What’s a router table? This is a stationary woodworking machine on which the router protrudes. It is one of the most useful additions to your workshop. It is usually made of MDF, resin or metal and lets you mount the router and move wood boards more easily. You can do a lot with a router table and get perfect cuts from a rigid, flat, and sturdy router table.
1. Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
This benchtop router table has a large working surface for all your routing and woodworking tasks. It is designed to fit a variety of routers making it very versatile and an indispensable part of your workshop. It features a two and a half-inch dust collection port to give you a cleaner environment. Its aluminum top makes it both durable and portable. Your work will be convenient with the aluminum fence that has adjustable MDF faceplates, mounting hardware, aluminum router mounting plate, and two outfeed shims.
2. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
Experience working on this premium working surface with a cabinet-style construction. It is designed to fit a variety of routers and has a better dust collection and noise reduction for a comfortable and safe working environment. Get precision for every cut and a variety of materials. The tall aluminum fences allow the table to handle tall stock easily. Its adjustable MDF face plates ensure you get better support and smoother operation.
The aluminum router mounting plate stays flat for accurate, precise cuts and enhanced versatility. Its feather boards easily attach to the fence and are adjustable to fit many workpiece sizes and to provide additional support and control.
3. Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table
This router table may look compact but is very versatile and great to work with. It uses a unique forward offset router location and dual-position fence to give you more space just like a full-sized router. It has a durable design so you can move it around job sites. The table readily accepts any router and provides excellent stability, versatility, and guidance for precision cuts.
It lets you handle jobs that would otherwise be impossible to complete with the desired precision. Its strength and reliability make it suitable for tough jobs. The router table is portable and weighs just 40 pounds. It requires assembly and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
4. Skil RAS900 Router Table
Get the RAS900 that comes with a laminated MDF top for durability. It also has an integrated storage bag for keeping parts like fence and router bits. It includes a featherboard, guard, bit inserts, and miter gauge. Its tall fence allows for handling of tall wood stock while the adjustable laminated MDF faces make your work easier if you have longer feeds.
It features a guard for support when routing curved workpieces. Set your bit and cutting precision using the bit height gauge. The router mount quickly attaches and detaches in seconds. It also features a folding design that means it requires minimal setup and can store in a small space.
5. Kreg PRS1045 Precision Router Table System
The Kreg® Precision Router Table offers unmatched adjustability and versatility for your projects. It offers a large, flat and durable surface for precise routing tasks. Its T-square style fence is one-of-a-kind. The durable steel stand creates a stable router for all your precision routing requirements. The steel stand is customizable and easy to adjust for whatever requirement. The high-performance table features precision insert-plate system to give you professional grade results.
6. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
Working on this router table will feel like working on an industrial scale router table. It offers full-capability features in a portable model. You can use it in the shop or at a job site due to its compact size that gives it great portability. The tabletop is made of a rugged MDF that is both vibration and noise resistant to give you precise routing. It is covered with a microdot skin that allows you to slide wood stock over it smoothly. Both the noise absorption and rigid steel base with dampening rubber feet make this model quieter than most routers in its class.
7. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax Cast Iron Router Table Extension
With this industrial grade router table, you can increase the table saw’s versatility without having to add extension wings. It perfectly suits shops with little space. The cast iron top offers excellent rigidity and reliably flat surface for precision routing.
It features an adjustable miter gauge that provides a non-slip fit. It also features a dual fence slot that lets you rotate the fence to work from either side of the table. It requires the support of two steel rails that also support the T-square style fence and legs.
8. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
Getting this industrial-quality router table with adjustable heavy-duty fence, dust collection, and full-size router insertion plate. The MDF top has an easy slide surface and is very sturdy for precise routing. It has a heavy-duty steel stand that gives better stability. It also features an extruded aluminum fence.
9. Keter Folding Compact Workbench Sawhorse Work Table
The Folding Work Table is designed for the contractor and DIY enthusiast to provide a sturdy workspace. It is portable for working within the workshop and the job site without hassle. It will provide you with dependable support for any work you have planned. The durable steel legs provide the needed support and give you confidence while working. The plastic base does not peel, rust and is crack-resistant.
10. Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools
This woodworking tool is the accessory you need for making tenons, lap joints, rail and stile doors among other end grain cuts. It traps the board between the adjustable plate and fence then has two clamps holding the piece down to prevent lifting. Its clear guide feature allows the sled to track along the fence instead of the miter slot.
Router table buying guide
Best tabletop materials
Router tables can be made from a variety of materials. The material type will partly depend on the projects you have lined up and your budget. Here are some of the best materials.
