Best Fixed Base Routers

Summary

If you have a desire and enthusiasm for making things out of wood, or perhaps it's just part of your day-to-day job as a woodworker, then you already know the importance of having precise and straight cuts whenever and wherever possible. Having a fixed base router will assist you in achieving the goal of creating smooth and accurate cuts on pieces of wood.

The differences between a fixed base router and a regular handsaw are plenty. For instance, with a regular handsaw, you're not going to get accurate cuts all the time because you can't rely on your hand-eye coordination to be perfect every-single-time you're cutting wood. Furthermore, using a handsaw Day-in and day-out can be very tiring, especially for your arms. In time, you might even feel muscle fatigue on your arms, and this will cause you to do an even unkempt woodworking job than before.

Through the use of a fixed base router, which is sometimes called a stationary router, you can do away with muscle fatigue and inconsistencies in your wooden projects. Also, many fixed-base models promote ease of use, which means even beginners who are new to woodworking can catch up pretty quick. In no time, even if you're still quite new to the job or hobby, then you'll be creating wooden masterpieces in no time.

If you're looking around places for the best fixed base routers to start enhancing the productivity and finishes of your woodworks, then you've stumbled upon the right place. Here's a guide that will help you reach a sound decision as to which fixed base model to purchase.

Introduction

I own a local woodshop, and it is extremely vital that we can deliver quick and smooth results to all of our clients' orders. We're still a fairly new business in the industry, so we don't have the best equipment compared to the large enterprises around the globe. Still, we're doing what we can to get through each-and-every-day. But enough about that - for many of our projects, we employ the use of our trusty hand saws for cutting.

While it does get the work done, my colleagues and I will most definitely feel the pain of continuously cutting, sawing, and hacking through piles-and-piles of wood every-single-day. Before the day ends, our daily habit is to purchase cooling pads for our sore muscles.

It was then that a colleague introduced me to fixed base routers. Now, I wasn't born yesterday, and I do know the existence of such a machine, but I was still feeling hesitant on purchasing one because we're still a new company. However, once I tried on how beautiful it can cut, and with as little time and effort as possible, I was instantly sold!

My only wish is that I wasn't so stingy to buy one then we would've been able to cater to more customers instead of turning some down. If I was able to purchase a reliable fixed base router before, I could only imagine how much projects we can finish.

Top 3 Choices

1) PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router

PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router

If this is going to be your first time purchasing a fixed base router, then you might be confused and troubled as to which model to get. An excellent recommendation is the PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router. It has an 11 amp motor that can deliver 1-3/4 horsepower at its peak. It can also give you 27,500 revolutions-per-minute, which is fairly impressive considering that it is powered by a single motor.

This particular model also has a cam-lock lever to let you do simple coarse height adjustments and motor release without having to fidget around the unit. When it comes to cuts, this model brings power and precision mixed into one package.

2) Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router

Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router

While the Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router ranks second on this list, it doesn't mean that it's not going to be very capable in bringing you the power you need in creating accurate cuts. It has a variable-speed palm-grip that helps you bring stability into the mix of its other benefits.

3) PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

The PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router may be at the third spot, but it is certainly not the least functioning fixed base router out there. It has a 15 amp motor to bring durability and power to your everyday woodworking projects. It also has a soft-start feature so that it won't suddenly jerk when the motor starts. 

Best Fixed Base Routers Comparison Table

Best Fixed Base Routers

Price

PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router

Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router

PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

Who Should Buy These

A quality fixed base router is made for woodworkers who no longer want to deal with cutting wood with a conventional handsaw. If you're a woodworker that is passionate about bringing power, precision, and smooth finishes to every piece of wood you work with, then you should consider getting a reliable fixed base router in your life.

Many challenges and difficulties lie to any woodworker who'll only use ordinary handsaws for their daily woodcutting tasks. For instance, it was mentioned in a previous section in this post that your muscles will get sore eventually, and this can lead to wooden projects finished with poorer quality.

If you do get a decent quality finish, then you'll most likely do a lot of sanding with each cut, which can take an extra amount of time and effort. With a quality fixed base router, many models can deliver smooth and precise cuts that you no longer need to sand them. As such, you can immediately proceed to the next part of the process and finish the entire project a whole lot quicker than ever before.

Fixed base routers bring control and efficiency when making repeat woodcutting applications. Hence, it takes a lot of the guess work out so you can, once again, finish much faster than you were able to do with just a regular handsaw.

