The Best Router Lifts for Precise Woodworking: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
The fact that you are looking for a router lift tells us that you are rooted in the woodworking business. We surely know how troublesome being in that business is, and every bit of technology helps. So, if you use a router table and are wondering how on earth do people mount their router, then we have a solution for you.
What you are looking for is the best router lift. It merely does the job of mounting the router on to the table. However, it also helps with other tweaks and adjustments.
The lift will allow you to adjust the height of the bit without having to crawl under the table and fix it from underneath. So, if you also want more comfort and less fumbling around while woodworking, then we suggest giving this insightful article a read.
Uses Of Router Lift
Router lifts are a tool used in woodworking to adjust the height of a router bit in a router table. They provide greater precision and control when making cuts, as the user can adjust the height of the bit with great accuracy without having to remove the router from the table.
The primary use of router lifts is to make precision cuts in woodworking projects. By allowing for micro-adjustments to the height of the router bit, woodworkers can create intricate designs and shapes with ease. They are particularly useful for projects that require multiple passes or cuts at different depths, such as creating dovetail joints or decorative moldings.
Another common use of router lifts is in the production of raised panel doors. These doors require precise cuts in the edges of the panel to create a groove that fits into the frame of the door. By using a router lift, woodworkers can create these grooves with great accuracy, ensuring a perfect fit and a professional-looking finish.
Router lifts are also useful for changing out router bits quickly and easily, without having to remove the router from the table. This saves time and effort, making it easier to switch between different bits for different cuts and projects.
Overall, router lifts are a valuable tool for any serious woodworker looking to achieve greater precision and control in their work.
- Cabinet Making: A router lift can help create clean and precise edges on cabinet doors and drawers, resulting in a professional-looking finish.
- Furniture Making: By allowing for micro-adjustments in the height of the router bit, a router lift can help create intricate designs and shapes in table legs, chair arms, and other furniture components.
- Decorative Moldings: A router lift can be used to create intricate designs and shapes in baseboards, crown moldings, and other decorative elements, resulting in a custom look for your project.
- Joinery: With the ability to adjust the height of the router bit with great accuracy, a router lift is ideal for creating dovetail joints, box joints, and other precision joints that require multiple passes at different depths.
- Raised Panel Doors: A router lift can create grooves in the edges of the panel that fit into the frame of the door, resulting in a professional-looking and seamless finish.
5 Best Router Lift Reviews
Router lifts have gained some hype over the years and for good reasons. Some professionals even swear by the tool because it helps their work so much. It caused a widespread production of router lifts, and now, there are tons of such tools available in the market.
If you want the best fit for you and your wallet, then we have five top router lifts lined up for you.
|JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift, 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch||237 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
|JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift for 3-1/2" Diameter Motors, JessEm 02310||739 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
|Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift||648 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
|Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Designed for Rockler Tables||78 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
|BOSCH RA1165 Under-Table Router Base with Above-Table Hex Key,Silver||1,173 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
1. Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
Every tool is getting more modernized with the advancement of technology. Hence, the newer models of woodworking tools will not work with their previous counterparts.
If you have recently bought a new router and you want to use your old lift, then you are fighting a lost battle. For your new model, you need the Kreg PRS5000. It has tons of new features and a fabulous output.
The first thing you will notice with the Kreg model is its sleek and modern look. It has a soft matte touch feel to its plate and an elegant outer body. But do not think that the tool is just a fancy item. It is sturdy and can easily hold a heavyweight, in your case, a heavy router.
So, you can comfortably mount a router of any weight with this machine. Another advantage of the tool is its flexible base plate that allows multiple shapes of routers.
It can work with 20+ known routers without any additional pads or adapters. So, with one purchase, you can achieve numerous forms of work. You can also save space by not having to buy a different router lift.
With this router, you will not have to fidget your way around the control panel. The adjustment systems are placed on top of the lift with easy to read instructions. Hence, you get to save time and use both of your hands while working.
The sturdy lift also holds the router properly. Consequently, you get more grip, and your work will be less jittery.
All these features will accumulate for a cleaner and sharper looking outcome. On top of that, you can adjust the setting for micro-scale adjustments too. You can repeat cuts and get more precision as well. The bearing guided carriage also helps in getting a smoother finish.
