Compact routers are a MUST have for so many different home improvement projects. Maybe you’re trying to straighten a pesky crooked edge on a piece of lumber, or you’re a DIYer that’s looking to put a fancy edge on a custom piece of furniture. Compact routers are especially useful in construction – these handy devices are present in every contractor’s tool bag, so it’s no surprise there’s a ton of options to choose from. Whether you’re working at home or fine-tuning a commercial job, we reviewed the ten best compact routers so you don’t have to!
The Makita RT0701 is the Rolls Royce of compact routers – drives comfortably and is top-of-the-line. Its slim, ergonomically designed body is incredibly comfortable to hold and gives you a degree of control over your task like never before.
Speaking of control, the variable speed control dial allows you to adjust speed based on the type of project – all the way up to 30,000 RPMs.
This compact router is a true BEAST – and you can feel it. Its heavy duty aluminum motor housing is engineered for increased durability, you won’t have to worry about a slip of the hand ruining your fine piece of equipment.
Our favorite feature of this compact router was the quick release cam lock system – depth adjustments and base removal & installation was a breeze.
Plain and simple – this compact router can do it all. Smooth operation, variable speed settings, and a kit that includes almost every possible base, guide and attachment even the most technical contractor could want – this is our clear cut number one.
- Unmatched value
- Engineered for precision
- Easy to read depth scales
- Incredibly durable
- Shaft lock is designed for quick and easy base changes
- Some customers complain of all base parts not being included
2. Bosch Colt
The Colt has a palm-grip design that makes it easy to hold and control no matter what type of project you’re using it for. This compact router is durable and dependable – its rugged aluminum fixed base is beyond reliable. We even dropped it a few times with no adverse effects!
Soft-start technology reduces any startup torque, but we really loved how easy depth adjustment was with this compact router. All we had to do was align and lower the motor, then locked the router in position with the clamping level. So simple, literally anyone can do it.
We didn’t experience any quality or design issues with this compact router. It’s a powerful little machine that can get large tasks done. Constant Response is a unique feature that enables consistent performance and overload protection. Buy confidently!
- Compact but powerful 1 HP motor
- Variable speed selection makes it a great choice for any project
- Constant Response technology monitors and maintains speed under load
- One-year warranty
- Some customers complain of quality and design issues
This compact router can get jobs done in the dead of night. Seriously. It’s dual LED’s and clear sub base may as well be visible from orbit – you’ll never lose sight of it during operation. We found this especially useful using it to craft our own bookcase!
We found the Dewalt to be incredible intuitive, it features full-time electronic feedback that monitors and maintains motor speed throughout your cut. Under the hood, this compact router has a heavy-duty 1.25 HP engine that will power you through just about any job.
Best of all, this compact router comes with a three-year limited warranty from Dewalt – it shows Dewalt is committed to their product and stands by its quality so you can buy with confidence!
The LED lighting makes this compact router stand out among the rest, but it’s also highly effective at completing virtually any task you’ll need it to. A powerful 1.5 HP engine makes this a fine choice for either contractor or home improvement use.
- Awesome illumination features give product maximum visibility
- Variable speed control allows you to adjust based on project needs
- Low, contoured grip gives you maximum control
- Three-year warranty
- Customers complain of LED lighting giving out
The beautiful thing about this Bosch compact router is that, despite its enormous amount of power, it doesn’t sacrifice anything in the way of control and performance. Advanced speed-control technology continuously monitors and maintains your desired RPM for top performance.
This router is especially adept when it comes to mounting on router tables. The fixed base includes threaded holes for easy mounting, and the bit-height adjustment system let us easily adjust from above the table.
The price tag might be a little much for someone looking to compete a smaller task, but this compact router packs a big time punch when it comes to large projects. It’s easy to control and conveniently mounts, making it a perfect all-in-one compact router option.
- Most powerful compact router reviewed – great for large jobs
- Easy mount to router tables
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Integrated soft-start to reduce start up torque
- A bit expensive
5. Ryobi P601
The nice thing about this compact router is that it’s cordless, so you’re not going to have to worry about traveling around the job site with it. It’s also got one of the higher fixed speeds we reviewed – a whopping 29k RPM – so it can tackle any sort of project.
This model comes with some really unique features we loved – it’s equipped with an onboard knob to adjust cutting depth on the fly, and easy-grip rubber coating gives the user full control during operation.
This was the lightest compact router we reviewed, and its sleek design combined with powerful speed makes it a good option for all projects.
The compact design of this router makes it the best option for jobs in any sort of working area – we were even able to take it inside a tight pantry and use it effectively. Onboard depth adjustment makes even the most complicated projects simple, and LED lighting was a welcome bonus!
