The biggest challenge we had when choosing a router lift was knowing which one would fit which router. In the end, we found the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II was a good option as it has a universal design that fits most of the most popular and best wood router motors (but not all – extra large ones don’t fit, for example).
Because getting a router lift that’s the right fit for your router is such a big issue, we’ve put together a table of compatible routers for each router lift below. Note that this is not exhaustive, but does show all the routers that each router lift’s manual names as compatible.
For other important questions, such as “Can a Router Lift hold a Plunge Router?” we’ve put together a buyer’s guide at the end of this article. But for now, we’ll show you our top picks.
The best router lifts are:
- JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121
- KREG PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
- JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift For 3-1/2″ Diameter Motors
- Rockler Pro Router Lift
- Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift
- Rockler Router Lift FX
- SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock
Best Router Lifts
Major Compatible Routers
|1.||JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121||Porter Cable 7518 & 690/890, JessEm Pow-R-Tek, Bosch 1617/1618, DeWalt 610/618/616, Makita 1101, Hitachi M12VC & KM12VC, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619/5625, Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, Rigid R29302, Portamate PM-P254, and most other routers.||Known for its near universal fit. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|2.||KREG PRS5000 Precision Router Lift||Bosch 1617/1618; Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, DeWalt 610/616/618; Felisatti RF62, Hitachi M12VC/ KM12VC; Makita 1101, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619/5626, Porter-Cable 690/890, Porter-Cable 7518, Ridgid R29302||Versatile and customizable – we’re impressed! (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|3.||JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift For 3-1/2″ Diameter Motors||Porter Cable 690/890, Bosch 1617/1618, Dewalt 610/618/616, Craftsman 1754/17540/28190||Great router lift, but only compatible with specific sized routers. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|4.||Rockler Pro Router Lift||Porter-Cable 7518/7519 (no adapter collar), Makita RF1101 (with 3 ¼” adapter collar), Bosch 1617, Porter Cable 690/890 series, Dewalt 616/618 (with 3 ½” adapter collar)||The adapter collars are really useful for making it compatible with a range of routers. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|5.||Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift||Porter-Cable 7518/7519, Portamate PM-P254||Good router lift for larger routers. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|6.||Rockler Router Lift FX||Porter-Cable 690/890 Series, Bosch 1616/1617/1618, DeWalt 610/616/618||Compatible with some of the most popular routers on the market today. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
|7.||SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock||All SawStop Routers. Sawstop does not offer a compatibility table in their manual for other branded routers.||A nice router, but it appears to only be for SawStop router fans. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)|
1. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121
- Major Compatible Routers: Porter Cable 7518 & 690/890, JessEm Pow-R-Tek, Bosch 1617/1618, DeWalt 610/618/616, Makita 1101, Hitachi M12VC & KM12VC, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619/5625, Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, Rigid R29302, Portamate PM-P254, and most other routers (it’s pretty universal)
- Plate Dimensions: 8-¼” x 11-¾”
- Our Rating: 9.5/10
JessEm is a specialist manufacturer when it comes to power tool accessories and the Mast-R lift II is one of the best router lifts on the market. If you are a professional contractor or seasoned hobbyist then this is the perfect tool for you.
The lifts compatibility with most routers is the key feature with this model, it will fit most fixed base routers without the need for an adaptor collar by using unique clamping blocks.
Not only is the compatibility a great feature but this lift is made to be both high quality and heavy-duty.
The top plate and aluminum non-wear components are anodized for durability and longevity while the shafts are pressed into the plate meaning you can work comfortably with heavy stock knowing that this lift is manufactured to handle the load.
Bit height adjustments are both fast and easy with this lift and you’ll never have an issue with the router dropping depth during use for consistent and accurate work.
Compatibility: This router lift is compatible with almost any router on the market.
High Quality: The product is machine engineered to the highest standard with a hard anodized top plate and sealed bearings for durability and longevity.=
Precision: The tight tolerances and ease of adjustments for bit height make this an ideal lift (and investment) for professional woodworkers.
Hex Wrench: Some people have issues with the hex wrench (allen key) either being the wrong size when shipped or missing altogether. A 3/16” hex wrench is quite common though so it’s not a major issue.
2. KREG PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
- Major Compatible Routers: Bosch 1617/1618; Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, DeWalt 610/616/618; Felisatti RF62, Hitachi M12VC/ KM12VC; Makita 1101, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619/5626, Porter-Cable 690/890, Porter-Cable 7518, Ridgid R29302
- Plate Dimensions: 9-¼” x 11-¾”
- Our Rating: 9.5/10
The precision of this model is a key benefit for users. The lift is easily elevated to allow quick bit changes above the table and the micro-adjustment scale is accurate from 1/16” adjustments down to a thousandth of an inch.
