Top 10 Best Trim Routers [Updated for 2021]

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best trim router

In woodworking, there are times where you want to create beautiful, intricate edges on your work piece. The default might be to use a regular router but often times, your work piece might be too small or too light for a router to cut steadily. Furthermore, a regular router might not be able to carve out fine details due to its sheer size. This is where the humble trim router comes in handy.

A trim router, also known as laminate trimmer, is a small version of a regular router. It was initially developed for trimming and flushing but nowadays, it can also be used for jointing, rounding edges, chamfering, routing grooves and dados, dovetails, and even mortise and tenons. In the woodworking industry, veneers are typically cut oversize before being cut down to its final size by a trim router.

In the market today, you can now choose between cordless and corded trim routers. The motor ratings of these routers range between 1.7 to 6.5 amperes with working voltages around 18 to 19.2 volts. They also come with high motor speeds that ensure that every job is accomplished quickly and correctly the first time. Most trim routers are also easily adjustable to achieve precision in every cut. Lastly, one of the most important features of a trim router is the ability to interchange routing bits depending on the task at hand. This gives the woodworker utmost versatility to take on any job. It is high time you invest in this great device and this article will help you find the right model for your work requirements and budget.

How Does a trim Router Work?

To help you figure out which model is the best fit for your needs and budget, it is a prerequisite to understand how a trim router operates. In a trim router, the motor rapidly spins a collet in order to trim, flush, and even create joints depending on the router bit attached. This router bits comes in all shapes and sizes and can create the most intricate designs or edges.

Top rated 10 best Trim Routers 2021 - [Table]

Top 10 best Trim Routers - 2021 review

Dewalt Trim Router reviews

Pros

  • Comes with dual LEDs and clear sub-base.
  • Soft-starting motor with full-time electronic feedback.
  • Variable speed.
  • Extended ¼” router collet.
  • Low, contoured grip.

Cons

  • Does not come with a storage case.
  • Bits have a tendency to loosen in the collet.

The DEWALT DWP611 is among the best trim routers available in the market right now. This router has a great combination of features that make it a top-rated product. The durable 1.25HP motor can work on wood pieces for hours without fail. Moreover, the soft-starting motor also features a full-time electronic feedback that maintains motor speed all throughout operation. This router is the perfect tool for milling lowers.

Additionally, the trim router can perform bevel cuts, flush trimming, and edge shaping. The extended 1/4-inch router collet provides greater bit contact with the bit shaft than traditional routers. This minimizes vibration during operation. The adjustment ring allows for precise adjustments up to 1/64” accuracy.


Furthermore, it has a variable speed control that lets the woodworker choose a suitable speed for various jobs. The ergonomic design has a strategically placed grip that is located near the working surface. This enables the user to have greater control over the tool due to the lower center of gravity for greater accuracy. Lastly, it has a clear sub-base and dual LEDs for maximum visibility.

Makita Trim Router Review

Pros

  • Slim, compact design.
  • Variable speed.
  • Rack and pinion depth adjustment system.
  •  Electronic speed control.
  • Package includes an edge guide.

Cons

  • No dust shield on power switch.
  • Vibration-induced noise.

Makita is one of the industry giants when it comes to power tools. Boasting more than a hundred years of experience, each tool is a testament of the company’s commitment to excellence. The RTO701C is no exception. This 1.25 HP compact router is a beast that fits your hands. It has a lot of fantastic features that allows for a precise and comfortable routing experience. The electronic speed control maintains a steady and constant speed during operation. The high visibility base design lets users trim, flush, or cut confidently.

In line with Makita’s dedication to durability, this router is double insulated with a heavy-duty aluminum motor housing. The 1.25HP motor can produce speeds of 10,000-30,000 RPM that can be easily adjusted by the user to match the needs of the job. Furthermore, it includes a rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system and easy-to-read depth scale for utmost accuracy. The shaft lock lets you change bits conveniently. A non-marring base protects your workpiece from scratches. Moreover, this base can be removed quickly to install other bases designed for specific purposes.

Lastly, this router has an ergonomic and slim design for maximum comfort during operation. It weighs a measly 3.9lbs that will let you use this tool for hours.