Compatible Routers with Motor Diameter Size
Bosch 1617, 1618 (3.5 Inch), Craftsman 17543, 17540, 28190 (3.5 Inch), DeWalt 610, 616, 618 (3.5 Inch), Felisatti RF62 (3.675 Inch), Hitachi M12VC, KM12VC (3.267 Inch), Makita 1101 (3.218 Inch), Milwaukee 5615, 5616, 5619 (3.32 Inch), Milwaukee 5626 (4.143 Inch), Porter-Cable 690, 890 (3.5 Inch), Porter-Cable 7518 (4.2 Inch), Ridgid R29302 (3.625 Inch)
- Sleek and stylish
- Compatible with 20+ routers
- No additional pads needed
- Smoother application
- Made with industrial-grade metal
- Easy layout
- The crank handle can be challenging to work with
2. Bosch Under-Table Router Base with Above-Table Hex Key RA1165
Bosch is a brand known for its innovative and fabulous products. They always take into account the sustainability and cool factor of a product. Hence, Bosch products turn out to be more eco-friendly and efficient. If you are thinking, how can a lift be more innovative? Then be ready to be surprised.
At first glance, you will notice the wild difference between regular router lifts and a Bosch product. It has a shape like a mold that can hold the router precisely in place. Hence, it does not need much space.
The lift acts like a protective cover over the router. Thus, minimizing thrust impacts on the table. So, you get more shelf life on your router as well as the table.
The best thing about this router table is its compactness. It weighs only 2 pounds. The weight cut-down highly depends on the efficient designing of the tool. So, you can keep the lift wherever it is convenient. You can even fit it in the cabinets. However, the hardened silver-painted steel body counters its small size.
The device may be small, but it can pack a punch. The base of the tool has threaded holes for better positioning. The Bosch 4-hole sub-base pattern and the typical 3-hole sub-base pattern makes all the difference in setting the machine up. So, you can comfortably work with all your devices performing in sync.
You will get a 3.75-inch base opening that accepts more significant bits. You can also adjust the base opening while using smaller bits. Consequently, you can perform a wide array of crafting work with the lift.
The horizontal movement of the bit is restrained on this tool, thanks to the motor housing. It also has a tool-free base change mechanism for easy access to the adjustment panels.
Compatible Router, Router Table & Dust Collection:
Router: 1617, 1617EVS, 1617EVSPK, 1618, 1618EVS,
Router Table: RA1141 Portable Benchtop, Cabinet-style: RA1171
Dust Collection: RA1141, RA1172AT, RA1173AT
- Innovative design
- Portable and lightweight
- Can hold the router in place
- Strong lifting mechanism
- Easy positioning
- Adjustable mouth openings
- Tool-free base change
- Costs more than other router lifts
3. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift, 9-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch
You only have two hands, and if one of them is busy fixing the bit speed and height, then who will trim and perfect the wood, right? If you want to maximize work efficiency and use your router and the table in the best way possible, then get yourself a JessEm lift.
JessEm designed the lift so that it can carry the heaviest of routers with ease. But, the device itself is quite light. It weighs around 13 pounds, but thanks to the leverage and many other technical installments, the tool can carry twice its weight. Besides, what is the point of a lifting device if it cannot mount the heavy object for you?
Another reason why you should purchase the JessEm product is that it has five double sealed bearing mechanisms which allows more durability and strength.
This tool is designed with the view to reduce the need to dismount the router from time to time. Generally, to change the adjustments and bits, you have to either crawl under the table or bring the router down. However, with this tool, you will not have to do that.
There are bit changing systems stationed at the top of the device, which will let you adjust with ease. This specific action will not only save time but also increase accuracy and depth.
Besides that, this device also has exclusive features, which increase tension on the spindle, and restrains backlash and vibration. As a result, the settings on the router will not gradually change. Hence, you get better accuracy.
The JessEm has a unique clamp locking system that makes the lift more versatile. With the help of the clamp, you can adjust the lift with different shapes of the base plate.
Although a professional will have a specific router, having options is always helpful. The designers made the entire lift with solid aluminum, which is further ionized to provide it more grit. Hence, the tool will last you a lifetime.
Compatible Routers with Motor Diameter Size
Porter-Cable 7581 (4.2 Inch) & 690/890 (3.5 Inch), JessEm’s Pow-R-Tek, Bosch 1617/1618 (4.2 Inch), DeWalt 610/618/616 (3.5 Inch), Makita 1101 (3.218 Inch), Hitachi M12VC & KM12VC (3.267 Inch), Milwaukee 5625/5615/5616/5619 (3.32 Inch), Craftsman 17534/17540/5619 (3.5 Inch), Rigid R29302 (3.625 Inch), Portamate PM-P254 (4.2 Inch)
- Versatile tool
- Easy clamping system
- Hard ionized aluminum body
- Increased accuracy
- Five double sealed bearings
- The corner hold-down screw holes do not adjust
4. JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift for 3-1/2″ Diameter Motors, JessEm# 02310
Manufacturers make some specialized routers that can be tricky to handle. However, these tools are handy, which is why many professionals usually buy them. Bosch has routers that fit the description, and these items require special router lifts. If you own a Bosch router and table, then the JessEm Rout will go perfectly with it.
