10 Best Plunge Routers of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide

If you are looking for a plunge router review that’s not gonna bombard you with unnecessary info, then continue reading.

In essence, this is an honest review from an expert’s perspective. We seek to give you every bit of info you should know about each product, and without being biased towards any brand.

Besides learning about the best plunge routers and their features, you’ll get free tips on where to source for their respective accessories.

Anyways, read on. But if you aren’t the reading type, you can always opt for our recommended plunge router – the DeWalt (DWP611PK) Router Combo.

Best Plunge Router Reviews - An Expert’s Honest Perspective

1.  DEWALT DWP611PK Plunge Router

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If you’re looking for a router that’s not gonna break your bank, yet offers all the features you need for any joinery work, then you have to add the Dewalt DWP611PK to your arsenal.

Although the tool’s collet only accepts the ¼ inch bits, it remedies with the fact that it comes with both the fixed and plunge bases, which means you can’t look away from this one.

Let’s talk about its fixed base. Setting it up is easy peasy, thanks to the grooves that enable the motor to slide right in. The tool comes with a ring that rotates up and down to help with fine depth control.

You’ll love the fact that the fixed base is made of clear plastic to help you monitor what you’re doing.

The base is round on one side, and is great if you’re running it against a fence, whereby it’s not gonna change distance between the bit and the fence. The base is also square on the other side for more surface area.

Better yet, the fixed base features two LEDs, which are bright enough for better clarity, especially in dimly lit rooms.

Now, regarding the plunge base, the motor slips right in, and the clasp closes easily. On the bottom, it has an arrow showing bit’s direction turn. This prevents you from making inclined cuts.

The DeWalt DWP611PK plunge router has two holes for Edge Guide Attachments – which is an additional accessory for better precision. Sadly, this is sold separately, and is available here I highly recommend it.

For effectiveness, the DeWalt DWP611PK plunge base features a depth guide and a depth pin, both for height adjustment.

However, what really catches the eye is its lever mechanism, which is operated using the thumb as you hold the handle.

Unlike most brands, the lever has a spring to it, meaning you don’t have to keep pulling the plunge upwards. Effective, huh!

What We Loved

  • Features over-molded and ergonomically built body to withstand harsh conditions. The aluminum material adds weight to it, making the router comfortable to hold 
  • Both bases come with really bright LEDs to help with better vision
  • Has a nice clear plastic material at the bottom of the fixed router to help you see clearly
  • Has a round top, which means it doesn’t wiggle on you when changing the bits
  • The router comes with a ring which rotates up and down to help with fine depth control
  • Comes with an 8-foot electric cord, thus offering enough workspace

What Could Be Better

  • Doesn’t come with a dust collector. Luckily, DeWalt makes its own dust collectors for both the fixed and the plunge bases. You can buy dust collector adapter for router separately here (for fixed base) and here (for plunge base)
  • Collet only accepts ¼ inch bits. And if you’re looking for a set of ¼” bits, you can try this 24 pieces set.

2.  Bosch 1617EVSPK - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router

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Unlike the DeWalt DWP611PK, this router comes with both ½ and ¼ inch collet chunks, thus guaranteeing versatility.

It means you can actually use it for a wide range of applications – such as edge forming, dovetail cutting, slot cutting, and laminate trimming.

One unique feature about the Bosch 1617EVSPK is the fact that it doesn’t have the “rough” feel when using it. It uses an in-built Constant Response Circuitry, which is a speed-control technology that maintains and monitors the tool’s RPM.

Because of this consistent speed control, you get some of the clearest and accurate wood trimmings.

I guess you’ll love the fact that this Bosch plunge router is a powerful beast, offering no drop-offs during heavy cuts. That is, the 1617EVSPK router version boasts of 12-amps and 2.25 Horsepower that can run RPM of 8,000 up to 25,000.

Other than consistent speed controls, this router tool has been engineered with a ‘Soft Start’ motor. Thus, when you click it ON the engine doesn’t rev up to cause jolting of the tool, which can result in inaccurate trimming.

Personally, I am not sure if I love the wooden handles over plastic ones, but as long as they are effective enough, I am okay with it.

 The best thing though, is that, even its fixed router comes with the handles, which is really different from the DeWalt router. Well, this is expected of the tool, because of its powerful 2.25 HP.

Now, since durability is usually a huge factor to check out, the Bosch 1617EVSPK comes first in this category. The bases and its motor housing are made of aluminum, which offers sturdiness. Better yet, its ON-switch has been designed to resist dust. 

