7 Best Routers for Table Mounting (2020)

Our top Pick



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Our pick for the best routers for table mounting is the Bosch 1617EVS. This is one of the most widely used (and highly rated) routers of choice for professional contractors.

It’s hard to know which router is compatible with which router tables. In our research for this article, we compiled a table of routers and compatible router tables / router lifts. To see that table, and for full details about how to mount a router to a router table, jump to the compatibility table and mounting guide at the end of this article.

But for now, we know why you’re here – to see the routers we’re bullish on specifically for table mounting. (Remember, though, these are examples for our personal circumstances and may not suit your needs – consult a professional for your circumstances).

The best routers for table mounting are:

  • Bosch 1617EVS
  • Makita RF1101
  • Porter-Cable 892 Fixed Base Router
  • Dewalt 618 Router
  • Bosch 1617EVS
  • Milwaukee 5615-20
  • Porter-Cable 690LR

Best Routers for Table Mounting

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Top Routers for Table Mounting

Quick Review

Our Rating

1. Bosch 1617EVS (Plunge and Fixed Base Combo)The Bosch 1617EVSPK is one of the most widely used (and highly rated) routers of choice for professional contractors. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9.5/10

2. Makita RF1101The Makita RF1101 is not only known as one of the smoothest routers on the market but also made from high quality material so it’s as durable as it is easy to use. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

9/10

3. Porter-Cable 892 Fixed Base RouterThis is known as a reliable and tested router from a reputable brand for contractor and professional needs. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8.5/10

4. Dewalt 618 RouterThe Dewalt 618 is an all-round solid router that works just as well when table mounted as it does by hand with either power or control depending on its use. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8/10

5. Bosch 1617EVS (Fixed base Only)The Bosch 1617EVS returns to this list a second time – this time with only the fixed base. Save some money while still getting our top rated router (if you’re willing to sacrifice the plunge handle). (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8/10

6. Milwaukee 5615-20The Milwaukee 5615-20 is an ergonomic and easy to handle router for good control when using it outside of the table. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

8/10

7. Porter-Cable 690LRWhen looking for a high-end hobbyist router, we took a good hard look at the Porter-Cable 690LR. (Check Today’s Price on Amazon)

7.5/10

1. Bosch 1617EVS (Plunge and Fixed Base Combo)

Quick Review: We feel the Bosch 1617EVS is a solid and great value for money router that could be good for both contractor and hobbyist woodworkers.


Our Rating: 9/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others

The Bosch 1617EVSPK is almost the industry standard when it comes to routing tools and while the competition is improving, this is still a go-to product for contractors and experienced hobbyists.

The depth adjustment is arguably the key feature with this model and allows for a wide variety of routing from fixed based, plunge based to table mounted.

Chris Says: “I love what’s offered in this kit. The combination of fixed and plunge base means you can handle all your routing requirements with just this single tool and the solid, quick-release motor clasp means that you can switch between bases quickly and efficiently.”

The micro-adjustment dial allows for highly accurate depth adjustment while the T-handle hex adjustment tool allows for micro-adjustments to the bit height from above the table when mounted for complete ease of use.

A 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor is comfortably powerful enough to compete with others in this class and a speed range of 8,000 – 25,000 RPM with constant feedback circuitry allows for smooth and consistent routing with most hardwoods.

A handy carrying case for storage, 1-year warranty and a durable aluminum motor casing are all additional features that make this router an industry standard for most contracting professionals. 

Pros

Cons

Depth Adjustment: Micro-adjustments can be made quickly and accurately both from a fixed base position and from an above the table position.

Powerful: The 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor is very competitive when it comes to power and easily matches other routers within this class.

Professional Use: The Bosch 1617EVSPK is a timeless router that is favored by a large number of woodworking contractors, many of which consider it an industry standard.

Product Description: This product only comes with the ½” collet despite the product description claiming that it comes with a ½” and ¼”.

2. Makita RF1101

Quick Review: The Makita RF1101 is not only known as one of the smoothest routers on the market but also made from high quality material so it’s as durable as it is easy to use.


