In this article I’m here to go over my top picks for router tables, including what makes them stand out from the competition. I’ll also provide a buying guide so you know exactly what to look out for.
A handheld router is definitely a useful tool. But if your project involves a lot of routing, I always find a router table is a much better option. After all, they allow you to have greater control over your work material.
When it comes to choosing the right router table, though, there’s a lot for you to factor in. If you’re not particularly familiar with routers, all of this can become a little overwhelming.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick list of my top picks for the best router tables in 2020:
- Top pick – Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
- Top premium pick – Kreg PRS1045 Precision Router Table
- Top budget pick – SKIL RAS900 Router Table
- Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
- Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
- Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
- Ryobi Universal Router Table
- Kobalt Fixed Corded Router with Table
Hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have found the best router table for your needs based on our suggestions and extensive buying guide.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- 1 My Top Picks for Best Router Table
- 1.1 Top Pick – Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
- 1.2 Top Premium Pick – Kreg PRS1045 Precision Router Table
- 1.3 Top Budget Pick – SKIL RAS900 Router Table
- 1.4 Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
- 1.5 Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
- 1.6 Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
- 1.7 Ryobi Universal Router Table
- 1.8 Kobalt Fixed Corded Router with Table
- 2 Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Router Table for Your Job
- 3 Conclusion
My Top Picks for Best Router Table
While all router tables follow the same basic premise – a bench onto which you can fix your router – there is plenty of variation on the market.
You might have a particular brand you want to stick with, but I recommend checking over the router table’s functionality before making your pick.
It’s always worth ensuring it matches with your current woodworking project.
So here’s a roundup of my top picks for best router table in 2020.
Top Pick – Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
When looking for a router table, I always try to find the perfect balance between durability and versatility. And that’s exactly what I found in this router table.
Importantly, its work table, mounting plate, and fence are all made from aluminum, which provides a high level of durability – and helps to cut down on weight.
While you won’t be carrying your router table around everywhere, this definitely helps if you need to rearrange your workshop.
Another great feature is that its router mount is compatible with a number of routers. This means you don’t need to stick with a Bosch router if you already have a good model from another power tool brand.
Perhaps my favorite feature is the table’s feather boards. They’re super easy to use and provide more precision than you could ever get from using your hands.
When combined with the extra tall aluminum fence and large work area, the result is amazing precision over a wide range of material sizes. In all, this is a very versatile router table suitable for multiple routing jobs.
The only downside I could really find with this Bosch benchtop router table is that the router plate can move out of place due to vibrations. While it’s easy to put back, you have to do this almost every time. An easy way around this is to bolt it down with the holes provided at the base of the table.
- Compatible with a variety of routers.
- Aluminum body makes it versatile and durable.
- Great flexibility over material size.
- Easier to move around the workshop than some other models.
- Router plate can easily slip out of level with the table top.
Overall, the Bosch RA1181 is a fairly durable and versatile router table. Perhaps its best feature is its compatibility with a range of routers.
Providing you remember to check its alignment before working, this’ll be a reliable tool. Click the link below for more information and to check the latest prices.
Top Premium Pick – Kreg PRS1045 Precision Router Table
As a taller than average person, I find a lot of tabletop workbenches to be the wrong height. Well Kreg has appeared to solve that problem by including an adjustable height option in their router table.
In fact, the heavy duty steel stand can be used for a number of jobs because you can remove the router tabletop. This is useful if you need a spare workbench for other workshop jobs.
The tabletop is made from MDF coated in laminate, so it’s plenty durable for your routing needs. While aluminum has its benefits, an MDF tabletop decreases the chances of it warping.
Perhaps the best feature is the router setup. The table comes with a removable router insert that can fit any router. This makes it ideal for integrating your current tool rather than buying a new one to fit.
The Kreg router table also includes an aluminum miter slot, into which you can mount a number of different accessories. This gives you a great range of versatility for your routing jobs.
My only real downside is that I found the bolts that hold the adjuster head in place were too short. I remedied this by simply shaving down some longer bolts, so bear this in mind when yours arrives.
- Heavy duty steel table is sturdy and durable.
- Works with any router.
- Miter slot can be used for a range of accessories.
- Bolts are too short on adjuster head.
- Standard model doesn’t come with casters – order these separately.
If you need a sturdy router table with the added benefit of adjustable height, the Kreg PRS1045 is the model for you. It’s a versatile piece of kit that is ideal for a range of routing jobs.
