Best Router Tables To Check Out in 2018 – Buyer’s Guide & Comparison

When it comes to woodworking, you’re only as versatile and capable as the tools you have at your disposal. Although there is a lot of equipment that you can have in your shop to get the job done, a router is going to provide some of the best woodworking methods. However, because hand-held routers can be unwieldy and imprecise, you need to get a router table to keep it steady.

Simply put, having a router table will enable you to use your router in a broad variety of ways that would otherwise be impossible if you tried to do it by hand. Thus, if you’re looking to upgrade your woodworking capacity, you want to find a router table that will work for you.

Today we’re going to look at some of the best router tables on the market, as well as go over the most crucial components to pay attention to when picking out the right model. Once you see what you can do with a router table, you will love having it in your workshop. 

Best Router Table - Comparisons 

Image

Product Name

Primary Material

Dimensions (inches)

Price

Product Name

Aluminum

9.1 x 9.1 x 9.1

PORTER-CABLE 698 Bench

Machined Aluminum

20 x 30.5 x 10

Steel

9.1 x 9.1 x 9.1

Cast Aluminum

26.3 x 15.9 x 14.7

Durable vinyl-Wrapped MDF

3/4" x 11-1/2" x 15-1/2"

5 Best Router Table Reviews

1. Bench Dog Tools 40-102 ProMax

Starting us off is this mounted router table from Bench Dog Tools. This particular table mounts to your table saw, which not only allows you to add more functionality to your machine but increases the depth of your saw as well, making it even more versatile.

This router table is perfect for workshops that have minimal space but want a high-quality piece that will enable them to produce all kinds of parts. Let’s see what this table has to offer.

Removable Fence

At first glance, you may think that this attachment could get in your way while you’re using the table saw. However, to make things easier for you, the split-piece fence is removable. This is why we like this router table, because it offers an extension to your saw. When you take the fence off, it hangs on two j-hooks on the bottom for convenience.

Wide Plate Opening

Although this router table is designed for smaller workshops, that doesn’t mean that you have to use a miniature router to make it work. First of all, because it’s a split-piece fence, you can adjust the hole to ensure that you get the best clearance while working. Secondly, the dimensions of the feeder are 8.25” by 11.75”, which is more than enough for most routers and bits.

¼-inch T-Slot 

Although this table doesn’t come with any accessories, the T-slot at the top enables you to attach featherboards and other mounting systems to keep your wood secure as it passes through. ¼ inches is standard for this kind of equipment, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding pieces that fit. 

Highlighted Features

  • Cast iron construction
  • Wide mouth opening for your router (8.25x11.75 inches)
  • T-slot for mounting featherboards and other attachments
  • Attaches to most table saws
  • Removable split-piece fence
  • Dust shield for protection
  • J-hooks for hanging your fence
  • 2.5-inch dust collection port

What we liked

  • Durable construction
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Perfect for smaller shops
  • Removable fence
  • Adjustable settings
  • Mounting bracket for accessories
  • Adds depth to your table saw
  • Easy to use and master

What we didn't like

  • Not designed for larger pieces
  • No attachments or featherboards included
  • In rare cases, there may be a slight warp to the surface

Verdict

If you’re looking for a compact and easy to use router table, then we highly recommend this version from Bench Dog Tools. We like that it increases the versatility of your table saw while also enabling you to work faster with your router. The construction and features provided with this model are high-quality and can help you make the most of a confined setting. 

2. PORTER-CABLE 698 Bench Top Router Table

PORTER-CABLE-698-Bench-Top-Router-Table


If you have more room in your workshop for a self-contained table, then you might want something like this compact benchtop model from Porter-Cable. Although it’s not a full-size unit, it can provide you with the size and versatility that you need to get a variety of work done. Let’s see what this table has to offer.

Quick-Adjust Split Fence

One of the features that we like about this router table is that you can adjust your fence as you see fit. Each side can be customized as you want, which allows for greater versatility while working. Also, the way that it’s set up means that you can make your adjustments quickly and with ease, every time. 

Miter Gauge Included

Although we would prefer for this unit to come with a t-slot on top, it still has a miter on the surface, which helps keep your wood in place and provides you with a lot more versatility than most other tables. The miter is fully adjustable and can be inserted into several different spots for greater customization.

Dust Shield and Extraction Port

As we’ve mentioned, cleaning up after working can be a chore that no one wants to do. However, this Porter-Cable router table makes the whole process easier by enabling you to attach a vacuum to the dust extractor for fast and efficient removal. Also, there is a customizable guard on the top that can keep your face and clothes relatively clean while you work. 

Highlighted Features

  • Flat and rigid aluminum top
  • Miter built-in
  • Multiple starting positions
  • Quick-adjust split-piece fence
  • Dust shield and extraction port
  • Accommodates 3.5-inch router bits
  • Weighs only 37 pounds

What we liked

  • Durable construction
  • Self-contained model
  • Fits under benches for easy storage
  • Adjustable fence and miter
  • Easy to use design
  • Cast-in lip for table extensions

What we didn't like

  • Feeder hole may be too small for some operations
  • No T-slot for mounting feather boards
  • Plastic guard can get in the way while adjusting fence

Verdict

When compared to other router tables, this model from Porter-Cable is decent, although it can be a bit tricky to master. Because of the way that it’s set up, you may have to make some adjustments on your own. This can include adding extensions to the sides or making drill holes to mount various routers to the bottom. Nonetheless, this table is a great way to add more functionality to your workshop. 

