Every woodworker knows that good equipment is half of the successful result. A router is probably one of the main power tools used for operating with wood because it is versatile and easily operated. I’m gonna help you find the best plunge router to buy.
There are two types of routers: a fixed and plunge one. This article is fully above the plunge router because it’s much better in cutting accuracy. This tool has two arms, so you have more control while woodcutting. Though a fixed router will be easier to use for the beginners because it doesn’t require manual adjustment, but the final shape of the product can slightly differ. So, if you want to achieve success, the plunge router will be the right decision. With my article, you will become familiar with the most important pros as well as cons of the routers available on the market. So, let’s start.
Plunge Router Reviews
First of all, one should be mentioned that this German brand has proven long-term and effective work over the years. Together with a powerful motor (2.25 HP/12 Amp) and advanced speed control technology (a speed ranges from 8.000 to 25.000 RPM), this router can be considered versatile and suitable for workpieces of different shapes and sizes. That is why I dare to say that the 1617EVSPK does the job precisely and quickly.
What about working on different depth? One should be mentioned that the bits are fully adjustable. Moreover, this model has threaded holes. So you can easily install it on router saw tables and choose the necessary bit height.
The one more important detail is that this plunge base router has motor housing and bits made of aluminum. Together with a dust-protected power switch, these features elongate the life term of the mechanism. Also, I would like to mention that this model is 18.2 pounds in weight and has medium dimensions (6 x 11.5 x 11.6 inches).
- A combination of plunge and fixed-base router kits saves money by offering one complex router.
- Sometimes the tool can overheat and seize up as a result.
- Plastic handles that should be tightened at times.
- A lot of additional accessories for adequate router operation should be bought separately.
This plunge router is produced by Japanese company Hitachi. The manufacturer claims that the electric motor in this potentially the best plunge router works smoothly and calmly. I support this idea as well. The router has a sufficiently wide speed range (8,000 to 24,000 RPM). Besides, this item is only 9.9 pounds in weight and has the following dimensions – 4 x 22.2 x 16 inches. This fact makes the Japanese model portable and versatile.
In addition to the characteristics mentioned above, I noticed the one fact that was vitally important for me as for an every-day plunge router user. Hitachi gives a five-year warranty for the tool.
- Powerful motor for an affordable price.
- The speed control system is not elaborated enough. The router works on the highest speed only.
- The router is not equipped with wrenches for a bit tightening.
This Dewalt tool is considered to be a compact router, its weight is 8 pounds. However, the motorhead power is only 1.25 HP that makes the router not powerful enough for thick beam operating. This small plunge router has dual LEDs and clear sub-base, providing complete visibility while woodcutting. What is more important for comfortable work is that the hand router has rubber handles, so it prevents gliding and doesn’t require regular tightening.
This device is equipped with multiple shaft lock detents that means that the bits can be easily and quickly changed. One should be mentioned that this brand is much cheaper than some models, however, the quality of the construction and the number of features and accessories available are almost the same. So, the Dewalt plunge router has the potential to be the best cheap router. Please note that the router weighs 8 pounds and has relatively small dimensions (7 x 10.2 x 19.2 inches).
- The plunger base can be changed for the fixed one just for seconds.
- A variable speed that can be adjusted according to the piece of wood you need to cut.
- Tends to burn out the wire brush.
- Works great on small projects, not for use on a grand scale.
The described plunge router has a comparatively low level of electric motor power (maximum 1-1.4 HP), though the speed range is quite wide (from 10.000-30.000 RPM) that enables working on details of different size and thickness. This model also has a soft start feature providing smooth cutting from the very beginning.
The key fact that makes this router worth your attention is that the motor housing is made up of double-insulated aluminum (take notice that other models have a simple aluminum coating). That elongates the life-term of the machine significantly. With a flat-top design, this plunge router is famous for changing bits in less time.
The Makita plunge router weighs 3.9 pounds and has average dimensions (17 x 10 x 7 inches). That’s literally the first tool I’ve ever seen that combines a wide range of features and low-weight at once. It gives the tool more handleability and accuracy in wood operating. However, I must admit that it has just one plunge base and no fixed one. Though, if you are looking for a versatile tool and you need both bases to be present, this router is not your choice.
- Low price, probably, because of one-base design.
- Deals well with different sorts of wood (e.g. walnut, cherry, ebony workpieces, etc.).
- 1-year warranty.
- A plunge base adapter should be bought separately.
The Triton model has a removable plunge spring, so the process of bit adjustment doesn’t take much time. That’s a great advantage when talking about scaled-up production. One more important feature that differentiates this woodworking router on the market is side air vents. They help prevent dust intrusion to the motorhead when the router is mounted upside-down on the router table.
