Last Updated on August 8, 2020
Do you have a woodworking problem to rout out? Want a router but not sure where to start looking? Don’t feel alone, when we started working on these reviews of wood routers under $100, we were amazed at just how many models there were on the market today.
We have used our expertise in the area to narrow down the best possible options for you. We scored the models on precision, user-friendliness, versatility, and how well they actually performed.
Read through to find out who we named and shamed on the list and who got our stamp of approval.
|Best Overall||Makita RT0701C||
|Best Value||Ryobi ONE+ P601||
|Ryobi R1631K Fixed-Base||
Our top option delivers the best in both performance and versatility. You can set the speed between 10 000 and 30 000. The dial is conveniently placed to make quick and smooth changes. The speed is controlled electronically, and the soft start feature will make starting up a lot smoother.
Precision is the name of the game with this baby. She is easy to read and understand. Time has been taken with clearly marked scales. The system features a quick-release cam lock and design base that has been designed with high visibility in mind.
The machine is compact, weighing just 3.9 pounds and has been ergonomically designed. The design of the top is flat, and the shaft lock design is simple making it easier to change bits. You can also use this with a different base for different projects. But these you will need to buy on your own.
This router comes in second on our list because it is a good deal large than our top model and also only capable of a maximum of 23 000 RPM.
Where it does score points against our first pick is that it takes ½-inch bits but also includes a ¼-inch adaptor, meaning that you can also use a quarter-inch bit.
The variable speed runs from 8 000 to 23 000 PM. This also features a soft startup design so that your work is not damaged on starting. It also has a guide fence so that you always get a straight line.
The depth adjustment is perfect for very fine adjustments making it excellent for detail work. The base can be locked down so that your plunge router can be used as a fixed one.
There are a lot of accessories that come with this kit, making it possible to start tackling more complex projects like curved objects and a lot more.
This is our best value for the money option. It is not quite as powerful as the two above and will not do for a bigger routing job. What is great about it is that it will allow you to get a perfectly straight edge and can also do some finer routing as well.
It is a cordless model which is nice if you don’t want to have to lug around a cord. It does not come with a battery. If you have other tools in the Ryobi One+ line, you can use any 18V from one of them. Otherwise, you will need to buy one.
This does add a little to the expense unless you already have one in the same range at home. The big advantage of not have the cord is that the model only weighs 3.35 pounds.
It is a good deal if you mainly want to use it to trim edges.
This is our fourth option. It is not a bad make and is capable of reaching higher speeds than our other models at a maximum of 35 000 RPM. The reason we marked it down was that the depth changing settings are not all that well thought out.
Using the micro-adjustments is a real mission and so certainly not something that you use if you have to. The main adjustment also tends slipping a soon as work starts.
It only accepts ¼-inch bits but has a 1 and 5/16-inch cut diameter, so it copes well with a range of projects.
The model is compact, lightweight and easy to work with but is better suited to just trimming the edges. More precise work can be taken on, but it will be a pain to make the finer adjustments.
The price is not too bad, but we feel that you can get a much better option just by throwing in around $10 extra bucks.
We have a love-hate relationship with Ryobi and, when you look at this router, you should easily be able to see why.
Sure, it has a fair amount of power, but we think it must have been made by elves because the switches are so small. Or, maybe some bright-spark in the design department was told to save some money on the design, and that is what they came up with.
The same person that designed the switch designed the handles as well. We are certain that they have never worked with one of these machines before. The handles are too small to get a really good grip on but large enough to make this a really clumsy model.
It takes up a lot more space than most, and, while it works okay, it can be hard to get a properly straight line because you cannot hold onto it properly.
So, what are the main things to consider when choosing the model that is best for you? Here are some tips:
In conclusion, we feel that the Makita RT0701C is one little machine that will never let you down. It has all the features that you could want and a lot more besides. Backed up by a 30-day money-back guarantee, you have plenty of time to test it and see if you like it.
If you want a better value for money option, the Ryobi ONE+ P601 is an excellent deal. It is cordless and, while it does not come with the battery, you can use any 18V battery from the ONE+ range.
We truly hope that these reviews will prove useful to you in your search for the best router.
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Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!