The manufacturers designed the model in sync with Bosch routers. Hence, you can easily lift a machine from Bosch using this model.
The size and weight of the hoisting device are also suitable. It weighs approximately 8 pounds. As a result, it can comfortably hold the router in place. You can even lift Dewalt and Craftsman routers using this model.
So, the more prominent brands are compatible, which makes the JessEm Rout versatile. To add the cherry on top, this model offers affordable solutions as well. It is less expensive compared to other brands and provides optimum output as well.
Like the other JessEm product on the list, this tool also has hardened aluminum material in it. The use of aluminum makes the device lightweight. However, it also strengthens the router from the core and allows it to carry much heavier weight.
The ionization adds more durability to the device, as well. It is a small device with 13 X 12 dimensions. So, you can store it quickly after the work is over.
If your router table is a cabinet system, you can fit this lift in the cabinet, as well. As a protective feature, it has a Tab-Lock insert feature that holds the router in place even with the heavy drilling. Hence, the height and bit adjustments stay in place.
The two double sealed ball bearings make the threaded spindle work. You can also resist spindle-rotation with this device. For extra comfort, the JessEm Rout has a phenolic top plate, which is CNC machined.
Compatible Routers with Motor Diameter Size
PC 690/890, DW 610/616/618, BOSCH 1617/1618, Craftsman 17540/17541/17542/17543(320-24604) /27680/ 28084/ 28190/320-27683 (All Above support 3.5 Inch Motor Diameter)
Makita 1101 (3.218 Inch), HITACHI M12VC-KM2VC (3.267 Inch), MILWAUKEE 5615/5616/5619 (3.32 Inch), RIGID 29302 (3.625 Inch)
- Compatible with high-quality routers
- Small and compact
- Easy clamp locks
- Tab-lock insert feature
- Phenolic top plate
- Ionized body
- Not compatible with most routers
A comparison between these two products is displayed below to help you choose.
|JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120||JessEm Rout-R-Lift II 02310|
|Adjustment panel placed on top||Adjustment panel placed on the side|
|Batteries included||Batteries not included|
|Weighs comparatively heavy||Lightweight|
|Made to comply with JessEm router tables||Made to comply with PC 690/890, BOSCH 1617/1618, DEWALT 610/618/616, CRAFTSMAN 1754/17540/28190|
5. Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Designed for Rockler Tables
Router lifts are designed to perform only one job. However, how great would it be if your router could do a series of work and effectively cut down the pressure on your router table? If that thought intrigues you, then be sure to check the hoisting tool from Incra.
Changing the rings every time you have to work with a new base plate can be a pain. You need to get the router down, loosen the bolts and adjust unique rings.
However, with the Incra lift, you no longer have to do that. This device has multiple sets of rings positioned accurately. So, whenever you need a different ring, you can adjust it underneath the router.
With the help of this feature, you can cut down on time consumption and also get a smoother application. Moreover, not having to unscrew the bolts often will also increase the durability of the product.
The device is so accurate that it even allows .001 inches height adjustments. Consequently, you can achieve the most exquisite details with this lift, and it does not have anything to do with the trimming even! How amazing is that!
This device is a beast when it comes to strength. Although it weighs 15 pounds, it can still carry iron-clad routers. The weight of the router will not create any dents on the lift.
Moreover, you have leverage in the form of bronze attachments that help the lift keep its balance. The body of the tool is of specialized iron. Thus, it gains the ability to perform so well.
You get tons of other features such as a ball-bearing mechanism and linear drive system, which makes the entire process a whole lot smoother. Setting the lift up is a piece of cake too. Just make sure to follow the instructions. Like most lifts, you will get the clamp lock feature for extra security, as well.
DeWalt DW618 &DW610 , Bosch 1618,1617EVS , GMF 1400, Makita RD1101 &RF1101 , Hitachi KM12VC & M12VC, Craftsman 17540, 17543, & 28190, Milwaukee 5615, 5625, 5616 & 5619, Porter Cable 7518, 890-899 series & 690-699 series, JessEm PowRTek Router Motor 05200, Ridgid R29302, AUKTools Mk II 230V,
- Five rings for instant change
- No adapters needed for motor Compatibility.
- Smooth transitions
- Effortless maintenance
- Durable and sturdy
- Weighs 15 pounds
- Made of strong iron
- This tool is compatible with limited routers
Things to Consider Before Buying
As you can tell from the diverse list of lifts, there are several features on these machines. Slight change creates a ripple in the performance of the tool, which can drastically affect your work. Hence, you need to know specifications to spot the best router table lift that will fit your needs.
The first and foremost task of a router lift is to make things easier for a woodworker. You need a router table for setting your device on an acceptable height. But the router is still doing all the work. This circumstance means you need to make different adjustments using the router.