What We Loved

  • Extremely powerful beast with over 2.25 horsepower, hence can handle just about anything
  • Height adjustment scales are very easy to read, and are marked in millimeters and inches
  • Comes with a strong carrying case, which is perfect if you’re always moving around a lot. The case can actually hold up to shocks and rolling at the back of the truck.
  • Great versatility, thanks to its removable ½ and ¼ inch collets
  • Includes a speed-control technology, which makes sure the tool doesn’t have the “rough” feel when plunge routing

What Could Be Better

  • Base is not transparent, meaning you don’t see what you’re doing

3.  Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

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If you don’t fancy separate fixed and plunge routing, then the Triton TRA001 is what you need.

The tool combines both settings as one, whereby you don’t need to stop and replace the motors for either fixed or plunge routing. All you need is its rack and pinion switching mode to change from one to the other.  

The tool is also strong and heavy, so it can handle heavy-duty tasks. But even newbies may find it very effective – you just have to get a hang of its operational mechanisms.

Compared with the likes of Bosch and DeWalt routers, the Triton TRA001 offers the best precision settings. This makes it the perfect option for professionals, especially those who prefer very accurate trimming.

Just like many best budget plunge routers out there, the tool has a handle that helps with setting the router measurements. However, the Triton Dual Mode router boasts of a rack and pinion height adjustment setting.

This is whereby the inside of the tool’s handle comes with an extra mechanism that allows for a slower, more precise up and downward movement of the plunge. Also, the same rack and pinion mechanism features a knob at the top, which moves even slower and at more precise settings.

Ideally, when it comes to precise settings, nothing compares with the Triton TRA001 router.

Even more, changing the collets and bits is as easy as it goes, whereby the spindle automatically locks in place when the router is fully plunged. The best thing? There is no need for a second spanner, and puts off the awkwardness of trying to hold the router steady.

With the Triton Dual Mode router, the designers thought it through, and made sure you’ll never experience accidents, especially in situations where you forget switching the power off before replacing the collet or bit. By the way, this happens a lot!

That is, while the collet’s spindle is locked, you can’t switch the motor on. This is guaranteed by its “ON-switch” mechanism, which has a spring connected to the spindle, such that it doesn’t go on when you’re changing the collet or bit.

What We Loved

  • You obviously don’t need to make separate fixed and plunge router settings
  • Comes with a height adjustment handle, for a much better above-the-table adjustments
  • Collet automatically locks in place, making it easier to change the bits, whereby you’ll need only one wrench to make the changing of bits
  • Both the ½ and ¼ inch collets available
  • ON-switch comes with a sprung door mechanism that prevents the switch from going ON and Off automatically, thus avoids accidents
  • Inside of the handle features a mechanism for more precise and accurate settings as you move the plunge up and down

What Could Be Better

  • Since it comes with lots of features, you really need to get a hang of how it works
  • The base is made of a cheap plastic, which gets damaged really quick

4.  Festool 574692 Router

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The very first thing that catches your eyes is the router’s unique design, whereby one of the handles is connected to the tool’s cable. This makes it possible to use one hand to plunge the router.

Basically, the handle is ergonomic enough to allow for increased control over the tool, which in turn minimizes fatigue.

And if you think its handling is amazing, then you'll be blown away by its dust collection mechanism. The Festool (574692) router comes with 2 dust routers, one for when you’re doing surface work, and the other one when you’re working on the sides.

This has made the router become a HEPA-certified tool, which guarantees pristine workstations. You’ve got three collets – ¼ inch, an 8mm collet, and ½ inch collet, which guarantees versatility. I think that this is one of the reasons this tool costs a little higher than most routers out there.

The tool comes with a swivel chip deflector, which is used with the edge forming bits, thus maximizing chip extraction, especially around the corners and curves. Better yet, I love that you can actually attach the bits quickly and easily, without necessarily needing the wrenches – it is a tool-free clip-changing system.

If you’re obsessed with precisions and accuracy, the Festool OF 1400 doesn’t disappoint. It features a micro-depth adjustment dial that allows a depth control of up to 1/256 inches (1/100 mm).

The designing experts on this router put a lot of thoughts into it, and made sure the tool is compatible with many accessories.

For instance, the Festool 574692 can be used with the FS Guide Rail and various templates of the MFS multi-routing. All you need is the Festool Guide Stop Adapter, as well as the Parallel Edge Guide.

What We Loved

  • HEPA-Certified thus clean workstation is guaranteed
  • Trigger has the “Lock” feature, which minimizes chances of accidentally leaving the machine on
  • You’ll love its height adjustment system, which lets you make accurate 1mm increments
  • Versatile applicability, thanks to the 3 collets – ¼, ½ inches, and 8mm
  • Has a swivel chip deflector, hence maximizes chip extraction around corners and curves
  • Compatible with several accessories

What Could Be Better

  • It costs an arm and a leg
  • Bit-changing mechanism isn’t easy, mainly coz there is no convenient way of holding the router while unscrewing the collet

5.  Hitachi KM12VC Plunge Base Router

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If you’re looking for something that’s quiet, then search no further. When a router offers huge power, you’d expect a noisy working experience.

