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We pick the best plunge router for you, what makes an ideal plunge router?

Hey, old Jack here and today we will discuss the best plunge router in the market in America. In this article, I am going to review the top 6 best-rated plunge routers. First, I would briefly discuss the use of a plunge router & its benefits. I am also going to list some elements that might affect the buyer’s decision.

I would provide you a list of its features that will help you a lot. Hence, with the help of a product’s features, I would also mention points that I like & points I do not like. In this article, I am going to present the pros & cons so you would have a crystal clear idea about the plunge routers.

What is a plunge router and what they are used for?

A plunge router is the hand tool which a worker can use to rout or hollow out the area in a hard material such as plastic or wood. A plunge router is used in the woodworking, specifically cabinetry.

The plunge router does work just like any router out there. This offers a lot of benefits over your traditional table router. Not only could this be easily moved around, offering freedom for the working, but this could also be used just like the table router, plunging up from below and turned upside down. That doesn’t mean there is no difference between a plunge router and a fixed based wood router.

This versatility has actually made a plunge router popular with the woodworkers. There’s a large range of various bits that are available for a plunge router, making this capable of multiple tasks. The plunge router also comes in 2 forms that include the fixed base & the plunge base.

A plunge router moves up & down on its base that has the spring-loaded arms which are on either side. It allows the user to ‘plunge’ cutting bit manually down into your material from the above.

It is essential when you are working on board (just opposite to the edge), for the applications that include insets, fluting, grooves & rebates, dados & mortises, etc.

A plunge base router could also be used for the edge work as well (including profiling edges along with the round-over bit).

Things to Consider Before Buying an Ideal Plunge Router

What makes the best plunge router?

There are different things you must look into when trying to purchase the plunge router in order to ensure you buy the best router:

  • Variable Speed

Variable speed is a vital attribute which you must have. It offers the option to have multiple speeds.

  • Horsepower

Horsepower rating is an important feature to look for. Purchase a wood routers with the motor that rates of two HP or even more.

  • Collet Size

The wood router might make use of ¼ or ½-inch diameter bits. The ½ bits are costly but are quite stable.

  • Soft Start

Along with soft start, you will experience a great moment of the pause after you power it up, & the router accelerates gently to the preset speed.

  • Electronic Feedback Circuit

It’s a feature which would help in maintaining the durability of the device & sustaining its efficiency.

  • Vacuum Port for Dust Collection

Buy a router which comes with the vacuum port. It would save your time which you will otherwise consume in cleaning.

Top 6 Best Plunge Routers Review from Old Jack

1. Dewalt DW611 with the plunge kit – Professional All-around | the best plunge router

Overview

Soft-Starting Motor

It features all-time electronic feedback which maintains the motor speed via the cut.

Dual Led

Clear sub-base, as well as dual LED, ensure the maximum visibility in its operation.

Adjustment Ring

It enables the controlled bit depth alterations to within 1/64-inch (for fixed base).

Plunge Base

It incorporates the fine-tune rod for the accurate depth setting.

Spindle Lock Button

Low-pressure and large spindle lock button permits you for the comfortable and single wrench bit changes.

Multiple Shaft-lock

The lock enables quick and easy bit changes.

Depth Ring & Clamping Mechanism

Clamping mechanism and depth ring make sure that the motor actually remains locked (for the fixed base).

Spring-loaded Tabs

These allow for the quick base removal (for only fixed base).

Transitioning of Motor

The motor might be transitioned easily and quickly between plunge as well as fixed bases.

Rubber Handles

Over-molded rubber handles give a secure and comfortable grip (for just plunge base).

Depth Travel

The router ensures up to 1.5-inch depth travel along with the standard base and 2-inch with the plunge base.

Aluminum Motor

Motor housing & base construction offers durability.

Things I like:

The DWP611PK is the BEST-QUALITY plunge router that you can purchase. It is very simple to work with. It is easy and intuitive snaps & clamps. Its cord is of top quality. It has convenient handles & transparent sub-plate.

Things I don’t like:

The DWP611PK is a very popular plunge router. However, whilst it’s an amazing router for the small projects, I will not run this for the extended period of time. This would get hot & melt parts. You need to hold down the button & grip the whole router for keeping this from rotating when you are using the wrench.

Pros

  • LED lights are positioned perfectly.
  • Plunge base can be adjusted with ease.
  • You can change from the fixed base to the plunge base in a few seconds.
  • Micro depth adjustment does work.

Cons

  • Bad Motor for extended time

2. Makita RT0701CX7 Plunging Router Kit – The best for money plunge router

Overview

Versatile Kit

The 1-1/4 HP Router Kit includes precision and performance in the compact size. With a full 1-1/4 horsepower and a plunge base in its router kit, the RT0701CX7 is made for precision routing applications.

Powerful Motor

This RT0701CX7 router has a strong 1-1/4 HP (horsepower) motor along with the variable speed controlling dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM) which can enable the user to exactly match speed to the application. And, additional performance also features electronic speed control for maintaining the constant speed under soft as well as load start characteristic for the smooth start-up.

