Best Router For Router Lift (A Guide For New Woodworkers)

Those viral woodworking videos make it look so easy that your creative heart gets tempted to give your dining table a new look. Or maybe the patio table could use a little refurbishing.

But is your rational heart not on board? 

Well, all viral videos aren’t a lie. Refurbishing your wooden furniture is quite easy. All you need is confidence and a trusty router lift. 

Are you not sure which router lift will be more suitable for you? Well, the answer lies in the router. 

To make matters easier for a newbie like you, we have created a list of what we consider is the best router for router lift.    

We have also added some special segments, safety tips that will make your experience with a router lift more enjoyable. 

So without any delay, let’s right get into the action- 

1. Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router

At A Glance

  • Motor Power: 3.5 HP
  • Base: Fixed
  • Variable Speed: 10,000 to 22,000 RPM
  • Depth Adjustment: 1/64-inch
  • Collet Size: ½ inch
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Weight: 11.8 pounds

Our first product is from a brand that everyone knows. It enjoys an elite status in the woodworking community. And deservedly so. 

Okay, now, let’s cut to the chase. 

So, the first product we have is none other than the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”. 

To talk about its technical configuration- well, it comes with a really powerful motor. Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router motor power is 3.5 horsepower. This is the highest among all the listed product. And, that is one of the main reasons that we put it in the first position. 

Now, we know motor power signifies the ability of a motor to do any task. Meaning, it indicates the efficiency of a motor. The more horsepower, the more efficiently it will carry out the task. 

Now, you should know that 3.5 hp is “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router’s” maximum power. It means when there is no load the power is 3.5 hp. But with a load, it will decrease. 

However, it is still the most efficient router among all the listed ones.

Its speed also varies from 10,000 to 22,000 RPM. The no-load speed is 22,000 RPM. It means without any load the bit will rotate at a speed of 22,000 RPM. 

Now, there is a control system to adjust the speed according to your need. You can slower it or make it go faster. 

“Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router” is a fixed base router. That means you cannot change the depth as you go. 

However, you can change it by changing the height of the router. Through the exclusive linear height adjustment, you can adjust the depth from ⅛ inch to 1/64’’. That’s how micro-fine depth adjustment you get from this product. 

Now, if you are worried that the change in height will make the cord get tangled to the router or it will make the motor vibrate or even the position of motor control will change, then do not worry. 

In the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”, the motor does not spin like the helical systems. It remains constant. So do the power cord and motor controls. 

Now, no complaints about the performance of the product. But we did find two things a bit disappointing.

One is the collet size. There is no variation in the size. The collet that comes with the product is only in one size. And that is ½’’. 

“Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router” only offers this one-size collet, albeit the best one.

Another thing is the price of “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”. The price is not budget-friendly. It is more on the pricier side. Although, it is because “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router” is more of a professional router. 

But we do not think it is very wise for an inexperienced person to buy such an expensive product in their first purchase. Even though it is very simple to use, but for the first time, it is safer to go cheaper.          

2. Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router

At A Glance

  • Motor Power: 2.25 hp
  • Variable Speed: 8,000-25,000 RPM
  • Depth Adjustment: 1/64’’
  • Base Type: Fixed
  • Collet Size: ½, ¼’’  
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Amps: 12 
  • Weight: 11.27 Pounds

The next product is from another well-renowned brand. And one of our personal favorites, Bosch. It is the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router”.

Now, without any delay, let’s get right into the product details…

Let’s start with the motor power. The motor power of the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router” is 2.25 hp. Now, the first thing that comes to mind after seeing this is that the power is less than that of the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”. 

It means the efficiency will also vary. Well, that’s right. Efficiency does vary. The efficiency of the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router” is comparatively less than the previous one. 

Now, 2.25 hp is also the maximum power of it, the no-load power. However, with the increasing load, it will keep on getting lower. 

But do not worry. Even though the power will decrease, it does not mean you won’t be able to do heavy-duty work with this. 

In fact, you can attach quite a heavy load and still work accurately. Because the variable speed of the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router” is quite high. It ranges from 8,000 to 25,000 RPM. 

So, you can execute a range of works with this. Also given the fact that woods are not that hard to penetrate just works as a plus point. 

Now, let’s talk about what we consider to be the best feature of the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router”. 

We think if you want to get a variety of designs with only one product then there is no better option than the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router”.

It not only offers precision but also more options. Just like the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”, its depth adjustment is also 1/64’’. 

Above that, it comes with two types of collet. One is ½’’ and the other is ¼’’. 

You can create whatever design your heart desires.  

Another thing that obliges us to give the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router” a thumbs up, is its price. It is super affordable. The price is ⅕ of that of the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”.   