Moreover, the router is equipped with a button designed to switch from a plunge base to a fixed one as well as adjust rack and pinion height. So, you can easily go from one working mode to another one and choose the necessary height in a moment. Due to a plunge spring that can be removed, the bit height can be easily adjusted as well. The most disappointing thing is its big dimensions (10.2 x 12.9 x 11.4 inches) and weight (20 pounds). This router won’t suit everyone and it will be complicated to use this tool for detailed cutting. So, if you are looking for a compact tool, it’s not the model to choose.
- Powerful motor (up to 3-4 HP) can deal with even the toughest timbers.
- Auto-lock feature which provides additional safety while working with wood.
- It is not smooth enough.
The maximum speed this machine reaches is 22.000 RPM, it is not much, however, it also gives a wide range of possibilities for wood cutting. Besides, the speed dial is located on the handle of the tool. So, there is no necessity to stop and change the speed, just keep an eye on your workpiece and continue working. It provides a more accurate final result because the wood is processed with no interruptions, so the surface will be smoother.
The Hitachi M12V2 has an elaborated collet chuck. The bit is secured and tightly held in the armature shaft. This plunge router can be easily converted for a table using. So, you literally get two routers for one price and can perform workpieces of a large scale.
Moreover, manufacturers took care of the dust guide. A special mechanism helps retract dust and debris away from the router and worker, so you save some time for cleaning as well as elongate the life-term of your machine. The M12V2 is medium in size (11 x 19.1 x 9.4 inches) and quite heavy (13.9 pounds).
- Inclinable handles.
- A soft start to reduce the number of work mistakes from the very beginning.
- Lose much speed while working with hardwood.
The Festool plunge router is justifiably considered versatile. Ergonomic handles are designed to decrease fatigue and take more control overcutting. However, somebody may find it difficult to work with one side handle only, but once you get used to it, you will find how easy the wood cutting work can be. It may cause some difficulties when start using the router for the first time.
The Festool 574692 has integrated ports to extract debris once they appear. It provides more visibility while woodcutting and cut time for after-cleaning. Moreover, keeping the cutter clean elongates its life term significantly. As far as you can understand, Festool successfully achieves the goal they set.
The Festool router is relatively bulky (15.6 x 11.6 x 12.8 inches). With its 17.9 pounds in weight, it won’t be the right purchase if you need a router for small projects only. It’s better to consider other models.
- Simple and accurate adjustment.
- High-quality materials and precise operation.
- High price compared to other routers presented on the market.
A Plunge Router: Definition
A plunge router is a unique base that allows the motorhead to move up and down along the fixed posts. This machine is equipped with a special spring pushing the motor housing up to the posts. So you can choose the necessary depth and lock the housing with a special lever. The plunge router opens big possibilities for operating wood beams of different lengths and thicknesses.
Moreover, it will be an ideal decision for inlay work because the plunge router provides smooth cutting start and finish. The same can’t be said for the fixed-base routers. You can’t avoid misalignments using this router type no matter how hard you try. In addition, the it makes it possible to easily adjust the bit depth that can cause difficulties for another model.
Also, some bits are simply can’t be used anywhere except plunge routers. For example, a bit for keyhole grooves cutting has cutters on the top, bottom, and side. So, there is no need to lift a bit up and down that makes the cutting process as easy as possible.
Ways to Use a Plunge Router
At first glance, it may seem difficult to use this kind of router, but actually, there are no difficulties in operating with this machine. The first thing you need to do is to insert a bit into a collet adjusting the necessary depth you need to operate your workpiece. Then you should pull the trigger and start moving the router holding it with both hands. Choose the direction of moving depending on the workpiece shape you want to get. Special plunge router sled will help you follow the chosen direction with no misalignments and interruptions. When you need to finish woodcutting, just stop pressing on the router. In such a way it retracts into the base.
Take other bits to perform the workpiece edges. The procedure is similar to the one described above. Most of the plunge router bits specially created to achieve this aim have a sleeve bearing that helps correct the direction of bit moving along the workpiece edges. Just like with the previous bit, you should adjust the right depth that will suit the bit you use. Place the router on the surface, press downward, and make a desirable cut. Once you performed the edges, you can release the handles and the router stops working.
How to Work With a Plunge Router on a Router Table?
If you still find it dangerous to work with a router on the saw table, I will change your mind. The main difficulty lies in the bit height adjustment. If you don’t screw up the baseplate insert, you won’t be able to plunge the bit on the desired depth manually because the plunge springs will push the baseplate up. You can also use a depth adjustment knob, however, not all the routers are outfitted with these knobs. So, they should be bought separately.
Nowadays, there are a lot of companies that sell a router with two bases – a plunge and fixed one. It may be a good decision for those who have issues using the plunge base router on the router table. Also, the market offers numerous pre-drilled mounting table plates making the process simple. So, the key idea is to adjust the right depth and you will get a successful result.