10 Best Compact Router in 2021: Top Picks Reviewed

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A compact router is mostly preferred by craftsmen or DIY woodworkers who prefer a light weight router kit to work on woodworking projects. With these routers, you can creating something interesting in short time. In spite of its light mass, it is workable for small workshops, or can even be used at home. 

Before purchasing any type of compact router that fits your needs, there are two things to be considered, They are - the speed limit of the router, and its ability to be used at varying speeds. Presence of these two features indicates that the palm router is capable of managing both softwoods and hardwoods works. 

Product Name

Motor

Special Features

Price

Ultimate Choice


Metabo Compact Router

2-1/4 Peak HP

Comes with depth adjustment with least noise

Best For Beginners


Bosch Compact Router

2.25 HP

Has adjustable speed dial, comes with powerful 12 AMP motor

Budget Friendly


Makita Compact Router Kit

1-1/4 HP

Slim body with egonomically designed body

Generally, due to their small size, compact routers are much lighter compared to the large ones. Plus, its decorative edging makes it quite favourable among the novice and also the expert craftsmen. If you are new to woodworking, you can still learn using these palm routers and you should read this guide on tips that will turn you from a beginner to a pro. 

Let's dive deeper to know about the key qualities of top 10 compact routers so it becomes easy to use: 

10 Best Compact Router Reviews

Below given compact routers were tested before presenting to the users: 

DEWALT DWP611PK Compact Router Combo Kit

DEWALT Compact Router is the one if you are with the various carpentry works. This reliable wood lathe router is quite handy. Plus, currently it is one of the highly suggested compact router kits. 

Let's check the reasons that make it is the best compact router on the list:

Talking about the speed, DW11PK is at the peak. The product follows 1 to 6 steps producing a rotating speed ranging between 16000-27000 RPM. Added to that, the electronic speed control facility of DW11PK helps you vary the speed as required. Its variable speed managing feature also protects it from start-up twist or burn so you can even set a constant speed and let it do its job.

Apart from above, its clamping and depth ring mechanism keeps the device motor in a fixed cum locked position. Easy handling ability of the router enables you to make precise cuts. Base removal is quite laborious and challenging. However, with DEWALT, you get a release tab attached to a spring allowing faster base release. Its LED light is an additional privilege to the user. 

The DEWALT DWP611PK comes with plunge and fixed bases. These two are suitable for precise trimming and edging. Its plunge base provides the benefit of turning the product into a top functional compact plunge router. However, both the bases are equally beneficial to the craftsmen for their carpentry masterpieces in smaller workshops. Learn more about the best dewalt routers

96
Value for money
94
easy to use
96
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • It is quite handy with multiple shaft lock availability.
  • Easily removable base with its spring-driven release.
  • The large plunge based system makes it fully functional and more stable.
  • Has an elongated sub-base to provide convenient user control.

Cons:

  • Aged users do not find it favourable.

Overall, the DEWALT DWP611PK is a worthwhile router alternative in the market these days. However, it is better to check the other related alternatives that you might prefer.

Lastly, if you are looking for the one that brings out the best, then do pick DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP at first place. 


2. DEWALT DWP611 Compact Router (Fixed Base Version)

DEWALT DWP611 Compact Router

DEWALT DWP611 1.25 HP is undoubtedly a router to expect decent horsepower. This product feature offers the torque that you require to get your work done.

DEWALT DWP611 comes with 1 to 1/4 hp motor attached with LEDs. The powerful motor generates maximum torque to carry out the heavier tasks. Its varying speed control set-up along with LED light eases your work. 

Consumers look for dynamic user experience that can handle the task variations. So, taking customer satisfaction into account, DEWALT DWP611 is listed in the top ranking routers. Its variable speed control feature enables it to adapt speeds between 16,000 – 27, 000 RPM. 

Additionally, the adjustable ring followed by spindle lock button helps to control bit depth. This compact router enables perfect cuts ranging from small to large with flush trimming. Although it has a fixed base, you can utilize the device as fixed as well as plunge bases.

It is the best compact wood router ergonomically designed by human engineering. DWP611 is preferred for its ergonomic set-up, ranking it to the top for its high-end performance.