Just remember to order all of the relevant accessories when you buy yours so it’s fully usable upon setup. Click the link below to check out current prices on this model.
Top Budget Pick – SKIL RAS900 Router Table
Although portability isn’t always top of my list for router tables, I know this can be a big buying factor for some. If you need a router table that’s easy to fold up and carry around, you could do a lot worse than the SKIL RAS900.
This router table is designed around portability. It has foldable legs and can be set up in minutes, which is useful if you’re moving between jobsites.
Another great feature is that it comes with built-in accessory bags and storage compartments, meaning you don’t need to worry about carrying round loads of tool bags just for your router equipment.
It comes with two feather guards and an adjustable bit height, which give you great precision and accuracy when routing your material.
The tabletop and fence are both made from laminated MDF, which helps to cut down on weight. Overall, this model weighs around 32lbs, making it much lighter than some of its competitors.
The only real negative I could find about the SKIL RAS900 is that it’s primarily made from plastic so it doesn’t have the same feeling of durability as some other models.
But if you’re after an easily portable router table, this is the kind of sacrifice you have to make.
- Built-in accessory storage makes for easy portability.
- Easy to mount any model of router.
- Bit height gauge and feather boards mean great accuracy.
- Lightweight – easy to move around.
- Plastic parts make it feel a bit cheaper than other router tables.
- No instruction manual – might not be the best choice for beginners.
The SKIL RAS900 is a great budget-friendly option that’s ideal for taking to jobsites. That said, if you want a router table purely for your workshop, it’s worth looking elsewhere.
Click the link below for more information on this router table and to check current prices.
Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
Before finding the Bosch RA1171, I was curious whether noise-reduction was ever a design feature considered on router tables. Apparently, according to this design, it is.
That said, it’s not a particularly complicated addition. The cabinet design means it vibrates much less than a legged table, and you can also bolt it to the floor. Mounting your router inside the cabinet helps to drastically reduce noise levels.
A great feature of this router table is that it comes with an aluminum router mount, which stays flat and guarantees accurate cuts.
To add to this, it also comes with two feather boards and a tall aluminum fence. The tall fence means this router table can handle longer pieces of wood, so would be a good choice if that’s one of your main buying factors.
Its laminated MDF work surface has a miter slot that fits a feather board or miter board. But it can be used for other accessories too.
It comes with a 6 foot power cord, which is fairly common. What isn’t so common however is it also comes with a dual outlet switch to the front of the table. This is really handy if you have any other power tools you need to plug. The dual outlet switch allows you to do this without having an extension cord running across your workshop.
I really like the dust collection system on this model. The table has two dust collection ports, which help keep your work site clean, meaning more precise cuts.
The only minor downside is that this router table isn’t compatible with all router models.
It’s compatible with the main brands, but if you have any problems you can simply drill the necessary holes in the mounting plate to fit your router.
- Cabinet style router table is sturdy and helps reduce noise levels.
- High levels of precision because of feather boards and fence.
- Fence is capable of handling longer pieces of material.
- Ideal for the professionals and hobbyist.
- Great dust collection system with two dust collection ports.
- Doesn’t fit all router models, but this can easily be solved.
- Assembly takes longer than some other router tables but isn’t complicated.
Overall, the Bosch RA1171 is a great choice because of its durability and sturdy design. If you’re not short on space in your workshop, this’ll be a great option.
Just remember that it might not be compatible with your router, but you can solve this by adjusting the mounting plate. Click the link below to check current prices on the Bosch RA11171.
Craftsman Router and Router Table Combo
When my router broke a while ago I just went out and bought a new one then found a table to suit. If only I’d seen the Craftsman combo first, I could have saved myself a lot of wasted time.
Unlike the other options on this list, the Craftsman includes a router with its table. This makes it a great choice for those just starting in the world of routing, as it saves you having to find a router and compatible table.
It’s an entry-level router with 27,000RPM cutting power that’s capable of handling basic cuts. While a professional might need more than this, it’s fine for the inexperienced woodworker.
One of the best features is the adjustable fence, which extends 2 inches on either side. This gives you more support over your work piece, and means it can handle longer bits of material too.
The router table has an adjustable miter gauge – up to 60 degrees – and a clear plastic router guard. Combined these give you great precision and accuracy over your material.
