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Top 6 best router table review and buying guide

Hi Old Jack here again. In this article, I will share whatever knowledge I have regarding the router tables by presenting six different types of them and select the best router table on the market.

First of all, I will discuss the use of router table in workshops and its possible advantages briefly. As I have quite a long experience with router tables, I will list some factors that may impact the buyer’s choice.

I will briefly list the features of all the six router tables. By these features, I will honestly mention the things I like and things I don’t like. On my views, I will list the pros and cons so that you will have a clear idea of which router table is an ideal choice for you.

Half of my life has been spent working as a woodworker which is why I have immense experience. As I had a lot of knowledge on the woodworker, often people had questions about the router tables. As there are multiple options out there for the router tables nowadays, it does get difficult to choose one suitable for yourself.

Well, to have the expert’s advice is one of the precious treasures which you can find. I decided to make the experience better for you with providing the ultimate feedback and reviews for the best router tables available in the market nowadays. They are not expensive and anyone can afford them along with multiple features which will be useful for the people.

The knowledge about router tables is immense so I will try to cover it here as much as I can. You will be able to see the separate list of features for each product along with the pros and cons. It will help you decide and narrow your priority which you are looking for in the router table. You can write down the weakness and strength of each table and then pick the best one which you like.

I am lucky that I found a handful of router tables which are worth buying nowadays. They contain all the updated features and some of them are my ever favorite. The best ones which I always recommended are the Bosch tables and the Bench-Dog tables. They are low in prices yet their service is invaluable. You can find a perfect machine at less price to be precise.

Many professionals use the routers but one of the basic ones is carpentry. As the carpenter would know what he/she is looking for, they will definitely choose the most useful one. However, if you are someone new in the field then you will surely have a problem in knowing which one would fit your needs. As you won’t have much experience, it is definitely hard to choose one.

I am here to help you notice the features and upon my experience in the field, there is full guidance for you. Keep some main features in minds such as fence quality, surface, dimensions, feather boards, size, and control system. These will help you select some of the best ones and narrowing them down the entire list.

For the best performance on the job site, it is important that you get the new and best router table for your need. You may face problems with the old one or it may be outdated. You may be getting slower at work. When such problems start to counter you, it is important that you change the router table and get a new updated one.


Router table basic

What is the router table?

A router table is basically a special kind of woodworking table where you can fix an appropriate hand-held router. The router bit, or cutter, will protrude via the hole in the table’s surface. After that you can put the material along the table, against the cutter, to be shaped or cut.  There come different accessories with a router table to give you aid with different shaping and cutting tasks, and also to maximize the versatility and diversity of your router.

What is a router table used for? What is the benefit of a Router table?

The router table can give numerous advantages to my workshop if I mount it upside down to the table. As a result, both my hands are free to work.

Also, the router table is ideal in situations when work-pieces have an odd shape that makes it hard to clamp. Moreover, the router table provides a large surface for referencing and good support for my work.

What type of router fits a table?

Given that we have two types of routers the fixed-base and plunge routers. The most ideal router for mounting to a table is the fixed- base router. If you cannot afford to have a table dedicated router. I recommend that you buy a multi-base router kit. This has an adapter enabling you to switch between handheld and table routing with the same router.

A Cabinet router table or an Open-table Base?

Through my experience, the Cabinet style router tables come with extra storage space and noise reduction. An open legged table doesn’t provide the means for capturing any dirt below the table (you will have to use a broom or vacuum).

Things to consider in a top-rated router table

By my quite a long experience in working with router tables, I have compiled a list of factors. These factors will impact your decision in buying a perfect router table. In my 30 years working with router tables. I have used both homemade and factory-made router tables. When buying a factory-made router table, you realize that they vary in prices and quality. I have seen manufacturers come up with clever designs to improve the quality of this essential woodwork tool. For instance, good dust collection has almost become a standard whereas in the past it was not the case.

