10 Best Routers: Reviews and Buying Guide

With routers, wood and other materials can be processed optimally. A professional woodcutter is so versatile that it may be missing in any well-equipped workshop. These power tools are, unlike table milling, attached to the top of the workpieces. In essence, routers consist of a gearless electric motor, a collet chuck and the lifting basket with a lifting drive. They are mounted on durable base plates, which can be optimized with a sliding lining or interchangeable plastic sliding surfaces.

Top 10 Routers

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Working with the router

Anyone who works with different milling depths and wants to guide the router precisely over the workpiece needs a bit of practice. For home use, it is recommended to start with a light surface and gain hands-on experience. There should be adjustment options for the depth of the milling work, it is particularly comfortable with wide and comfortable soft handles. Freehand milling, possibly with guide aids, is the best way to get started. If beginners have achieved good milling results with trial workpieces in this way, they can dare to make milling to size with variable milling depth. For artistic ornaments is the purchase of an expensive professional router, for these devices and activities, however, a particularly steady hand and a certain amount of practice is needed. We advise beginners

The rip fence and what it is needed for

There is no do-it-yourself around a rip fence that would like to cut precise grooves into the wood with millimeter precision. In workpieces with straight edges, grooves can be cut with millimeter precision using a high-quality rip fence, as well as rebates or profiles. The distance to the edge of the workpiece is individually very easily adjustable. If a fold is to be milled, it makes work easier when split guide rails are attached to the router for work. If the craftsman wants to mill into the workpiece edge, a second rip fence with thumbscrews can be attached to the woodcutter. In this way, even at this otherwise hard to reach place comfortably edit the wood.

What is a guide rail used for?

Commercially available guide rails with a set of hole rows make it possible to drill rows of holes at standardized intervals. Most accessory packages of the products compared by us already contain professional guide rails for routers, but they are also available for sale at well-stocked specialist retailers. With these special guide rails can be made in no time recesses for shelves of cabinets, also spring cup hinges can be fixed in this way.

Copy sleeves for routers

A recessed grip or a curved profile is difficult to work freely in the wood. For this purpose, various copying sleeves and templates are available, which are usually made of sturdy plastic or wood. So that the cutter does not cut the copy sleeve, a recess for guiding the milling heads is attached to the top. This makes it possible to drive exactly along the given shape during milling and to rework the desired profile 1: 1. A copy sleeve is colloquially referred to as a copy ring or copy flange. Depending on the circumstances of the milling head such a copy template can also be mounted below the workpiece. This is especially the case when the ball bearing of the milling cutter is below the cutting edges. A copy template can either be attached to the workpiece with two small screws, but the use of double-sided adhesive tape is often sufficient. The advantage here is that the workpiece is not damaged.

Attach an angle stop to the router

In order to be able to mill into the edge of workpieces, an angle stop or, depending on the manufacturer, an angle arm can be mounted on the workpiece. This device is ideal for safely guiding the router, for example, to engage fittings or grooves for edge band with the web. Also required for dowels grooves can be easily made with an angle stop, in conjunction with so-called Umleimerplatten they are also always used when flush milling is desired. This is the case, for example, with overhanging overlays. Although these milling operations can also be carried out with conventional milling heads, finer and, above all, more precise milling results are achieved with flush milling cutters, which are milling cutters with a ball bearing.

Circle for surface milling

To mill exact circles, a bar compass (or circle guide pin) is required. Although it is possible to provisionally make a template for this type of milling, best quality milling results are achieved with this professional accessory. The circle for a router can be thought of like a pointed metal pin forming the axis of rotation about which the router can then be precisely guided around. A bar compass is attached to the surface mill in the same way as a rip fence. If the workpiece should not be damaged by a puncture in the middle of the circle, the clever do-it-yourselfer can do the following: Simply stick a small wooden cube in the middle of the circular area with a strong, double-sided adhesive tape. The radius must be minimally adjusted due to the height difference, as long as your workpiece tolerates no deviation by a minimum amount. Now you can simply prick into these wooden cubes and precisely mill them – your workpiece remains completely intact. Then simply remove the cube again and free the wood from any glue residue.

Precise cutting with the woodcutter

Experts advise choosing a slow start at the beginning of the milling work. Most modern routers have special settings for slow milling of the workpiece. If initially too much wood is removed at one go or the milling head is pushed too deeply into the material, precise cuts are often not possible or the milling result is not satisfactory since the wood splits. It is worthwhile for beginners to familiarize themselves with the instructions in the manual of the surface milling machine before they start to process wood. Even professionals are well advised to read the specifications of a newly purchased router.