Our Rating: 9/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: Rockler Pro Router Lift

Makita of course makes high quality tools (it’s kind of their selling point!). The RF1101 router is known for its good build quality when compared with others in this class and is as durable as they come.

The all metal construction (besides the motor cap) not only makes this a highly durable and long lasting tool from a construction perspective but it also looks like a high quality tool that will certainly stand out in most workshops.

You’ll also get a 1-year warranty meaning you can put this tool to work as a serious contractor with the assurance that you are backed if it can’t handle the workload.

best router for router tableChris Says: “The Makita RF1101 might be a slightly pricier model compared with some of the competition but it’s known for quality and performance, making it worth taking a close look at this one.”

The motor is housed by a solid casing that is only 3-¼” in diameter making it very lightweight and easy to handle. Don’t be fooled by the size of this tool though, it might be small but it’s also powerful.

The 2-¼ HP, 11 Amp motor supports speeds of 8,000 – 24,000 RPM meaning it should be able to tackle most hard and soft woods with ease and the constant speed (even under load) means that the performance and quality will never dip during use.

Pros

Cons

Durable: An all metal construction is quite rare to see and gives this product great durability and longevity.

Consistent: The 2-¼ HP motor supports speeds of 8,000 – 24,000 RPM allowing for consistent performance with all types of stock.

Quiet: A run speed with noise only reaching 81dB is one of the best in class and will make it ideal for home workshops or for those that are tired of using a router that sounds like a jet engine!

Accessories: You can get the fixed and plunge bases as part of an all in one kit however it’s difficult to find individual accessories for this model if you are buying them separately.

3. Porter-Cable 892 Fixed Base Router

Quick Review: This is known as a reliable and tested router from a reputable brand for contractor and professional needs.


Our Rating: 8.5/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others

We are reviewing two Porter-Cable models in this article, the 690LR which is ideal for hobbyist woodworkers and the 892 (this product) which is aimed more towards the professional contractor

The PC 892 is an upgraded model with a more powerful 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor that provides speeds of 10,000 – 23,000 RPM.

The upgrade alongside a more powerful motor is of course the soft start and constant feedback which allows for maximum control and consistency of cuts at all times during use.

Chris Says: “While competitors have caught up to the PC routers in terms of quality in recent years, the 892 model remains a good quality product worth looking into.”

A feature we really like is the dual power switch locations which allow you to shut off the motor easily during use which combined with the soft start feature to reduce torque, really gives the user control and stability throughout use.

Above the table adjustments are one of the key selling points with this product and it works just as efficiently inside the table as it does outside of it. In seconds you can release the motor, adjust the bit height and even change the collet with just a single wrench due to the spindle lock mechanism.

The main point to note however is that the 3/16” hex socket required is sold separately.

Pros

Cons

Jobsite Ready: A solid carry case and a weight of just 12.5 lbs (including router weight) for ease of bringing this to the jobsite.

Productivity: A dual location power switch, soft start and easy cam lock lever all make this tool fast and efficient to use.

Adjustments: Above the table adjustments are fast and easy thanks to the spindle lock, single wrench changes and quick clamp motor mechanism.

Above Table Adjustments: The tools to adjust the bit height above the table are sold separately (3/16” hex socket).

4. Dewalt 618 Router

Quick Review: The Dewalt 618 is an all-round solid router that works just as well when table mounted as it does by hand with either power or control depending on its use.


Our Rating: 8/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others

The Dewalt 618 had some teething issues in its early years due to quality control but make no mistake, it’s now a solid product and nothing less than what you’d expect from a Dewalt tool.

Firstly, it’s a powerful machine thanks to a 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor that will smoothly route through most hardwoods and heavy stock.

Soft start, variable speeds of 8,000 – 24,000 RPM and integrated feedback all ensure this tool routes smoothly and consistently at all times.

One feature we are not the best fan of is the depth adjustment ring. We feel it is a dated design and means it can be quite slow when making adjustments, especially when table mounted.

With that being said, this router is still ergonomically designed for ease and comfort of use. Rubber, overmold handles allow for a solid grip when using it with the fixed base and the flat top design makes bit changes fast and easy.

You’ll also find the power cordset can be attached to the left or right hand side for consistent positioning at all angles of work.

