Router tables are an asset to any woodworker. Table routers make your hand-held router safer and more versatile on the job site or in your workshop. The best router table for you is the one that fits your budget, but still provides all the features you need for the tasks you’ll be working on the most. We understand that woodworking tools are a big investment, and our router table reviews are designed to help you make an informed decision about which table is the right one for your situation.
The first router tables were improvised by woodworkers who inverted their routers and mounted them on the underside of a table. Today, table routers are sold in complete packages that include fences, guards, sturdy stands, and much more. There are models that can be used right on top of your workbench, as well as stand-alone versions with large work areas. You can even get wall mounted and portable router tables for added convenience. Here’s a look at the top units on the market in 2019.
Router Table Comparison Chart
|Brand/Model (Click Item Text to Scroll to Review)||Rating|
|1. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table|
Our Top Pick for 2019
|2. Bosch RA1181 Bench Top Router Table||9.6/10||CHECK PRICE|
|3. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|4. Kreg PRS1045 Bench Top Router Table||9.5/10||CHECK PRICE|
|5. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension||9.4/10||CHECK PRICE|
|6. Jessem Rout-R-Lift II Included Router Table System||9.4/10||CHECK PRICE|
|7. Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router Table||9.3/10||CHECK PRICE|
Best Router Table Reviews
1. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router TableCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This portable benchtop router table by Kreg is our top pick for 2019 because it offers a generous 16” x 24” MDF table top designed with an easy slide surface. We love the heavy-duty steel stand has been designed with a wide stand for extra stability. The design also features an industrial quality aluminum fence that includes adjustable faces, vertical jointing, and dust collection.
The Kreg PRS2100 Router Table includes a full-size router insert plate with three Level-Loc reducing rings. The rings are designed to twist securely into place and lock flush with the plate surface. Three ring sizes are included: 1-inch, 13/16-inch (for use with Porter-Cable style guide bushings), and 2 1/8-inch. Kreg has also included quarter-turn locking levers on the fence for easy adjustment.
This smart design also features independent sliding faces and jointing rods that allow the table to be used as a vertical jointer, making this table extremely versatile. Not only is the table top spacious, but it has also been constructed with edge-branded MDF for additional vibration and noise resistance. The vibration-dampening rubber feet and vacuum shroud make this table a joy to use in the home workshop or on the job site.
Reviewers love the versatility and portability of the Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table and report that it’s easy to set up and use. Mounting just about any router to this table is easy, and it will accommodate larger routers. Kreg has truly thought of everything with this router table design by including laser-engraved markers for hassle-free mounting.
2. Bosch RA1181 Bench Top Router TableCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Bosch Bench Top Router Table comes complete with three mounting plate insert rings, a clear adjustable guard, and two adjustable feather guards. The table itself is made from cast aluminum, so it is quite sturdy and stable. This router table by Bosch features an extra-large 27” x 18” work surface, so it’s more than adequate for almost any routing jobs.
The feather boards on this routing table have been cleverly designed so that they are easy to attach and adjust to accommodate a variety of workpieces. The aluminum table top is a nice feature for those who may need to use the table in wet conditions. The RA1181 is also very portable, weighing only 30 pounds. The dust collection port and accessory slot are handy features that you don’t often find on units at this price point.
Reviewers of the Bosch RA1181 are very impressed with the aluminum router mounting plate on this table, reporting that it provides accurate cuts. They also appreciate that the plate is pre-drilled to fit a wide variety of routers. The design also features a tall aluminum fence that allows the table to accommodate tall stock with ease. The fence has also been designed with adjustable MDF face plates that allow for smoother operation.
This router table by Bosch also includes a heavy-duty 15-amp dual outlet switch with overload protection and a lockout key to prevent unauthorized use. While most reviewers were delighted with the performance of this router table, there were some complaints of the mounting plate being uneven, preventing your workpiece from sliding across the work surface as it should. Bosch provides a one-year warranty on this product.
3. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router TableCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
This cabinet style router table by Bosch is made from ¾-inch MDF with a laminate coating for easy clean-up. The table top itself is more than 1 1/8-inch thick to provide stability. With the addition of two dust collection ports and an adjustable fence system, the RA1171 has all the essential features needed in a quality router table.
This cabinet style router table by Bosch has been designed with a tall, aluminum fence and adjustable faceplates, so it can easily and smoothly handle taller workpieces. The mounting plate is pre-drilled to allow for easy mounting of almost any type of router. The plate is also made of aluminum for improved accuracy when cutting. The RA1171 has two adjustable featherboards that provide additional guidance while protecting against kickback.
This unit has a dual outlet switch to prevent a child or some other unauthorized user from turning the router on accidentally. Bosch also includes a six-foot-long power cord on this model, which comes in very handy at the job site. We also found this table to be very sturdy and were pleased that it doesn’t vibrate a lot while you are cutting.
Although many users were happy with the performance of this table, some users complained that the plate on their unit is uneven, making it difficult to get their router mounted level. There were also a handful of reports of warped table tops. The Bosch RA1171 comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and a 1-year warranty for your peace of mind.
4. Kreg PRS1045 Bench Top Router TableCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Kreg Precision Router Table System is a multi-purpose router table fence system that comes complete with an adjustable steel stand, setup bars, router table switch, and castors. This self-squaring system is heavy-duty and fully customizable. The PRS1045 was even designed with a precision insert plate system for versatility and accuracy of cut. A T-square and miter slot are also included in the design.
This router table system by Kreg is fully customizable, allowing you to add dust storage and cabinets to suit your needs. The compact design makes this table an excellent choice for smaller workshops. We found assembly to be very simple and straight forward. The MDF work surface is 1 1/16-inch thick, so its quieter than many bench top tables.
Users of the PRS1045 love the self-squaring fence and the precision insert plate levels that provide smoother operation. The system also includes 1/32- and 1/16- inch shims to offset the fence faces when constructing joints. The Kreg Precision Router Table System also features a 9 ¼-inch by 11 ¾-inch insert plate that can be custom drilled to fit almost any router.
Kreg has designed this system with the advanced woodworker in mind. However, the PRS1045 may be a little intimidating and a bit on the pricey side for the average DIYer.
5. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table ExtensionCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Bench Dog 40-102 has been designed to fit all contractor grade table saws and all right-tilt cabinet grade table saws that have 27-inch deep cast iron tables. This industrial grade router table includes a ProFence that dismounts quickly and easily so that you can use your table saw. For convenience, the manufacturer has built the table with j-hook to hang the fence on when not in use.
This router table by Bench Dog Tools is the perfect option for smaller workshops. It comes complete with a heavy-duty one-piece aluminum frame, router top, 28-inch pro-fence, and the mounting hardware. The plate opening on this table measures 8 ¼-inches by 11 ¾-inches, and Bench Dog plates can be purchased that are pre-drilled to accommodate most routers.
One of our favorite features of this table is the dual fence slot configuration that allows you to rotate the fence. This allows you to work from either side of the table and makes the most of your work surface. This table also incorporates a third miter slot so it can accommodate crosscut sleds.
Some reviewers found the installation and setup of the 40-102 ProMax to be a bit complicated. However, the overwhelming majority of users were very pleased with the performance of this extension once setup was completed. Bench Dog Tools offers a limited lifetime warranty on this product.
6. Jessem Rout-R-Lift II Included Router Table SystemCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
The Jessem Rout-R-Lift II Router Table System comes complete with a lift for 3 ½-inch diameter router motors. This system features a 32-inch by 24-inch phenolic table top and an aluminum extruded miter track. The included Mast-R-Fence II router table fence has fully adjustable faces and the fence position is kept in place with side mounted, adjustable fence tracks.
The Route-R-Lift II system sits on a sturdy, heavy-duty steel stand with built-in upper and lower stretchers. This table also includes a hand crank for adjusting the bit height. We found this table to be very sturdy and well made.
Although this table is a bit on the pricey side, it is well worth the investment if you are a serious woodworker looking for a versatile tool. Jessem is known for manufacturing high-quality products, and they provide excellent customer support.
7. Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router TableCLICK TO CHECK PRICE
If you are looking for an extremely affordable, compact, portable, and versatile router table, you’re going to love the Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router Table. This router table has been cleverly designed to be used right on top of your workbench, or it can be mounted directly to the wall in your shop. It folds down easily for convenient storage and transport, so it’s a great choice in small shops or to take to the job site.
Reviewers of this compact router table by Rockler are in love with its versatility. It comes with pre-drilled keyholes placed at 16-inch centers to match the wall studs in your shop. It can also be screwed down to the top of your workbench or use it freestanding on the back of your truck’s tailgate at any job site. Of course, you can also pop your router out quickly if you want to use it free hand.
The included insert plates are mounted directly on your router, which gives you a convenient straight edge anytime you need one. This table suits both compact and mid-size routers and the plates are included. An aluminum fence and 2 ½-inch dust port are also provided. Other key features include easy grip adjustment knobs, adjustable fence faces, and a bit guard. An accessory slot is also provided to accommodate featherboards and stops.
The Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router Table provides excellent value for DIYers and professionals who need to be able to use their table in a variety of environments. Although this table doesn’t have all the bells and whistles found on more expensive models, it’s very easy to set up and use.
How a Router Table Works
Router tables provide versatility in the workshop by allowing the user to install a hand-held router underneath the top of the table. The router is mounted in the upside position and the bit, or cutter, sticks through a hole in the table’s surface. The material you are cutting, usually wood, is fed along the edge of the table and against the bit so that it can be cut or shaped as desired.
A router that has been mounted on a router table functions just like a hand-held router. The only difference is that the bit spins in a counterclockwise direction since the router is mounted upside down. When using a router table, the user guides the material against the router’s cutter. The table’s surface supports the material you are working with, keeping it level for a more precise cut.
Having a router table can be especially beneficial for routing thin or small pieces that are difficult to route with a hand-held router. It is also much easier to rout long, thin materials like molding when you have a router table. On the other hand, router tables are also helpful when the task calls for large router bits. Large bits are very hard to control with a hand-held router.
Most router tables also come with featherboards and a push stick to keep your hands safe when you are cutting narrow boards. Router tables also have a vertical fence that guides your workpiece against the bit and controls the depth of the cut. With a router table, you can safely work on very small pieces that you could not safely route with a handheld router.
Router tables are often equipped with an assortment of accessories that add versatility and assist with shaping and cutting tasks. They can be purchased as a free-standing unit or as a benchtop mounted unit that is designed to be used on top of a workbench or other stable surface. Free-standing tables are perfect for the workshop because they are larger and provide more workspace. Benchtop units are lighter and more portable for use on the job site.
Router Table vs Hand-Held Router
Routers can usually be used in two different ways: either handheld or mounted to a table. Router tables come with base plates that allow you to mount and insert your handheld router into the table. There are certain tasks that are better suited to hand-held routing, while others are best achieved with a table mounted router.
When using a hand-held router, you control the direction and rate the material is passed against the bit by moving the router itself. The router is moved either along the side or across the wood and the bit shapes and cuts the edge or surface of the board. Many pros prefer to use a hand-held router when they are working with large boards that are difficult to support on the smaller work surface of a router table.
A light-weight or compact, hand-held router can also be used for delicate projects like engraving or carving. This type of router is easier to manipulate so it allows for more intricate movements than you would be able to accomplish if the router was mounted onto a router table. Holding the router in your hand also gives you more control over the feed rate for very delicate tasks.
As explained above, a table mounted router is mounted upside down. Instead of moving the router, the user feeds the material against the cutter. The direction and feed rate are controlled by manipulating the material you are routing. When working with small stock pieces, table mounted routers are the better option because you can use a push tool to push the board past the cutter, keeping your hands safe.
Pieces like molding and beading that are long and thin should also be shaped using a table mounted router for safety reasons. In addition, if you are using a large bit on your router, the router must be mounted to a router table. Router tables provide the stability and control required when using large bits. Bits over 1 ¾-inches should never be used with a hand-held router.
