Best Budget Wood Router for the Money in 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

In this review, we’ve handpicked the best router for the money to help you choose the right one for your woodwork. 

For a beginner or DIYer in the field of woodworking, a fixed based router will be good enough while the plunge router would best suit the advanced woodworker and contractor. 

If you have a lot of woodworks at home, you’ll find that a wood router will allow you to execute projects that need various designs, shapes, and grooves quickly and efficiently. 

Routers are versatile woodworking tools that are indispensable to any craftsman, newbie, and pro.

Best Router for the money

Best Wood Router for the Money

Product Performance Special Feature Price Editor’s Rating
Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Router
1-1/4 HP motor Soft start No load speed of 10,000 – 30,000 RPM Double insulated Heavy duty aluminum motor housing Slim ergonomic design Shaft lock Easy to read depth scales Check Price 4.8/5
Bosch Colt PR20EVS Electronic Variable Speed Router
1.0 HP, 5.6 amp motor 1-1/4 inch self-releasing collet chunk Shaft wrench Rubber over-molded grip No load speed of 16,000 to 35,000 RPM Palm-shaped motor housing Soft start circuitry Max cutter diameter of 1-5/16 inch Check Price 4.7/5
Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router
1.6 HP laminate trimmer ¼ inch collet No load speeds of 20,000 to 30,000 RPM Spindle lock Easy access micro adjust the dial Round and square bases LED light Check Price 4.5/5
Porter-Cable PCE6430 Laminate Trimmer
Single 31,000 RPM motor Corded Clear base plate LED light Single speed laminate trimmer Compact and lightweight Check Price 4.4/5
Masterworks 11 Amp 2 HP Fixed Base Wood Router
Two peaks HP 11 Amp motor No load speed of 25,000 RPM Micro-fine adjustments of 1/64 inch depth ¼-inch and 3/8-inch collet chunks Rubber molded handles Compatibility and an edge guide Check Price 4.1/5

1. Makita RT0701C Compact Router

The Makita RT0701C Compact Router is a well-built all-round router that features high power and capacity to produce steep cuts suitable for small and intermediate jobs making it an excellent choice for beginners and intermediate woodworker.

This fixed speed router is your best choice for laminate flooring and deck planks making it a perfect fit for home use thanks to the powerful 1-1/4 HP motor with a no-load speed of 10,000 – 30,000 RPM.

Makita RT0701C review

The Makita RT0701C features a powerful 1-1/4 horsepower motor that provides 6.5 amp and speed control of between 10000 to 30000 RPM for constant speeds under load.

It’s also one of the quietest and low vibration routers in its class motor for both plunge and fixed base. The RT0701C comes with a ¼ collet shank router bit which is an excellent size for a compact palm router.

The Good

Makita RT0701C is an incredible value router kit that doesn’t require purchasing bits and additional guides and is also durable making it an excellent bargain for the weekend DIYer and professional.

The Bad

This entry-level palm trim router does not include a dust protection feature to keep debris from getting into the power switch, besides the depth scale feels like an afterthought.

Pros

  • Sturdy and functional fence
  • Slim and compact design
  • Powerful motor
  • Externally accessible motor brushes

Cons

  • No dust shield for the power switch
  • Requires two wrenches to change bits out

2. Bosch Colt PR20EVS Electronic Variable Speed Router

Bosch Colt PR20EVS is a trim router that delivers performance and accuracy similar to the Makita RT0701C palm router. It features a wide range of routing applications with a variable speed control of 16,000 to 35,000 RPM for constant speeds under load.

This trim router comes with a plunge base that allows you to get into tight corners at comparatively safe angled routing making it your best choice for creating custom carpentry and mortising hinges.

Bosch Colt PR20EVS wood router includes a 1.0 HP 5.6 amp variable speed router with speeds of 16,000 to 35,000 RPM making it handy in different wood applications that require consistency cuts. It also features a straight edge guide of up to 3-5/8 inches from the edge and an angled cord exit to keep the cord out of the way when working.