It’s not the actual numbers that are impressive when it comes to the precision adjustments but rather the accuracy and ease of adjustments allowing for both quick and accurate work. The ability to zero in at any point also allows for more repeatable and constant cuts.
Not only is the routing lift fully compatible with most major brands and routers but you can also customize it with a wide range of accessories from Level-loc reducing rings to routing bits. You can check out all their routing accessories here.
Kreg is very transparent with which brands, tables and routers (see above) are compatible with this product and all features work exactly as described so you won’t be disappointed if you choose this router lift.
Repeat Cuts: The micro-adjustment to bit height can be zeroed out at any time to ensure accurate and repeat cuts, even when changing bits.
Compatibility: This is one of the most compatible router lifts on the market, both in terms of fitting certain routers and also tables.
Reliable: The product works exactly as specified which is the reason for so many happy customers and high ratings, you’re getting exactly what you expect with this lift.
Mounting: Leveling screws do not come included so you need to know how you will mount this to your specific table before purchase.
3. JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift For 3-1/2″ Diameter Motors
- Major Compatible Routers: Porter Cable 690/890, Bosch 1617/1618, Dewalt 610/618/616, Craftsman 1754/17540/28190
- Plate Dimensions: 9-¼” x 3-¾”
- Our Rating: 9/10
JessEm in our (and many others) opinion, have some of the best router lifts on the market and the Rout-R II lift is a premium quality model at a budget-friendly price.
Firstly, it’s important to note that it fits 3-½” diameter router motors so check your router model before considering a purchase.
The JessEm Rout-R II has many of the key features you’d expect to see in a premium model but with a more budget-friendly price. The build quality is impressive with CNC machined aluminum parts making this lift both heavy-duty and durable enough to handle large stock.
The top plate is however a phenolic construction and not the aluminum material that you’d find most commonly on router lifts and this is a key factor in giving a more affordably priced product.
Above the table adjustments to bit height are fast and easy whilst bit changes can also be done with ease from above the table (without the need for a bent wrench).
Due to the precision, durability and ease of use, we feel the JessEm Rout-R II is a great router lift for the serious professional or hobbyist woodworker. We also feel it’s good value for money.
Price: This is one of the most affordable router lifts on the market, especially considering the high quality construction.
Quality Construction: The sturdy aluminum construction is both solid and durable for heavy-duty use.
Highly Rated: Some people have issues with the additional cost for inserts and fittings but the vast majority of customers rate this product highly.
Expensive Inserts: The throat plates supplied do not fit an extensive range of router bits and additional throat plates can only be purchased via JessEm increasing the initial cost.
Compatibility: This lift only fits routers with a 3-½” motor diameter so you are more limited than if you used the Mast-R II lift.
4. Rockler Pro Router Lift
- Major Compatible Routers: Porter-Cable 7518/7519 (no adapter collar), Makita RF1101 (with 3 ¼” adapter collar), Bosch 1617, Porter Cable 690/890 series, Dewalt 616/618 (with 3 ½” adapter collar)
- Plate Dimensions: 8-¼” x 11-¾”
- Our Rating: 9/10
The Rockler Pro Is an innovative router lift that has won awards for its innovation (2018 Wood Magazine Innov8 award) and we can easily see why. This router lift is perfectly suited for contractors looking to improve their time efficiency on the jobsite.
The tool-free bit change feature is streamlined and incredibly fast. The push button quick ring release eliminates the need for screws and the quick gear height adjustment means a bit change can be done in under a minute with minimal effort.
The time efficiency and patent pending technology are not the only beneficial features with this router lift. The router lift is also ultra-precise due to the micro-fine adjustment screw which is clearly index marked allowing you to make fast and precise adjustments by eye.
This model is for large routers: fits a 4.2” diameter router though you can use adaptor collars for some 3-¼” and 3-½” router bases.
Overall this is an impressive tool when it comes to time saving efficiencies and precision so if you are a dedicated woodworking contractor by trade then this is the ideal lift to speed up your work.
Tool-Free Bit Change: The push button ring release means that you can change bits with speed and efficiency.
Precision: The micro-adjustment screw with indexed markings allows for fast and accurate bit height adjustment.
Build Quality: We know a lot of woodworkers prefer tools that feel solid and the all metal build on this router lift feels both solid and durable for long term use.
Insert Ring: The insert ring included is a common 1-½” opening however additional rings need to be purchased separately.
5. Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift
- Major Compatible Routers: Porter-Cable 7518/7519, Portamate PM-P254
- Plate Dimensions: 9-¼” x 11-¾”
- Our Rating: 8.5/10
The Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 precision router lift actually has the term precision in its name for good reason!
The precision of this router lift is almost unrivaled. The micro-adjustment wheel is a highly innovative and ergonomic feature that allows bit height adjustments with the simple use of just your thumb.
The lift is easy to install to the table, even for first time users and the durable one-piece motor carriage allows for rigidity meaning this router lift will work optimally for years.
A quick-lift and spring assisted wrench allows for rapid above the table bit changes and the three included self leveling twist-lock rings means you can use a range of bit sizes without needing to purchase additional locking rings.
The compatibility is a major drawback with this model and while people do rave about the quality of the lift, that could only be applicable if you have (or are going to purchase) a compatible router to use with it.
If however, you are in the market for a solid router lift that will withstand years of heavy-duty routing then the Woodpeckers precision router lift is the ideal product.
Micro-Adjustments: The micro-adjustment wheel is an incredibly ergonomic and time saving feature that we are very impressed by.
Easy Installation: This router lift is easy to install for the first time whilst also being user friendly to set up a cut.
Smooth Performance: Machined with minimal connecting parts, this router lift will operate smoothly and easily for years worth of use.
Poor Compatibility: Woodpeckers make router lifts to fit exact model routers, therefore you are limited by the compatible routers for this lift.
Price: This is a premium priced product but the lack of compatibility doesn’t justify the price tag in our opinion (unless you already own compatible routers).
6. Rockler Router Lift FX
- Major Compatible Routers: Porter-Cable 690/890 Series, Bosch 1616/1617/1618, DeWalt 610/616/618
- Plate Dimensions: 8-¼” – 11-¾”
- Our Rating: 8/10
The Rockler Lift FX router lift is an excellent mid range table lift for use with mid powered (2-¼ HP) routers. If you need a solid router lift that will also give precision adjustments then this is the perfect router accessory.
It’s mainly Compatible with: Porter-Cable 690/890 Series, Bosch 1617-16-18, DeWalt* 610, 616, 618 so you’d need to look into contacting the manufacturer for specific model compatibility or attachments.
The micro-adjustment screw allows for fast and precise bit height changes and the index markings for height adjustment allow for accurate and incremental adjustments with ease.
While on the subject of bit height, it’s worth mentioning that there is no locking mechanism and if you are routing for extended periods of time then the bit height could change depth during use (not ideal for accurate work).
It has been pointed out however that there is a tightening nut underneath which should secure the bit height in place during extended use so don’t be deterred by the lack of locking mechanism as this is still a solid product.
The build is solid with the table being flat and true right out of the box for smooth and accurate routing. It’s quite a basic router lift if we are honest but for accuracy, ease of use and precision-based adjustments, you won’t find a better value model.
Precision: The indexed markings on the micro-adjustment screw allow for fast and accurate height adjustments above the table.
Price: This is a well priced router lift in the mid range category and has a durable build quality that easily holds up against some of the more premium lifts.
Well Reviewed: There is only one flaw with this model (depth height lock), besides that the reviews for this product are impressive.
Bit Height Lock: With this router lift you can’t lock the bit height into place so this could be an inconvenience if you use it for extended periods with particularly heavy stock.
7. SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock
- Major Compatible Routers: All SawStop Routers. Sawstop does not offer a compatibility table for other branded routers.
- Plate Dimensions: 9-¼” x 11-¾”
- Our Rating: 7/10
The SawStop RT-LFT router lift is an incredibly solid and repeatable lift that has the only drawback of limited compatibility with certain tables and routers. If however, you do your research before purchase then you’ll find that it’s a solid product and comes highly rated.
The four post, chain-synchronized lifting system is designed to be smooth and precise to function, we’d only point out that in order to keep the chain well lubricated you should use a quick-dry lubricant in order to prevent dust build up which will affect depth accuracy.
A positive lock for bit height is often an ignored feature in router lifts however the solid positive locks allow for the bit height to be locked in for accurate and consistent cutting work at all times.
The SawStop RT-LFT router lift is made primarily for SawStop routers and tables, they are very much an exclusivity first manufacturer however there are included router reducer collars to fit other branded 3-¼” to 4-¼” routers. This actually allows for more router compatibility than many other lifts on the market.
This isn’t the most universal of router lifts however if you are a dedicated SawStop tool user or want to make the switch to a consistent brand then we can definitely recommend this lift for durability and ease of use.
Positive Lock: The positive lock system for bit height adjustment is excellent for ensuring a consistent and accurate cut at all times.
