CNC machines are driving modern manufacturing, and everyone wants to get their hands on one. But picking the best CNC router is no easy feat. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with an expensive, noisy machine that always fails.

Fortunately, our team of experts has identified, tested, and reviewed the market’s best routers, and here are our findings.

Best Overall
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
Best for Durability
MYSWEETY 3018-Pro DIY CNC Router
Best Value
SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-CNC ProVer Router
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
MYSWEETY 3018-Pro DIY CNC Router
SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-CNC ProVer Router
This router is a stable, high-performance unit for machining different materials. With easy-to-use controls and a large engraving area, the Genmitsu CNC machine allows you to get machining projects done quickly and accurately.
The router is built to last with an all-aluminum body and quality parts. It is stable, operates quietly, and comes pre-assembled.
Made for beginners and professionals alike, this Genmitsu unit offers you complete control of your machining process. It is stable, powerful, and packed with safety features for frequent use.
Best Overall
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
This router is a stable, high-performance unit for machining different materials. With easy-to-use controls and a large engraving area, the Genmitsu CNC machine allows you to get machining projects done quickly and accurately.
Best for Durability
MYSWEETY 3018-Pro DIY CNC Router
MYSWEETY 3018-Pro DIY CNC Router
The router is built to last with an all-aluminum body and quality parts. It is stable, operates quietly, and comes pre-assembled.
Best Value
SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-CNC ProVer Router
SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-CNC ProVer Router
Made for beginners and professionals alike, this Genmitsu unit offers you complete control of your machining process. It is stable, powerful, and packed with safety features for frequent use.

Reviews of the Best CNC Routers for Woodworking

1. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit

If you are an absolute beginner, this entry-level CNC router kit is a great machine to have. It’s easy to use and comes with assembly instructions.

With a 1.8-inch engraving depth, the Genmitsu 3018-Pro can cut wood, plastic, aluminum, acrylic, and other materials. It works on GRBL and Arduino. Hence, you can find quick support, training, and tutorials.

This unit comes with an offline module for remotely controlling the CNC router. As an upgrade of the 3018 version, it has an improved ABS case, fan, and adapter.

You get ten CNC bits, four plate clamps, and an extension rod in the box of this wood-carving, milling, engraving machine.

Pros

Cons

2. SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-CNC ProVer Router

CNC routers allow you to produce factory-grade projects, and one of the best models available is this unit from SainSmart. This machine is built to last, and it works on open-source GRBL. You don’t need to connect it to your computer while the router cuts.

As one of the latest 3018 Desktop CNC units, this one has a 1.8-inch display and a user-friendly interface on its offline CNC controller. Its 5mm acrylic baffles protect you against flying pieces, and you can get the laser module kit to work with it.

The Genmitsu 3018-CNC ProVer machine comes pre-assembled and has a Z-probe. In its box, you should find a toolbox, a screw box, and its offline control module.

Pros

Cons

3. MYSWEETY 3018-Pro DIY CNC Router

Whether you are a hobbyist or professional, a 3-axis CNC router machine like this MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router could be just what you need. This machine is available in different dimensions, but the extra-large one is the best for wood-cutting, milling, or engraving projects.

As a scaled-down model of an industrial machine, this MYSWEETY DIY CNC has features for precision operations. It’s controlled by two-phase stepper motors, and the cutting plate is aluminum. You get a GRBL control system in the box and ten drill bits for different operations.

This CNC router comes with a 5.5W module on its Z-axis. Also, there’s an offline controller for you to use the router anywhere, including your small shop.

Pros

Cons

4. BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit

Learn how to use a CNC machine, and you can engrave, mill, or cut anything at home. The Bobs E4 CNC Router Engraver Kit is one of the models for precision operations with top features to match.

Powered by a 5 A motor, the BobsCNC Evolution 4 can max out at a spindle speed of 30,000 rpm. The BobsCNC E4 CNC Router Engraver kit offers a wide working area, and it weighs just shy of 42 pounds. 

The CNC router machine uses a GRBL 1.1 firmware. You get home switches on the X, Y, and Z axes of this engraving machine and a strong rail system.

Pros

Cons

5. BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit

If you are looking for a DIY CNC router kit, check out the BobsCNC E3 CNC router. This CNC router engraver kit is a trusted companion for beginners and professionals alike. 

The BobsCNC E3 router is a 3-axis CNC machine with a massive cutting area. Its gantry height is only 3.3 inches, and the entire unit weighs 3.2 pounds. While it comes with an Arduino-based microprocessor, it is compatible with other machining software like EstlCAM, Aspire, VCarve Pro, etc.