This leads us to our FACTOR NUMBER 1:

  • Top surface. Keep it flat and firm! This is the business end of the table if space is not an issue a large surface area is always ideal. I have seen on several occasions a router table warping and buckling under the strain of the router. The most preferred surfaces are the ones made of MDF, aluminium and cast iron. The best material for the top surface is cast iron, which is preferred by professional woodworkers due to its flatness, stabilitydurability and the ability to absorb vibration while working with power tools, which is very important. Old Jack recommends that you remove the router after use to prevent your table top from sagging.
  • The solid and stable base: it is ideal to buy a table that is not wobbling while you work on it. So, a router table with a solid and stable base is necessary for smooth work.
  • Easily adjustable fence: this is an essential thing to notice while buying a router table. In the old times, we used to build our fences on the bough router tables. So, if you are not satisfied with the fence that comes with the table, I would advise you to build one for yourself.
  • Construction and design: it is essential that you choose that router table that has a sturdy framework. With a sturdy framework, your router table will be able to bear the weight of your future wood related projects.
  • Reliable feather boards: A reliable feather board will make the woodworking experience much safer. The feather boards are a better option than the bare hands of the manufacturer that he uses to hold the work-piece against the fence at the time of rip cuts.
  • Miter Gauge: An ideal router table should have a miter gauge that ensures the cuts are consistent, accurate and smooth
  • Dust collection box: As the router tables make a lot of dust and a handful of chips due to router cuts. Therefore, a good router table must have a dust collection box to gather all the dirt.
  • Auxiliary switch: from a practical standpoint, it is possible that you will meet with certain conditions when you need to switch off the router immediately.

The top 6 best router table review From Old Jack


Now that we have established a framework for choosing a router table. Let’s take a closer look at 9 most popular router tables available in the market namely:

  • Bosch router table ra1181.
  • Skil ras900 router table
  • Bosch router table ra1171 – BEST VALUE
  • Bench dog tools 40-102 Promax cast iron router table extension – BEST ROUTER TABLE
  • Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table
  • Craftsman Router Table Combo

1. Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181 

Bosch router table ra1181 review 

Overview

Let us look at the measurements of this Germany piece before we engage in further discussions.

Height 14.5inch (36.83 cm) Width 27inch (68.58 cm) Length 22.75 inch (57.785cm) Working length 27inch(68.58cm).

Working surface: 27″ x 18″ aluminum

For storage purposes, I can tell from the numbers that it’s a fairly standard table.

Support any router

People are buying the Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1191 for several reasons. They consider the table to be versatile and stylish. The router fits various kinds of designs and there is a lot of variety available in it. If you want to change the machine then you should not waste time changing the router table. For professionals, it is one of the best choices to consider to have a table.

Durable & Portable

There is a large work surface made of aluminium which makes the table portable and durable for the users. You have the plate of router mounting which you can get over the aluminium and it keeps the router at an accurate position along with keeping it flat.

Accessory Slot

It also has the accessory slot which you would need for keeping the cellphone, headphones or other little things to be safe. The purpose of the slot is to store 3 to 4 items as it is ¾ inches wide. You can also keep the miter gauge in it with the feather boards additionally.

Adjustable

The table is adjustable and comes with the fence of aluminium. The faceplate keeps the operations smooth and interactive for the user. It has two feather boards which are adjustable and you can check out the guide on how to use it. You can adjust it accordingly depending on the thickness, shape or size of the boards. There is also a switch outlet where you can plug in other tools into the table for your convenience.

Easy to Use

There is a 6 ft. long power cord which helps you in plugging at different places at the workshop. The popular wood router is popular due to its adjustable features so you can easily set this table up in few minutes without any hassle.

Safety

You can find complete safety for this table as it has two feather boards which are attached with the router table and the fence to it. It helps in providing extra guidance and also protects through the kickback.

Easy to Clean up

You can clean it easily as the dust might sit on it when you keep on using it. There is a collection dust port at the side of the table which helps you in vacuuming it. The hose is connected with the table to clean up the area so that you can work peacefully and without any dirt in the environment.

Inexpensive

You cannot find anything better than this router in such an affordable cost. It is amongst the best choices for the users.

Warranty

The router table has the warranty of one year.

Things I like:

The product comes with one year manufacturer’s warranty. This feature will give the best protection through a 15 amp sturdy outlet switch. The router table has a versatile design and in this respects serves as an essential part of my workshop.

Things I don’t like

The legs are made from plastic. As this router table has no cabinet, there will be no place to keep the knobs and feather boards and other goodies. In this way, the table makes a huge mess as the stuff flies out from the bottom.

Pros

  • Adjustable feather boards
  • The aluminum fence features adjustable MDF face plates for smooth work and robust support
  • Large surface for working

Cons

  • Not sturdy
  • Not handy in use

2. Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table RA1171 | The Best Router Table For The Money

Bosch ra1171 - THE BEST ROUTER TABLE FOR THE MONEYBosch-RA-1171-router-table

Overview

Height 14.5inch (36.83 cm) Width 25.5 inch (64.77 cm) Length 25.5inch (64.77 cm).

