Best Trim Router of 2020 – Complete Reviews & Comparison

Woodworking involves chiseling out and polishing a wood application to make smooth or decorative edges. Right? If you’re new to carpentry or an experienced carpenter, having the best trim router is vital, it is a well-engineered product that will allow you to work as a professional without using a lot of energy.

There are many brands and a variety of routers in the market to consider when it comes to choosing a handheld router. 

In this guide, we have handpicked the best trim routers in 2020 complete with reviews and comparisons to help you in your search so that you can quickly and effortlessly add accents and decorations on your woodwork.

Best Trim Router

Best Trim Routers Comparison

Router Model Performance Special Features Price Rating
DeWalt DWP611 Compact Router 1.1/4 peak HP motor Soft-starting motor Clear sub-base LED light No-load speed of 16,000 to 27,000 RPM Low-pressure spindle lock button Lightweight at 4.1 lbs Compact design Check Price 4.8/5
Makita RC0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router 1.25 HP motor No load speed 10,000 to 30,000 RPM Heavy duty aluminum housing ¼ inch shank router bits Lightweight and compact design at 3.9 lbs Smooth rack and pion fine depth adjustment system Check Price 4.7/5
Porter-Cable 450 Compact Router 1.25 HP motor Single fixed speed of 27,000 RPM Adjustment ring Clamping mechanism for locking D-base not standard Check Price 4.6/5
Ryobi P601 Fixed Base Trim Router Single-speed at 29,000 RPM ¼ -inch shank router bits Aluminum die-cast base Onboard LED lighting Cordless trim router Grip zone over mold Check Price 4.5/5
Bosch GKF12V-25N Brushless Palm Edge Router Single-speed at 13,000 RPM ¼ inch collet size Fine adjustment of 0.04 inch per dial revolution Micro and macro depth adjustment controls Weighs 2.2 lbs Built-in battery fuel gauge Check Price 4.5/5

1. DeWalt DWP611 Compact Router

Despite being nearly an entry level routing solution, this DeWalt DWP611 features a sturdy, rugged motor capable of producing 1.25 HP for general tasks like making mortises, trim edges and dados. It also features a compact and solid feel thanks to the excellent build quality.

Why We Like It

This fixed speed router is your best choice for making mortises, trim edges and dados as it includes a lot of extra features that you won’t find in other routers in this model price range like the easy to set variable speed setting of 16,000 to 27,000 RPM and very accurate 1/64 inch bit depth adjustment.

DEWALT DWP611

DeWalt DWP611 unit comes with solidly constructed plunge base and fixed base out of the box to deliver accurate routing every time. There’s also a soft start motor that allows you to increase the desired speed setting.

This unit includes dual LED lights and a clear sub-base that increases visibility. Also, there are no weird sounds when operating this router, indicating excellent build quality both on the inside and outside. 

The Good

DeWalt DWP611 will allow you to work with a wide variety of applications for different results and will cut through material relatively fast to deliver a smooth and polished result making it ideal for homeowners and DIY enthusiasts.

The Bad

This entry-level compact router is not the cheapest but not the most expensive in its category and price range. But if you consider the features, we think there are better deals for the price like the Makita RC0701C unit.

Pros

  • Dual LED light for increased visibility
  • Durable aluminum motor housing
  • Slim and compact design
  • Powerful motor

Cons

  • Fairly steep price
  • You cannot use ½ inch collet with this model

2. Makita RC0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router

The Makita RC0701C model is an all-around router that delivers plenty of performance and comes with features that you’d find in most compact wood routers making it an excellent handheld tool for the intermediate wood crafter and DIYer.

Why We Like It

This compact router from the Makita brand is your best choice for laminating countertops or basic woodworking projects around the home or shop thanks to a powerful 1-1/4 inch HP with a variable speed of 10,000 to 30,000 RPM.

Makita RT0701CX3 review

The Makita RC0701C model features a slim and ergonomic design weighing at only 3.9 lbs, making it lighter than the DeWalt DWP611 series giving it comfort and increased control. This model uses ¼ inch shank router bits while the shaft lock is easy and quick to change bits.

This compact router comes with other additional performance features such as the electronic speed control and a soft start feature that gives you a smooth start.

