Looking to get into woodworking? It’s a rewarding career or hobby that can keep you busy with everything going on right now. However, if you want to try out woodworking, you need a routing table.
However, if you look at router tables, you may feel like a log getting sawed in half. There are so many to choose from. Before you sleep on it and saw some logs, here’s a buyer’s guide (last updated May 2020) to help make the decisions easier. Which tables make woodworking a breeze? Wood you kindly read this guide to find the best router table for the job?
- First Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Router Tables
- #1: Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table with Essential Accessories (Best Value – All-Purpose)
- #2: Jet 737000CK (Best Machine)
- #3: Kreg PRS1045 (Best Mid-Range)
- #4: Skil RAS900 (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Bosch RA1171 (Best Cabinet-Style Table)
- What About the Cheapies? Our Best Products Under $X
- #1 Best Under $250: Bosch RA1181
- #2 Best Under $70: Grizzly Router
- #3 Best Under $40: Dremel 231 Router Table
- Could You Define Some of These Terms?
- Router Bit Profiles
- I Want to Get into Woodworking. Where Do I Start?
- How Do I Assemble a Router Table?
- Verdict: Your Best Router Table
First Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Router Tables
We looked at what the tables offered in comparison to the price. We looked at the reviews, too. We tried to pick ones that had four stars or more.
#1: Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table with Essential Accessories (Best Value – All-Purpose)
When you want to find a good router table, you want to make sure to purchase a router that’s good for beginners while beneficial for more experienced folk as well. The Kreg PRS2100 is a great mix of both worlds, as it is a competent router table that also comes with everything you need to get started. All for a price that will work with your budget.
First, let’s look at the aluminum fence. This fence is easily adjustable and is an industrial-quality aluminum fence that doesn’t mess around. For those worried about getting dust everywhere, the fence has some great dust collection. Dust collection makes sure that you don’t leave a mess behind.
It also comes with a mounting plate that’s full-sized, measuring 3/8″ x 9-1/4″ x 11-3/4″. This mounting plate comes with levelers and reducing rings, keeping your blade well-fit and safe for use.
What about its stand? Any router table needs to stand up sturdy. If it wobbles, it could hurt you, or damage the router table. This router has a tough stand, keeping the router table nice and sturdy with its heavy-duty steel reinforcement.
Overall, this may be the greatest router for the job, but don’t take our word for it. What are the reviewers saying?
All of the reviews on Amazon, as of this post, have been positive. It’s indeed one of the best router tables. People say this table is a game-changer and the best for any type of work. The lowest reviews it has are four stars, which means the complaints are very minor. Some minor complaints include the center plate not being flat, or you had this one owner not liking the table fence for some reason.
#2: Jet 737000CK (Best Machine)
The best machine category on is, by all rights, reserved for machines that may be objectively the best one, but are above most people’s budget. If you have the money or don’t mind taking out a loan, this is one of the best tables for any kind of work.
It has a cast iron top available. A cast iron top is extra durable. You can also try an MDF, or medium-density fibreboard if you want an affordable router.
This table is one of the most customizable around. If this is the first time using a router table, you may want to go with something that’s a little less complex. However, you can purchase components individually with this unit, making it so easy to change up how you work.
It has a powerful steel stand, giving you the sturdiest table for the price, along with a fence that is the most versatile around.
With that said, there aren’t many reviews on this table. It has a single positive review, saying that it’s worth the expensive price tag. However, the review doesn’t go into any details. However, for the price, we say that it has to be quality. If not, you can always return the table.
#3: Kreg PRS1045 (Best Mid-Range)
Look, we usually don’t like to put two brands close together on this list, but Kreg has some of the best router tables around. If you have some extra money to play with, the Kreg PRS1045 is a great little table to play around with. The reason why you may want to use this unit over the others is that it’s mid-range. It’s a little more expensive than the first one on this list but way cheaper than the second.
Essentially, the Kreg PRS1045 improves an already awesome table. The table router plate is much better, allowing you to mount any router you want. The template is much easier to use as well. The router table fence is a lot better as well. Some reviewers of the previous router table complained about the fence, but this one has an l-shaped extrusion and fence faces that are completely independent. Complete, zero-clearance support and safety with this.
Also, the top itself is compatible with many accessories and uses a surface laminate known as Easy-Slide Micro-Dot. Sliding any piece around the tabletop surface is so easy. You don’t need to work hard to slide anything across it. With any unit, a good surface can be so beneficial, so test the surface before every use.
For a little more, you can also buy more accessories. If you want to begin woodwork, you need a routing table, and you have money to burn, this may be the most useful table for the job.
