A trim router, also known as a palm router or laminate trimmer, is a great addition to your toolkit. In this post, we’ll go over our preferences for a trim router (for our own personal circumstances). When researching for the best trim router for ourselves, we looked at key selection criteria such as horsepower, depth control, portability, and grip comfort. There’s a full break down of our selection criteria in the buyers guide at the end of this product review. But we know you just want to see what we selected for ourselves. So here are our top picks.
Best Palm Routers
The best palm routers are:
- Dewalt DCW600B – Best Cordless Router (Battery Sold Separately)
- Makita RT0701C
- Bosch GKF125CEN Colt
- Bosch PR20EVS
- Dobetter DBTR700
- Porter-Cable PCE6435
- Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router
Comparison Table – Best Trim Routers (aka Palm Routers)
|1.||Dewalt DCW600B – Cordless Router||This is one of the most highly rated routers on the market due to its high quality and ability to be used far from a power outlet. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|2.||Makita RT0701C||The Makita RT0701C is a heavy-duty, powerful yet lightweight router that has all the features we’d need in this professional grade model. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|3.||Bosch GKF125CEN Colt||This is a palm router with a reputation for being powerful and reliable. This is one worth considering for doing routing work on larger stock. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|4.||Bosch PR20EVS||The Bosch PR20EVS is a powerful yet highly ergonomic palm router that can give great comfort and control during use. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|5.||Dobetter DBTR700||This might be worth checking out for people who are very new to woodworking and routing and need a cheap palm router to learn the trade. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|6.||Porter-Cable PCE6435||We feel this Porter-Cable brand router has a high quality build that, while losing market share, remains a great tool. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|7.||Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router||This is a solid and no-frills router for basic trimming work, but didn’t blow us away as much as several others on this list. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
1. Dewalt DCW600B – Cordless Router (Battery Sold Separately)
Our Rating: 9.5/10
It’s hard to argue against the quality of Dewalt tools at times and the cordless router in their range is one of the highest rated and best compact routers we’ve come across from any woodworking category and it’s easy to see why.
The 20V battery with a soft start, brushless motor means that this product is not only one of the most portable routers in its class but also comes with a great motor longevity.
The LED lights on this model are a feature that we are always happy to see in a router. These allow for not only greater bit visibility during use but also greater visibility for the workspace as a whole.
The electronic feedback keeps speeds constant throughout use for routing accuracy and an electronic brake ensures a faster and safer tool shutdown.
The only thing we don’t like is the around the body depth adjustment ring, it might be fast to use but it can easily get in the way during use and the more commonly used micro-adjustment knobs are a much better feature that could have been used in our opinion.
This is generally a solid product that we can’t recommend enough due to the power, performance and portability that it provides.
Highly Rated: This is one of the most highly rated and reviewed routers we’ve ever come across.
Portability: The 20V cordless battery means that this tool is good to go in the home workshop or out on the jobsite.
LED Lights: The dual LED lights to illuminate the bit and workspace are ideal and it’s a feature you don’t see enough on most routers.
Battery Not Included: A lot of people will likely already have a Dewalt battery to use but if not, you’ll need to buy separately which might be an unexpected additional cost.
Depth Adjustment Ring: We are not the biggest fan of these as the more modern micro-adjustment knobs allow for greater control and speed during depth changes.
2. Makita RT0701C
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Makita is known for creating powerful and reliable tools and the Makita RT0701C trim router is no exception.
This heavy-duty model is constructed from an aluminum motor casing for added longevity (ideal for jobsite work) whilst still managing to come in at an impressively light weight of just under 4 lbs.
This is combined with a slim and ergonomic casing design with a rubber grip for maximum control and maneuverability during use.
The rack and pinion depth adjustment on this tool is smooth, effortless and incredibly easy to control with the micro-adjustment knob which is exactly what you need for trim and detailing work.
The fixed base does have the added feature to support an optional dust port for dust extraction is great though unfortunately it is sold separately which is worth noting (though we feel it’s well worth the investment).
Finally, we need to touch on the power of this model with a 1-¼ HP motor supported by soft start and variable speed control of 10,000 – 30,000 RPM which will easily tackle most routing needs.
Depth Adjustment: The rack and pin system combined with the micro-adjustment knob allows for smooth and controlled depth adjustment.
Lightweight: The lightweight (yet heavy-duty) casing is ideal for control and longevity during use.