3. Kreg PRS1045 (KRS1035, PRS1025, PRS1015) Router Table

For those that need a full-size router table that can work for more jobs, this model from Kreg is a perfect option. Not only is it big enough to handle most woodworking materials, but it comes with a host of accessories that can help you make each piece memorable and high-quality.

Self-Squaring Router Table Fence System

This single-piece fence comes with some adjustable clamps that allow you to work more efficiently without having to worry about staying level. It has a t-slot on top, which you can use to put featherboards and other attachments. Behind the fence is a dust collection port for easier cleanup, and it comes with a dust shield to protect your face and body from errant sawdust spray.

Adjustable Steel Stand

The stand for this router table is incredible and allows you to work from a variety of positions. First of all, it comes with four casters so that you can move it around your shop effortlessly. The legs are also adjustable, enabling you to move it up and down as you see fit. Also, the casters are easy to take out so that you can keep it in place while working.

Insert Plates and Featherboards Included

As we mentioned, this table comes with all kinds of accessories to help you get the most out of your router. It has a full set of inserts so that you can maximize your router’s capabilities in the table, and it comes with two feather boards for holding your pieces in place. There is some assembly required for this unit, but it ensures that you get the best quality materials. 

Highlighted Features

  • Adjustable steel table
  • Full set of inserts for customization
  • Self-squaring table fence
  • Rigid and level surface 
  • MDF interior absorbs vibrations
  • Featherboards provided
  • Built-in dust collection system
  • Easy to maneuver and store

What we liked

  • Durable steel construction
  • Adjustable settings
  • Casters for easier movement
  • Ideal for full-size workshops
  • Easy to use and master
  • Accessories included

What we didn't like

  • In rare cases, the set may be missing inserts

Verdict

When comparing different router tables, you can either get something simplistic or a full suite of extras to enhance your woodworking capabilities. We appreciate the fact that Kreg provides you with everything you need to get started, and we really like the customizable elements of the table itself. Overall, you can do a lot more with this model than you could with most others. 

4. Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo

If you’re still getting into working with a router, then you want a full set of accessories that can help you get started. Fortunately, this set from Craftsman provides you with everything you need to get going, including a 9.5-amp router and a power strip. In short, you can start making all kinds of wood pieces immediately as soon as you get this table up and running. Let’s see what you can expect.

Laminated Surface

When compared to other router tables, this unit is more cost-effective, and one of the reasons for that is its surface. Rather than using cast iron or steel, this table is lighter and more maneuverable, which can help you out if you have to keep it in storage when not in use. Still, the laminate is durable and smooth, ensuring that you don’t have any issues while working.

Full Set of Accessories

As we mentioned, this table comes with everything you need to get started with woodworking. A complete set of attachments include:

  • A router
  • Two featherboards
  • A miter

Each accessory is made with the same care and attention as the table, so everything is built to last. Unless you’re looking to do a lot of professional routing, these tools will work perfectly for most small shops.

Enclosed Dust Extraction Port

With most tables, getting the dust out means that there is a collection port in the back behind the fence. However, to ensure that you get all of the dirt out, this table comes with a dust port that is fully enclosed. Not only does this protect the router once it’s mounted, but it also allows you to keep the surface cleaner than usual. 

Highlighted Features

  • Laminated surface
  • Two featherboards included
  • Mounted power strip provided
  • Miter and t-slot built-in
  • Dust extraction port
  • Thick legs for stability
  • 9.5-amp router included
  • Single-piece fence
  • 334 sq inches of table space

What we liked

  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use materials
  • Comes with accessories
  • Compact design is easy to store
  • Versatile operation

What we didn't like

  • Router itself is not high-performance
  • In rare cases, the fence may be slightly warped

Verdict

Overall, we like the full set of accessories that comes with this table, although it’s not meant for high-performance woodworking. If you’re a casual woodworker, then this will work great for you, but it’s not built for professional woodworkers, so keep that in mind. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic option for anyone who wants to start routing without having to pick out equipment themselves. 

5. Trim Router Table

Thus far, we’ve been looking at router tables that are designed for semi-permanent use. However, if you work on remote job sites, then you still need access to a table so that you can work uninterrupted. For that reason, you will want something like this Trim Router Table from Rockler Woodworking. It’s compact size and streamlined design allow you to take your router anywhere.

Vinyl-Wrapped MDF

To keep this table light and allow you to transport it wherever you need to go, it uses MDF rather than any kind of metal. This material is popular among woodworkers for its durability and finish. Unlike metals, MDF can hold its shape much more easily and provide a smoother surface for working.

