Best Mobile Bases To Mobilize Your Tools [2021 Review]

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Home » Tools » Best Mobile Bases To Mobilize Your Tools [2021 Review]

Buying the best mobile base for your table saw, bandsaw, drill press or other tools requires a little research. And, understanding of your tools base dimensions, weight and how frequently you’ll be moving your machine around. In this article learn what the right mobile base is for your tools (and how to setup in minutes).

Over the years I’ve accumulated four HTC 2000 mobile bases  for my cast iron table saw, 22″ drum sander, planer and router table. 

And, the only complaint I’ve had in 20 years of use with the HTC bases is I’m guilty of improperly setting the fixed position depth stop. But, we’ll get to what that means later (and why its user error, not the bases fault).

So why are mobile bases important? Well, the alternative is fixed base tools you can’t free from a corner of your garage to use. Or, worse, attempting to lift tools into position and risk injury or damage to your tools.

To help you mobilize your workshop, in this guide we’ll cover the key features of mobile bases:

  • Adjustable mobile bases you can buy and adapt to any tool
  • Tool specific mobile bases built specifically for your model and brand of tool
  • Weight limitations of bases
  • Best mobile base options for each type of woodworking tools
  • Installation tips and tricks

And, finally we’ll walk through an unbox and build of an HTC-2000 for a router table that I just completed.

  1. BEST OVERALL:  HTC-2000 Adjustable
  2. BEST BUDGET:  WEN Mobile Base
  3. BEST HEAVY DUTY:  Shop Fox Extreme Duty
  4. BEST TABLE SAW:  BORA 3750
  5. SAW EXTENSION ARM:  Shop Fox
  6. RETRACTABLE CASTERS:  DCT Retractable Legs

What is a Mobile Base?

Play Video

When it comes to a mobile base you’ll have two general options: either choose a build-your-own dimension or a tool specific kit. And, the video above by Bora is a great rundown of the basic steps you’ll need to build an adjustable base.

So which is right for your tools? First, let’s better understand how these work and what types of mobile bases are available.

Adjustable Mobile Bases

Adjustable Mobile Bases

As the name implies, this type of base can be used to move most tools up to 32″ x 32″ and support 500 pounds.

Which, in almost all home workshops, is large enough.

Key things to look for in an adjustable base:

  • Standard duty adjustable bases are typically built from a slightly C-shaped flat bar that is bolted to corner blocks. I’ve found these work great, but can flex on longer tools (my wide belt sander one of them).
  • Heavy duty bases expand the weight capacity and feature tubular steel that doesn’t “flex” over longer distances.
  • Caster sizes should be large enough to roll over sawdust and small blocks that find their way to your floor.
  • Caster lifts should be easy to operate and not get in the way of using your tool. 
  • Omni-directional movement is offered on some bases and will allow you to move your tool in any direction. If you have tight space in your shop this is a worthwhile upgrade.

Mobile Base with T Extension

Mobile Base for table saw with t extension

While there are mobile bases for table saws customized to specific brands they aren’t available for all saws.

So what’s the option? Well, fortunately you can go with a T-Extension to an adjustable base that will let you extend the reach and support your outfeed table.

Tool Specific Mobile Bases

Now the great thing about owning a popular woodworking tool is you’ll have the option of using a custom-size mobile base. Since these bases are custom fit to your machine they tend to both work better and look better. 

Popular brands supported are:

  • Powermatic
  • Jet
  • Delta
  • Dewalt
  • SawStop
And, if you’re looking for a way to mobilize your benchtop planer, you can even buy stands with an integrated mobile base like this (wildly) popular Dewalt Planer Stand With Mobile Base 

Alternatives to a Mobile Base

Mobile Base Alternative: Casters

So what happens if you have a wood base that is already sturdy enough to support casters? Well, instead of installing a mobile base, you can instead attach a mobile base caster that will “stand up” to take the weight of the load and then release itself and set the bench on its legs.

The biggest consideration? Making sure you aren’t impeding your work area or creating a trip hazard. Which is why one of my tricks when assembling any mobile base is to install the caster flippers facing into each other so they stay out of my way.

