Whether you are a professional woodworker or an amateur, you should know that one of the important tools. From cutting fancy edges, to making hollows, and creating interesting wood patterns, the importance of routers in woodworking and cabinetry cannot be overstated. There are several types of routers suitable for different uses, and the palm router is one of the popular router types. Palm routers are typically smaller than other routers and by this virtue, more flexible and versatile. If a palm router is what you are on the market for, we will try to make your search for the perfect tool easier. We have selected, tested, and reviewed some of the best palm routers for woodworking so that you can find the selection less overwhelming.
Comparison Table of Palm Router for Woodworking
|DEWALT DWP611 Plam Router||1.25HP||Check Price|
|Bosch GKF125CEN Palm Router with Edge Guide||1.25HP||Check Price|
|Makita RT0701C Compact Router||1-1/4 HP||Check Price|
|Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit||2.25 HP||Check Price|
|Avid Power Compact Router||1.25 HP||Check Price|
|DEWALT DW616 Router||1-3/4 HP||Check Price|
|Bosch 1617EVS Electronic Router||2.25 HP||Check Price|
|PORTER-CABLE Plam Router||1-3/4 HP||Check Price|
Top 8 Best Palm Router
1. DEWALT DWP611 Plam Router
This is easily one of the best compact routers you will find on the market. It perfectly combines sturdiness with ergonomics. One of the features we love the most is the 6.5 Amp motor that can produce 1.25 HP. Another impressive feature is the variable 16000 - 27000 RPM no-load speed. You get to choose the speed you need for the particular task at hand, as different jobs will require different speed settings. Interestingly, the motor's full-time electronic feedback ensures the maintenance of a speed setting through the cut.
The aluminum motor housing and base construction significantly add to the durability of the router. Furthermore, the ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold and use. The dual LED lights that are incorporated into the design provide illumination for the work area. The bit changing is also quite straightforward as there is a large, low-pressure spindle lock button that makes the process comfortable. The sub-base is more extended than in typical palm routers; this makes the machine's control easier.
2. Bosch GKF125CEN Palm Router with Edge Guide
Bosch is a well-known power tool brand, a favorite of many. The Bosch GKF125CEN Palm Router is just one of the many Bosch routers that dominate the market. The highlight of the router is the unique depth adjustment system that ensures an easy and more precise depth adjustment. It features a powerful 7.0 Amp motor that is rated up to 1.25 HP. Interestingly, it comes with a variable speed feature that allows you to choose between 16000 - 35000 RPM.
The palm-grip design makes it an easy tool to handle and control. You have the option of getting an additional straight edge guide that is designed to mount on to the Bosch GKF125CEN, PR10E, and PR20EVS palm routers' PR001 and the PR101 fixed base. Bit changing is also made easier by the large red collet stop. Instead of using two wrenches, you get to use only one wrench to change the bit. While you may typically not use the tool at night, it comes with two LED lights for more clarity on the surface.
3. Makita RT0701C Compact Router
If what you need is a palm router that is compact and slimmer than most, you should take a look at the Makita RT0701C Compact Router. Weighing a mere 3.9 pounds, you will find it hard to get a palm router that weighs less. It features a variable speed control dial with which you can select a speed between 10000-30000 RPM, depending on the requirements of the task at hand. The router is powered by a 6.5 Amp, 1.25 HP motor that is decent enough for woodworking and cabinetry.
For increased durability, it has a heavy-duty aluminum motor housing. Like all the other tools on our list, it has an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to handle and maneuver. The new quick-release cam lock system helps for quicker and better gripping and unlocking. Also, the shaft lock on the machine makes the bit change quicker. The rack and pinion depth adjustment system ensures precise depth adjustment.
4. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit
The Bosch 1617EVSPK has one of the most powerful motors you will find in a palm router. It features a 2.25 HP, 12 Amp motor. Quite interestingly, it has a wide speed range of 8000 - 25000 RPM, giving you the option to choose a suitable speed for whatever task you have at hand. The soft-start motor is designed to reduce the electric surge of the motor during start-up. It also features a constant response circuitry that helps adjust the power to maintain whatever RPM you select.
With a sturdy aluminum and wood construction, it is a durable machine. Furthermore, the machine is designed to use both a ¼" and ½" collet, making it possible to use a wider range of bits with the router. It would interest you to know that the Bosch 1617EVSPK comes with both the fixed and the plunge base - this is not a common feature in palm routers. The bases can be easily converted through the tool-free quick clamp systems.
5. Avid Power Compact Router
The Avid Power MW104 is another slim and compact palm router with all the right features for a wonderful woodworking experience. It is particularly designed with the user's comfort in mind, so it has this ergonomic design that combines with the rubber cover for comfortable handling. The highlight of the Avid Power MW104 is that it comes with several additional accessories that include a 12.1 ft cord, 5 router bits, edge guide, roller guide, a ⅜" and ¼" collet, dust hood and more.
6. DEWALT DW616 Router
The DEWALT DW616 is a fixed base router with a lot of auxiliary features that make it perfect for amateur and professional woodworkers. It is a simple, twist-to-adjust router that makes use of a micro-fine depth adjustment ring to ensure accurate depth adjustment in 1/64-inch increments. The quick-release motor latches make motor pack removal fast for easy bit and base changing. If you ever need to use the router for an extended time, the rubberized handles are comfortable enough.
