Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
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Last updated: January 16, 2021
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One of the essential tools in a workshop is a wood router. You can use a wood router for executing multiple projects that need several grooves, shapes, and designs efficiently and quickly. The versatility of these tools makes them indispensable to any serious craftsman, DIY enthusiast or beginner. In our extensive product research, we realized that while most tools claim to offer excellent performance, not all of them perform as expected.
To prevent you from getting disappointed with your investment, we came up with a list for the best wood router under $100. The top recommendations are based on price, comfort, material, rating, and construction. Purchasing the best budget wood router can be a bit challenging, especially if you’re an amateur woodworker. However, this review has all the necessary information you need to help you make the perfect decision.
Designed with affordability and versatility in mind, the WEN RT6033 works well with multiple bits that come with shanks of ½ or ¼ inches. With a depth of 2-3/8 inches, this machine is quite versatile, making it suitable for a wide range of cutting projects.
Both beginners and professionals can easily use this equipment, and it is not complicated.
With a measurement of 16 x 14 7 inches and a weight of 19 pounds, this machine lies on the bulkier side, but the ergonomic and comfortable handle makes up for this.
It is equipped with a 15-amp motor that can run up to 2.5 Hp power, which should be enough for most cutting tasks. You will find a parallel guide fence in the device to help you make cleat patterns on your workpiece. Despite its budget-friendly price, this machine comes with a 2-year warranty.
What we liked: The WEN RT6033 is a powerful, comfortable, and versatile wood router that can handle a wide range of tasks. Whether you want to cut complex or simple shapes, this will be a reliable option.
What could be better: The plunging mechanism could have been smoother
If you are looking for a heavy-duty yet budget-friendly wood router, consider checking out the Router Tool PR20EVS. This machine features sturdy aluminum construction, and it can offer you many years of fantastic performance. Also included is a hard-plastic case that securely holds the wrench, router, and edging tool.
Moreover, this router provides users a high level of versatility. You can use it for different projects such as cabinet and countertop installation. Its design and size also make it ideal for edge forming jobs such as covers and chamfers. Weighing less than ten pounds, you can use this router as long as you need without experiencing fatigue.
You can easily remove and change the bits in this unit without any problem. Meaning you will spend more time working and less time setting up the machine. We also like the clear markings that help you to make fine adjustments.
What we liked: The Router Tool PR20EVS is among the best wood routers for beginners in the market today. It is versatile, durable, and comes with an edging tool for accurate and precise results.
What could be better: It would have been better if the depth setting was a bit firmer and hold for a longer time.
Another powerful wood router that offers amazing features at an affordable price is the Makita RT0701C. With a compact and lightweight design, this machine features a maximum horsepower that helps you achieve accurate routing results.
One of the most outstanding features is the electronic speed control that makes it easy to constant speed. The feature also offers room for accuracy and precision, making it one of the most powerful routers out there.
The powerful motor features a sturdy aluminum build, which ensures durability and works on different workpieces. Also, the ergonomic design of the router enhances convenience, control, and comfort.
What we liked: The Makita RT0701C is an excellent option for those looking for a compact, versatile, and durable wood router.
What could be better: Adjusting the depth could have been easier.
Whether you are creating intricate inlays or simply making simple trims, the PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 will be a reliable model. This one of the lightest wood routers in the market today as it only weighs only 3.6 pounds. As such, you can use it all day long without experiencing fatigue.
Also included is a 4.5A motor that delivers up to 31,000 RPM. Such speed range allows you to perform a wide range of tasks with this machine. The powerful motto provides a smooth and excellent cutting experience.
For fast release action, this machine features large fastening clips that most craftsmen and DIYers will appreciate. The router also comes with a depth ring for fast and accurate bit height adjustment.
As you can see, you will get a quality performance from this machine without breaking the bank.
What we liked: The PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 is a tough aluminum wood router that can withstand rough conditions. Also, the locking clips included in the package makes it easy to remove the motor.
What could be better: The depth latching mechanism could have been tighter.
If you are looking for an ergonomic wood router, we highly recommend the Avid Power Wood Router Kit. One of the most outstanding features about this machine is the rubber-coated handle that provides maximum comfort and prevents your hands from getting fatigued.
Also, the aluminum body makes the router durable and protects the motor while traveling with the device. The lightweight design and sturdy carrying case included in the package make the wood router highly portable.
The 11A motor delivers up to 25 000 RPM making it suitable for cutting through a wide range of woods. With this tool, you can make different depths of cut, which makes it perfect for edge work cutting accurate bit plunging.
What we liked: All in all, the Avid Power Wood Router Kit is a perfect option for hobby woodworkers and DIY lovers. It is also a great combination of versatility and accuracy.
