A palm router is one of the handy tools that should be in any woodworker toolbox. No matter your wood project, there is a stage in your work that requires the use of a router.
Unlike other wood tools, a palm router is ideal for a modern worker because it is less bulky – unlike the plunge base and fixed based router. A router is a versatile tool and can help you accomplish many tasks such as cutting hinges, trimming laminate, decorating furniture, making dadoes, and raising panel doors.
With so many palm routers in the market, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the right one amidst the clutter. But don’t worry, as passionate wood makers, we have done the heavy lifting and sifted the best palm routers that will help you accomplish your wood projects the way you envision them.
Let’s get started.
Top 5 Best Palm Router
1. Best-selling: Bosch GKF 125CEN – Palm Router + Palm Router Edge Guide
Bosch is a household name known for its commitment to making quality products. If you are looking for a palm router that precisely does what it promises, this is the right product for you.
The product features a 1.25 hp motor, which is durable and suitable for most woodwork. The device comes with a long cord, which gives you the freedom to work and move freely around the board. This is an excellent feature because you will be moving and adjusting your board as your work.
Bosch is one of the best cordless palm routers with variable speed control, which allows you to select the type of speed you want to use based on your wood type. The switch and control for adjusting the speed are well placed to change the speed as you operate comfortably.
One feature we like about this best compact palm router is the housing is made of full aluminum, thus making it stable and durable. This set it apart from other routers within the same price range that use split type aluminum instead of full aluminum. Lastly, it has an LED light that allows you to see better when working.
2. Best value: Ridgid 1-1/2 Horsepower Compact Router
If you are looking for a palm router that is sturdy and durable, then Ridgid is the right choice. This wood router is designed with a soft start to start gradually, thus extending its motor life. The gradual startup is an excellent feature because it prolongs the machine’s life so that it can serve you for years without mechanical problems.
The router has a variable speed that allows you to adjust the router’s speed to suit the type of material you’re working on. Also, it is excellent because the variable speed allows you to use it for various applications.
The best cord palm router should be easy to adjust on the fly to save time and allow you to concentrate on the project. With the micro-adjust dial, this router lets you have precise control of the depth and material.
Another great feature of this palm router is the LED light to illuminate your workspace so you can have a good view of what you’re working on. We like the round and square bases, which makes it convenient to use for different wood pieces.
Ridgid compact router has a spindle lock for easy bit changes, thus eliminating the hustle associated with changing bit. Besides it has a flat top where the router sits upside down for easier bit changes
You need a comfortable tool to work with. This palm router features an over-mold grip for comfort, allowing you to work for long without discomfort. It also comes with a release lever for quick removal of motor from base.
The router has variable speed so you can easily adjust speed to material type and application. Finally, this palm router has electronic feedback to give you consistent speed and power. This palm router is versatile, which makes it a great tool to complement your creativity.
3. Premium pick: Dewalt Router (DW618B3)
If you’re looking for a wood workhorse that will help you cut through some of your most hardwood, consider Dewalt Router. Featuring a 2-1/4 max horsepower, this router is a favorite for professional woodworkers.
It has a 12-amp electronic variable-speed motor, which gives it the power to rout most of the wood you will encounter. The best router should be easy to control. This palm router has a full feedback control that makes it a way to control speed so you can have a seamless workflow.
Collecting dust can be daunting after a hard day work; this router comes with a dust collector that collects approximately 95 percent of the dust.
4. Our Pick: DEWALT Router (DWP611PK)
This router comes with a transparent base that allows you to see so you can make accurate cuts. We like that it comes with a plunge base that gives you the freedom to adjust freely. If you are looking for a small router, consider the Dewalt router because it is small and compact.
This wood router is easy to use, and we like the fact the power switch is well located. The device is easy to operate with one hand than to its ergonomic design and strategically placed switch. Also, it is easy to change the bit and base.
The router features a 1.25 horsepower motor, which sets it apart from its competitor of the same size. This extra power makes it versatile because you can use for a variety of hard material and application.
To enhance the visibility, this router comes with a LED light that combines with the clear base make it one of the best routers to work with – especially for those who need a well-illuminated workspace.
This Router tool has variable speed control, which allows you to change bit speed to suit different applications. It also comes with a soft-starting motor with full-time electronic feedback to give you consistent motor speed through the cut.
5. Runner up: MLCS 9056
MLCS is one of the best compact palm routers. While the tool is small, it comes with a powerful motor that allows it to give a minimum of 10,0000 rpm and a maximum of 30,000 rpm.
It features a variable know so you can adjust the speed while using. Most users say it is easy to use, and you can operate it with one hand. It’s ergonomically designed, allowing you to work for a prolonged period without discomfort.
This Plunge router comes with accessories for flush trimming and an edge guide, which makes allows you to make straight and smooth edges. It is easy to adjust so you can move across the board with ease.
MLCS route is a one-horsepower motor that gives it the power to tackle intricate projects. It has aluminum housing for protection, thus making it last longer. It is well designed so you can see the depth as you cut.
