5 Best Trim Routers 2020 -Top Choices for Woodworkers

Both seasoned woodworkers and carpenters who still have a long way to go on the learning curve will find a trim router extremely handy. The USP of the best trim routers is their ergonomic and lightweight profile, enabling them to be handled with one hand. The best trim router comes in perfectly handy for a professional woodworker, allowing him to complete the most complicated of woodworks with a flourish.

A high-quality trim router can be used to trim not only laminated wood panels but also accomplish various other tasks. Some of these woodworking jobs include drilling holes, duplicating, sign engraving, chiseling full hinge mortise, and profiling edges. The best trim routers go a long way in altering every day and low-profile woodwork projects into elegant ones.

Topnotch trim routers can be powerful and versatile enough to help you achieve even highly elaborate jobs, their small size notwithstanding. At the same time, trim routers need minimal storage space, thanks to their waist being lower than plunge or fixed-base routers. This guide reviews five best trim routers available in the market along with a buying guide, which will make it easier to choose the product you’re looking for.   

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Buyers Guide for Purchasing the Best Trim Routers

The best trim routers are also referred to as ‘laminate trimmers’ as their primary function is to help trim laminated plywood boards. A trim router tends to be smaller in size compared to a plunge router, fixed-base router, and an interchangeable router. A trim router is small and handy enough to be used by a single hand and chiefly used for carrying out light edge profiling and routine jobs.   

When you’re out shopping for the best trim router that’ll work for you, you’ll come across an astonishing variety of products. Comparing and evaluating the features of the different trim router brands and models could be a very challenging task. The task of choosing the appropriate product from amongst the mind-boggling variety of brands becomes all the more demanding if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

We’ve put together this buying guide to make the selection process smoother for you. We suggest you go through this buyers’ guide carefully so that you feel confident selecting the right product.

1. Precision

A specific brand of trim router comes with its own distinct set of features. That said, the accuracy or exactness with which you can set a particular trim router’s bit depth would vary from model to another. Setting the appropriate bit depth is crucial for achieving the customized cuts, which in turn will enable you to complete the project as per your customer’s specifications.

Therefore when it comes to opting for a product that will assist you in accomplishing precise cuts, you should focus on the precision range. Additionally, you should also check the trim router’s susceptibility or responsiveness to change when you’re setting the bit depth. The precision scale of the best trim router, by and large, implies the extent to which you can adjust the bit’s depth (upwards and downwards).

Responsiveness or sensitiveness to change refers to the smallest adjustment you can make in setting the bit’s depth. The high-end trim routers feature a broad overall precision scale with a minuscule susceptibility to change. That being said, the best trim routers feature an incremental sensitivity of at least 1/64th of an inch while the ordinary models have the responsiveness of only 1/16th inch.

High-quality trim routers also let you adjust the bit depth’s scale by installing the tool on the base of a plunge router.    

2. Speed

You’ll need to set the bit’s rotational speed based on the type of woodwork. So, you’ll have to change or adjust the bit speed time and again for completing different projects. For instance, if you’re working on softwood panels, you’ll have to set the bit speed at a lower rate to prevent the wood from splintering or cracking.

On the other hand, if you set the bit speed at a very high level for working on hardwoods, the bit might wear down prematurely. Hence you should settle for a trim router that comes with the ‘digital speed control’ feature. This functionality allows you to adjust the torque of the router bit by the project type.    

3. Power

The power rating of a trim router is undoubtedly the most crucial factor that makes a significant impact on the product’s effectiveness. That said, you should always go for a trim router having a power rating of more than 1HP. However, while choosing a product with a high power-rating, make sure it features soft-start capability.

The soft-start features enable you to control your trim router when you’re powering on the tool.


Reviewing the 5 Best Trim Routers 2020

1. Makita RT0701C  Trim Router  Best Value for Money

The Makita RT08701C is an ergonomically designed compact 1-1/4 HP trim router that has been engineered to perform. The motor of this trim router having a rating of 1-1/4 HP ensures that the tool can be used effectively for completing a variety of précising routing tasks. The router also comes equipped with an electronic speed control feature that lets you adjust the router bit’s speed in consonance with the project.

The RT0701C has been designed with meticulous care for allowing you to complete all your laminate boards trimming projects efficiently. The router features the rack and pinion depth adjustment mechanism and prominent depth scales, enabling you to set bit depth with greater precision. You can also make the most of other versatile features like ‘constant speed under load,’ ‘soft start,’ ‘quick release cam lock,’ highly-visible base’ and so on.

Pros

  • Intuitive rack and pinion depth adjustment mechanism for more accurate bit depth settings
  • Adjustable speed control dial (10,000-30,000RPM) facilitates matching bit rotation speed following project

  • Ergonomically designed and compact framework for enhanced control and comfort

  • Electronic speed control helps maintain a consistent speed when working on heavy-duty projects

  • Quick-release cam lock function for smooth installation/removal of base and effortless bit depth setting

  • Motor housed in the aluminum casing for enabling the router to perform for years

Cons

  • Many of the trim router accessories are not compatible with this brand
  • Also not companionable with standardized templates

  • The power switch does not have a shield or cover for keeping out dust


The Dewalt DWP611 Compact Trim Router is ideal for carpenters and woodworkers looking to complete their projects speedily without sacrificing accurateness. The router comes equipped with a heavy-duty 1.25HP motor, thereby guaranteeing more than adequate power for completing even highly complicated trimming and routing jobs.

