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.
Kreg 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.
JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift is the 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.
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Quick Comparison Between The Best Router Lifts
1. Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift
Say goodbye to all those hassles of having bend to change your bits by taking full control of your table-mounted router for fast, reliable, accurate and repeatable setups. With this fantastic router lift from Kreg, you will change your bits faster, easy while enjoying high precision. Thanks to its collet access which offers you convenience.
Its hard anodized aluminum plate (3⁄8" by 9 1⁄4" by 11 3⁄4") is resistant to scratches and doesn't sag. It provides a hassle-free change for above the table mounted routers and accommodates all Kreg Router tables and other popular brands which make it the perfect router lift for Kreg table.
Its bearing led carriage provides smooth operation making the entire process a child play. That’s not all; the router lift accommodates over 20 competitive routers without calling for pads, adapters, or any modification, a feature which gives you flexibility like no other.Regardless of whether you are planning to set up a new router, upgrade your router table, or customize your table, Kreg PRS5000 series is the go-to router lift.
2. JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift
In case you are looking for a router lift on budget, then this JessEm R-Lift II model could be a good pick for you. The 8.8-pound lift allows you to customize your router with precision while eliminating any need to bend under the table.Its ability to accommodate porter cables from competitive brands gives you the freedom to use it along with a brand of your choice and still get the same results. Investing in this lift will offer you convenience, high precision, and fast router customization at an affordable price.
3. Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 Precision Router Lift
Enjoy years of smooth performance with this Woodpeckers PRL-V2-420 series. The lift boasts of its router plate which features a bulletproof lift mechanism for unmatched performance. Its thumb wheel micro adjuster facilitates easy, fast and accurate bit height adjustments.
A quick lift enables you to raise your router collet so you can use your wrenches above the table by bypassing the micro-lift adjustment system. The lift features a one-piece motor carriage for unmatched rigidity. Overall, this router lift is built to deliver exceptional performance while providing fast, easy and reliable router customization.
4. Jet 708124 XLIFT-K Router Lift
This Jet 708124 router lift features a 3 -5/8 inch table opening which accommodates larger router bits. It’s ten leveling screw facilitate accurate alignment for professional and precise cutting. The lift also gives you easy access to adjustable guard positions over the router bit enhancing your safety when in use.Overall, this router lift provides excellent support for your router while facilitating easy customization of bits and height effortlessly.
5. MLCS 9562 Router Lift
Handle big routers with ease by taking advantage of this MLCS router lift. Your router bit changes are done over the table which eliminates any need for having to bend under the table to make your adjustments. Its heavy-duty design provides smooth performance for stress-free use for years. Thanks to its sturdy guided posts, brass fittings, high-grade Lead screws, and sealed ball bearings.
It’s 18 1/2 “handle allows you to easily adjust your height and router while keeping your work on the table. The router opening plate accommodates bits of up to 3 ½” in diameter. Machined from steel and aluminum this MLCS router is designed to offer optimal performance and unmatched durability.
6. Rockler Pro Lift Router Lift
Who said making height adjustments has to be slow. With this Rockler router lift, you will speed up your height adjustments four times faster with its 4:1 quick gear ratio. Unlike most models which call for other tools and screws, this lift doesn’t, so you will don’t have screws to lose or tools to look for.Through the precision gear, you can make height adjustments of as low as 0.001” giving you the freedom to customize it just the way you would like to. Its 9-1/4” by 11 ¾” large plate accommodates router tables from Woodpecker, Kreg, Peachtree, and Jessum giving you great brand versatility.
Benefits of Using a Router Lift
Fast and safe
Changing 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.
Adjusting 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 adjustments
Performing 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.
Most 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 Lift
While 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.
The 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.
While 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.
The 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 fixed
Router 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.
Router 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 router lift table that will work perfectly well with your model.
One 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.
The 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.
An 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 installations
While 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 accessibility
Sometimes 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.
The 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.
Some 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.
There 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.
FAQ About Router Lift
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 Them
Router 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.
Though 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 lift
Friction 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 up
Most 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.