Bosch Trim Router

Pros

  • Variable speed motor.
  • Comes with a straight-edge guide.
  • Unique finger support sockets.
  • Versatile bit changing system.
  • Base comes with a quick clamp system.

Cons

  • Difficult to install side base.
  • Requires tedious maintenance.

The Bosch PR20EVS Colt is a tool that offers power, precision, and comfort all at the same time. The 1.0HP motor spins at a variable speed of 16,000 to 35,000 rpm. The speed dial is strategically mounted at the top for quick adjustments. It features a fully electronic circuit system that inputs additional power when detecting heavy loads to maintain cutting speed. The soft-starting system reduces torque on the motor for a longer service life.

Furthermore, the fixed base features macro and micro-fine depth adjustment for easy and precise adjustments. This router also includes a self-releasing ¼” collet chuck for quick replacement of bits. Lastly, the motor housing has a palm-shaped, rubber, over-molded grip that ensures maximum user comfort.

Dewalt Trim Router review

Pros

  • Powerful 2.25HP motor.
  • Electronic full feedback control.
  • Micro-fine depth adjustment ring.
  • Integrated dust collection system.
  • Tool-free base swapping.

Cons

  • Inefficient dust collection system.
  • Minimal reports of motor burnout.

This is one of the best trim routers you'll come across, from its features to its price and versatility. It can do a wide range of woodworking activities such as, jointing, flushing trimming, and edge shaping. This router is equipped with a 2.25HP motor (the maximum rating) that comes with an electronic full feedback control that maintains speed all throughout operation. It has a variable speed operation at around 8,000-24,000 RPM, perfect for all types of applications. The micro-fine depth adjustment ring provides precise vertical depth adjustments in 1/64" increments. The precision machined brass bushings and case-hardened steel guide rods provide a smooth and accurate plunge stroke.

Moreover, it made with a heavy-duty, precision machined, die-cast aluminum base and motor housing for durability and stability without the additional weight. The housing is enclosed by rubber over molded handles that lets you grip near the base for a low center of gravity. In addition, it features self-releasing, long, eight slotted collets for better bit retention and elimination of frozen bits and the five position, adjustable turret stop assists in stepped or repeated plunge cuts.

The through-the-column dust collection system promises a 95% collection efficiency of the generated dust. This ensures maximum visibility during operation which is essential for user safety. Lastly, this router comes with a 3-year warrant, a testament to DEWALT’s commitment to quality tools.

Dewalt Trim Router

Pros

  • Electronic motor feedback.
  • Electronic brake system.
  • Portable.
  • Variable speed settings.
  • Comes with dual LEDs.

Cons

  • Batteries sold separately.

The DEWALT DCW600B might seem like just another product from DEWALT but this one comes with a twist; this router is cordless! Surprisingly, it has equal or even more power than other corded compact trim routers. You can easily work from any corner of your workshop without having to worry about curling cords or power outages.

The 1.25HP motor can produce speeds of 16,000 up to 25,000 RPM. It also comes with a full-time electronic feedback to ensure constant speed during operation. Furthermore, the motor is equipped with an electronic brake system that slows down the system faster after the unit is shut off. The variable speed setting lets the user adjust the speed to fit the intended application, may it be jointing or flushing.

Moreover, it comes with a precise depth adjustment ring for fast and easy height adjustments. The clear base, along with the Dual LED lights, helps achieve utmost visibility during operation. It comes with a three-year warranty and a 90-day money back guarantee. This is simply DEWALT’s commitment to provide quality products to every customer.

Ridgid Trim Router Review

Pros

  • Electronic feedback speed control.
  • Includes LED lights.
  • Micro-adjustment dial.
  • Flat top design.
  • Base quick release lever.

Cons

  • The spindle lock can be sloppy at times.
  • Bits tend to loosen.

The Ridgid R2401 is the trim router for woodworkers looking for power and durability without breaking their wallets. It comes with a 1.5HP motor that can produce speeds of 20,000-30,000 RPM. It is equipped an electronic feedback speed control that maintains constant speed during operation. In addition, this router comes with a variable speed setting for maximum versatility. The user can easily adjust the speed depending on the material type and intended job. It is also equipped with an easy-access micro-adjust dial for precise depth control. Moreover, it comes with a swindle lock for easy bit swapping. There is also a quick lever in the base for easy removal of the motor.