As a highly-accurate machine, the BobsCNC E3 CNC router engraver comes with a 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch collect. However, you can use straight, Vee and rounded bits with it.

Pros

Cons

6. Mostics 3018 Pro CNC Wood Router

Mostics is a popular manufacturer of CNC routers, and this Mostics 3018 Pro CNC Wood Router is one of the best in its product category. Unlike the large models it produces, this one is a small CNC router. It comes with a 1000 MW laser module, ten cutters, four sets of plate clamps, one ER11, and one offline CNC controller.

Equipped with a 775 spindle, this machine can run at 10,000 rpm and requires 12V or 36V to function. Its working area is 11.8 inches long.

As a mini desktop CNC, this Mostics machine weighs a tad more than 10 pounds, and we found that it is incredibly quiet. While testing, we found that his machine is easy to assemble.

Pros

Cons

7. Vevor 3018-Pro 3-Axis CNC Router Kit

If you are looking for the best CNC routers for woodworking, our team is convinced this unit is one to check out. Made from durable aluminum and bakelite, this router is well-designed and constructed. It has three refined axes and stainless-steel screw rods in its driving unit.

Like other top-drawer routers, this one comes with a GRBL Control board. You can connect it to a computer via a USB port, and the unit can be controlled remotely.

In the Vevor 3018-Pro 3 Axis CNC Router Kit, you get three 42 stepper motors. The spindle can clock a maximum speed of 10,000 rpm, and it has a 775 rating.

Pros

Cons

8. Titoe Upgrade Version 3018 Pro Engraver CNC

From plastic to acrylic, bamboo, wood, metal, and leather, the Titoe CNC 3018 Pro is an engraving machine for going through various materials. It is an upgrade from the Titoe 3018 router with improved operating features.

This machine has a 775 spindle motor that can work at 10,000 rpm. While its body is primarily aluminum, there are parts made from ABS. Our team found that this CNC 3018 Pro would work at 10° to 40° when a 1.5A current is supplied.

Like other CNC 3018 units, this Titoe machine comes with an offline controller and an excellent control board. The Titoe 3018 Pro supports Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10.

Pros

Cons

CNC Routers for Woodworking Buyer's Guide

Unless you are getting several machines, you still need to pick a router among the best ones available. Here are factors to consider in a CNC when you are in the market for one:

Design and Build

When getting a CNC router or engraving machine, one of the first things to decide is the size and construction quality. For the size, first look at the engraving area since that’s the platform where you’ll get things done.

The engraving area should be at least 10 inches in length. That way, you can cut, mill, or engrave different workpieces. While square-shaped machines are popular, the rectangular ones (like the CNC Piranha FX and CNC piranha XL) offer more space to get through your project.

Next, check out the material the unit is made from. Generally, CNC routers have steel, aluminum, aluminum alloy, or plywood frames. Whichever one your CNC router is made from, ensure the unit is stable and has footpads for balance.

If your router would be stationary in your workshop, you don’t need to worry about its weight. However, think about how many pounds it weighs if you always take it with you on your trips.

Performance

Several factors affect the performance of CNC routers. For starters, the router speed is one to keep in mind. This is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).

You can alter the cutting performance of CNC routers by changing the spindle (router) speed. In turn, this will affect the bit size and cutting technique you can use on your project. Check the maximum spindle rate to make sure it matches your cutting, milling, or engraving needs.

Next, look at the accuracy of your CNC machine. This is measured in microns, and you should aim for units like the CNC Piranha XL and CNC Piranha FX that offer low errors. Check out units with an accuracy of 10 to 13 microns.

Nevertheless, the bit deflection, frame rigidity, backlash, bit size configuration, and belt stretch could affect a CNC machine’s accuracy.

You should also consider whether it allows 3-axis cutting, operates quietly and provides enough torque.

Ease of Use

Like any engraving machine, you’ll need some time to learn how a CNC router works, especially if you are a beginner. Hence, you should look for units that are easier to use than others.

First, check out the manual. The best CNC router for you should have detailed instructions on how to assemble and use the CNC machine. Next, check out the controls. If you are big on convenience, consider machines with easy-to-use interfaces. Those that allow you to quickly send files are also great units to have.

The best CNC routers for woodworking (like Next Wave Automation machines) are easy to master.