Hence, a woodworker has to duck down a lot and even crawl spaces to reach the adjustment panel. At this point, the router table comes in handy. It displays the adjustment panel on top of the table. Consequently, it stays in eyesight and you can change it whenever you want.
You also have the option of changing it manually from the router. The more options, the merrier, right? Another reason why the router is a must-have is it lifts the massive tool on to the table. You could have done it yourself, but that is a waste of energy and time. Why waste when you have a tool that can do it for you?
Ultimately, a lot of the usability of a router lift boils down to its condition. Routers tend to be substantial. Hence, the tables meant for such machines are also reliable. But it also means that hoisting the router can be troublesome. So, if the tool intended for lifting the device is not of good quality, then it will be of no use.
Hence, designers make these machines with much thought and attention. A small miscalculation can cause the joint to fall apart. Consequently, the router will also hit the ground and sustain irreversible damage.
Besides that, the actual material with which these lifts hare made is also essential. Usually, industrial-grade iron or steel is what constitutes these machines. However, if you want a lighter lift and want to save space, then you can also choose aluminum lifts, although aluminum router lifts will have a shorter life span than iron or steel tools.
You should also look out for rust formation. If your tool is susceptible to rust, then it will not last for long. Usually, iron lifts tend to get rustier. However, with appropriate topcoats, you can prevent this incident from occurring.
The whole point of purchasing a router lift is to make woodworking more efficient and comfortable. It can reduce the need for stopping work to fix adjustments or removing the router from the table again and again.
However, there are different types of woods, and you need to perform various crafts to carve these woods. Hence, there are multiple base plates and rings that go hand in hand with the wood.
As a result, you will have to change the rings often. But, if your lift cannot help you in making that task easy, then what is the point? So, you have to look for versatile router hoists. The adjustment panel should a neatly organized look with multiple options.
There are many lifts in the market that have various types of rings methodically designed. So, you can effortlessly change between shapes without having to disrupt your entire router and table arrangement.
Another way a router can become more versatile is by being compatible with different routers. Cheap routers will have limited scope. If you need more output, go for router lifts, which can work in harmony with ten to twenty routers.
However, there are expensive routers that match with a handful of machines. The reason is that they are more specific, and they can also provide better output. So, based on your needs, you can choose.
A decent router lift will give you the primary benefits. But, if you want your money worth, then choose a router than enhances the overall quality of your work. A router will naturally create vibration due to drilling. Hence, your accuracy will automatically decrease. Moreover, specific adjustments can also slowly change.
A router lift can help cancel out the vibration. The well-made devices hold the drilling machine in place and well adjusted. As a result, it gets less space to deviate through vibration.
Consequently, the setting also remains unchanged. You should also check the depth at which you can drill. Your lift should be able to comply with the router. Some lifts can even reach .0001 inch in thickness.
This feature is critical when it comes to a router lift. You already have to work with lots of other woodworking tools. It means you need to maintain those too, and the addition of another device that needs care will become cumbersome.
A router lift is relatively simple, and it has a reason behind that. It is simple so that you do not have to spend extra time taking care of it. However, to prolong the life of your lift, make sure not to drop it unnecessarily.
Do a routine check on the screws to prevent loosening. Also, make sure that your lift has a protective rustproof layer, especially if the tool is of iron. Do not keep it near damp places, and moisture accelerates rust formation.
You already have to assemble several tools for working and carving on wood. You need a nailer or a router, a router table, bits, base plates, and so many more small pieces. Hence, the router lift should be comfortable and straightforward. You should be able to pop it out and go!
The most convenient router will come pre-assembled, although some higher-end tools need some adjustments too. But it only enhances the final output. If you want to experiment, check for interchangeable options on your router lift.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- Can a router lift do the job of a router table?
No, they have completely different functionality. However, these two products work well together to achieve a flawless and perfect finish.
- Can I fit hand-made router tops in these lifts?
Yes, lifts that have interchangeable options can work with personalized router tops.
- Do the lifts have multiple rings?
Yes, for increasing efficiency and saving time, these lifts have multiple rings that you can conveniently replace whenever needed.
- Does the size of the mouth opening matter?
Yes, a full mouth means it can process with more significant bits, and consequently work with a bigger diameter of the wood. However, the mouth opening should be adjustable. Otherwise, it will lack versatility.
- What materials are used to produce router lifts?
Brands most commonly use iron metal for producing more massive tools of such kind. If you want a lighter and more portable lift, then you also have the option of aluminum.
Hopefully, you now understand the sheer need for the best router liftin your woodworking routine. It seems like a meaningless addition, but with some research and expertise, you will start to love the product. So, get the handy tool and complete your harmonious woodworking product family!
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