When you start a new workshop or start as a woodworker, a wood router is one of the tools you should invest in. This is because wood routers are as versatile as they are designed to be. A fixed-base router and a plunge router are the two most common styles.
A fixed-base router position the router as constant. If you set a fixed-base router at a cut depth of 1/4-inch, the router bit can not go past the base 1/4-inch until you change the center.
Plunge base routers are an excellent wood router tools for creating consistent cuts on wood. The router allows the pre-set of a cutting depth.
You do not do manually measure a piece of wood. These tools are versatile and available in numerous shapes and sizes.
They can be used for beginners as well as professional users. Any user can work with reliability and convenience for nearly any woodwork project.
What is a plunge router?
Plastic, metal, and wood material that are needed to be cut or worked with a plunge router that can be placed directly on the face. Once the motor is running, the cutter is lowered into the work slowly, cutting into the material.
To use a plunge base router, you need to insert and select the suitable bit and choose a depth.
These tools are more efficient when you are using it to make wood signs. To produce a wood sign, draw the letters on the wood board. Use a plunge cutter in order to route the letters out.
The wood routers are suitable for applications that need you to finish a project or work from above the surface. You can make grooves, fluting, rebates, mortices, and dados.
A plunge base routers can do the edging work. You can use the round-over cutting bit for routing the edges.
Main components of a plunge router
An individual plunge base router has much variety of parts. Not all parts will be in the same location. These are the main components of the plunge base router.
A plunge base router has a vertically mounted electric motor. It comes with a colleague that is attached to the end of its spindle.
The collet is wrapped within its housing. The power of the router will depend on the type of motor.
The voltage of the motor will determine where the router can be used. A router with 230 or 240V motors is suitable for homeowners or workshop.
The plunge base router with 110 or 115V motors can be used on commercial or building sites. The power output and input of the motor are shown in watts.
The plunge wood router collet is a crucial steel sleeve. The of the collet location is at the end of the motor’s spindle.
It is wrapped within a retaining or locking nut. When the collet is tightened, it will grip the router bit or cutter’s shank-end.
The collet rotates when the router runs to spin the cutter to cut into the material. The cut will be sized conforming to the accepted cutters’ shank diameter. This practice will guide you with what size of plunge base router bits can be used.
The plunge wood router base is the bottom half of the tool. The base has one hole in its center through where the router cutter sticks out.
A plunge router base has two columns so that it can be moved down or up. On a fixed base plunge base router, the top half of the router and the base are connected.
The connection is to prevent plunging movement. There is a plunge router sub-base or a base plate. This is a flat disc that fits the bottom of the base.
Some plunge base router models have variable speed control to lower the speed at the tool turns the cutter. The speed control is very useful if you want to use numerous types of bits or cutters.
The speed control can make it possible to work with different materials. Without a variable speed control, the applications of the tool have limitations.
The speed is varied using a number dial. You can read the chart on the side of the router to determine the speed.
The speed of the tool is measured in rotations or revolutions per minute or RPM. It is vital to remember or note that this number refers to the no-load speed (the speed before a bit or cutter has been loaded).
Once you load a bit or a cutter and start to work, the speed will fall depending on the depth you are cutting, the size of the bit or cutter, and the material’s hardness. An individual plunge base router’s specifications will provide you a maximum and a minimum speed at which the router can turn a bit or a cutter.
The depth stop of a plunge base router is used to set the depth of the cut and the height of the cutter. The depth stop can be locked to get a consistent cut every time.
There should be a depth scale to show you the depth of the cut. The depth stop works as a guide to stop the plunge router from being lowered too far into the wood or other material. The instructions with your plunge wood router will guide you on setting cut depths for specific models.
Dust extractor spout
Good quality plunge routers always come with a dust extractor spout for assisting with dust extraction. This dust extractor spout is designed to fit your model of a plunge wood router.