Top 5 BEST Palm Router Comparison Chart
Bosch GKF 125CEN 1.25 HP, 5.6-Amp SoftStart, ergonomic
Ridgid 1-1/2 Horsepower Compact Router 1.25 HP, 5.5-Amp, SoftStart, ergonomic
DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, 12-Amp, 2-1/4-HP (DW618B3) 1.25 HP, 5.5-Amp, SoftStart, ergonomic
DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, 1.25-HP Max Torque (DWP611PK) 1.25 HP, 5.5-Amp, SoftStart, ergonomic
MLCS 9056 1 HP Rocky Trim Router 1.0 HP, 5.5-Amp, SoftStart, ergonomic
Other Best Palm Router That We Reviewed
6. Bosch PR20EVSPK
Another best compact palm router from Bosch is the Palm Router Combo Kit (PR20EVSPK). It features a 1.0 (max) horsepower output for a wide array of routing.
The PR20EVSPK comes with fixed base, Straight Edge Guide, Plunge Base for maximum flexibility and convenience for the whole working. It is ergonomically designed with a contoured soft grip that gives you comfort when working. It has a variable speed and a well-designed variable-speed dial to control the speed to suit the material and application.
One of the best features of this device is the quick-Clamp System which allows you to move the motor from base to base without tools
The PR20EVSPK comes with a powerful 1.0-horsepower and 5.6-amp motor capable of giving you a variable speed of 16,000 to 35,000 RPM. It features a soft-start motor to ensure your motor last for long without damage.
This is an excellent tool for trimming laminate floor, mortising hinges, dovetailing, and other DIY and professional jobs.
7. Porter-Cable 450PK
With a 1.25 horsepower, this tool is your companion if you are looking for a palm router that gives you power and precision. The strong motor power allows you to handle hardwood and other tough applications.
This tool is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for a small and compact tool for their workshop. It comes with a plunge base for added precision during your cuts.
This Plunge router is durable thanks to its soft-starting motor, which prevents the motor from premature damage. Also, the electronic feedback ensures you get consistent motor speed throughout your routing application and cut.
We like the adjustment ring that allows you to control the bit depth up to within 1/64-inch. Also, it has a clamping mechanism that ensures the motor stayed locked in position.
Porter-Cable 450PK has an ergonomic design that makes it easy to operate with one hand. This is one of the most comfortable router tools.
8. Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
The Makita Compact is lightweight and compact, making it one of the to-go tools for those looking for the best smallest palm router.
This tool has a variable speed dial that allows you to control the speed to fit the application and the material you are working on. The dial/knob is easy to adjust with one finger allowing you to adjust speed even in the middle of a cut. This feature is excellent as it saves time you would spend adjusting, and it is suitable for those looking for an easy to operate tool -with one hand.
The lock system is great because it allows for quick release and adjustment. It also has a depth adjustment system that lets you adjust the depth on your cuts fast and easy.
Makita RT0701C has a maximum of rpm of 30,000 and a minimum of 10,000 rpm thanks to its powerful motor.
9. PORTER-CABLE PCE6435 5.6-Amp Variable speed 1/4 -inch Laminate Trimmer
Porter -CABLE PCE6435 is a palm router that is an excellent choice for those looking for a laminate trimmer. It features a variable speed that allows you to adjust the speed fast and easily.
The feature we like about Porter -CABLE PCE6435 is that it comes with locking clips that adjust and release the motor fast and easily.
10. Bosch PR20EVSK Colt
If you are looking for Bosch products, then you might want to consider the Bosch PR20EVS colt. It features a one horsepower motor that gives it the power to perform a wide range of routing applications.
The feature we like about this Router tool is the variable-speed dial, which allows you to adjust speed without stopping in the middle of the cut. It has an excellent ergonomic design, which will enable you to handle the tool with one hand for long without discomfort. This is important for those who tend to work for an extended period.
How We Selected the Best Palm Router
When selecting a palm router, you need to know what task you want to accomplish. Different palm routers are best suited for the specific job, and therefore you need to have one that best suits your project.
You should consider the kind of application you will use the tool for, as this will guide you on the type of palm router to buy.
Palm routers come in a variety of sizes. The size of the motor determines the size of the router. The main sizes of palm router are palm router, mid-size router, and full-size routers.
Palm routers are mostly those routers with a horsepower of 1.5 and less. These routers are compact and are strong for most woodwork jobs. However, they are not suitable for extensive routing applications.
PS: Most palm router mostly uses 1/4″ shank router bits.
RPM means revolutions per minute. This is the feature you should pay attention to when buying a palm router. As a general rule, the higher the rpm, the better the tool.
Most of the palm routers have a minimum of 10,000 rpm to a maximum of 30,000 rpm. We recommend a toll with high rpm because they are quick and help you finish your projects faster.
• Ergonomic design
Comfort is vital when it comes to woodwork. You need a tool you can handle and work with for long without fatigue and discomfort.
A good palm router should have an ergonomic design. We recommend going for a router with a flat top to rest your palm on the top of the tool without discomfort.
