buying a woodworking router

buying a woodworking router

Decide the kinds of projects you are most likely to do with your router. If you will mainly do light scroll work, then raw horsepower is not a priority for you. However, if you will do a lot of cutting with particularly large bits, then you'll need the most powerful router you can afford. In general, getting a router with the most horsepower you can afford is the best choice.

Ask a salesperson to show you how to change bits. Different models can make it very easy--or very difficult--to change bits. If you can afford it, get a router with a 1/2-bit shank capacity. This will allow you to use a wider range of bits in the future, and will let you use larger bits.
Hold the router in your hands. Move the cnc router about and see how the heft and weight distribution feel. You may be holding the router for long periods of time when doing freehand work, so make sure the router feels comfortable in your hands. Do not buy a router that feels top-heavy or uncomfortable to you.

Buy a router with a metal housing if you plan to do a lot of router work and especially if you plan to use large-sized bits or work with hardwoods. If you are buying a router for only occasional light work, then purchasing a router with a plastic housing will save you money as well as give you a lighter and easier-to-work-with router.

Purchase a router with an electronic variable speed control, also known as EVS. EVS allows you to change the speed of the motor for different-sized bits and for hard and soft woods. An EVS control also allows the router to have what is known as a "soft start," which means that the router starts slower and builds speed over the first second or so. This feature makes it much easier to start your router without a "jump" that could damage a project. Electronic variable speed control adds to the cost of the router.

Purchase a router with a fine bit adjustment, if affordable. A fine bit adjustment allows the depth of the cut to be adjusted to a high degree, allowing for much more accurate and detailed work.