The router produces high power in comparison to its related models. However, its speed can be conveniently controlled via variable speed indicator.

The drilling depth of hardwood differs based on the projects. The task can be easily done by replacing the bits' height. The presence of the LED light enables acute precision with maximum visibility. Lastly, it offers comfort and stability during work.

94
Value for money
90
easy to use
94
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • Quite handy and easy to use
  • Supports varied speed range at 12 different levels
  • Does not require to buy separate LED lights. The device has inbuilt LEDs.
  • Quick release entrance without tools

Cons:

  • In spite of being a cooler system, the motor at times gets overheated.
  • Has no electric brake to stop the system instantly.

Bosch Colt PR20EVSK Fixed-Based Router

Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK 5.6 Amp comes with top ratings for its decent performance in the list of small-sized routers. Plus, it contains a 1.0 horsepower motor with spinning speed ranging between 16,000 to 35,000 RPM. The speed is perfect for the small router kit including its added accessories available online.

PR20EVSK is versatile and user-friendly, and is an active competitor of family tools. DIYers generally prefer functioning tool-kits at first place. Plus, they want the tools to be easy to use, flexible to meet their needs, and comfortable on the other hand. Bosch Colt PR20EVSK provides wider amenities to the craftsmen. 

This top purchase item has a motor consisting of 1/4” bits with 1to 5/16” diameter along with a spindle lock. The latter lock lets you to handle the product with ease and accuracy during work. The motor is basically a palm-gripped cum rubber coated router that facilitates one-handed operations. The electric circuits check the consistency in motor speed during overload.

This palm router with easy-grip works extremely well for small projects. Also, it does not at all need any router table for its installation. This is what makes the Bosch Colt PR20EVSK router a good alternative for the DIY project workers.

Interesting Read: Best DIY Routers

92
Value for money
92
easy to use
90
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • Has varied range speed controlling kit of 1 horsepower.
  • Perfect for small projects or home-based workshops
  • It produces the maximum horsepower.
  • Has a fixed base with a compact package.
  • Motor has rubber coated grip.

Cons:

  • The vibration produced by this router is more in comparison to its class.
  • Tool-kit accessories such as 10 mm wrench have to be bought separately.

Users often prefer to buy Bosch Colt PR20EVSK depending on their requirements and ability to do versatile tasks. Bosch Colt PR20EVSK offers overall functionality and a lot more, meaning it will be a good value for money.


Bosch 1617EVS Router Kit

Bosch 1617EVS is well-known for its much thought productivity, plus its accuracy in making decorative cuts. Bosch 1617EVS is developed in Mexico while concerning the worldwide manufacturing strategy. Consequently, Bosch 1617EVS is trustworthy for its adaptable property and quality. 

This globally worthy router kit can be found in multiple nations including China, USA, and Germany. That means, 1617EVS has higher market value, so you will undoubtedly benefit by purchasing this item.

Its 12-amp motor with maximum 2.25 generates maximum rotating speed of up to 25,000 RPM, enabling higher chances of providing accurate results. Moreover, you will feel good to know that the router does not rotate while drilling at higher speed with reduced torque.

Therefore, it maintains consistent working with precision. It has adjustable bits that can be fixed accordingly, depending on the depth of the wood holes you want to create.

The fixed base of this compact router comprises two griped handles. One can be easily fixed on the router table. However, both the gripping options together help you save your time by doing precise cuts at first stroke.

The striking property of Bosch 1617EVS is its functional system that constantly monitors the router speed. Besides, it's motor maintains an optimal RPM for smoother operations. It is workable even at a huge load. The variable speed control set-up of the device increases or decreases the RPM value automatically when necessary.

Although it has an attached T wrench, you can easily uninstall or reinstall the router without using the wrenches. The self-releasing collets with pre-drilled plate allows hassle free installation of the device on the router table. No doubt, they are manufacturers of the best compact routers in the market. 

90
Value for money
90
easy to use
90
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • It is a moderate weight and is easily portable.
  • This palm router comes with micro-fine adjustment making it comparatively preferable.
  • Dynamic and user-friendly DIY product.
  • Maintains precision and accuracy throughout the cuts.