Different palm routers have different speeds. However, the best palm router should have the variable speed you can adjust to fit the application and material you are working on.
A machine with enhanced speed will increase your output and improve the quality of your work. Avoid going for a single speed as they don’t give you the versatility you need.
What to Look for In A Palm Router
• Variable speed
One of the most critical features to consider when buying the best palm router is the variable speed. Variable speed is essential because it allows you to adjust speed to material type and application. Variable speed allows you to use the same router for different bit sizes. This saves you time and makes your work easy as you don’t have to use a different router for medium or large bits.
We recommend looking for routers with variable speed, and that can accept both 1/4″ and 1/2″ shank bits.
Some routers have cords, while others are cordless. The type of router you go for will depend on your need because each has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s briefly look at them.
Cord routers are great because you never have to worry about batteries dying in the middle of a project. However, the downside is they limit the freedom of your movement because you can only extend as far as the cord.
On the other hand, cordless routers run on batteries, and therefore you need to keep recharging them – and sometimes they can die in the middle of a job. However, they give you unlimited freedom of movement as you can move in any direction on the board.
• Spindle Lock
Spindle Lock is necessary for palm because they make it easy to change bits. Some routers are hard to make bit changes because they require two wrenches to make the change. Therefore, you should look out for a palm router with a spindle lock where you only need to push and engage the locking collar.
A good palm router should have accessories that let you achieve a smooth and clean cut. Some of the critical accessories to look out for in a tool include LED light to illuminates the work area for increased visibility, trimming, cleaning, and clamping accessories.
• Plunge base
A plunge base allows you to start the routing cut in the middle of a bard compared to a fixed base. If you are looking for a router where you can cut safely in the middle of a base, you should look for a router with a plunge base.
A plunge base will enable you to make interior cuts, determine the proper height of the cuts, and allows you to stop in the middle of a cut and return later to finish.
• Dust collection
Most routers come with a dust collector to help collect the waste. Look out for a router with a dust collector that can receive at least 90 percent of the dust when routing.
A dust collector allows you to have a clean and tidy workshop and increases visibility so you can make accurate cuts.
• Square and circular bases
Routers have either square or circular base. The type of base you choose will depend on your need. However, most of the palm routers have a square base. A good base allows you to have easy and precise plunge routing.
How To Use A Handheld Unit
Using a palm router can be confusing for beginners, and that’s why we have created this guide to walk you through it.
Knowing which direction you should move the router is the first step to achieving smooth cuts. Therefore, ensure you move the device in the right direction. We should run the router in the opposite direction of the bits to produce smooth edges and cuts.
You should ensure to use clean bits. You can easily clean the bits by removing debris and wood chips stuck in the tool. While the dust collector can help remove dust, ensure you clean the wood, you are working on so you can have a clear view of the base and make accurate cuts.
Uses of a Palm Router
A route is an extremely versatile tool. A router can be used to cut workpieces in two, duplicate shapes, smoothen and soften edges, drill holes, laminate, make joints, trim veneers, carve letters.
While a palm router is famous for furniture smoothing and finishing the edges, making recesses and protrusions, a palm router can be used for infinite other things such as decorating woodwork and grooving chamfering, milling rebating, flush cutting, small-scale dovetailing and hinge mortising.
We have barely scratched the surface of what a palm router can do because it can also be used on other materials such as plastics, laminates, and metals.
• How Deep Can You Cut with A Router?
Most routers can cut up to a depth of ¼ inch deep. However, all routers are not created equal, which means that some can cut up to 2.5 inches depending on the size and model.
• What Is the Difference Between A Router And A Trim Router?
The difference between a router and a trim router is that a router is a versatile and able work on most material. In contrast, a trim router is best suited for trimming laminates and very thin materials. A trim router is designed for laminate work and used for the small wood project. This palm trim router comes with different bases for bevel cuts and offset. They are great for hobbyists who don’t intend to handle large woodwork projects such as making cabinets.
• Can I Use A Router Bit on A Drill?
Yes. Straight router bits can be used in a drill. You can use a straight router bit in your drilling projects – besides, it can be used on different materials. Router and drill work by rotating the bits secured in a collet.
• Do I Need A Palm Router?
You need a palm router for most of your woodworking projects. This tool is versatile and can help you smoothen and soften your edges, decorate your furniture, and make joinery easy and fast. Besides, you need a palm router as it can help you with a host of other projects.
• Do I Really Need A Router Table?
Yes, you need a router table to execute large and professional woodwork projects. However, it is not necessary for those with small woodwork projects such as trimming or cutting edges.
• Can You Mount A Palm Router to A Table?
Yes. You can mount your compact palm router to a table. Not only does mounting the router makes it safe and makes it easy to work.
Final Thoughts on My Best Palm Routers
A palm router is one the tool any serious woodworker should have in his toolbox. In this guide, we have handpicked the best palm router in the market to help you achieve the best results in your woodworking.
If you are looking for the best palm router to buy, ensure you look at the critical features such as horsepower, speed, and size. We have picked only those routers with powerful motors to handle toughest jobs and those with variable speed to allow you to change the speed while working.