A router table is a simple enough concept. With any router table, you’re talking about a flat table surface that features a router being attached to the bottom. With the table holding the router securely in place (using a base that can be found under the table), you will be able to safely and effectively make the necessary cut.
That’s a basic definition of a router table. Unfortunately, if you’re shopping for a router table for the first time, you’re going to find one thing to be definitively true: Not all router tables are made alike.
If you’re trying to find the best router table for the money, there are a few things you’re going to have to keep in mind.
Router Table Shopping Tips
Shopping for the best router table for your money isn’t impossible. It’s not even a particularly difficult venture. Nonetheless, there are a few tips you should take into consideration:
1. Two things you should always, always look for with a router table. You want the table to be extremely rigid. You also want the surface of the router table to be as flat as humanly possible. Given that you need this table for extremely precise work, doesn’t it just make sense to want a table that will give you the flattest surface possible to do your work?
2. Take into account what you’re going to need the router table for. Different tables are designed for different levels of work. For example, some tables are designed for use by hobbyists. Other tables have been built for much more intensive work. Knowing what you’re going to be using the table for ahead of time will help you reduce your options, making it easier to find something that’s going to be right for you.
3. Keep in mind that some companies will give you the option to design your own router table. You’ll be able to choose from all the materials and components used to create router tables. From that point, you can have something put together that will match your exact specifications.
4. Pay particular attention to the quality of the router table fence. This can include looking at router tables with one-piece fences or perhaps split fences.
5. Cast iron is a fantastic material for router table tops. However, MDF and solid phenolic are far more common. MDF is popular, offering stability and value.
Keep these simple, easy-to-remember tips in mind, as you go about shopping for the right router table.