Professional Grade: This tool is built with the contractor in mind and comes with an added 1-year warranty to put it to the test.
Accessories Sold Separately: While we understand the bases (plunge, tilt and offset) being sold separately the dust extraction port would have been a nice feature to include. We’d definitely recommend purchasing this separately as it’s well worth the money.
3. Bosch GKF125CEN Colt
Our Rating: 9/10
We are reviewing two Bosch models today and the GKF125CEN model is the more powerful of the two with a 1-¼ HP, 7 Amp motor.
This motor is actually one of the most powerful on the market in terms of specifications and gives an impressive variation in speeds with 16,000 – 35,000 RPM making it theoretically good for use on a range of different stock sizes.
The soft start and constant response circuitry allow for consistency during use whilst overload protection helps to extend the life cycle of this product.
Alongside the Bosch PR20EVS, this model is known as one of the most comfortable in class thanks to a soft grip and finger pocket contours for maximum comfort and control.
The router’s base features both macro and micro adjustments for those that are looking for either speed or accuracy, though admittedly it’s not known as the easiest tool when it comes to depth adjustments.
Powerful: The 1-¼ HP, 7 Amp motor makes this one of the most powerful palm routers on the market.
Consistent: The soft start and constant response circuitry allow for consistent use during a range of revolution speeds or other uses.
Comfort: The soft grip combined with finger pockets allows for maximum control and comfort at all times.
Depth Adjustments: We feel the depth adjustment can be very ‘fiddly’ and may be difficult to do in a smooth or effortless motion.
4. Bosch PR20EVS
Our Rating: 8.5/10
This one’s with checking out if you’re simply looking for an ergonomic and comfortable palm router for increased control around edges.
The contoured grip with finger and palm placement pockets allows for maximum comfort and control during use making it a best in class model when it comes to control.
The micro-adjustment dial is far more accurate and easy to use than many competitors, though it’s worth mentioning that the speed of depth adjustment takes longer as a result.
There is also the option for an easy to install edge guide that takes only a few seconds to attach with no wrenches or screwdrivers needed however it is sold as a separate upgrade model for a small increase in price.
Bosch has one of the best fixed base routers on the market and while this palm router does not warrant that same reputation, it’s still a solid tool.
Contoured Grip: The finger pockets allow for maximum grip and control.
Versatile Bit Change: The option to use two wrenches or a single wrench with spindle lock is great for versatility depending on preference when changing bits.
Price: For the basic model with no attachments we feel it’s a very affordable and good value for money palm router.
Holding Depth: Many claim that this router does not hold its depth well when using larger or harder stock woods.
5. Dobetter DBTR700
Our Rating: 8/10
With woodworking, you can’t always get a top of the line product because costs soon add up. A palm router is certainly a luxury item and therefore Dobetter offer an affordable and reliable product.
A 1-¼ HP, 6.5 Amp motor is more than enough power to compete in this category (and even out powers some of the more well known brands) and has variable speeds from 10,000 – 32,000 RPM which is again highly competitive.
The price is, of course, the key factor with this product, when you take into consideration the competitive power of this model its incredible value for money for any first time woodworker and is one of the cheapest on the market.
This tool also comes with an extensive range of bits and parts (including edging guide and dust hood) though it’s worth pointing out that these are far from high end quality and you’ll want to purchase your own bits if you’re a more seasoned router user.
Overall, we can’t argue with this model in terms of value and function. You’re getting a basic model without any professional standard features but it’s ideal if you are a first time user or just need a cheap replacement router for some quick jobs.
Price: This is one of the most affordable and value for money palm routers on the market.
Power: A 1-¼ HP, 6.5 Amp motor offers plenty of power and can compete with some of the larger brands in this category.
Warranty: A 2-year warranty will give further peace of mind with this product as a value option.
Brand: A relatively unknown brand makes this more of a value for money tool for a beginner or first time user rather than the seasoned professional or hobbyist.
Cheap Bits & Parts: The bits and parts with this router are certainly not durable or high grade so you’d need to invest in some that are better quality.
6. Porter-Cable PCE6435
Our Rating: 8/10
For many years, Porter-Cable was the top choice when it came to routers of all kinds. In recent years other brands have caught up and increased in popularity however the PCE6435 is still a solid option for both professional and hobbyist use.
The precision machined, aluminum base is not only solid and durable giving this tool great longevity but it also looks great as well.
