Plunge Router Vs Fixed Base Router: Which One Should You Need?

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Written By Scott Angel

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Is your woodworking venture becoming wider? And you need more equipment to upgrade your workshop? Then you might be considering getting a quality plunge router to get more works done. While that seems an easy thing to do, due to the varying types of routers, picking between choices can be very hard at times.

There are two main router types you can choose from, Plunger router and Fixed base router. Making a purchase decision among these two tools can be so difficult that you will need an external factor mostly to help you make the right choice.

This article intends to serve the purpose of such an external factor and give you a breakdown and comparison of these two tools. With this, your decision making will be easier and more well informed.

What Is A Plunge Router?

Plunge routers are those type of routers with two arms on them, one on each side. These two arms make it possible for you to manually plunge such routers into the wood while cutting out your design. It is for this reason that it is called a plunge router. What’s meant in a simple term ¬†that a plunge router is the type of router that requires you to drive the blade of the router into the wood with your own force to cut out your desired design.

This avails you the opportunity to manipulate and control the router to do exactly as you want, thereby making it easier to cut better designs to your taste. With proper handling, you can use your plunge router to make perfect edge designs against the fear of many people, and you will find it really delightful to use.

Now that you have an idea of what a plunge router is, let us take a look at a fixed base router as well.

When Is The Plunge Router Best Used?

If you need to adjust the depth of your cutting to reach the level you need, plunge router will do the work for you. As a result of the plunge router’s design to work with the amount of force applied to it, it will be perfect to do such an assignment quite perfectly in comparison to a fixed base router.

Plunge routers also give and allow more control with vertical movements than any other router types. They are more mobile and more versatile than a fixed base router, and that is why they are perfect for those who want to work with different depths of their designs and wood project.

The Downside Of The Plunger Router

You probably have heard the phrase “There’s nothing with an advantage, that does not have a disadvantage as well”. Such is true of plunge routers. There are some downsides to them, and you have to think about the upside and the downside before making a good decision.

One of the downsides is that plunge routers are generally more expensive in comparison to fixed-base routers. This could be explained away as a result of the versatility and mobility that the router offers, but it is pricy and you should really take it into consideration when making a purchase decision.

Another downside of these plunge routers is that amateur and new woodworkers might have a hard time doing good jobs. The reason for this is that the routers do not only depend on lower but on the knowledge of depth and cutting. Therefore, an inexperienced woodworker will majorly have a problem with operating a router to get the required designs.

Therefore, if you are an inexperienced woodworker, you might want to leave the operation of the equipment for someone else or till you have a better understanding of the job it is used for. Also, if you have a budget that will suffer from such an expensive purchase, you might decide to go for the fixed base routers instead.

What Is A Fixed Base Router?

Just as the name proclaims, a fixed router has a fixed base where you have to drive the wood into the blade as against the plunger router where you’ll drive the blade into the wood to make your designs. These types of routers are the ones used in most professional carpentry workshops.

These fixed base routers are much easier for amateurs to use since it doesn’t really need to be manipulated or adjusted much like the plunge router. All you need to do to use the router is place it properly on a solid platform and you can start cutting out your woods and designs. Once situated perfectly, the router remains stationed, allowing you to move the wood around on it as you require to get your design.

Due to this easy manipulation of wood, you are more likely to make precise cuts with the fixed base router than with the plunge router.

When Is A Fixed Based Router Best Bsed?

This type of routers will be an awesome fit for people who are relatively new and inexperienced with woodworks. As against many people’s thought when they hear the name, the fixed base router is not really a large power tool, and it doesn’t involve a lot of materials. It is simply a very good tool for you to get introduced to and get better with woodworks.

These routers can also ease the work of shaping out your edge as perfectly as you desire. Whereas the plunge router requires more work and proper concentration to get your edge shaped, fixed base routers make the process as easy as it can be.

Fixed base routers also are light and easy to control. If you can get a router table to mount your fixed-base routers, you get more flexibility and ease of work. They help you get precision cutting of your woods without the need for long years of the wood workshop experience.

The Downside Of The Fixed Base Router

The first downside of the fixed base router is that they are not as versatile as a plunge router. If you are working on a project where you will need to use the plunge router from different angles and in different ways, a fixed base router will not be a perfect choice.

Also, with a fixed base router, you have to commence the cutting of your wood from the tip. Whereas, with the plunge router, you can start from the middle of the wood if the need arises. The inability of the fixed base router to start cutting a plank of wood from the middle makes it unsuitable for some projects. And if you decide to use it and find a way to manoeuvre, you might end up wasting much wood.

Final Verdict

There you have it! You can now see that your choice of which router to purchase is based mostly on what you need it for than anything else. With this article, your purchase decision making should be way easier, and you can continue your wood project without much delay.

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