Well, this isn’t true with the Hitachi KM12VC. The router offers a 79dB no-load noise level, which is a pretty good figure compared to rival routers.

As a consequence, low noise level translates to mean less vibrations, which is perfect for any router, because it indicates more accurate woodworking. Also, you don’t get tired that much.

Its motor can produce an amazing speed range of up to 24,000 rpm. This lets you match the motor’s speed to whichever size of cutter you’ve picked.

With less vibrations, the router augments such smooth operations with the Soft Start feature, designed for comfortable start-ups. That is, the router gradually increases its speed from low to constant, which prevents any instances of jerking up.

For more comfort, the handles are ergonomic and fit your palms perfectly. This allows for better working precision. Better yet, the Hitachi (KM12VC) base router is very lightweight at only 7.3 lbs.

When it comes to changing the bases, this router features a two-stage release system, whereby the clamps are easily and quickly removable. Note that the clamps are metallic, thus durable.

What We Loved

  • Very quiet and operates smoothly
  • It comes with electronic speed control, hence helps maintain a constant RPM
  • You’ll love its fine adjustment knob, which makes sure your measurements are accurate
  • Low noise levels, which means low vibrations
  • Handles are ergonomic and fit the palms perfectly

What Could Be Better

  • The bits get stuck a lot, especially the ¼ inches collet
  • The dust cleansing isn’t as great

6.  Makita RP1800 Plunge Router

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This best small plunge router has been designed to offer the best deep cleaning cuts and trimmings, whereby the unit can penetrate really deep into the wood – thanks to both the ¼ inch collet sleeve and the extended knob.

In essence, the Makita RP1800 can actually plunge up to 2¾ inches deep. This best wood router for beginner allows you to create a variety of projects, which may include relief and flower carving.

The router comes with an in-built fan whose purpose is to prevent dust from getting into the tool. And this helps prolong the tool’s life.

Seemingly, this is a unique feature that’s lacking in all the other routers, whereby most of them only feature a dust port. But a fan? Well, that’s new only exists with the Makita RP1800 router.

I also loved the unit’s quick-release depth adjustment, which features 3 depth stops for accuracy and added precision.

When changing the bits, the Makita 3¼ HP router makes things easier for you. The unit has the shaft lock, which allows for quick and “tool-less” bit changing. For safety purposes, the router has a chip deflector that’s been engineered to deflect chips away from you, which is great for your safety.

The handles are not only ergonomic, but also rubberized to provide additional control. The handles have been designed with a Lock-On trigger that ensures a continuous operation. Also, the rubberized handle has a two-finger switch.

What We Loved

  • Equipped with linear ball bearings, for better performance
  • Comes with both ¼ and ½ inches collets
  • Offers a 2¾-inch plunge depth  
  • Comes with an in-built fan, for fanning out dust
  • Features three depth stops, for accuracy and precision

What Could Be Better

  • It cannot install on a router table
  • Only compatible up to 120 volts

7.  PORTER-CABLE 892 2-1/4-Horsepower Router

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The fact that the router runs on a 2¼ Horsepower, it is the best option if you wanna balance between small DIY tasks and larger, professional projects.

The best thing about this router, compared to others, is that you get to make various depth cuts from above the table. That is, the Porter-Cable router is an easy-to-use unit, which comes with a Dual-Position switch allowing you to cut power whilst still maintaining control over the router.

It features the soft start capability, which minimizes the unit’s torque. This is an amazing feature because it stops the router from ever twisting your hands, especially when using it freehand. As a result, you don’t have to worry about strain and wear of the motor.

You can change the router’s speeds from 10,000 rpm to a max of 23,000 rpm. This means that if you run a larger cutter, and at a high speed, there’s a great risk the unit’s stock may burn. Therefore, the variable speed capability lets you avoid any hazards.

I love the fact that the Porter-Cable 892 Router features the Rack and Pinion adjustment system. This is an important feature that ensures you make fine depth settings of up to 1/128 inches.

Even more, the tool’s collets accept both the ¼ and ½ inches bits. So you’ve got choices to choose from, thus versatility is guaranteed.

What We Loved

  • You can make depth cuts right from the top of the router table
  • Over-molded grips ensure both durability and comfort of use
  • Has a spindle lock, which allows you to only use one wrench when changing the bits
  • The motor transitions very quickly between bases
  • Soft start function available as standard

What Could Be Better

  • A little bit of vibration is detected

8.  Avid Power 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Fixed-Base Wood Router

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The router is really small and miniature-like that it’s easy to dismiss it as something that can complete a trimming task. I mean, thanks to its small design, the Avid Router can be carried around anywhere you go, thus making it a perfect tool for professional woodworkers who are always on the move.