How the milling direction affects the milling result

Absolutely the milling direction should also be taken into account. A distinction is made between synchronous milling, in which the direction of rotation of the cutter runs in the feed direction, and countercurrent milling. If the cutter is guided against the running direction of the milling head, the material removal can be better controlled. Particular attention should be paid to the speed of the feed at this point: If the cutter does not turn fast enough, it can lead to unsightly and unwanted discoloration on the material. However, if the cutter is loaded too heavily and constantly operated at the highest possible speed, it will wear more quickly. High-quality cutters are expensive, these costs can be easily avoided by the correct use of the surface milling machine. Important notes on speeds and settings can be found in the handbook of the respective hand router, these vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and often differ from each other, so in any case, in any case, a look at the instructions is recommended for a new model. The correct speed depends on the hardness of the wood to be processed, an overview supply most manufacturers directly. Alternatively, this information can easily be researched on the Internet itself. An overview is provided by most manufacturers directly. Alternatively, this information can easily be researched on the Internet itself. An overview is provided by most manufacturers directly. Alternatively, this information can easily be researched on the Internet itself.

  • The direction of rotation of the milling cutter in feed direction for rapid material removal over large areas
  • Milling machines for filigree milling and ornaments
  • Adjust the speed to the material

Maintain the router and make minor repairs to the surface cutter yourself

The end mills of a router have to endure so much: hardwood, high temperatures at work and resin escaping from the wood make them difficult. In order to minimize wear and to counteract failures, it is recommended to thoroughly clean the milling heads after each use. For example, do-it-yourselfers always have their tools ready for use and ready for use, and damage can easily be detected. Slight signs of wear on the milling cutters are normal, the tool does not always have to be replaced. But if there are strong cracks in the metal and threatens to break the end mill, a spare part should be purchased. This helps to keep the surface milling machine in good condition and to avoid damage that can be caused by broken milling heads.

Continuous care for long functionality and low wear

From time to time, the complete router should be completely cleaned to maintain its functionality. However, do not remove any sealed screws, if any, as this will invalidate the statutory warranty. However, various parts of a surface milling machine can be replaced independently. The “loose” parts can be checked for wear and breakage with regular cleaning. Ergonomic soft-grip handles, in particular, maintain their comfort and stability longer if they are regularly cleaned and maintained. If possible, do not use harsh cleaning agents for cleaning, as they may attack the sensitive surface and make it porous. It is best to follow the instructions in the instructions for use when maintaining the router. If damage occurs within the warranty period, handyman and do-it-yourselfers have the opportunity to have it exchanged for free by the manufacturer. For this, it is usually not necessary to send in the complete woodcutter. After the warranty has expired, the hobbyist himself is responsible for the replacement, also financially. Most routers manufacturers offer extensive service and friendly customer support. 

Collets and what to pay attention to

The wearing parts of a surface milling machine, which, apart from the milling heads, must be replaced most frequently, include the collets. They absorb the most pressure while working and are therefore heavily loaded. If the collets break, accurate work with the router can no longer be guaranteed and the milling heads no longer run precisely round. Collets can be slotted on one side, these can be easily removed from the surface milling machine. High-quality collets are often slotted several times, on different sides. When removing, the do-it-yourselfer should pay attention to the fact that when opening the collet comes several times to a resistance: This is completely normal. If the union nut is completely loosened, the cutter can be easily removed, also the collet can be damaged so that it is unusable and must be replaced. Not least, the spindle of the router can be affected, so extensive repairs on the device are needed. With a regular maintenance and care, as well as with a careful use of the items,

  1. Collets have a number of resistors when removing, but not when inserting.
  2. Defective cutters can damage collets and the mill itself.
  3. Collets are one of the most common wear parts of a milling machine.
  4. Consistent maintenance of the woodcutter keeps the collets in good condition.

What to look for before buying a router

Routers are cheaper to buy than table milling, if necessary, they can be easily transported and used on their own construction site or in the workshop of friends or family. Surface milling machines are offered in very different price ranges. Which investment pays off, the discerning home improvement decides, taking into account his requirements and the consideration of what is to be produced with the wood chipper. How precise must the milling cutter be adjustable? How deep should the workpiece be penetrated and which stroke is necessary for this? For furniture that is not only sturdy but also visually appealing, the skilled craftsman is probably not around a model of the upper price range around. Even hobbyists should think about the diameter of the cutting edge, Which blade length is useful without shank and which overall length including shank is needed, also, of course, the shank diameter. Routers have only a small radius for circular cutting, and different models can be compared in advance. In addition, the number of teeth can provide additional information as to whether the milling work can be performed as precisely as desired.

You should also pay attention to this when purchasing a surface milling machine

How often will the router be used? If cheap devices are used in continuous operation for woodworking, it often leads to high wear of the individual parts. If you want to use your surface milling machine frequently over a longer period of time, you save money with the purchase of a more expensive model from a well-known manufacturer. However, for every handyman and DIY enthusiast, it is very important that the machine fits comfortably in the hand and is easy to guide. If the woodcutter is too heavy or unwieldy, it will quickly lead to physical fatigue while working and workpieces are often not completed.

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