Best Adjustable Mobile Bases

Without doubt, one of the most popular types of mobile bases is the classic adjustable mobile base. Since it allows you to customize your base size to your tools you can mobilize just about anything within the rated size and weight capacity.

And, when I buy bases, I tend towards value and price as this is just a tool to move my saw, sander, planer and router table from point A to B. I like to save upgrades for other tools.

So with that, here are a few options to consider for adjustable mobile bases.  

1. HTC2000 - Best Value Adjustable Mobile Base

Adjustable Mobile Base HTC2000 for Power Tools by…
  • WEIGHT CAPACITY: The rugged HTC-2000 has a 500-lb weight capacity so even…
  • ADJUSTABLE TO SUITE YOUR NEEDS: This mobile base expands from 12×12 inches…
  • ROCK SOLID STABILITY: Easy to use foot levers lock and unlock wheels for…
  • HEAVY DUTY: The HTC-200 by HTC is constructed of heavy-duty steel rails and…

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Overview

After recently adding a mobile base to my Rockler router table, I checked my other bases to see what I’d purchased over the years.

And, with three other purchases over 20 years I had accumulated a total of four HTC bases. So sticking with my general principle that mobile bases should be economical and just do their job I can see why I’ve levitated to this base.

Here’s what I like about the HTC bases:

  • Inexpensive
  • Brand name
  • Large rear casters (lower priced units have small casters)
  • Easy to assemble (see my unboxing below)
  • Durable with enough capacity to move my cast iron table saw

Key Features

  • 500 pound weight capacity
  • Sizes from 12×12 to 34×34 to 18×50 using the supplied iron strips
  • Only adds 1″ of height to your tools
  • 3-inch casters for rolling over your shop dust and sticks

Editor: My biggest compliant during assembly was unnecessarily needing a variety of metric and standard wrenches for bolts all the same size (10mm, 11mm, 7/16).

Pros

Cons

2. WEN MB500- Budget Adjustable Mobile Base

WEN MB500 Heavy Duty 500-Pound Capacity Universal…
  • Turn your stationary tools into mobile machines, helping you to get the…
  • Perfect for band saws, table saws, tool chests, cabinets, safes, planers,…
  • Fits square base configurations anywhere from 11.8 by 11.8 inches up to…
  • Fits rectangular bases up to 51.2 by 19.7 inches in size

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Overview

If you are taking cost seriously, then the WEN MB500 is about the lowest price mobile base you’ll find on the market. And with good overall reviews this base checks the box for almost all home woodworkers.

Key Features

  • 500 pound weight capacity
  • Sizes from 11.8 x 11.8 to 35.4 x 35.4 to 19.7 x 51.2 using the supplied iron strips
  • Two year warranty
  • Slightly smaller than 3-inch casters

Pros

Cons

3. Shop Fox D2057A Heavy Duty Mobile Base

Shop Fox D2057A Adjustable Mobile Base, Small
  • 19-Inch by 20-1/2-Inch to 29-1/2-Inch by 29-1/2-Inch
  • 700-Pound capacity
  • 8 configurations

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Overview

Moving up a few hundred pounds in machine capacity and you’ll find a class of heavy duty mobile bases that support heavy machines.

And, with these bases the design will alter just slightly to include two fixed caster and two swivel casters. The difference, though, is instead of a foot activated lift you’ll find leveling pads that lock the machine in place with a few turns.

Key Features

  • 700 pound weight capacity
  • Sizes across three distinct units that range from 10-1/2 x 14-1/2 minimum to 28-1/2 x 33-1/2 maximum
  • Tubular steel design
  • 3″ poly casters

Pros

Cons

Best Options for a Table Saw Mobile Base

Mobile Base for Table Saw

When it comes to a cabinet table saw with a 36″+ fence you’ll run into one problem when trying to mobilize it: the fence base.

But, with many workshops needing the portability to move the table saw around there are a few good options for a mobile base for your table saw. 

Don’t need a fence base? Scroll back up and take a look at the HTC adjustable base that I’ve used under my JET table saw the last 15 years.