Motor

In your CNC router, you can either have a servo or stepper motor. While stepper motors have 50 to 100 magnetic poles, servos have 4 to 12. The more magnetic poles a CNC router has, the more precise and accurate it will be when cutting.

If you want a high rush of torque and an efficient machining system, consider routers with servos. On the other hand, if you care about the cost and availability, you’ll be better off with a stepper motor.

Once you’ve decided on a type of CNC motor, check if it’s included in the box or not. If there’s an in-built spindle motor, the CNC machine gets to control the cutting bits’ speed. However, this implies that you have to get a replacement motor from the same company and not anyone you find.

Other Features

Parts like end mills, drill bits, endstops, chamfer bits, coolants can fail or break. Therefore, another thing to consider is whether spare parts and upgrades are available.

Find out whether the machine has a laser module kit if it’s important to you. Also, consider units with safety features. Some of the best things to have in a CNC router include baffles, googles, surge-protection, etc.

Next, check out units (like Next Wave Automation CNC routers) that have offline controllers with display screens. With one, you can control the CNC router without connecting to a computer.

Setup

The best CNC routers for woodworking (like the CNC Piranha FX and CNC Piranha LX) work on computer programs. The most popular one is the GRBL firmware. It controls spindles, stepper motors, and other signals using gcode. Alternatively, you can use other machining software like Aspire to get your machining project done.

Next, consider the drive system. Here you could either have a rack and pinion, ball screw, or lead-screw system. Rack and pinion systems are an affordable option. They are great when working on a project where the axes length is larger than four feet.

The best CNC routers for woodworking (like the CNC Piranha FX and CNC Piranha LX) work on computer programs. The most popular one is the GRBL firmware. It controls spindles, stepper motors, and other signals using gcode. Alternatively, you can use other machining software like Aspire to get your machining project done.

Next, consider the drive system. Here you could either have a rack and pinion, ball screw, or lead-screw system. Rack and pinion systems are an affordable option. They are great when working on a project where the axes length is larger than four feet.

Purpose

What you want to use a CNC router for is also an essential factor to consider. For hands-on learning of how a CNC machine works, you could get a mini CNC router or entry-level router. However, if you’ve got some experience with routers, you can go for mid-level machines.

While most routers are suitable for all-round use, others are limited in their features and capabilities. For example, the CNC Shark HD 4 from Next Wave Automation is one of the top general-purpose CNC router kits. On the other hand, the H6 Hwacheon is a milling machine.

Price and Warranty

When our experts looked for CNC routers, we found several that cost different prices. Some go for only a few bucks, and others cost thousands of dollars. Generally, a machine’s price depends on its features and working principle. Before you get any machine, ensure you’ve assessed its worth, and you are confident the router is value for the money you have to pay.

High-end CNC routers like the Piranha FX, CNC Shark HD, and 3040 CNC router often come with warranties. While some manufacturers offer a 1 to 2-year warranty on their routers, you’ll find others with money-back guarantees. If you intend to use your router for years and don’t want to spend money during this period, consider units with nice warranties.

What is a CNC Router?

A CNC (computer numerical control) router is a machine that’s programmed to mill, cut, carve, or engrave a variety of materials. Typically, the router is hand-held and mounted as a spindle.

Unlike a CNC milling machine, a CNC router[1] doesn’t cut or carve by hand. It uses a computer control system to remove materials from a workpiece.

These routers often work on two software: one for designing (CAD) and another to transform the designs into a code for manufacturing (CAM).

Some materials you can use a CNC router with include wood, foam, carbon fiber, among others.

FAQ

What is the best CNC Wood Router?

The best CNC wood router is the Genmitsu 3018-Pro CNC Router. This machine has a high spindle speed, supports different OS, and runs on the GRBL firmware. The drill bits in it are strong, and the entire machine cuts wood with precision.

Is a CNC router worth it?

A CNC router is worth it if you need to machine different materials at home. If you invest in one, you can customize workpieces, get fast results and increase your machining efficiency. You won’t have to worry about precision and accuracy since these units are computer-controlled.

Our Top Pick for a CNC Router for Woodworking: Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO

After identifying and reviewing top routers on the market, our team of experts found the Genmitsu 3018-Pro Router Kit as the best CNC router for woodworking. 

For an affordable price, this unit offers high performance through its 775 stepper motor, decent footprint on its engraving area, and superior build. You can remotely control the bits to go through various materials.

If you are looking for a software for your furniture design ideas, these top-tier furniture software can bring your ideas to life. Read next! 

Robert