The CNC router, otherwise known as a computer numerical control tool, is a mechanical marvel that has taken the world by storm. Much like their handheld counterparts, this device can cut through materials such as wood, aluminum, steel or glass with relative ease. Most professionals or companies prefer this to manual routing because it reduces errors significantly while also hastening the pace. As such, you’ll have the potential to save a ton of time and money in the process.
However, this efficiency does come at a steeper price. On average, CNC routers cost more than plunge, compact, or fixed-base types. So before committing to a particular choice – or worse, even entering a potentially destructive deal – familiarize yourself with this instrument first by reading our best CNC router review. Here, we’ll be deepening your understanding by enumerating the five best options currently on the market.
If you’re interested, please take the next few minutes to widen your learnings about this topic. We guarantee it should make your decision a whole lot easier.
CNC Router Comparison Table
- Combines three tools in one to deliver a wide range of different uses
- Comes with various software that will help enhance your 3D printer abilities
- A rigid lase cut frame is both sturdy and can withstand the rigors of construction
- The router effortlessly moves across the SG20U rail system without any problems
- Runs with GRBL software that’s easily-customizable and even simpler to learn
- Important components no longed need assembling as everything is already pre-set
- Offers a 160x100x45 millimeter work area so movements are become more fluid
- Its 775 high-speed spindle motor is high-performing and capable of cutting through tough objects
- All the controls and ports are tactically located so they won’t become obstructions while you work
- The program is incorporated with 16 to 20 different speed settings so acceleration is done gradually
CNC Router Reviews
1. CNC Piranha FX
The CNC Piranha FX is designed to help you rip through hardwood like the ferocious fish it was named after. Though it isn’t exactly considered a router, this combines the best qualities of a carver, a laser engraver, and a 3-D printer to create one supersized device. Owning one of these will certainly go a long way in making your life easier.
Upon purchasing this kit, you’ll receive a primary apparatus that supports the mounting plate and tabletop, as well as a track plate. The latter serves as the primary controls and a screen of pertinent data. It even has a USB 2.0 port to access all your design files (made using specialized software) and bring them to life.
Just take note that the learning curve of the CNC Piranha FX is quite steep, especially for beginners. Thus, it may require some time before getting used to it. Newbies may want to start with something simpler rather than taking on such a big challenge right away.
Still, this machine offers so much potential that staying way can be difficult. As we’ve mentioned earlier, its mounting plate is compatible with all sorts of accessories. This includes routers, printer heads, and engravers already on the market. It magnifies all these tools and broadens their capabilities, which also amplifies what you can do.
So if you’re hell-bent on taking your woodworking game to the next level, the CNC Piranha FX by Next Wave Automation is an amazing product to consider, despite its costly price point.
Rugged is a word that perfectly describes the BobsCNC E4 Router. This model is built for construction and heavy-duty repairs, making it an ideal option for specialists with a lot of requirements. It maintains its high performance for several years without any sign of slowing down.
Other than that, there are several reasons to love the BobsCNC E4 Router. Its entire body is made from Baltic Birch Wood, a material known in the lumber world to be both hardwearing and stylish. This, together with an enlarged cutting space, has only boosted its overall durability. At the same time, you’ll be able to work on larger workpieces without any trouble, which is especially needed when working on a jobsite.
We also love how faultlessly this machine works. The router travels across an SG20U supported rail system that includes an X, Y, and Z-axes. You can adjust it by moving either sideward or upward, getting the pointer exactly in your preferred spots. At the same time, users are treated to easier controls that surely won’t stress you out.
The only downside with the BobsCNC E4 Router is that it doesn’t come assembled. Past consumers have commented how much time this takes up, as opposed to other models that arrive already built. Thus, manufacturers have begun to remedy this problem by simplifying instructions and even designing the manual to be user-friendlier. We believe these solutions are enough to overcome this issue.
Nevertheless, we cannot discount just how valuable the BobsCNC E4 Router is to users. Various abilities coupled with an affordable price only strengthen its bid as one of the best CNC routers for woodworking.