3. Milwaukee 5615-20 Body Grip Router

At A Glance

  • Motor Power: 1.7 hp
  • Base Type: Fixed
  • Voltage: 120 Volts 
  • No-load Speed: 24,000 RPM 
  • Amps: 11
  • Depth Adjustment: 1-21/32″
  • Collet Size: ½’’, ¼’’  
  • Weight: 8.8 lbs

Who’s surprised to see another Milwaukee product on the list? Well, no one. That’s how amazing their products are.

The third product on the list is the “Milwaukee 5615-20 Body Grip Router”. 

Now, for only this product we would like to do an exception. We want to talk about the external design before the technical specifications. 

No other product on the list has the looks to kill except the “Milwaukee 5615-20 Body Grip Router”. It has a special tactile handgrip design which is a first of its kind. This unique handgrip offers super maneuverability, ultra comfort, and precise control.

Above that, it is the lightest router on the list. Another plus point when it comes to maneuvering the router. It weighs only 8.8 pounds.

The color combination is what makes it more alluring. The body is light grey in color with a red motor. And the handles, bolts are black in color. There is also a black rubber cover at the side that is connected to the base with a hand strap for easier movement. 

Now, moving on to the specification-

The motor power of the “Milwaukee 5615-20 Body Grip Router” is 1.7 hp. Truth be told, we are not that impressed by the power. But when you take the weight of the product in perspective, it does not seem to be a huge issue. It is enough to make a lightweight product such as this work at high speed.

Its depth adjustment is also not as detailed as the previous two. Its depth adjustment is 1- 21/32 inches. However, it does come with more collet variation than the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”. 

Moreover, it is way cheaper than the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”.

4. Triton TRA001 Plunge Router

At A Glance

  • Motor Power: 3 ¼ hp
  • Base Type: Plunge
  • Voltage: 110-120 Volts
  • Variable Speed: 8000-21000 RPM
  • Weight: 14.33 lbs

The last two products on the list are completely different from the previous three. They are altogether a different type. The last two products are plunge base routers. 

You will find the difference between plunge and fixed base routers at the end of our product reviews.  

Now, let’s get back to the details of our fourth product. The fourth product is the “Triton TRA001 Plunge Router”. 

Its motor is really power. Even more powerful than the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router” and the “Milwaukee 5615-20 Body Grip Router”. It is 3 ¼ hp. 

The speed of the motor is also really high. Its variable speed is 8000-21000 RPM, 21000 RPM being the no-load speed. 

Now, because it is a plunge router, its precision is more accurate. However, if you newbie then the plunging depth can be a cumbersome feature to control. But don’t worry. The “Triton TRA001 Plunge Router” comes with a single button that switches it from a plunge router to a fixed-base router. 

It also comes with a special safety feature. The feature is a safety switch shutter that locks the power-on switch while changing the bits.

 5. Hitachi M12VE Plunge Router

At A Glance

  • Motor Power: 3 ¼ hp
  • Base Type: Plunge
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Variable Speed: 8,000 and 22,000-RPM
  • Weight: 11.7 Pounds

We have reached the last product and it is the “Hitachi M12VE Plunge Router”.

Just like the “Triton TRA001 Plunge Router”, it is also a plunge router. That means you can use this product for not only edge-cutting but also for other various molding projects. More importantly, you can use it in the middle of a block of wood. 

Now moving on to the configuration of the product-

The “Hitachi M12VE Plunge Router” is a power-pact router. But that does not mean it starts with a jolt. In fact, it has a very smooth and soft start. 

The variable speed of the router is 8,000 and 22,000-RPM. Its no-load speed is slightly higher than the “Triton TRA001”. 

Lastly, the price of the product. Well, price-wise, it is in the mid-range. Meaning, it is cheaper than the “Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Router”. But more expensive than the “Bosch 1617EVS Variable-Speed Router” and the “Milwaukee 5615-20 Body Grip Router”. 

Now, you may think the plunge routers seem quite nice even nicer than some products on the list. Then why did we put them in these positions?

Well, to know that you need to read the following segment… 

Fixed-Base Router VS Plunge-Base Router: Which Way To Go?

best router for router lift

Well, there are basically three types of routers available in the market. Fixed-base, plunge-base, and combination routers. But combination routers are mainly a combination of fixed-base and plunge base routers.

So, for the sake of the argument, we will skip that. And only compare between fixed-base and plunge routers. 

Plunge Base Router

Plunge base routers are the ones you can plunge or move up and down while you are carving a block of wood. 

