Best Router Table 2020
The first-ever handheld router was invented in 1915 by Oscar Onsrud and his son Rudy, their design used compressed air to operate at 30,000rpm. We have over 100 years of development and in that time the router table has been well established and is now a common choice among professionals.
Finding the best router table when there are over 300 router tables available to choose from can make choosing the correct one difficult and you will need to look closely at the features, design and the build quality to ensure you end up with the right one for the work you need to carry out.
The material of the tabletop will play a big part in the performance of the table and that has a knock-on effect on the quality of your work, a good solid metal base, for example, will create lower vibrations whilst working which will help you produce a cleaner more accurate job of the work you are carrying out.
The material that the adjusters are made from should also be of a high-quality build that will stand up to constant and heavy use and don’t fail you.
The table should be very very stable with a good solid flat platform to work on without a sturdy base the work will really suffer and you will most likely waste a lot of time and wood through going offline or not obtaining a clean route.
One of the more important considerations is the ease of which you can adjust the fence this will save time and help you work with less effort and when you are spending long periods working on the router table.
Always double-check that the mounting plate will allow for the fitting of the model of router you have or choose one with a universal mounting plate, some mounting plates come without any holes and you just drill your own to the size of your router with a template provided.
Some of the tables come with a vacuum attachment for fast wood dust removal this not only keeps the work surface tidy and visible but is really beneficial for your health as it’s well known that wood dust is bad for your lungs.
To help you find a high-quality router table we have researched everything from the quality of the build and features to analyzing thousands of professional and hobby users experiences to weed out low quality and poorly designed tables leaving only the very best and highly reliable router tables that won’t leave you with buyers remorse and out of pocket.
#1 – Bosch RA1181 – Best Professional Router Table
This one is a benchtop model and comes with a few cosmetic upgrades and some very useful functional additions,
that make it a meatier choice for seasoned woodworkers and hobbyists alike.
As you unbox the RA1181, the first thing that comes to your mind is that the build quality is phenomenal.
There’s a lot of metal (aluminum) on the table with just a hint of melamine on the faceplates.
But that’s not a biggie. You’d be looking to swap the faceplates after a few years anyway.
It looks stunning and has a compact footprint that’s ideal for small workshops.
The work surface is 27-Inches wide and 18-Inches deep and comes with rails to attach the fence and the feather boards.
The aluminum fence is 4 7/8” tall and 25-1/8” in length. That’s perfect for large stock.
The two feather boards allow you to secure the wood for jobs that require added stability.
Makes life easier in the workshop
Once you set it up (an hour’s job at best), you will find that the Bosch RA1181 is designed for ease of use.
You can easily mount and dismount your routers. Adjust the fence and guides in the blink of an eye.
The adjustment knobs are large and easy to grip even with sweaty palms.
It comes with an integrated vacuum port that allows you to hook up your HVAC system. The fine sawdust will be gone in a jiffy. A few larger pieces might stick around and make their way under the table. But that’s not a deal-breaker.
#2 – Kreg PRS1045 – Best Portable Router Table
The Kreg PRS1045 is a complete router table set that includes the router table, the tabletop and heavy-duty steel legs on lockable casters.
It’s everything you need to get going with your routing jobs in one easy-to-assemble package.
Moreover, you can easily move it around your workshop which avoids the need to haul heavy wood stock to the table every time.
Sturdy work surface
The Kreg PRS1045 features a 1” thick, laminated MDF tabletop that’s flat and extremely smooth.
Two heavy steel inserts under it give it added support and prevent it from sinking under the weight of your router.
It does not come with pre-drilled holes for different routers, like our #1 pick, the Bosch RA1181. Instead, it comes with a 3⁄8″insert plate that needs to be drilled for your router.
If you hate greasing your elbows on tasks like these, you can always buy a compatible, pre-drilled insert plate online.
The PRS1045 has three plastic throat inserts with different sized openings for the bits. Locking and unlocking these is easy, courtesy a tool that’s included in the package.
Micro Adjustments made easy
One of the features on the Kreg PRS1045 that we loved is the T-track (made of aluminum) that allows you to use additional Miter Bar accessories, feather boards, and the likes.
When you install the router table fence on the track, it looks somewhat similar to a T-square fence, parallel to the slot for the miter bar. That’s cope cuts made easy for you.
#3 – Bosch RA1171 – Best Router Table in Mid Price Range
This is an extremely well-built cabinet-styled router table that’s almost like a clone of the 1181.
The only notable difference is the work surface and weight. This one has more MDF than aluminum and weighs 42 lbs.
That’s not to take anything away from the quality of the workpieces that you can produce with it though.
Heavy-duty laminated MDF
As we briefly mentioned, the RA1171 is mostly made of heavy-duty laminated MDF. Don’t get thrown off by that. It’s not particleboard.
MDF usually rivals aluminum in durability and longevity.
Moreover, the router plate, where the router will be mounted, is made of cast aluminum. It gives you a stable surface that can absorb the vibrations of a heavy gauge router.
Even at this affordable price tag, Bosch doesn’t cut corners.