Value for money is perhaps the most notable quality of the Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit. It offers users an affordable package that includes all the basic functions aimed at maximizing their full potential. Thus, this purchase should prove to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Once opened, you’ll notice how all the necessary components have already been set. This model requires minimal assembly, consequently saving you time and effort. Even the base height is pre-set at an optimal position of 4-cm for better stability and to provide you with better control while you work.
Apart from a quality exterior, the Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit also comes with an integrated mainboard and customized program called GRBL. You can freely personalize this through the open-source function, Arduino, and tailor-fit everything to match your needs. Subsequently, this system created runs seamlessly to bridge both the hardware and software, producing a fully-operational structure that drastically increases efficiency.
The router included may not be branded though it still runs religiously. This machine produces enough power to penetrate all types of wood and plastics; soft aluminum; and even acrylic fragments. Moreover, four clamps found on the tabletop offer adequate strength to hold down workpieces. As a result, the details in your output become all the more accurate.
Overall, the Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit is clearly one of the best routers round. Its blend of practicality and versatility – not to mention affordability – make it an ideal choice for both newbies and experts.
Beginners not looking to spend much, but are highly interested in crafting wood should see the MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router. As an ideal entry-level model, it offers users a glimpse into how things are done and work, all without any financial liability. Experiencing it first-hand will provide you a much better account of what to expect moving forward.
Visually, this machine looks as legit as other options, if not more. Its entire body is fabricated from aluminum, making it both hardwearing and easily transferrable. Several of its bolts, nuts, and elbows have been reinforced to improve stability while being used. Moreover, this added vigor does not seem to get in the way of its mobility. As such, consumers can easily move it around to the locations of their choice.
Putting together the MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router has likewise been made much simpler. The manufacturers know this isn’t a task people look forward to, so many parts already come pre-installed. Instructions, though, are written in a foreign language. So if there’s anything you can't figure out by yourself, simply download an English version directly from their website. Customer service agents are also available in case you need them.
Still, this minor glitch isn’t convincing enough to take away the MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router’s shine. These features, coupled with a vigorous motor and state-of-the-art software, only make it more desirable. Newbies should willfully consider investing in this option, as it presents no real qualms.
Much like the other examples on our best CNC router review, the CNC 3018 Router Kit with Offline Controller is perfect for neophytes. It sports a heavy-duty frame, isn’t too difficult to use, and relatively easy to control. Best of all, it’s one of the most economical possibilities currently on the open market.
Among its qualities, we particularly love how well-built this whole machine is. The frame is assembled with hard plastic and aluminum that may seem faulty, but this setup is quite sturdy. Moreover, it makes the machine much easier to move, thanks to a lightweight property. Other important parts – like the USB port and control panel – are also strategically located so they won’t overlap, giving you enough space to operate.
Furthermore, the CNC 3018 Router Kit with Offline Controller comes equipped with an assimilated motherboard that links its custom software to the hardware device. A smooth transition from control to action is what you can consistently expect. After all, anyone that has ever done this before knows the importance of this aspect and how even the slightest movement is critical to success.
Besides, this piece of equipment is controlled by GRBL, a revolutionary application that can be custom-made and is also relatively cheap. Users will be able to mix-and-match this for any task at hand or material they choose. Flexibility like this will surely come in handy on projects that contain a variety of responsibilities. Artists and masons, in particular, will benefit handsomely from owning an apparatus like this.
Ultimately, the CNC 3018 Router Kit with Offline Controller is a world-class creation worthy of your attention. Truly, its distinct functions at a bargain are what make it one of the best routers you can ever ask for.
Things To Consider When Buying A CNC Router
Now that we’ve gone through each of the choices, it is now time to discuss some important factors. With so many models available to consumers, choosing a particular one can be taxing. We believe the information we are about to discuss will simplify this and make your life so much easier. So without further adieu, here are some key things to consider before buying a CNC router.
1. Table Size
The size of your CNC router’s worktable could potentially affect how you work. Of course, it comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s quickly go through each one, shall we?
Wider tabletops may take up more room, but they offer enough stability needed by most jobs. Additionally, these can support larger workpieces without any issues. Users that often work with large wooden planks or PVC sheets may require something like this. On the other hand, smaller routers are better space-savers. These tools fit snuggly inside most workshops, though they may sometimes lack steadiness that results in miscalculations.