Now, in a plunge base router, the bit is fixed in the collet, like in a fixed-base router. However, the base is not fixed. It can plunge up and down. All credit goes to its spring-loaded arms  

Because of this special feature, people find plunge routers to be more suitable to carve the middle portion of the wood. You can do various styles such as fluting, dados, mortices, grooves, etc that is not quite possible with fixed-base routers. 

Moreover, you can also cut the edges with this. The advanced plunge-base routers are well suited to do all those things that a fixed-base can do. Because they come with a lock that fixes the base and transforms them into a temporary ‘’fixed’’-base router.   

But we think plunge routers are more of a lone-wolf than an ensemble. 

They work amazingly on their own and some may even find it easier. But when working with a router table, the plunge system may be a little difficult to navigate.   

Fixed-Base Router

Now, the base of the fixed-base router will be fixed. Well, this we can get from the name as well. But what does it mean? 

It means that the position of the bit is fixed because the base is fixed. You cannot move the bit up and down while you are working on a project.

Now, this does not mean that fixed-base routers offer only one depth. No. They can offer a variation of depth. But you would need to set them manually. 

Once you have set the depth, the bit will keep on curving the wood in that exact depth. 

This process is simpler, hence, easier for an amateur woodworker. 

Now, when we are talking about the best router, you need to understand we are talking about a router that amplifies the benefits of a router lift. Not one that may be best on by itself. 

And when we analyze in this context, fixed-base takes the lead. 

Because in a router table where the router lift is upside-down and the router is under the table, it is better to set the depth manually. It will be quite cumbersome for you to plunge the depth and concentrate while working. Not to mention, deadly. 

Therefore, even with all the benefits of a plunge router, we think for a newbie, a fixed-base router will be the optimal choice.      

Let’s Talk a Bit About Bits

Now, bits are the actual components that do all the work. They are the workers here. So, it is important to know more about them. Because without grasping the concept of using which bit to get what design, you cannot make the most out of your router.

Let’s start with the size of the bits. The most common sizes that you will get are ½’’ and ¼’’ bits. Between them, ½’’ is the sturdier and stiffer. It also vibrates less due to its bigger size. Hence, it cuts smoother. 

Next is the material of the bits. The most common materials used to make bits are high-speed steel and carbide-tipped. Both are quite durable. 

Lastly, the design of the bits. Depending on the purpose, bit size varies. For instance, you will get bits of various profiles to do grooving, dovetailing, coving, etc. 

Few Safety Tips to Follow     

Now, woodworking is not necessarily dangerous work. But one can never predict accidents. So, precaution is always a wise decision. 

Therefore, we have listed a few tips for you to avoid unwanted outcomes. Let’s check them out-

Tip 1: Secure the Surface

Now obviously, you do not want to cut the surface you are working on when you are working with a router. 

So, to avoid it the best option is to use a router mat. They offer a non-skid surface and protect the worktable. 

Moreover, they are easily available and cheap to purchase.   

Tip 2: Gear Up!!

It is important to wear appropriate protective gear while working with a router. 

The first thing you need to protect is your eyes, second is your nose. And lastly, you need to cover your ears. 

When you cut a block of wood with the router, sawdust flies all over the place. If they get into your eyes, then they can cause serious harm. So, you better wear goggles. 

Now, you can even inhale the sawdust. And that’s not better either. So, use a mask as well. 

Lastly, earplugs are a must too. Because the router can be quite loud and cause permanent hearing damage. 

Therefore, to keep yourself safe and healthy, you must gear up!

Tip 3: Don’t Be Hasty

Now, the router is a comparatively heavy machine. So, you cannot work with it half-heartedly. 

You need to give your all attention and patience. Woodworking is all about focus and patience. 

Not that only haste will ruin your wood, but it can be dangerous as well. 

Tip 4: Always Go Clockwise

Always remember that router rotates clockwise. So, you should also hold the router firmly and go from left to right. 

If you went from right to left by mistake, chances are your router will run wild over the wood. And you may lose control and get into an accident. 

Tip 5: Keep Your Station Clean

Now, as you will work, your workstation will get covered by sawdusts. To get a good result, cleanliness is important. 

Therefore, you should clean your workstation after every turn. Some router provides cleaning brushes with their kits just for this purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does the Triton TRA001 Plunge Router come with a winder or do I have to buy it separately?

Answer: No, there is no need to buy a winder because the Triton TRA001 Plunge Router comes with one.

Question: What model is the Hitachi M12VE Plunge Router?

Answer: The Hitachi M12VE Plunge Router is a single-phase 120 volts 60 Hz model. 

Final Words 

We have come to the end. Now, we hope you can choose the best router for router lift without any sort of confusion. 

Now, we know that preferences vary but we tried to be as objective as possible. Just keep in mind we ranked the product in the context of what will be more suitable for a router lift.

Kevin Smith

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