You also get two feather boards included, which help with accuracy. Considering this set is designed for newbies, you’ve got plenty of aids for making accurate cuts.
The only real negative I could find with this router combo is that a lot of its components are plastic. For example, the fence is plastic, as are the table inserts and tabs. All of this can lead to warping, which isn’t ideal.
While there isn’t a quick fix for this issue, you just need to be more careful when using it. That said, if you’re only getting this as a starter machine, it probably won’t be long before you upgrade to a sturdier model.
- Great entry-level setup for those new to routing.
- Included router helps to cut down on expenses.
- Plenty of accessories to improve precision.
- Tabletop is fairly large – plenty of workspace.
- Lots of plastic – could warp if treated poorly.
- Router is only compatible with Craftsman bits.
If you’re looking to get a routing set that’s convenient, the Craftsman Router Combo will be ideal. It’s great as a practice machine to gently ease you in to routing.
Click the link below for more information and to check current prices.
Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table
I always think it’s difficult to find the right balance between portability and stability in a router table. Although not everyone needs a model they can carry around, it’s important for some. If that’s you, the Kreg PRS2100 could be a good choice.
The frame is made from steel, meaning it’s pretty sturdy and durable. But it’s also lightweight and easy to take apart, so it’d be useful for carrying to different jobsites.
Its work surface is made from MDF and features an aluminum fence and precision insert plates that fit all models of router. All of this means you’ve got versatility and precision built in.
The locking levers on the fence are rear-mounted, so won’t get in your way during cutting. The fence comes with jointing rods, meaning you can also turn the table into a vertical jointer.
Perhaps one of the best, and least obvious features, are the rubber feet. These dampen vibrations and help to reduce noise levels, which is ideal both in the workshop and on a jobsite.
The only real negative I found is that the cam locks on the fence are plastic and easily become loose when cutting. My simple fix for this is to always make sure they’re tight before working, but this can be a hassle.
- Steel table is very sturdy.
- Rubber feet give same noise reduction as cabinet models.
- Aluminum insert plate gives great stability and adjustability.
- Cam locks on fence are difficult to use.
- No feather boards included, but you can buy these elsewhere.
The Kreg PRS2100 is a good choice if you need a portable router table. But it’ll also be great for use in a workshop. Its sturdiness and simple design make it a good all-rounder.
Click the link below to check current prices on this model.
Ryobi Universal Router Table
Choosing a router table is, to an extent, based on its compatibility with the router you own. This is something I always check to the best of my ability when making my selection. But as the name implies, the Ryobi is a universal model.
The Ryobi has a laminated MDF tabletop and fence, which can be adjusted for height, length, and depth. This means it’s capable of handling a variety of materials.
Combine this with the miter slot and gauge, and you’ve got great precision over your work piece.
This router table comes with 5 insert plates, which is more than other models on this list. Importantly, this feature means it’ll truly fit any model of router without difficulty.
The tabletop has ruler markings on it and a plastic cutting guard, which are ideal for precise working. It also has a dust extraction port to keep your workspace clear.
Another great feature is that the fence has joining capabilities, and this table is suitable for a variety of jobs, such as cutting multi-tier molding and smoothing edges.
While it might not have specifically been designed for beginners, the addition of universal router inserts and easy setup mean this would be a good choice for those new to routing.
Perhaps my only negative is that the table design is a bit cheap. It has plastic legs, which can make it a bit wobbly. An easy fit for this is to bolt it to the floor using the holes provided.
- 5 plate inserts make it truly universal.
- Comes with lots of great features for accurate cutting.
- Included dust extraction.
- Plastic legs feel a bit cheap, but this can be overcome by bolting it to the floor.
The Ryobi A25RT03 is a good choice for beginners, but would also be fine for more experienced woodworkers. It’s not the most expensively-designed model we’ve looked at but does offer good value for money.
Click the link below for more information and to check current prices on this router table.
Kobalt Fixed Corded Router with Table
If, like me, you pick your tools on their intended lifespan, then the Kobalt corded router and table is a good choice for you.
I think it finds the perfect balance between price and build quality and would be a good addition to almost every workshop.
The tabletop is made from aluminum, which helps to cut down on weight and reduces the chances of it warping or becoming unlevel.
Although it comes with a router, the mounting plate can accommodate other routers, meaning you can use it if you change tools in the future.
