Our Top Router Table Reviews of 2023
Of course, being a woodworker you could always build your own table. This is reasonable option for those that don't already have an endless list of projects, but for those that do, this is what you should be thinking about:
- Price - you're looking at an investment of between $100 - $500, as with anything it is important to know what you need.
- Work Surface Dimensions -- Routing large cabinet panels is going to be difficult on a 14" surface, most won't need a huge surface but it is important to keep in mind what your typical projects will look like.
- Fence Quality -- just about every tool in the shop interacts with a fence in one way or another, If you're going to be using this table frequently, you want to make sure the fence isn't going to be the bane of your existence.
- Safety features -- Lockout keys, bit guards, t-tracks, and included accessories such as feather boards all make operating you router less risky
- Dust Control -- Open frame tables are inherently more exposed to the nuisance of dust regardless of how well positioned vac ports are installed.
- Size -- Router tables vary from bench top to dedicated tables, for those with space to spare a dedicated option is a magical thing.
Let's begin with the two most popular options which both come from Bosch.
Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table
A worthy addition to our list of router table reviews
The RA1181 Benchtop Router Table features 27" x 18" aluminum work surface. At 30 lbs it is a weighty (especially once you add a router), yet reasonably portable option. The aluminum fence receives uniformly high praise from users of the product. To ensure your router fits check out the compatibility list here.
As you would expect the price tends to increase in the summer and near Christmas and fall at the beginning of each year. This table has maintained a high rating on Amazon for years and is an extremely highly rated product. To check out the product manual, click this link.
The table does have a dust collection port in the fence, but given that the bottom of the table is open, it is a certainty that dust will be flying out below the table near the chuck.
Check out the video of this table being unboxed below.
Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table
The best router table for the money
Up next is another Bosch product, the RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table. The work surface on this cabinet style table is a bit smaller than the RA1181 at roughly 25" x 16". However, the table comes in at a beefier 42 pounds. This primary differentiator between this table and the RA1181 is the fact that the cabinet encloses dust and chippings that would otherwise make it into your work environment. On top of that, this model includes two dust collection ports, one on the fence and a second in the cabinet. The RA1171 excels at keeping your work environment clean.
The fence is identical to the RA1181 model, which again is a very highly rated fence. The table includes two feather boards, a clear guard, three mounting plates, and two shims. If you want to check out a list of compatible routers you can find that here. Additionally, if you want to browse through the manual for the RA1171, you can check that out on Bosch's site at this link.
This table is slightly cheaper than the RA1181, primarily because the work surface is not entirely aluminum.
Finally, Scott Sutton put together a great video review of the table that I've included down below.
Kreg PRS1045 Precision Router Table System
The best router table available (on a reasonable budget)
Next up is the Kreg PRS1045 Precision Router Table System. This is the highest end table we are going to be looking at and it's also the priciest. Over the last few years, the price hasn't moved once on Amazon. This system is also highly rated on Amazon.
The user drills the necessary holes for their router so this system works with any router. While this adds a bit of work, many users including me prefer this as you don't have a bunch of unnecessary holes waiting to be clogged and snag your work piece.
The table top is 1" think MDF and offers an extremely large 24" x 32" work area. An additional benefit for those that can afford the space is that this is a stand alone unit and does not require bench-top space to operate. Kreg's Precision Router Table Fence is self squaring and extremely high quality.
Bench Dog ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table
The second best router table on the list
The Bench Dog ProTop Benchtop Table is a worthy competitor with the 2 Bosch products and the Kreg table. As you can see in the picture above it is a cabinet style table, which would be a significant advantage when it comes to dust control. The work area is a 16" x 22" laminate top, which is bigger than both Bosch tables, yet not quite as large as the Kreg. The table is well rated on Amazon. It is priced right between the Bosch tables and the Kreg table. The price has bounced around a bit over the last few years.
The fence system is workable, but not nearly as solid as either of the Bosch tables and it's certainly not as good as the Kreg. Oddly enough, while a dust collection port is included on the fence, there is not one for the cabinet. This forces you to regularly vacuum out the cabinet to prevent a build up of saw dust.
You can check out the manual for the ProTop table here. Below I've include a review video which was very helpful for me as I was learning about the table.
PORTER-CABLE 698 Bench Top Router Table
Avoid this table at all costs
I want to wrap this up with a look at the Porter-Cable 698 Bench Top Router Table, since it is one of the most discussed tables out there. I am going to preface everything I type below with one thought: I am not a fan.
The table typically costs a couple hundred bucks. For that price you'd be much better off going with either of the less expensive Bosch tables.
This table features the smallest work top at 20" x 17". The most disappointing aspect of this table is the split fence which requires independent adjustment. This is not only time consuming to adjust but can lead to work piece snags, which in the best case ruin a work piece and in the worst case is dangerous.
There are some compatibility issues to consider, and while Porter Cable states this model is pre-drilled for Porter Cable routers, it does not list any non-brand routers it is compatible with. I have searched every where for a manual but a linkable version is also non-existent on the internet.
Summing it Up...
The way I see it there are 3 choices:
- If you're looking for THE BEST router table and you have space and money to space, go with the Kreg.
- If dust control is the most important issue, go with the Bench Dog.
- Finally, if you're on a tight budget and you can make due with a smaller work area, get the Bosch RA1171.