Router Lift Reviews [Updated for 2021]

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JessEm Lift Mast-R-Lift II First Look And Why I Chose To Go This Way

If you’re a beginner woodworker, you might be confused with the multiple tools you’ll encounter in a workshop. What is a router table? How does the router function? Why do I need a router lift? These are just some of the questions that come to mind when starting your woodworking journey. Today let me introduce you to one of the essentials in woodworking, the reliable router lift. 

Oftentimes, when working on a router table, you will find yourself bending awkwardly or stretching to reach underneath in order to make adjustments to the depth of the router or to change the router bits. This is where the router lift comes in handy. A router lift, simply put, is a mounting plate attached to a router table or workbench. It has an attached carriage that holds the router such that it is situated upside down. This lets the routing bit protrude from the routing table which makes cutting way more convenient.

A removable crank handle inserts into the mounting plate and turns to raise or lower the bit with utmost precision. Ultimately, a routing lift eliminates the age-old request of woodworkers – above-the-table height adjustments. Furthermore, it can also allow the change of bits without the need to bend under. But before you get all jittery about getting a router lift, there are a lot of considerations before making a purchase. This article lets you pick the right tool that is perfect for your needs and budget

How does a router Lift work?

Before we get into which router lifts are the best in the industry, it is important to understand first how a router lift works. This way you can appreciate more what sets a good router lift from the mediocre ones. Basically, a router lift secures your router upside down using an attached carriage such that the routing bit protrudes out of the router table. A crank or thumb wheel then allows you to make depth adjustments from above the table. A router lift also lets you change bits without the need for bent wrenches.

top 10 router lifts 2020 - [comparison table]

Product Name

Image

Rating*

Price

JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift For 3-1/2" Diameter Motors, JessEm# 02310

JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift For 3-1 2 Diameter Motors JessEm 02310 - Router Tables

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift, 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift 9-1 4-Inch by 11-3 4-Inch - Router Tables

Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table

Kreg PRS2100 Bench Top Router Table

Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift

Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181

Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Designed for Rockler Tables

Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Designed for Rockler Tables - Router Accessories Parts

Router Lift FX

Router Lift FX - Power Router Accessories

Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift

Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift - Router Tables

Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1/4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with Benchtop Router Table and Deluxe Router Edge Guide

Bosch 1617EVSPK 12 Amp 2-1 4-Horsepower Plunge and Fixed Base Variable Speed Router Kit with Benchtop Router Table and Deluxe Router Edge Guide

Metabo HPT M12V2 3-1/4 Peak Hp Variable Speed Plunge Router

Metabo HPT M12V2 3-1 4 Peak Hp Variable Speed Plunge Router

Top 8 Router Lift - 2021 Review

JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift For 3-1 2 Diameter Motors JessEm 02310 - Router Tables

pros

  • Comes in five different styles.
  • Double-sealed ball bearing construction.
  • Great lateral load spread.
  • CNC machined.
  • No bent wrenches needed.

Cons

  • Tedious installation.
  • May require special corner brackets.
  • Standard-sized plates are not included.

When it comes to versatility, this router is the tool you can rely on. It comes in five different styles that cater to various router models. It is made of aluminum with a phenolic top plate for that extra durable build. Moreover, each part is CNC machined which means that the manufacturing process is fully automated by a software. This allows for three-dimensional cutting so each groove and edge is perfectly shaped.

Aside from durability, this tool was also built with accuracy in mind. For example, it comes with a double-sealed ball bearing construction attached to the spindle, raising or lowering the router is super seamless. In addition, the shafts in this lift are pressed onto a mount with hydraulic pressure. These shafts are screwed tight at multiple locations to ensure a wide spread of lateral force. Therefore, ensures a sag free experience even with the toughest routing jobs.

Lastly, with this tool, you can easily replace the bits without any bent wrenches. This is a great feature especially for those who carve out various designs. Some of the models this lift can accommodate include routers from known manufacturers such as Bosch, DEWALT, Hitachi, and many more. Truly, this tool is a testament of the excellence from the company that invented the router lift.