Cons:

  • It does not come with a dust port. You need to purchase it separately.
  • Although it can be controlled effectively, the router generates vibrations when heavy load.

Makita RT0701CX3 Compact Router Kit

Makita RT0701CX3 is another awesome alternative router kit you will know. RT0701CX3 is again one of the top choices of DIY hobbyists and expert craftsmen. 

This is a full-fledged kit as it contains all the accessories that an ideal compact router must have. Experts considered it as an overall top pick due to its maximum horsepower, plus its top-notch performance in comparison with other family kits.

The RT0701CX3 contains a 1 to 1/4 hp powerful motor which can generate varying speeds ranging between 10,000 to 30,000 RPM. This is the highest of all in the list. The variable speed-control set-up adjusts automatically depending on the soft or hardwood crafting. 

Depth control is a crucial factor for woodworking. Relating to that, it has a fast release cum lock system which lets you install or remove the router base as swiftly and easily as possible. The shaft lock feature helps with the change in router bits.

The good part of this router is that it contains three bases. They are the tilt base, plunge base, and the offset base, which work individually when required.

The plunge capacity of the plunge base is from 0” to 1-3/8”. The need for the tilt base steps in to do routing from different angles. Your router will let you turn within the angular range of -30° to 45°. Lastly, the offset base will come to your assistance when it is difficult to reach the areas as precise as ¾” close to the wall. Overall, these three bases make it a dynamic router kit.

85
Value for money
90
easy to use
92
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • The plastic coating keeps debris away from the users.
  • Trimming of laminated board or things is available.
  • The router is long lasting, powerful, and easy to use.

Cons:

  • No light at its base.
  • It is not suitable to be mounted or installed on the router table.

Makita RT0701CX7 Compact Router

Makita Compact Router Kit is a suitable choice for the craftsmen who look for controlled and precise cutting. Makita contains a powerful motor that offers opportunity for plunge based routing. 

Makita RT0701CX7 is best for doing precise wood-cutting without producing high vibrations followed by sounds. It has a speed control system, motor release clamp, and more, adding value to your work.

The palm router is well-designed with a sleek outlook and great ergonomics. This toolkit is most preferred for it's portability – that is, 3.9 lbs. The electronic variable speed control set-up gives you the ultimate freedom of making accurate cuts by decreasing the motor speed as and when required. The good part about this product is its variable speed control doesn't cause much vibration. Therefore, the router is handy giving you a noiseless surrounding.

In case you want to make deeper wood holes, it may trouble you to reinstall the router by manual process. Doing it manually also wastes a lot of time. This is where Makita RT0701CX7 comss into assistance. It helps you in this regard with the motor release clamp. This will further let you make faster and easier drilling adjustments with change in base.

It is a durable, lightweight router weighing only 9 lbs. So, it is quite comfortable and easy to carry. The upper flat design of the route facilitates changing bits. The RT0701CX7 has much similarity with shank router bits of size-1/4-Inch. So, they are easily available in the market. 

90
Value for money
65
easy to use
92
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • Ergonomic and handy router.
  • Has bits release set-up
  • Upper flat design is perfect for bit change.

Cons:

  • The only setback is that the router does not come with light.

PORTER-CABLE 450PK Compact Router

Regardless of what you buy, consumers look for the all-in-one kinds of product, so they can accomplish multiple tasks. This is what PORTER-CABLE 450PK helps you with. 

In many cases, the compact routers facilitate versatile workforce demands ensuring users' comfort level. Porter-cable 450pk is a lightweight, ergonomic cum dynamic compact router, perfect for the craftsmen, who prefers this router for its wide range of applications. 

450pk feature enables you to perform the heavier tasks. The 1.25 hp motor when used as a plunged or fixed base, can easily work on the router table. You can consider this kit for performing almost every constructive work.

Best for making inlay designs, chamfering followed by wood crafting. Also, it is fit for doing cabinet construction, and has adjustable dust port for cleaning dust and debris.

The palm-gripped design of the palm router weighs only 4 pounds and has a 1.25 horsepower motor to deliver improved results. It can be easily operated and controlled precision for its soft start functionality enables heavy load when necessary. The well furnished surface gives a good grip. Overall, you will get total control over the router for making accurate cutting. 

