"Router Table" by Jennifer Feuchter

When it comes to cutting large materials, such as countertops and doors, do-it-yourselfers have two options: use a handheld router or a router that can attach to a router table.

Router tables offer cleaner cuts and smoother surfaces. Luckily, many tool companies now make router tables that work with a variety of routers, so both novices and advanced woodworkers will find one that suits their needs.

Router tables must usually be purchased separately from the routers themselves; however, some companies also offer routers that come with the tables. Choosing a router and table generally depends on the user’s comfort level with both routers and the type of project.

Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table

Bosch ra1181 Benchtop Router Table

The Bosch benchtop router table has an extremely versatile design and was created to cut may different types of materials. It can easily cut tall stock and is supported by adjustable MDF face plates for smooth operation.

Founded in North America in 2003, the Bosch Tool Corporation has been a solid addition to the Bosch engineering brand. They focus on the addition of new products and adding new innovative products at a fast rate. Bosch creates tools and accessories that they hope will last a lifetime.

Compatible with most routers, this benchtop router table comes with mounting hardware for several routers. With a dual outlet switch, two adjustable feather boards, a six-foot power cord, MDF faceplates, mounting hardware and an aluminum fence, it should include everything the user will need for set up. Its work surface measures 27 by 18 inches.

This benchtop router table is easy to assemble, and the instructions’ pictures make it easy to understand the directions. Users find the feather boards to be extremely useful, and the switches and outlets are easy to reach. Most users find the table to be a good size for most projects, as well as sturdy and easy to adjust.

Though most users found the exterior power switches and outlets convenient to handle, the power switch proved to be a little tricky to use. Some users found that even the slightest movement or pressure would cause the router’s power to turn off. Many users accidentally broke the plastic lever without much force.

Though the pictures made the set up easier, the written instructions were difficult to understand. The lock nuts that bolt the legs to the table can loosen and fall out when the router is on, forced off by the vibration.

A good quality router table, the Bosch RA1181 is relatively user friendly. For the price, the table is a good option for both woodworkers who are a little more experienced and have used other router tables and users who are relatively new to such tables.

Kreg PRS1040 Precision Router Table System

Kreg prs1040 Precision Router Table System

This precision router table assists the do-it-yourselfer in getting projects finished with fast. Perfect for big or small jobs, it can help cut a variety of large surface sizes, like countertops, closet doors and exterior paneling.

Kreg makes products for people who like making things from scratch but wants simple and easy tools. They keep their products simple so more complex projects can be finished with ease. They also strive to create affordable high-quality tools that will last long after you’re finished with your project.

This router includes an aluminum fence that is fully enclosed, keeping projects precise and helping to keep dust off the floor. Keeping vibration noise at a minimum is one of Kreg’s goals, and the MDF top has a thick phenolic insert plate can be used with any router, while the dual reducing ring has three leveling lock-down screws.

This table is easy to assemble and comes with easy-to-understand directions and all set-up materials. This table ships with a very sturdy stand, an aluminum fence and laminate coated table top. Most users find that this router table is easy to operate and performs a very accurate cut.

While many users are happy with table, they do experience some drawbacks. Although the table is easy to assemble and the laminate coated table top is sturdy, the aluminum assembly is extremely fragile, and the nylon screws can cross thread when they are screwed into the metal. The ruler set screw protrudes from the table’s surface, and projects can ride on the screw in this section of the tabletop. This table also does not come with a router lift.

Out of all the router tables, this is the most expensive router in the bunch, and the most complex; therefore, it seems to be a good option for the more experienced woodworker. While the table is easy to assemble and easy to use, fragile parts should not break so easily on a table of this price point.

Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo

Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo

This router and router table combo is the best of both worlds. It is as easy to use as it is powerful and comes with a 1 ¾ horsepower motor that can be used on even the most solid and had to cut materials. The table top is 334-square inches large and provides a smooth working surface. It stands on a sturdy cast aluminum base.

An American company, Craftsman was established in 1927. Craftsman began to establish a high standard in the tool industry, originally creating a line of saws. They now offer a large range of tools and accessories and were ranked number one in quality in a 2001 consumer survey.

This table is the only one in the bunch that comes with its own router. It has a ¼ inch collect, a dust extraction port, dust guard, a wrench table, fence, feather boards and a miter gauge. It has a convenient double outlet power strip for additional tools. This power strip also comes standard with a lock for safety. The router has a 1-3/4 HP motor.

Most users find that this router and table come at a great value and perform well. Perfect for novice woodworkers, the table is very user friendly and well-engineered.

While users find the table is inexpensive and comes with a variety of options, the inserts and fence are made of thin plastic and are easily broken. As it is almost flush with the table, the collect bin doesn’t hold much dust. This table also does not come standard with router bits—that most other router table offer—so those must be purchased separately. Most users did not mind buying additional router bits but wished the product stated they were not included.

Since the table comes with its own router, it is the best value out of the bunch—especially considering its low price point; however, since the table and router are sold as one solid piece, if either the table or router break, the entire piece will need to be fixed or replaced. This table is a great starter table and perfect for the novice woodworker.

Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table

Bench Dog 40-001 Benchtop Router Table

Both novices and pros will appreciate this router table. A heavy-duty aluminum frame keeps all project flat and square. This product also includes sub-fences and bit guard.

Bench Dog was founded in 1995 by Norston Fontaine and Karen Slatter, based on the idea that everyone should have access to high-quality tools. Since 1995, the company has grown to include a line of router tables, accessories and tools. Their tools are used by woodworkers who range from novices to professionals.

Bench Dog’s 40-001 table comes with a plastic laminate top and an acrylic insert that holds most routers. Included is an aluminum fence that has T-slots. All hardware and assembly instructions are included, and the table comes with a limited two-year warranty.

Clear instructions and quality hardware make set up a breeze as does the one-piece fence makes set up extremely easy and sub fences can be easily adjusted.

One downside on this table is the setup for multiple machines. To change a bit with certain routers, one must remove the router and plate. There is no easy on-off switch on the outside of the table, so users must open the table door to turn the router on and off. Some users find the European hinges a little complex and feel they do not work as well as hinges on American or German brands.

Easy to assemble, easy to use and at a relatively low price point, this table is the best in the bunch and is perfect for both the new and advanced woodworker. A two-year warranty ensures the table will hold up after every use, and the easy-to-use instructions make set up a breeze. Though it is not compatible with all routers, users can check to make sure their router will fit the table before purchase.

Conclusion

While choosing the right router table for your project can seem like a daunting task, there are plenty of tables on the market that range in price, features and value. Luckily, most of the router tables at the lower price points were easier to set up and offered many of the same features the pricier ones offered.