Don’t let the small size fool you into thinking that it can’t do anything serious. Rather, the Avid Wood Router is so powerful that its 1.25 horsepower is suitable for both small-scale and medium sized cuttings. And even though this doesn’t compare to the likes of Bosch and Makita routers, the Avid still does a pretty great job.

You get to enjoy speeds of up to 25,000 rpm, which allows for quick and pristine cuts. What’s even better is that the tool can actually accept a range of bit sizes, with the ¼ and the 3/8 inches being the two common ones.

The body of the Avid Router unit is made of heavy-duty aluminum, which guarantees both stability and durability. At the same time, its over-molded grips provide enough control over the cuts.

The router also comes with a Quick-Locking system, which enables height adjustments and motor releases.

What We Loved

  • Comes with lots of accessories to make your work easier, e.g. 2 edge guides, a vacuum attachment, and a set of bits
  • All the parts and accessories are interchangeable with the Makita Router
  • You can work with it on dark rooms, due to its LED lighting capability
  • The motor has a great fit, and with high tolerance for vibrations

What Could Be Better

  • Gets a little bit hot and is way louder than most routers
  • Its base finishing is rough

9.  TACKLIFE Plunge and Fixed Base Router

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If you’re looking for something unique and different from the other routers, then the Tacklife is the winner. Its uniqueness comes with exceptional features that make it a better router than its competitors.

Most of the features are completely different from the traditional ones. The Tacklife PTR01A has been designed to guarantee flexibility such that you can easily use it to trim closed-in spaces.

The best thing though, is that it comes with an auxiliary handle, which allows you to interchange the handle. This is particularly applicable if you find the traditional knob handles too monotonous and ineffective in closed-in spaces. The auxiliary handle also helps minimize fatigue.

Despite outputting 600 watts, the router operates smoothly. And it’s also robust and sturdy, thus manifests a high-quality tool.

It operates on ¼ and 1/8 inches collets, which means the Tacklife router is perfect for making small cuts and trimmings. Better still, you can also get a felt wheel, which helps make your crafts much cleaner and refined.

On top of that, the Tacklife PTR01A comes with an aluminum edge guide, which can be fixed to the router to help make accurate mortises and tenons.

If you get bothered with dusts when working, then you can always attach your vacuuming system to its in-built dust port. Unfortunately, the dust port’s location is at the front, which compromises your view when working.

What We Loved

  • Designed for greater efficacy in closed-in spaces
  • Comes with a generous array of accessories, thus making the router kit worth the price
  • Comes with a scaled compass, which enables you to make circular carvings, with diameters from 8 to 40 inches
  • You’ll love its auxiliary handle, which helps minimize fatigue whilst guaranteeing you make precise trimmings
  • You don’t have to get an edge guide; it comes with the router as an accessory 

What Could Be Better

  • No soft start feature, which is a huge disappointment 

10.  Ryobi RE180PL1G Plunge Router - ryobi plunge router review

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ryobi plunge router reviewAlthough larger in size than the Tacklife, I love its design. The handles are really comfortable on both sides. What’s unique with the tool is that the handles are effective when making cuts from different angles.

With a depth adjustment of up to 2 inches, you can make some really deep plunges. Also, it comes with a micro-adjustable depth stop, which makes changing the depth quicker and easier, especially during the downward movements.

I love the fact that its On-Off switch is within thumb’s reach, which makes it much simpler to operate the router. At the same time, its speed control feature is easier to use.

The best feature with the Ryobi RE180PL1G router is its spindle lock, which helps you make very quick and swift bit changes. Better yet, its noise level can be categorized as average, especially when compared to the other routers.

What We Loved

  • Ergonomically engineered to offer enough comfortability
  • Includes the Soft Start, which makes things much easier when operating it
  • Its micro-adjustability feature makes it easier to change the plunging depths

What Could Be Better

  • It is difficult installing it on a router table

Final Verdict

As you’ve noticed, most of these best plunge routers are different from one another. This makes it really difficult finding exactly what you need.

Basically, it’s advisable to consider all avenues before finally settling on a specific router. You need to know exactly what it is you need in a router.

Is it the power in terms of RPM? Or are you looking for a router that fits a router table? Is it about the price? What’s the best router in terms of value for your bucks?

What you need really matters in your selection process. Also, get to know what you’re willing to trade off. Remember, even the best plunge router out there is almost 98% likely to have its fair share of drawbacks.

Anyways, this plunge router review has enumerated all the pros and cons for each of the aforementioned plunge routers. From our own experience with these devices, and after meticulously scanning through various trusted plunge router reviews across the web, we believe the DEWALT (DWP611PK) offers the best value for your money.

Ultimately though, the choice lies squarely with you. We’re sure you’ll get the best plunge router for the money right here.

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