Buyer's Guide

What to Look for When Buying Fixed Base Routers

Router Bit Shank Size

One factor that you should look into before you purchase any fixed base router is its bit shank size. Routers can usually handle bit shanks found in three sizes, them being 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, and 1/2-inch. Look into the projects that you want to complete, as well as the availability of the bit sizes you'll need for these tasks.

In doing so, you'll have a good guide in picking out what bit shank size will work best for you and the proper completion of your projects.

Changing of Bits

Once you've noted the bit shank size you need to get, you should also consider how easy it would be to change them in your preferred model to purchase. Make sure that your router also can lock the bits into position, especially if you're planning to use it on a table.

Power

Another area of concern that you should consider before purchasing any fixed base router is its power rating. Routers have a rating of horsepower for their power levels. If you see a model that can deliver 2 HP of power, then that is its absolute maximum limit. Amperage is a better method for comparing actual router power, especially when you're close to arriving at a decision.

Features and Accessories

Many fixed base router manufacturers like to add extras to their models for their customers' ease of use. For instance, many modern variants now have an ergonomic grip that comes along with an easy-to-reach switch. Some will have a router edge guide to help your cuts maintain a straight edge, which is useful for repeated applications on multiple pieces of wood. 

Product Reviews

1) Hitachi M12VC Fixed Base Router

Hitachi M12VC Fixed Base Router

Description

The Hitachi M12VC Fixed Base Router has an 11 amp motor, and it can deliver 2-1/4 peak horsepower. With this amount of power, you can get controlled and accurate cuts, even when you're making multiple cutting applications on different types of wood. It has a 2-stage motor release clamp, and it does a good job of giving you quick and accurate access to adjust depths and base changes.

The device has a Nickel plated motor housing to give you the right level of durability and depth adjustments. Other features include an electronic speed control, quiet operation, and an ergonomic design.

While on the subject of its design, its design brings about a decent amount of comfort, but it does give you great control for just about any operation you do with this model. It also weighs only 7.3 pounds, so you will only have to pull just a teensy bit of muscle if you want to move it around your workshop.

Product Information

  • Part Number: M12VC
  • Item Weight: 7.3 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 8.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Origin: China
  • Item model number: M12VC
  • Color: Green
  • Style: Without Plunge
  • Power Source: corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 Volts
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Special Features: fixed-base
  • Batteries Included? No
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty Description: 30-Day Money Back Guarantee and 5-Year Warranty

Features and Benefits

  • Powerful and Quiet Motor

The Hitachi M12VC Fixed Base Router has an 11 amp motor which gives a more than decent amount of 2-1/4 peak horsepower. Even with a higher amount of power as compared to many other fixed base routers on the market, it can still operate quietly. It is even rated to have an operation noise of the only 79.5dB, so you're no longer required to wear protective headsets while you're working with this model.

  • Easy Depth Adjustments

This particular fixed base router model makes use of a two-stage motor release clamp. With it, you can quickly and accurately make depth adjustments. Its release clamp will even help you switch between a fixed base to a plunge base (if you have the attachment).

Pros

  • Easy depth adjustments
  • Quiet yet powerful motor
  • Decent level of comfort
  • Precise cuts with smooth finishes

Cons

  • Might lose stability with constant use

Conclusion

While the Hitachi M12VC Fixed Base Router is a good choice, professional woodworkers should be advised if you're going to use this model for the entire day. It is pretty stable, but using it all the time without making it might make the unit vibrate, which can cause it to make errors in producing cuts. But when it does work correctly, you'll be able to take advantage of its many features with minimal to no downsides to using them.  

2) DEWALT DW618 Fixed-Base Router

DEWALT DW618 Fixed-Base Router

Description

The DEWALT DW618 Fixed-Base Router has a 12 amp electronic variable speed motor that can deliver 2-1/4 peak horsepower. It is with this level of power that it can rout and cut smoothly, and it can do so with soft and hard woods. While still on the topic of its electronic variable speed motor, it also offers full feedback control to bring constant speeds within the 8,000 to 24,000 RPM loads.

Its motor also has a slow start function, so it won't jerk each time it starts. For the router itself, it has a micro-fine adjustment ring to allow precise control of depth adjustments in 1/64-inch increments. This adjustment ring will also adjust vertically to make for a constant cordset/switch location. It also has quick release motor latches to for fast and simple removal of the motor pack when doing bit and base changes.

