If you are already a keen DIY expert, you may have plenty of tools at your disposal. Something all DIY projects have in common, however, is a need for precision and steadiness. Can all tools provide this? Maybe not. That’s why so many people opt to buy router tables.
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Router Tables: A Buyer’s Guide For 2021
Router tables are, specifically, fantastic assets for wood routing and design. Woodwork and crafting are not only amazingly precise, but they also require incredible safety precisions. Even the most experienced craftsperson can slip up every now and again! That’s why so many different router tables and models have entered the market of late.
But – what are some of the major differences between these models? What should you be looking for in terms of features, design and protection? In this buying guide, we will take a look at everything you need to know when shopping for a router table. We’ll also clear up a few common queries at the end, too.
Do I Need a Router Table?
If you already work with a wood router, or if you’re struggling to secure your woodworking projects in your workshop, a router table could be the answer to all your prayers. While you can use routers perfectly safely without a table, many people prefer to have them to hand. That’s because they are amazingly convenient.
While you’d normally have to exert complete control over a router while working, a table will help to keep things in position. A fantastic router table will also open up your projects in a big way.
A free pair of hands, and the ability to look away from your router, will allow you to accomplish more, and to tackle more complex tasks. For that reason, a router table may be a great purchase for anyone keen to up their game as far as woodworking is concerned. If you’re confident enough in your abilities and have your own efficient router routine down pat, you may not benefit from buying a table. Beginners, however, may just find them incredibly useful.
Things to Look Out For
However, it’s worth remembering that not all router tables are the same. While they will all offer you the same flexibility and precision, some will arrive with added features and bells and whistles.
Some, of course, may even come with routers attached. The more you pay, the more features you will generally receive, however, we will discuss this a little further into our guide. For now, let’s consider some of the main features of a good table router to look out for.
Generally, you will find that router tables come in two distinct flavours. Those which are floor-standing, and those which you can fit snugly on your workbench. Standing units are probably a good idea if you don’t have a workshop or specific workbench to speak of.
However, you may also want to consider buying a bench unit for ease of storage, and of access. Sometimes, the more compact models on the market are more affordable, too. Take a look and see for yourself!
Speaking of accessibility and storage, how portable will you need your router table to be? Some models will come fitted with wheels, which means you can easily move them from place to place.
Others, meanwhile, will compact very easily. These tend to be very lightweight and are perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a permanent workspace. Ultimately, it’s all going to depend on where you work, and what you’re going to need a table for.
One of the main issues you may face when buying a router table is just how compatible it is with your current tool. Not all tables will be compatible with all routers, and vice versa. Therefore, make sure to read up on compatibility in product descriptions before you buy. Otherwise, it may be worth buying a router table with a router attached, for simplicity and to save on money and hassle.
A good router table should be built solidly, and should be stable at all times. Many experts will advise that build and plate quality are important to look at, and you can learn a lot about this from verified user reviews. Beyond this, make sure to take a look at what the table and its surfacing are made of.
On the whole, a table with a metal surface will give less chance of warping, and will therefore be less likely to bend or wobble. Again, do read up on what users have to say.
Many router tables come with gauge facilities. These are fitted to help you measure and hold your position when working with wood. Do look out for a gauge which offers plenty of precision and which can be held securely in place. However, if you are already confident and experienced in your work, you may not need one!
Frequently Asked Questions
If it’s your first time in buying a router table, you will no doubt have a few questions you’d like to ask. Here is our round-up of some of the most common.
How Much Should I Pay for a Router Table?
This all depends on the features and quality you are looking for. While you may be able to find a good affordable table for less than £50, you are not always going to get a guarantee of quality or precision. Therefore, expect to pay upwards of £150 for router-integrated models, and ones which are of the best quality.
How Could a Router Table Help Me?
If you already use a router and are struggling to get things precise, a table can be used to help fix things in place. They are ideal for anyone who is just getting started with woodworking, for example.
Is Router Compatibility Important?
Yes! It’s a common misconception that all router tables will fit all routers. Therefore, always check compatibility with a table manufacturer before you buy to avoid disappointment.
Router tables may not be at the top of your DIY shopping list, however, they are fantastic for added woodwork precision. Just getting started with a router? Shop around for tables online with confidence.