What is the Best Plunge Router? (2022)
Top-Rated, Heavy-Duty Picks

person operating WEN RT6033

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A plunge router is excellent for deep cuts as opposed to ones with a fixed base. Do the combo kits work just as well as the routers, and do the regular fixed-base routers do the trick, or will you have a very difficult device on your hands? Our woodworking team has the best options for you below that will help you bypass all potential issues. 

Premium Pick
Makita XTR01T7
Editor’s Choice
WETOLS Compact Router Set
Budget Option
WEN RT6033
Makita XTR01T7
WETOLS Compact Router Set
WEN RT6033
• Built-in brushless motor
• Variable speed control dial
• Cordless electronic model
• Comes with attachments
• Fixed and plunge bases included
• Variable speeds
• 1-¼ HP motor
• Smooth rack and pinion
• Budget price
• Router kit with carrying case
• Variable speeds
• Micro adjustments
Premium Pick
Makita XTR01T7
Makita XTR01T7
• Built-in brushless motor
• Variable speed control dial
• Cordless electronic model
• Comes with attachments
Editor’s Choice
WETOLS Compact Router Set
WETOLS Compact Router Set
• Fixed and plunge bases included
• Variable speeds
• 1-¼ HP motor
• Smooth rack and pinion
Budget Option
WEN RT6033
WEN RT6033
• Budget price
• Router kit with carrying case
• Variable speeds
• Micro adjustments

Reviews of the Top Plunge Routers

1. WETOLS Compact Router Set

The WETOLS compact router kit is our team’s prime example of a 2-in-1 versatile unit. The router has a 1-¼ HP motor with maximum torque. You get both a plunge base and a fixed base router in this unit that has variable speeds from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM.

What’s great about the WETOLS plunge router is the soft startup. The slow and gradual speed-up gives users more control and the smooth rack and pinion have fine depth adjustments at incremental settings.

Not only does the unit come with a separate base, but it also includes dust extraction attachments for both. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

2. Makita XTR01T7

The Japanese brand Makita is known for quality products with slightly higher prices. The Makita XTR01T7 also possesses a ton of other features to make the plunge router easy to use. You can find a variable speed control dial, lock button, cam lock, small depth adjustments, and overall aluminum construction.

The soft-start motor affords users better accuracy and the rack and pinion fine depth adjustment system narrows down your precision.

The slimmer body makes it easier to grip the unit while in use and it comes with a comfortable rubberized grip for a better hold. One thing this unit has that some other plunge routers don’t is dual LED work lights.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

3. WEN RT6033

Our experts never include a pricey option without a budget choice to offset it. The WEN RT6033 is the best plunge router that is both an affordable product and still delivers exceptional performance.

The RT6033 has a 15-amp variable speed soft start motor with adjustments from 8,000 to 23,000 RPM. The plunge base locks down and the unit is both a plunge router and a fixed base router.

For precise adjustments, the WEN plunge router has a 7-stop turret and micro-adjustments along with a guide fence for more accuracy. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

4. DeWalt DW618B3

DeWalt usually makes it onto our list as it’s one of the most reliable brands on the market. The DeWalt DW618B3 router features the brand’s signature colors and has both a plunge and fixed base with a hard carrying case and other attachments. 

The powerful unit features a 2-¼ HP motor that powers the variable speed router with full feedback control for a consistent speed load between 8000-24,000 RPM. 

The lock-on feature is on the D-handle and the motor is tool-free with a cam lock for both depth control along with base removal and installation.

The integrated dust collection feature also sets the DeWalt plunge router apart from the rest. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

5. Makita RP2301FC

Makita makes it onto our list again with a dedicated plunge router. The Makita RP2301FC has a 15-amp motor that delivers speeds from 9,000 to 22,000 RPM. The electronic speed control is reliable for maintaining a constant speed under load.

The heavy-duty plunge router is a power tool that has a smooth starting feature and an electric brake for more versatility and productivity. What keeps the router going is the oversized ball bearing to prolong its lifespan and you will see exactly what you’re doing with twin LED [1] lights to illuminate your space.

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

6. Lotos ER001

The Lotos ER001 also has an attractive price tag but the WEN edges it out slightly. As one of the best plunge routers, the ER001 has a powerful variable-speed motor with a 7-stop turret for precise operation.

It’s both a fixed and plunge router to maximize the value for your money and the rubberized handle provides support and a comfortable grip. The wood router accepts ¼ -inch router bits with a plunging depth of 2 inches.

