8 Best Plunge Routers 2020 – What are the Plunge Routers?

When it comes to chipping off precise pieces on wood surfaces, plunge routers come in perfectly handy. A plunge router is an indispensable tool that lets you preset a standardized notching or engraving depth, thereby relieving you from the hassle of taking measurements time and again.

Working with a plunge router can offer you excellent results that will be best mirrored in your artistic creations, such as a photo frame or bookcase.

Not only are plunge routers extremely resourceful, but they are also available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Plunge routers find extensive applications in workshops and are a must-have for carpenters.

You’ll find a plunge router very useful for making customized cuts in a very convenient manner about your woodwork projects.

For getting the best results from a plunge router, you’ll need to plunge the tool bang in the middle of the working surface with precision. When you research on the net or visit a local tool shop for choosing a quality plunge router, make sure you’re aware of the tool’s essential attributes.  

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You’ll need to consider many aspects when you’re getting ready to buy a plunge router. After all, a plunge router, unlike a hammer or a planer, is a very sophisticated tool, and therefore you need to keep many things in mind before purchasing one.

As you’ll come across many brands in the market, each with its distinctive set of features, you should know precisely what you’re buying.

Or else, you may end up buying a product that does not serve the purpose or purposes for which you purchased the product in the first place. Therefore it is very crucial to choose a plunge router that helps you to complete your woodwork projects efficiently.

Plunge routers not only impart a touch of sophistication to your woodworking projects but also enable you to fine-tune your carpentry skills.

Just imagine the range of woodwork you can effectively complete using a premium quality plunge router-pergola, table, stackable sawhorse, workbench, and even a one-person motorboat.

Check out these attributes or features while shopping for a plunge router:

1 Size

The plunge router’s size (or any other woodworking tool for that matter) can have a considerable bearing on its performance. The size of the plunge router could also influence the ease with which you can handle and use the tool.

The most conspicuous benefit of working with a large plunge router is that you get to make the most of multiple versatile features.

However, the major downside of such a tool is that it will be quite heavy, making it somewhat difficult for you to move it. But this drawback is more than compensated by the powerful motor and large blades of the plus-size tool.

Plunge routers with a heavyweight motor and a hefty blade let you cut a more substantial area with greater efficiency and speed.

The best plunge routers usually come with multiple blades that you can use interchangeably. Additionally, they feature inbuilt batteries that enable you to continue with your work in the event of a power cut.

You’ll come across four distinct types of plunge routers-industrial routers, full-scale or life-size routers, midsize routers, and palm routers.

Industrial routers, as the terminology implies, are meant for use in large factories and plants for working on turnkey projects. This type of plunge router, the largest amongst all kinds of routers, usually has a fixed base.

Full-scale routers are designed for working on extensive woodworking or carpentry projects and are typically installed in workshops.

The midsize routers are ideal for completing common woodworks, and therefore the most popular amongst all plunge router types. A midsize router features a motor with a horsepower ranging from 1 HP to 2.5HP, which is more than adequate for handling a wide variety of projects.

The palm router is the smallest amongst all the routers and is primarily designed for working on DIY projects at home.        

2. Router Type

Apart from plunge routers, you’ll also find fixed-based routers and routers with a D-style handle. Some specific types of woodwork can be dealt with more effectively with a fixed-based or a D-handle base router compared to a plunge router.

 D-handle and fixed-based routers have their distinct features and functionalities and better suited for completing certain kinds of carpentry jobs.

As their name suggests, fixed-based routers feature a fixed or stationary base implying that your movement is restricted. A fixed-base router is chiefly used for routing or chipping a molding on a piece of timber’s edge or any other material.

 Fixed-based routers are perfect for planing or leveling wood pieces for imparting smoothness to the surface and removing peeling or damaged sections.

A fixed-based router comes cheaper than a plunge router, and not suitable for broad-spectrum woodwork jobs. Plunge-base routers or plunge routers feature a base that you can move up and down as per your convenience for presetting various cutting depths.

A router with a plunge base tends to be quite versatile, letting you complete an assortment of both big and small woodwork projects.

Plunge routers, unlike fixed-base routers, have practical features that allow you to adjust cutting speed and power, which make them more resourceful. The third type of router-D-handle base router has a distinct revolver-type clutch or grip fixed to the tool.

You’ll find it easy to deal with a D-handle router as the tool sports an intuitive trigger (instead of a switch) and a flexible framework.

3. Speed

Speed is, by far, the most significant factor that could make a big difference in how efficiently you can work. A plunge router’s cutting capability is generally defined as the speed in this respect. The higher the speed rating (quantified in RPM) of the tool, the better will be its cutting power.

The larger models have blades that can cut through thick wooden pieces but will do it at a slower rate. The smaller models, on the other hand, will be able to slice through faster than the large ones but may not be able to chip thickset chunks of wood.

The majority of quality plunge routers come with speed adjustment functionality, enabling you to set the speed.

Reviewing the Best Plunge Routers 2020

You’ve full control over your woodwork projects, thanks to the Bosch’s Electronic Plunge Base Router’s intuitive trigger-control system. The trigger –control mechanism comes with a built-in switch located on the handle’s router’s base.