Product Information

  • Part Number: DW618
  • Item Weight: 10 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 9.5 x 7.2 inches
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Item model number: DW618
  • Color: Yellow
  • Power Source: corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Horsepower: 2.25
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Special Features: fixed-base
  • Batteries Included? No
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty Description: 3-Year Limited Warranty

Features and Benefits

  • Power

The DEWALT DW618 Fixed-Base Router makes use of a 12 amp motor, and with this component, the machine can deliver variable speed performance from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. Its motor can also deliver 2-1/4 HP peak power. It also has a soft start so it won't jerk during startup, which would otherwise cause some cuts to lose precision.

  • Ease of Use

Aside from having a sufficient amount of power, the DEWALT DW618 Fixed-Base Router has long, eight-slot collets that are self-releasing. These allow for excellent bit retention. Furthermore, the unit has a steel motor cam lock, as well as quick release motor latches. As such, making adjustments and base changes can be done without a separate tool.

Pros

  • This fixed base router has a sufficient amount of power
  • It can produce smooth and accurate cuts
  • Soft start motor
  • Decent comfort
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • Bit changing can be cumbersome for some

Conclusion

The DEWALT DW618 Fixed-Base Router is an excellent routing device when you look at it as a whole. However, it's not without its set of shortcomings. For instance, while it does promote ease of use for many of its features, changing bits can be cumbersome for some woodworkers. It is because it makes use of a spindle lock that has a spring loaded button, and it must be held down while you're turning the wrench with your other hand. 

3) PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router

PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router

Description

The PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router has an 11 amp motor, which delivers more than sufficient amount of power for all of your routing needs. It produces 1-3/4 peak horsepower, and it can offer 27,500 RPM. This particular routing unit has a precision-machined aluminum motor base and housing, and this element provides a more than decent level of durability.

The 690LR bring precision with its powerful motor as you can take advantage of its consistent and steady performance. It has a cam-lock lever that allows for simple and stable coarse height adjustments. It also has a simple-to-use fixed-based motor release, and this element allows you to move the motor pack easily between d-handle and plunge bases (if you have these modules).

This particular routing machine also bring user-friendliness with its mix of advantages as it has an auto-release collet system so you can change bits easily. It even has an under-table stop to prevent its motor from rotating out of control from the base.

Product Information

  • Part Number: 690LR
  • Item Weight: 9.4 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 8 inches
  • Origin: USA
  • Item model number: 690LR
  • Size: full size
  • Color: Black & Silver
  • Style: Router
  • Power source: corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Certification: certified frustration-free
  • Special Features: fixed-base
  • Batteries Included? No
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty Description: 3-Year Limited Warranty
  • National Stock Number: 5130-01-396-6651

Features and Benefits

  • Ergonomic Design

This particular fixed-base routing model promotes user-friendly performance with efficient consistency for multiple woodworking jobs. It has an auto-release collet system to deliver easy bit removal. The model's design is made to allow comfort for the user, even during extended jobs.

  • Durability

The PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router is durable as it is efficient. It comes with dust-sealed components, and it also has an aluminum motor base and housing. With these elements, the entire machine can resist against wear and tear. Therefore, this is an excellent routing machine for both casual and professional woodworkers alike.

Pros

  • It has sufficient amount of power for its motor
  • Durable and long-lasting construction
  • Ergonomic design
  • Simple bit removal and changing
  • The machine is very stable, even during extended woodworking jobs

Cons

  • The package doesn't come with a case

Conclusion

The PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router is an excellent routing machine that can handle light, moderate, and even heavy-duty woodworking jobs. It will remain as stable and as precise as possible, even after using it multiple times throughout the day. The product would have been better, however, if it did come with a case.

4) Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router

Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router

Description

The Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Router has a variable speed motor, but it has a rather "compact" power of just 5.6 amps. However, this router is primarily made for smaller and more casual woodworking tasks as opposed to other models that can deliver more power. Its motor can still deliver 15,000 to 35,000 RPM, which is pretty decent considering its size.

This particular unit has an aluminum construction with a soft grip, so it is comfortable and durable at the same time. Other areas to note about the standard package include the drop-forged collet, shaft wrenches, straight-edge guide, and a case. It does, however, deliver quite a bit of heft for a compact model as it weighs 11.8 pounds.

Product Information

  • Part Number: PR20EVSK
  • Item Weight: 8.2 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 13 x 8 inches
  • Origin: China
  • Item model number: PR20EVSK
  • Size: Pack of 1
  • Color: Blue
  • Style: Router Kit w/ Case and Edge Guide
  • Power Source: corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Wattage: 750 watts
  • Horsepower: 1 HP
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Special Features: fixed-vase
  • Batteries Included? No
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty Description: 1 Year Repair or Replacement of Parts

Features and Benefits

  • Powerful Motor, for its Size

Despite its rather diminutive size, especially when comparing it to other fixed base routers on the market, the Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router can still deliver a sufficient amount of power for many routing jobs. It can take on light to moderate cutting and routing tasks.

Professional woodworkers need to be advised, however, that it might have a bit of difficulty for heavy-duty routing.

  • Stable, in More Ways Than One

This particular model has the brand's "Constant Response" circuitry, and it maintains and monitors the speed of the motor while under operation. This element makes the router have consistent performance, as well as preventing the unit from experiencing overloads.

Pros

  • It has a compact size which makes for more precise routing
  • Easy to store
  • Powerful motor, despite reasonably small size
  • Ease of use

Cons

  • It takes multiple steps to get the router ready for tasks

Conclusion

The Bosch PR20EVSK Colt Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router is not without its set of shortcomings, and we're not just talking about its small size or compact motor. It takes more steps than your average router to get it ready for routing or cutting. Furthermore, the dial might be cumbersome to use for some woodworkers. Overall, however, it still provides above average finishes for many types of wood.

5) PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router

Description

The PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base Router has a 5-speed 15 amp motor that delivers the necessary amount of power and durability for you to achieve desirable finishes for multiple routing applications. Hence, it can be used for light, moderate, or heavy-duty routing tasks. 

Its motor can deliver different speeds for varying routing applications, them being 21,000, 19,000, 16,000, 13,000, and 10,000 RPM. Due to its variable speeds, the unit can accommodate a good number of router bits cutting diameters. It also has a soft startup feature to avoid jerking, and it will also provide you with constant speeds even while under heavy loads.

Product Information

  • Part Number: 7518
  • Item Weight: 14.5 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 11.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Origin: Mexico
  • Item model number: 7518
  • Color: Grey
  • Style: Router
  • Power Source: corded-electric
  • Voltage: 120 volts
  • Horsepower: 3.25 HP
  • Item Package Quantity: 1
  • Special Features: fixed-base
  • Batteries Included? No
  • Batteries Required? No
  • Warranty Description: 30-Day Performance Certification and 1-Year Limited Warranty

Features and Benefits

  • 5-Speed Variable Motor

One of the most excellent aspects about the PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base Router is its 5-speed motor. It lets you take advantage of different speeds for varied routing applications. Therefore, you can take control of the power you require to handle all of your routing jobs.

  • Durable and Stable

This particular routing machine has a sealed ball-bearing construction, and it is because of this factor that it can keep the dust out of its internals. Its construction can even deliver a longer life as compared to the traditional router design.

Aside from being durable, the PORTER-CABLE 7518 is also a very stable machine which lets you have precision cuts across different types of wood.

Pros

  • It has a 5-speed motor for different routing applications
  • Stable and durable
  • It has a soft startup to avoid jerking
  • It has an auto-release collet system for a simple way to remove and change bits

Cons

  • Other fixed base routers can deliver faster speeds

Conclusion

The PORTER-CABLE 7518 Speedmatic Fixed Base 5-Speed Router is an excellent router for what it's worth. Its 5-speed motor is an advantage as you can choose the speed depending on your specific routing requirements. Furthermore, you'll immediately notice how rugged the router feels upon taking it out of its package. 

While it does offer more in the sense of versatility, it does lack in the power department as there are other fixed-base models out there that can deliver more in RPM.

Reviews / Testimonials

Ever since I grew tired of using my handsaw on a daily basis (and the muscle pains certainly didn't help with my work), I started to do some searching around the market for a reliable fixed-base router. It was then I came across the PORTER-CABLE 690LR, and my interests only grew as I read through its product description.

However, not all reviews pointed to the positive side of things as there were some that weren't exactly too elated by the product. There was one reviewer who stated that one of the handles of his 690LR was loose and will not completely tighten correctly. While it is not a critical issue since it won't do much regarding providing adequate routing results, it can still be a bit annoying during operations.

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Best Variable Speed Routers

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Makita RD1101 2-1/4-HP Variable Speed D-Handle Router

DEWALT DW618D 2-1/4 HP Electronic Variable Speed D-Handle Router

PORTER-CABLE 0891 2-1/4 HP GripVac Router

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Best Plunge Routers Comparison Table

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Bosch 1617EVSPK Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit

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Alternative Choices

1) DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router

The DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router enables smooth routing finishes for even the most demanding of woodworking operations. It has a 1-3/4 HP motor, and it provides a sufficient amount of power, which is a bit of a surprise considering its price point. It also has a micro-fine depth adjustment ring for accurate depth adjustments. Its motor is also adjustable without the use of another tool, and its base can be changed in a simple fashion.

2) DEWALT DW618K Electronic Variable Speed Fixed Base Router

The DEWALT DW618K Electronic Variable Speed Fixed Base Router presents itself to the market with a 12 amp electronic variable speed motor that can deliver 2-1/4 peak horsepower. The motor runs smoothly but can still do well with even the most demanding of routing operations. Its motor has a full feedback control to present constant speeds of loads from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. Its motor can even be adjusted without the use of another tool.

3) Bosch MRF23EVS Electronic VS Fixed-Base Router

There aren't many fixed base router like the Bosch MRF23EVS because it offers a trigger control to power the machine. This functionality can be found in the base handle, so it's not an inconvenience as opposed to reaching up to a switch (usually found on top of the motor) to turn the device on or off. Its 15 amp motor provides more than a sufficient amount of power to get you by with light, moderate, to heavy-duty routing tasks.

4) SKIL 1817 Fixed Base Router

The SKIL 1817 Fixed Base Router has an 8 amp, 4HP motor with a soft startup. It is one powerful fixed base router, but even if you're still a beginner at routing, you can still make use of this unit without much of a problem. It is because this particular routing device is easy to use, and it even has a micro-fine adjustment mechanism that allows you to create accurate cuts for pro-quality finishes.

5) SKIL 1815 Fixed Base Router

The SKIL 1817 Fixed Base Router has a 2 HP motor that can perform more than just your basic routing requirements. It can be placed in a home workshop for the casual DIY user, or perhaps in a small professional woodworking shop. It has a micro-fine depth adjustment feature that makes bit depth adjustments simple, quick, and precise. It also has soft-grip handles to bring comfort and ease of use.

6) Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Variable Speed Router

The Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Variable Speed Router is a 3-1/2 HP motor that can practically handle just about any routing job you require it to accomplish. Even though it can bring about powerful maximum routing speeds, it has a soft start feature to prevent the device from jerking (which would otherwise cause errors). Its motor's top speed can go all the way up to 22,000 RPM. You can even remove the handles if you require extra clearance.

7) Bosch PR20EVSK-RT Colt Palm Grip Fixed Base Variable Speed Router

The Bosch PR20EVSK-RT Colt Palm Grip is a variable speed fixed base router that has quick-lock systems and a soft startup. Its motor delivers a power of 5.7 amp, and with it, it can deliver speeds from 15,000 to 35,000 RPM. This particular unit also has a depth adjustment system, as well as finger support pockets. The package includes the router, a straight edge guide, a fixed base, a carrying case, and an instruction manual, along with other items.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

DEWALT DW616 Fixed Base Router

DEWALT DW618K Electronic Variable Speed Fixed Base Router

Bosch MRF23EVS Electronic VS Fixed-Base Router

SKIL 1817 Fixed Base Router

SKIL 1815 Fixed Base Router

Milwaukee 5625-20 Fixed Base Variable Speed Router

Bosch PR20EVSK-RT Colt Palm Grip Fixed Base Variable Speed Router

The Final Cut

Looking around the market for the best fixed base routers can be a cumbersome task. After all, there are a lot of things to consider so that you can get excellent value for the item you paid with your hard-earned cash. Once you do have a reliably fixed base routers, you can now handle much cutting and routing tasks like you might've not experienced before.

If in case you haven't decided on purchasing which model to get for your new fixed base router, then you should consider the PORTER-CABLE 690LR Fixed-Base Router. If you do get this model, then you will get a fixed base router that can deliver power and efficiency towards many of your woodworking projects. Despite the fact that it's a bit more expensive than other similar models, you will get great value for money when you have it.

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