Bosch Colt PR20EVS features both the plunge and fixed base to produce clean cuts. It comes with a ¼ inch bits collet but can also accommodate 3/8 inch bit shanks.

Bosch PR20EVS review

Check this topic for the full review of Bosch Colt PR20EVS 

The Good

This trim router plunges effortlessly without hanging thanks to the clamping level and a wheel on the back of the router that allows micro-fine adjustments.

The Bad

The Bosch Colt PR20EVS router is not compatible with ½ inch bit shanks, and you’ll have to purchase a separate 3/8 collet nut as it doesn’t come with one. But you have to understand that the model is for trim and lightweight woodworking.

Pros

  • Plunges smoothly and allows the bit to reach into corners
  • Soft start motor
  • Bits run true

Cons

  • Need to hold the locking lever down

3. Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router

Rigid R2401 is an all-in-one precision trim router with a simple design for circular and square fixed bases that allows you to have added visibility and aptness.

This trim router is your best choice for various home use wood applications like carpentry, trimming laminate flooring because of the powerful 1.6 HP 5.5 amp motor with a variable speed of 20,000 to 30,000 RPM.

Everything about wood routers revolves around power. The Rigid R2401 sports a small 120V 5.5amp that offers sufficient performance for general purpose routing and although not the most powerful, it gets the job done.

In comparison to the Makita RT0701C palm router, Rigid included an LED light light up the working area for better visibility – which is a nice additional feature.

The Good

The Rigid R2401 trim router has decent power when it comes to cutting wood. It performs well in trim applications and cuts boring holes whether on hardwood or softwood making it a perfect fit for casual routing and DIY tasks.

The Bad

There’s a small defect in the tool that makes the motorized router drop when the lock lever opens, making the fine depth adjustment harder. If you’re not cautious, you might miss the previous position of the motor.

Pros

  • Affordable and competitively priced
  • The speed control delivers a smooth and polished finish
  • The cam lock mechanism is easy to use

Cons

  • Poor customer support

4. Porter-Cable PCE6430 Laminate Trimmer

This PCE6430 model is a trim unit features a 4.5 amp single no-load speed of 31,000 RPM to handle small woodworking projects around the home or shop.

This single speed compact router is your best choice for dovetails, mortises, small edge forming and hinge routing thanks to a robust 31,000 RPM 4.5 amp motor and smart ergonomics for single hand control.

PORTER-CABLE PCE6430 review

This Porter Cable router features ¼ inch trimmer to handle small jobs making it a handy tool for cutting different wood applications and a straight forward micro-set collar for quick and accurate bit height adjustment.

This unit includes a durable aluminum base that lasts you a long time to come while the attached depth ring allows rapid and precise bit height modifications. Besides, the smart ergonomics included in this unit enables easy, single-handed control.

The Good

Sometimes, the best wood routers for simple DIY projects don’t have to cost a fortune. This Porter Cable PCE6430 single speed compact router combines power and ease of use for the beginning hobby wood crafter.

The Bad

The depth latching mechanism on this compact Porter Cable laminate trimmer is not easy to adjust and tighten. Though affordably priced, it will deeply struggle to route through hard material; therefore, we can only recommend it for casual routing jobs.

Pros

  • Helpful LED light
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to change bits
  • Smooth and quiet

Cons

  • No variable speed

5. Masterworks 11 Amp 2 HP Fixed Base Wood Router

Masterworks fixed base router includes a powerful 2 HP motor that and a single speed 25,000 RPM for fast and clean cuts to tackle. You can install this router on any router table using an insert plate making it an excellent budget buy for the beginner wood crafter.

Masterworks 11 Amp 2 HP fixed base wood router is your best choice for radius cuts, edge profiling, hinge and hardware installation thanks to the modification ring that allows it to control the bit changes to within ¼- inch, 3/8-inch and ½-inch collets for smooth and secure operation.