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift 9-1 4-Inch by 11-3 4-Inch - Router Tables

pros

  • Built-in locking mechanism.
  • Double-sealed ball bearing construction.
  • Unique adjustable clamping block system.
  • Large diameter mount.
  • No bent wrenches needed.

Cons

  • Inadequate manual.
  • Elevation crank knob doesn’t provide a good grip.

The JessEM MasT-R-Lift II is another router lift from the company that invented the router lift. This model has almost the same features of the RouT-R-Lift II but accepts more router models. It comes with double sealed ball bearings for super smooth rotation and a lifetime of use even with the heaviest routers. The patented tension feature eliminates the risk of backlash. Furthermore, it has a built-in locking mechanism from above the table. Using the same handle you raise and lower your router lift, a simple turn and you are ready for those heavy duty, long term routing operations.

With this lift, you won’t have to worry about durability. The top plate is Hard Anodized, way stronger than the usual sulfuric anodizing. Therefore, the surface is abrasion-resistant even with the heaviest routers. In addition, the shafts are hydraulically pressed into a larger diameter mount. This translates to a wider lateral load distribution to achieve a longer service life. Moreover, each part is CNC machined and all non-wearing components are anodized.

Furthermore, precision and accuracy is guaranteed with this router. For example, one full revolution of the crank is only 1/16” to allow for finer adjustments. The built-in snugger buttons are also there to ensure a perfect fit in your table opening. Aside from precision, comfort is also an important consideration which is why the bits can be changed above the table. No need for bent wrenches. Lastly, save on extra costs with this router since it fits just about any fixed base router in the market. This tool is truly a precision piece of engineering you will be proud to own and find use for whenever you are in your workshop.

pros

  • Exclusive INCRA MagnaLOCK reducing ring system.
  • Above-the-table bit change.
  • Ball bearing mechanism.
  • Patented thread tensioning system
  • Direct drive 16TPI lift screw mechanism.

Cons

  • The pry bar scratches the surface of the plate.
  • Tedious maintenance.

The INCRA Mast-R-Lift II is the descendant of the previous model with a lot of major improvements. This router lift allows fast, incredibly precise height adjustments conveniently made from above the table, and it also provides you with the ability to change router bits from above.

This lift uses an exclusive system with a total of 5 sealed ball bearings on the lift screw and cam lock. Therefore, making it the smoothest, lowest-friction router lift that allows you to crank up the heaviest routers with just one finger! The quarter-turn cam lock is operated from the top using the lift crank to eliminate height drift. Moreover, this lift allows you to quickly make super precise, 0.001” height adjustments from above. The previous generation was effectively bomb-proof, and we expect the new model to continue that reliability.

In addition, it is equipped with an ultra-responsive, direct drive 16TPI lift screw mechanism. The patented thread tensioning system eliminates vertical lash in the lift mechanism for added safety. Furthermore, it is made from Blanchard-ground cast aluminum top plate is hard-anodized for durability. Moreover, the corner-mounted cam screw ensures a snug fit in the router table. Lastly, the four aluminum clamping blocks have 6 preset positions on the carriage plate to match the diameters of a wide range of fixed-base router motors. No adapters needed!

Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift

pros

  • No bent wrench needed.
  • Accepts a wide range of routers.
  • Bearing-guided carriage provides smooth operation.
  • Precision indexing ring with micro-adjust scale.
  • Backlash-free technology.

Cons

  • Needs a few minor adjustments to fit perfectly.
  • You’ll need bent wrenches when working with matched bit sets.

The Precision Router Lift helps you elevate your routing capabilities by providing precise control when making router setup changes or changing bits. The lift replaces the standard insert plate in a router table and accepts any of 20+ popular router models—without the need for adapters or modifications—in a high-performance carriage that you raise and lower from above the table.

This tool eliminates the need to reach under the table to make adjustments or change bits. Instead, simply use the lift’s included crank to adjust the height of your router bit easily and precisely from above the table. Therefore, adjustments are fast, simple, and accurate so you can set up your router faster. Afterwards, dial in the exact bit height you require using the built-in micro-adjustment scale.

