Palm Routers Review
Why Use a Palm Router?
Routers are an essential tool for any woodworker or craftsman, but many times having a table mounted router is not your best option. Palm Routers are portable and allow you the freedom to work without being tied to your workshop. They are ideal for the professional as well as the weekend hobbyist and they fit easily into your toolbox.
The best palm routers give you the power, speed and precision you need to get your job done quickly, with minimal splintering or gouging. Fortunately, palm routers like the Makita Compact Router, Ridgid R2401 and the Ryobi ONE+ Trim Router pack a lot of punch, giving you comparable power to a full sized router as well as allowing you to customize with a wide range of accessories.
Palm Routers: What to Look For
The first thing to consider when choosing the best palm router is to determine how often you will be using your new palm router. You want to find a router that is durable and can cut and trim even the hardest mediums without failing after your first few projects.
Most routers are powered with an extension cord, but there are many palm routers that use battery packs. These models give you greater freedom to work where you need to, at any time. Consider the criteria below when choosing the best palm router for your shop or toolbox.
No matter which palm router you choose, if it can't stand up to the job you need to do, you may as well have tossed your money into the garbage bin. Look for a router that has a motor with higher horsepower and amperage, fast RPMs and is made from quality metals and plastics. The best palm routers can last for years, even decades, with proper care, and finding a sturdy router from a reliable company is a must if you want to have a device you can count on every time you start a project.
Also, consider the overall weight of the palm router. These tools are supposed to be portable, and a palm router that weighs too much for your level of strength can fatigue you quickly, potentially forcing you to take longer to complete projects or not finish them at all.
Not all palm routers are created equal. Look for a palm router that fits easily into your hand, has comfortable grips and is evenly balanced. Some routers are designed to be used by right- or left-handed craftsmen. Your local hardware store may have floor models you can try out after you have searched online, but if you purchase a router that is designed right and is comfortable to use, you will be much more productive.
Another important design feature to look for is whether the router has a plunge or fixed base. This will affect where you can use the router most effectively. Plunge bases allow you to cut into your medium's interior and are ideal for custom designs, through cuts and mortises. Fixed base routers are more stable and are perfect for beginners or craftsmen who desire more precision and stability as they work. While some routers only have one base option, others allow you to interchange base types, increasing your crafting options.
Palm routers often include accessories such as a carrying case, spare bits, wrenches and the all-important charger for battery-powered routers. Some cordless palm routers require you to purchase a charger separately, so be sure to look for what accessories are included thoroughly when you’re buying your router.
Another important accessory to consider is replacement bits. Because of their compact size, palm routers may or may not have the option for larger diameter bits. Be sure to check for the maximum size the router allows when making a selection if you plan on using larger bits.
Most routers are covered with a standard one-year warranty. There are some with two-year warranties or a 30-day guarantee that will replace your malfunctioning unit for free. These warranties are all contingent on if the unit malfunctioned during normal wear and tear. If you know you are hard on your tools, look for a palm router that is backed by a solid warranty or replacement option.
The good news is you have many options to explore before you buy. Palm routers in general don’t vary too greatly in features or price to an extreme. This is a tool that you'll want to count on for years, so be sure to find one that fits comfortably in your hand, gives you the power and speed you need and fits in your price range.