What could be better: We’ve expected more maneuverability from this product
Another inexpensive wood router on this list is the Ryobi P601 One+. The highly functional rooter comes with a powerful motor that delivers a maximum speed of 29 000 rotations per minute. As you can see, this machine is powerful to work on a different type of wood.
Since this is a cordless wood router, you will have an easy time while handling it. Any woodworker will appreciate the convenience of a cordless tool. A battery powers it so you can use it anywhere you like.
Another impressive thing is the inclusion of LED lights for more convenience, especially when working in poorly lit areas. Then there is the depth-adjustment knob that is well-positioned for an easy reach.
What we liked: The Ryobi P601 comes with an aluminum base for stability and durability. It is also cordless for convenience and has an ergonomic design for comfort.
What could be better: The wrench could have had a better fitting.
Like most of the products on this list, the Lotos ER001 allows you to adjust the motor’s speed based on your project or material. As such, you can set the machine to different speeds for clean cuts.
It features a 1.6 motor that spins at a maximum speed of 30 000 RPM, which lets you achieve enough power for any material surface. You can use the router for different tasks such as woodworking projects and cabinetry.
Weighing only 9 pounds, you can use this machine for long hours without your arms getting fatigued. Then, the rubberized handle offers a comfortable grip and prevents your hands from slipping off while working. Lastly, the fast locking system provides a convenient base change and depth adjustment.
What we liked: Overall, the Lotos ER001 is a lightweight and ergonomic wood router that provides precise cutting features. It also has a versatile design, meaning it can handle a wide range of applications.
What could be better: Adjustment knob is of inconvenient size.
If you are looking for the best wood router for beginners, the Hammerhead HAPR100 will be an excellent option. With a 10A motor that delivers between 10,000 to 28,000 RPMs, this machine is ideal for cutting different woods with precision.
Furthermore, the machine features a handle-mounted control, which makes this machine comfortable and easy to use. You don’t need to worry about the router sliding off your hand and causing an injury with such a feature.
While this is not the lightest model on this list, it has a simple design that makes it a perfect choice for beginners. Lastly, there is an integrated spindle lock that makes it easy and fast to change bits.
What we liked: The Hammerhead HAPR100 is a reliable product that will not strain your budget. The durable construction, accurate performance, and powerful motor make it a great addition to any workshop.
What could be better: The edge guide could have been tighter for better precision.
Things to Сonsider
Looking at these wonderful and affordable wood routers was the easy part. With so many options to choose from, which router is best for you? In this section of the article, we equip you with more knowledge about the best wood routers under $100, making it easy to select the right product for your next project. So, relax and read on.
What to expect from budget wood routers?
Having a wood router under $100 comes with several advantages. Some of these advantages include:
A budget router is affordable, so you can quickly get one without spending too much money.
Another thing is that you will have an easy time making accurate cuts, creating traditional joints for decorative tasks or furniture, and creating curved edges for tabletops and work surfaces.
Due to a wood router’s unique design, you will enjoy a comfortable grip while working. This helps you to achieve consistency and precision.
You will also save time when using a wood router. With this tool, you will end up taking a shorter time on your project.
Lastly, budget wood routers have a simple design so professional crafters, woodworkers, DIY enthusiasts, and beginners can easily use them.
How to work with wood routers
Using a wood router is pretty easy, especially if you follow these instructions. It’s also prudent to follow the safety instructions that come with the wood router package to prevent injuries.
Gather necessary equipment
Start by ensuring you have all the tools you need. Specifically, the materials you should have to have a safe and successful cut include clamps, wood, eye protection, dust mask, wood router, and ear protection.
Secure your workpiece
Ensure your wood router is connected to the outlet. If it is, disconnect it to prevent it from accidentally turning on while inserting bits. Next, choose the right router depending on the task ahead and insert it into the router according to its usage instructions.
Test and Adjust
After inserting your bits, you can now connect the wood router to a power outlet. Then, put on your protective gear and test out the bit’s performance on scrap wood. Testing your wood router helps you determine the pressure and depth needed to achieve the best results.
Once you have tested, adjust the tool’s pressure and depth settings as necessary. If you are still not sure, you can repeat the test using a different bit.
Make the cut
If you are entirely confident in your bit choice and unit settings, begin making your cut.
Like any other woodworking form, you need to follow several safety procedures when using a wood router. Let’s take a look at the tips you need to follow to work safely.
Read the instruction manual.
Most models come with unique features and instructions from the manufacturer. So, before you start using your wood router, you need to read the manual and familiarize yourself with the equipment.
Examine everything before you start working
Check out for any nails, screws, staples, or any other material that can damage your router. Also, ensure that the machine is unplugged before making any adjustments. Then attach your work object securely to the work table or bench.