Setting up and Maintaining a Router Table
Router tables are generally pretty easy to set up and maintain. Once you’ve assembled the table according to the manufacturer’s instructions, you will need to mount your hand-held router onto the insert plate. In some cases, the manufacturer may offer a variety of plates with pre-drilled holes to accommodate many of the most popular routers. If yours does not, you will need to drill the appropriate holes in the insert plate before you can add your router to the table.
The next thing you will need to decide is which type of bit you want to use and install it onto the router. Most of the popular routers accommodate ¼-inch and ½-inch router bits. Always adjust the speed of the router according to the size of your bit. Larger bits require a slower speed.
Once your insert plate and router have been successfully installed, you’ll need to ensure that the plate is level. To do this, run a board over the plate and check for snags. You might have to tighten or loosen the grub screws to move the plate up or down. Once the plate is level, the central bolts should be tightened to keep it in place.
Now that the plate is level, the fence needs to be lined up with the cutter. It doesn’t have to be perfectly parallel with the front of the table because you will be working around the center of the cutter to achieve accurate cuts. You just need to make sure that the cutter is removing the amount of wood required for your project.
Featherboards are provided with most router tables to keep your fingers safely away from the cutter. When you get ready to work on a piece, these will need to be adjusted so that they hold your workpiece securely without pinching it too tightly. After a few months of use, the fence should be taken off the table so that sawdust can be cleaned away with a vacuum cleaner or cloth.
Bit maintenance is the most essential aspect of keeping your router in good working order. The bit of your router should be lubricated periodically with industrial strength lubricating oil. Bits should be changed as soon as you notice signs of wear. And finally, sawdust and dirt should be removed from the bit area after each use with a vacuum cleaner or blower.
Best Router Table Buyer’s Guide
There’s a router table out there to suit every need and budget. With so many options to choose from, deciding on the ideal unit can be a bit daunting. Use our table router reviews and this buyer’s guide to help you compare the most important features and narrow down your choices.
The more expensive router tables on our list offer a lot of important features for the serious woodworker, including solid stands, bigger work surfaces, guards, and sturdier featherboards for safer, more accurate cutting. However, less expensive compact tables can meet the needs of the average DIYer who only uses a router table occasionally. They’re great for smaller projects around the home, or for the contractor who needs a router table that can be taken to the job site.
Benchtop vs Freestanding Router Tables
One of the first things to consider is the location where you plan to use the table. Router tables are generally available in two styles: benchtop and freestanding. Freestanding tables are a great choice for use in the workshop. They usually have a larger work surface than a benchtop table. Benchtop tables are a great choice if you want the option of taking your table to the job site or storing it out of the way when not in use. The Rockler table discussed above offers even more versatility because it’s a benchtop table that can also be mounted to the wall and folded out of the way when not in use.
Consider the Size of the Projects You’ll Be Working On
If you know that you will be working on larger pieces, you should limit your choices to tables come with a sturdy stand and have a large work surface, like the Kreg PRS2100. For smaller projects, a compact, benchtop table will be sufficient in most cases.
Look for Essential Safety Features
Safety is essential when you’re working with power tools, and table routers are no exception. Featherboards keep you safer because they apply pressure and support to the wood while you’re cutting to prevent kickback. You should also look for a router table that includes a dust guard to prevent sawdust from flying up into your face and obstructing your view as you cut.
Warranty is Important
Equipment is expensive and having a decent warranty is the best way to protect yourself in case the table doesn’t live up to your expectations. Always look for at least a one-year warranty so that you don’t lose out if the table breaks early on. Bench Dog Tools goes above and beyond by providing a lifetime warranty on their product.
Summing It Up
There’s no question that the right router table can be a tremendous asset to any woodworker. To choose the best router table for the workshop or at the job site, you’ll need to consider your budget, the type of projects you’ll be working on, and whether you need a portable table router or you prefer a freestanding one. Our router table reviews will help you compare important features of the most popular table routers so that you can make an informed decision about which table router is right for you.