Overall this is a powerful and easy to use router that could be good for tackling jobs with hardwoods and heavy stock.

Pros

Cons

Power: A 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor is powerful enough to tackle most hardwoods with ease.

Ergonomic: Large rubber handles, a flat top for ease of bit changes and right or left side cordset attachment all allow for significant ease of use.

Consistent: Soft start, variable speeds and constant feedback all ensure consistency of routing at all times.

Adjustments: The adjustment ring is a little dated unfortunately this tool doesn’t offer above the table micro-adjustments for depth.

Reviews: In the early days of this model there were many reviews claiming this was a faulty product. These appear to have been resolved so make sure you check the date if you come across and bad reviews during your research.

5. Bosch 1617EVS (Fixed Base Only)

Quick Review: The Bosch 1617EVS returns to this list a second time – this time with only the fixed base. Save some money while still getting our top rated router (if you’re willing to sacrifice the plunge handle).


Our Rating: 9.5/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others

Chris Says: “If you need a great value, reliable router for hobbyist or even contractor work then the Bosch 1617EVS is a tool you might want to take a closer look at.”

A powerful 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor is amongst the most powerful in class and variable speed control of 8,000 – 25,000 RPM means you’ll be able to work easily with most soft or hard woods.

Depth adjustment on this router is intuitive and accurate thanks to the micro-adjustment knob (though some have stated that the depth control will sometimes be prone to slipping fractionally so this is something to keep in mind).

When table mounted, the bit height can be easily and effortlessly adjusted from above the table with the included height adjustment wrench.

At a value price range, the dust sealed power switch and solid aluminum motor casing make this an attractive tool. The added 1-year warranty with a 30-day money back guarantee further adds to the value of this product.

Pros

Cons

Price: This is one of the best value routers on the market and is budget-friendly enough for even hobbyist workshops.

Powerful: A 2-¼ HP, 12 Amp motor is amongst the most powerful in this category and will easily handle work with most soft and hard woods.

Warranty: This tool comes backed by a 1-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee for peace of mind when purchasing.

Lack of Attachments: Not surprisingly, but due to the more affordable price this is the basic model, all attachments will need to be purchased separately. If you want a more complete package, get the package we rated first which is this router with more attachments included.

6. Milwaukee 5615-20

Quick Review: The Milwaukee 5615-20 is an ergonomic and easy to handle router for good control when using it outside of the table.


Our Rating: 8/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000

A lot of routers are designed to be powerful, especially when used in a table mounted position. The Milwaukee 5615-20 offers a mid range power but makes up for it in increased control and comfort when used outside of the table.

The ‘BodyGrip’ design is the key ergonomic feature with this tool, a contoured grip is built into the motor housing for enhanced control during use.

Chris Says: “It’s worth pointing out that some would consider this to be an excellent mid point tool between a standard fixed base router and a palm router for added versatility of use.”

The added stability is a significant upgrade on the traditional handle system that most routers integrate (though this still has that option for ease of use). 

While the motor has sufficient power thanks to a 1-¾ HP, 11 Amp motor, the single speed function with lack of soft start is really noticeable and detracts from the overall ergonomics of this model, particularly when trying to control the initial torque.

The depth adjustment is incredibly easy and accurate with this tool and is the feature that most users rate the most. Even the above the table adjustments are accurate and well suited to router table use.

Overall, this is known to be an ergonomic and easy to use router but it is missing some key features like EVS that could make it one of the best in class. 

Pros

Cons

Ergonomic: The BodyGrip design is ideal for those looking for maximum control when using the router freehand.

Depth Adjustment: The depth adjustment is accurate and easy to use, even from above the table.

Single Handed Use: This is the most powerful router on the market when it comes to single handed use.

Single Speed: The single speed function with this motor is a serious drawback if you are used to working with variable speeds with constant feedback.

7. Porter-Cable 690LR

Quick Review: When looking for a high-end hobbyist router, we took a good hard look at the Porter-Cable 690LR.