Moreover, precision is more than part of the name with this lift. For instance, it is designed so that every full revolution of the crank is exactly 1⁄16". Adjustments down to thousandths of an inch are also possible. Furthermore, the built-in micro-adjust scale can be zeroed out at any point to establish your baseline bit setup, so you can make exact bit height changes. Readjust to the exact same setting confidently every time for repeat cuts.

Therefore, whether you’re upgrading an existing router table, setting up a new one, or even building your own custom table, this is the perfect routing accessory. It offers the precision you demand to achieve exacting routing standards, along with the fast, easy performance you want in order to spend less time setting up and more time routing.

pros

  • Chain-synchronized four-post lifting system.
  • Positive lock system.
  • Precision above-table elevation measurement and adjustments.
  • Includes a dust collection box.

Cons

  • Limited router compatibility.

SawStop is a company well-known for being built out of innovation for safety. It is no doubt that they built another product that puts safety and innovation in mind. The SawStop Router lift is built for heavy-duty precision. In addition, it features a chain-synchronized four-post lifting system that ensures accurate adjustments down to a fraction of an inch. Moreover, it has positive locks that keep the depth fixed for worry-free routing.

This lift eliminates the need for bent wrenches with above-table elevation measurement and adjustments. It comes with adaptive collars to fit multiple router sizes for maximum versatility. The 11.75” x 9.25” top plate fits perfectly into each SawStop Router Table and can accommodate other top brands as well. This router also includes a dust collection box for a mess-free and safe workplace. To sum it up, the SawStop RouterLift is a reliable tool that will last you for a long time.

Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Designed for Rockler Tables - Router Accessories Parts

pros

  • Customized to fit Rockler tables.
  • Exclusive INCRA MagnaLOCK reducing ring system.
  • Above-the-table bit change.
  • Ball bearing mechanism.
  • Patented thread tensioning system
  • Direct drive 16TPI lift screw mechanism.

Cons

  • Highly specialized, limited compatibility.

The Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R has all the great features of the Incra Mast-R-Lift II except that this model is specifically made for Rockler tables.This router lift allows fast, incredibly precise height adjustments conveniently made from above the table, and it also provides you with the ability to change router bits from above.

Furthermore, this lift uses an exclusive system with a total of 5 sealed ball bearings on the lift screw and cam lock, making it the smoothest, lowest-friction router lift that allows you to crank up the heaviest routers with just one finger! Moreover, the quarter-turn cam lock is operated from the top using the lift crank to eliminate height drift. This lift allows you to quickly make super precise, 0.001” height adjustments from above. The previous generation was effectively bomb-proof, and we expect the new model to continue that reliability.

In addition, it is equipped with an ultra-responsive, direct drive 16TPI lift screw mechanism. The patented thread tensioning system eliminates vertical lash in the lift mechanism for added safety. It is made from Blanchard-ground cast aluminum top plate is hard-anodized for durability. Moreover, the corner-mounted cam screw ensures a snug fit in the router table. Lastly, the four aluminum clamping blocks have 6 preset positions on the carriage plate to match the diameters of a wide range of fixed-base router motors. No adapters needed! In conclusion, the Incra MastR-Lift-II-R is a must-have for any Rockler Router Table.

Router Lift FX - Power Router Accessories

pros

  • Very affordable.
  • Compatible with most well-known routers.
  • Easy router removal.
  • Long oil-less bushings.
  • The crank can be zeroed in.

Cons

  • Unable to lock the height.
  • Not ideal for professional woodworking.
  • Limited router table compatibility.

If you think that you burn hundreds of dollars to get a high-quality router lift, then you’re gravely mistaken. The Rockler Router Lift FX is an incredible tool that can assist you in trimming or cutting down your wooden project with precision and accuracy. The clamping and operating mechanism below the plate is finely machined, strong, smooth-operating and surprisingly simple in design. Machined from ¾"-thick phenolic material, the Rockler FX plate is strong enough to resist sagging under the weight of even the largest routers.

