Home » Tools » Power Tools » Best Plunge Router: 7 Routers and Accessories You Need to Know
If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This supports free articles.  Disclaimers.

Best Plunge Router: 7 Routers and Accessories You Need to Know

Buying the best plunge router isn’t just a decision on price. It’s a process that involves understanding your current projects, router use for making dadoes and rabbets, size of bits and if you’ll free-hand or use in a router table. In this article we’ll cover budget plunge routers to professional models made for everyday use.

While fixed base routers are mostly well understood by woodworkers, a plunge router is a unique tool with its ability to push the bit into the wood surface.

While fixed base routers are mostly used for edge routing, with a plunge router you’ll be able to:

  • Cut dadoes and rabbets
  • Make both the mortise and tenon cuts for joinery
  • Copy patterns and designs using jigs
  • Power extra large router bits in a router table
  • Cut circles and arcs in wood

So which router is right for your projects? 

In this article we’ll explore a few options, including combination kits, best plunge routers for router tables, and when to look for when mounting in a router table.

  1. BEST OF BEST:  Festool OF 1400
  2. BEST VALUE:  Bosch 1617EVSPK
  3. BEST BUDGET:  WEN RT6033
  4. MOST POWER:  Makita RP2301FC
  5. HEAVY DUTY ROUTER:  Dewalt DW625
  6. CIRCLE TEMPLATE:  Master Circle

What is a Plunge Router

Play Video

As the name implies a plunge router, literally, allows you to push or “plunge” the router bit into the workpiece you are building.

If you haven’t used a plunge router before your initial reaction might be “so what”. But, as seen in the WWGOA video above, this style of router allows you to mill the INSIDE of a piece of wood versus the traditional edge routing you’ll be able to accomplish with a standard fixed base router.

Additionally, you can make dadoes, rabbets, cut circles and trace outlines.

Make furniture and want high quality joints? Well, with a plunge router you’ll be able to make mortise and tenon joints using your plunge router and an edge guide. And, if you’re adept at tool brands, this is a much cheaper alternative to a Festool DOMINO machine.

Plunge Router Manufacturers

Top manufacturers in plunge routers include the established industry names and a wide variety of new-to-market imports.

Established brand plunge routers:

Newer or less popular brands:

Alternatives to a Plunge Router

Plunge Router

While there aren’t many alternatives to a plunge router, there are a few situations you can substitute another tool for a plunge router.

Plunge Router vs. Table Saw – a table saw can replace the plunge router for making dadoes and rabbets.

Fixed Base Router vs. Plunge Router – if you aren’t planning to make dadoes, cut mortises or use raised panel bits a fixed base router will likely work fine.

Mortise Jig vs. Plunge Router – for projects where mortises are a primary use a mortise and tenon jig is a great option to a plunge router for both speed and accuracy.

Best Plunge Routers

Putting types of projects aside, let’s take a look at the top few plunge routers on the market. 

But, before we, the following are features or considerations you’ll want in a plunge router:

  • Horsepower from typically 2-3HP+
  • Weight as high horsepower routers can range from 6 to 18 pounds
  • Detachable 3-1/2″ body size for fit in router lift inserts or fixed bases
  • Solid aluminum construction for durability yet lightweight
  • Variable speed for use with large and small bits in a variety of wood
  • Chip deflector for safety
  • Soft start to allow larger bits to ramp up to speed vs. “snapping on”

1. Bosch Plunge Router Model 1617EVSPK (Combination)

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25...
2,882 Reviews
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit – 2.25…
  • Versatile: This versatile kit can be used for a broad range of…
  • Durability: Aluminum construction makes this one of our most durable wood…
  • Ease of use: Rounded hardwood handles maximize user control
  • Convenient: With the built in constant response circuitry, our 1617EVSPK…

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 10:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For maximum versatility, capability for plunge routing, fixed base routing and a router barrel size that fits easily in most router lifts the Bosch Plunge Router 1617EVSPK is worth looking at.​

Overview

The Bosch 1617EVSPK is arguably the most popular router for woodworkers as it combines all the features most woodworkers novice to professional need. And while Bosch isn’t a household name in tools like cordless drills they SPECIALIZE in routers and router tables.