Reviews have been almost all positive, with most people saying that this benchtop router table is worth every penny. Many owners say that the table pays for itself, and even the skeptics don’t regret paying the price. There are a few negative reviews. Many reviewers talk about the shipping being bad, or it coming with missing parts. This can happen, and you need to make sure you contact customer service. Some complained about the bolts being too short, or the insert not being good.
These are in the minority. Most reviewers have said this is one of the best router tables for the price.
#4: Skil RAS900 (Best Low Cost)
So you want to get into woodwork but you don’t have much money to play around with. Can you still purchase a router table for cheap and get good quality? If the Skil RAS900 has anything to prove, it’s that you can!
The reason why you’d purchase this router table over the others is that it gives you all of the essentials for a good price. It has two feather boards, making the routing much more accurate. It requires no leveling. It has a quick clamp system. As you can see, the Skil Ras900 comes with everything you need.
One big reason besides the price why may pick this routing table over the others is that it’s more portable. If you travel a lot, this router table folds much easier. Some people may have a more expensive router table to use at home, then have a portable table router whenever they travel.
But is it a good table? Many router tables for this price will sacrifice quality for the price. This table has very positive reviews. Many people say that it provides you a stable enough surface for adequate woodwork. Many people say it’s easy to use, too.
Of course, being cheap, there are some complaints about cheap materials and the fact that it’s hard to get replacement parts. As we said, this one is great for portable use, and if you’re on a budget, it can be good to get you by until you can make an upgrade.
#5: Bosch RA1171 (Best Cabinet-Style Table)
If you want a router table that has a more cabinet look to it, the Bosch RA1171 is the way to go. The cabinet style look is a little different from your standard benchtop router table, making it a unique table to use and work on. This router table has your standard features you’d come to expect, including a dust collection port that fits your average vacuum hose. Did we say one dust collection port? We meant two.
Besides the dust port, it also has an aluminum fence and router mounting plate. It doesn’t have any super unique to it, but it’s a nice little table that goes for a fair price.
So, what are the reviewers of this router table saying? Well, one reason why this is #5 on the list is that the average score is a little lower. It’s 4 out of 5, which is still good but it’s a little lower than the others.
Most of the reviews are positive and say that the table is good for the price. It was easy to assemble and use, making it a router table that’s good for all skill levels.
However, some reviewers say the opposite, saying that this table router has an uneven mounting plate, is wobbly, and the fence refusing to stay square. However, these reviews are still in the minority, and we say that this cabinet style router table is still worth checking out.
What About the Cheapies? Our Best Products Under $X
A cheap router table, reserved for newbies to woodwork, people with low budgets, and those who want something more portable, are available. While these router tables aren’t the greatest quality, they can be good for a temporary measure.
#1 Best Under $250: Bosch RA1181
Let’s first begin by showcasing the Bosch RA1181. It’s your standard table, coming with two feather boards, you can use, a dust port, and other essentials that you need to make sure any table has. This router table has been reviewed decently, with some saying that the Bosch RA1181 is a competent table for the price.
There have been some negative reviews as well. Some deal with the fact that the routers aren’t compatible for UK audiences. If you live in the UK, search for “router tables UK,” “router table UK,” or something similar. Like if you live in Canada, you’d search “router table Canada.”
#2 Best Under $70: Grizzly Router
This is one of the smallest router tables available on the market, and cheap as well. If you want to do woodwork, but lack the space or are traveling, this is a cheap table that can help you. Besides that, this router table has some good reviews as well, with all positives on the website’s review section. While this table isn’t meant for hardcore work, you can use it if you’re in a pinch.
#3 Best Under $40: Dremel 231 Router Table
This is the best router table if you’re in the pinchiest of pinches. It can turn your rotary tool into a router table, giving you some uses. With that said, it’s mixed in reviews. Some claim that it does work, while others say to use another table if possible. For the price, however, we say that it’s worth checking out.
Buying Decision: Is a Router Table Worth it?
Maybe you’ve considered purchasing a router table, but you’re unsure if you even need one. No worries; you may be new to woodwork.
We say that yes, these tables are worth it. Their main use is to give the worker more flexibility on the work surface. Without them, it can be difficult to make some precise cuts. If you want to make some great wooden tools, you need to use a work surface that lets you cut in all kinds of directions.
It may not be worth it if you don’t plan to use it that much, but that’s obvious.
What’s a Good Size for a Router Table?
Everyone is different. Some people have plenty of space and may want a router table with a long work surface. Others may not have much space and need a smaller work surface to fir in their house. With a router table, the most appropriate sizing is determined by the user.
In the end, many people may go with the average surface size. Most tables are about 24″x36″. That’s a good starting point, in our opinion.
What’s the Best Wood Router Table?
