Anyone who has ever taken part in woodworking knows the challenges of adjusting the height, depth, and bits. Routers, particularly those that are mounted on routing tables, post this problem because the cranks are typically found near the bottom. You would have to remove the entire machine or crouch down – both of which aren't very convenient. Not only is it a hassle, but you also end up wasting precious time in the process.
One way to circumvent this problem is by investing in a router table. This tool allows you to make precise modifications from the top of the table, without even having to bend down. If you're interested in learning more, we'll be discussing the other advantages in this article, as well as six of the best routing lifts you must consider.
Router Lift Comparison Table
- The slicing depth can be fine-tuned in increments of 1/16-inches so you can get the precise measurements you want
- Comes with a lock feature that’s perfect for doing repeat cuts; it remains stable while waiting for the next job
- Its setting are very easy to understand and step, even for those without any prior experience
- Compatible with more than 20 other routers; great for workers who use different tools
- Made from high-grade stainless steel; it’s the perfect size for anyone using a 27-inch setup
- Includes a deluxe mounting fence for determining and holding the workpiece
- Comes with 5 laser-cut steel rings that snap into place and are magnetized
- Easy to setup; probably won’t take you longer than 20 minutes
- Double-sealed bearing construction prevents dust from entering
- A cam-lock setting holds the mechanism to prevent it from moving
- A spring-loaded motor mount relieves stress from your arms every time you have to move the crank
- A thumbwheel is intended for minor modifications to the bit depth; saves you so much time and effort
Router Lift Reviews
The JessEm Rout-R-Lift II is an ideal entry-level option for those who don't plan on spending too much. It won't cost more than $200 but offers a wide range of helpful features that will make your life easier. Here are a few of them.
Probably the best thing about this routing plate is its compatibility with different brands and models. The JessEm Rout-R-Lift II comes in five distinct designs, which match the specs of Dewalt, Bosch, Porter-Cable, as well as other routers with a 3.5-inch diameter motor.
The construction on the platform is incredibly durable too. It uses double-sealed ball bearings to raise or lower your motor smoothly, while hydraulic pressure spreads out the load evenly. As such, it can withstand even the toughest of routing jobs.
We would recommend the JessEm Rout-R-Lift II to both beginners and specialists. Either type of user should benefit tremendously from what this tool brings to the table – literally.
Founded in 1986 by its namesake, Craig Sommerfield, the Kreg Tool Company has grown to be a one-stop-shop for anything woodworking related. Through 34 years of experience, they've developed countless products aimed at making every person's life more convenient. And one of their most effective creations is the Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift.
Compatible with any Kreg router table and some twenty-something other models, the PRS5000 Precision Router Lift is ideal for making precise modifications to the height and cutting depth. Indexing rings with a micro-adjust scale likewise fine-tunes the bit, moving it in increments of 1/16-inch. This way, you get the exact specifications needed for each task.
Despite these abilities, we're glad to report that the Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift is still one of the most affordable options available today. Don't worry, though, because it offers so much more value than its price suggests.
JET is a brand known around the industry known for producing heavy-duty woodworking tools. And that's the same principle they've applied to their router lifts. The 708124 XLIFT-K: Xacta-Lift Router is a perfect addition for anyone using a 27-inch table setup.
Made from high-quality stainless steel, the JET 708124 XLIFT-K: Xacta-Lift Router remains stable even when used on rigorous tasks. That means it's a viable option for professional woodworkers, carpenters, and furniture makers. It hardly vibrates or exhibits any signs that it's laboring through the project.
Moreover, this tool is equipped with a deluxe mounting fence, too, for the accurate measurement of workpieces. We would recommend, however, that you allocate enough space in your workshop. This additional railing may take up more space than expected, but for us, it's a small price to pay for precision.
You can take home the JET 708124 XLIFT-K: Xacta-Lift Router for not more than $400. Although pricey to some, we'd still consider it a wise investment for those looking to improve in this craft.
$400 for a router lift may seem steep, but not if it contributes everything the Incra Mast-R-Lift II does. This mid-level marvel has devised a way to simplify hollowing out workpieces by making height and bit adjustments less daunting. Just insert the crank and twist according to the direction you want it to move.