Dust extraction is vital as the way a router cuts will produce a fine dust. A number of accessories are available to make sure the spout can be fitted to other dust extractor models. These spouts also be known as separate spare parts if needed, and dust extractor vacuums can be bought separately.
Factors to consider when purchasing a plunge router
The horsepower rating of the plunge wood router motor is one of the crucial features to look for. Select a plunge base router with a motor rating of above 2 HP. When the stock is hard, power is needed to push larger bits through it.
When working with a plunge base router on wood, a lot of dust will be produced. Having a plunge base router with a vacuum port is very useful and will save you a lot of time cleaning.
Dust collection will keep you safe from some health (lung) issues. You can find many plunge base router models from various manufacturers that are equipped with a dust port.
Choose a plunge router that has a comfortable grip. It will help you in a long work and will not give you any discomfort in your wrist when working.
The diameter of the collet
Plunge routers can make use of ½ inch or ¼ inch diameter bits. ½ bits are a bit expensive, but they are more stable and produces less chatter. Purchase a plunge base router that accepts ¼ inch and ½ inch diameter bits.
Single-speed plunge routers are useful when you are using small bits. When working with a larger bit, the cutting speed has to be slower. If you purchase a plunge base router with variable speed, it makes sense.
Speed adjustment is determined by a digital gauge, knob, or dial. You can choose your desired speed by turning or twisting the dial or knob to the proper setting or pushing a button to adjust the digital readout’s setting.
There are the laminate trimmer, the palm, and the standard plunge base router styles. Laminate-style plunge routers and palm-style plunge routers are less powerful, lightweight, and smaller than the standard plunge nase router.
These styles are suitable for use with smaller router bits without the requirement of having the maximum speed. These plunge routers are very useful for flush-trimming laminate and thinner (like 1/2-inch thick) wood.
Standard routers are typically larger compared to the laminate and palm style plunge routers. The standard style plunge routers are powerful, heavyweight, and can receive 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch style bits.
The standard plunge routers are used for routing designs, grooves, or dados. They can route the edge of a wood board.
Compatibility to the table
To get consistent and detailed woodwork, a router table should be installed to offer a flat surface to the woodwork across the bit, instead of holding the plunge base router in the hands.
You could purchase a swappable base for a dedicated plunge router. These models can serve both the fixed router and the plunge router.
The spindle lock system can easily change or replace accessories for your plunge base router without needing a second key. Lock the spindle lock system to keep your hands free to replace or change accessories.
You can release the spindle lock and start running your plunge base router.
The option of having soft start technology will allow a wood router to get up to speed gradually. A wood router without this feature can jump or twist when starting out.
The jump or twist can cause serious injury. Soft start technology increases the level of speed slowly to lower the risk of the initial torque, therefore decreasing the jump or twist when the trigger is engaged.
Electronic feedback circuitry
If you are going to purchase a plunge base router, find a model equipped with electronic feedback circuitry. The technology can maintain proper speed, which will continually monitor the workload of the router.
It is a vital role where bits operate differently at different speeds. If the load increases, this technology will attempt and compensate to maintain the right speed. The result is a more consistent and pleasant user experience.
Types of a plunge router
Dedicated plunge router
There are no removable bases for a dedicated plunge router. The dedicated plunge router models are fitted with the plunging bases.
Plunging action tend to be smooth.
The swappable bases kits plunge routers are an excellent choice for woodworkers that want to have the fixed bases and plunge bases. The user unlocks the base’s plunge base router body and fits the new base in its place.
Advantages of a plunge router
Numerous bits are best when paired with a plunge base router. A picture-hanging groove or keyhole can not be paired with a fixed-base router.
To make a keyhole groove, the bit will be needed to plunge into the stock, slide to cut the groove laterally, and after that, reverse-plunge to produce the keyhole on the other end. The above mentioned specialized bits have cutters on the side, bottom, and top.
Cutting mortises is much more comfortable with a plunge router. Overtaxing the bit or the router can be prevented with a deep mortise that can be cut.