Out of the box this router includes:

  • EVS Motor
  • Fixed base 
  • Plunge base
  • Chip shields (fixed and plunge)
  • 1/4 and 1/2-inch collets
  • Changing wrenches
  • Hex-height adjustment wrench
  • Carrying case

Key Features of Bosch 1617EVSPK

  • Aluminum body
  • Tool-free changing between fixed base and plunger base
  • Bosch Precision Centering Design to align bit and subbases
  • Microfine bit depth adjustment
  • Speed range between 8,000 and 25,000 RPM
  • Dust-shielded motor switch
  • 2-1/4HP 12 AMP motor

Accessories

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 11:13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

Cons

2. Makita Plunge Router RP2301FC - Best DIY

Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router, with...
293 Reviews
Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router, with…
  • Powerful 15 AMP motor delivers 9,000-22,000 RPM for smooth routing
  • Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load
  • Variable speed control dial enables user to match the speed to the…
  • Soft start feature for smooth start-ups

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

With an electronic brake, a massive 3-1/4 HP motor and Makita durability the RP2301FC lands itself as the best DIY plunge router that doesn't convert to a fixed base.

Overview

First, the feature Makita offers that other plunge routers doesn’t is an electronic brake. And that lands it on top of the list of the best plunge routers.

But, Makita is also a top 3 power tool manufacturer that is consistently competing with Dewalt and Milwaukee and that has everything to do with the quality of their tools. In fact, I have almost two decades on my Makita miter saw and it just keeps going.

And, with over 3HP, this router is great for spinning large cabinet door router bits.

Out of the box you’ll get:

  • 1/4 and 1/2″ collets
  • Plunge base with 3 preset stop depths
  • Linear ball bearing construction
  • Extended depth adjustment knob
  • Bit changing wrench

Key Features

  • 9,000 – 22,000 RPM adjustable motor
  • 3-1/4 horsepower (15 AMP)
  • 0 – 2-3/4″ adjustable depth
  • Soft start
  • Electronic brake to slow bits faster
  • Electronic speed control

Accessories

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 19:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Pros

Cons

3. Festool 574692 Plunge Router

Festool 574692 OF 1400 EQ Router
53 Reviews
Festool 574692 OF 1400 EQ Router
  • Ergonomic handle with full-grip is designed for increased control and…
  • The OF 1400 EQ Router provides a smooth 2-3/4″ plunge action on precision…
  • Micro-adjustable depth control to 1/256″ (1/10 mm) with ball detents which…
  • MMC electronic controls provide constant speed under load for improved cut…

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 08:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It could be argued this is the #1 router, but unless you're bought into the Festool ecosystem it's tough to make this a top recommendation because of the price.

Overview

While you know Festool is always the “best of the best” at what they make that doesn’t mean they are best for everyone.

However, their plunge router deserves to be in the top 3 as it is, like their other tools, an engineering marvel.

Frustrated with wrenches when you’re changing bits? Festool offers a wratchet lock that pairs with the wrench but wratches the bit on and off. No more sore thumbs or busted knuckles changing bits.

Want a more ergonomic handle with access to speed control at your fingertips? Yep, Festool has that.

Out of the box you’ll get:

  • Festool 574692 router
  • 1/4, 8mm and 1/2″ collets
  • Chip catcher
  • Dust extraction hood
  • Guide rods
  • Power cord
  • Systainer

And, if your work takes you onto the jobsite the Festool connects with the Festool dust extractor for arguably the best dust collection in woodworking.

Key Features

  • 1400 watt power (Festool doesn’t rate on horsepower)
  • Electronic speed control
  • Soft start
  • Micro-adjustable 1/256ths adjustment
  • 3-year warranty

Pros

Cons

4. Dewalt Plunge Router Model DW625

DEWALT Router, Plunge Base, Variable Speed, 3-HP...
211 Reviews
DEWALT Router, Plunge Base, Variable Speed, 3-HP…
  • Powerful, smooth-running 15 Amp motor generates 3 HP
  • Full wave electronic variable speeds between 8,000 and 22,000 RPM
  • Rack and pinion depth adjuster; Magnified scale; Micro-fine bit depth…
  • Base dimensions: 5-5/8 x 6-11/16 inches; weighs 11.2 pounds

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 20:04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

In the Dewalt vs. Makita discussions the DW625 isn't far behind the Makita. But lands just behind due to lack of an electronic brake that gives the Makita a slight edge.