The Good

The Makita RC0701C unit goes head to head with the DeWalt DWP611 model in terms of versatility, ease of use, and performance. The only slight advantage that Makita will offer you over DeWalt is the price point.

The Bad

The depth adjustment on this model is harder than it should be because there’s not enough friction between the motor unit and the base.

Pros

  • Very smooth operation
  • Compact and lightweight at only 4 lbs
  • The adjustments are smooth and accurate
  • Well-made and easy to use with single-handed control

Cons

  • No dust shield for the power switch
  • Short maximum fence range

3. Porter-Cable 450 Compact Router

This compact router comes with a 1.25 HP motor and a fixed speed of 27,000 RPM with excellent ergonomics that gives you maneuverability to deliver exceptional results, making it a perfect fit for trimming wood and cutting joinery.

Why We Like It

The Porter-Cable 450 compact router is your best choice for trimming sharp corners workbench and cabinet builds thanks to the strong 1.25 HP soft starting motor that offers full-time electronic feedback for accurate and precise cuts.  

Porter-Cable 450 review

There’s an adjustment ring feature that comes in this model that allows controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64 – inch for a full circumference base housing leaving no chance for flexing or varying thickness which is a problem found in many small trim routers.

Although it’s not the most potent compact router in its class, it features a perfect marriage between the 1-1/4 HP standard size and the smaller trim routers.

The Good

The Porter-Cable 450 is a single speed compact router that performs well in many small-time routine tasks. Besides, it’s easy to use and delivers big performance making it a perfect choice for the intermediate woodworker and the beginning hobby wood crafter.

The Bad

The lack of a variable speed on this model makes it hard to make perfect cuts since you can’s slow down the motor – which can be frustrating. You may have to purchase a D base if you want fine edge work if your budget allows.

Pros

  • Exceptionally smooth and easy to use
  • Easy to adjust on the fly
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No variable speed
  • Lacks a guide

4. Ryobi P601 Fixed Base Trim Router

The P601 model from the Ryobi brand features an 18V Lithium-ion battery. But don’t let this small size fool you as this router packs a lot of power and torque, making it a perfect fit for the weekend DIYer and small woodworking projects.

Why We Like It

This fixed base trim compact router is your best choice for making cabinets because of the quick and convenient macro and micro adjustments that allow you to trim, shallow rabbet and creates dadoes.

Ryobi P601 review

The P601 model features ¼-inch shank collet, and a durable aluminum die-cast base to handle small job applications at home for a long time to come. There’s also a quick release depth adjustment that allows you to achieve the perfect depth every time.

Unlike some expensive models that we’ve discussed here like the Makita RT0701C and DeWalt DWP611, this unit includes an onboard LED light for improved visibility. Besides, the Gripzone over mold will help you maintain a firm grip for precision handling.

The Good

If there was a tool whose cord ever got in the way of a working area is a corded router. We love the fact that Ryobi P601 unit is cordless. Besides, it comes with an LED light that increases visibility to see what you’re working on – a feature found in expensive corded models.

The Bad

The battery is in an awkward position on the top part of the router giving it an appearance of heaviness. Also, you’ll not locate the Gripzone overmold handle where other typical trim routers are.

Pros

  • Helpful LED light
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Cordless for convenience
  • Easy to change bits and depths of cuts

Cons

  • No variable speed
  • Battery is sold separately

5. Bosch GKF12V-25N Brushless Palm Edge Router

The GKF12V-25N series is an innovative release by the Bosch brand that features a 12V amp motor with speeds up to 13,000 RPM. This cordless unit is easy to use, handy, and versatile – something that a novice wood crafter would be happy to add to his toolbox.

Why We Like It

This brushless palm edge router is your best choice for edge profiling butcher-block-style countertops and performing radius cut as it comes with a ¼-inch router bit and a bevel trimming bit for precise cuts.

Bosch GKF12V review

The GKF12V-25N series boasts a sizeable symmetrical base and sufficient mass that you’d not find in the Ryobi P601 unit that makes it incredibly easy to guide, stable and controllable.

When looking at routers, one crucial feature to look for is the powerhouse rating of the motor. The GKF12V-25N model features a maximum speed of 13000 RPM and up to 23 Ft of routing per battery Amp Hour for sufficient runtime.