Masterworks router review

This router boasts 2 HP motor making it a smaller router compared to Porter Cable PCE6430 which comes with a 4.5 amp motor but with a lot of power and torque to handle small woodworking projects around the home.

In addition to these features is a cast aluminum motor housing and fixed base that offer you durability while the rubberized molded handle provides you with superior comfort, balance, and control.

The Good

If you already own a router table and are looking for a versatile and compact unit, Masterworks 11 Amp 2 HP router should fit in and happily perform any small-time routine tasks you throw at it. Besides, it will not cost you a fortune.

The Bad

The default collet chunks on this unit are not precise enough for a CNC setup to cut metal unless you replace them with an aftermarket collet kit. But again, this router is designed for woodworking.

Pros

  • Well balanced and easy to control
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Tackles hardwoods
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not very many features compared to Makita and Bosch units

Buyer's Guide

Router can do everything from cutting fancy profiles to precise joinery. If you don’t have a good router you need to get one, and in this buying guide, it’s not about brands as much as it is helping to clear up the confusion about which features are really useful when choosing a budget-friendly router.

Looking for a good cheap router is a pain, it’s not possible to find a quality router for a 100 bucks or under. But you should be careful when looking for a router that combines both quality and affordability at the same time, that’s why you should concentrate on several factors when deciding to by a budget router, and these factors are:

Your Budget:

I’m sure you are here because you’re searching for a budget friendly router. So the first thing to do is to set a budget, in other words, you will find routers that cost you about 60$ or less and others cost you about 100$, I’m sure there is a significant difference between the two. So the first thing is that you should set your budget and stick to it.

Decide your needs

Some of the routers that we’ve just reviewed have alot of features and nearly do anything, while others lack some features, for example, you will find some routers that don’t have the variable speed feature which enables you to use bits of different sizes.

But the question here, will you need anything like that ?. I mean, if you do simple trimming jobs and don’t work on those complex projects that need to have a those big routers that may cost you 200$ or more, you don’t have to buy those big ones. Therefore, you should determine your needs for the router that you want to buy because we want to constrain our search to the budget-friendly options.

But if you are a professional contractor or someone who deals with big projects, then those budget-friendly ones will be a good choice and you should buy it.

Fixed-based VS Plunge-based

 fixed based routers are more compact they’re usually lighter and they have handles mounted near the base. 

 This lowers the center of gravity to making them easier to balance on the edge of a workpiece, they’re also less expensive than the more complex plunge models, and a fixed base router is often easier to mount upside down in a router table. 

On the other hand, there’s no denying the benefits that come with that plunging mechanism especially if your starting or stopping a cut away from the edge of a workpiece.  

If you’re cutting a deep mortise a plunge router may also be better suited for removing material in stages so that you don’t hog out too much at a time. 

And a plunge routers depth stop is often fitted with a fine micro adjuster making it easy to dial in that perfect cut.

If you are a professional contractor and want to have a router as a primary tool that will be used in a lot of projects, I think I would suggest going with the plunge router, with it you can do just about everything you could do with a fixed base model if a bit more awkwardly at times, and that plunging action is just a game changer in some situations 

Final Thought

If you’re considering a budget wood router under $100 mark, Makita RT0701C wood router would be the best option for you. It has all the features of high-end routers, a low price, and the build quality is like that of the Bosch router. It also comes with a ¼-inch shank that allows you to rout through a vast range of profiles and patterns like dovetails, mortises, and other applications making it a perfect choice for the hobbyist crafter and DIYer.

Besides, the Bosch and Ridgid units are other notable budget buy models that combine power, ease of use, and convenience at affordable prices. The Bosch PR20EVS model is especially great for table mounting when paired with the Bosch router table although it’s also compatible with other router tables making it the best value wood router under 100. On the other hand, the Ridgid R2401 series is affordable, lightweight, compact, well balanced, and easy to control, making it a perfect fit for beginners.

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