Handling professional wood projects can be challenging without the right tools. Regardless of whether you are a professional carpenter or a do it yourselfer, a router lift is one of the must-have tools for the job. The tools are equipped with great features which not only make it easy for you to manage your projects but also facilitate smooth performance and high precision. It doesn't matter the complexity of your project; these lifts are great for light to the most demanding projects. However, it is only with the right router lift that you will be able to handle your projects with ease. Choosing the best router lift is not easy with different manufacturers flooding the market with new products. But with our detailed review, buying a quality router lift is simple and straightforward. There is much to look in for in a router lift, and we can’t wait to give you the lowdown.
Best PickKreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift is our best pick. The router lift features a hard anodized aluminum plate which resists rust and sagging. It provides smooth operation through its bearing guided carriage while enabling you to change your bits over the table faster, and accurately. It accepts over 20 popular routers and accommodates all Kreg tables and other competitive brands giving you the freedom to choose your preferred brand.
Budget PickJessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift is the best router lift for the money. It is affordable, with excellent performance. Allows fast router customization with high precision. Its ability to accommodate popular porter cable brands makes it our best pick.
Quick Comparison Between The Best Router Lifts[table id=148 /]
1. Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
- Facilitates fast, and accurate repeat setups
- Accommodates over 20 popular routers without calling for modifications, pads or adapters
- 3⁄8" by 9 1⁄4" by 11 3⁄4" Strong aluminum plate which resists scratches and sagging
- Gives full control to your router
- Fits all Kreg router tables and lots of popular brands
2. JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift
- Fast and quick router customization
- Accommodates most popular porter cable brands
- Weighs 8.8 pounds
3. Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift
- Provides smooth, fast and accurate bit height adjustments
- Accommodate popular porter cable brands
- Comes with three self-leveling twist locks rings
- Provides optimal rigidity
- Has a bulletproof lift mechanism
4. Jet 708124 XLIFT-K Router Lift
- ¼ “ heavy aluminum plate
- 3 5/8 “ table opening for use with larger router bits
- Leveling screws for accurate alignment
- Adjustable guard position for user safety
5. MLCS 9562 Router Lift
- Designed to accommodate big 4.2” diameters and 3 -1/4HP routers
- Built to last
- Facilitates precise over the table bit and height adjustments
- 18-1/2” height adjustment handle
6. Rockler Pro Lift Router Lift
- Tool and screw free height adjustments
- Allows fine adjustments through its precision gear
- Keeps your wood workings on the table
- Accommodates a varied number of router tables
- Built to last with great performance
Benefits of Using a Router Lift
Fast and safeChanging your bits with the help of a router lift is a breeze. They eliminate any need of having to bend under the table to adjust your bits which is time-consuming, and tedious. Better still; they minimize any chances of developing back or neck pains from prolonged bending by keeping all the work on the table.
AccurateAdjusting your bits under the table increases your chances of performing wrong settings which will eventually impact your cutting precision. Router lifts are designed to help you make quick and accurate adjustments with high precision.
Fine height adjustmentsPerforming micro-adjustments using the traditional methods will consume much of your time and probably not give you uniform settings. This will result in inconsistency on the project you are working on. Router lifts have great features which enable you to carry out even the fine adjustments to suit your needs.
CompatibilityMost modern router lifts can accommodate tables and routers from other brands. This enables you to use a brand of your choice or upgrade your router without changing everything.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Router LiftWhile owning a router lift offers you massive benefits, a wrong choice can ruin your job. To get the best out of it, you should consider the following.
MaterialThe material of your router lift will play a significant role in its durability. If you invest in poor quality material, your lift won’t have the capability to withstand regular use or offer you the stability you need to get the job done. Consider going for those heavy duty lift which won’t sag or rust. Some of the best material options you can opt for include machined aluminum, brass, steel or cast iron. Avoid any weaker materials like plastic which may break easily.
CompatibilityWhile you aim at investing in a quality router, ensure you check its compatibility with other routers, tables, porter cables or any other accessory you would like to use along with. Most modern lifts will offer you numerous brand options which you can use along with but never assume. Check all the listed compatible devices and accessories to know which available options are recommended. Models which accommodate most brands will give you the freedom to purchase any recommended brand that is within your budget and of your choice. Avoid using incompatible routers, or else you will experience vibrations which will eventually ruin your working experience.
Height adjustmentsThe primary purpose of a router lift is to enable you to make quick and accurate height adjustments with ease. Different models will offer varied height adjustment options to choose from. Some use thumbwheel while others use the crank handle. The option you want will depend on what feels comfortable for you. In case it's the first time to buy a router lift, it is highly recommended to try making height adjustments using both the thumbwheel and crank handle to determine which feels comfortable for you. Models that use ball bearing technology offers smooth fine adjustments effortlessly and are a great pick. Better still; router lift with ball bearing technology requires low maintenance.
Plunge or fixedRouter lifts are designed to work with either fixed or plunge routers. Plunge routers will require you to remove the motor each time after use which can be tedious and harmful to your motor. If possible, consider going for models with fixed routers.
Plate sizeRouter lift has two universal plate sizes: 8 1/4" by 11 3/4" & 9 1/4" by 11 3/4". The plate size you choose should be compatible with your table. For optimal performance, most manufacturers will list all the router and table that can be used along with the lift. Do not just assume, get to know the best router lift table that will work perfectly well with your model.