Quick Attachment 

This table is designed to go almost anywhere. You can clamp it to the edge of another table or even the back of your pickup truck. As long as you have clamps, you can mount this unit and start working. This kind of versatility allows you to do router work from anywhere, which is why this is a perfect addition to any remote job site.

Dust Port

Even though this model is built for temporary positioning, that doesn’t mean that you have to suffer from a dirty workspace. As with all of the best router tables, this one comes with a dust guard and a connection port for any shop vacuum that you bring along.

Highlighted Features

  • Durable MDF surface
  • Clamps almost anywhere
  • Compact size is easy to store and manage
  • Quick fence adjustments with t-knobs
  • High-visibility safety guard
  • Dust extraction port

What we liked

  • Durable construction
  • Compact size
  • Easy to use
  • Dust extraction
  • Perfect for small jobs

What we didn't like

  • Not meant for large pieces
  • Cannot work with attachments (except miter)

Verdict

Although we don’t recommend this model for semi-permanent work, it can be a great idea to have on any remote job that needs a router table. We like the size and weight of this unit because it’s super easy to transport and store, making it an ideal choice for anyone who needs that level of versatility. 

How to Choose The Best Router Tables

Sturdy Surface

Woodworking is all about precision. Whether it’s creating a joined surface or a trim, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best results possible. The whole point of having a router table is to make your machinery more stable, which is why you need to ensure that the surface is thick and rigid.

Steel or aluminum tops are going to provide the results that you want since they won’t bend or buckle under pressure. Also, you have to be sure that the surface is free of any imperfections (like dents or bumps) as those can affect your finished pieces.

A cost-effective alternative that can work well is MDF. This material is lighter and cheaper than metal, but it won’t affect the outcome of your wood pieces. We highly recommend MDF if you don’t want (or need) a metal tabletop.

Base Plate

Along with the surface of the table, the base plate (where the router attaches) also has to be firm and rigid. Both surfaces need to be perfectly parallel and level with each other. Otherwise, it could affect the performance of your machinery. When picking out a table, check to see how the base plate compares to the top. Considering that you need both to do the kind of work you want to do, you can’t afford to skimp on either part.

Size

Router tables can either be small benchtop models, or they can be a full-size table that takes up a lot of room in your workshop. When picking out the right table, it’s imperative that you make sure that it will handle all of your pieces. So, if you mostly work on small parts and detail work, a smaller unit will be just fine. However, if you’re planning to craft large components for various projects, you need a table that can handle those dimensions.

When looking at the size of your router table, the first thing to consider is whether it will hold the kind of wood you plan on working on the most. Second, make sure that it’s not too large and cumbersome for your shop, as that can limit your capacity for work. Finally, pay attention to the overall weight. If you can’t dedicate a space for your router table then you want to be sure that you can move it easily if necessary.

Miter and T-Slots

One of the challenges that you can face with a router table is holding your wood against the fence as it passes. In some cases, you can’t do this by hand, so you need to be able to put featherboards and other holders in place to ensure that your work doesn’t get affected.

A high-quality router table is going to either provide these feather boards for you or enable you to install them yourself. As long as there are t-slots for mounting this kind of hardware to your table, you should be able to work quickly and efficiently. However, if there are no slots (or not enough), then you’re going to be at a disadvantage.

Fence

With router tables, you can either have a single or a split-piece option. The complexity and reliability of these fences can vary greatly, but as long as it stays rigid and holds its position while you’re working, it will be ideal. Split-piece fences are two parts that can be adjusted independently from each other. This kind of setup is perfect for more complicated pieces that work well with offset sides. The downside, however, is that you have to pay close attention to ensure that they are perfectly level with each other when necessary.

Single piece fences are great if you don’t have any use for offset sides. Also, you won’t have to worry if there is any distance between the sides when trying to make a flat surface. Finally, single-piece fences are generally cheaper because they have less versatility.

The other thing to consider with fences is how large the feeder hole is. Split-piece models can be adjusted to accommodate larger bits, but single-piece fences cannot. As such, if you opt for the latter, you need to be sure that it can hold your largest router bit without any problems.

Dust Prevention and Extraction

No matter what kind of pieces you’re creating, one issue that you will always have to deal with is sawdust blowing everywhere. Thus, if you’re looking for an easier way to keep your workspace clean, you might want to get a router table that allows for dust extraction.

These kinds of tables have a connector where you can attach a shop vacuum to collect most of the dust that you generate. Although nothing will get 100% of it, this addition can make cleanup a lot faster and more efficient.

Also, many router tables come with a dust cover over the feeder hole so that you don’t get any particles flying at your face. You should be wearing eye protection at all times, but it helps to have a shield in place so that you don’t have to worry about getting in your mouth or up your nose. 

Video Credit: FineWoodworking

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a router table that is easy to set up and works in almost any shop, then we highly recommend the model from Bench Dog Tools. We like the cast iron surface and the customization that it brings to your work.

However, if you want to have a full-size table, then the Kreg model is the way to go. Not only does it provide you with a suite of accessories to help you get started, but it has the best table setup of anything else we’ve seen. Finally, the quality and craftsmanship are superb.

Sean J. Stone
 

Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

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