A cheap option for those on a budget, this Goplus table has more distance between its legs to give you more stability. Despite its low price, it comes with a small fence system.
Bosch Benchtop RA1181 Router Table
Capable of working with routers from other manufacturers, this is one of the most versatile routers around. You can use your own vacuum with the dust collection system to keep the area around the table clean.
As a benchtop router table, this Bosch model will fit right on top of any surface you want to use. It has a good fence system that will support longer and wider boards.
A few reviews claimed that the table arrived with a warped surface. Some customers wished that the table used better quality materials.
Kreg PRS1045 Router Table
Though the PRS1045 has a high retail price, customers think it’s worth it because of all the included accessories. This model has a thicker surface to reduce vibrations when using your tools.
The PRS1045 comes with a full kit that provides you with all the tools and accessories that you need. You get an adjustable fence system as well as casters that attach to the bottom of the table.
Most of the complaints we saw surrounded the insert plate, which can arrive warped. This table is also the most expensive one we found.
Skil RAS900 Router Table
A built-in mounting system makes it easy to mount your router to this table and change the bits. Skil added guard and gauges that help you use the table with different types of wood.
You can easily keep track of all the small parts and accessories that you use because of onboard storage located on this table. It also features a guard system that helps you create rounded designs.
You may have a hard time locating any replacement parts that you need. Some shoppers also complained that the top warped over time.
Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
With both a dust extraction port and a power strip, this Craftsman table lets you keep your work area clean and use multiple tools. It also comes with a router designed for use with this table.
As this set comes with its own router, you don’t need to purchase that tool separately. You also get a power strip on the table that let you plug in other tools that you need.
The table may arrive damaged and/or with a few broken parts. Some customers also found that they burned out the router fairly quickly.
Goplus Electric Aluminum Router Table
You can save money and still work on some of your favorite projects with this Goplus table, which anyone can afford. This model has a large work area on its top and a good fence system.
A cheap option for those on a budget, this Goplus table has more distance between its legs to give you more stability. Despite its low price, it comes with a small fence system.
This table may not work with your router. It also has a somewhat flimsy design because it only has two legs instead of four.
Hand-held router tools are suitable for a small number of jobs. When you’re ready to take your skills to the next level though, you’ll want a router table. These tables come with fences that help you line up wood panels and boards to make cuts that are both even and smooth. You can use the best router table of 2018 to make panels that you use as cabinet doors and to make new molding for a room. The tables also allow you to make a plunge or fix cut in a piece of wood. Our shopping guide to the top router tables for 2018 will make it easy for you to buy and use one in your own shop.
Even if you don’t have a dedicated workshop, you’ll still find space for one of these tables in your garage or anywhere else you work. You can focus on the models that are suitable for those who make professional projects or select one of the tables that beginners love. We also found tables that will grow as your skills grow. We recommend that you start with the product matrix above and that you work your way down to the bottom of the page to learn as much as possible about router tables.
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After using a router for a few years and deciding that you need a full table, you’ll probably wonder about what you need to consider to pick the best one for you. We found all the top features that anyone who works with wood wants and needs in a router table. To find that information, we talked with experts and those who use power tools on a daily basis. We learned about the top safety features to look for and the best features in general. Our research led us to identify more than 20 different router tables that meet the needs of our readers.
To narrow down our list to just five tables, we used Amazon to get an idea of which tables have the best ratings and reviews. The reviews that customers wrote and the feedback they gave helped us find the tables that are best for our readers. We ranked each of those models in different categories, including which is the best for the money and which table is the best of the best. You can find out more about the top router tables in the matrix at the top of this shopping guide and in the reviews that you’ll see below.
What Factors Did We Consider When Picking the Best Router Table?
A router table is a tool designed specifically for working with a wood router. Most models have a solid base that supports the weight of the material used on the surface and any other parts. Some larger and heavier models also have casters attached to their legs. Those casters allow you to move the table on your own.
Two of the more important features of this type of table include the mounting system and its fence system. When you look at tables, its overall measurements are not as important as you might think. This is because the fence system lets you support the weight and the size of your boards. A good fence system will work with standard boards as well as sheets made from plywood and similar materials.
The mounting system is important because this tells you how easily you can insert your router and mount it to the table. You may want to look for one that lets you mount your router without using any specialized tools. Router tables may have some other features such as onboard storage for your tools and accessories or a folding design that makes it easy to store the whole tool in your garage or shop.
