If you go to a woodworker now and ask them which modern tool, they appreciate the most, they will surely say it’s a plunge router. These tools have modernized woodwork to a whole another level.
However, there’s still a fair bit of confusion with all the different types available. And where it counts, it all comes down to plunge or fixed routers. A professional would carry both, but if you only have to pick one, it has to be the plunge router.
And we here present a list of reviews for the best plunge routers which will give you the neatest cuts. There are many routers and one can often get overwhelmed with their options, but hopefully, our guide will give you a clear idea.
Top-rated Plunge Router comparison chart in 2020
DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge
Weight: 8 pounds
Dimension: 19.25 x 10.25 x 6.7 inches
Triton TRA001 Plunge Router
Weight: 19.5 pounds
Dimension: 10.2 x 12.9 x 11.4 inches
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP
Weight: 0.01 ounces
Dimension: 17 x 10 x 7 inches
Festool 574692 Router OF 1400
Weight: 17.9 pounds
Dimension: 15.55 x 11.61 x 12.8 inches
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router
Weight: 18.2 pounds
Dimension: 6 x 11.5 x 11.6 inches
DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge
Weight: 16.57 pounds
Dimension: 21.88 x 6.88 x 12.56 inches
PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK 1-3/4 HP
Weight: 21.2 pounds
Dimension: 20.3 x 7 x 17.5 inches
7 Best Plunge Router Reviews
Before we start this review, we’d like to inform you that all the products chosen were considered after testing them individually and if anything missed the cut, it probably didn’t meet our criteria.
1. DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
It is not likely that you’ve been associated with woodwork and haven’t heard of Dewalt. If there’s one brand of power tool you can put blind trust on, it’s probably this. This is a big statement to make because when it comes to tools, brand value can trump price and features.
If you’re new to routers then you can safely go with this one because it’s the only one you will ever need. It has all the latest specs that you’d expect from a modern tool. One of the features we love on this is the dual LED light to give you a clear view of your work path.
Moreover, with features like soft start and variable speed control, you get complete control over your workflow. Also, you can fine-tune the rod precisely to the depth you want to cut. If you want to cut a piece of wood to precision, this will assist you all the way.
The other thing we love about this is its compact size. This isn’t a huge tool that will take a huge workspace and be hard to maneuver. Its small size makes it perfect for doing sensitive work with ease.
- Gives clear visuals with the dual LED lights
- Adjustable rod helps to secure depth with precision
- Compact size makes maneuvering it easy
- Has features like speed control and soft start to give you a smooth workflow
- Need to buy the vacuum adaptors separately
2. Triton TRA001 Plunge Router - Dual Mode
If you prefer power and consistency overweight this will be the best budget plunge router. Triton is known for their heavy-duty products and sometimes they may seem a little too heavy for some but their Plunge router is definitely worth it.
What we love about this tool are its versatility and simplicity. If you’re a beginner then we definitely recommend this as it has simple assembly and function. Further, you can easily change from the plunge mode to a fixed base with a single switch.
We think it’s good for beginners and the other reason behind that was it’s fairly simple to use. Unlike devices where changing bits takes up a lot of effort, you can easily achieve that with a single wrench. Woodworkers will completely agree on how these little things make working a whole lot quicker.
Also, when it comes to safety, this one is right at the top. Features like shutter locks and enclosed guards are there to prevent cuts or accidents from occurring. And the spindle lock is also very firm and you don’t have to worry about it loosening.
- One tap switch to go from fixed to plunge
- Easy to assemble and use
- Has great safety features to keep you secured
- Change bits with a single wrench only
- Heavy and weighs more than alternatives
3. Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
One of the many advantages of buying products from a brand as huge as Makita is you can always get spare parts. They have a wide range of tools and appliances and having available spare parts is a big plus any day.
With that said, this is probably the best plunge router for the money that you can get your hands on. If you don’t trust the price then you can safely trust the brand to have your back.
This isn’t the most powerful tool, but it was made ergonomically to give you constant power. When you are cutting into the wood, the deeper it gets, the tougher it is to cut through it. So, you need constant power to maintain even cuts. With this device, you get the stability for those even and precise cuts.
Although this doesn’t have LED lights it still has a visible base for you to carry on your work without having to bend over too much. In addition, it has features like a soft start to ensure the smoothest starts. So, if you want a bang for your back you can definitely consider this.
- Lightweight and has an ergonomic design
- The base is visible to help with a seamless working
- Has a soft starting feature to put ease into the work
- Aluminum construction for a durable and lasting product
- Spreads lots of dust
4. Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial
Looking for the best plunge router on the market? There’s a lot of debate on who owns the best stop but there’s no doubt that the Festool Router is one of the top contenders.
If a price is not an issue then we recommend this tool for its outstanding cutting ability. It’s a heavy-duty router that can practically saw through any surface without even twitching. What makes this so strong is its firm construction and even firmer handles.