You can rest assured that this plunge base router will generate perfect slices every time owing to the After lock microfine bit-depth module.

At the same time, the adaptable speed settings together with the heavy-duty 15-amp motor. A 3.32-inch base aperture, along with a precision-setting system, facilitates effortless steering along the plunging trajectory.

This plunge router tool from Bosch works smoothly owing to its soft-start and consistent response circuitry features.

Pros

  • ​Sports a heavy-duty motor 15-amp motor generates 2.3HP power & speed of 10,000-25,000 Rpm
  • Proprietary After lock microfine bit-depth adjustment facilitates the effortless setting of cutting depth at any level
  • LED light that remains on throughout allows you to see clearly in dark environments
  • Cord swivel will enable you to move the tool from area to another with ease

Cons

  • No shield or protective cover for keeping away dust particles and grime
  • Can be a tad cumbersome to handle
  • Often the plunging rod gets locked, necessitating you to apply significant force for getting it moving again
  • The brushes cannot be accessed directly

The USP of the fixed/plunge base router from Dewalt is its hardy 1.25 horsepower motor, deploying the power needed to complete the most complex of woodwork projects.

The variable speed control attribute lets you modify the speed in consonance with your project type. The adjustment ring facilitates customized bit depth changes to as low as 1/64th –inch.

The soft-start motor comes with a fulltime automatic response that helps in maintaining a constant speed throughout your cutting job. A lucid base, together with dual LEDs, makes sure everything is visible during operation.

Fixed-base operation facilitates reaching up to 1.5” of depth while the plunge base enables the cutting depth of up to 2”.

Pros

  • ​Adjustable speed control lets you optimize bit speed for a range of applications
  • Hardy 1.25 HP motor helps in dealing with the most complex of woodwork jobs
  • Compact and clear sub-base and dual LEDs ensures full visibility
  • Soft-start motor with full-time electronic feedback enables a consistent cutting speed throughout
  • The prominent low-pressure slender rod lock button allows smooth single twist bit change
  • Clamping mode together with depth ring facilitates firm locking of the motor
  • Plunge base has fine-tuned adjustment spindle for the accurate depth setting
  • Aluminum motor cage & robust base construction ensures the tool remains functional for years
  • Quick transitioning of the motor between plunge and fixed bases

Cons

  • ​The engine is prone to overheating in a short period
  • The fixed base section may not work as perfectly as the manufacturer claimsPower switch could be a tad difficult to operate

The Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router comes with an inbuilt router lift and a table height knob that frees you from the need to buy any new devices.

 Proprietary rack and pinion depth adjustment functionality gives you full control not only over the tool but your project as well. The motor features a fulltime electronic feedback, allowing you to maintain the appropriate cutting speed throughout your work.

Rack and pinion height adjustment allow the setting of the exact cutting depth when using the fixed-base mode. A simple push of the button will enable you to transition to plunge mode. The soft-starting motor features 8000-21000RPM that makes for setting the accurate speed for all types of cutters.  

Pros

  • ​Safety lock-out provides all-embracing protection from the cut perimeter
  • Safety lock helps in removing accumulated dust
  • 3-layered steeple typified by direct reading scales ensures accurate presetting of cut-depths
  • Micro winder helps in consistent fine depth adjustment throughout the plunge range
  • 8000-21000 RPM delivers the exact speed needed for all cutter types
  • The motor provides regular speed feedback, enabling you to achieve the results you are looking for, regardless of the material you’re working on
  • Quick & easy shifting between fixed base and plunge base modes

Cons

  • ​Spring on the plunge spindle could snap
  • Dust & grime could quickly build upon the protective shield
  • Adjustment mechanisms made of plastic are vulnerable to wear and tear

4. Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial Most Expensive Plunge Router

The 574692 Router from Festool is equipped with a range of versatile features that would enable a professional carpenter to complete his projects successfully.

For a start, the plunge router features ergonomic handles that offer you enhanced control over the tool without causing fatigue. The integration of switches lets you operate the router with only one hand.

Built-in dust extraction and collection ports draw and capture debris right from the creation zones. This feature helps in boosting visibility, saves cleanup time, and enhances the longevity of the cutter. The Festool 574692 is compatible for use with the FS Guide Rail System and MFS multi-routing models.

Pros

  • ​Micro-adjustable dial assists routing without sacrificing precision
  • Can be used with FS Guide Rail System & MFS multi-routing templates
  • Swiveling chip deflector is companionable with edge routing bits helping in maximum extraction of sawdust from nooks & crannies
  • Features ergonomically designed handles offering full control
  • Integrated built-in switches let you use the tool with just one hand
  • Dust extraction recesses enable extraction of dust and dirt keeping the work area clean

Cons

  • ​Position of the handle is different from that of the conventional routers making it somewhat challenging to use
  • Too expensive & costlier than most other models available in the market

The 1617EVSPK Wood Router and HP Plunge Router combo are one of the most versatile tools you’ll come across. This plunge router is suitable for using across-the-board, including but not limited to edge routing, accurate bit plunging, dovetail cutting, laminate trimming, and slot cutting.