Compatible Collars: The router reducer collars allow compatibility with a greater range of routers than many other lifts (the issue being that the lift is designed to only work with SawStop tables).
Chain-Lift System: You’ll need to use a quick-dry oil on the chain as dust build ups will impact on the bit adjustment accuracy.
Price: Considering the lack of compatibility with other routers this lift is priced quite highly.
What is a Router Lift?
A router lift enables you to mount your router to a router table. It is the best method for router mounting because it gives you the freedom to adjust the height and depth of the router at will, unlike directly mounting a router to a table plate.
If you directly screw a router plate to a router table, you’re basically stuck deconstructing your router table and removing your router fence every time you want to change groove depth (unless you buy a dedicated router table with a crank in the plate – see our review of the best router tables for more).
But with your router lift, you can simply turn the crank to raise or lower your router with precision.
Furthermore, a router lift allows you to mount your router without drilling additional holes in the router plate, giving you an overall cleaner and easier experience.
How to Choose the Right Router Lift for your Router
Buying a universal mounter lift like the JessEm Mast-R-Lift means you can fit just about any router to the lift without stressing about router dimensions (the one caveat here is to make sure you’ve got a router where you can extract the router motor from the handles – which is normally fine). This is particularly useful for compact routers that aren’t designed for router lifts (see our reviews of the best compact routers and best palm routers for more details on these types of routers).
If you choose not to go with the JessEm Mast-R-Lift router lift, ensure you get a router lift that holds your router model. Most router lifts fit routers of specific dimensions: 3 ¼”, 4 ¼”, etc. These dimensions are the measure of the diameter of the router’s motor. Remove the router handles and insert the router motor into the router lift socket (Tip: before you buy, check that your router has removable handles).
Here is a list of all the router lifts in this review and common compatible routers:
Major Compatible Routers
|1. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121||Porter Cable 7518 & 690/890, JessEm Pow-R-Tek, Bosch 1617/1618, DeWalt 610/618/616, Makita 1101, Hitachi M12VC & KM12VC, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619/5625, Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, Rigid R29302, Portamate PM-P254, and most other routers|
|2. SawStop RT-LFT Four-Post Router Lift with Lock||All SawStop Routers. Sawstop does not offer a compatibility table for other branded routers.|
|3. Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift||Bosch 1617/1618; Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, DeWalt 610/616/618; Felisatti RF62, Hitachi M12VC/ KM12VC; Makita 1101, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619/5626, Porter-Cable 690/890, Porter-Cable 7518, Ridgid R29302|
|4. JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only)||Porter Cable 690/890, Bosch 1617/1618, Dewalt 610/618/616, Craftsman 1754/17540/28190|
|5. Rockler Pro Router Lift||Porter-Cable 7518/7519 (no adapter collar), Makita RF1101 (with 3 ¼” adapter collar), Bosch 1617, Porter Cable 690/890 series, Dewalt 616/618 (with 3 ½” adapter collar)|
|6. Rockler Router Lift FX||Porter-Cable 690/890 Series, Bosch 1616/1617/1618, DeWalt 610/616/618|
|7. Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420||Porter-Cable 7518/7519, Portamate PM-P254|
*Please do re-check the manuals for the tables – changes may have been made to compatibility since we created this article.
For more on the above routers as well as our favorite routers that fit router lifts and router tables, check out our review of the best routers for table mounting.
If your router and router lift are not compatible, you may be able to buy an aftermarket reducer collar. (Tip: the SawStop router on this list has two reducer collars included).
Can a Router Lift hold a Plunge Router?
It depends. Check the product pages to see whether your plunge router is compatible. As a general rule, if you can remove the router motor from the plunge mechanism, there shouldn’t be any trouble. But that’s a general rule and doesn’t necessarily suit all circumstances. Hence why it’s important to always check compatibility on product pages before making your purchase.
Ensure the Plate Dimensions are Suitable
Another thing to consider when buying a router lift is the plate dimensions. If you are retrofitting a router lift to a dedicated router table, you’ll need to ensure the plate dimensions match the recesses in the table.
If you’re buying a router lift to create your own router table from scratch, that’s not an issue. In this case, it’s a good idea to buy a router lift then design your table around the lift itself to ensure a flush, zero-clearance finish to your homemade router table.
It’s not easy to find the right router lift for your needs. This review of the best router lifts has provided some examples and our ratings of them for our personal circumstances. Personally, we’re quite bullish on the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 for ourselves because of its near universal fit. Of course, none of this constitutes advice – professional or otherwise – for you or your circumstances, so do your own due diligence and consult a professional.
We hope this general information has been useful though as you go about searching for the best router lift!
Simon & Chris