Overview

First, I’ve used a DW625 in my router table for over 15 years. And while I’d likely switch over to the Bosch 1617 and add a router lift I have no complaints with the Dewalt plunge router.  And, I’ve made many kitchens, bedroom sets and furniture with it.

Out of the box you’ll get:

  • DW625 router
  • 1/4 and 1/2″ collets
  • Dust extraction adapter
  • Template guide bushing adapter
  • Wrench
  • Operating instructions

Key Features

  • 3 HP motor (15 AMP)
  • 8,000 – 22,000 RPM
  • Soft start
  • Oversized spindle-lock button
  • 3-year warranty

Pros

Cons

5. Best Budget Plunge Router - WEN RT6033

WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge...
716 Reviews
WEN RT6033 15-Amp Variable Speed Plunge…
  • Powerful 15-amp variable speed soft start motor provides speeds from 8, 000…
  • Plunging base locks in downward position for functionality as both a plunge…
  • Accepts both 1/4 and 1/2-inch Router bits with a plunge depth of up to…
  • 7-Stop turret combined with both macro and micro-adjustment dials maximize…

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 10:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

WEN is a growing brand and their no frills advertising approach lands them with a well rated plunge router at an economical price.

Overview

For a fraction of the price of the first three routers on this list the WEN will get you started with plunge routing at an affordable price.

Out of the box you’ll get:

  • WEN RT6033 router
  • Hard plastic carrying case
  • Dust collection duct
  • Straight-edge guide fence
  • Centering pin for circle cutting
  • Profile and template guides
  • Bit changing wrench
  • Operating instructions

Key Features

  • 15 AMP motor (no HP data released)
  • 8,000 – 23,000 RPM
  • 7-stop depth turret
  • Micro adjustment at 1/128th inch
  • Downward lock position for fixed base-like use
  • Oversized spindle-lock button
  • 3-year warranty

Pros

Cons

Best Plunge Router for a Router Table

Router Table Round Over and Rabbet

A router table is a must for any serious woodworker as it opens up the door to so many more projects.

And, a plunge router in a router table offers up a powerful combination for heavy duty continuous routing with large router bits. 

So which plunge router is best for a router table? While the same criteria apply as for use out of the table this is a decision between two tradeoffs.

3HP+ plunge routers are best for large raised panel bits as their bearings and extra horsepower can handle a massive panel bit. However, these don’t convert to a fixed base and seldom fit a router lift. As noted above, the Dewalt DW625 and Makita RP2301 are good choices here.

Combination plunge and fixed base routers are the best choice for 95% of woodworkers as they are usually fit a router table lift AND can be used off the table. The Bosch is a popular choice, but both Dewalt and Makita offer up entries here.

Professional Plunge Routers

Festool Plunge Router

As noted, Festool is the tool of choice for most high end custom woodworkers since these German made tools just WORK BETTER.

From better dust collection, easier to control design, fine tune adjustment that’s twice as controlled as other machines and a brand name for durability there just aren’t comparable machines.

And to demonstrate Festools commitment to plunge routers, there aren’t one but THREE versions of the Festool plunge router to choose from.

Festool OF 1010 EQ (574691) Plunge Router

Festool OF 1010 EQ Router
7 Reviews
Festool OF 1010 EQ Router
  • Ergonomic handle with full-grip is designed for increased control and…
  • The OF 1010 EQ Router provides a smooth 2-1/8″ plunge action which enables…
  • MMC electronic controls provide constant speed under load for improved cut…
  • Micro-adjustable depth control to 1/256″ (1/10 mm) which allows you to dial…

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 20:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you plan to be on and off jobsites then this model offers up a compact size, lower price point and unique design that gives you maximum visibility to your workpiece.

While the plunge depth, power, and size are smaller the tradeoff is a high quality plunge router that weighs under 6 pounds.