The rounded and smooth hardwood handle goes a long way in offering you excellent control over the tool.

The framework of this plunge router is made of aluminum, which keeps the tool lightweight and also makes it incredibly durable. The integrated constant response circuitry of this plunge router model helps in maintaining a constant speed throughout. Consequently, your cuts are as precise as you desired.

Pros

  • Variable speed dial lets you choose the right speed for all your projects
  • The soft-start motor helps in  maintaining a steady pace all through your cutting job

  • Intuitive clamping system on both router bases enables adjustment of bit height

  • Precision centering lets you position & keeps the bit on the cutline

  • Fixed support comes with threaded openings for installing the tool on the router table

  • Depth adjustment mechanisms on both fixed and plunge bases

  • 2” sub-base openings and broad base openings enhance visibility on all occasions

Cons

  • Extremely prone to overheating
  • Instructions are not clear cut which could much confuse the operator

  • Metal edges on the router have inflections& sharp edges posing a risk for the user


Makita XTR01Z features a powerful brushless motor that contributes towards delivering speedier cuts with a range of materials without sacrificing accuracy.

 The digitally controlled BL brushless motor makes optimum use of electrical energy, matching RPM and rotational force, facilitating the completion of a range of carpentry jobs. The variable speed control dial can be tuned to match the speed required for different cutting tasks.

Electronic speed control helps in holding on to a stable speed under load. The on/off knob comes with a separate lock-in button checks accidental or unintended starting of the router, which could put the operator at risk.

Pros

  • ​Comes with a heavy-duty brushless motor that runs for a greater length of time
  • Soft-start functionality helps in operating the router with greater efficiency & achieving precise cuts
  • On/off button has a distinct lock knob for thwarting unwanted & inadvertent motor start-up
  • Ergonomically designed & compact chassis together with rubberized grip
  • Precision cutting-depth adjustment setting
  • Quick-release cam-lock system for smooth depth adjustments as well as installation & removal of the base
  • Aluminum body & core boosts accuracy besides enhancing the product’s lifecycle     

Cons

  • ​The motor is susceptible to overheating even if used for a short durationGrips could have been larger
  • Bottom hole in the base does not have sufficient clearance for a guide bushing

7.PORTER-CABLE Router, 2-1/4 HP Most Lightweight

The Porter-Cable Router is perfect for almost all woodworking tasks, thanks to its performance-oriented 2-1/4 horsepower motor.

You’ll love to work with this tool as it delivers reliable and smooth performance, regardless of the nature of the woodwork project. The base of this fixed-base router unlocks quickly for carrying out a range of depth-cutting right over the router table.

Its versatility lies in that it moves quickly between fixed and plunge bases, thereby helping you to save time on making router table modifications. You’ll also find it easy to operate the plunge router.

For installing the router, first, detach the motor, then adjust the height of the bit, and finally secure the engine to the router table using a 3/16-inch hex socket.

Pros

  • ​Spindle-lock functionality facilitates changing of single-wrench bits
  • The comfortable holding of grips, especially during extended usage
  • Dual-position switch enables switching off the motor without sacrificing control
  • The engine can be easily detached & fastened to the router table from the top
  • Speed of the motor (10,000-23,000RPM range) can be adjusted to suit the bit speed
  • 12-amps motor with consistent electronic feedback helps maintain a constant speed

Cons

  • ​Push-button lever for adjusting the cutting head’s height might lead to the head falling off during the job
  • Safety mechanism resets automatically after every application and needs to be switched back on to make the motor start

The Makita RT070 1CX7 delivers on the performance front, enabling you to make precision cuts on almost every material you work on.

The compact router features a potent 1-1/4HP motor and a plunge base that works in unison to deploy a comprehensive range of accurate routing applications. Efficient rack and pinion fine-depth adjustment mechanisms help in more accurate depth-cutting settings.

The ergonomically designed framework, together with its compactness, not only allows you to grip the router more comfortably but also offers you more excellent maneuverability.

The motor’s soft-start technique implies that it starts and operates smoothly, and digital speed control helps maintain a consistent speed for different types of projects.    

Pros

  • ​The fixed base is companionable with a range of standardized routing templates
  • Adjustable speed control feature allows user to modify the speed
  • The ergonomically designed compact body makes possible the gripping of the router
  • Quick-release cam-lock helps in efficiently removing & installing the base

Cons

  • ​​Literature in the user manual is confusing
  • Hex wrench for holding the arbor while tautening the collet has to be bought separately     

Conclusion

So, there you have it, eight of the best plunge routers you can opt for-two from Bosch, two from Makita, and one each from Triton, Festool, Porter-Cable, and Dewalt.

Every model we reviewed has a unique aspect or feature that can be regarded as the USP of the product. For instance, if you’re looking for a plunge router that offers you the ease of use, then the Bosch Plunge Router MRP 23EVS will be the one for you.

On the other hand, if you’re shopping for a product that is versatile and is yet affordable, then bet your money on Makita RT0701CX7.

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