Benefits of Tables That Come with Routers
A router is a hand-held tool that allows you to make cuts in a board of any shape or size. Those with a fixed base are suitable for removing a thin layer from the surface of a board. Some have a plunge base that will cut deep into that wood. Router tables allow you to make cuts with more accuracy and to follow any designs or patterns that you want to use. The table essentially acts as extra support for your projects.
Let’s say that you want to create new molding for your living room. With an ordinary router, you’ll need to lay those boards flat and carefully cut the design into the wood. If your hand slips or you lose focus for even a second, you might mess up that design. When you use a router table, you can push the wood underneath the router and manipulate the wood instead of the tool. You can create thin and even lines or create a design with a more intricate pattern.
Router tables come with fence systems and featherboards that you can use on other types of projects too. These features help you make angled cuts, which ensure that two pieces of wood will join or fit together.
The most important decision that you must make is whether a benchtop or a standing model is right for you. We highly recommend that you pick a type first because this will help you narrow down which of the top five models is best for your needs. The type that you need can vary based on how much you can afford to spend and the type of projects that you do. Some experts even have one of each model in their shops and use those tables with different types of routers. We’ll go over what each one looks like and how you can use one.
Benchtop Router Table
A benchtop router table is one that you place and use on top of another surface. The legs are too short to place directly on the floor though. You must set the table on some type of cabinet or bench. Some models such as the one from Goplus can also function as an extension table and will attach right to your existing table.
One of the more popular options for those who have less available space is a folding table. The legs will fold under or inside the table to create a small and compact object that you can store anywhere in your garage or shop. These models may not be as durable as you would like though.
You can also choose a larger or a smaller benchtop router table. Smaller models are really best for those who tackle some basic DIY projects and do crafts at home. If you want to create new cabinet doors or moldings, you really need a larger model. Some of these tables are so large that you may not have enough space for one though.
Standing Router Table
An alternative to a benchtop table is a standing router table. Also called floor router tables, they have durable cabinets or bases that lift the top up to a height that you can easily use. You can find a model that lets you use your router without bending over the table.
Standing tables are really best for those who have more money in their budgets and those who tackle some serious projects on a regular basis. You may need a floor model because you have a larger or a more powerful router too. Smaller and benchtop models may not be strong enough to support those tools.
Types of Router
A common mistake that many beginners make is that they purchase router tables that are just too small. While you can use extension tables to extend the length of your working area, those tables may not attach as firmly as you would like. If you place a heavier board on top, don’t be surprised if the table snaps off. We recommend that you purchase a smaller and more affordable table and use it for a few months. You can keep track of the projects that you work on and the boards that you use to determine if that table is large enough. If you find that it doesn’t meet your needs, you can upgrade to a larger model.
Size is also important because you may not have enough space for a larger model. When you add a steel router table with a wide tabletop, you may need to park your car outside or get rid of some of your other power tools. You should also think about the amount of space that you need as you work. If you buy a bigger table that takes up more space, you may find yourself running into shelving and other objects around the table.
You should consider the overall size of your router when picking out a table too. The mounting system of the table must support the size and weight of that tool.
You probably do not realize just how important the surface or top of the table is when working with wood. If the table is even slightly warped, it will change the measurements and the cuts that you make. Instead of creating perfectly smooth edges that fit together, the angles will be off. A good way to find out whether the table will come flat and stay flat is with a look at the material used.
The most common material used on the surface of cheaper tables is MDF. MDF is a type of cheap wood that often uses wood particles mixed with fillers. Manufacturers take the sawdust and chips that are leftover from older projects and add some glue before pressing the materials into thin sheets. Though you may not think that MDF is very strong, it actually does a pretty good job as a tabletop.
An even better choice is a tabletop made from a resin material. The resin is much stronger and is resistant to warping. Even if you spill a drink on the table, the surface will remain flat and smooth. Tables with resin surfaces are usually more expensive though. No matter what material you settle on, you should make sure that the surface is at least one-inch thick.
Whether you choose a benchtop or a standing router table, you need to consider the design of the base. The best bases are those that are solid enough to hold any wood that you use without wobbling. Many enthusiasts actually prefer steel bases because the metal will not bend or wobble. No matter what types of wood you cut, you won’t worry that the base might fall over on you. Cheaper cabinets are potentially dangerous because the base can tip over when the router is on. The spinning metal pieces can seriously damage the floor and injure you.
You’ll also want to consider other aspects of that design, including the number of legs used and whether the base offers any extra storage. Some of the benchtop models we found come with plastic bases that have compartments inside suitable for all your tools. You can use those compartments to store drill bits for your router and the sandpaper that you use for finishing.
Though many large models have four legs, smaller models may have only two legs. If you choose one with two legs, look for those that have a molded design. When the legs wrap around the sides, they offer more stability.