85
Value for money
90
easy to use
86
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • It has both plunge and fixed base at a time on router table.
  • Long lasting and fully controllable.
  • Depth control and speed control system are available.

Cons:

  • It has no LED lights.
  • The router is fixed and lacks guide bushing.

Porter-Cable 450 Compact Router

The most striking property of Porter-Cable 450 is its precision cuts with accuracy and its easy usability. Added to this, the router has more with Porter-Cable 450 as discussed below. 

Porter-Cable 450 ensures more stability in lock-in position, helping you with better depth adjustment. The motor with 1.25 horsepower is capable of producing speeds upto 27,0000 RPM. This speed is high enough to fulfill hard-hitting jobs. 

The motor maintains the speed range throughout the cutting on any hardwood. This compact router is ergonomic and easy to carry. Plus, it can be controlled single handedly. Although it is a bit expensive in comparison with the other router kits, Porter-Cable 450 is value for money. 

85
Value for money
92
easy to use
86
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • Durable motor with better speed control system.
  • Has inbuilt depth adjustment system.

Cons:

  • It does not have LED light.
  • Has no collets size but ¼”.

Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router

Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router, as the name suggests, is a trim router and has both square and rounded bases. Also, it has an LED light, which adds value to the product. The light directly falls on the work area so as to add more visibility to the work. 

While making any customized or decorative cuts to make wooden furnitures, you will require high range speed. This is where the need for R2401 Trim Router steps in for it provides a good range of power to generate highest speed. 

This precise compact router's motor generates speeds as high as 30,000 RPM with a 5.5 amp, and has a ¼” horsepower motor. The weight of the motor is only 4 lbs. The spindle lock system along with a micro speed-dial allows better control over speed and change bits easily. You can turn its top down for making bits changing easier. 

It has a quick release-level and two bases as discussed earlier. The quick release level enables you to alter the motor base with ease and zero hassle. This router kit is comparatively a lighter, free-hand tool.

The trimmer helps you with versatile purposes and can make decorative patterns on wood with it. Not just that, but biscuit-joint cut is also possible with this laminate trim router. 

85
Value for money
85
easy to use
86
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • Easy to carry and convenient to use.
  • It has round and square bases
  • Built with easy bit release set-up.

Cons:

  • The router has no plunge but fixed base available.

Masterworks MW104 Compact Router

Dewalt, Bosch or Makita are some of the renowned brands you find in the search engine while checking for top compact routers. However, this time, experts have come up with a less popular, yet one of the best compact routers, Masterworks MW104 compact router. 

Masterworks MW104 is thoroughly examined and monitored to confirm its multifarious qualities. 

What Masterworks MW104 includes may not be found amongst its competitor products. One of its kit accessories is perfect for trimming projects only. However, Masterworks with the 1.25 HP 6.5 amp router, is best for various trimming applications along with routing projects.

It has a dust hood followed by a roller guide, which you will be missing in other similar routing tools. 

So, from its functional point of view, you will find this palm router to be absolutely fit and affordable to fulfill your requirements with comfort. Overall, you will be benefited both in terms of pricing and function.

The rack-and-pinion depth adjustment along with dual LED lights gives you better hold over the router for precise cut with accurate depth. The motor's speed range of 32,000 RPM is suitable for bearing any hardwood loads. Lastly, the Masterworks MW104 router is well-designed to give accurate routing.

90
Value for money
85
easy to use
90
maneuver ability

*The above mentioned scores are out of 100

Pros:

  • It is accurate and precise.
  • Has LED lighting facility.
  • Has a dynamic working facility.

Cons:

  • The router has no plunge but fixed base available.

Final Verdict

Hopefully, you can now find the best compact router from all the options we discussed keeping in mind the parameters which really matter. On the contrary, you must have also noticed that every enlisted palm router has some feature/s that is/are unique to each other. It is because the routers were developed based on different woodworking needs or techniques. We believe the Dewalt router is the best overall option.

After giving much effort, the experts were able to draw out the above list of top palm routers in terms of features and performance. You may have also noticed that this list has many options from our list of the best routers for table mounting since both serve a similar purpose. Considering all the pros and cons of each of the products, you might find the suitable one for you. 

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