Just because it weighs more doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing control for power. With a high-end technical prowess, this device can adjust depth with high accuracy. For perfectionists who prefer precise measures, the adjustability is exactly what they seek for in a device.
You also get to variable speed control features. With the electronic controls, you can select the exact speed you want to work at. This is a great advantage for when you’re working on complex projects that require optimum precision.
On top of that, unlike lower-end products that make a mess out of your work station every time, this one has advanced dust extraction ports that efficiently extract dust and debris. As a result, cleaning takes no time.
- Easy to maintain and clean because of the dust extraction ports
- Heavy-duty and firm construction make this durable and reliable
- The depth control features are precise and highly adjustable
- With variable speed control, you get more accuracy
- Price is higher than alternatives
5. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit
If you want a device that can do almost all kinds of routing, this is the one you’re looking for. It’s versatility easily places this on the list of best plunge router for woodworking. Starting from precise plunging to laminate trimming, any task you throw at this will be dealt with utmost accuracy.
What many fails to ignore is that woodworking is a work of art and for art, you need the right brushes. The ergonomic handles that are soft on the plunge and wooden on the fixed base are easy to control and maneuver. And with them in hand, you can start your work having both comfort and control.
When you get deeper sometimes the router loses speed. That’s why you need a device that can maintain a constant speed and this is one of those devices. Not just speed it’s equally firm inbuilt. With an aluminum built, this can handle the heavy-duty routing that you’d expect an all-round tool to do.
And when it comes to routing, you get almost one-inch adjustment range along with very precise accuracy. Like most modern devices you also get variable speed features with a range long enough for the versatile work you can accomplish with this.
- The handles are comfortable and give you the control you need
- Device maintains constant speed needed
- Has a firm construction perfect for heavy use
- Depth adjustment and speed control features are also great
- Doesn’t come with vacuum ports
6. DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit
Dewalt is already a favorite among modern woodworkers for the sheer number of features that come along with their products and this one is no different. Being the second Dewalt product on this list, this is just as good as the other if not better.
We had to consider this powerful device for its horsepower and amps. This is a strong device that has the power to finely cut through logs without flinching. If you’re into heavy woodwork, you can consider this.
On top of that, it has a greater range of variable speeds than other Dewalt products that you see. While that does lessen the top speed, it gives you a greater range to select from, as a result, you have more control.
Furthermore, if you’re looking for some above the table adjustment (ATA) this might be it. ATA is fairly new but this one lets you adjust vertically. Alongside that, you can also fine-tune the depth to precision.
Finally, this has a unique tool-free lock for quickly changing bases and adjusting depth. But the lock is also secure so safety won’t be an issue.
- Range of the speed control gives more options
- Powerful device perfect for heavy cutting duties
- It’s quick to work with us you can change bases easily
- Has a tool-free motor lock for extra protection
- The base and housing connection aren’t adequately firm
7. PORTER-CABLE 693LRPK 1-3/4 HP Fixed Router
While going for more features is never wrong, some might find it overwhelming. If you’re looking for a simple device that can do what it’s supposed to without confusing you then you can take a look at this.
For a starter, this is a single-speed device. Meaning you get a strong constant speed that is efficient enough to cut through anything. With a 27500rpm you can hardly ask for more.
As this was intended to make your life easier, the base changing options this is straightforward and fast. You don’t have to get into technicalities and can get your work done with ease.
Moreover, it makes up for its lack of features by introducing the 6 different turret positions. So, when you’re plunging depth adjustment, it can be done with quick and easy motions.
Further, this also features a cam lock that lets you adjust the coarse height and also makes changing bases easier.
But with that said, a modern router is expected to have variable speed and soft start which this does not. But if you’re looking for both fixed and plunged bases with a simple function, this is still worth a shot.
- Simple and straightforward to use
- Features a high speed for efficient cuts
- Has 6 different turret positions to adjust plunging
- Easy to change bases and coarse height with the cam lock
- Doesn’t have soft start or variable speed functions
How to Pick the Right Plunge Router – The Beginner’s Guide
Plunge routers are a go-to power tool for woodworkers. And professionals carry more than one type. But nowadays, hobbyists are also interested in them. However, although it does a great job you have to know certain things about them before you go and buy one.
And if you’re a beginner then it’s all the more necessary that you follow this guide to know your way around the device.
Plunge or Fixed?
The first thing to determine is if you want a plunge or a fixed router or both? Most woodworkers would carry both because both the tools have their distinct functions.
For instance, if you want to cut through a piece with a constant depth then you’re better off with a fixed router because it will allow you to go on without changing the depth of your cut.
But with a plunge router you can change depths while in the middle of plunging without stopping and changing bits. This can make all difference to your workflow as you go through a delicate piece.
Power of the Device
This one is entirely about your own preference. If you work with tough wood then you will need more power and if you work with softer wood then you will need less power.
However, the tricky part here is if you work with versatile wood then what should you do? Well then, our suggestion would be to go for plunge routers with variable speed control.