Our Rating: 7.5/10

Major Compatible Router Tables: Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

Major Compatible Router Lifts: JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others

Porter-Cable had long been a leader in the router market and there was a time when the PC products were seen as the benchmark for newer tools. The competition has definitely caught up (and in some cases surpassed) PC but the 690LR is still a solid router that most hobbyist workers would enjoy.

The single speed motor on the Porter-Cable 690LR is a real limiting factor in our opinion and is something that holds this router back from being one of the best in class. A variable speed just offers the consistency that most professionals are looking for.

With that said, the single speed motor is powerful in its own right with a 1-¾ HP, 11 Amp providing speeds of 27,500 RPM for robust and consistent performance.

The tool is also incredibly user friendly with an auto-release collet for fast bit changes and weighs in at just 8 lbs with rubber grip handles for comfortable handling during extended work.

While we must confess that we feel this product is a little dated design-wise, it’s a solid router that has withstood the test of time and countless hobbyist woodworkers utilize this model for its ease of use, consistent run time and longevity of use.

Pros

Cons

Fine Depth Adjustment: The ultra-fine depth adjustment that is accurate to 1/128” is one of the most intricate on the market.

Durability: Dust sealed power switch, and sealed ball bearing casing give added durability and longevity to this tool.

Warranty: A 3-year warranty alongside the durable construction really makes this tool a long term investment.

Single Speed: The single speed motor is a significant drawback with this model, a variable speed motor is now the industry standard.

Price: It’s a high end product but the price still seems a little steep, the flip side is that it’s a very durable and long lasting tool.

How to Mount a Router to a Router Table

Router tables are useful for more efficient work and cleaner final products. One of the top reasons for this is the benefits of router table fences which help keep your cuts nice and straight (see our review of the best router table fences for more details).

There are two ways to mount a router to a table. You can either screw the fixed base straight to the base of the table plate or you can use a dedicated router lift.

Mounting Directly to a Router Table’s Table Plate

If you intend on screwing the router directly to the base of a router table plate, make sure you get a router that has threaded holes on the base to allow you to screw the router to the table. As a general rule, most fixed base routers have these pre-drilled holes.

You might also want to check that you have a router table plate that either:

  • Has compatible holes
  • Is designed for you to drill your own holes
  • Uses a universal clamp to attach the router

Many router tables are designed with multiple holes compatible with the major router brands. For these, you just need to screw the router on and get going.

Other router tables (such as the Kreg line) come with a template to help you drill your own holes into the table plate at the desired spots. The nice thing about this is you don’t have a bunch of spare holes hanging around catching sawdust.

If you have a table plate with predrilled holes already and are adamant you want the router base’s holes to line up with the plate, you’ll need to check your table plate’s manual or manufacturer website to ensure you get a compatible router.

Here is a table of major router tables that are compatible with the routers reviewed in this article (we review all of these tables on our review article on the best router tables):

Router

Major Compatible Router Tables

Dewalt 618Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS 2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more
Bosch 1617EVSPK (fixed base mode)Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS 2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more
Porter-Cable 690LRSkil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS 2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more
Makita RF1101Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS 2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more
Porter-Cable 892Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS 2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more
Milwaukee 5615-20Skil RAS900, Bosch RA1181, RA1171, Kreg PRS1045 & PRS 2100 (drill your own holes), GoPlus FM31495 (universal clamp), and more

*Please do re-check the manuals for the tables – changes may have been made to compatibility since we created this article.

As you can see, we’ve selected routers for this review that readily fit into most router tables and we’ve avoided spotlighting routers that have uncommon hole configurations.

Mounting to a Router Lift

Your second solution is to mount the router to a router lift.

A router lift is a table plate that has housing underneath for cradling the router motor.

With a router lift, you can use a wrench to very easily raise and lower the router to your desired groove depth. It makes for a much nicer, simple routing experience.

If you intent to use a router lift, make sure you get a router that is compatible with the router lift. Usually, a router lift will hold router motors of a specific diameter. So, if you have a router lift that holds 3 ¼” router motors, you’ll need to ensure your router motor is also 3 ¼”.

Alternatively, you can get a universal router lift like the JessEm Mast-R-Lift. If you get the JessEm Mast-R-Lift, you won’t need to worry about which router you get. So long as the motor can be removed from the router handle, you can simply place the motor in the Mast-R-Lift’s cradle and tighten the cradle to hold your router firmly. This is our preference.