Variable speed control function ensures that your router bit keeps turning at a constant speed even when dealing with varying resistances. The speed control feature comes in perfectly handy when you’re changing from hardwood to softwood or attempting to achieve sophisticated cuts. The soft-start feature ensures that the motor won't jumpstart while trying to switch the router when starting work.

The visible sub-base, along with the dual LEDs, keeps everything in your view while you’re working over the router table.

Pros

  • Extensible bottom base offers a greater work surface area for better monitoring and control
  • Both the base and body housed in a solid aluminum casing for lasting use

  • Fast removal of the base, thanks to the spring-loaded release flaps

  • Changing bits rendered easy owing to the prominent low-pressure spindle lock knobs

  • Smooth adjustment rings allow fine incremental bit depth adjustments within 1/64th inch

  • Soft-starter motor is reinforced with fulltime electronic speed control for adjusting and maintaining a consistent speed    

Cons

  • Weighing about 5.5 pounds, this trim router is somewhat heavy to handle


  • The LEDs may stop working after some time


3. RIDGID R2401 Laminate Trim Router  Best in Terms of Features

The Laminate Trim Router R2401 from RIDGID comes with a host of useful features that makes this woodworking tool highly valuable to woodworkers. For a start, the R2401 laminate trim router comes preinstalled with variable speed control, enabling you to set the bit speed to match your project. The router features LED lights that keep the work area visible, especially when you’re working in a low-visibility environment.

The molded grip helps you to grip the trim router with a single hand while the lighted plug assists in identifying live tools. The rounded square profile of the sub-base goes a long way in bettering convenience while working on various projects. The available micro-adjust dial helps in setting bit depth with accurateness while the spindle lock renders changing bits very easy.

Pros

  • Responsive micro-adjust dial for the precise bit depth setting
  • Variable speed control for adjusting bit speed with the woodwork project type

  • Comes installed with LED lights for increased visibility in low-light environments

  • The round, square profile of sub-base helps in making the most of the trim router

  • The durable construction of the router makes the tool highly durable

Cons

  • The spindle lock is susceptible to slackness time and again
  • Trying to hold the router from the top could lead to the device switching off 


The Ryobi P601 One+ Trim Router comes with a very hardwearing motor having a massive 29,000 RPM, enabling carpenters to complete all types of woodworking. This cordless trim router features a smooth rubber grip coating, allowing you to hold the tool firmly even in slippery work conditions. Consequently, making continuous router bit changes or performing precision cuts is rendered easy and straightforward.

A preinstalled knob helps you hugely in adjusting the cutting depth, thereby freeing you from the need to use an Allen wrench. At the same time, this Ryobi trim router features ID markings letting you figure out the exact cutting depth of your existing project. Onboard LED lights make the entire work area visible when working in dim-light conditions.

Pros

  • Compact and robust aluminum base keeps the router steady while you work
  • Compatible with a range of Ryobi 18V Li-ion batteries

  • Depth adjustment knob allows for customized bit height adjustment

  • Rubber coated grip for firm yet comfortable grip

  • LED lights to keep work area and power tool visible

Cons

  • The locking mechanism could have been more secure
  • A sawdust collection port would have prevented powdery wood particles from spreading everywhere


The PCE6430 Trim Router from Porter-Cable is undoubtedly one of the most performance-oriented portable routers available in the market. The router boasts of a powerful 4.5amp motor turning at a monstrous speed of 30,000 RPM, facilitating accurate cutting, trimming, and profiling. This Porter-Cable trim router comes with extra-large fastening clips, enabling quick mounting and release of the tool.

 A built-in depth ring helps in making faster and accurate bit height modifications.  The trim router’s body is CNC-machined and has a fixed base shaped out of casting aluminum, which makes it perfectly handy and durable.         

Pros

  • Huge locking clips facilitate quick release of the motor as well as depth adjustment
  • CNC-machined with cast aluminum fixed base

  • 4.5 amps motor with 31,000 RPM for accomplishing a wide range of tasks

  • Depth ring for fast and precise bit height adjustment

Cons

  • The support –to- motor latching locking system is quite loose and could start slipping in due course
  • The design of the router is not ergonomic


Conclusion

Selecting the five best trim routers out of nearly innumerable models up for sale in the market was a taxing job. After comparing several trim router brands, we chose five products, one each from Makita, Dewalt, RIDGID, Porter-Cable, and Ryobi. Almost all the models were found up to the mark with some brands featuring handy functionalities like electronic speed control, and quick release cam mechanism.

If you’re looking for a high-end performance-oriented trim router, you can go for Dewalt or RIDGID. On the other hand, if you want to settle for something affordable that does the job, then go for Porter Cable or Makita


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