Moreover, the inserts are secured in the lift plate by a tab-lock system that holds them flat and tight. A single lever secures the router motor solidly in the lift. The locking mechanism is easily adjusted to precisely fit the motor case diameter. Furthermore, since the clamping rings grab the round portion of the housing, the motor can be installed in virtually any position needed to make the power switch and speed control dial accessible.

In addition, the lift mechanism is built with precision-machined 6061 aluminum and is surprisingly simple in design but very accurate and tough. The Rockler FX lift height adjuster need not be locked in position thanks to a patented thread-tensioning device. A scale ring surrounding the crank socket can be zeroed in to use the clearly marked graduations to make even tiny bit height changes with extreme accuracy.

While professionals and serious users find this product from minimal to an average level, new users, enthusiasts, and hobbyists will definitely enjoy this product because it is very affordable and durable. Most users even prefer this product because this product fits a variety of tables. It can accept different types of medium to small-sized routers. In short, the Rockler Router Lift FX is a high-quality lift at a very affordable price.

Woodpeckers Precision Woodworking Tools PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift - Router Tables

pros

  • Instant Quick-Lift.
  • Micro-adjust with thumb wheel.
  • One-piece motor carriage.
  • Includes 3 self-leveling Twist-Lock rings
  • Comes in 6 versions that accommodate various routers

Cons

  • The thumb wheel is a bit stiff.
  • Requires practice to use the spring handle for coarse adjustments.

The PRL-V2 features the proven robust construction of the Precision Router Lift combined with the near instant elevation changes of the Quick Lift. Another innovation is the micro-adjust thumb wheel. This improvement eliminates the need for a crank handle to make precise router bit height adjustments. When combined with the ability to make near instant coarse height adjustments, you'll quickly discover just how easy table mounted routing can be.

With a newly designed spring-assist lift wrench, you can go from routing height to bit changing height in 2 seconds even when lifting the heaviest of routers. Like Woodpeckers other router lifts, the PRL-V2 includes an adjustable reference scale. Furthermore, tool-less scale adjustments can be set to zero from any bit position then incremented to intervals as small as .002”. One complete revolution equals 1/32" in height change.

Like the other top-of-the-line aluminum router mounting plates of Woodpeckers, the V2 plate has eight easily accessible leveling screws, adjustable side plungers, solid brass starting pin and three Twist Lock rings. In conclusion, this lift is a reliable tool that is built for the long run.

Buying Guide for the Best Router Lift

There are various router lifts that are available in the market. Most of these routers look similar and finding the right one becomes tricky. You need to weigh in on various considerations before purchasing any router. You need a product that will serve you best for years to come without fail. That is why you need to make an informed purchase when it comes to router lifts. Here are some of the features you need to consider:

Easy to Use

The router lift purchased should provide convenience and versatility. For example, the crank handle should be in a position that allows adjustments to be easily made. In addition, installation and unmounting should also be a breeze.

Accuracy

When using any router, each cut should be precise down to a fraction of an inch. Micro-adjustment scales help you achieve this level of customization. Furthermore, the router lift should be of high quality so that it can enhance the quality of your work. Lastly, great router lifts are designed to eliminate backlash or vibration for a smoother cutting experience.

Compatibility

It is important that when you are choosing a router, you should select the one that is compatible with most routers and router tables, or at the very least, compatible with what you own. For instance, there is no nightmare worse than browsing through multiple lifts, spending hundreds of bucks, and waiting for weeks only to receive a lift that does not fit your router or router table. In conclusion, the list of routers compatible with a certain lift should be the first thing you check before making a purchase. 

Durability

The build of your router lift should be from sturdy material e.g., aluminum, cast iron, or steel. These materials are durable and is very resistant to wear and tear. Furthermore, they also offer protection against vibration when you are routing a work piece. In addition, CNC machined parts translate to a high-quality build, so it is best to go for models that have this feature. Components should also be anodized to be scratch-resistant. Lastly, a durable construction also provides maximum stability for seamless operation.

