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The Best Router Tables For Floor and Bench tops

Updated: July 9, 2023
Router tables are a unique tool that transform a simple hand-held tool to a woodworking alternative to a shaper. But not all tables are the same. In this guide learn about the best router tables for bench top and floor-based uses. And why the JessEm is the clear winner.
JessEm Professional Grade Router Table
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The Best Router Tables For Floor and Bench tops

Bosch RA1181 Router Table

Best Benchtop Router Table







After researching all the major brands, the choice for the best router table was clear: the JessEm Ultimate Excel II Package.

From the best-built table stand I’ve seen and precision-grade components made for a lifetime of use to a shaper-like lift, this table doesn’t disappoint.

While a premium price, when compared to a table saw, ‘s no different from a high-quality contractor saw. And router tables require precision that a cheap table can’t offer.

In this guide, learn about:

  • Router table material and durability
  • Compatibility for router lifts
  • Closed vs. open bases
  • Benchtop vs. floor
  • Size of the table
  • Dust collection ports
  • Fit within a table saw (e.g., SawStop)

As with all tools, remember some tools call for a one-time investment to avoid future upgrades.

Our Experience

Rockler Router Table

We’ve used router tables and shapers for close to thirty years. 

And over that time have learned a router table, the right power feeder, and a quality router table router are both necessary and open the door to many woodworking projects that couldn’t be tackled without this tool.

We started using a high-powered industrial shaper in a cabinet shop, switched to lighter projects powered by the Rockler router table shown above (with a “baby power feeder from Delta”), and now use the “best of the best” in the JessEm Master series.

Key Features

Having trouble finding the right router table? Woodcraft is a premium supplier of woodworking tools and stocks many of the best router tables.

A router table has a surprisingly large number of features – and especially as you look at professional tables that will need to support high-precision routing.

However, only some budgets can afford the features. So, we’ll look at features in three categories for beginners, intermediate and professional woodworking.

Beginners Router Table Features

While a professional table with all accessories can cost over $1000, that’s out of reach for most woodworkers. 

Just starting and would like a benchtop table to fit your existing router.

Entry-level tables will generally have the following:

  • Compact size for benchtop use
  • Shorter and narrower tables than a floor-model
  • Dust ports
  • Fit for most plunge or fixed-base routers
  • Some may have integrated on/off switch
And, as these are compact additions to your garage and use your existing router, they won’t take over precious space in small shops.
Bosch, Kreg, Rockler, and Skil are popular brands of benchtop router tables.

Intermediate Tables

Stepping up in size and height, an intermediate table offers a larger working surface and the ability to use jigs to enhance your work further.

If you want to make cabinet doors, this is the router table.

And this intermediate router table offers enhancements like:

  • Leverage stands to be mounted from the floor
  • Larger table sizes
  • Longer and better-integrated fences
  • Enhanced dust collection
  • Capable of supporting a baby power feeder
  • Above table router lifts
  • Fixed legs typically paired with portable tool bases

While the features resemble a benchtop model, the critical upgrade is a larger table for making cabinet doors. 

And my favorite is a power feeder compatibility that will allow for larger projects with better quality.

Grizzly, Kreg, Rockler, and Triton Tools make these intermediate-grade router tables.

Professional Router Table

It’s possible to recreate a cabinetmaker’s shaper with a professional router table. 

Or, at least, come close.

Paired with a heavy-duty router, a shaper table can do everything from furniture to complete kitchens. But how would I know? Well, I’ve built large cabinets with raised panels using a router table, and it was simple enough to use a shaper.

Key features:

  • Large, high-quality table with low friction
  • Tracks for feather boards and gauges
  • Power router table lifts
  • Oversize aluminum insert
Professional router tables are made by JessEm, Rockler and JET tools.

Best Router Tables

1. Professional Pick: JessEm Excel II

Jessem Router Table

See on Amazon: JessEm Master Series Package 

Top Features

  1. 32×24″ phenolic table
  2. Aluminum fence
  3. Steel stand
  4. Router lift included (Mast-R-Lift Excel II)
  5. Optional digital read-out and power switch


With JessEm being the top brand in router lifts, it’s no surprise they invested in router tables.

And with this all-in-one unit, you’ll have a superior table, fence system, and router lift. 

Could you pick this over a standard table? The unique wheel lift is the #1 reason woodworkers prefer a shaper. And this option lets you quickly make micro-adjustments to the height of the router bit. 

After unboxing and assembling, we found it was unlike any other tool we’ve used: the perfection in manufacturing and quality of the components is TOP NOTCH from this Canadian-based tooler:

  • Legs are extruded aluminum and ingeniously fit all casters, shelving, and on/off power switches.
  • Table and adjustment levers are both finely machined and a game-changer for setup and adjustment
  • And the built-in router lift easily fits the Bosch router we’ve found both inexpensive and powerful for almost all router table projects.


  • JessEm lift included
  • Wheel-style height adjustment
  • Phenolic table
  • Top quality fence
  • Dust collection


  • Price
  • Lacks cast iron top of other top router tables

2. Cast Iron Router Table: JET RT 3224

JET Router Table

See on Amazon: JET RT-3224 


Offering one of the only cast iron tops on the market, the JET router table stakes a claim as one of the top router tables. First, though, this table is at the high end of the price range and competes with the cost of a low-end shaper. 

Additionally, while the machine is fully featured, quite a few of the accessories are optional, and the total cost makes this a machine worth second-guessing. Compared to the JessEm table, the features and precision of JessEm outweigh the vibration and durability of a cast iron top.  

