It doesn’t matter whether you are a novice or an expert; a benchtop router table is an essential tool in any woodshop. It increases your versatility, gives you the flexibility to tackle multiple projects, and above all, it makes you more accurate and precise.
If you want the best results with your woodwork projects, you need the best benchtop router table. With that as our core aim, we scoured the internet to bring you our top recommendations.
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The 6 Best Benchtop Router Tables
#1. Bosch RA1141 Portable Benchtop Router Table
- Ultra-portable design – Features folding legs for fast setup and easy storage
If you like the idea of taking your router table with you, this Bosch is ultra-portable. It has an easy-click mounting system and no leveling, along with easy bit changes.
The top is laminate MDF for smooth cuts, it has onboard storage for all your vital accessories, and it comes completely assembled, so it is ready to go straight out of the box.
You get a tall fence with two adjustable featherboards for increased precision and control, as well as a starter pin and guard for working with curved pieces.
The whole unit weighs 33 pounds, has a table surface area of 26 inches by 16.5 inches, and you also get dust collection. Well, that’s the good, but what about the not-so-good.
Many customers have complained that there is a lot of plastic on this table, making it feel a little bit flimsy. On the plus side, it is competitively priced, so that might help to steer you past the negatives.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Onboard storage.
- Two adjustable featherboards.
- Comes with a starter pin and guard.
- Feels flimsy.
- Lots of plastic elements.
#2. Kreg PRS2100 BenchTop Router Table
- Industrial-quality fence containing adjustable faces, dust collection, vertical jointing and new cam clamps
When you want a benchtop router table that is sturdy and easy to level, plus it has large rubber feet to absorb vibrations, this Kreg is a worthy candidate.
It comes with an industrial-quality fence that contains adjustable faces, dust collection, vertical jointing, and new cam clamps. The tabletop measures 16 inches by 24 inches, and just like the previous model featured, it has an MDF top with an easy-slide surface.
This reduces drag on your woodwork projects and increases your precision. The stand is heavy-duty steel, so it doesn’t feel flimsy, and it can also withstand the punishment of day-to-day use.
You also get a full-size insert, 3 level lock rings, insert plate levelers, and a vacuum shroud for a dust-free and clean workspace.
This benchtop router lacks any storage, unlike the Bosch, and it also costs more, which might make a difference if the budget is tight.
- Sturdy construction.
- Easy-slide MDF tabletop.
- It has large rubber feet.
- Vacuum shroud for dust extraction.
- No storage whatsoever.
- It costs more than the Bosch.
#3. Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181
- Benchtop router table design – Features a large aluminum top for extended work area, durability and precision
This router table costs more than the other Bosch featured on the list, and you can see why. It has an extendable aluminum tabletop that is hard-wearing, gives a smooth surface, and increases your accuracy.
You get a rigid aluminum mounting plate, which is pre-drilled to mount several different routers, and easy-to-use adjustable featherboards for accuracy and to reduce kickback. You also get an extra-tall fence for better versatility.
It has a 2.5-inch dust collection port to remove sawdust safely and efficiently, and you get the same starter pin and guard for working with curved pieces. This table certainly has the look and feel of something more sturdy.
However, as we said at the start, this table is more expensive, and while it has some onboard storage, it is pretty limited. On the upside, the tabletop is a lot bigger, measuring 27 inches by 18 inches.
- Extendable aluminum tabletop.
- 2.5-inch dust port.
- Extra-tall fence for increased versatility.
- Comes with a starter pin and guard.
- Lacks real storage.
- More expensive than the other Bosch.
#4. Ryobi Universal Router Table-A25RT03
- This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, and may arrive in a generic box
If you are just starting out in the woodwork world and are looking for a beginner or intermediate benchtop router table, this Ryobi is a great place to start. It lacks many features of other tables, but you do save a packet on the price.
So, what do you get for your money? You get a 32-inch by 16-inch laminated MDF tabletop for less drag on your projects and better precision, and an adjustable fence with joining capabilities.
You also get 5 throat plates, a miter guide, a featherboard, and a starter pin. This is an excellent choice for a starter benchtop router table because you are not restricted to using a Ryobi router. It is universal!
Obviously, the quality of the table is not as good as the more expensive ones, and the slide guide on the table is not a standard 0.75-inch width, which makes it difficult to use your featherboards.
- Amazing price.
- Great for starters or intermediate.
- Fits most router brands.
- It lacks many features.
- It lacks the quality of other models.
- The slide guide is not a standard size.
#5. SKIL RAS900 Router Table
- Accessory storage containers protect and store accessories with router table
This SKIL router table falls somewhere between beginner and intermediate for quality and price. It has onboard storage, a bit height gauge to improve setup and accuracy, and a starter pin and guard for working with curved projects.
It folds down for easy storage and maneuverability, and it has a smooth laminated MDF tabletop, which measures 26 inches by 18 inches.