The router features an 11 Amp motor that has 1.75 horsepower. It has a very durable construction, like other DEWALT routers. Perhaps, that is why the makers are confident enough to offer a 3 year warranty. On the switch is a dust seal that adequately protects it from the damaging effects to the dust produced during routing. Also, the package comes with some of the necessary accessories for the machine, like ½ and ¼ inch collects, a fixed base, wrenches, and more.
7. Bosch 1617EVS Electronic Router
This is another fixed base router that features a very powerful motor with adjustable speed. The Bosch 1617EVS features a 12 Amp motor with 2.25 horsepower, more powerful than most palm routers. You can easily select the required speed, between 8000 - 25000 RPM, depending on the task at hand. Furthermore, the 1617EVS router's fixed base design allows height adjustment from above a router table, and the base features threaded holes for mounting in the typical three hole pattern.
It does come with a few important accessories. Nonetheless, what we love the most about this tool is the overall aesthetics. It is a fully functional machine, but the wooden handles and shiny frame combine so well to produce an elegant look. As the router is compatible with both the ¼" and ½" collet, you can use any router bit with it. For the bit depth setting, you can get up to 1/64" accuracy, using the micro-fine adjustment knob.
8. PORTER-CABLE Plam Router
Typically, what we advise is that you go for routers that have variable speed control. The PORTER-CABLE 690LR has a single-speed motor that runs at 27,500 RPM, but the other significant features that come with it make up for the single speed. It is a fixed base router with a cam lock lever for smooth height adjustment and motor release. The user is also afforded accurate doeth adjustment with the micrometer depth adjuster that is accurate to 1/128".
Indeed, the 690LR is an embodiment of the "less is more" principle. It comes with a simple design that doesn't undermine the router's strength and functionality in any way. The handles feature moldings to make them comfortable for extended use. Additionally, there is an auto-release collet system that makes bit removal so easy. The sealed ball-bearing construction and the generous 3 year warranty should convince you of the machine's durability.
Overall Best - Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router
Features and Factors to Consider When Buying a Palm Router for Woodworking
Older models of trim routers are not as versatile as those available on the market today. These days, there are several palm routers with varying features and specifications. If you hope to make a good choice of palm router, you need to know the right factors to consider. We have gone over some of the essential factors and features that should influence your eventual choice.
Adjustable Bit Height
This is one of the most important things to consider. Palm routers are compact and flexible tools; this makes them suitable for precision work. Accurate and easy bit height adjustments will make your woodworking efforts more enjoyable. Bit height adjustments are commonly done through twisting or screwing. Nonetheless, the adjustment should be easy to do and accurate.
Power and Speed
These two factors go hand in hand. The power of a motor affects the speed, which is measured in rotations per minute. Unless your project has unusual peculiarities, you should go for a fast and powerful motor. A fast enough palm router will eliminate the risk of snagging and will save time.
While a fast motor is typically a good thing, a motor with variable speed control is better. A lot of palm routers come with just a singular speed setting, while some allow the user to change the speed level within a particular range. Variable speed control makes the tool more versatile, suitable for a wide range of woodworking/cabinetry tasks.
You also need to consider your budget before you choose any palm router model. The aim should be acquiring a router that will provide the best value for whatever amount spent. There are high-end palm routers and affordable routers with all the essential features; you just have to establish how much you are willing to spend. Whatever your budget is (high or low), you will get a palm router that will enhance your woodworking experience.
Fixed vs Plunge Base Router
Before you choose between a fixed and plunge base router, you should first know the peculiarities of both. Then, you can go ahead to decide which is better for you. A fixed base router is the more basic router type, and it is very easy to use. The router is locked in place, so the cutting bit cannot be moved anywhere. If you are a beginner in woodworking, you should go for a fixed base router as you will not have to control the depth when working manually.
Fixed base routers are more suitable for precision cutting, due to the lightweight and the fact that they are always locked in place. Plunge base routers, on the other hand, move up and down on the base, while the user can physically press the machine into the wood and remove the stock to create a hollow.
Both have peculiar applications, so it is usually good to have both in your workshop if you are a professional/serious woodworker. The plunge router is best for cutting material from the top, making grooves, dovetails, mortices, and rebates. And the fixed base router is easier to handle and maneuver for more accurate cuts.
What Is a Palm Router Used For?
Palm routers have numerous applications in woodworking and cabinetry. One of the popular applications is for duplicating pieces. If you are routing several identical pieces, the first one you make can be used as a template to create others in no time. Furthermore, palm routers are used to make small joints in cabinetry. They are also the perfect tool for trimming veneer edges, designing tabletop edges, and cutting holes to mount hinges.
Frequently Asked Questions
Laminate Trimmer vs Palm Router: Which Is the Right Tool for My Project?
A laminate trimmer and a palm router (trim router) are almost the same tools, and they serve the same basic purpose. Nonetheless, there is a little difference between them. The laminate trimmer is a smaller version of a palm router that is best used for trimming laminate or other related materials. On the other hand, palm routers are perfect for various woodworking purposes, including laminate trimming. They come in various styles and are used with a variety of accessories.
Plunge or Fixed Base: Which Is the Best for Beginners?
A good workshop should have both types, as they have their peculiarities and respective application. While fixed base routers are not as versatile as plunge routers, they are easier to handle and maneuver. A professional would do better with a plunge router, but beginners will find a fixed base easier to use.
If you are ever in need of a compact router for your woodworking and cabinetry projects, we have handpicked the very best options on the market. Most of the routers we have included in this review are fixed base routers, by virtue of the "ease-of-use." They are perfect for beginners and professionals alike. Also, we have explained, in the briefest of terms, some of the features and factors to look out for when choosing a palm router.