Included in the set are an adjustable aluminum fence, which locks in place securely, and 2 feather boards. There’s also a miter slot that’s adjustable up to 60 degrees.
The router itself is fine, but it’s not a breakaway model. It delivers 25,000RPM from a 12A motor. It’s capable of making precise and clean cuts, so will definitely get the job done.
I think the main advantage of a combo set like this is that it’s suitable for less experience users. Buying the items together saves you having to research suitable combinations and will save you plenty of time.
Luckily both the table and router are clear and easy to use. With a bit of practice you’ll quickly become a routing pro.
The only negative I could really find with this set is the plastic legs. I feel this lets the build quality down slightly, and does make vibrations an issue. But you can get around this by bolting it to the floor.
- Router and table combo is ideal for beginners.
- Table is lightweight and well designed.
- Router is great entry-level model capable of handling standard jobs.
- Good value for money.
- Plastic legs feel a bit cheap.
- Might not be the best choice for professionals.
The Kobalt router and table set is definitely a way of saving time and money. But it also offers a decent level of precision for standard routing jobs. That said, I think professionals or experienced hobbyists would benefit from a different choice.
Click the link below for more information and to check the current prices.
Things to Consider When Choosing the Best Router Table for Your Job
Choosing the best router table goes well beyond simply ensuring its compatible with your router. You also need to consider materials, accessories, and even portability.
Here’s a breakdown of the most important things to consider when choosing the best router table for your needs.
What is a Router Table?
Simply put, a router table is designed to mount a handheld router in a static position. This allows you to instead move the material, which can improve accuracy.
The router itself cuts out an area within a piece of material, such as wood. You’d use it for the following applications:
- Cutting joints
The 2 types of router table are bench top and free standing. A free standing router table is taller (as it stands alone) whereas a bench top router table is sat on another work surface.
Bench top router tables are the more portable option.
A router table is worth it if you plan on making lots of the same router cuts because it guarantees greater accuracy. You set the angle and height and then feed the material over the router.
A router table is a good addition to your workshop if you’re cutting long, narrow, or small pieces of material. All of these jobs require precision, which the table can offer.
In the case of long materials, such as coving or molding, feeding the material through is much easier than running the router over it.
The only situation in which a handheld router would be easier is when you’re working with very large pieces of material, such as cabinet doors.
As it would be difficult to hold the material for long periods, it makes sense to do it the other way around.
Portable or Fixed Tables
As I mentioned above, router tables come in either bench top or free standing versions. This can also be divided into portable or fixed tables. The choice depends on where you want to use the routing table, and if you need it to be portable.
For example, if you’re a carpenter moving between jobsites, a portable router table would obviously be the better option. But if you’re a DIY enthusiast working at home, there’s little need for a portable model.
A fixed table will generally be sturdier because it’ll be made from heavier materials and have more secure connections. Often, a portable table will include plastic components to cut down on weight.
A good size for a router table is around 24 inches by 36 inches. This’ll give you plenty of work room for a variety of materials. Both fixed and portable tables come in this size.
There are bigger router tables on the market, so consider this if you’re working with long bits of material.
The mounting plate on a router table is where you fix the router. Your router table will likely come with several insert plates, which are different sizes for different routers.
Each mounting plate has screw holes into which you secure the router. If your insert plate isn’t designed for your router then you might need to drill some extra holes.
You can’t mount any router to a table. It’ll depend on the size of the insert plates that come with your model, but it’s always worth investigating this before buying.
Some models require additional support, such as washers or a gasket, for the router to fit securely.
Fitting your router into the mounting plate is one of the most important jobs to get right. Check out this video for more information on how to install a router plate into a router table.
You can use a plunge router on a router table without difficulty. The hardest part is making sure it’s securely fitted to the mounting plate, as they’re designed for fixed-base routers. After that, adjusting the height properly might be a challenge, but it’s entirely possible.
Some router tables have an adjuster bar included in the mounting plate. This helps you control the depth of cut, which is often a major drawback of routing jobs.
Not all tables include this feature, so keep an eye out for it if it’s something you need for your project.
Choosing the correct base size for your router table depends on what sort of materials you’ll be working with. The larger your table, the easier it’ll be to work with larger materials.
As I mentioned, the standard size for router tables is 24×36”. This is capable of supporting most materials, but combine it with an adjustable fence if you plan on routing long pieces of wood.