It has a tall fence for flexibility, dual featherboards, a miter gauge, and a quick-release router mount that detaches in seconds.
The only negatives with this SKIL router table are that it was manufactured in China, so the components are of lesser quality, and it feels a bit flimsy, with many plastic elements.
- Great price.
- Quick-release router mount.
- Smooth laminated MDF tabletop.
- Onboard storage.
- Feels flimsy with lots of plastic.
- Made in China.
#6. Kreg Precision Router Table System
- 24" x 32" router table top includes a router insert plate with three molded Level-Loc reducing rings
If you want a router table that is more substantial, this Kreg model ticks the boxes. It has a 24-inch by 32-inch tabletop with a router insert plate and 3 Level-Lock reducing rings.
It has a T-square-shaped router table fence featuring a micro-adjusting wheel for precision and a powder-coated steel frame for durability and weather resistance. You can buy 4 casters for increased maneuverability, but they cost extra.
The tabletop is MDF with an easy-glide coating to help reduce the resistance of your projects on the surface and to increase your accuracy.
The outfeed anchor has been designed to give you more table space and to make it easier to remove, and the stand adjusts from 31 inches to 39 inches in height.
The downside is weight. This router table weighs almost double that of other models, making it harder to maneuver, and the only way to make that task easier is to spend more money on the casters.
- 24-inch by 32-inch tabletop.
- Easy-glide laminate MDF tabletop.
- Improved outfeed anchors.
- Powder-coated steel frame.
- This unit weighs almost 70 pounds.
- It is not very maneuverable without the casters.
What Is a Router Table?
A router table is a specialist tool where a hand-held router can be fixed upside down, so the router cutter protrudes through a hole in the table. Most tables are universal in that they are not restricted to a particular router brand, although be careful because some are.
The wood is then fed along the table towards the router bit to be shaped and cut. Router tables come with a host of accessories and attachments to help you get the most accurate cuts possible and increase your versatility.
Because the router is mounted upside down, the bit spins anti-clockwise instead of clockwise, and the material is pushed towards the router rather than the router towards the wood.
There are two main styles of router table:
Benchtop router tables are pretty much what their name suggests. They are smaller than fixed or cabinet-style tables, and they sit atop a bench or tabletop. They usually come with brackets to secure them, and they hold hand-held routers.
If you have smaller woodworking projects or only use a router table occasionally, these models are excellent because they are versatile and less expensive than cabinet-style router tables.
Fixed or cabinet router tables are also called freestanding tables, with more table surface, which increases the scope of the projects you can undertake.
Generally they are floor mounted, and don’t fit onto a tabletop, so they need a dedicated space within the workshop, but you can get some models that have removable legs so they can either sit on top of a table or freestand on the floor, although this is rare.
Fixed router tables are more expensive, but they are also more robust and better quality, meaning they have fewer plastic elements and more metal components.
Types Of Router Tables
Essentially, there are 3 types of router table:
A full router table is a professional tool used in machine shops, factories, and bespoke wood shops to produce goods on an industrial scale. It is complicated, expensive, and takes years of practice to master.
You could spend upwards of $2,000 or $3,000 to purchase one, although they can cost considerably more. It is highly unlikely that you will ever see a full router table in a domestic setting.
A compact router table is smaller and easier to maneuver. It can be stored away more easily, and costs way less than the professional-grade models. Because it is smaller, the table size reduces, which restricts the types of tasks you can undertake.
However, for domestic woodworking and hobby use, it should still cope with every demand thrown at it. It’s partly the reason why these types of router tables are more popular with homeowners and part-time woodworkers.
Standard router tables are among the most common designs, with a tabletop measuring 22 inches by 16 inches and are generally stationary tools, so be prepared to create enough space in the workshop.
Many come with their own stands, although some have removable legs. They are robust, with metal components and frames, and often they have large rubber feet for added grip and vibration reduction.
Considerations for Buying the Best Benchtop Router Table
So, what are the main features to look for when buying a new benchtop router table? Is it the maneuverability or the router mount? Let’s look at some of the main considerations.
The material your router table is made from is important because it tells you how robust it will be. It also informs you how long you should expect the table to last. The more plastic elements in the construction, the weaker it will be, which reduces the useful lifespan.
Look for steel construction and try to steer away from too many plastic parts that can snap, become brittle, or just wear out. A lot of cheaper benchtop router tables have plastic components because it keeps the costs down.
Everything comes down to the price, no matter what the budget. If it doesn’t feel like value for money, it probably isn’t. It is true that the more you pay gets you a better quality benchtop router table.
Most decent models retail between $200 and $400, so if your new table costs somewhere within that margin, you are probably doing okay and have a reasonably-priced tool.
The size of the router table makes a difference because it affects the size of the projects you can undertake. Table dimensions vary massively, with some measuring 26 inches by 18 inches and others spanning 24 inches by 32 inches.
