you will find an accessory slot. This slot can hold feather boards, other bits, a miter gauge, and accessories as well. Above the cutting area, you will see a safety guard that does a great job of keeping the user safe. Overall the Bosch is an excellent addition to any workshop.
6. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
Wide, stable base
Heavy duty steel stand
Dust collection system
The Kreg Bench Top Router Table is another premium choice. If you do quite a bit of work with your router, you are going to want to seriously consider either of the Keg models that made our list. Something to be aware of with a good router table is stability over time.
If your router table starts to get a bit shaky and unstable, you will undoubtedly need to replace it. Generally, when working with a router, there is a certain amount of precision involved. The Kreg model will go on top of your pre-existing workbench and has a 16 x 24-inch tabletop.
The tabletop is made with MDF, and your materials will easily slide across the top. The Kreg has adjustable faces and a dust collection system to ensure that you have a clean and neat operation when using this particular model. Although this benchtop router table costs more than some others, it will be around for a long time.
7. Skil RAS900 Router Table
Two feather boards
Easy bit changes
Storage for accessories
Legs fold for storage
The Skil RAS900 is another tabletop router table best known for its simplicity and stability. This model has two legs that fold in for easy storage, and the entire table is relatively stable. The Skil Router Table has two containers that you can store parts when you are not using the table.
Included with the Skil Router Table will be two feather boards to help you guide your wood along while you are working on it. Accuracy will be significantly improved when using feather boards. Of course, the bit height gauge also helps for quick adjustments so that you can move from one project to another.
As far as mounting your router with the Skil, it will only take you a few seconds. The quick clamp system has everything in place, and it remains stable. Another great feature is that you won’t need to level your router when you take it in and out. The Skil Router connection is self-leveling. Check for compatibility to make sure your router is going to work with the table that you choose. Overall this Skil is an excellent choice for value and functionality.
8. Grizzly Industrial T28048 – Portable Series Router Table
10-foot power cord
23 x 15 inch tabletop
2 ¼” Fence mounted dust port
Canvas dust bag
Clear router guard
The Grizzly Industrial portable Series Router Table is a great choice for a small space. If you still need a full router table but are short on space, this is a great choice. It seems like all aspects were considered when building this model; it has safety features, clean up features, and easy adjustability as well.
One of our favorite features on this portable series router table is the fact that it is a stand alone unit with its own dust collection bag. You can simply hook a shop vac up to the bag while working and pull everything out.
On the sides of the unit, you will notice saddle bags that work for storing extra bits and other accessories that you may need while working. The Grizzly features a universal mounting plate, so you will have no trouble getting your current router to fit securely in this portable table. Although you spend a little extra on this Grizzly model, it has enough features to justify the pricing.
9. Goplus Electric Aluminum Router Table Wood Working Craftsman Tool Benchtop
Durable yet lightweight
Works with many router types
Bench top design
The GoPlus Electric Aluminum Router Table is built for benchtop use. The thing that sets this model apart from the other is going to be the safety. We found that this particular router table was able to accommodate a large bit but still allow for the guard to stay in place. With some routers, the guard only works when the bit is smaller.
One of the other great features of the GoPlus is the extra large extension table. The extensions come out on either side of the table. This makes the top extra long, and it’s very easy to slide your material across.
When you get your GoPlus Router Table, it will only take you a little bit to get it set up and working. Once in place, the grooved surface helps to keep things neater while cutting. With no vacuum connection, this model moved a bit further down our list.
10. Kobalt Fixed Corded Router with Table Included
Router and table
The router comes with a 12 amp motor
Comes with a safety guard
Good beginner model
Last on our list is the Kobalt Fixed Corded Router with Table. You may be wondering why an option that comes with its own router wound up on the bottom of this list. When you look at the components of this table compared to others, you will realize this is not the highest quality model out there.
The Kobalt base is made up of plastic, which is certainly not going to be as durable or ready for long term use as some of the steel bases we have reviewed in other models. However, the Kobalt is a perfect option for someone new at woodworking.
If you have just decided to try your hand and to make some molding or cabinetry, the Kobalt could be a great choice. You won’t be able to run this machine all day; however, it comes with all the necessary features to complete a small project. You will enjoy the safety guard, the included feather boards, and the fact that this model will hardly take up any space in your workshop. Depending on how determined you are to get started with your router, this could be a great choice.
Router Table Buying Guide
Now that you have all of this great information about the best router tables on the market, it’s time to break down which one makes the most sense for you to purchase. With all of the different features and functions of the router table, it’s good to have a general understanding of what a router table should have before you purchase one.
When choosing the table, pay specific attention to the top of the table. The surface needs to be very flat, and it also needs to be smooth. You will be running your workpiece across the table and any kind of resistance could cause damage to your project.
Many of the router table tops will be made with a smooth plastic but getting something that is a bit rigid is generally a good idea. When the top of the table is rigid, it will it will keep the workpiece from bending or moving as it is pushed through. If the workpiece has the ability to flex, it could create inconsistencies in the cut of the wood.
