Hand Tools

The Best Compact Router for Woodworking Projects

Photo of author

Jacky C

Posted On

Are you tired of using bulky routers for your woodworking projects? Look no further!

We've scoured the market to bring you to the best compact router. Say goodbye to hand fatigue and uneven cuts and hello to precision and control.

We understand the importance of finding the perfect router for your needs, so we've gone ahead to list the best options here. Get ready to take your projects to the next level with the perfect compact router.

1. Milwaukee's Cordless Compact Router

Milwaukee's Cordless Compact Router,18.0 Voltage
  • Power Tools and Accessories
  • Country of manufacture: China
  • Manufacturer: Milwaukee
  • Package weight of the Product: 4.9 Pounds

The Milwaukee Cordless Compact Router is a powerful and versatile trim router. One advantage I found when using this router is its cordless design, which allows for greater portability and freedom of movement.

This makes it ideal for on-the-go woodworking projects, and I could also use it when working in tight spaces where a corded router might not be practical.

Image Credits: toolgirlsgarage.com

It also offers power and precision, using a brushless motor that delivers robust performance. It can operate at variable speeds, so you can make precise adjustments and enjoy better control over the tool.

The cordless trim router also has a precision centering design that makes it easy to align the bit to the workpiece. If you want the best trim router, I recommend this Milwaukees unit. It's compact, cordless, easy to handle, and has a powerful motor.


DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, 1.25-HP Max Torque (DWP611PK)
  • Durable 1.25HP motor of DEWALT router delivers the power to meet the toughest applications
  • Variable speed control feature of DEWALT plunge router enables bit speed to be optimized for changing applications
  • Soft-starting motor features full-time electronic feedback that maintains motor speed through the cut
  • Dual LED's and clear sub-base ensure maximum visibility in operation
  • Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64-inch (fixed base only)

Your second option is this DEWALT router. It features a 1.25 HP motor, which delivers enough power to handle challenging routing projects.

I like the adjustable speed control dial that allows you to adjust the speed to suit the task at hand. This feature is great for fine-tuning your cuts and getting the perfect finish.

Image Credits: maxtools.com

The precision-centered design allows you to align the bit to the workpiece accurately. This, combined with the variable speed function, facilitates better-cut precision.

It also features dual LED lights making it easy to see your workpiece, which helps to prevent mistakes. The comfortable grip and clear sub-base also offer better visibility of the cut line.

3. Makita RT0701C

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
  • Variable speed control dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM) enables user to match the speed to the application
  • Smooth rack and pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings
  • Slim and ergonomically designed body for increased comfort and control
  • Quick release cam lock system for easy depth adjustments and base removal/installation
  • Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load

The Makita RT0701C is another great option for woodworkers because it's lightweight and easy to handle. I regularly engage in precise routing tasks and intricate cuts, which is why I think it's the best compact router.

Image Credits: etsy.com

It has a plunge base with a spring and three preset depth stops for added precision and convenience when setting the cutting depth

Another useful feature of this trim router is its variable speed control dial. You can use the dial to adjust the speed to suit your work.

The Makita RT0701C also comes with a precision centering design, which made it easy for me to correctly align the bit as I work. The variable speed works alongside the precision feature for more accuracy in your cuts.

Another thing worth mentioning is the ergonomic design and comfortable grip, which reduces hand fatigue. Thanks to the dust collection system, I can keep the garage clean and keep the amount of sawdust in the air to a minimum.

Overall, the Makita RT0701C is a great alternative option for woodworkers looking for a router that can handle various tasks. Its precision and accuracy make it a great choice for intricate cuts and fine-tuning.

4. Bosch Colt Palm Router

Bosch GKF125CEN Colt 1.25 HP (Max) Variable-Speed Palm Router Tool
  • Ease of use: Revolutionary new woodworking depth adjustment system for easy and precise depth adjustment
  • Power: Featuring a 1.25-Hp, 7.0 amp motor for compact versatility with speeds of 16,000-35,000 RPM
  • Convenience: Wide-bit capacity - fixed base accepts bits up to 1-5/16-in wide
  • Consistency: Constant response circuitry - monitors and maintains speed under load for consistent performance - provides overload...
  • Comfort: Palm-grip design with soft grip and finger support pockets - provides exceptional comfort and control

The Bosch Colt Palm Router is an alternative pick for woodworkers. It's designed for precise cuts, with a powerful 1.25 horsepower motor and customizable speed.

Image Credits: protoolreview.com

It has an ergonomic design and comfortable grip, ensuring less fatigue and the transparent sub-base offers optimal visibility.

