Wood routers do more than making fancy edges. These handy tools also cut flawless rabbets, dadoes and create exquisite wood patterns. Speaking of wood routers, we have two main types. These are the fixed and plunge routers. Each of these tools is important in woodworking and carpentry. However, which of these versatile tools do you need?

Well just like any other, the abundance of options makes it hard for most people to find a model that meets their needs. Today we are going to discuss the differences between the Fixed base Router Vs Plunge router.

The following detailed guide will give you all the information that you need to know about these routers so that you can easily decide the model that will fit your specific needs.

Plunge Router

Plunge Routers

A plunge router has a spring-loaded base. As the name suggests, the plunging action enables you to cut from above the wood piece. This action also helps you to lock the base at your desired depth.

Equally, the unique design enables you to vary the bit depth when the router is still running. To do so, simply unlock the depth release and watch it do it magic.

In terms of operation, the plunge routers are somewhat complex to operate as compared to the fixed base. This unit also begins to cut from the wood piece middle instead of the edges.

The Core Functional Differences

If you are looking to make complex cuts, a plunge base router is a right choice. This unit enables you to make precise cuts at the workpiece center. With it, you can make through cuts, pattern, mortise, deep grooves, as well as template work.

Pros

  • Easy to Use

Designed for experienced woodworkers, this tool is convenient to use as it enables you to adjust the cutting depth as you continue working on the project.

  • Enhanced Safety

Notably, the cutting bit begins running only when the machine starts to cut. This makes it safer to use than the fixed base router, which starts the cutting bit automatically when you turn the ignition on.

  • Excellent Functionality

In the same breath, this router provided more vertical movement control when cutting. This enables you to make accurate cuts in the cutting piece center. In addition, since it has more power than the fixed model you can tackle large projects easily.

  •  Advanced Design

This model also comes with an advanced design that makes it easy to make deep inlay grooves, complex mortises/ patterns, and cuts.

Cons

  • Owing to its complex design, the plunger router more expensive when compared to fixed routers
  • It requires more practice before you can use it properly
  • Functional limitation as it not usable with a router bench or table

What is it best for?

No carpenter or professional workshop should miss a plunge router. It enables you to deal with complex tasks such as mortising, template routing, stopped dados, inlay pattern tasks and making joints.

Besides, these units accept specialized bits, allowing you to deal with complex projects. Overall, this is a great pick for experienced and professional woodworkers.

fixed base router

Fixed Base Routers

The fixed base router is ideally designed for beginners. As you can deduce from its name, this tool is usually fixed on a router bench or table. Unlike the plunge router, this router starts making cut from the edge.

With that being said, this unit is great for edge cutting as well as other molding tasks that require straight light precision.

When it comes to the weight, the fixed base router is lighter. Another main difference is that you cannot adjust the bit depth while cutting. However, it enables you to set the blade depth before you start routing.

The Core Functional Differences

The fixed base router is an excellent pick for anyone looking for an all-purpose router. It works perfectly for both home and professional projects that require accuracy.

Additionally, these routers are compact in size making them easy to maneuver.

Pros

  • Easy to Use

With a lightweight and more compact design, these routers are a perfect choice for beginners and home use. They are also easy to transport to the job sites, especially where the professional is required to make an intricate design

  • Precise Performance

These outer also delivers excellent functionally, especially when edge shaping is required. The simple design enables it to give the best precision. They are also used on a router table.

  • Cheaper

This router has less moving parts and much compact design. This makes it cheaper than the heavy and complex designed plunge routers.

Cons

  • The main limitation of this unit is its limited operation. As you probably know limited performance calls for reduced performance. Thus, it is not ideal for tackling large and challenging tasks.

What is it Best for?

The Fixed base router is a perfect pick for tasks that demands more control. Since you can work with it closely, it is much easier got you to make intricate designs. If you are looking to make freehand edge work and repeat applications.

Overall, this is an excellent pick for beginners and professionals dealing with designs that are more intricate.

So which one do you get?

Clearly, when choosing between a Fixed base Router Vs Plunge router,  the best choice will depend on what your woodwork involves and your skills.

However, it is important to remember that manufacturers also sell the combo routers kit. This combo comes with both a plunge and a fixed router. The only catch here is that you will have to use the motor interchangeably.

With that said, a combo router is an economical choice. It is cheaper than purchasing a fixed and plunge router separately. Even better, you get all the functionality in one compact machine.

Our Verdict

Still not decided on Fixed base Router Vs Plunge router equipment? Let’s cut the chase, a fixed base router is a great pick for any novice woodworker looking to add a powerful tool to his collection. This multipurpose router has a much wider range since it enables you to make intricate designs fasters.

However, if you look forward to doing many specific tasks such as cutting dovetail joints, go for the plunge router.

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