Router Table Reviews
Welcome to our Router Table Reviews.
This is a general overview of router tables. To see specific model reviews click the links below. To read our general review and watch the video, scroll down.
If you already know which table you would like, I have found the best prices are consistently at Amazon and in almost all cases, include free shipping.
Router Table Reviews
Bench Dog 40-001
Bench Dog 40-102
Porter Cable 698
Router Table Reviews General Overview
Benchtop or Floor Model
This seems to be the biggest decision when choosing a router table. Assuming space is not a factor, I would suggest you ask yourself how and how often you will use the table. If you’re only looking to cut roundovers or the occasional decorative cut, then a benchtop would probably be fine.
However, you are looking to cut bigger or longer pieces of wood and you would like to cut things like raised panel doors, or your skill level is more advanced, then the stand alone table is for you.
One big advantage of the benchtop is that it’s portable.
Remember, the space you need not only includes the footprint of the router table, but the space around it for you to stand and route the wood.
You will need space both in front of the table and to the side.
I learned this the hard way. Stand in your shop and measure the dimensions of the table, add the standing room and make sure you have enough room to safely use the router table.
If lack of space is an issue, consider a table saw extension router table. The router table top mounts directly to your table saw.
Two pieces fences are adjustable to create zero clearance for whatever bit you are using. This is safer and makes for a cleaner cut.
Most fences now have a horizontal T-track to mount feather boards and stop blocks. I can’t imagine using a router fence without these features.
If you plan on using a miter gauge (and you will) it is imperative that the fence be parallel to the miter slot. Some fences are adjusted with a knob on each end. I think it’s almost impossible to accurately adjust the fence with this system.
The more expensive fences will work like a table saw fence and move left and right and then clamp down. I will say from personal experience, once you use this feature, you’ll hate the dual adjustment.
Melamine vs Cast Iron Tops
Melamine tops are inexpensive, lightweight, durable and can be easily replaced if ever damaged. But make sure the top you buy is at least 1 3/8 inches thick. Anything less will probably warp over time, especially in you leave the router in the table.
Cast iron will last a lifetime, never warp and if well maintained, be smoother and easier to push the wood, than melamine. The heavier weight is both good and bad.
Good in that it causes less vibration than melamine, creating a smoother and cleaner cut.
Bad in that it’s more expensive and heavier and thus harder to move around. For stationary models the weight is a non issue.
Phenolic vs Aluminum Plate Inserts
Midrange and Upper range tables will have either a phenolic plastic plate or an aluminum plate.
Phenolic plastic is fine for most users. It’s a very hard plastic that will stand up to years of use. However, some users, especially ones who leave the router in the table report that the insert can warp over time.
Aluminum is more expensive but sturdier and never warps. Most router tables come with the plastic insert. You will often have an option of upgrading for around $20-30. I don’t think it’s necessary, but make your own decision.
Whether you choose aluminum or plastic, make sure you have two to three insert rings to use with small bits.
Using as a jointer
If you don’t have jointer in your shop, you can use a flush trim or straight bit in the router table. You turn the board on its side and with a simple adjustment of the fence, you have a tool that works as well as a dedicated jointer.
Midrange to expensive models have this feature. Make sure you are aware of how this works on the model you choose. You will use this feature a lot and maybe it’s a way for you to justify buying a better quality table if you know you are killing two birds with one stone.
To learn more, watch the video to see the Kreg Router Table in Action
You can certainly find the lower quality models at Home Depot or Lowes. If that’s all that you need, you’re fine there, but for overall selection, higher quality models and best prices, the best deals are at Amazon. Here’s the link to view the Amazon Deals
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