A wood router is a woodworker’s tiny buddy. You can use it for simple tasks like cutting out a fancy edge or doing smooth dadoes and rabbets. A wood router makes up for a small sized router to help you add those finishing touches to a project that has already been processed through a benchtop router or a CNC router. Since woodworking tools can be expensive, we have put together a guide that has the best wood router under 200$.
Most Preferred Choice
fixed base with easy removal and installation
Variable speed control dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM), Quick release cam lock system with e-speed control
Cheap & Best
Fixed and Plunge Base Kit
1.25-HP Max Torque with No Load Speed range 16,000-27,000 RPM, Comes with Dual LEDs
Has 1.25-HP, 7.0 Amp motor for compact versatility with 16,000-35,000 RPM
Comes with 12 Amp router motor and Adjustable speed dial (8000-25,000 RPM)
No variable speed, Will work great for 1/4 inch
11-amp motor producing 1-3/4 peak horsepower and 27500 RPMs
Has a 1-3/4-hp with 11-amp motor to provide the power to rout smoothly through the toughest hardwoods
Best Wood Routers Under $200
1. Metabo HPT M12VC : Best Product Overall
Metabo HPT may not sound so familiar, but is is basically the rebranded division of Hitachi that makes reliable power tools. The M12VC has a quirky design that doesn’t fall short when it comes to functionality and certainly doesn’t disappoint. The fixed base wooden router is relatively light and easy to shift from one workbench to another. It has an ergonomic shape with rounded handles on both sides. It makes long and arduous design work easy.
The powerful 11 amp motor in this router features two different speeds and has electronic speed control to maintain RPMs even with changing load. Moreover, compared to most other routers in its class, it is less noisy at just under 80 decibels. If you start the machine by mistake without any ear protection, you won’t feel any sonic sting in your ears.
2. DEWALT Router DWP611PK : Best Alternative to Metabo HPT M12VC
Dewalt never fails to impress with its tools and they have really outdone themselves with the DWP611PK. This kit is highly versatile since it comes with a fixed as well as a plunge base. Whether you are a DIY wood craftsman or a professional, this router offers you a perfect blend of power and variation.
The motor that powers this machine is rated at 1.25 hp, which may not impress everyone, but can get the job done for most. Moreover, Dewalt has integrated its soft start technology with this router which helps to keep the torque at a minimized level when the motor is started. If you want to spend less on motor replacements, this feature might be quite attractive to you.
When it comes to controlling the speed, you get to toggle between six different levels with the speed dial. For larger cutters and bits in your woodwork project, level 1 to 3 is suitable with the speed range between 16,000 - 20,400 RPM. The higher levels that reach a maximum speed of 27,000 RPM are useful for smaller bits and cutters.
3. Makita RT0701CX7 : Best Multipurpose Router
Don’t let the compact size of Makita RT0701CX7 fool you. It packs in quite the power and has all the features you need for extreme precision work. But the router truly shines with the accessories. Apart from a plunge base, you also get an offset base that makes it easy to work at tight corners. Yes, this definitely makes angled routing much more safe and easy.
When it comes to the motor power for this router, it is average at best at around 1-¼ hp with 6.5 amps. But it is equipped with a motor soft starter which reduces the load exerted on the power train initially at start-up and keeps the current surge under control. This works well to increase the longevity of the router motor which means you get to save money for investment elsewhere. It will perform smooth operations on any type of wood that you work with.
The router also provides a wide range of speeds from 10,000 RPM to 30,000 RPM and allows adjustment through the generic speed dial. It is certainly more than the competitors and allows you to work with different types of materials other than wood. But you get to spot another safety feature here to protect your investment. To prevent the router from burning out due to excessive twisting at startup, the electronic speed control stabilizes speed even under loads.
4. Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK : Best Lightweight Pick
Even though the Bosch Colt Palm Grip PR20EVSK is lightweight and compact in size, it can aid both experienced and beginners for small and large woodwork projects. You may not get the versatility offered by plunge based routers, but the fixed base allows you to achieve consistent cuts along with simpler and easy operation.
The greatest advantage of this router is probably the “Bosch Constant Response” circuitry which helps to maintain a consistent speed required for precision work. With a 1hp motor, you get one of the most powerful motors available in the small router class and speed can be adjusted within 16,000 RPM to 35,000 RPM.
The fixed base of this router is made from solid rugged aluminum that gives you strength without adding a lot of bulk. Depth adjustment is one of the primary advantages of this model. It is a hassle-free procedure and with the wheel, at the back of the base, you can even make micro-fine adjustments.
5. Bosch 1617EVS : Best Premium Pick
This wood router from Bosch has been out there in the market for a long time and enjoys a good reputation among woodworkers. With a 12 amp motor of 2.25 HP, this router stands somewhere in the middle between extremely compact handheld routers and the larger ones. The motor will get most of your job done and with the CRC(Constant Response Circuitry), a consistent speed is maintained throughout the cutting procedure.