Cutting precisionOne of the major causes of poor router lift performance is jarring and high vibration levels. High vibration levels can be triggered by the use of incompatibility or wrong installations. However, manufacturer’s defects can also trigger jarring which can ruin your working experience. Always ensure everything is compatible and installation procedures have been followed to the letter.
WeightThe weight of your router lift is very critical especially in times when you wish to lift the entire tool. As you pay attention to other features, ensure you invest in a model that will enable you to move it with ease. Models with casters facilitate easy movement of your lift. However, if you plan to position your Router lift at one position, no need to spend more on a lift with casters.
AdapterAn adapter allows you to use different router sizes. They allow you to upgrade your router size without having to change your table. Most models which come with adapters have to insert holes to help prevent any need for drilling holes whenever you make router upgrades. However, some models will allow you to upgrade your router or use different router brands without requiring any modifications, pads or adapter. Whichever option you think will work for you, make sure your lift allows you to do upgrades without calling for other accessories.
Ease of installationsWhile owning a quality router lift facilitates smooth operation, investing in a hard to install model will take most of your time. Worse still; you may end up not fixing it as required which in turn will affect your working experience. A good router lift should be easy to install.
Power switch accessibilitySometimes you will be forced to power off your tool fast. This is where the power switch accessibility comes in handy. A good router lift should be easy to use and every part strategically placed for user convenience.
CostThe cost of a router lift will be dictated by the technology used, material, size, and other included accessories. Before checking out, make sure you have chosen a quality model which will not only provide unmatched performance but also withstand the test of time. Get to know if you will be required to buy other accessories when installing the tool. To cut down your costs, choose models which come with everything you may need.
WarrantySome router lifts may have faults or develop some complications with time. This is where your warranty comes for your rescue. Always know in advance the warranty period and consider investing in products that are covered for longer.
Customer careThere are at times when you may encounter problems with your router lift, when you have demanding projects which are time critical, and your manual cannot help you resolve them. This is where you need to reach out to your manufacturer for more professional assistance. Manufacturers who offer excellent customer care will help you fix the problem or advice you before everything gets out of hand. Take time and read some of the customer experience with the customer care or opt for those brands which offer full-time customer care support to avoid any disappointments.
What is the best router lift?After going through the products we have reviewed, you may wonder which is the best router lift? This will vary depending on what you are looking in router lift. Though they are designed to help you accomplish the same purpose, every product we have featured slightly differs from each other, a significant reason why you will have a different feel, operation, and results. Choosing a quality router lift should not be a daunting task. All you need is to identify your needs and compare how different manufacturers have designed their product to suit your needs. While quality is a factor to consider, do not forget your comfort and your budget.
Frequent router lift questions
Is a router lift worth it?Router lift is worth every penny, and a must-have tool for every do it yourselfer and professional carpenters. They offer you convenience, reliability and full control over your router enabling you to carry out your wood projects with ease. Without them, adjusting bits and router setting would be challenging, and that's where they come for your rescue.
Which wood router type is best for a wood workshop?Router lifts are of three types: the fixed, trim and plunge. Each of these types is designed to suit varied user needs. Trim routers are specially designed to make clean cuts on edges of thin treatments and laminates. They are light in nature which makes them ideal for the job. For deep cuts for mortises, plunge routers come in handy. Fixed routers, on the other hand, can be utilized to make edge treatments and can also be used along with jig cuts dovetails. For exceptional performance, you can go for brands with a dedicated base which combines a fixed base and light plunge in one single motor.
Is there a specific height to lock the lift?Height adjustments are essential when working on your wood pieces. This feature enables you to adjust your preferred height to suit the task at hand. A good router lift should always facilitate easy customization of your working heights and lock it in place. However, vibrations can cause height levels to go down or up. You need to check your height levels for precision cuts. Investing in models which allow for fine adjustments enables you to customize your router effortlessly.
Common router lifts problems and how to resolve themRouter lifts may develop problems which may ruin your working experience. Knowing how to fix the issue will help you normalize the problem and get back to work without wasting much time. Here are some of the problems you may experience and how to resolve them.
Excessive vibrationsThough it is normal for a router lift to vibrate, excessive jarring may be a raise for alarm. One of the most causes of this phenomenon is incompatibility issues. Before installing your router, make sure it is compatible with the lift and any other accessory. Double check if you may have installed the wrong accessory. In case your lift is still new, it may be a manufacturer defect and should be reported immediately.
The router won't liftFriction or too tight screws may trigger this problem. Try to loosen the screws on the table to allow better wheel adjustments. Put some grease on the guide posts where you feel the friction to increase the lubrication. Loosening the brakes can also help reduce the resistance. In case these do not combat the issue; consider getting in touch with your manufacturer if your warranty has not expired.
Router lift works well, but bits start creeping upMost of the common cause of bits creeping up is excessive vibrations which mostly are triggered by the motor. To fix the issue, check out if the lock mechanism is locked correctly or there could be any loose screws. Tighten any loose screws, and if this does not resolve the issue, you will need to disassemble the lock mechanism.
Final verdictEvery professional carpenter knows the benefits of investing in a quality router lift. And if you have ever used a poor quality model, you know how costly it is. In case you have been hunting for the best router lift, your searching has come to an end. We recommend taking your time and go through the products we have listed, and make use of our shopping guide to help you make the right choices. All the products have been carefully selected to suit varied user needs. Choose yours today and enjoy high performance on all your woodworking projects
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