Also, if you decide that it's safer to go with a powerful tool, then you need to know if you use too powerful of a tool on a softwood, you might get undesired cuts. In the worst-case scenario, the wood might even crack.
The handles need to be comfortable and firm. When buying a plunge router having good handles is more important for plunged routers than on fixed ones.
If you’re continually changing depth as you go, you need a firm control over it. And if the handles are flimsy, you won’t get it. So, when buying, check whether you’re comfortable with the handles or not. Usually, handles have a soft surface to give your hand the support it needs, but inside its firm.
Now there are features specific to plunge routers that will make your life easier if your tool has them. But keep in mind if you’re not familiar with these, then it might be better to not pay attention to these features as they will also make the process more complicated.
With that said, these features are also what makes modern tools so effective and if you want professional result then you ought to have them.
If you start on the edge of a piece you won’t quite need it but if you are into more complicated pieces and need to start plunging from the middle of a wood, then a soft start is almost indispensable.
What it does is, it starts of slow and goes stronger as you go deeper into the piece. As a result, there is no sudden collision and wood dust is also eased out. All in all, to make the overall experience a better soft start is necessary.
Variable Control Speed
How fast the router will go can be changed with this feature. If you’re working on a softwood you might need lower speed. Also, if you’re doing a delicate design the softer speed might be more appreciated.
If you can change the speed as you go on this also means you can complete more versatile tracks without being single-tracked.
The amount of dust that flies around when you rout is very bad for your lungs and also creates extra cleaning works. So, if you have a vacuum port, it can extract some of the dust and debris to ease the load on you. Although, that doesn’t take away all of it, that can help to a great extent.
Advantages of Having a Plunge Router
A plunge router is one of the best modern tools that a woodworker can ask for. If you go to them and ask which device has made their work easier, many will choose these routers without even blinking.
However, for those who are second-guessing their decision, let us help you decide.
Let’s you work on top of the board
Tired of starting on the edge? Unlike fixed routers that only allow working from the edge with plunge routers you can start from the top middle or center. Anywhere you need you can start the router and get your job done.
Now that we have plunge routers it’s almost a mystery how dados and mortices, grooves and rebates, flutes, etc. were done before these nifty tools existed. So, if your work requires these things then you definitely need a plunge router.
Allows depth adjustments while power is on
Unlike devices that need to be turned off in order for the depth to be changed, plunge routers can do it on the go. If you need to change depths then you can simply use the handle to push it up or down as you go to make subtle adjustments.
Invaluable for cutting mortises and dados
Now that we have plunge routers, cutting mortises and dados were never better. You get fine and even cuts while being able to adjust the depth too.
Can start off soft and then hit the power
Another advantage that you can see in some products is that they can minimize the quiver upon contact due to the soft-start feature. With an option like soft start, you can ease into the wood piece and get more grip and control.
Let’s you work on versatile projects
Be it tough wood or soft you can easily change speeds and adjust depth accordingly to get refined fine cuts. This gives you the versatility to work with different objects and take on a wider range of projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Plunge Router?
A plunge router lets you carve wood from the up top without having to start from the edge. It is one of the two main types of router, the other being a fixed router. A plunge router has a pointier bid to let it carve down on to the wood. With a plunge router you can get precise results by carving only where you need to.
Can you use a plunge router as a drill press?
Ans: A plunge router cannot be used as a drill press. Firstly, the bits are a lot different. Plunge router bits are both expensive and designed differently. Even if you get a bit similar to drill bits it will likely cost you manifolds more. Further, these are not for drilling purposes so they won’t work on a lot of surfaces.
Which one’s better, fixed or plunge router?
Ans: Both are good for their own set of activities. A fixed router is better for cutting from the edge and for when you don’t need depth adjustments. However, if you’re cutting through a piece that needs different depth measures, you’re better off with a plunge router.
How deep can a plunge router cut?
Ans: It varies from products and bits. If your bit is longer and is supported by your router then you can cut in deeper. Similarly, a shorter bit won’t go as deep. The accurate measurements are available with the bits.
Can you use a plunge router for edges?
Ans: In plunge routers, the bit is still inside the base so you can start it, then push it down to cut through the edge. However, fixed routers are recommended for cutting through the edge. They have flat bits unlike the pointed ones of plunge routers. And when cutting through the edge, flat bits are better.
Can a plunge router be used as a fixed router?
Ans: Plunge routers can be used with additional kits to make them work as fixed routers. So, if you need the functions of a fixed router, you can just change bases using the kit and have the functionality of the fixed routers temporarily.
We have reviewed the best plunge routers that are on the market right now. But if you’re still unsure of it, then our suggestion would be to go for one with all the intended features. If you want to progress with your craft you will need the options offered to you by the routers.
And if we are talking about an all-round product then we can think of Dewalt Router Fixed/Plunge base kit because it has advanced features like spindle lock. However, if you’re looking for a heavy-duty product that will also last a while, then the Triton is worth a look as well.