There are plenty of items included in the box such as a straight-edge guide, a dust port duct, and a template guide as well. 

What We Like

What We Don’t Like

Plunge Routers Buyer’s Guide

Not all plunge routers are made to be the same. Do you want a fixed router, a plunge router, or both? The quick checklist below will help you identify the most suitable and efficient plunge router for you. 

Size and Compatibility

The size of the plunge router is not the size of the unit, but the size of the collet, which is the part that accepts and keeps the router bit secure. This needs to be a tight and very secure fit because plunge routers operate at very high speeds. The most common collet sizes are a quarter-inch (¼”) and half an inch (½”). 

Our woodworking team says you may not have to choose because many plunge and fixed router models can accommodate both. If you see a product that claims to accept any size bits, then it means they have both size collets.

Do you plan to use the router with a table? If so, then you have to make sure it has router table compatibility. The base will need threaded holes for mounting. Using the table makes operation stabler because you secure the router to the tabletop and feed the material to it rather than holding the unit in your hands.

Switchable-based units are typically better than fixed plunge base or fixed base router options because they work better for table adjustment. 

Speed

Our experts highly recommend variable speed units, which most plunge routers are. The speed range is the aspect to pay attention to because it dictates the material your plunge or fixed-based router can handle. 

Low speeds are used for hardwoods and larger bits. Low blade speeds are within the range of 8,000 to 10,000 RPM, at which many routers on our list begin. The average speed you want your plunge router to top off at is about 22,000 RPM, which is suitable for all regular woodworking needs.

You may also notice that some of our plunge routers have a limit of 30,000, which is considered a very high speed and is usually used for laminates. A model for trimming countertops is also referred to as a trim router. 

Spindle Lock

A spindle lock feature is used for bit swapping. There are units with an automatic spindle lock, which makes things much easier. However, even a manual one is useful for quick and easy switching. Just remember to unplug your router whenever you plan on switching bits. 

Electronic Feedback Circuitry

Electronic feedback circuitry is the desired technology to look for in a plunge router. The circuitry will keep an eye on how well your router is handling the workload and make necessary adjustments when needed to keep at optimal speeds.

Our plunge router reviews showed that this is an advanced technology that will prolong the life of your machine.

Swappable Bases vs Dedicated Plunge Router

Our team loves a good deal (who doesn’t?), so we typically prefer models with swappable bases rather than just a fixed plunge base. This is because you get more for your money, it’s similar to purchasing two units for the price of 1. However, our experts will say that dedicated plunge routers do offer smoother operation. 

Dust Collection

As with most woodworking tools, even the best plunge routers can kick up quite some dust. The accumulation of dust will start to obstruct your line of vision, which could lead to imperfect jobs, and compromise your safety. There are plunge routers that have in-built dust collection systems, but others only have accessories and a vacuum port to connect to a separate system.

No matter which type you choose, our woodworkers say dust collecting is a very important part of router operation.

Accessories

The added accessories and capabilities of a plunge router determine whether or not you will get good value for your money. Extra features include a rack and pinion mode, a shaft lock, cut depth adjustment, a safety switch shutter lock, linear ball bearings for smooth plunging action, and maybe even a built-in router lift.

A micro winder is a great extra feature to have for fine adjustments when your machine is in full plunge mode. An FS Guide Rail system is also handy for precision as well as direct reading scales and a 3 or 7-stage turret.

What’s most crucial are the safety features such as a swiveling chip deflector that can attach or detach when needed to navigate corners, a fully enclosed guard to keep your fingers safe. 

Plunge router kits usually come with everything you need complete with a hard carrying case for storage and portability.

FAQ

Can you plunge with a regular router?

Yes, you can plunge with a regular router as long as the cutting depth is correct. However, using a dedicated plunge router for your deep cuts is more ideal, because it provides greater accuracy. There are routers out there that have swappable bases to make your choice easier. 

What's the difference between a router and a plunge router?

The difference between a router and a plunge router is simply the depth adjustment. A fixed base router has a constant depth, while the plunge router allows you to set and fine-tune the depth setting to match your needs, therefore giving you a better plunge.

Our Top Pick For a Plunge Router:
WETOLS Compact Router Set

Our team has landed on the WETOLS compact router set as the top pick. The best plunge router is compact but unbelievably powerful for its size. The kit comes with a fixed and a plunge base to maximize its value and it has plenty of accessories. The speed control range is between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, making the unit suitable for a wide range of materials. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson