If you already own a woodworking router, you probably want to make the most of it. While you can use the tool freehand, for greater precision, you should consider a router table. You’ll have an easier time with intricate cuts.
What to Look for in a Router Table
Before you purchase a router table, you want to check some of its key components. The shape, size, materials, fence, and accessories vary from table to table, and those things make the difference between a poor option and an inexpensive but good choice.
- Flat, Rigid Top: The top of your router table should be very flat and rigid. You don’t want a table that bends as you push material across it—that could ruin the cut. Most routers use either melamine (or MDF), cast aluminum, or in some rare cases, cast iron. All three are good options, though the latter two are more durable.
- Flat, Metal Base Plate: Nearly every router table includes a base plate for attaching your router. The plate should be flat, very rigid, and made of metal. The table should also include a way to level the plate to the rest of the top.
- An Easy to Adjust Fence: For many of your router cuts, you’ll want a fence to guide the material along the router bit. The fence should be easy to adjust and tighten down with two to four large knobbed screws. Nicer tables will include a two-piece split fence that lets you adjust the hole in the middle. You can also set split fences to join wood.
- Dust Ports: Routing wood creates a ton of sawdust, and if you don’t do something about it, you’ll quickly have trouble sliding your material along the tabletop. Dust ports let you connect a shop vac or other vacuum solution to suck the sawdust out. Look for one at the fence and maybe a second beneath the table by the router.
- Sturdy base: The last thing you want is your table to shift while you’re pushing the wood through the router bit. Shifting will cause your cut to drift and potentially ruin your piece. A sturdy base should prevent shifting.
- Miter slot: Similar to a table saw’s miter slots, the router tabletop should have at least one slot cut into it, running parallel with the router and fence. You can attach feather boards and miter gauges as needed for a safe cut. Some routers may have additional slots for additional accessories.
Best Overall: Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181
If you picked the best overall router we recommend, then the Bosch RA1181 Table is a no-brainer. It has a cast aluminum tabletop with a miter slot. The included base plate has pre-drilled holes for many standard routers, and you can drill more if necessary. It also comes with a split fence and quite a few accessories, including multiple feather boards, three mounting plate rings, and shims for jointing wood. This table is benchtop sized, so you’ll need to place it on another surface to get it to a comfortable height. As a bonus, this unit includes two plug spots, one for the router and one for a vacuum. Flipping the main switch engages both.
If you do have the Bosch 1617EVS router, you may want to consider picking up the optional under table base. The router will slip in and out of this base without having to unscrew it every time.
BOSCH RA1181 Benchtop Router Table 27 in. x 18 in. Aluminum Top with 2-1/2 in. Vacuum Hose Port
A good solid router table, this unit's table is made of cast aluminum and includes a miter slot, several accessories, and supports mounting to a table permanently.
Best Budget: SKIL RAS800
The Skil router table goes for minimalism while still offering plenty of features. It comes pre-assembled (which is a rarity) and includes a handy attached storage pouch for all its accessories. You do give up something for the low cost, though: MDF is the material of choice here. And it doesn’t have a dedicated table plate, relying instead on clamps to hold your router in place. So doublecheck that your router fits first before buying. When you’re not using it, it folds up to a somewhat compact size. As a benchtop router, you’ll need to place it on another surface to use it.
SKIL RAS800 SKIL Router Table
This is the little router table that could. It uses an MDF tabletop with no separate plate. Helpfully it comes pre-assembled and folds down to a smaller size when you're done.
Premium Pick: KREG Precision Router Table System
Unlike other router tables on this list, the Kreg Router Table is a full-sized system. You won’t need to place it on another surface, and the table area itself is larger than the other options here. That means you can route larger pieces of wood than otherwise possible. You still get a split fence, but this one is nicer than other router table fences. Instead of turn knobs, Kreg includes a latch system generally found on table saw rip fences. That makes adjusting your fence and keeping it straight much easier.
Just keep in mind that you’ll need to drill the holes for the metal base plate and that it doesn’t include an emergency power switch.
KREG PRS1045 Precision Router Table System
A true router table, this unit doesn't need to be placed on a counter or other surface. The table itself is bigger than most to accommodate larger wood pieces, and the fence is a true upgrade from other tables.
An Enclosed Option: Bosch Cabinet Style Router Table RA1171
If you want to cut down on noise some, the Bosch Cabinet Style Router should help. By placing your router inside the cabinet unit, you’ll muffle some of the sound from your loud router. This table is similar to the Overall Pick, but it does cost less. That’s in part due to the use of melamine for the tabletop instead of sturdier aluminum. Most of the other perks apply, including the split fence, dual power plugs, and abundance of accessories.
Bosch RA1171 Benchtop Laminated Router Table 25-1/2 in. x 15-7/8 in. MDF Top Cabinet Style with 2 Dust Collection Ports,Blue
This cabinet style router will cut back on noise some. It features a melamine tabletop, split fence, and dual plugs.
Space Saving: Rockler Convertible Benchtop Router Table
If space is a premium, the Rockler Router table has you covered. You can either place this table on a counter or mount it to a wall. When you’re not using it, the table will fold flat in either scenario. Rocker’s entry is also one of the few routers that will support compact and trim routers. The table features a split fence, melamine table, and two router plates to fit either a compact or mid-sized router. Because of its small size, you’ll want to lock this table down if you use it on a bench or table. Otherwise, you may run into shifting issues as your route.