Accessories

This kit comes with a plunge base that is required for a large variety of routing applications. Its plunge base offers a complete 0-inch to 1-3/8-inch plunge depth capacity. It is easy-to-use. The fine depth adjustment comes with three preset depth stops. This router accepts the industry standard template that guides for the added versatility.

One Year – One Month Warranty

All Makita products are warranted to be without any defects from the workmanship & materials for 1 year.

Things I like:

The kit I have comes with the plunge base, edge guide, & standard adjustable height base along with the groove in order to attach the edge guide. Its setup is very easy. Its latch lock also makes altering the base just a breeze & allows for several options during the projects. For the price, it is one of the best value plunge routers in the market.

Things I don’t like:

Its description is quite misleading as it says (3 times) the router does accept the standard template guide. Just fixed base accepts the template insert. No hex wrench is included for holding the arbor.

Pros

  • The motor can spin up nicely
  • The body isn’t bulky.
  • Using an edge guide for its perimeter actually made it easier

Cons

  • It doesn’t include Template Guide adapter
  • Missing important bracket for the plunger

3. Bosch 1617 EVS – Large fixed base opening

Overview

Variable Speed and Versatile Power Tools

This router comes with the electronic speed with the 2.5 horsepower motor that is from 8,000 – 25,000 RPM. And, the plunge and fixed base combination wood router kit permit for the soft starts & micro-fine depth adjustment. This maintains constant speed under quick and loads clamp on each base. The fixed base provides much flexibility to set the bit height from above the router table. Plus, you can use it for the applications that include laminate trimming, precise bit plunging, slot cutting, and edge forming.

Precision Centering

You will experience the precision centering for keeping bits on the cutline. While using the jigsaw, dovetail fixtures, templates, & similar devices, the fixed routers contain threaded holes for easily mounting the router table. Its base is well-positioned in a 4-hole pattern & common 3-hole pattern, bit, microfine, and depth adjustment system on plunge and fixed bases. Also, the wide base openings & 2-inch sub-base openings offer better visibility.

Durability & Convenient Combination Router

The aluminum construction does make this one the most durable router for woodworking along with the wood handles on the fixed base & the soft-grip handle on the plunge base.

Thinks I Like:

This router is quite, its soft start is softer & its plunge base is smoother. The collet does grab the bits tightly & releases those nicely while done. I could set the depth easily within 1/64-inch & have this return to the stop without any variation. Each side travels smoothly and evenly every time.

Things I don’t like:

Its title says that ½- & ¼-inch collets are provided which is totally false. There was ½-inch collet but the ¼-inch collet wasn’t included. So, the router bit set that I had bought is useless.

Pros

  • It’s an ideal router
  • Its fixed base handles have not come loose
  • Its case fits well
  • Adjustments are easy and quick on each base

Cons

  • The plunge base isn’t precise
  • Handles are not comfortable

4. Triton TRA001 – The best plunge router for beginners

Overview

Precision Routing

The Triton Router is a simple versatile tool in the precision armory of woodworker. You will have complete control over this tool & its workpiece is also guaranteed with the patented rack & pinion depth adjustments while electronic speed delivers the exact level of the power. It is a precision engineered innovation that does not compromise on safety and performance.

Outstanding Performance

Enhanced material support and stability for the large stock is given by a cast iron table. Plus, the oscillating action also moves drum up & down during the rotation. It reduces static friction which causes burning. It eliminates band marks & extends the sanding sleeve’s life.

It also includes six sanding sleeves along with rubber drums & table inserts. It’s well equipped to give an ideal finish to external and internal profiles. It offers the matching of the maximum size of a sleeve for perfect requirements of all woodworking projects.

Switch from Plunge to Fixed-Base Router

A button can switch from the plunge to the fixed-base router along with rack & pinion height adjustment. With the help of base, bit change can be achieved along with the automatic spindle lock. Variable speed and soft start allow you to choose the precise speed for every cutter type.

Things I like:

It’s outstanding and a powerful router. Extremely simple to set up & the adjustments are precise. It is easy to set up & the results are better. I noticed less tear out & more accurately match the rails & stiles.

Things I don’t like:

Location of its power switch is not good with respect to its height adjustment knob. In its table application, I need the height adjustment knob closer to me. If I set this way then its power switch is on the back side which is a bit challenging to access.

Pros

  • Strong
  • Smooth starting
  • Quiet
  • Perfect collet lock
  • Flexible work perfectly for fixed & table application & passably in the plunge.

Cons

  • The plunge isn’t smooth.
  • Includes wrench & above table height adjust is flimsy
  • Its power switch isn’t positioned accurately.

5. Hitachi KM12VC – Controlled and precise cutting

Overview

Quiet and Powerful Motor

The KM12VC Router Kit is very powerful along with the 11-amp motor and 2-1/4 peak horsepower. It has a nickel-plated housing. Its motor is adjustable and no-load speed of about 8,000 – 24,000 RPM to dial in the setting perfectly. Also, the KM12VC router motor features electronic speed control that means the tool maintains RPM constantly as the load differs hence you get precise and controlled cuts.