The MDF top is probably the most popular, but the resin tops are an upgrade from there. Choose something within your budget but try and make sure that it is as smooth as possible.
You will notice large discrepancies in the pricing of a router table. The pricing seems to be very closely related to the types of tables and to the material that it is made with. We will mention this several times, but the stability of a router table is essential. Very often, the difference between the lower and higher priced tables is going to be stability.
If you choose between something that has very simple features but a lot of stability; or something with tons of features but cheaper materials, go with the latter. Making sure that you have a stable work surface will help you create consistent pieces that are going to look great.
The lower priced models are best for a weekend project. They are usually plastic and portable and can be folded up and put away quite easily. If you are a woodworker that uses a router very often, prepare to spend $300 or more on a great table.
The fence is the part of the router table that you will hold your workpiece up against when you are pushing it along the top. Your workpiece needs to stay pushed up against the fence the entire time to help ensure an accurate cut.
The fence height and ability to position it are essential when choosing your router table. When choosing a great fence, the most important factors are the rigidity and the fence’s straightness.
A flimsy material that moves around as the wood is pushed a long will never work to help create consistent cuts. Ensuring that your fence stays in place and does not shift when it is locked in place will certainly help improve the consistency of your work. Once your fence is in place and locked down, it needs to stay there for the duration of your routering.
The base of your router table is very important. You must choose something that is stable and durable as well. Your project’s entire success will be based on whether or not the router stays stable while cutting.
As you will notice, the steel bases are quite a bit more money, but they are also very durable. The steel bases are also heavy, and they are not quite as portable; however, this is something that may be worth it when you look at the quality of the work you can accomplish.
Another thing to keep in mind is the damage that could be done should your router table happen to tip. Overall, these tables are equipped with safety features to help keep this from happening. However, thinking about a router falling over while working the result is certainly going to be damaging.
As with most power tools, safety is going to be extremely important. A router table will usually have a guard above the bit. This guard helps to keep larger pieces from flying up and injuring the user. The guard can also help to keep dust at a minimum.
Using a table with a vacuum port can help keep the overall workshop much cleaner. After all, a table is supposed to help, not make your project even more difficult. Being aware of safety and convenience when purchasing your router table is essential.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you now have a pretty good idea as to what you need out of a router table. Ultimately you will have to decide if this is a justifiable purchase or if you can get what you need out of a hand held router. Here are some of the questions that people often asked before purchasing.
What Does A Router Table Do?
When using a hand held router, you will hold the router and work on a piece of wood. With a router table, your will no longer have to hold your router, and you can work with the router upside down. A router table allows you to invert your router and run your workpiece along the bit.
Both a hand held router and a router table are essential for superior craftsmanship. The handheld router is excellent for projects that can’t be moved or are too large to work on while using a table. A router table helps when working with smaller pieces like molding and trim. These pieces need to travel across the table, and the cuts are precise as well.
Are Router Tables Universal?
Most router tables will work with any router; however, this is not always the case. There is a base plate at the bottom of the table. This base plate will have to line up properly with your current router. If you are not able to line things up, the router table will be useless.
Always make sure that your router table fits the style and design of the router that you have. Just because it says it is universal; it does not always mean that it works with every single model router.
How Big Should A Router Table Be?
As you probably noticed from our review, the size of the router tables varies quite a bit. Some tables are designed for larger pieces, and others are small bench top units. Most of the time, it is good to look for something that is about 24 inches by 30 or more inches.
This type of space should give you enough room to complete both small and midsize projects. The idea behind a router table is to make work more efficient and easier. If your router table is too small, chances are you will not even end up using it.
Can You Make A Router Table?
Some people wonder if they are capable of making their own router table. When you look at the general concept of a router table, you will see that it simply is a way to hold your router upside down so you can use it.
Many people make their own router table, and it is just as effective as those purchased ready made. The most important things to remember when creating your router table is stability and durability.
Remember that when a router is on and working, it spins at a very high rate of speed. If you don’t have the router securely in place, your cuts will not be even. Also, ensure that you have a fence in place so that the workpiece has something smooth to travel along as you work.
The last thing that you can’t forget when creating your router table is safety. The table must be safe and have a guard over the blade. Although you may save a little money building your own router table, there are features that you should be aware of.
What Is A Feather Board?
A feather board is a piece of wood that helps to guide a workpiece along. The feather board pushes the wood down and into the table so that it does not pop up or bounce while you are working.
Featherboards are essential for accuracy. With the rate that a router spins, the room for error is quite large. A workpiece must remain stable and secure the entire time that it is being pushed past the router.
Another great thing about feather boards is that they allow the worker to keep their hands away from the spinning router bit as well. With the feather boards in place, you can put the piece from one end and grab it as it comes out on the other. Certainly, this is a way to lead to less injury and more efficient work.