Our guide to buying a reliable router

If you’re on the lookout for a full-sized woodcutting router, the sheer number of products on the market can make the choice confusing. Before you spend hours searching the internet for advice and recommendations, we’ve put together a guide on how to purchase a router that will last.

Whether you need a router for your trade or a DIY project, there are two names that stand out from the crowd. For reliability and power, we recommend DeWalt and Festool, two trusted manufacturers who have led the field in recent years.

A router is a heavy duty wood cutting device on a fixed or plunge base. In this instance, we’re examining products at the higher end of the market, specifically routers with a plunge base used by those in the trade. These models are able to perform a wider variety of cuts in comparison to fixed based ones.

Need to cut, trim, join, carve or hollow? A good router can make light work of almost any job. The versatility of this tool is also down to the number of accessories available, so look at what’s on offer to select the best all-rounder.

What to look out for:

  1. High power output – you need a tool with enough power to cut through the toughest wood
  2. Soft-start motor – to ensure a smooth start for greater precision
  3. Plunge action – look for a smooth plunging mechanism
  4. Variable speed – this is important for different materials and tasks
  5. Dust extraction – to avoid build-up and clogging

There are two size options available on most leading brands, a quarter inch or half inch collet (the sleeve that holds the bit). However if you’re looking for the ultimate machine it’s best to go for a half inch router as it can be adjusted down in size.

The benefits of a DeWalt router

Enjoying a long-established history in tool manufacturing, the DeWalt Products Company began life in 1924 and has grown to be one of the biggest names in the industry. In 1994, DeWalt bought out German power tool business ELU, a manufacturer with a reputation for forward-thinking technology. This has led to an impressive offering of powerful routers that are worth the investment.

We stock a range of plunge routers from DeWalt which offer no-load speeds of between 8000 and 2400 rpm. Other key features include: electronic speed control for consistency; soft start to eliminate misaligned movement from a rapid start; and a precision guide for cutting accuracy. DeWalt has a patent on its plunge arms, which are coated to make the action smoother no matter how dusty they get. Cheaper routers have plastic shields to prevent dust build-up but these aren’t as effective. Prices start from £234.35 for the DeWalt DW615 Plunge Router 110V and 230V.

The advantages of a Festool router

Festool’s routers are ergonomically designed for a smooth glide, and are available in the quarter and half inch collet sizes. Although in the higher price bracket, the three-year manufacturer’s warranty makes it a guaranteed investment.

Its distinctive one-handed design is innovative but means it’s important to try before you buy. Some of our customers love the shape while others prefer the traditional style. We’ve got a selection on display at our shop for you to handle. Our Festool routers start from £389.64 for the Festool OF 1010 EBQ-Plus Router 240V, which features electronic feedback control, a quick-acting brake and chip extractor.

We also stock a range of router accessories including jigs, cutters and guide rails for the perfect finish on all jobs. If you need advice or guidance, pop in store and speak to our expert team, and we’ll find the router that’s right for you.


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