Adjustable Mobile Bases for a Table Saw

Bora Portamate PM-3750 Mobile Base & T Extension…
  • Three foot operated floor locks
  • Adjustable in 1″ increments
  • Now you can have a mobile base that will move both your table saw and the…
  • 1500 pound weight capacity

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Since table saw specific mobile bases can be expensive one of the most economical options is to insert an adjustable base with the fence extension. And, this Bora PM-3750 unit is a heavy duty option that supports up to 1500 pounds.

Shop Fox Mobile Base Table Saw Extension

Shop Fox Woodstock D4792 Extension Kit For D4666
  • Designed for use with Shop Fox D4666 extreme-duty mobile base
  • Expands from 18″ to 44″ long
  • Mobile base not included

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Shop Fox Table Saw Extension  comes from a popular brand in tools – and in mobile bases. If you have a Shop Fox base you can simply add on with this table saw extension arm. 

Just remember that these bases will add an extra 3/4″ of an inch to the overall table saw height. And, you must follow the manufacturers installation instructions to ensure the saw locks in place firmly while in use.

Table Saw Retractable Leg Casters

DCT Heavy-Duty Retractable Workbench Contractor…
  • MOBILE WORKBENCH: Designed to maintain original stand height, the DCT…
  • USE VARIOUS STANDS: Steel assembly can move up to 600 pounds (272kg) total;…
  • SAFE WORK ENVIRONMENT: Unlike mobile bases, these castors do not sway;…
  • SIMPLE INSTALLATION: Mounting hardware and instructions included; Some saws…

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If the idea of a mobile base just isn’t sitting well with you, and you own a table saw with a 12.5-degree angled leg (common), there’s another option. 

The DCT retractable contractor saw casters simply bolt onto your existing saw and use the machine as the base. Best of all? When you retract the caster the saw is sitting on its standard foundation. 

No wiggling back and forth, no tinkering with the bases.

Drill Press Mobile Bases

Drill Press Mobile Base

When it comes to mobilizing a drill press there is one feature that is an ABSOLUTE must. 

Stability.

While your planer or table saw can rock a little, a full floor mounted drill press has a high center of gravity and it must have a sturdy base that can lock tightly in place.

Build Your Own Base With Casters

SPACECARE Workbench Stepdown Caster, 600 Lbs...
1,549 Reviews
SPACECARE Workbench Stepdown Caster, 600 Lbs…
  • 【DURABLE CONSTRUCTION】- The heavy duty wheel casters, constructed with…
  • 【EASY OPERATION】- It just takes one foot to lift workbench table and…
  • 【360-DEGREE MANEUVERABILITY】- Equiped with 360-degree swivel bracket,…
  • 【MOUNTING SCREWS INCLUDED FOR EASY INSTALLATION】- We offer 16 screws…

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Odds are you won’t be moving your drill press much. And, rather than assemble an oversized drill press  mobile base a great option is making a wood base with a lip and use workbench casters.

Why would a caster solution work better? Well, consider you can:

  • Minimize the footprint of the drill press base
  • Flip the casters up and set your press on a firm base (no rocking)
  • A caster set will be less expensive than a full sized mobile base
One hack worth considering is adding leveling feet below the wood base to minimize your connection points to the ground and further improve stability.

Drill Press Mobile Base Using a Planer Stand

DEWALT Planer Stand,with Integrated Mobile Base…
  • Maximum versatility
  • Durable and stable under heavy loads
  • Easy movement and storage of planer and stand
  • Comes in heavy duty size of 24-by-22-by-30-inches and weighs 59-pounds

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 12:14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While your drill press mostly likely isn’t a Dewalt, if you have a quality benchtop drill press that you’d like to move around there is an other option. By using a planer base like this one from Dewalt you can mobilize your bench press plus add an area for storing your drill bits, clamps and other tools.

Lastly, with a larger table area, portability, 30″ height and low center of gravity this base might be something you pick up for your planer or jointer too.

How to Setup an Adjustable Mobile Base

HTC 2000 Setup Instructions

While I have a lot of tools that doesn’t mean I’m not always investing in a better setup.