An aluminum rail allows you to easily install the split fence, which is made of two MDF panels that can be adjusted to precision, even when using larger bits.
A dust-free workshop
One of the best features of the RA1171 that separates it from other budget-priced offerings is the integrated cabinet. It does a great job of collecting the dust and keeps your workshop dust free.
You can connect your vacuum to one of the two dust collection ports and clean everything in a jiffy.
#4 – Kreg PRS2100 – Metal Router Table
Kreg almost pulls it off with the PRS2100.
This is a brute of a router table with a capacious 16” x 24”, vibration resistant tabletop.
Be it chopping, sanding, trimming or more precise tasks like shaping, holes or contours, the PRS2100 stands its own against units that cost 2x as much.
Strong metal base
The Kreg PRS2100 stands on four wide-stance steel legs with rubber feet to ensure stability.
A spacious, butter-smooth, MDF tabletop and an anodized aluminum fence allow you to work unhindered.
There are cam clamps that lock your fence in place when you move stock through it. We felt that these were not stable enough and moved on a couple of occasions when we applied a wee bit more pressure than normal.
An easy workaround is to use C clamps to secure the fence. A tiny niggle really.
Full-sized router insert plate
Another first for a router table at this price point, the Kreg PRS2100 features a full-sized insert plate.
#5 – Skil RAS900 – Best Universal Router Table
That’s because it is one of Skil’s best designs so far that includes some of their ‘smart’ features.
Like an easy-folding system, multiple feather boards to hold the stock in place and a universal mounting plate that’s compatible with a variety of routers.
Lightweight, MDF surface
The Skil RAS900 comes pre-assembled taking the guesswork out of the assembly process.
It features a lightweight, laminated MDF working surface that’s flat and smooth. You can move your stock without any problems whatsoever.
The adjustable laminated MDF faces are kind of a letdown even at this price point.
Despite what the manufacturer wants you to believe, wood will warp and get worn with use. At the bare minimum, an aluminum fence would have ensured that this can hold up well over the years. But you can’t get it all, can you?
For what it’s worth, Skil also includes two feather boards that allow you to keep your workpieces stable.
The router mount is a quick-release variety that allows you to mount and dismount the router within seconds.
Smoother curved edges
Skil throws in a bit height adjustment gauge that makes repeated, accurate cuts possible. Also included is a pin and guard starter that makes it easier to get your curved edges right.
And when you are done working, you can fold the legs and it all neatly stacks into the container, that doesn’t stand more than 10-inches tall.
#6 – Craftsman – Router Table Combo
The Craftsman Router Table and router combo have the least of them.
It is a sturdily built router table with a good quality router thrown in for good measure.
At this price point, it is a very good deal for anyone who doesn’t want to go through the hassles of building their own table.
Ready to use
The Craftsman combo comes ready to use. Set up is easy and you should be all set to work in about an hour.
The first thing that you’ll notice is the 9.5-amp router. This is a very powerful unit that has a 1 ¾ HP motor under the hood and tops at 27000 RPM. It will make short work of thicker wood stock.
Further, there’s a 1 1/16” thick, MDF laminated work surface that gives you a whopping 334 square inches of space.
Put those 5-feet long pieces on the table and work without getting cramped.
Adjustable fence with micro-adjustments
The Craftsman router table features an adjustable fence that can extend up to 2 inches, allowing you to fit larger bits if need be.
You can also make fine, minute adjustments to the cutting depth for precision-demanding tasks.
#7 – Chicago Electric Power Tools – Benchtop Router Table
With a set of basic features, it is clearly aimed at hobbyist woodworkers.
But it’s a pretty sturdy unit. A great pick if you are looking to hone your routing skills without paying through your nose.
19-gauge steel construction
The benchtop router table features 19-gauge steel legs that keep it rock steady during work.
There’s a composite tabletop with a smooth, flat work surface. Sadly, there are no casters. So this one stays put right where you install it.
Powering it is a 1-3/4 HP plunge router. Plunge routers are generally preferred by woodworkers who are not looking to perform advanced woodworking tasks.
Having said that, it makes using the router for tasks like inlay patterns, chamfers, mortising and coves much easier than a fixed base router. You can preset the cutting depth and plunge the bit to precision.
#8 – Grizzly T10432 – Best Metal Router Table
This T10432 router table with a stand is a testimony to the quality of the products that these guys churn out like a habit.
The A-Frame steel stand
The Grizzly T10432 is a complete set that includes a heavy-duty steel stand that’s about 33” tall. Just the perfect working height if you ask us.
Some tabletop models place the router too high for comfort.
The work surface is 1-3/8″ thick and made of an MDF core laminated with melamine. The edges are tough PE and this can easily withstand the vibrations and wear and tear.
It features a split fence with a precision machined aluminum mounting bracket covering an MDF core.
It may not be as durable as an all-metal frame. But to be fair, we spoke to a few users who have owned the T10432 for years. There hasn’t been a single problem to complain about.
There are T-slots for mounting additional jigs and feather boards.
#9 – Goplus Electric Aluminum – Great budget Router Table
The last thing that we needed to add to this list of best router tables was a cheaply made gimcrack.