What truly sets the Incra Mast-R-Lift II apart from its competitors, though, is its five-piece MagnaLOCK ring reduction system. These laser-cut steel hoops support bits of varying sizes and can be easily attached to the four magnets found under the plate. And as an added treat, they last so much longer than their rubberized counterparts.
This tool's durability and innovative advancements are the main reasons why many consider it the best router lift on the market. The Incra Mast-R-Lift II comes with everything you could possibly need, plus a little extra.
In what we could only assume is an enhancement of our earlier contender, the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 has been designed to offer better stability. Its double-sealed bearing construction is not only more durable, but it also prevents dust and dirt from entering the mechanism.
Aside from that, an exclusive cam locking system secures both the height and depth settings, so they don't suddenly move while under operation. This way, you don't have to worry about it suddenly recalibrating, causing you to begin the entire process again. And while we're on the topic of saving time, we're glad that it allows all bit changes to be done above the plate.
Ultimately, the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 is engineered for precision and user-friendliness on all tasks. We loved using it and believe that this could be a solid addition to any serious woodworker's collection at home.
Last on our best router lift review article is the Woodpeckers Precision PRL-V2-414. It's been designed specifically for professionals, providing a more natural way of making adjustments, while also saving you a ton of time and effort.
It features an Instant Quick-Lift with a spring-assisted wrench that relieves tension when turning the crank. Users have found this setup significantly less strenuous on the arms and hands compared to similar models. The Woodpeckers Precision PRL-V2-414 Router Lift also comes with a thumbwheel for minor adjustments to your bit. This way, you won't have to always take out that Allen wrench for every small thing.
Although the Woodpeckers Precision PRL-V2-414 Router Lift may not have as many inclusions as other options, it makes sure to jot down all the necessities. We are very impressed with this tool's durability, smooth operations, and user-friendliness, even for newbies. As such, we have no reservations about recommending it to anyone looking for an upgrade to their current setup.
Things to Consider When Buying a Router Lift
As a supplement to the list we created, here are now four considerations to make before finalizing a purchase. It’s not enough that you settle for a well-known brand with appealing features; it needs to answer these often-overlooked issues too.
If you haven’t already observed, not every lift matches all routers. Some models cater to more brands than others. That’s just the way things are made. So to minimize your headaches, we advise that you invest in router lifts that have higher compatibility, or at least have better provisions. This includes both the high-scale and no-so-well-known companies in our industry.
Is the router lift you are looking at made from cast-iron, stainless steel, or aluminum? While these materials do have a tendency to last long, each one also has its own set of cans and can’t do’s. Cast-iron tools, for instance, are better equipped to handle heavy workpieces, while models made from aluminum can only bear the weight of small to mid-sized items.
These power tools do not come cheap. That’s why you must purchase one with a comprehensive warranty package. Even the best router lift manufacturers offer this, as it is a sign of goodwill and belief in their products. Don’t sell yourself short; be sure to get one.
4. Smooth Cranking and Operations
We would advise you to save yourself the trouble. Move on from models that don't find ways to simplify the task of twisting the crank. The whole point of buying a router lift, after all, is to make things more convenient. And this definitely defeats that purpose.
The whole machine needs to run like clockwork. Unnecessary shaking, vibrations, and tight parts are all red flags you must take notice of. Read up on reviews before buying anything. This way, you have a better idea of what you're getting yourself into.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much does a router lift typically cost?
It can range anywhere from $200 to $400, depending on the specs. Allot that type of budget and you should be just fine.
2. Are these tools well-matched with every router?
No, not all. However, most router lifts are compatible with at least 15 different routers. If you want to be sure, check on the company website on what brands it matches with.
3. What is the difference between owning a router lift and a table?
The primary point of contract is that router lifts simplify making adjustments. You won’t have to go under the device anymore or take the tool out. All modifications can be made from on top of the table.
While we’re never inclined to take sides, there is one particular router lift that caught our eye. The Woodpeckers Precision PRL-V2-414 Router Lift may not have many features as other, but it has made sure that everything it offers counts. The stability and convenience it provides are hard to match, especially for professionals already with a lot on their plate. As such, it is, in our eyes, the best router lift you can buy today.