If cast iron is a must, we’d recommend evaluating a shaper.


  • Cast iron top
  • Quality stand
  • Micro-fence


  • Router lift not included
  • Mobile base not included

3. Budget Bench Top Table: Bosch RA1181

Bosch Benchtop Table

See on Amazon: Bosch RA1181 Router Table 

Top Features

  1. Integrated power switch
  2. Feather boards
  3. Aluminum table
  4. Bosch compatibility (top router for router tables)
  5. Optional above-table router height adjustment kit


A benchtop table makes a lot of sense for occasional projects in small shops. And it doesn’t require a dedicated plunge router to free up your router for free-hand work.

There are tradeoffs in this size table. But the ease of storing this size table under your bench, quickly setting it up, and tackling complex routing projects you can’t with a hand-held router make it a great place to start.


  • Metal table
  • Compatible with router height lift
  • Feather boards


  • Lacks dust collection of Grizzly option
  • Doesn’t have router lift out of box
  • Table size not suited for long boards

Choosing a Router Table Best for Your Projects

How to Choose a Router Table

From just starting to looking to leap into an intermediate or professional table, the first consideration is ALWAYS the types of projects you’ll be making.

With that in mind, let’s look at common woodworking projects and help match a router table to your shop.

Making Cabinet Doors

Farmhouse Kitchen Hardware Blue Painted Kitchen With White
Recommended: Intermediate or professional tables are best for cabinet doors
The reason I own a router table is to make cabinet doors. And, while my doors started using significant raised panel bits in a 3-1/2 HP Dewalt router, I gradually moved to more straightforward doors like those shown above. But that doesn’t mean you’ll want to start lower, as these larger tables offer:
  • Better support for cutting-edge profiles on the doors
  • Smoother surface that will not damage softer woods
  • Enhanced feather board support – both on the fence and table
  • Support for a power feeder – a must for any cabinet project to ensure a perfect routed edge

Making Trim for Cabinets, Furniture and Home

Custom Wood Trim

Recommended: Intermediate or professional tables due to the length of stock

There’s something unique about making trim, and it might surprise anyone who has yet to try it.

What is it? Well, surprising to many, top-quality trim is made with a controlled feed rate and pressure.

This means a hand-held router isn’t an excellent option for most trim, even when considering the limitations of narrower stock.

So, if you plan to make trim (an excellent side business for some), a router table supporting a power feeder is a MUST.

Furniture and Simple Round-overs

Router Table Round Over and Rabbet

Recommended: Any style of router table

When it comes to benchtop tables, they are best suited to small-sized wood stock, simple round-overs, and small projects that don’t require complex tasks: 

  • Basic edge rounding on narrower wood stock
  • Cutting rabbets and dados in narrow strips, e.g., for drawer backs
  • Small stock that can’t support the size of a router (this is often the #1 reason to step up to a router table)

How to Use a Router Table

Router Table Cutting a Wood Rabbet

In many regards, a router table is as complex as a table saw, even more so if you move into advanced projects. 

But, first and foremost, a ROUTER TABLE IS A DANGEROUS MACHINE. If you’re uncomfortable or capable of using power tools, don’t. Because a router table inverts your router, it exposes the bit, and extreme caution is required. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Tips to Using a Table

  1. Disconnect the power before adjusting, changing, or getting anywhere near the router bit. Don’t trust just the power switch.
  2. Invest in a router lift if you use the machine regularly.
  3. Fence alignment is critical to a clean cut. Because of that, use a straight steel rule about 24″ or longer and ensure the fences match PERFECTLY before cutting stock.
  4. Always start with a scrap piece to set a bit of height
  5. Dust collection is a must to keep the bit clean and operating correctly

Key Maintenance and Storage Considerations

While maintenance and keeping tools protected isn’t always #1 on the list, a router table is a precision tool.

And for that reason, with a benchtop model, you want to dedicate storage to keep the fence from abuse.

Have your sights on a floor model? Be sure to use a caster or a mobile base. While I’ve picked mine up a few times, it is not a tool to carry around the shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best router table?

Choosing a router table requires matching your woodworking projects to the router table. While the BEST router table is professional, its expense rivals most table saws and takes up significant room. However, underbuying can’t be undone, so picking a router table with enough “room to grow” is essential.

What are router tables used for?

There are many uses for a router table. For example, the problem with routing narrow wood is it doesn’t give a solid surface for a hand-held router to sit on, which prevents a smooth cut. Other uses include using a router table to hold large bits that couldn’t safely be hand-held or used, such as a raised panel bit.

Is a router table the same as a shaper?

While a router table and shaper are the same general size, it differs from a router table because it has a dedicated spindle and motor. Due to the shaper’s design, it offers many advantages, such as easier bit changing and height adjustment.


While a professional table is only for some woodworkers, downgrading will not be an option once you start using one after you find the conveniences and accuracy are worth the money. Lastly, once you’ve found the best router table for your shop, it’s time to connect to dust collection and start building.

  • About the Author
  • Latest Posts
Eric Trion
( Woodworker )

Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.

2 thoughts on “The Best Router Tables For Floor and Bench tops”

  1. Can you do an article on router lifts? I have the bosch router table and would like to install a lift, but hard to be sure which one to get .

  2. Hi Tony – we have this on our list and will publish one soon. On a budget the RA1165 with hex adjustment is a popular choice.

    Jessem lifts would start close to the price of your router and router table.


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