But it turns out that you can. For this is a very popular unit with DIYers and weekend craftsmen.
Despite the surprisingly low price tag, Goplus throws in an aluminum deck on four heavy-duty steel legs.
That’s a step-up from cheap particleboard work surfaces.
The table stays secure and stable even when you are working on reasonably heavy stock.
Has a weight capacity of 40 lbs. We’d not go beyond 35, just in case. It’d probably sag if you try to stretch the limit.
It comes with a universal router plate with pre-drilled holes to match most routers. Clamps are provided to secure the routers that don’t fit.
The quality of the fence is nothing to write home about. But that’s an easy replacement. We wouldn’t fuss over it too much.
We particularly liked the grooves on the work surface. That’s a neat addition and keeps the sawdust away, allowing you to move your workpieces freely.
Also included is a bit height gauge that works fine for jobs that don’t require micro-precision.
By the way, the table comes with an extension. It will probably require some additional reinforcements. But hey, that’s fewer hassles as compared to building one of these things on your own.
#10 – XtremepowerUS Deluxe – Cheap Bench Top Router Table
This is a great little table and stand combo for the price.
It comes with steel legs, an extendable work surface and an aluminum mounting plate with pre-drilled holes.
34” long work surface
With the extensions, the XtremepowerUS table gives you a 450 square inch work surface made of durable aluminum.
Work mainly with long stock? This has you covered.
Like most budget-priced tables, we did find that the extensions aren’t the sturdiest. Some minor, inexpensive reinforcements should do it a world of good.
The tabletop has grooves, just like the Goplus Electric router and you will find that most of the sawdust gets accumulated in them during work. Well-thought-out addition.
To top it off, it comes with a dust-collection port which makes after-work cleaning easy.
For routers with a 6-inch diameter plate
The XtremepowerUS router table is compatible with routers that have a 6-inch diameter base plate.
It comes with pre-drilled holes that you can line up and screw. You can always use the clamps provided in the package to secure the router to the plate if the holes don’t line up.
Router Table FAQ’s
The best option is to either find a router table with a universal base plate or one that comes not pre-drilled but gives you a template for drilling which will allow you to fix any router to the mounting plate. Always double-check to make sure the mounting plate will fit the model of the router you have.
Many people are unsure which size table they should opt for and you should choose one that will be able to handle a good sized piece of board luckily many of these tables can manage a respectably sized work-piece and are not limited by the fact the table is smaller than the workpiece. Look closely at the recommended maximum size they can hold and work out what size pieces you will be working on.
There are various materials that the manufacturers create the tables base from, wood and mdf are often used and are adequate for routing without no problems they won’t last as long as a steel base but it’s easy enough to replace a wooden base so it’s not a major problem.
A steel base will offer you a slightly improved performance as there is it lowers the vibrations from the router through the wood your working and they have a longer working life too.
The base features:
It’s an advantage to anyone utilizing these products to make sure the table has good quality fences, T-slots and mitres as these will help improve the table’s safety and usability through better control of the workpiece.
Fence and fixing points:
These are very important to look closely at because if these are inferior in material quality or design they will not last long and will waste a lot of time if you have to keep fiddling with them trying to fix your workpiece so there is no movement. Over time this will get frustrating and can totally overshadow any good features of the table.
This can be the difference between money well spent and wasted money always choose a table that the manufacturer has stood behind with a good warranty period and the terms and conditions of returning the router table.
This is not a make or break feature because you should always wear a dust mask and relevant PPE whilst routing as the amount of dust that is sent into the air can seriously damage your lungs.
It doesn’t always take a long time working in wood dust to feel the negative effects on your health and some materials can give off cancerous dust so it’s very important to take wearing a dust mask seriously.
Portable or fixed table:
The portable versions are incredibly useful for professionals on the move and normally used on workpieces of a smaller size. It’s very important you find a solid and even floor to work from with a portable router table.
A fixed table will be able to accommodate larger workpieces and are much more sturdy due to being fixed in place. They are normally higher in price but are also of a larger size so it makes sense they will be more expensive to manufacture.
Always ensure your table is set up on a flat and solid floor any movement whilst you’re in the middle of routing could be seriously dangerous a router will go through skin and muscle very easily whilst it’s spinning at thousands of revs per minute.
Take the time to set up your router table before you start making sure the workpiece is locked in with no chance of slippage.
Dust is the most common cause of damage to users health when using a router, many times you can’t see how much wood dust is in the air and it can clog the lungs and cause serious long and short term health problems.
If you haven’t got safety goggles on whilst you are working you are risking serious damage to your eyes it only takes a millisecond for a bit of debris to be fired out of the router bit and into your eye and you will wish you had taken 20 seconds to put your goggles on.
Ear defenders are beneficial for long term router users as the tools are noisy by nature and the damage to your hearing can sneak up on you over time.
Always take 5 minutes before you start to get geared up with the correct PPE because you may think it is a waste of 5 minutes you could be working instead-but, in the long run, it will actually save you time and much more importantly it will save you lungs, eyes or hearing.
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