Tips for Setting Up a Router Table the First Time
All the top router tables feature a fence system, but some of these systems are better than others. Some of the features of a good system include:
One-Piece vs. Two-Piece Fence Systems
A two-piece fence system features separate infeed and outfeed pieces. Also called split-fence systems, they require that you line up the pieces and check the angles yourself. A one-piece fence system uses just a single piece that stretches across the table. You might prefer the convenient design of a one-piece system.
In addition to looking at the fence system on a router table, you should also consider whether the table also features featherboards. Featherboards are small pieces that stop the wood from moving away from the fence. When you use a standard fence system and work with longer or larger boards, you may find that the wood slides away from the fence, which results in uneven or sloppy cuts. Featherboards essentially add some pressure to the wood and acts like a weight. As long as you set the boards up the right way, it will keep the board firmly pressed up against the fence.
You should look for featherboards that are adjustable. This gives you the freedom to change the way the boards touch the wood and allows you to use different types of wood with the table. Featherboards also act as a safety feature because they keep your hands away from the wood and away from the router. When you simply send the wood through on your own, you risk running your fingers under the moving blade. If you purchase a router table that does not come with featherboards, you should make sure that it’s compatible with the boards that you buy separately.
Common Types of Router Bits
Even the smallest of projects can kick up quite a bit of dust. Every cut that you make will produce debris that can get in your eyes and cling to your skin and clothing. Certain types of cuts may produce wood chips that get in your way too. That is why it’s so important that you examine the dust collection system used by each table. Nearly every table on the market features a system that works with a standard shop vac. As dust and other types of debris fly off the wood, it collects inside the port. Once you finish for the day, you can insert the hose of your vacuum right into the port and suck out any of that debris.
Both the number and the size of ports used will vary across tables. Most of the smaller tables we saw have just a single port, while the larger tables we looked at have a minimum of two ports. Manufacturers place the ports in the areas where the largest amount of debris gathers. Cabinet models, which are much larger and heavier, often let you permanently connect a vacuum system. You can then press a button and automatically clean out the ports.
Tips for Using a Shop-Vac
Even if you buy a table that comes with its own router, you’ll still want to check the mounting plate. This is the part that lets you mount the router to the table and use it with just one hand. Most plates feature the same design, which includes a square piece with a round hole in the center. This round hole must be large enough to accommodate your router. If the hole is too small, the tool will not reach the wood.
Though the plates look the same, they can use different types of materials. The most common material and the best material is cast iron. Cast iron is much more durable than ordinary metal and will last through thousands of cuts and hundreds of projects. Some manufacturers use a resin material that is fairly strong but not as durable as cast iron. Resin plates may look like plastic when you get close. You’ll also find mounting plates made from cheaper materials, but those plates will not last nearly as long as most need. The best plates are those with a full-size design that will fit all types of routers. Some tables have a smaller plate that will only accommodate a few types of routers.
Whenever you buy a power tool or something that will work with a power tool, you should always take a close look at the warranty offered by the manufacturer. While this can cover different things, it will usually cover any replacement parts if parts on the table break and labor, which is what it will cost a profession to repair the table or install the new parts. Some of the things you should consider when examining the warranty include:
Always check the warranty and product description to find out how the return policy on the product works. You’ll want to find out how you can return the table and if the company charges a return fee as well as who pays for shipping.
When we talked about the different base designs in a previous section, we briefly touched on those that feature a cabinet. None of the router tables on our list of the top five for 2018 come with a cabinet. Those models are often quite expensive and too heavy for home workshops. Cabinet tables also go by the name of enclosed tables because the base is completely enclosed. Some of the benefits of those tables include:
Router tables with an open base are much more popular with shoppers today because they are lighter and easier to move. Some of the benefits of these tables include:
Types of Routers You Can Use with or without Tables
Goplus makes this aluminum router table for those who want to save money. While it’s not quite as durable as other tables on our list, it’s a solid choice for budget shoppers and beginners. Compatible with any router that uses a six-inch plate, it has a support system that lets you mount that router directly to its surface. Though most tables have four legs, this one has just two that sit on its back. Those legs each have small holes on the base for mounting the table onto another surface. You can even mount this one right on a wall.
Made from aluminum, this table weighs much less than other router options do. It features deep grooves across the surface that hold any of the dust or chips that you produce. You can run a cloth through those grooves to remove that debris at the end of your project. This model can also act as an extension table. You can add it to an existing table to give yourself more room. Though the table itself weighs less than 11 pounds, it can accommodate more than 40 pounds of weight. You’ll have all the space and support that you need when working with smaller and lighter boards.
