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Best Cordless Routers

Updated on October 21, 2013

A quick guide to selecting the best cordless router

The cordless router is one of the most versatile power tools available for either the home workshop or professional woodworker. Depending on your skill, creativity and bit selection, you can perform simple tasks or complex ones (like groove joints or mortise and tenons). They can cut soft wood, hard wood, plastics, fiberboard and some are even capable of trimming metal. And since many models offer a cordless design, they are even handier to use today that then were a few years ago.

Choosing the best cordless router

Typically, the router will fall into one of two categories; the home woodworker and the professional. The standard router is light weight, has a standard bit shank and a motor that is 1 HP or less. They operate with a fixed base and are compact and well balanced. They are ideally suited for small crafts, hobby work, trimming various projects, etc.

The professional models are more sturdy (often with a metal housing), have a bit shank of 0.5" and a motor that is 1.75 HP and up. They also include a plunge base that allows the bit to be plunged into the material. This allows for more intricate uses of the tool like cutting templates or holes for shelf pins. Just so you are aware, the plunge style routers do tend to be a little top heavy (normally that is because you remove the base) so you just need to adjust how you work with them.

There are a number of well made cordless router brands available. The best selling ones are Dewalt, Porter-Cable and Milwaukee. The price of a cordless router ranges from under $100 to over $200 depending on the size, features and battery.

Speaking of batteries. The newer models ship with either an 18V or 19.2V battery. The larger the voltage, the more power the battery can produce. If you see a model with less than 18V I would recommend not buying it because you may end up more frustrated than anything else.

Please note that often cordless rotary tools get lumped into the same category as cordless routers. But rotatory tools are meant for much lighter work than a router so please get the best tool for the job to avoid disappointment.

One last thing to remember is that not all of the best power tool brands have a cordless router on the market yet. At the bottom of this page I have included some resources for those brands but those are for corded routers instead.

Some nice features to look for when shopping for a new cordless router

Here is a list of extra features that you should look for when shopping for a new router.

  • variable speed control (often labeled EVS)
  • plunge style
  • fine adjustment control of 1/64" or less
  • a self releasing collet to prevent stuck bits
  • led lights
  • ergonomic handles
  • warranty of 3 years or more
  • 18V or 19.2V battery

Don't forget the router bits

Remember your new router needs bits to function! Some helpful advice on buying bits.

  1. get what you need for the projects you plan to do. No use overspending on a bit set that you will never fully use
  2. be careful opening the box. Use gloves or a rag to remove them from protective packaging or else you could cut yourself
  3. clean any anti-corrosive grease off the bits with denatured alcohol before initial use
  4. bit sets are a great way to start your router bit collection. They come in a wide variety and a price that can fit almost any budget

Need a router table to go with that new cordless router?

Corded or Cordless?

Which is better in your opinion, a corded router or a cordless one? Should manufacturers come out with more cordless models or is your preference to use a corded model?

Do you prefer cordless routers to regular corded models?

Corded Router Models

Not all of the popular power tool brands have a cordless router on the market. For example, companies like Black & Decker, Bosch, Crafstman, and Ryobi all make excellent routers but as of yet, they are all corded models. The list below may be useful if you decide on choosing a non-cordless router.

There are certainly a lot of choices when it comes to selecting a top notch router. Do you have any questions? Have any horror stories to share with people? What about accolades? Have you found the router of your dreams? Share and ask away.

Any questions?

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