Convenience. It is the word that I use to describe my favorite accessories for hand or power tools.
As you progress in woodworking, you start to appreciate products that save time and make tasks easier. I learned to look for these qualities in the equipment I buy, and one such accessory is a router lift. Let’s take a closer look to see what makes the best router lift and review some products that you may want to add to your tool arsenal!
In this article, we will be reviewing these 5 router lifts:
Table of Contents
What Is A Router Lift And Is It Worth Buying?
A good routing table allows you to perform a variety of jobs, including cuts that would normally be difficult or impossible to make when using your router by hand. The router lift aids with adjusting the router.
A router lift is a mounting plate for a routing table that attaches the router with an adjustable carriage.
One advantage of this type of system is that adjustments can be made from the top of the table, allowing a user to avoid having to reach under the table to alter the bit height. Another feature that users enjoy is that the adjust mechanism itself allows you to make very fine alterations that would take a long time from under the table. A router lift also allows you to change bits without having to detach the router from the table, making change-outs easy and fast.
If you rarely use a router it might seem like such an accessory is not necessary. If, on the other hand, you use your router often this type of mounting plate is worth every dollar you spend on it.
The advantages of having a router lift on your table
If you make lots of repetitive passes on your router table, the time saved can mean the difference between a weekend project vs something that will take multiple sessions. This allows you to concentrate on other steps of the build instead of being distracted by long sessions of moving and then testing your router bit heights. You can limit your workflow interruptions with quick bit changes without having to disconnect, change out, and then re-install your router every time you need to cut a different profile.
Let’s face it, most of us have limited time in our shop, to begin with. A big advantage of saving time is that I find myself more motivated to work. Nothing saps your desire as quickly as time-consuming tasks that need to be repeated often.
Things To Consider When Buying A Router Lift
Top Five Router Lifts
JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift #02310
- 8.8 pounds Product
- Dimensions: 9.25 x 11.75 x 10.1 inches
- THIS MODEL IS DESIGNED FOR USE WITH PC 690/890, BOSCH 1617/1618, DEWALT 610/618/616, CRAFTSMAN 1754/17540/28190
The design and price point of this product make it more in line for first-time users when compared to the JessEm Mast reviewed below. Its smaller size will accommodate most 3.5-inch diameter motors, a router size many users will have.
Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
- Allows precise above-the-table setup changes for table-mounted routers
- Above-table collet access allows fast, easy, above-table bit changes
- 3⁄8" x 9 1⁄4" x 11 3⁄4" (9.5 mm x 235mm x 298mm) Hard-anodized aluminum plate won’t Sag, resists scratches
Kreg’s entry on this list represents a nice middle-of-the-pack offering. You will be able to achieve a smoother lift and adjustment compared to the previous entry. At the same time, this model has a mid-range price point without overkill on controls.
- NEW AND IMPROVED: The Bosch RA1165 Under-Table Router Base is the new base for the 1617/1618 series routers, replacing the RA1164
- ADUSTABLE: The RA1165 conveniently allows depth adjustment of bit height from above the table. The router base is designed for use with 1617, 1617EVS, 1617EVSPK, 1618, 1618EVS routers
- MOUNTABLE: The RA1165 base has threaded holes positioned in Bosch’s 4-hole subbase pattern and common 3-holes subbase pattern for mounting
Basement price point and simplicity in design distinguish this base from Bosch. The low price point provides you with a router base bt you will need to fork over extra cash if you are looking for a plate to mount it to as well.
INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift
- Exclusive INCRA MagnaLOCK reducing ring system (3/8-Inch, 1-Inch, 1-5/8-Inch, 2-5/8-Inch, 3-5/8-Inch) for instant ring changes and perfect ring fit
- Change router bits from the top of the table. Quickly make super precise, 0. 001-Inch height adjustments from above
- 9-1/4-Inch x 11-3/4-Inch x 3/8-Inch plate size is compatible with all INCRA Router Tables and fits some other brands
INCRA’s product represents a step up in quality and function. This heavy-duty system is a professional level router lift that will excel in a busy workshop. I can see this unit providing accurate cuts for intermediate and advanced woodworkers.
JessEm Mast-R-Lift II
This particular model is popular among woodworking enthusiasts for a good reason. It includes all of the features that users are looking for in a durable design. This is an ideal purchase for those who do a lot of router work.
Which Router Lift Ranks Highest?
I do believe that each product listed above will serve users well, especially if the lift is matched to specific needs. With that being said, I feel that the JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift is the best router lift on the list.
It is lightweight, allowing those who have limited space to break down and setup their tables more easily. There are plenty of holes in the plate, as well as mounting equipment, that should let you connect a wide variety of routers to.
It might include a simple locking mechanism design and lack of ball bearing lift, but the overall design is made for beginners and intermediates alike. The price point of the lift reflects this as well, making it an easier accessory to justify for your shop.
Don’t have a router yet? Check out our review of the best wood routers.