Although a router can technically be used without a router table by a professional, most carpenters and woodworkers agree that one of these tables significantly makes it easier to cut dovetails, routing decorative moldings and working with smaller pieces. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that using one of them significantly increases safety levels during the job.
Of course, it really isn’t all that easy to find the best router table possible. After all, there seem to be countless brands making a seemingly endless supply of tables. And that’s why I’ve decided to go ahead and list ten of the best router tables currently available. This saves a ton of research and footwork and allows you to find the table that suits your needs immediately.
9. Jessem Mast-R-Lift Excell II System
This system features a 32-inch by 24-inch phenolic table that has an aluminum extruded T-track and a miter track. It also comes with an extruded table fence and a durable steel table stand. Although it does not come with the optional digital readout attachment or the Pow-R-Tek remote power switch, the user can purchase these items separately and add them on. As this system stands, it’s a well-built table that should provide many years of service and can be used with a number of different routers. It may be more expensive than other models available, but it is ideal for most workshops.
8. Goplus Electric Aluminum Table
Made for professional and amateur woodworkers who need a durable and stable surface, this table is made from aluminum and steel and is ideal for most projects. It’s manufactured for routers with up to a 6-inch base plate and has a 13.1-inch by a 17.7-inch main table and a 7.8-inch by 17.7-inch extension table. It’s designed to hold routers securely and provides more than an adequate size surface for most jobs. It’s sure to be a table which will be used for a variety of different routing tasks.
7. Porter Cable Bench Top Table 698
Designed using a lightweight machined aluminum, this bench top table is designed not only to be strong but also to be quite mobile as well. It has a large 19-3/4-inch by 16-3/4-inch top with a cast-in lip that allows it to be used with extensions and has a 3/4-inch miter gauge slot. This unit also has a quick-adjust split-fence that have independently adjustable halves. This makes this a useful piece of equipment for just about any woodworking job that needs to be finished. And it’s built in such a way that it should provide the user with years of service.
6. Woodhaven 6000 Horizontal Table
This horizontal table has an ideal design for getting a variety of different woodworking jobs done quickly and effectively such as working with tenons and mortise joints or doing vertical panel bits. This table has an assembled size of 23 & 3/4-inches wide, 24-inches tall and 18-inches deep and weighs approximately 30-pounds before the user installs their own router on it. It also has phenolic sides that make is very stable and durable and has knobs for coarse height adjustments. Best of all, it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee against defects in quality or workmanship.
5. Bench Dog 40-001 Pro Top Contractor Table
Designed with a number of practical features, this compact table is one of the top models currently available. It is 16-inches by 22-inches and has a durable plastic non-marring laminate top. It also comes with a Bench Dog 22-inch fence, aluminum miter accessory track and rubber feet that are resistant to vibration. While this unit does require assembly to be used, once assembled it provides a rock solid surface that will give the user a stable platform for all of their router work and should provide them with many years of faithful service.
4. Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Table
Ideal for a variety of routing projects, this table features a 16-inch by 24-inch MDF table top, a full-size router insert plate, 3 level-loc reducing rings, an anodized aluminum fence, insert plate levelers and a vacuum shroud for easy cleaning. This unit also sits on a steel stand which has rubber feet designed to dampen vibrations while the user is using their router. The combination of these rubber feet and the MDF table top make this table a lot quieter than most enclosed models which are currently available. This makes it useful for using at home or on the job site.
3. Skil RAS900 Table
Pre-assembled for the user’s convenience, this table is ready to immediately be pressed into service. It has a laminated MDP top and an integrated accessory storage bag, along with a feather board, miter gauge, a guard and bit inserts. It also has a starter pin and guards help support that allows for the routing of curved edges. This unit also has legs which fold up, which allows it to be easily stored, but are quite stable when they are in use. All of these features mean that this table is ideal for most work working projects that have to be done around the home.
2. Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Table
Although it may not be as large as other tables, this unit is more than versatile enough to get just about any job done. It has an aluminum fence that’s 4-7/8″ high and 25-1/8″ long, which enables it to handle some fairly tall stock. It also comes with an aluminum router mounting plate that’s flat and true for accurate cuts and is predrilled to fit a wide variety of routers include Craftsman, Makita, DeWalt and Porter Cable routers. This table comes with three mounting plate rings, two adjustable feather boards, a starter pin, adjustable clear guard and two out-feed fence shims.
1. Bosch RA1181 Bench-Top Table
Some of the features that are loved by woodworkers and carpenters are found in this unit. Its bench-top design allows it to be attached to just about any workbench and it has a 27-inch by 18-inch table surface. This unit comes with an aluminum fence with MDF face plates, an aluminum router mounting plate, three mounting plate insert rings, two feather boards, a starter pin, guard, out-feed fence shims and the mounting hardware for most of the Bosch routers on the market. Other features which can be found on this unit include a dust collection port, a 6-foot power cord, and a dual outlet switch.