This alloy of iron and carbon makes durable router tables. It is firm, stable and offers superior flatness. It is best at absorbing the vibrations from the router, therefore, reducing the possibility of the vibration affecting your cuts. High-end materials like aluminum also offer solid and reliable tops.
MDF router tables
Medium density fiberboard (MDF) offers the most cost-effective models. This does not mean it is poor quality. However, cutting wood on wood leaves some room for bending and instability. They must be finished with a laminate or melamine to provide basic protection and a smooth surface. High-end MDF uses high-pressure laminate that is stronger and offers more resistance to damage.
For a medium budget, you can opt for resin tables that cost somewhere between cast iron and MDF. It is an excellent choice since they are extremely rigid and offer better stability than MDF, are highly resistant to impact, damage, and moisture.
What to look out for
Flat, solid top
You need a tabletop that is as close to perfectly flat as possible. Many operations require precision cutting, and even a minor irregularity will lead to skewed joints and other problems.it is crucial that you get a rigid table because a router that flexes on a downward pressure will not produce accurate cuts. This could ruin the profile and the entire project. A table must support the weight of router and plate without deflecting a bit.
If you are a hobbyist and on a limited budget then an MDF table will be adequate. It is low cost and has reliable stability. As long as it is made to high standards, the MDF table will give you years of medium-duty service. It should be at least 1-inch thick to maintain rigidity. In addition to the thickness, the MDF should be surfaced on both sides with a protective material that provides easy sliding to prevent wear.
You can go for the solid phenolic resin that offers a naturally rigid and tough table surface. These tops are impervious to moisture and offer excellent impact resistance. They retain their flat surface throughout their service life. These types are rigid, light, and durable and are a better investment choice if you have the money.
For heavy-duty workshop use, the best material is cast iron. It has the mass to absorb the vibration from the motors and other parts. Invest in this type if you want the utmost in accuracy and precision.
Flat, rigid base plate
Most router tables have the router attached to a base plate. This, in turn, fits into an opening into the tabletop. How the base plate is designed, and its quality plays a significant role in the function of the table. A solid base plate is essential since it must remain flat while supporting the weight of the router. The best options are machined aluminum and solid phenolic.
It must also be compatible with the router. Some high-end systems offer a range of pre-drilled plates that suits one or two router models. They can also include a blank plate that can be drilled as desired. The one-size-fits-all plates have so many holes that make the plate less strong and increases the opportunity for dust and debris to settle in.
The base plate needs to sit perfectly level on the router table surface. This requires the base plate to include a leveling system. Consider how you want to use the router. You may want to work with it in and out of the table. The amount of work involved in mounting and dismounting is important.
Miter and T-slots
A router table fitted with a miter slot allows you to insert a miter gauge. The slot comes in handy for securing featherboards and other accessories. You may need to do other tasks other than guiding the stock past the cutter and accessories will make your work easier. T-slots helps secure attachments like hold down clamps or a flip stop.
Accurate, easy to position fence
The bulk of the operation involves pressing the stock against the fence as you guide it past the cutter. This requires a fence that can manage the task without disappointing. Router table fences come in a wide range of function and quality, and the best will serve you longer while giving you the best service. There are basic fences, and there are aftermarket fences with incremental positioning mechanisms among other features. Depending on your project needs, you can choose a router table with what you require or buy it as an accessory.
There are two types of fences: one-piece fence and two-piece or split fence. The split fence consists of two pieces that independently adjust. This presents an alignment problem that you must deal with. The one-piece fence does not have this challenge.
Sturdy, stable base
For clean, crisp cuts, the workpiece needs to be consistently in contact with the cutter and advance in a smooth, fluid rate. A wobbling table will make this impossible. It is crucial that you work on a steady base for precision and safety. The sharp bit rotates thousands of times per minute and presents a serious hazard if the table is shifty.
Ensure the tabletop is securely attached to the base and properly supported to prevent any shifting and reduce chances of vibrations. A dedicated metal stand or cabinet can provide a sturdy solid base for your operations.
This is not a luxury tool in a router table. Do not leave the dust collector from your shopping list. It is crucial in sucking dust as you work, not afterward. This will save you from removing mountains of shavings. It also ensures you breathe better since long exposure to dust can cause serious respiratory problems. It can also cause skin and eye irritations, nasal dryness and headaches.
When shopping for the next router table, it is crucial that you get it right since the budget can run into hundreds of dollars. Every router is suitable for some task, and when you know what you want to do with it, your shopping will be made easier. This guide will enlighten you on what to look out for and the types of tabletop material on the market. Take into account the features, accessories and material quality before making a purchase decision.