What Type of Wood Router Do I Need? 4 Tools to Select

what type of wood router do i need

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Competent woodworking requires the right tools, and when it comes to routing wood, a router is an essential tool. You need a router that provides accuracy, precision, power, and speed to get the job done quickly.

However, you may have asked yourself: “what type of wood router do I need?” There are several options depending on your requirements and the type of projects you are working on.

For small-scale jobs around the home, a compact router may be your best bet. If you are working on larger projects, a full-size router is necessary. There are also plunge routers and handheld routers that offer unique features for different types of routing.

Keep reading to know what type of wood router will work best for you. This template guides you through the features to look for and the types of routers that will best suit your project.

What Is a Wood Router?

A wood router is a handheld or stationary power tool that routes grooves, shapes, and edges into the wood. The router has a motor that spins the bit, which cuts into the wood.

A wood router can create intricate patterns, round-off edges, and hollow-out areas. You can also use it to combine two pieces of wood, which is typical for cabinet makers.

Type of Wood Routers

Manufacturers understand the need for different types of routers for different projects, so they offer a variety of models. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular routers:

Compact Routers

These routers are great for small projects like trimming, shallow grooving and making notches. Compact routers are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, making them perfect for smaller jobs.

For instance, you can use it to cut dovetails or trim the edge of laminate countertops.

Plunge Routers

a cabinetry tool

When you need to cut into thicker pieces of wood, a plunge router is your best bet. A plunge base router has a spring-loaded base, allowing you to press the router bit into the wood. It means that you can make deeper cuts more accurately.

A plunge router is your go-to if you are working on larger projects like creating dadoes and rabbets.

Handheld Routers/Palm Routers

As the name implies, a handheld router is portable and can be used when the router is unplugged. It’s great for long-distance work or if you don’t have a router table or much space to work with.

A palm router is perfect for intricate detail work and comes in compact and full-size models.

Full-Size Routers

You need a full-size router if you are working on large pieces of wood – like doors or countertops. They are often the most powerful routers and are perfect for tough jobs.

The routers usually have a plunge base, which you can use to make deeper cuts, and a dust collection system to keep the work area clean.

How to Choose the Best Router for Your Project

Choosing the best router for your project depends on what type of routing you need to do. First, you should assess the size of the project and how intricate the routing must be.

Here are key features to look for when selecting the best router for your project:

Motor Size

If you are doing larger projects, you should opt for a router with a powerful motor. For instance, a router with two horsepower or more is generally enough for heavy-duty work like cabinet making.

Smaller projects require smaller motors, so a router with 1-2 horsepower is usually sufficient.

Speed Control

Routers with variable speed control features are great for precision work. They allow you to make fine adjustments to the motor speed. It can help you make clean and precise cuts when working with different types of wood. For instance, softer woods are best cut at a lower speed, while harder woods perform better when the motor runs faster.

Dust Collection System

If you’re looking for a dust-free routing experience, you should opt for a router with a dust collection system. Most routers come with a dust collection port, like an air filter or vacuum port. These dust collection systems will help clean your workspace and reduce cleanup time.

Cordless Router or Corded Router

If you do a lot of routing on the go, consider getting a cordless router. Cordless routers are usually smaller and lighter than other routers, making them easier to transport and manoeuvre.

They also come with a fixed base, which makes more precise cuts. The variable speed setting also helps you get the desired results from your projects.

Corded routers, on the other hand, offer more power and stability. However, they are often heavier and bulkier than cordless routers, so they are better suited for stationary work. For example, corded routers are better if you have a fixed router table or are working in a workshop.

Beyond the features, you should also consider the price of the router. Depending on your budget and needs, you can find routers at various prices to fit your project and your wallet. Also, analyze the intended use and environment of the router and any safety requirements.

You can consult a woodworking professional or check online reviews to ensure you are making the right decision. Then, with the right router, you can tackle any project with confidence and accuracy.

Choose the Right Wood Router Today

Getting good value for your money is essential for woodworking tools. To get the most out of your router, choose one that suits the intended use, project size, and budget.

That way, you can take on more significant projects with ease and confidence that you won’t damage the wood or get unsatisfactory results. So whether you need a router for decorative inlays, dovetails, or heavy-duty woodworking tasks, there is a router that fits your budget and needs.

Choose the right wood router today and get to work on your projects!


Most people have questions when it comes to choosing a router. Here are answers to some common queries:

What Other Tools Do I Need With a Router?

You will need to purchase a few accessories in addition to the main router unit. These include a guide fence, edge guides, router cutters, clamps, and router bits.

Does the Router Table Flexibility Determine the Type of Router?

No, the type of router isn’t determined by the flexibility of the table. While some routers may be better suited for certain tables, the kind of router is mainly determined by the intended use and features.

What Handle Bases Do Routers Usually Come With?

Most routers have two types of handle bases – a plunge base and a fixed base router. Plunge bases allow for depth adjustment, while fixed bases provide better stability for more precise cuts.

You may also find the ergonomic handles designed to improve user comfort while working. Depending on the model, routers may also come with a combination or ratcheting base.

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