A Complete Router Guide
A router table is not only one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that a person can add to their workshop, but it’s also one of the most necessary pieces of equipment. With the purchase of a proper router, the DIY enthusiasts, or craftsman can keep both of their hands free, so they can control the workpiece and not have to worry about controlling the router so much. This makes edge profiling, routing grooves, and performing other routine operations a whole lot easier to do. So it’s easy to see why it’s so important to buy the best routing table as possible.
Fortunately, there are a ton of different router tables available, so consumers can choose one that not only fits the space they have available but also has the options that they need. Of course, with so many tables available, deciding on a table becomes a bit more complicated, but with this guide available, no one should have any problem finding the right table for their needs.
The Router’s Top
When choosing a new router table, it’s important to take a good hard look at the router table’s surface. A good tabletop should be as flat as possible and should be rigid. And both of the aspects of the tabletop are important. Without a flat, rigid surface, the router can’t make the precision cuts that they need to make. Even a slight irregularity or deviation from specs can lead to a whole host of problems in the cut, which translates directly to the end project. It’s also important that the table can support the router, the router lift, and the router plate without deviation from its true position.
How can you determine if a router table is going to have a surface that’s straight, rigid, and strong? Well, the primary way to determine if a particular tabletop is going to meet your needs, especially if you’re buying it online and don’t have physical proximity to it, is to look at what it’s made out of. Most of these tables are made from either an MDF, Phenolic Resin, or Cast Iron. Let’s take a closer look at each of these materials and what you should consider before choosing a table that uses one of them.
MDF: When looking at MDF tables, it’s important to choose one that’s at least 1 to 1.25-inches thick and should be coated with a protective layer for best performance. Basic MDF tables are coated with melamine, which provides decent feed performance and protection of the tabletop, but MDF tables that’s had a High-Pressure-Laminate applied to them are even better. This laminate, also known as HPL, is usually something like Phenolic Resin, which is a hard and durable enough that some tabletops aren’t just coated with it, but are made out of it.
Phenolic Resin: Sure, Phenolic Resin is used to treat MDF router tables, but some manufacturers use it to make the tabletops themselves. That’s because this material is extremely hard, durable, and can withstand the pressures that are expected out of it in a workshop. They’re also impact-resistant and can easily resist the moisture levels of areas with high humidity levels. But even though this material is tough and stable, it’s still light enough to make it practical to use in even home workshops.
Cast-Iron: Because of its durability, stability, and almost perfect flatness, cast-iron is the go-to material for anyone serious about the work they’re doing. Vibrations and impacts from moving parts won’t budge this material an inch, and it’s precisely crafted surface will ensure that the project you’re working on will be consistent and according to specs. Sure, this material costs a little bit more than conventional router tabletops, but it’s an investment that’s more than worth it, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time working on it.
The Base Plate
The next thing that should be considered is the base plate of the table. This is where the router is attached to the tabletop, so a good one can improve router performance and a poor one can kill router performance. This part of the table needs to be secure and stable, so it’s important to choose one that’s made with quality materials. Nowadays, consumers have several different choices when it comes to base plates, but the two most important ones are Phenolic Acid or Machined Aluminum base plates. Either one of these materials can be found on some of the best routing tables, so as long as you choose a table with base plates made of one of these two materials, then you should be fine.
The Table’s Fence
The fence is another important aspect of the routing table to consider. A well-made fence will help you control the cut, by guiding your workpieces as you advance it towards the bit. In the past, many woodworkers would simply clamp a piece of wood to the surface of the table and use it as a fence, and while that’s certainly an option, it’s not the best one available. At the other end of the spectrum are One-Piece and Split-Rail Fences. Split-Rail fences are the most advanced of the two and can be used to ensure that both sides are in parallel alignment during a cut. However, it can also be difficult to use. One-Piece Fences are easier to use, but they don’t provide the precision that Split-Rail Fences do, so it’s ultimately your choice whether you need absolute precision or ease-of-use.
A Sturdy Base
Without a stable and sturdy base, a router table is useless, so it’s important to find one that won’t shift or wobble while you’re working. That’s because that would not only make it extremely unsafe to use but would also make it almost impossible to achieve any sort of precision cut. Although we don’t have any specific recommendations for choosing a router table base, we implore you to make sure that it’s made from durable material and is stable. It also might be nice if it could be equipped with locking casters that can be locked to keep it steady but allows the table to be a bit portable as well.
Finally, Miter & T-Slots
Now that you know precisely what you’re looking for in a table, it’s now time to consider whether or not you need a table with a miter slot. Miter slots allow the woodworker to use a miter gauge, which can make it easy to cut the wood at set angles. This can make it quite useful for making complex cuts, such as dado joints. Another thing to consider is whether you need the table to have T-slots for adding addition attachments. Although these features are usually considered optional, they can make the table a lot more versatile and allow it to be used for a variety of jobs. No wonder some of the best routing tables available are equipped with miter slots and T-slots.