Bosch offers you this router with a fixed base, but due to its modular design, you can also buy a plunge router base in the future and use the routing unit with it. Guess what? You don’t even need any tools to separate the router unit from its base. Just snap open the locking lever and squeeze in the coarse height adjustment button to bring out the router unit. It’s that simple.
In terms of performance, the router doesn’t disappoint with its variable speed range of 8,000 to 25,000 RPM. For high accuracy, you can adjust the depth with increments of 1/64 inches up to 1 inch.
6. Ryobi R1631K 1-1/2 : Best Budget Pick
Ryobi has designed this wood router, especially for DIY enthusiasts to boost your carpentry to the next level. With the maximum speed of 25,000 RPM and capability to go as deep as 2 inches, you won’t have to leave the detailing jobs for later.
It features two ergonomically shaped handles on either side that are rounded off without any sharp edges to dig into your skin. They feel great and provide precision control to maneuver the router. You also get three different ryobi bits with this router. The 5/16 inch straight cut, ¼ inch radius roundover and the 5/32 inch roman ogee. With the integrated cam lever switching changing these bits is quite effortless. You would be able to hop between woodworking jobs without breaking a sweat.
Other Great Picks
This unique router from Bosch is a testament to the brand’s dedication towards innovation. It is one of the lightest palm routers in the market weighing in at just around 2 pounds and has a cordless design. That means you don’t have to use extra cables for further reach and keep your workplace free from the hazard of tangled cords.
The 12V router delivers a maximum of 13,000 RPM and is powerful enough for edge routing. This high power may even lead to some making wrong assumptions about its efficiency. However, with each amp-hour battery consumed, this router gives you maximum roundover routing capacity of 23 feet.
Apart from that, it has all the regular features that Bosch provides in their routers. From constant response circuitry to both macro depth and fine depth adjustments. Overall, its a pretty nifty little router with a unique handle designed that is perfect for doing small trimming and edge routing jobs with high stability which is something you always want when working on wooden projects.
Owners of Porter-Cable tools tend to stick to the brand for decades for a good reason. This router like most of the brand’s tools is extremely well built and can do everything you ask and more with its 11 amp motor and 1-¾ horsepower. Due to the aluminum construction, Porter-Cable has been able to keep the motor lightweight without any compromise in durability.
If you are looking for variable speed adjustments, you may be disappointed. This single-speed motor of this machine is capable of producing 27,500 RPM. To some, this may be a lack of versatility. However, for most, it means smooth and detailed edging with simple and minimalist usage.
One of the greatest strengths of this fixed base router from Dewalt is its see-through sub-base which increases visibility and lets you have a clear vision of whatever you are cutting through. Despite its compact size, this router doesn’t lack in power with its 11 amp motor.
For depth adjustment the provided depth adjustment ring lets you perform fine adjustments with a minimum increase or decrease o 1/64 inches. With 1.75 horsepower under your command, you can even design or route through tough and demanding hardwood with razor-sharp accuracy.
Unlike most other routers on the market, this one has a detachable cord. So, even if you step on it, get it tangled and stress out the copper wires inside it can be serviced or replaced without any major changes in your wallet.
10. Avid Power MW104
Avid Power delivers you incredible value among all the products in this list or any list of compact routers for that matter. It comes at an affordable price and includes everything that you may require. The accessories and tools come in a wooden box which keeps it all in place and gives you access whenever you want.
Even in its small form factor, Avid Power managed to fit in a powerful 1.25 HP and 6.5 amp motor. In terms of compatibility, it doesn’t lose out either. With ⅜ inch and ¼ inch collects you can use this router with a wide variety of bits. Dual LED lights gives you great visibility and eliminates all shadows that may be created by the unit.
We also asked a lot of my woodworker’s friend and here are some of the popular questions with my answers:
What is the best wood router for the money?
From our research and experience, the best wood router is: Dewalt Router which is not only under 200$ but also has an all-round functionality such as
- 1.25hp motor
- Dust Collector adaptor for fixed base & plunge base
- Dual LEDs
- No load speed range of 16,000-27,000 RPM
However, the best wood router for money depends on several factors such as your usage, your budget and the type of project you are working on.
What is the best wood router for home use?
A lot of the woodworkers work from their home or a space like basement dedicated specially for woodworking. For the beginners out there, you should go with a wood router which is not only compact in size but also operates smoothly. You can buy the Makita RT0701CX7 and the reason for recommending is:
- Variable Speed control dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM)
- Soft Start Feature
- Electronic Speed Control when under load
- Ergonomic design making it perfect for home use
What can I use a wood router for?
There are a number of use cases for which you can use a wood router such as building boxes and drawers. You can also use the wood router for routing the edges of a wood piece. A wood router can also be used for cutting dadoes and even rabbet cutting.
Woah! That was a lot of information. But, hopefully, it helped to clear out your confusion and would be able to guide you towards making an informed purchase decision on the best wood router under $200. We urge you to pick an option that's value for money.