A router is an important tool for any woodworker, but in order to get the most out of your router, you’ll also need a router table. It’s arguably just as important as the router, but many people aren’t sure what features a router table should have.
If you’re in search of the best router table, you’re in the right place. We’ve selected our five favorites for 2020 and put together a detailed router table buying guide to help you select the best option for your needs.
Router Table Reviews
Not sure where to start? We’ve found the five best tables for 2020. Here’s a closer look at our router table reviews:
If you’re looking for the best benchtop router table, this option from Bosch has a lot to like. Although portable, it also has a wide surface that allows you to work on large pieces of wood.
It’s well-made, too. The aluminum mounting plate is durable and rigid, creating a reliably flat work surface. The fence is also made of aluminum, with MDF faceplates to help aid precision.
Aside from its portability, another major feature is its versatility. It fits a wide range of routers. The plate is pre-drilled for a precise and secure fit.
Overall, it’s a good choice for pros who need an option to take from job site to job site, as well as at-home hobbyists who don’t have much room to spare in their shop or garage.
- Portable and easy to set up
- Durable and flat aluminum base
- Fits a wide range of routers
- Table legs can interfere with balance
- MDF might warp over time
If you’re a home hobbyist looking for a great router table that won’t break your budget, check out Skil’s RAS900 Router Table. Although probably not strong enough for professional projects, it’s great for DIYers because it’s easy to set up and use.
It has a unique folding design that requires minimal assembly. Plus, a quick-release mount allows you to connect and detach a wide variety of different routers easily.
Overall, the Skil RAS900 is our pick for the best budget router table. It’s a great choice for home improvement projects and woodworking. However, note that it’s not as solidly constructed as some other options on our list.
- An excellent option for home DIYers
- Easily connects to most workbenches
- Ideal for home improvement projects
- Relatively inexpensive compared to similar models
- The wooden fence can warp over time
- Replacement parts are difficult to find
If you want a premium standalone router table and have the budget, go with the Kreg PRS1045. Although definitely on the pricier side, you do get what you pay for, making this our choice for the best premium router table.
It’s a heavy-duty table with a well-made fence system and steel stand. You can tackle just about any type of heavy-duty, commercial project. You’ll find this table used by professionals across many industries.
However, despite its top-of-the-line design, it’s easy and safe enough for even amateurs to use. It’s self-squaring with a precise, simple insert-plate system. Plus, the legs on the steel stand easily adjust to practically any height.
- Extremely high quality with adjustable, heavy-duty steel stand
- Suitable for professional jobs
- Durable and long-lasting
- Easy to use
- The high-end model isn’t budget-friendly
- Requires assembly
Kreg has a well-established reputation for building quality router tables, but if the PRS1045 isn’t the right choice for you, the PRS2100 is an excellent (and more affordable) alternative. It’s strong enough for industrial jobs but also works well right at home.
It has an extra-large tabletop. Measuring 16 by 24 inches, it’s made from MDF with an aluminum fence. Plus, it has three Level-Loc rings for the easy attachment and removal of many different routers.
Another feature we like is how wide the stance is for the steel stand. Even though it’s a large router table, it stays steady, even during big jobs. It also has vertical jointing, cam clamps, adjustable faces, and a dust collection system.
- Sturdy and stable construction
- Large 16 by 24 inch tabletop
- Easy to adjust for different routers
- Center plate can move slightly
- Assembly instructions are confusing
When working with large pieces of wood, it helps to have a table with extensions, such as this model from Goplus. The table itself is 18 by 13 inches but It has extension tables on both ends that can add an extra 8 by 13 inches each.
Another feature we like is the easy-slide surface. It allows you to move large pieces of wood around with precision but without a loss of control.
The aluminum alloy construction means it’s durable and solid. Rustproof and waterproof, you can leave it outside on the job site without worrying about environmental damage. Plus, even though it’s well-made, it’s also lightweight, which allows for easy portability. Finally, it’s one of the most affordable router tables on the market.
- Extra-wide table when extensions are use
- Aluminum alloy is durable and lightweight
- Weather-resistant for outdoor use
- Very affordable
- Metal sections on the table are sharp
- Making fine adjustments to the fence is difficult
While there’s lots to like about all of the tables listed above, our recommendation for the top router table overall is the Bosch Benchtop Router Table. It’s an excellent all-around choice because it’s well-made, easy-to-use, and suitable for both DIYers and professionals.
With aluminum construction, it’s strong for tough jobs. Plus, because it’s a benchtop table, it’s both portable and easy to store, even in a home garage. It’s also rust and water-resistant, so you can leave it outside for the day in harsh weather if necessary.
Router Table Buying Guide
What is a Router and Why is it Important?