If you only plan on working with smaller materials, size shouldn’t be as much of a deciding factor. Some bench top models will have smaller base sizes, but the only reason I can see that you’d want to go smaller is to save on space in your workshop.
Router table bases will usually come in either laminated MDF or aluminum. You might find a steel model, but these 2 are the most common.
MDF helps to cut down on cost and provides decent stability. It’s laminated with resin-impregnated paper and a melamine top, which makes it more durable. For greatest durability, the MDF top should be at least 1 inch thick.
Aluminum tops can be thinner while providing the same level of rigidity. But they have poorer vibration resistance. This can lead to locks becoming loose and results in more noise.
Aluminum can be damaged by impact, which compromises the flat surface. This can have a negative impact on your cutting precision.
On the other hand, MDF can be prone to warping due to humidity. This’ll result in an uneven work surface and is much harder to deal with than dented aluminum.
By far the best choice is cast iron. It provides the best rigidity and durability while also absorbing vibrations. But it’s expensive and not common on shop-bought router tables.
If you’re on a budget, go with MDF. Just be careful it doesn’t remain in a humid environment. If you need portability, go with aluminum. Just be careful it doesn’t get dented during transportation.
Fence and Fixing Points
The fence on a router table is one of the most important parts. It’s what you’ll hold the material against as you guide it across the router, so it’s got to be up to the job. You’ll find quite a range of choices when picking a fence.
The simplest is a piece of laminated MDF that serves as a brace for the material. Alternatively, they can be made from aluminum. The material will often match the base.
Some fences are split or two-piece, which allows you to offset the infeed against the outfeed. You might want to do this for joinery work.
You’ll also find extendable fences, which are ideal when working with a range of materials. An extendable fence can support longer pieces of material with greater precision.
It’s possible to build your own precision router fence if your model doesn’t do what you need. Check out this video for a guide on DIY router fences.
Fences have different locking mechanisms, which are often fitted on the other movable components too.
They’ll likely be screw locks or cam levers. Cam levers are quicker to use, but screw locks are often more secure.
That said, screw locks can become loose due to vibrations, so aren’t always the best choice.
Most router tables will have a miter slot that can fit a miter fence or pressure guard.
This feature is useful if you need to make mitered cuts, but the fact that it doubles up as a pressure guard slot means you should look for it regardless.
Dust removal is crucial for keeping your worksite clear, and for protecting your health.
Not all router tables come with built-in dust extraction, but if you’re working in an enclosed space, I’d definitely recommend looking for this feature.
The extraction port will usually be built into the fence, and ½ inch is a typical size. If it doesn’t match your dust extractor, you can buy an adaptor.
The features covered above are features you’re going to find on any router table you look at. However there are some additional features you won’t find on every model which can make your job much easier.
A feather board is designed to apply pressure to the material while you pass it over the router. It’s made from “fingers” with small grooves in between, which provides flexibility.
Feather boards offer both safety and accuracy compared to guiding with your hands. Importantly, the applied pressure is constant and it prevents backward movement.
Also, the fact that you can get the feather board closer to the router means greater accuracy. They’re useful for delicate jobs such as edge forming, rabbeting, and grooving.
That said, the safety benefits make them useful in almost any situation.
There’s not really much to consider when it comes to the router table’s power cord. The most important feature is that it’s long enough; 6ft is typically an acceptable length.
Most models will have an emergency stop switch fitted. Look out for this, as it’s a vital feature.
Some router tables have a safety guard mounted above the mounting insert. The purpose of this is to protect you from debris while still offering visibility.
On some tables, it’ll be clear plastic, while others use opaque materials.
A guard isn’t strictly necessary, but is obviously useful for protecting your eyes. An alternative is to wear safety glasses, but I’d recommend both when routing.
Hopefully this buying guide has helped you confirm the features to look out for when choosing the best router table.
Our most highly recommended has to be the Bosch RA1181. It offers great flexibility over material size and its aluminum base is sturdy but lightweight.
For a free standing model it’s convenient and portable – offering the best of both worlds.
That said, you could do a lot worse than any of the router tables listed above. I chose these ones for a good balance of price and quality, so there should be something to suit everyone.
But if you didn’t find one you like, then at least the buying guide will help you to narrow down your choices during your own research.
If you have any suggestions for the best router tables on the market, or have any useful tips for buying a good model, leave a comment below.