You do not have to knock over a spinning bit into the work. A twist of the stepped turret can increase the depth-of-cut setting for the next pass. This practice will guarantee a cut that is not too deep.
An adjustable stepped turret is a key. The turret permits a plunge router to produce a number of shallow but deeper cuts.
The bit protection
A fixed-based router model does not feature bit protection. While a plunge base router protects and surrounds the bits when they are not in use.
All you or the user have to do is to push your finger to free the lock lever, and the spring-loaded mechanism will automatically retract the housing, moving the upward bit into the safety of the router base.
This mechanism protects your benchtop, your fingers, and your bits from accidental nicks.
For a very easy fine-tuning of your plunge base router, you can utilize the micro-adjustable depth knobs. A plunge router can help you fine-tune and read the depth right on the plunge router’s face.
A tiny change in bit height can be hard to do on fixed-based routers.
Burn-free stopped flutes
Using a plunge base router is the best way to mill stopped flutes and grooves. Compared to a fixed-based router, this milling method is more straightforward and safer.
All you require is an edge guide, a stop block, and a start block to cut perfect flutes. With the plunge router set on the start block, plunge the bit to the (preset) depth and push the lock lever simultaneously, cutting the board’s length.
At the end of the cut process, disengage the plunge lock lever, and the bit retracts off the workpiece. The results would be clean flutes.
You would not leave burn marks if you waited for it to spin down or tipped the router in before extracting it at the end of the cut process.
The plunge base router is suitable and ideal for delicate and stringing inlay work (captured inlay) because the plunge mechanism allows a smooth exit and entrance from the cut. If you are using a fixed-base model, your stake will be misaligned where the groove starts.
To get the job done well for this one operation, use a plunge base router.
A plunge router is a perfect tool for template routing with guide bushings. Begin with setting the router over the template, turn on the tool, plunge the bit to the (preset) depth, and rout.
If you are making sophisticated jigs for making joints, a plunge base router is a must. These jigs cut dovetails, tenons, and mortises. A plunge base router can perform all its operations.
Frequently asked questions
There are many brands of bits available. How to know what to purchase?
There are good quality plunge router bits and lower quality plunge router bits available. Sometimes, lower quality bits are sold at high prices to make it seem like a high-quality unit. The best answer is to buy brand-name bits from established suppliers.
What to pay attention to when using a plunge base router?
Use the proper plunge router bit for the right task. Always read the instruction manual and know how to operate appropriately, especially as a beginner.
Firmly hold its handle the appropriate way. Always remember the direction to cut, either counter-clockwise or clockwise, depending on the cut.
Always wear protective gear at all times as expected. You must know the router’s limitations and adhere to them.
How to cut a hole in a wood with a plunge base router?
Have a template and mark-out the diameter of the hole. Use a Forstner bit or regular drill to make a rough cut around the hole to remove enough chips.
Utilize tape or glue to attach the template. Mount a plunge base router bit on the collet. Set the bit to a depth that cut through the template and material. Remove the template when the hole is accurate and satisfactory.
Top 18 plunger router comparison chart
5 best plunge router reviews
1. Bosch Plunge Router 120-Volt 2.3 HP Electronic Plunge Base Router MRP23EVS
The Bosch MRP23EVS plunge base router brags up to 25,000 RPMs of run speed, with 2.3 horsepower and a 15-amp electric motor. It comes with making consistent micro-adjustments, a handle-mounted trigger, electronic feedback control, and soft-start technology.
The plunge base router tool provides the flexibility of using both 1/2-inch and 1/4-inch collets. This tool is a good choice for advanced users who are attempting to rout thin pieces of wood or delicate or intricate work like carving patterns or
Bosch brand is one of the mid-range brands that make many routers at various durability, styles, and price points.
This router has an ergonomic trigger and handles design, making it easy to lock a plunge in and make the smallest adjustments with the plunge router. This Bosch plunge router is very easy-to-control micro-fine adjustments. You do not have to worry about adjusting and resetting.