- Light-weight and compact
- Onboard LED lighting allows for high visibility
- Rubber grip coating gives you maximum control
- Battery must be purchased separately
We really loved the customization options that came along with this compact router. There’s an optional dust collect adaptor – no need for a wet/dry vacuum And an edge guide and plunge base can both be added onto the product.
Powered by a 1.25 HP motor and with a fixed speed of 27k HP, this little beauty is an absolute beast when it comes to projects. It’s soft-starting motor features full-time electric feedback, you’ll maintain speed throughout the cut and never have to worry about losing power.
This compact router delivers a powerful punch that will get your through even the toughest of jobs. It’s versatile in that it’s perfect for at home use, but is capable of getting commercial projects done as well. We found it easy to use out of the box and loved the different customization options.
- Ergonomically designed for comfortable, long-term use
- Powerful 1.25 HP motor to meet the toughest conditions
- Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes
- Wrench needed for bit changes
The biggest difference between this Porter-Cable model and the previous one is power and speed – the 690LR comes with a heavy-hitting 1.5 HP motor and slightly exceeds the speed of the previous model by about 5,000 RPM.
The 690LR has a few features we really loved that the 450 model was without. The auto-release collet system allows for easy bit removal after use – no tools needed. This model also comes equipped with an under-table stop, helping to prevent the motor from rotating out of the base.
We really loved how confident we felt about this purchase, and Porter-Cable makes it easy for anyone to share those sentiments. The product is backed by a three-year limited warranty, a one-year free service contract, and a 90 day money back guarantee.
We didn’t experience any sort of motor burnout with this model. On the contrary, this thing cut through lumber like a hot knife through butter, and all of the warranty and support that comes with it left us feeling comfortable with the purchase. Porter-Cable believes in the quality of their products, and you should too!
- Auto-release system makes bit changing simple
- Under-table stop made this a great option for multiple projects
- Speed and power combine for the ultimate package
- Top-notch warranty and money back guarantee
- Some customers complain of motor burnout
8. Ridgid R2401
The thing we most enjoyed about this Rigid compact router was it’s dual-base capabilities. The model comes with both round and square base options, giving you added versatility and convenience when completing your project.
The Rigid model really delivers as far as value is concerned – we were surprised by just how much it was packed with compared with the price point. It’s durable enough for even the most intense working conditions, and the no-mar top prevents your work surface from getting marked up.
Precision is an area where this compact router really excels – the trimmer has an easy access micro-dial for precise depth control. The most unique feature here? The router has a flat top so it sits upside down – this means easier bit changes in a fraction of the time.
If we could buy the Ridgid R2401 again, we would. We were blown away by just how much came with this compact router at such an affordable price tag. Its multiple features and dual-base capability make it the perfect option for in-home renovation, but contractors will find a lot of benefit here too.
- Flat top makes for incredibly easy bit changes
- Dual-base options make it the perfect option for all jobs
- Incredible value
- No-mar top prevents your work space from getting damaged
- Not very adaptable to router tables, better as a free-hand device
You can tell from this list that Porter-Cable makes a quality product when it comes to compact routers, and the PCE6430 is no different, despite its smaller .60 HP motor. While it’s small, it’s still mighty – it’s 31k RPM speed is among the top we reviewed.
The PCE6430 comes packed with a depth ring, allowing for quick and accurate bit height adjustments. We were huge fans of the extra large locking clips that let us quickly release the motor and adjust depth.
You’ll need a wrench to change bits on this model, but the spindle lock button allows for single-wrench changes. Even with the added necessity though, this model is quiet and smooth in operation. It fits easily in your hand and allows for total control throughout cutting.
Don’t be turned off by the smaller motor size of the PCE6430, we found it held up to all of the testing we put it through. It’s a precise machine that will get the job done, and we loved the extra long electrical cord!
- Aluminum base withstands abuse on the job
- LED lighting allows for high visibility
- Long cord length allows you to take it virtually anywhere
- Precise in operation
- Smaller motor than the other models reviewed
10. MLCS 9056
It’s a heavy duty piece of machinery but still is pretty compact, we found it easy to operate and manipulate while working. The rubber pad that partially wraps the base gave us a firm grip in the palm of our hand. We even dropped it a few times while working and were able to pick up right where we left off.
It’s double insulated motor features a spindle-locking button to facilitate single wrench bit changes, so it’s pretty convenient to switch out in the field. Really, what we loved most about the MLCS 9056 was its ability to get most jobs done at an affordable price point.
This is a heavy-duty compact router in a small package. It has the ability to get nearly all jobs done effectively, and it’s extremely comfortable to use for long periods of time. If you’re looking for a compact router without any of the high-tech bells and whistles that still delivers on all fronts, this one’s for you.
- Extremely durable
- Bit changes are easy and convenient on the job
- Excellent price point
- Ergonomic and comfortable to use
- Depth adjustment lock can be a pain