The Good

The router is a 12V Max cordless power tool that delivers freedom and versatility. If you want a handheld router designed for edge routing and trimming tasks, then we’d recommend you go for the GKF12V-25N series.

The Bad

Though the GKF12V-25N unit can perform edge routing tasks efficiently, it doesn’t come with a native dust collection solution – which is annoying.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Adequate power and control
  • Comfortable handle grip
  • Maneuverable and delivers great results

Cons

  • No dust collection solution

Buying Guide

Generally, one of the most versatile tools that you should have in your workshop is the router, and one of the things that you should think about adding to your router collection is the trim router. 

The trim router has an impressive ability to do so much work with just a single hand.
First, there is an important question that should be asked, what are the trim router uses?

  1. The trim router is the perfect tool for edge-routing, you can use it to create chamfers, round-over, cove routing and beads.
  2. You can use a trim router for edge laminate, especially if you need to create clean cuts for corners on laminate.
  3. Sign making
    Yes, a trim router is perfect for that job, you will only need a good sign making bits, plus a letter template, you can even make a whole business based on that.
  4. It’s perfect for tight spots, you can use in a cabinet if you want to make a hole for an outlet or do a little detail here and there.

But the only disadvantage that you may find in a trim router is that you cannot use big bits in it. Because bits that are too big will burn the wood.

So, when should you consider buying a trim router?

A trim router is a portable device, so if you don’t want to be restricted to the workshop, a trim router would be a great solution for you so you can use it anywhere.
Another reason to consider buying a trim router is its cost, the trim router is extremely affordable, it’s an excellent investment for your workshop as you will use it frequently, even if you already have a plunge or fixed base router, you can still buy your trim router for under a 100 bucks, I’m sure you will use it for many small jobs.

How to choose a trim router?

Before you make your decision of choosing a router, you should first know the criteria on which you are going to make that decision. 

The RPM Rating
For anyone who works in the woodworking business or even a DIYer, the RPM (revolutions per minute) is the first thing you may consider when buying not just the router but any power tool.
Generally, trim routers RPM ranges between 10,000 to 30,000, and the higher the RPM is, the more powerful the router becomes and you will be able to work on your projects quickly.

Variable Speed Feature
This feature is important and you should look for a router that has a variable speed feature especially with a plunge or a fixed base router. The variable speed feature adjusts the RPM when working on a project, and when you use a large bit, you must lower the RPM of your router using that variable speed. That’s why it is so important.

Corded or cordless
Trim routers can be corded or cordless and each of these two types has its pros and cons, for example, cordless trim routers give you more freedom but you still can’t use it all day long. On the other side corded trim routers give you constant power all the time and you don’t have to charge it every time.

Weight
Yes, weight is important when buying a trim router, I mean, I buy a trim router so I can have a light tool and do my projects quicker, I don’t want to feel fatigued. So you must choose a trim router that is lightweight.
The weight is not that important for other plunge or fixed base routers becasue you don’t have to carry it as much as a trim router.

The weight is not that important for other plunge or fixed base routers becasue you don’t have to carry it as much as a trim router.

Bit size
Last thing to consider before you click the “add to cart” button is to know the maximum size of the bits that fit your router.

Final Thought

If you’re a beginner in the woodworking trade or a DIY enthusiast or a homeowner looking to renovate, trim routers are functional entry-level wood units that will allow you to trim wood for duplicating parts, cutting hinge mortises, profiling edges, cutting joinery, sign making, hole drilling, and other routing applications.

DeWalt DWP611 series is our top pick for trim routers that is feature-packed with 1.25 HP powerful motor, variable speed control of 16,000 to 27,000 RPM and ¼ inch collet shank making it a great router in a small platform. However, this product is relatively steep priced, and we think it’s too pricey comparing that there are better alternatives like the Makita RC0701C which is an all-around powerful and versatile model and an excellent budget buy for people on a tight budget.

Another notable unit is the Porter-Cable 450 with 1.25 HP motor, and a fixed speed of 27,000 RPM handles small bevel cuts to intermediate edge profiles but works “okay” although you don’t expect to shave or cut metal with this unit making it an ideal choice for a beginner learning the trade or a weekend DIYer.

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