Which recently included adding a long overdue mobile base to my router table.

So let’s take a look at unboxing an HTC-2000 mobile base, what’s included and a few tricks to setting it up.

How to Setup an Adjustable Mobile Base

HTC-2000 Out of the Box

HTC 2000 Adjustable Mobile Base 1

Out of the box you’ll receive a set of great instructions, casters, adjustable arms and a small pile of bolts and nuts.

And worth noting, the fit and finish, quality of materials and packaging was top notch. As you’d expect from an established manufacturer, the materials were all separated with no paint rub and the box arrived with no damage.

HTC 2000 Adjustable Mobile Base 2

First, let’s hit on quality of what’s in the box.

While I was laying all the pieces out I noticed the metal was all high gauge, the red foot lever is high quality and the swivel casters were a solid 3″.

Note: the backdrop is my custom miter saw stand, equipped with the Kreg fence kit . A purchase I haven’t regretted.

HTC 2000 Adjustable Mobile Base 3

HTC Base Assembly

HTC 2000 Mobile Base Caster Size

As you’ve probably experienced, a pile of nuts and bolts can be a dread-inducing experience.

First, I’m a woodworker and like assembling wood, not metal. And if I had one issue with this base it was I needed a few more wrenches than the instructions called for. 

So, if you have a couple of 10mm, 11mm and 7/16″ wrenches on hand you’ll start this project of best.

Keys to installation;

  • Oversize the base by 1″ in all directions
  • Plywood base is optional, and remember will add 1/2 to 3/4″ to your tool weight
  • Double check your measurements
  • Assemble the metal base first, then attach the casters (counter to the instructions, which want casters on first)
  • Caster lift pedals are a preference, but I like to point them in TOWARDS each other so they don’t protrude on either side of the base. And yes, that’s to reduce a trip hazard.
  • Choose your swivel caster location carefully and think about how you will push and store your base. While not an issue for square tools, if the base is under a longer tool envision the movement to store it and install the caster accordingly.

Assembling the Mobile Base

Installing Mobile Base Bars

Fortunately, the pile of bolts and screws will rapidly disappear when assembling the base. By simply bolting to the corner brackets the adjustable length braces will allow you to quickly make your shape.

And, for longer edges, simply connect your longer pieces to the corners and fill the gap with an evenly spaced bar.

TIP: Don’t use the fixed caster holes (the center hole) for connecting the bars. You’ll find out later when you have to move them for the casters. And while you can install the fixed caster first you won’t have room for screws. 

Adjustable Foot Pad Setup

Fixed Position Adjustable Foot Setup

If there’s one certainty with a mobile base it’s this: if you install the foot pad too low you’ll curse the base. Since the adjustable foot pad is close to the floor, don’t assume a 1/8″ clearance is good enough as it will ALWAYS catch something or hit the ground.

How do I know? Well, I’ve done this, and it’s your fault not the base. 

So rather than rush this step be sure set the pad up about a 1/2″. And then firmly lock the screws in so it won’t move over the years of tool use and vibration that will be sent its way.

Editor: Be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions and use help when lifting your tool onto the mobile base. It’s not worth injury or tool damage by trying to lift it yourself.

HTC 2000 on Amazon

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to install a plywood bottom on my mobile base?

A plywood mobile base for your base is optional and depends on the tool. A table saw, for example, usually has legs that can extend directly into the mobile base oversized corners. A drill press, on the other hand, may require a plywood base due to its irregular shape.

Can I use a mobile base under a cabinet table saw with a 50" fence?

There are mobile bases for table saws that include a T-style extension arm that will support both the cabinet saw and the fence.

How much will a mobile base raise the height of my tools?

A mobile base will typically add 3/4″ to most tool heights. And, if you choose to install plywood base, you’ll also add the thickness of the plywood to the base.

Summary

Odds are pretty good that once you mobilize one tool you’ll be putting wheels on everything in your shop. Be sure to give us a comment on what you bought and installed or other creative ideas on mobilizing your woodworking tools.

Mobile Bases on Amazon

Last update on 2021-03-03 at 02:47 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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