When given a choice, we would always suggest investing in a larger model. Aside from the constancy, they also fare better against wear-and-tear. Therefore, you can maximize it for longer periods.
2. Compatibility with Operating Systems
Since all prototypes require configuration on a computer, you’ll need a router that’s accustomed to Windows, Mac, or other operating systems. This flexibility will allow you to run things more smoothly, set things up quicker, and make hassle-free adjustments whenever you please. Also in our experience, choosing a tool that’s only compatible with one OS – no matter how strong or high-tech – will do you more harm than good.
On top of that, we would likewise suggest choosing your software wisely. Open-sourced variants are, of course, easier to alter while those developed by big companies are more stable. In the end, it really all depends on your preference and what works best for you.
Among all the table router types, CNCs are easily the most complicated. You'll need roughly a couple of hours for assembly, and that's before learning how to work this device. Needless to say, tinkering through this will require a great deal of patience and understanding from you.
To make your life a lot simpler, we recommend going for those that have a shorter learning curve. Since this aspect is completely subjective, try reading reviews online or testimonials from past users. At the same time, be on the lookout for selling points like easy-assembly, versatile controls, and clear instruction manuals or tutorials.
No matter how we twist and turn the world around, the price will always be a determining factor for potential customers. People, essentially, want the highest value at the lowest possible cost. So it is up to the company to prove their worth.
As a consumer, the best way to limit your expenses is by budgeting. Before even canvassing, try to determine first an amount you are openly willing to spend. Then, search for options within that price range, armed with a slight allowance, of course. Trusting in this process won’t just streamline things, but also minimize your lavishness. It will focus you only on what is important, thus, capping the amount of money you shell out.
As we’ve previously mentioned, CNC routers do not come cheap. Sure, entry-level alternative fetches about a few hundred dollars, but what about if you’re planning on upgrading your capabilities? These expenses accumulate and it won’t be long before you starting paying for maintenance fees, replacing parts, or even writing off worn-down machines.
We would hate for you to experience this, which sadly is a common occurrence for users without warranty. Most merchandise does come with a robust package, though it is important to be sure. The warranty will serve as your safety net in case of faulty products or second-hand accessories. Ultimately, this serves as your direct link to the company should any problems arise within that period.
FAQS – Frequently Asked Questions
Our readers always have something new to ask. So we compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions both directly and on the web. Here they are, together with our responses.
1. What is the primary difference between a CNC router with manual ones?
CNC routers are controlled via a computer program, through software you previously arrange. Real-time controls are likewise made using a trackpad that is connected to the main device. A manual router, conversely, is often handheld. Settings like the speed, direction, and power need to be accessed on-hand or they won’t initialize.
In terms of customization, CNC routers are more dynamic compared to their lower-tech relatives, who are quite limited. You cannot modify much for each job you do.
2. What are the advantages of using a CNC router?
Since a program primarily controls this router, you can expect it to run more efficiently and accurately than other varieties. Most are built to work for hours at a time, without showing any real signs of fatigue. Professionals will benefit greatly from this setup because they conserve their energy, while also augmenting their resources.
The learning curve, though, is much steeper with this device. Since there’s more preparation needed, it requires a longer wait before actually getting to work. However, it eventually catches up and even quickens your pace. In the end, a CNC router will do more for you in a shorter time.
3. How much does a quality CNC router usually cost?
The term quality is highly subjective, depending greatly on what you use it for. Although if we held everything constant and just focus on an average, we believe $350 to $500 is a reasonable estimate. Try to target choices within that range and you shouldn’t go wrong.
Of course, always look out for the warranty. If there’s a need to pay more just to have this included, we suggest you do it. The expense may be higher initially, but trust us – it will save you more money in the future.
Now that our CNC router review is about to end, we hope his has developed a deeper appreciation for them. This truly is a revolutionary tool intended to make every project easier and run more efficiently.
If you are individual truly committed to enhancing this skill, we propose to take a closer look at any of these choices, particularly the Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit. It is undeniably one of the best routers you can ever ask for, thanks to a healthy blend of performance, design, and affordability. You won’t go wrong with this investment, as it has proven, time and time again, to be a viable asset in any woodworkers work area.