The depth ring allows for fast and accurate adjustments however we do need to point out that it appears many have had issues with the depth control being loose which causes it to change during use, which would not be ideal.
A 5.6 Amp motor with variable speeds of 16,000 – 35,000 RPM means this tool is powerful enough to work with a wide range of bits and stock for more versatility in use.
Quality Build: The precision machined aluminum base is solid, durable and high quality.
Versatile: Variable speeds of 16,000 – 35,000 RPM gives great versatility with the bits and stock that you can work on.
Bit Changing: The flat top allows for quick and easy bit changes on a stable surface.
Depth Control: Unfortunately, many users claim that the depth control is too loose on this product which could ruin a contractor based job.
7. Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router
Our Rating: 8/10
The Ridgid R2401 trim router is a no-nonsense, no-frills trim router that is solid, powerful and comfortable enough for most trim work but lacks some added features of the higher end models.
This tool features a round, and also less commonly seen, square base which we feel can give much greater flexibility and variety for use.
The soft start, variable speed and micro-adjustments are all fast and simple to use meaning this tool is incredibly fast to work with.
The flat top which allows for upside down bit changes is a game changer when it comes to speed and efficiency when working. The simplicity is also ideal for beginners.
Variable speeds of 20,000 – 30,000 RPM will certainly do the job for most trimming jobs, however, a professional will want more control over bit speed.
There’s nothing too flashy about this product, this can be good because there aren’t too many faults in the design and it will do the job for most homeowners or hobbyists but may not suit many professional needs.
Carry Case: The branded and cushioned carry case is a nice addition for storage and portability.
Fast Bit Changes: The flat top router allows for fast and easy bit changes even in beginners.
Micro-Adjustments: The depth adjustment is very simple to use and doesn’t take much time to get used to.
Hobbyist Router: This could suit a hobbyist well but a professional may want something that gives them more control.
Can Palm Routers be used on Router Tables?
Yes and No. Palm routers aren’t the best routers for table mounting. Partially, this is because they’re small and have limited bit size ranges. There are some benefits of using router tables, such as being able to fit a router table fence to the router table to enable straighter finishes. If you’re looking for a router that fits a router table, it’s worth check out our review of the best router tables which outlines some common routers that are compatible with some of the top router tables out there today.
One way to ensure a router can be made compatible with any router table is to fit a universal router lift to the router table. Our pick for the best router lift is the Jess-Em Mast-R Lift II, which has near universal fit with most of the best wood routers available on the market today.
What to Look for in the Best Palm Router
Power, EVS and Soft Start
Trim routers are usually somewhat smaller and less powerful than regular plunge routers. You’re looking at around 1 to 1.5 HP for your regular trim router. But, to be fair, that’s usually enough for trim jobs you’ll be doing. Note that the horsepower is ‘maximum’ or ‘peak’ horsepower, so don’t compare this directly to your table saw – it’s not a comparable measure.
We like to see variable speeds from 10,000 – 32,000 RPM, which you should be able to control through a variable speed adjustment dial on most good routers. The reason you need electronic variable speed is that many materials that burn easily can be cut more safely with slower speeds that reduce heat.
Lastly, it’s good to look for a soft start model. These take 2 – 3 seconds to reach full speed, reducing sudden torque when you start off, which can jerk at your wrists and cause unnecessary wear on the router itself.
Adjusting the depth of your bit can be fiddly. We personally like to have a play around with how you adjust the depth to see how fast, smoothly, or tool-free depth adjustments can be. Unfortunately depth control is never going to be as easy as a plunge router, but today with
The palm router market is still full of corded models, with the Dewalt one of the few true cordless palm routers on the market today. If you want a portable model, you might want to give that Dewalt model a good hard look. Otherwise, it’s worth getting a good quality extension cord to ensure you can use your palm router a fair distance from a
Last but not least, there’s comfort to consider. Sometimes this really is the pivotal reason you might want to choose one router over another. When you place your palm into the grip, you really want it to feel comfortable on your palm so you have maximum control and comfort when using your router.
We can’t pick the best palm router for your circumstances, but we’ve taken a look at a range of examples and ranked them based on our personal preferences. Take a look at each router and make an informed decision for yourself – and don’t forget to consult a professional if you’re in any doubt about whether a product is right for you.
All in all, we selected the Dewalt DCW600B cordless palm router as the best trim router for ourselves. We love the Dewalt brand here at Shed & Yard, and again it comes out on top for us.
Good luck with your decision!
Simon & Chris