The LED light
This tool has an always-on LED light. This LED light illuminates all over the work area, so you can see what you are doing, even in poor or dim-lit areas. Do you need light? It can make a massive difference while you work with light.
2. DEWALT Plunge Router, Plunge Base, Variable Speed, 3-HP (DW625)
DeWalt is a well-known power tool manufacturer in the world today. Their products are known to be reliable, affordable, and easily serviceable.
This DeWalt electronic plunge base router has the power of 15.0 amp and 3 HP. You can use this plunge router on a heavy-duty project with its weight and power.
This DeWalt product runs with durability, great power, and stability. It comes standard with a warranty and can be serviced by many dealers near you. The quality is sure to last!
It can brag full-wave electronic variable speeds between 8,000 and 22,000 RPM. The tool features a 1/2-inch collet, 1/4-inch collet, dust extraction adapter, template guide bushing adapter, and wrench. This DeWalt router also comes with a micro-fine bit depth adjuster for accurate and fast bit depth settings.
3. Makita Plunge Router Electric Brake
If, as a user, you are prioritizing power for a plunge base router, this plunge router is the one to select. It boasts 15-amp and 3-1/4 HP.
This Makita plunge base router model is a dedicated plunge-router that can allow the smoothest plunging action and accurate micro-adjustments. The end result is a dialed-in router that’s comfortable to use.
It is equipped with a grip-mounted trigger that provides secure starts. The electric brake brings the spindle to rest quickly when the trigger is disengaged.
With its power, this plunge base router has the key to making successful cuts and working. You can finish working with hardwood.
That heavy-load can be handle by the electric speed control to keep the speed constant. You must expect consistency in your work.
The actual plunge depth quality and control works perfectly. The trigger for the plunge lock works conveniently and easily. All you have to do is give a little force so you can lock the plunge and complete any job with ease.
4. Festool Plunge Router OF 1400 EQ Imperial 574692
The Festool Plunge Router 1400 EQ is the perfect choice because of its performance, size, and durability. This plunge base router is quick and light in the positive movement for free-hand edge cutting.
The wood router has three collet sizes, respectively 1/2-inch, 8mm, and 1/4-inch. It is trouble-free to use bit shanks.
This tool does not make it hard to change bits. All users have to do is snap to push the shaft locking button.
You can use a ratcheting wrench to cause the collet nut to be incremented or decremented. The depth adjustment of this Festool plunge router delivers the micro-adjustability to setting up the depth gauge.
You can give minimal pressure with reliability with the smooth plunge routing option.
While working with this device, you can keep the workshop dust-free from the bits. The tool comes with a two-sided mechanism to minimize or reduce the spread of the clouds of fine dust.
There is a dust port above the base to collect dust, and the chip catcher is ready to go below the ground. To install and remove the port from the router would only take about one second or two.
You do not need any tool for installation that makes it more comfortable and trouble-free. The variable speed is a versatile tool to provide you an efficient and accurate cut.
The plunge base router is less than 10 pounds, a mid-range router, and super-fast.
5. Ryobi RE180PL1G 2HP Peak 10-Amp Plunge Base Router
This Ryobi plunge base router is an excellent option for a beginner. A variable speed soft start and the horsepower can help eliminate damaging the material.
This tool boasts a 2-HP, 10-Amp variable-speed motor. With its versatility, you can choose the match speed to the bit.
Its variable speed allows for up to 25,000 RPM that is also equipped with micro-adjustment and accepts various plunge router bits. If you are a beginner, you can add this Ryobi router to your garage or home workshop.
It is recommended to get a 20 or 30-piece bit set to do all the different things you want. The product is indeed a budget product, considering the functionalities and features.
Its handle is ergonomically designed to provide a comfortable time to you during the routing. The soft-start feature saves the torque, which is wasted as the tool is turned on.
Micro-adjustable depth stops can change the depth during the plunges.