Work Surface: 25″ x 16″ – smaller than the a1181 (27”x18”).

This table is ideal for both professional and hobby woodworkers alike. A cheaper but not necessarily lesser option than the Ra1181. In fact, I consider this table a better choice for most hobbyist woodworkers.

Less Noise

The router table has the cabinet style which makes less noise and does not collect dust as well. It makes the work environment more friendly and efficient to work with. There are many designs of the table which fit the routers so you can use them with less mess and good precision.

Powerful

You have the choice to add the aluminium fence if the table surface is small for you. It has feather boards which are adjustable which are powerful and also contains the mounting plate. It stays flats and perfect while you are using it and also there is a range of pre-drilled to keep the routers accommodated.

Adjustable Fence

You can easily adjust the fence of the table. It helps you in the smoother operations and faceplates MDF is good for the support. it also helps in providing support and keeps the stock feeding while the router table is in control while using. The opening fence is 3-3/16 inches and the opening of the throat is about 3-5/8 inches.

Easy to Clean

There is an outlet for dust which keeps the table clean. The collection system is there in the table which keeps the dust collected in the ports so you can remove it later. It fits in the vacuum hose which you can clean once in a while to keep the surroundings clean.

Safety

There is dual outlet power at the back portion of the table which keeps other tools protected. The locking power at the front has the switch so that it does not let any accident to occur.

Inexpensive

You can save a bit of money with high-quality results with this router table.

Things I like

As the router table has a flexible construction, I can use it for a variety of my woodworking projects. Also, the design allows me to work with accuracy with every cut I make. The dust collection ports collect all the dust and debris that results from woodworking on the table.

Things I don’t like

Due to so many features, it is cumbersome in weight and difficult to move around in the workplace.

Pros:

  • Highly convenient due to the dual power switch
  • Easy to use due to feather boards
  • Give a good support
  • High level of precision in working

Cons

  • The mounting plate is rough and uneven
  • Do not have a proper balancing
  • It takes time to readjust the plates again once the wood slides down.

However, it is the best value router table when it comes to features and price, an excellent choice for hobbyist woodworkers.

Its low price makes ra1171 a serious choice for the money and a very good investment. Check out our guide to find out which Bosch router table is better for you.

3. Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table

Overview

Durable

Bench Dog 40-001 is a high-quality router table which has many features and accessories along with it. It keeps the table look versatile and it is immensely adjustable. The construction of the table is ultra-strong with high quality built. It has a powerful system which keeps the table durable at all times.

Adjustable

For the stock pieces, the table router is completely adjustable. It has a surface area of 24 x 32 inches. There is nothing to worry about space. There is a T-square fence made out of aluminium which keeps the steel together and works with fulfilling the precisions with the need for routing. The adjustment system makes sure that the miter gauge is parallel to its needs. You can also keep the firm locks in hand along with the feasibility of dual locks with it.

Easy to Clean up

There is a large piece of wood at the top of the table which keeps the table clean. It also has the dust collection system which you can activate anytime to remove the dust. It helps you in maintaining the table and it lasts longer.

Flexible

The machine has a high system for flexibility and adjustable. You are able to do the routine at your convenience at any level. With the help of miter and T-track combo, the features of flexibility enhance with the router table to be useful for the person.

Safety

There are feather boards which keep the safety under considerable measures. There will be no accidents when you have the feather boards attached to the table.

Stability

The table is made up of stainless steel which makes it stand in a stable position. It may be heavy but it helps for the absorption of vibration. It also helps in increasing the router table stability according to the mass on it.

Easy to Mount Accessories

The adjustment for this router table is up to 39 inches high. It has levels which you can choose for your convenience. The stand helps in mounting the accessories at each level so you can keep the things together and do not miss out on anything.

Things that I like

The best thing that I like about this table is that it has the finest quality fence. Also, its sturdy aluminum frame is attached to the machine at the front and base. Also, the table is best for tough woodworking projects. The top is very large that give the word worker large working space.

Things that I don’t like

The router table is difficult to assemble. The mounting holes only align with two holes on the base plate of the router. The rest of the holes do not even lineup.

 Pros

  • Comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty
  • Leads to accurate work
  • Used for flexible work projects

Cons

  • Difficult to assemble
  • The list of instructions is highly stressful.

4. Skil RAS900 Router Table


Overview

Height 9.5inch (24.13 cm) Width 17.7inch (44.958 cm) length 27.7inch (70.358cm). Small enough for hobbyists who need to save space.