There's a dust collection system that helps maintain a clean space, so there's less dust to clean after work. It's one of the best palm routers you can buy.

5. Triton TRA001

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
  • Single button switches from conventional plunge to fixed-base router with rack and pinion mode
  • Single wrench bit change through base is achieved with automatic spindle lock
  • Micro winder enables continuous fine depth adjustment through the full plunge mode
  • Soft start and variable speed provides the perfect speed for all cutter types

The Triton TRA001 is a great compact router that offers a lot of versatility. One unique feature is that you can switch between a plunge and a fixed base, making it a versatile tool that can handle many tasks.

It has a powerful 3.25 horsepower, which is impressive for its compact size. The speed control dial allows me to adjust the speed to suit the task at hand, making it easy to achieve the desired finish.

Image Credits: tritontools.com

The micro-fine depth adjustment system allows for precise adjustments, ensuring accuracy in the cuts. This router also boasts a comfortable, ergonomic design and a large, easy-to-read scale for added convenience.

Overall, if you're looking for a compact router that offers a lot of versatility, the Triton TRA001 is a great option.

How to Choose the Best Compact Router

There are many factors that go into choosing the best trim router. In this section, we’ll discuss the main ones.

If you’d like some automatic routers, check out the best CNC routers here.

1. Corded vs. Cordless Compact Routers

When choosing a woodworking router, you have the option of going for a corded or cordless model. Corded routers are connected to a power outlet and have a constant power supply.

corded router

Image Credits: usatoday.com

They are usually more powerful than cordless routers, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks. However, the cord can be restrictive and limit your movement.

On the other hand, Cordless trim routers are powered by a rechargeable battery, giving you more freedom of movement. They are more portable and convenient to use, especially for outdoor projects or for those who move around a lot.

 Cordless Router

Imagine Credits: familyhandyman.com

They are also more versatile since they can be used without a power outlet. However, they have limited battery life and may not be as powerful as corded trim routers.

As a woodworker, a corded trim router is a good choice if you’re looking for a router that can handle heavy-duty tasks and doesn’t mind being tethered to a power outlet. If you want more freedom of movement and portability, a cordless router might be a better option.

2. Design

There are generally two types of compact routers for woodworking: plunge routers and fixed-base routers.

Plunge routers have a spring-loaded base that allows the bit to be lowered into the workpiece, creating a groove or dado. This type of router is ideal for creating mortises, dados, and other cuts that require the bit to be lowered into the wood.

Fixed Base Router

Image Credits: thesawguy.com

Fixed-base routers, on the other hand, have a base that is fixed in place. The bit is raised and lowered by turning a knob or lever. This type of router is ideal for making flush cuts, such as trimming the edge of a piece of wood.

Some fixed-base trim routers can also be used for making plunge cuts with a plunge base, which can be bought separately.

Some trim routers can switch between a plunge and fixed base, making them more versatile since they can handle various tasks.

3. Power Output and Speed Range

The power output of your router determines the type of work you can use it on. You should go for a router with a high amperage, ideally ranging between 1.25 to 2.5 amps. This will have ample power to handle various materials and projects.

Variable speed control can be very useful because it allows you to work at the optimal speed for different materials. This improves the quality of your work and reduces the risk of burning or damaging the material.

4. Comfort and Ergonomics

When choosing a compact router, ergonomics and comfort are important factors to consider. Look for routers with soft-grip handles and a well-balanced design, making them easier to hold and control.

Compact Router  Handles-for Trim Routers

Image Credits: walmart.com

Also, consider the weight of the router, as a lighter one will be easier to maneuver for extended periods.

A trim router with an adjustable handle or base is also ideal since you can customize it to fit your hand size and grip style.

Ergonomics and comfort are important because they can prevent hand and arm fatigue during extended use, which improves the quality of your work and reduce the risk of injury.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you plunge cut with a trim router?

Yes, a trim router can be used for plunge cutting, but you may need to purchase a plunge base adapter separately.

2. Should I choose a corded or cordless router?

It depends on your preference and the type of work you will be doing, but a cordless router offers more mobility and flexibility. In contrast, a corded router provides more consistent power and may be more suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

3. What is the difference between a plunge and a wood router?

A plunge router has a spring-loaded base that allows the user to adjust the cutting depth while the router is in motion, while a fixed-base router has a fixed cutting depth and is used for more precise and detailed work.

Featured Imae Credits: woodhappen.com

Leave a Comment