This trimmer features LED lights to illuminate your work piece for increased visibility. An over mold grip allows for maximum comfort while the light-up plug minimizes tripping accidents. The flat top router allows the router to be set upside down when swapping bits. It comes with a 3-year warranty and 90-day satisfaction guarantee policy, so you don’t have to worry about faulty units. The lifetime service agreement eliminates your worries in case of eventual wear and tear.

Best Compact Router Reviews

Pros

  • LED lights and see-through base.
  • Rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system.
  • Aluminum housing.
  • Dust hood.
  • Includes multiple accessories.

Cons

  • Vibrations tend to create loud noises.
  • Depth adjustment system can be tighter.

If you thought the Ridgid R2401 was already affordable, then get ready for the Avid Power MW104. For only $89.99, you get a powerful tool at almost half the cost of other trim routers. Don’t let the cheap price tag fool you, this beast packs a 1.25HP motor that delivers speeds of 10,000 - 32,000 RPM. It comes with a variable speed control that allows users to choose an appropriate setting depending on the material and application. The rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system ensures precise cuts every time.

The ergonomic design of this router allows for maximum user comfort. The rubber covered handle ensures a comfortable grip while the quick locking system lets you change the base within seconds. The product package includes a router, edge guide, roller guide, 5 router bits, dust hood, 1/4" and 3/8” collet, wrench, and tool bag.

Porter Cable Trim Router

Pros

  • Micro-set depth ring adjustment system.
  • Precision-machined, cast-aluminum fixed base.
  • Extra large locking clips.
  • Spindle lock button.
  • LED light and clear sub-base.

Cons

  • Height-lock doesn’t stay snug.

Porter-Cable is an American company that manufactures power tools. It is known for pioneering the portable belt sander, helical-drive circular saw, and portable band saw. They have more than a century of experience under their belt and the PCE6435 is a manifestation of their longevity. It comes with a 5.6-Amp motor that provides 16,000-35,000 RPM. The variable speed setting allows you to customize according to the job specifications. The extra large locking clips allow for a quick motor release and depth adjustment.

The smart ergonomics of this unit allows for comfortable, single-handed control, and ensures maximum visibility while in operation with an LED and clear sub-base. It weighs only 3.7lbs which make it very pleasant to use even for long periods. This tool is perfect for most trimming, small edge forming and hinge routing applications. It comes with a 3-year warranty to eliminate any worries with defects and faulty products.

Best Hand Router

Pros

  • Transparent base.
  • Ridiculously cheap.
  • Universal external carbon brush.

Cons

  • Requires frequent carbon brush replacement.
  • High noise levels.

Who says you have to make a dent on your wallet to get a great trim router? Cozyel respectfully disagrees. The Cozyel 19735 comes at a whopping $39.99 only, the cheapest in this list! Don’t let the very low price tag mislead you, though. This beast can generate a cutting speed of up to 30,000 RPM. The single speed setting might offer less versatility but for those who would be using a trim router sparingly or for a specific purpose only, then this tool is the perfect router.

A smooth rack-and-pinion depth adjustment allows for the slightest variations for extra precise cuts. This, combined with the clear scale lets you achieve perfection every time. It also comes with a straight guide and trimming guide that keeps the roller flush even when running along curves. The external carbon brush is very easy to replace and can be changed in seconds. It is recommended to replace the brush every 50-60 hours of operation.

The ergonomically designed body lets you use this router even for hours. Its body is made with heavy duty aluminum for a longer service life. Lastly, the transparent base lets you operate with maximum visibility. No worries of erroneous trims or slips.

Pros

  • Powerful 2.25HP motor.
  • Two-stage motor release clamp.
  • Electronic feedback speed control.
  • Class-leading noise levels.
  • Variable speed setting.

Cons

  • Plunge base gets stuck.
  • Inaccessible power switch.

Hitachi is another manufacturer in this list that is already well-established. It boasts more than a hundred years of experience which is a testament to its quality work. One of the amazing products developed by the brilliant minds in Hitachi is the KM12VC trim router. It is run by a ridiculously powerful motor rated at 2.25HP. This motor powers up the router to speeds of 8,000-24,000 RPM. This speed is adjustable to suit the needs of the user. What’s even more amazing is even with the tremendous power output, it operates at a very quiet 79.5dB. The noise levels it produces is the lowest among all routers in the list. This motor is housed by a nickel-plated body for maximum durability.