Here is a list of compatible router lifts for each router reviewed in this article. Again, we’ve by and large selected routers that are compatible with most major router lifts (with two exceptions – the Makita RF1101 and Milwaukee 5615):

Router

Major Compatible Router Lifts

Dewalt 618JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others
Bosch 1617EVSPK (fixed base mode)JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others
Porter-Cable 690LRJessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others
Makita RF1101Rockler Pro Router Lift
Porter-Cable 892JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift (3-1/2″ Model only), Rockler Pro Router Lift, Rockler Router Lift FX, and others
Milwaukee 5615-20JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121, Kreg PRS5000

*Please do re-check the manuals for the tables – changes may have been made to compatibility since we created this article.

If you need to get a router lift, check out our full review article on the best router lifts on the market today.

Can I Attach a Plunge Router to a Router Table?

It depends, but usually no. First and foremost, the ‘plunge’ function of a plunge router won’t work when it’s attached to the router table. So you’d need a plunge router where you can fix the depth of the router bit even when it’s upside down.

Secondly, you’d need to make sure the base plate of the plunge router has predrilled holes for screwing the router to the router table’s base plate. Again, this is less common. On the other hand, a fixed base router nearly always comes with pre-drilled holes for screwing to a table.

Thirdly, a plunge router or even a fixed base router that does not allow the motor to be removed from the handles / plunger won’t be compatible with a router lift.

So overall, if you have a plunge router that has a removable motor, then it’ll work with the right router lift but rarely for directly attaching the router to the table plate. There are, as always, exceptions, and you can always look at a router table’s manual or website for details about which routers are compatible.

For the routers reviewed in this article, some have a ‘plunge’ option, but this is usually interchangeable with a fixed base option – meaning you get the best of both worlds. You’ll usually need to set it to fixed base mode before mounting the router to a table plate.

What to Look for in a Router for Table Mounting

Table and Router Lift Compatibility

This was the most difficult step for us when doing our research for the best routers for table mounting. It’s hard to know which router will be compatible with which table to make an informed decision. What we’ve done in this product review is list some tables and router lifts that are explicitly compatible with the routers listed above. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope it’s been helpful.

If you’re building your own table, you might be able to get away with using just about any fixed base router that has pre-drilled holes, as you can drill holes into your own table plate that are customized (that’s a step for the true handyman – it’s not going to be ideal for everyone, only people who know what they’re doing). See above for the full list of compatible tables and lifts for that routers we’ve reviewed in this article.

Depth Adjustment

One of the most frustrating elements of mounting a router to a router table is that it’s so hard to adjust the depth of the bit. Usually, you literally need to take it out of the router table (or at least remove the table plate on which the router is mounted – depending on the table you’re using), adjust the bit, then reconstruct the table.

Sometimes you can get away with making adjustments using the micro adjustment dial on the side of several models. But still, you need to get back under the table to make your adjustments.

The only real way to make this easier would be to mount your router into a router lift. These are designed specifically so that you can adjust the depth from above the table with ease. It’ll cost you more money because you need to buy yourself a router lift, but you also get added ease of use. So, this is something worth considering for people who are working on their router table regularly, or expect to be making a lot of depth adjustments during the job.  

Easy Bit Change

Changing the bit can be a real pain. Some tools require two wrenches, others allow for tool-free changes. Keep your eye on the bit change mechanism and how easy or difficult it appears to make your bit changes.

Router Type

While it’s possible to fit some palm and trim routers to router tables, we think it’s best to use a full-size router with a motor that can be removed from the housing and mounted directly to a router table. We avoid plunge routers that cannot have the plunging mechanism removed. If you’re interested in smaller finishing routers (that we tend not to place in a router table), you can check our review articles on the best compact routers and best trim routers.

Final Thoughts

It’s not easy to find the right router for your router table. This review of the best wood routers for table mounting has provided some examples and our ratings of them for our personal circumstances. Personally, we’re quite bullish on the Bosch 1617EVS for ourselves. 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 for table mounting!

Cheers,
Simon & Chris