Another important thing is putting on your safety goggles on latex gloves and only remove them once you leave the woodshop. As a result, you won’t need to worry about wood or other small items getting stuck in your eyes. Wearing tight aprons or other clothing to prevent them from being stuck in the machine.
Hold to the wood router correctly.
You should always firmly hold the machine. Make sure both hands are on the handle and knobs. Once you start the router, anticipate the twisting motion and ensure you have great control and grip on it. Never grab the router’s base.
Unplug and Store the router correctly.
Once you finish your work, turn off the machine and hold it for a few seconds until it stops moving. Next, place it down and unplug it. Never remove the cut-offs while your router is still working. Remove the bit, then use an air hose to remove wood chips and sawdust from the machine.
Maintain the router
Avoid using your router in damp, wet, or moist areas and conduct regular checks ups. Maintain the machine regularly by repairing and replacing damaged or worn parts with original parts from the supplier.
How to pick the best wood router
A wood router is not only powerful but also very effective since it provides cutting edge services. With the availability of a wide range of models in the market today, finding the best wood router under $100 can be intimidating.
However, there is no need to worry because we look at the key factors you need to consider when purchasing a wood router.
Different routers deliver varying amounts of power. If your machine is not powerful enough, it might not work on certain types of woods and lead to shoddy quality work. A powerful model like that of the WEN RT6033 will handle even the toughest projects without any challenges.
One of the most important features in a wood router is the speed. We recommend going for a machine with a variable speed since it allows you to control different speed levels for precision and safety. A good example of such equipment is the Makita RT0701C.
In general, small bits require high-speed while large bits require regular speed. With the variable speed, you can use any type of bits and control it to ensure accurate cuts.
Spindle locks make it easy to change the bits and remove the motor. With a spindle lock, there is no need for two wrenches when changing the bit. You just need to engage the locking collar or push the spring-loaded pin to ensure the motor shaft stays in place, then change the bits.
You cannot be quite sure about how long a particular wood router will last and how effective it will be. A guarantee is the only thing that can give you some assurance of the product’s effectiveness and quality.
So, it is important to pick a model that comes with a guarantee. While the length of guarantee period varies from one model to another, an ideal option will be backed by a minimum of a 1-year warranty. A perfect example of such a product is the PORTER-CABLE PCE6430.
A starter makes the wood router safer to use by preventing the motor from jerking the machine. It gently increases the speed as pre-set by the user.
The type of base of a wood router also determines its effectiveness. There are a wide range of bases, including fixed base, d-handle base, and plunge base. While all these bases are useful, the fixed and plunge base is the most important.
The speed and power of the motor will determine how much noise a router will make. Powerful models tend to make louder noise than a less powerful option. As such, if you prefer working in a silent setting, consider going for a smaller model like the Bosch Router Tool PR20EVS. However, if you don’t mind, a wood router with a powerful motor like the Ryobi P601 One+ is for you.
You still need to look out for extra features in a wood router, such as weight. A heavy machine can be difficult to operate, especially if you are working for long hours. So, it’s important to select a tool with the right balance of performance and weight.
Another thing you need to consider is how easy a wood router is easy to use. Other factors that make a machine easy to use include design, adjustability, and drill bit changes.
The type of bit to use will depend on the type of project you are working on the router you are using. The best way to know the right bit to use on a router is by checking the horsepower rating. Small bits require less router horsepower, while large bits need more wood router horsepower.
You need to look at two things. The type of job you will be performing with the router and how often you will use the machine. Heavy-duty wood routers are ideal for making tough cuts regularly, while light-duty models are best for occasional home projects.
A fixed router has its depth set before switching on the router. As such, you can either insert your piece of wood from the side or place the soleplate to the work surface and rock your bit in place.
On the other hand, in a plunge router, you need to place the sole onto the surface of your wok using a cutter. Then, switch on the router and lower the cutter to lower it into the workpiece. With this design, you can start working from the middle part of the workpiece.
Having a limited budget should not exempt you from having a high-quality wood router. Here are the three products that outdid the rest and can be called the best wood router under $100.
Our top pick is the WEN RT6033, which is a powerful and durable wood router. The machine cuts like a dream, especially for the price. It is among the best wood routers in the market today.
Our second pick is the Bosch Router Tool PR20EVS, which is an excellent wood router. With this equipment, you will have enough power to work on a wide range of materials. Its lightweight design makes it comfortable to work with for long hours.
Our third pick is the Ryobi P601 One+, which is an incredible equipment for every woodworker. It is highly functional, durable, and comes at an affordable price. The cordless nature makes it convenient and highly portable.