No matter how much woodworking experience you have, guides can come in handy. The right guides will help you follow along with a pattern that you drew on the wood and create perfect cuts. Router table guides typically include miter slots and T-slots.
A miter guide, also called a miter gauge, is a piece of metal that fits on the top of your table. It has clear markings with a handle that you slide back and forth. When you turn this handle, you can adjust the depth at which your router will cut into a piece of wood. As long as you selected the right measurement, you can follow this gauge as you cut to make sure that you reach the same depth at all points.
T-slot guides allow you to make both horizontal and vertical cuts in your boards. Tables that feature this guide have slots that look like an uppercase “T.” You can simply move the wood across the slot to create an even cut in the board.
The best tables will have at least one type of guide that helps you measure and cut boards with better accuracy. You may want to check customer reviews to get an idea of how well those guides work.
Optional Features Worth Your Time and Money
Whether you buy a cheap router table designed for hobbyists or spring for a more professional model, you’ll still want to know how you can extend the life of the table. When you spend hundreds of dollars on a table, you expect it to last for a few years or more. We recommend that you practice proper maintenance when it comes to your table. This means cleaning out the dust collection and extraction ports each time that you use it and wiping down the surface after each project. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any changes to the table, including any unexpected noises produced by the router or any sudden vibrations that you didn’t experience or notice before.
It’s also helpful to know the limitations of your table. When you take the table out of the packaging, set aside some time to read through the manual and the manufacturer’s recommendations. That information will let you know if you can use heavier boards and harder types of wood. Depending on your table, you may find that it will only work with softer woods. Using the wrong types of wood can damage the table and wear out your router.
What is the Average Lifespan for a Router Table?
The average lifespan for a router table depends on its overall design and how much you paid for it. A cheaper model such as those designed for hobbyists and amateurs can last for a few years or longer when properly maintained. If you use that table more often and with harder woods though, it may only last for a single year. Professional and commercial router tables can last for five to 10 years or more.
A router table lets you do the same projects that you would make with a standard router and a whole lot more. Many woodworking enthusiasts invest in these tables because they want to make trim and molding pieces. Trim pieces are suitable for use around the doors and windows in your home. With new moldings, you can create a focal point in a space and make a room feel larger. You can use a router table to make molding pieces with a more intricate design such as a floral pattern around the edges. The table also allows you to create basic moldings that have a thin line along the edges.
Once you have more experience, you may feel comfortable enough to try some more intricate projects. When you use flat wood boards, you can use the router to create raised panels that turn those boards into new doors for your cabinets.
Project Ideas for Beginners
Some experts even use these tables to create intricately curved and designed brackets that they use for shelving and as legs for pieces of furniture. You can find even more fun projects to try online on woodworking websites and via YouTube videos or from woodworking magazines and books.
What Type of Safety Gear Should You Wear When Working with a Router Table?
Tips for Choosing the Best Extension Wings
Now that you know so much about router tables, you probably know how much one will cost and how much you should spend. The cost for a basic table is around $150 or less. These tables often use plastic parts and have plastic legs though. Those plastic pieces will not last as long as metal pieces do. You may find that the plastic shimmies and shakes as you cut and that you have a hard time keeping your hands on the wood. Those vibrations can even cause you to make a few mistakes.
Some of the top router tables that we found retail for between $150 and $300. You’ll find more durable parts that last longer and provide more protection from vibrations. Router tables can also cost upwards of $600 or $700.
The cost will also depend on whether you purchase a benchtop or a standing model. Standing models come with a solid base that will support the router and your wood. The Kreg model on our list is an example of a floor model. Benchtop models require some support from below such as a cabinet. Standing and floor models will cost much more than benchtop models do but will also last longer.
A: When it comes to power tools and supplies, the odds are good that you often buy from one brand. There are some people who will only purchase Craftsman tools or tools from another manufacturer. While a brand name may not be important in some situations, it’s important when it comes to router tables. Many companies make proprietary fences and routers that will only work with their tables. Those parts are not compatible with tables made by other companies.
A: When buying a router table for a small shop or space where you have less room, you should look for a folding model. You can easily fold the table down and store it anywhere in your shop. The table also sets up quickly later. You may want to look for tables with built-in storage too.
A: A d-handle router is a power tool that has a handle shaped like an uppercase “D.” It typically has a power switch built inside the handle that lets you squeeze this trigger to power on the router. As you change the amount of pressure that you use, you can increase or decrease the router’s speed. A small number of tables are compatible with this type of router.
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