Locking Mechanism

The router lift you get should have a locking mechanism. For example, the locking mechanism can be simply the bolt system or the lever locking mechanism. When the locking mechanism is built well, the router will not move during operation. To sum it up, a good locking mechanism provides you accuracy and stability.

Height Adjustment

Every router lift should have a height adjustment system to raise and lower the router. The height adjustment system can be a thumbwheel or crank handle. The router lift you select will determine which type of height adjustment is in place. Most importantly, the adjustment should also be done above the router table.

Lift Adapter

If you plan on using multiple routers, then a lift adapter is all you need. Furthermore,  the router lift should have the right adapters and insert holes that will accommodate a variety of routers. Therefore, you can attach new routers without having to drill holes in the insert plate. 

Ball Bearing Design

The ball bearing design on any router lift sets apart the good lifts from the bad ones. Most ball bearings are sealed to provide smooth operation when using the router lift. Furthermore, they reduce the friction that occurs when routing. 


Do You Need to Spend a Few Hundred Dollar for Your Best Tool?

Yes. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. It is not wise to go for a cheap lift that will end up failing after a few uses. In most cases, the price of tools determines their quality and also the features they have. The more you spend, the better the lift you will get to provide versatility and has all the essential features that you require. Lastly, ensure that you also spend wisely since some tools may be overpriced but are mediocre in quality.

Some Tasks that are Easier with a Router Lift

The router helps make precise cuts when routing. There are other many tasks that the router lift helps in. The main one is the height adjustment which can be done above the table. Whether it is sawing, chamfering, groove cutting or trimming, the router lift will make your work seem a hundred times lighter. Here are some more uses for the router lift:

Multi-Bit Projects

Woodworkers know that you need to have the right tools when working on any project. The multi-bit projects entail that you will be needing various bits in order to complete the whole task. These projects are mainly for enthusiasts and professionals and is best done with the aid of a router lift. To sum it up, the ease of changing bits in a router lift is unmatched by any other tool.

Cutting Grooves

When cutting grooves in any type of wood you will need a router lift. You will be needing a straight bit or v-groove bit to carve grooves. A router lift will come in handy when switching between these bits.

Raised Door Projects

Raised door projects involve the use of raised door panel bits. The holes are made indoors which are to be fitted into buildings. The bits should penetrate easily and make the carbide edges in a fast and clean manner. The router lift can also assist in the making of the rail and stile cuts on the raised panels.

Decorative Edges 

The edges of the cabinet or tables are always smooth and shaped in a triangular manner. This shape is achieved using decorative edges router bits. The bits are attached to the router and the smooth wood is run through the router to make these edges. The router lifts help in providing support when making such edges even on MDF.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Will your router table be compatible with your router lift?

A: As said earlier, it is very important to check which router tables are compatible with the router lift you plan on buying. You wouldn’t want to waste hundreds of dollars due to your router lift not fitting.

Q: Is a router lift worth it?

A: Yes. A router lift is essential in making your work easier when routing. The lift provides the ability to adjust the height above the router table as opposed to below the table. You will route any type of material in an efficient manner when using the router lift. It boosts the versatility and ease of use of the router table.

Q: Who makes the best router table? 

A: Kreg Company has been attributed to making the best router table according to the ranking made by various reviewers. The router table is a guide when shaping or trimming any wood. The best router table mainly depends on the user and the features that the router table has that is different from other router tables. It is all about doing your own research or using the findings made from hundreds of reviews to choose the best router table.

Final Verdict and Recommendation

The router lifts have eased the way routing is done by providing versatility, simplicity, and precision when making cuts. The most important thing is that a router lift should be compatible with the router or router table. That is why most come as pre-drilled or employ the use of adapters. When making a decision on which router will serve you the best you should go through the models mentioned above.

The dimension should guide you on which router lift is compatible with your router and router table. Furthermore, you should also understand which router lift is suitable depending on the category of your skills. Some are made for beginners while others for experienced woodworkers. You will greatly improve your productivity by selecting any of the above-mentioned router lifts. Lastly, it is always wise to check the reviews made by customers in order to hear the opinion of people who’s also used these router lifts.

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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