Festool OF 1400 EQ (574692)

Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial
87 Reviews
Festool 574692 Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial
  • Ergonomic handles: Festool routers are designed for increased control and…
  • Dust extraction: Integrated dust extraction ports capture dust and debris…
  • Swiveling chip deflector: Can be used with edge forming bits, maximizing…
  • System integration: Designed for use with the FS Guide Rail system, MFS…

Last update on 2021-12-04 at 20:23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The one hand operation design of both this model and it’s smaller peer, coupled with more power and traditional plunge router design, make this one of the most popular Festool plunge routers.

With a larger plunge depth, motor and power for working in hardwoods this model works well in both the workshop as well as on the jobsite. 

And, it still comes in at less than 10 pounds to make it a lightweight hand-held machine.

Festool OF 2200 EB (574689)

No products found.

While weighing an armful at almost 18 pounds, this model is the top of the line Festool plunge router for both power and capability.

Attesting to it’s power it features just a 1/2″ collet for larger bits. And, with the 2200 watt motor has the ability to take deep cuts in hardwoods without slowing. 

Unique to this two-handed model are controls for speed and plunge lock integrated into the handles for maximum control and ease of use.

Lastly, this model is best used in a track system or edge applications where more power is needed given its weight.

 

Plunge Router Accessories

Plunge Router Accessories

While you wouldn’t typically bolt or clamp accessories to most woodworking tools a plunge router is BEST with accessories attached to it.

And, ranging from edge guides, dust collection to even setup bars to help you set your plunge depth there are a few accessories worth adding to your next plunge router.

Plunge Router Edge Guides

Bosch Plunge Router Edge Guide 

If you buy a plunge router you’ll want to add at minimum an edge guide to allow controlled plunge routing. Because a plunge router is a large, free-hand tool in most applications it needs an edge guide to give you control over where it goes.

Briefly, an edge guide:

  • Attaches to the base of your plunge router
  • Adjusts to the center of your plunge router bit
  • Offers a straight, smooth edge to trace your materials to
  • The higher quality units will convert quickly to a circle guide for making arcs and round shapes in wood

Plunge Router Dust Collection Adapters

Plunge Router dust collection adapters

Dust is the enemy of woodworking projects as it not only impacts  your health but also reduces the quality of your woodworking.

And, plunge routers generate an ENORMOUS amount of dust into the air and around your router bit.

Which, for any serious of a plunge router, requires connection to a dust collector. The advantages? You can both see your workpiece clearly as well as keep the bit free of un-necessary chips that can block your sight and reduce cutting quality.

Circle Cutting Jig for Plunge Routers

Circle Cutting Jig for Plunge Routers

An often overlooked use of a plunge router is to make perfect circles for your projects.

Versus a jigsaw or bandsaw a router will make absolutely perfect circles when attached to a jig. And, from lazy susans in cabinets to end tables or any type of craft this type of plunge router jig will open up new projects.

Picture above is the Master Circle 240  that is built for cutting circles with plunge routers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better a fixed base or plunge router?

While a fixed base router is best suited for edge routing applications, a plunge router offers up the ability to make everything from mortise and tenons to cutting dadoes and rabbets in wood. So while your projects may decide which is “best” there are needs to own both. If you are not sure, the best option is to buy a combination package that allows you to use both.

Can a plunge router be used on a router table?

A plunge router can be used on a router table but it has limitations vs. routers that are made to fit a router table lift. First, for large raised panel bits the plunge routers higher horsepower is the number one reason to use one in a router table. However, it is harder to adjust and most don’t fit a router lift. And, in a router table, above table height adjustment is the #1 feature you’ll need.

What is the advantage of a plunge router?

A plunge router gives you options to cut grooves in wood, make circular cut-outs, make dadoes in wood (as an alternative to a table saw) and use in a router table for making raised panel doors. All of these features are possible, but harder to do with a traditional fixed base router.

Summary

With plunge routers range from $100 up to $1000, the best plunge router for your workshop needs to fit your projects.

Looking for a router table? Be sure to check out our guide to the best router tables.

Not sure on a fixed base vs. plunge router for a router table? Have a look at our guide to routers for router tables.

Plunge Routers on Amazon

Last update on 2021-12-05 at 10:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Comment

free wood (knowledge)

All you need to do is sign-up and as a BONUS receive a guide to 300+ lumber retailers (with price lists).

***CHECK YOUR SPAM FOLDER***