It has a two-stage motor-release clamp that lets you make quick depth adjustments and easy base changes. Furthermore, the plunge base features a fine-depth adjustment system for maximum precision. This tool is a versatile router that accepts both ½” and ¼” bits, perfect for a professional woodworker working on various jobs. Hitachi designed this router to be both comfortable and portable. The handles are ergonomically designed to have a firm grip for precision and control during operation. It weight ranges from 7.3 to 9.9 lbs depending on the attached base. An easy-to-carry tool perfect for the travelling woodworker.

This router is packaged with different accessories such as the fixed and plunge bases, the ¼” and ½” collet chucks, lock nut, centering gauge, various-sized wrenches, and many more. All these stored in a sturdy, stylish case. It is backed by a 30-day money back guarantee and a 5-year warranty. These policies cover users on possible defects and malfunctions.

Buying Guide

When choosing a trim router, there are some factors that you need to consider.

Power

This is one important consideration when choosing a router. I would suggest that you do not purchase a router under one horsepower. Low powered machines will result in low speeds and tend to overheat easily even when doing light jobs. This leads to very little productivity. To complete your tasks on schedule or even ahead of, you will need a trim router with a high power rating. On the other hand, a motor with a very powerful motor will be too expensive and might be overkill for the task at hand. Choose a router that is in accordance with your everyday usage.

Speed

The speed varies to the type of work you are undertaking. Different bits require different speeds and can also vary depending on the type of wood used. Variable speed settings are perfect for versatility while single speed routers are way cheaper. A wide speed range lets you achieve maximum customization but if you will be only doing repetitive tasks on a single type of wood, then it might be wise to consider a single-speed router.

Precision

Precision is guaranteed by the tightness of the bit and its adjustment capabilities. A high-quality router has a large scale of bit adjustment at very fine increments. It is also important to make sure that the router you choose won’t have bits that loosen during operation.

Ease of Use

Though often overlooked, this is also a very important factor. You should look for an ergonomically designed router to eliminate strain during operation. A clear base paired with LED lights would also be very useful to ensure visibility when working on a wood piece.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best trim router?

A: The best trim router overall is a router that is a great mix of features such as high power-rating, accuracy in operation, and durability. In the above-mentioned trim routers, the DEWALT DWP611 router is the Editor’s pick. It will surprise you how it manages to achieve perfect results that will leave your customers yearning for more—an ideal tool for a professional woodworker.

Q: What can a trim router do?

A: A trim router is a small handheld device used by woodworkers in their daily activities. Initially, it was designed to trim laminate countertops. They were not so prominent as they are nowadays. Trim routers have become indispensable tools nowadays in almost all wood workshops. They are versatile in their operations. They are used to route inlay cavities, rounding over edges, flush trimming, hinge mortise, and trim laminated countertop materials. It helps in making very nice and precise cuts. It is a great tool to work with, a versatile workshop workhorse recommended to every carpenter out there who loves quality and precision in their work.

Q: What is the difference between a regular router and a trim router?

A: We all agree that finding a great tool to suit your task is not an easy job, especially when many products are in the market. To put it simple, a regular router functions just the same way as a trim router but can accommodate larger bits and is much more powerful. A trim router is meant to be handheld and has a more specialized use.

How to Choose Trim a Router - YouTube

Final Verdict & Recommendation

Any aspiring woodworker or any existing woodworker who hasn't tried the trim router is missing a lot. For any beginner, I would definitely recommend you get yourself a trim router. They are easy to use. They also come in different variations to suit the needs of the customers. Trim routers combine several features such as high power, accuracy, and ease of operation. These features make up the best trim router. They will ensure that you get your work done in time as well as give exemplary results. Lastly, if you’re still having a hard time choosing between all these models, it would be wise to check out the comments left out by other customers in different sites such as Amazon, eBay, and many more eCommerce sites.

About the Author Joshua Philip

Joshua Philip is a Civil Engineer by profession with a passion for DIY Projects. He spends most of his free time working on woodcraft and home renovations.

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