Wood routers are one of the most versatile and useful tools for any woodworker. They cut, trim, and shape wood. Both professional and amateur woodworkers rely on wood routers to make all types of decorative effects like you see on cabinetry and moulding as well as the shapes needed for all kinds of joinery such as rabbet and dado joints.
There are a truly amazing number of router bits available for just about any shape you can think of. If you’re getting into woodworking and don’t have a router yet, you’ll be amazed at the quality work you can create when you get one.
What is a Router Table Use For?
As the name implies, a router table is a special type of bench that holds a wood router. The router is mounted on the table’s base with the bit facing upwards. You place the wood on the table’s surface and move it across the router bit.
Since the bit is fixed in place and you can guide the wood using a fence, a router table makes it possible to do very precise and straight forms, great for all kinds woodworking projects such as:
- Creating dovetail, box, and finger joints
- Cutting slots and grooves
- Edge jointing (think of it as a great way to save money on a dedicated jointer)
- Trimming or shaping edges, even with complex shapes
- Shaping long, thin stock (very hard to do with a handheld router)
Features to Consider When Choosing a Router Table
Is there a best router table for all situations? Not exactly. Instead, you want to choose the best table for your specific needs.
Before you start shopping, develop a clear understanding of how you’ll use your router. Are you a DIY crafter looking for increased precision in your cuts? Or are you a professional carpenter who needs a table that can withstand all-day, heavy-duty use?
Once you’ve established your needs, here are the features to consider:
The most important to consider is also the most easily overlooked: Will your router fit on the table?
Router tables don’t have a universal fit. The router you own won’t necessarily fit on every table. Some router tables only fit specific brands and models of routers. Others fit many different types. Check measurements and compatibility before making your purchase.
It is possible to drill holes yourself to fit a router, but it’s really easier just to look for a table that’s already built to fit your router.
Standalone vs. Benchtop Router Tables
There are basically two types of router tables: standalone and benchtop.
A standalone router table is an independent piece of equipment. Although not particularly mobile, it’s often the most stable option. If you have a large workshop and plenty of space, a standalone table may be the better choice.
However, benchtop router tables work well in many situations, too. Benchtops mount on top of your workbench. As long as it remains correctly mounted to the stand, you can perform pretty much the same work on a mounted table as a standalone one, except for some heavy-duty commercial work.
Benchtop tables do have several advantages over standalone types, especially for home or jobsite use:
- They’re portable
- They require less space for use and storage
- They’re often more affordable than standalone models
The basic design of router tables isn’t particularly complicated and usually doesn’t vary significantly between brands. However, what does make a big difference is the quality of the construction. Choose a table built with high-quality materials. Specifically, check out these aspects of the table:
If the table isn’t flat, the quality and precision of your cuts will be off. Even a relatively minor misalignment can result in uneven edges, skewed joints, and other problems. Don’t automatically assume the table is flat.
A flat top is made from a rigid material. The three most popular materials used to make router table tops are:
Many tables use a combination of all three materials. For example, an aluminum table with MDF fences is a common configuration.
MDF is cheaper than aluminum, so a table made entirely of fiberboard might be of low quality. For higher quality, you’ll want a table made from aluminum. It’s the strongest. Plus, it’s waterproof and rust-resistant, making it ideal for prolonged use on the job site.
However, many high-quality MDF and resin tables will also work well. They’re durable and lightweight, making them a good choice if you want a portable table. Many benchtop router tables make substantial use of fiberboard.
Cutting wood on the table applies downward pressure. If the table isn’t strong, it can move inward as you bring the saw down into the wood.
Additionally, the table must also support the weight of the router, especially when it’s affixed underneath.
The table is only as secure as its base. With a standalone table, make sure the legs have proper spacing and wide, secure feet. You don’t want the table to wobble, as that causes the router to bounce around and lose contact with the wood.
Support is equally important for a benchtop table. Make sure it easily attaches to your workbench. Once attached, it shouldn’t move around. Of course, how well it attaches depends somewhat on the type of bench, but a well-made table should fit securely on most standard workbenches.
Router tables come in a variety of surface sizes which can really impact the kind of projects you can do as well as the space they take up. Think about whether you’ll be doing smaller, precise shaping work or larger projects that require more tabletop space.
Whether you’re just getting into woodworking or a seasoned woodworker, a router and a router table will greatly expand the projects you can tackle. Once you get a router table, you’ll probably kick yourself for not getting on sooner.
A finally, one pro tip. In general, our philosophy is to buy just enough tool for your needs. But the more precision work you’ll be doing, the more important quality is. So for routers and router tables, where precision is the name of the game, aim a little higher than you think you might need. A stable, flat, router table with solid attachments and quality fence will never do you wrong!