The Best Router for a Beginner Woodworker

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 -
 The best and easiest router for a beginner woodworker or DIYer

*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product in exchange. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

Have you noticed how almost every tools is battery powered these days? I'm kinda old school and typically reach for corded models. However, when I first spotted the Ryobi 18-Volt Cordless Router at The Home Depot ProSpective kick-off event earlier this year, I knew I had to get my hands on one!

Have you been thinking about buying a router? I love my old routers but admittedly. I'm always fighting the cords or struggling to keep the cords out of my way. I've been using the Ryobi Cordless router for a couple months now, and I've decided it's absolutely the best router for a beginner woodworker or DIYer - here's why.

The Weight:

It's light! Even with a lithium battery attached, the whole thing only weighs about five pounds. The light weight isn't just convenient, it helps with safety and accuracy as well. A router becomes dangerous when the user doesn't have control over the tool. When wielding a sharp bit attached to a 29,000 RPM motor, I want something small and light enough to hold firmly in my hands. 

The Depth Adjustment:

Adjusting the depth on my old hand-held router was a major pain! Even if I managed to dial the depth in correctly, it had the tendency to move, ever so slightly messing up my cuts. What I really like about the depth control on the 18-Volt Router is that it is easy to adjust and it locks in place on a notched rod, making it impossible for the plate to move up or down. I can also count notches instead of trying to take exact measurements from the body to the end of the bit. 

The Shaft Lock:

To replace the cutting bit on a router, you need to lock the shaft in place and tighten the collet. On some older models, you push a pin which engages the shaft and keeps it from spinning. It works just fine, but pressing the metal pin has always hurt my thumb. The Ryobi router has a nice flat button that you press to lock the shaft, making switching out bits much easier on the fingers.

 Plenty of Power:

Although technically the Ryobi Cordless Router is a trim router and not as powerful as a full sized router, it packs a strong punch. I've tested it on multiple projects, using different bits, making the most common types of cuts. I never had any trouble with the Ryobi router keeping up. 

When you first think about buying a router, it's likely to put a fancy edge on something like a sign or table top. It only took me a few seconds to put a decorative ogee edge on this board. 

If you have a slot cutting router bit, it's easy to cut a groove into boards while making DIY cabinet doors. I tried this technique out and it was so much easier than using my table saw! I'm going to make my flat panel doors this way from now on.

I would never try free handing a cut with a full sized router but I'm able to with my cordless model. Obviously, I still need a lot of practice but cutting detailed shapes is totally doable.

Ready to buy your own Ryobi 18-volt router? It's actually a Special Buy at Home Depot right now. Don't forget the batteries : ) Want to save this idea for later? Feel free to pin the image below! 

what to buy beginner starter router woodworker review tutorial

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