2-Stage Motor-Release Clamp

With the 2-stage motor-release clamp, this KM12VC Router allows you to make easy and quick base changes & depth adjustments. Also, switching from a fixed base to a plunge base can take just a few seconds. Its added bonus is that this plunge base also features the fine-depth adjustment knob that ensures precise depth control.

Ergonomic Design Boosts Comfort

Hitachi has designed KM12VC Router Kit to be comfortable & portable. For great comfort, its handles are designed ergonomically that allows for precision, control, and accuracy. For portability, plunge base weighs just 9.9 pounds.

Accessories

The KM12VC Plunge base comes with a case, motor, ten hex socket HD bolt M5 by 10, half-inch collet chuck, sub base (B), 1/4-inches collet chuck, four-mm hex-bar wrench, 7 template guides, ten-mm wrench, lock nut, 23-mm wrench, centering gauge, and sixteen-mm wrench.

Things I like:

The Hitachi M12VC router is quite awesome. It mounts on the router table easily. This is a portable router. I’ve also bought many Hitachi attachments for the router & have enjoyed a lot using this router.

Things I don’t like:

It’s a nice router package but it’s not perfect. Its plunge base takes time to wear in. Means sometimes it sticks while down after some use. The biggest gripe I’ve is when you use 1/4 in collet then the bits stick.

Pros

  • Top value product
  • Not very expensive
  • Accurate and solid router for the woodworking
  • Perfectly mounts to the workbench

Cons

  • Could not control the router’s speed
  • Speed dial is loose
  • Its plunge base is tough to move

6. Festool OF1400 – Best dust collection and versatile router

Overview

Plunge with Zero Reservations into Any Surface

Exceeding hopes is possible with Festool. If you are trimming the laminate that is making large cuts in the hard maple or creating some decorative edge on the solid surface material. Then, routers surpass several demanding needs. More surprising is the accuracy, versatility, and ergonomic control & comfort present across the lineup. You can couple this router with the FS Guide Rail or CT Dust Extractor to experience the incomparable system that is working at every level.

Ergonomic Handles

This Festool router is designed for decreased fatigue and increased control. Integrated switches also allow you to use it with only one hand.

Dust Extraction

The integrated ports of dust extraction capture the dust & debris at the creation point, prolonging cutter life, increasing visibility, & saving your precious cleanup time.

System Integration

It is designed to use along with its FS Guide Rail system for MFS multi-routing templates, guided cutting, & a large variety of other accessories.

Swiveling Chip Deflector

The chip deflector might be used together with the maximizing chip, edge forming bits, & dust extraction around corners and curves as well. Attaches & releases rapidly with the tool-free.

Things I like:

The router is accurate. Its dust collection feature is far better than several other routers out there. The operation is smooth and its motor also starts up smoothly. Adjustments are smooth and clear. Overall, its quality is great.

Things I don’t like:

It’s a well-built tool which is quite expensive. This is not very stable as well. Viability is its major issue. With dust collection in place, it’s tough to view the working area.

Pros

  • Great precision
  • Amazing router
  • High-quality product

Cons

  • Do not purchase for the table use
  • Miss-aligned holes

Plunge router tips:

  • With plunge routers releasing the toggle and simply raising or lowering the motor is fine for coarse adjustment but not so good if you need to raise or lower a bit 1/64 in. For these most people use the nuts on the threaded spindle. Since working under a table with a set of wrenches on a small set of nuts is cumbersome, to say the least, it is useful to replace the nut with an after-market router knob, which allows quick and easy height adjustment with one hand.

Wood Router Accessories (Router Bits, Router Jigs, and Clamps, Table and Fence)

To get the best out of your plunge routers, I would recommend looking into buying these following router accessories as they are also essential for your workshop.

  • Router Table and Fence: This lets the router be to put a bit up & secured.
  • Routers Bits: There’re different kinds of bits that include dovetail, beading, round nose, chamfer, V groove, cove, rabbeting, dado, etc.
  • Router Jigs and Clamps: The router jigs are for holding the wood when one has to do particular cuts including dovetail joints, dado joints, hinge recesses, etc.
  • Check out our guide for buying a Router Lift if you have a router table.
  • A compact palm/trim router is a good option when you need to follow a template.

Final Words

When you’re a beginner in woodworking then you could consider purchasing a basic fixed base wood router which comes with the 2 HP motor & variable speed motor. And, when you can use this well enough then upgrade to the plunge base. While using the router, stick to its safety precautions. You need to make sure the bit is quite sharp & is tight as well. The stock which you intend to work on must be clamped properly. Keep your eyes for any nails or knots. And do not push your router as it would perform all work on its own. There is no perfect tool, look for the best plunge router for your needs and learn to work with its strength/limit and you will love your router.

Source:

  • Learn how to use your favorite plunge router here and get the most of it here.
  • The router table book