Work Surface: 26” x 16.5”.

I have used this table before it is Idle for both professional and hobby woodworkers.

Convenient

The table is versatile and convenient for the users with providing a high level of portability. It has a great value with keeping the router table different from all the other options.

Time Saver

The table saves your time as it comes pre-assembled. There is no need to assemble it as you can open it from the box and it is ready to use.

Height Gauge

The height of the table helps you in adjusting it however you want it to be. The leveling does not require deep cutting because it has the height gauge which is built in. it helps you get the woodcut accurately and make it adjustable to your needs.

Container

It also has the container for storage which keeps the sides hold or you can keep the tools in it. it helps you in keeping the accessories safe and at one place.

Easy to Transport

It has a unique design which is foldable. It helps you in folding the legs and making it easier to carry it with you anywhere you want.

Space Saver

Wherever you keep the table, it let you save the space. It has the size of 26×16.5 inches which keeps the folding feature adjustable. The height is about 10 inches which you can transport easily.

MDF Top

The table has a smooth level of MDF top which keeps the surface easily to move. It has shims for feed jointing which you can use.

Quick Clamp System

The system has the clamp which is best for the router. It helps you in making the changes quickly and has easy access.

Dust Port

The router is versatile and has the dust port which is best for the collection of dust. It keeps the table clean and net along with the router on the table.

Other Accessories

There are integrated T-tracks which contain the feather boards and the holds of the auxiliary. The legs are integrated into the box with keeping the parts organized. The dual outlet and the starter pin keeps the support of the guard with managing the router with the lockout key along with it.

Things I like

These router tables give great precision in wood-related works through the feather boards and bit height gauge. The dust collection mechanism cleanses the workplace from dust. The starter pin and guard gives my work-piece great support especially during routing curved edges.

Things I do not like

To move the rail back and forth to modify the router’s depth, you need to loosen the two knobs. So, here I suffered disappointment because as I loosened one of the knobs, the rail shifted and ceased to give a straight backdrop

Pros:

  • Good storage facility for router bits and fence
  • The table comes pre-assembled with a good folding design. So, no hassle in assembling

Cons:

  • Extremely inaccurate measurement lines
  • Cheap assembly materials break and chip easily

5. Bench dog tools 40-102 Promax cast iron router table extension | THE BEST ROUTER TABLE

Bench dog tools 40-102 Promax cast iron router table extension review. THE BEST ROUTER TABLE

Overview

Measurements

Height 5.1 (12.954cm) Width 21.7 inch (55.118cm) length 32.2(81.788 cm)

Work Surface: 16″ x 22″, bigger than both Bosch table.

This is a chunky, borderline industrial router table based on old technology.

Dual Slot Fence

The dual slot fence allows you to use the router table without any inconvenience. It helps you in configuring the router easily through the fence. There are two sides of the router and makes the surface area smooth. You can also hang it down and keeps the hooks attached to the table saw.

Noiseless

The table is made out of wood which is study and does not have any noise while usage. It helps in the prevention of the vibration of the router. You can work with it peacefully without any hassle.

Adjustable

The table has the iron top which has the table plates of 8-1/4 inches x 11-3/4 inches with the no-slop fit and the miter gauge track.

Safety

There is a solid surface of the table which keeps the floor space and routing process with saving space at the same time.

Stability

There are buttons at the side of the table which let it turn on/off with locking it. it helps in the stability of the table where you can also lock it whenever you want.

Easy to Clean

There is a dust collection system on the corner of the table which keeps the area clean and free of dust at all times.

Warranty

It has a warranty for lifetime usage.

Things that I like

The best feature of this table is that it is made up of cast iron which makes it expensive than others. The third miter slot of the table ensures that the table saw accurately handle crosscut sleds. Without any need of tools, the MDF sub-fence automatically adjusts. This ensures an ideal zero clearance setup.

Things that I don’t like

I have a difficulty of leveling the plate suitably to the table. The product was shipped without any inner ring or hardware. Still, I consider this product to be the best router table on the market due to its versatile, durability and precision.

Pros:

  • Made up of Cast iron
  • Ideal for workshops that have limited space
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Only suitable for small workshops
  • Expensive as compared to other tables
  • Not capable of major woodworking projects.

6. Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo

Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo 112 Review

Overview

Height 34.58inch (87.83cm) Width 31.78inch (86.72cm) length 24inch (60.63cm)

Adjustable

The Craftsman Router and table combo are adjustable with the stock pieces. It has a surface which is large and is heavy in weight. It stands still until you work on it with full stability and has a suitable height. The T-square adjustment helps you make the fence parallel to the slot of miter gauge. There are dual locks which you can use and lock it firmly as well.

Flexible

The table is flexible as it provides ease to the user. You can use the routing levels which are there for the testing process. It is flexible due to the miter and the T-track which provides high system adjustment.

Easy to Clean

This table contains the dust collection system which has a vacuum hose in it. It helps in cleaning the table and keep it environment-friendly. You can clean it once a week and keep the table maintained for long.

Durability

The router table is durable and strong to be used for a lifetime. It has all the features where you can also put accessories for storage. It is a versatile and stylish table with excellent construction and suitable for anyone.

Safety

There are feather boards with the table which keeps it away from any accident.

Stability

There are stands with the table which keeps the router stable at all times. There is no vibration on the table and it is noiseless. You cannot feel any kind of noise when you have the router placed on this table.

Things that I like:

The best part of this table is that it came with a superb router and a fairly-sized table that has modifiable features that ensure accurate cutting. This feature allowed me to fit in different kinds of larger bits through the holes as the fence is extendable and modifiable.

Things I don’t like

I do not like the construction materials of the router table as the knobs, tabs, and inserts are plastic.

Pros:

  • Affordable and offers accurate cuts on wood
  • Offers lots of workspaces
  • Contains all the essential materials

Cons

  • Only ideal for beginners
  • Cannot bear the weight of heavy woodworking projects
  • Weak construction

Buyers frequently asked questions

  • What can you do with a router table?

You can perform numerous tasks with the router table. Some of them include edge trimming, pattern work, cutting personalized moldings, simplified and streamlined end-grain mounting and freehand mounting. It helps you operate the tools for cutting and presenting the work in a better manner. The cutting is precise with the help of router table with giving a perfect finish.

  • How to use a router table for woodworking?

You can use the router table in a variety of ways. You can use it with a fence, without a fence or with a pin starter. And in those routers that do not have a fence, a template is attached to the work-piece, and a ball bearing guide is also used. To keep the cuts precise, you have to make sure that you make the adjustments first before attempting to work on it.

  • What is the best router table for a beginner workshop?

Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo is the best choice for beginners. It is because Ideal for the all-in-one workshop and comes with everything a beginner needs to start on with his woodworking project. The best part of this table is that it comes with a superb router and a fairly-sized table that has modifiable features that ensure accurate cutting.

  • What are the key elements that can affect the lifecycle of the router table?

There are many key elements which can affect the lifecycle of the router table. Those include low quality of the table, the mounting surface, base plate, and fence will adversely impact the lifecycle of the router table. Other reasons may be that you are overusing it and not maintaining it. With continuous cleaning, it helps in working well and for a long time.

  • What are the different types of router tables?

Usually, the router tables come in three broad types. They include the bench top, floor standing and extension router table. There are a variety of options for the router tables depending upon which may fit your needs. By going through the pros and cons, you can decide which one may be suitable according to the work requirements you have.

  • What are the safety tips for using a router table?

You have to be careful while using the router table. Although there are safety precautions in the machine, your precautions are also important. Some of the safety tips include keeping your hand safe, keeping the stock secured, before modifications, unplug the router at all times, wear safety gear all the time and rout in the right direction.

Other router table related questions:


Conclusion

The verdict is Bench dog tools 40-102 Promax is the best router table on offer. It’s a high-end table with cast iron top and can work for workshops.

Yet, for a non-professional woodworker, spending over three hundred bucks for a router table that does not bring in money is unwise.

I recommend the Bosch ra1171 as the best router table for the value of money as the best router table is the Bench-dog 40-102. Ra1171 scores high on durability and even comes with a cabinet for noise reduction and storage. This is the best table for hobbyists. Some may prefer the Bosch ra1181 due to having an aluminium surface, which does offer excellent durability when working inside, it is a bit pricier than the ra1171 though. You may notice that we do not like product made of plastic as they have poor durability and has a feeling of cheaply built.

I hope you find this article useful and was able to pick the best router table for your needs, lastly, consider watching this video for how to use a router table. I found it a very helpful educational piece even for professional workers. A router bit set, plunge router  and router lift are essential parts of your router family, please check our router bit sets guide before buying one. Check out edge treatment and cope&stick using your router table for more router table guide.