Benchtop models tend to have a smaller surface area, and you can expect more significant dimensions on the freestanding router tables.
Double-check that your router is compatible with your new router table before you purchase. Some claim their products are universal, which means they will work with all makes and models, but it’s worth checking anyway.
Be aware that some manufacturers make router tables that only work with their routers. Bosch is big on this. Making a router table that is only compatible with associated routers is a sly way of tying you into their product range.
This is fine if you are splashing out on a new router and router table, but if you want a table for your existing router, it could work out to be expensive.
The first consideration with the mounting plate is it should be compatible with your existing router. Once you establish it is, there are other things to think about. You want a plate that comes with 3 lock reduction rings, And you want it to be secure.
Your router creates a lot of torque, so the mounting plate needs to handle all this power. How the router clips in is another factor. Some have quick-release catches that speed up the mounting and dismounting time of your router.
Don’t choose a mounting plate that is too flimsy, and the same goes for the clip to hold the router. Once your router is locked in place, it should feel secure.
The slots enable the miter gauge and other accessories to help you cut precise angles in your wood. Often, they are T-shaped, and they work in harmony with the fence. Without the slots, angle cutting would be challenging and probably inaccurate.
The fence should be large enough to handle more extensive pieces of wood. It should also be sturdy because it is the only component on the tabletop that ensures you can cut in a straight line. Take the fence away, and you would struggle.
Most fences are made from aluminum because it has very little flex, and it is lightweight. The fence should be versatile, with many clamping positions, because the more it has, the greater the choice of cuts.
Storing all your accessories and spare router bits in the storage compartments of your benchtop router table means everything is to hand while you are working, and nothing gets lost.
Not all router tables have this feature, so before purchasing, decide how relevant storage is.
If you decide you want a freestanding router table, it will have adjustable legs. However, if you then want to use that table on your workbench, you can’t unless it has detachable legs.
Some fixed router tables have this feature but double-check it has removable legs before committing your cash.
There are other factors at play when you choose the new router table.
The dust port keeps your work area free of sawdust, and more importantly, it keeps you safe because you don’t inhale any dangerous particles that could cause major lung conditions. The port typically attaches to a collection bag or a central extraction unit via a hose.
One of the biggest considerations is how flat the table is. Check to ensure it is entirely level because if there is even the slightest defect, it throws all your precision out of the window.
Look for a super-smooth surface to ensure your project glides across the tabletop without snagging. You need to maneuver the wood around the router to shape and cut, and having a smooth surface makes it a whole lot easier.
Look for Easy-Glide coatings and laminated MDF.
Benchtop Router Table Safety Tips
When you use any power tool, you should always adopt safe practices. In the main, router tables are not dangerous, but accidents can still happen if you are not using them correctly. Here are a few tips to keep you protected.
Take Care Setting Up
Never rush the setup process because if you do, you make mistakes. Make sure the table is on a flat and stable surface, and there are no hazards on the floor that might cause you to lose your footing.
Steady and Slow
When making a pass, don’t be tempted to remove too much material in one go. You risk getting a kickback. Make a couple of passes along the router bit, and you will get a smoother edge, and you also preserve the router.
If you have a lot of material to remove, it might be an idea to use a table saw to cut away the bulk, so you are left with the edge you want to shape on the router.
Use Push Sticks
When the material is awkwardly shaped or too thin to hold, use a push stick to keep your hands and fingers safe from danger. These can be purchased cheaply, or you could make your own versions.
When routing profiles on larger pieces of wood, the featherboard maintains steady pressure near the bit so you can keep your hands at a safe distance. They also ensure you get a smoother and even profile.
Wear Protective Gear
Whenever you are working with power tools and wood, there is always a danger of injuries. Earplugs protect your ears from the noise of the router, while goggles keep your eyes safe from any flying debris.
A face mask reduces the risk of you inhaling deadly pathogens contained in sawdust and MDF.
Only Use Sharp Bits
The quality of your work is only as good as the tools you use, so keeping your router bits sharp is crucial. A dull router bit means the project is labored, the wood doesn’t feed as smoothly, and everything takes longer.
You also risk scarring the wood as the bit heats trying to make the cuts. And finally, you also risk injury because the bit is not sharp enough, so you exert greater pressure to get it to cut.
Use Infeed/Outfeed Supports
Infeed and outfeed supports are almost like having another pair of hands. They help you work with longer pieces of wood, and as you feed it into the router bit, it supports the material.
Plus, when it comes out the other side, you also get additional support. Infeed/outfeed supports make the job easier and increase your accuracy.
So, Let’s Recap
Your benchtop router table is versatile, stable, accurate, and above all else, safe as long as you use it properly. Working with wood is incredibly satisfying, and the results are almost instant, which is why you want the best results.
A benchtop router table gives the best chance of success, even for novices.