In regards to a wood table, best wood router tables tend to be the Kreg and Bosch brands, but it is a little subjective. Some people may enjoy a cheaper router table, while others may want the highest quality one on the market today. Also, it depends on how often you’re going to use it. For some, the best router table may be one that is cheaper, and this can be because they are casual woodworkers.
Could You Define Some of These Terms?
If you’re new to the router table, there are many terms that you may have little clue about. This part of the article is here to help explain some of them. Let’s take a look at some common router table terms, and also explain what each of them means.
When you’re cutting something using a saw, the miter gauge is designed to hold it a certain angle. You put the gauge into a miter slot, and there, it stays sturdy. Not all miters are created equally. Some, which cost more money can also keep the workpiece nice and clamped, while others have stops you can adjust. Pretty cool, huh?
You may have seen the fence mentioned a few times. What exactly is it? Simply put, a fence is vertical, and you put a workpiece against it. This allows you to guide the cut of the workpiece horizontally. A good fence is sturdy and lets you feel like you’re controlled. The router part comes out of the fence a little, and this is what you cut the wood against.
However, not every table has a fence. A router table may also lack a fence. These tend to use a ball bearing guide, which functions in a similar way.
Router Bit Profiles
You may hear the term “router bit profiles” also thrown around a lot. Essentially, these are the shape a working piece has after the material is removed by the router table.
This is an attachment. When you attach it to the table, it can lower or raise the router. The router is raised according to the table’s surface. Why would someone need this? If you’re not satisfied with the lifting mechanism the router table has, a router lift can be a worthy substitute.
These are just some of the terms you’ll see on the surface. Just like any profession, woodworking can have its own jargon, which can be a bit hard to follow. Either way, now you know some terms.
I Want to Get into Woodworking. Where Do I Start?
The interesting part about woodworking is that you don’t need to go through an associates program or spend countless hours training to get into it. It’s a profession that anyone can get into.
Obviously, the Internet makes it easy for you to learn more about it. You can read some articles and also watch some tutorials on YouTube. Of course, some people also work better with their hands on a woodworking surface.
If you want to get into woodworking, you shouldn’t buy a table just yet, but instead, work with some smaller tools.
First, look at the essential tools. These tools can be items that you may already have, such as a hammer, screwdriver, nails, saw, and a work table.
Then, consider some power tools. A jigsaw and a drill are two powerful tools you can get for not too much, and they are versatile.
With these tools, you don’t need to buy something that’s super professional-grade. You can always upgrade if you need to. Instead, you should buy them according to your budget and keep upgrading. Maybe later, you can get a circular saw, a jig, and eventually a table.
When you do try to start woodworking, do a beginner project. You shouldn’t strive to build an entire furniture set, but you should try to work on a little birdhouse or something that’s more on your level.
Just remember, you will fail a few times. A master at woodworking had to take years, so you need to remember that. Don’t give up.
How Do I Assemble a Router Table?
If you purchase a router, there’s a good chance it won’t come assembled. So what should you do? Simple. Follow the instructions provided to you by the manufacturer.
If the router assembly instructions are a little vague on the surface, watch some YouTube videos, or contact customer support. They may be able to help you clarify some missing details. Sadly, many assembly instructions can be vague, or on the opposite end, they may be overly complex. Some may also have missing or defective parts. In the case of that, contact customer support and see if you can get new parts. You don’t want to work with what you have or modify the parts. That could also void your warranty, in addition to being dangerous.
Verdict: Your Best Router Table
Now, let’s summarize the five best tables.
First, there’s the Kreg PRS2100. This gets number one because it’s the most balanced. It’s budget-friendly, but it’s not cheap. It has all the features most will need in a table. Also, it’s positively reviewed, making it the top pick in our opinion.
Second, there’s the Jet 737000CK. This is the greatest machine objectively. It’s the sturdiest, most durable, and the most customizable. It’s also the most expensive, with a price that’s far and away from most people’s budgets.
Third, we have the Kreg PRS1045. This is the best mid-range table, being in-between the first two. It improves on the first table on this list, but some may feel that its extra features aren’t worth the cost. Also, it’s nowhere as advanced as the second table on this list.
Fourth, we have the Skil RAS900 table. With any table, budget is a consideration. This router is cheaper but it’s not cheap if you catch our drift. It has all the features you’d expect from a table, all without costing too much and while being a little more portable.
Finally, there’s BoschRA1171. This is a good table if you need something that’s more cabinet-style. Most tables are like a bench, but this one has a unique shape that may be appropriate for your needs. Also, this table has a lower review score, so that’s why it’s number five on this list.
These five will help you get started with your woodworking journey. A good router makes woodworking fun and engaging, and it’s also something that will last you a long time.