Difference between Plunge Router and Fixed-Base Router

Difference between Plunge Router and Fixed-Base Router

Woodworking is a venture that takes considerable effort and dedication. However, the results you will reap from it are splendid, especially when using the right tools.

One of the crucial woodworking tools you should be conversant with when venturing into this industry is the router.

They are available in two forms, including the plunge router and the fixed base router.

These two models can be challenging to differentiate, especially if you are a beginner. It will be wise to opt to go for a router that will match the nature of the woodworking task you are undertaking.

Getting value from your investment should be your priority. That’s why you should go for a high-quality router.

This piece will enlighten you on the difference between a plunge router and a fixed base router so that you could make the right choice on which one to go for.

Fixed Base Router vs. Plunge Router

Although these two woodworking power tools have been built to perform similar functionality, they differ in some aspects.

Whereas a fixed base router features a fixed position for the bit, a plunge router has the capability of plunging or lowering the bit in the stock through the use of the base flat plate on the stock.

However, it’s essential to note that these two types of woodworking routers feature an adjustable cutting depth.

More Details on Plunge Router

A woodworking plunge router is designed so that you can lower the bit from a higher level while the base is lying flat on the workpiece.

Plunge routers are ideal when making cuts in the middle of a wooden piece away from the edges.

Before you make up your mind on whether to go for a fixed-based router or a plunge router, it’s better to put into consideration your woodworking project needs.

You should clearly understand what each router is built for.

At first, a plunge router may be complex and challenging to use. However, with experience and the required level of skills, this power-cutting tool is convenient and easy to use.

Plunge routers are built with two arms, one on one side and one on the other. This feature allows the user to manually plunge in the workpiece and start cutting it.

The reason behind its name is that you have to forcefully plunge it into the piece of wood to initiate the cutting process.

Additionally, this type of router gives the user the much-needed level of control that they desire.

Plunge router provides a swift experience and the capability to make cuts far, much better.

Although most woodworking enthusiasts find it challenging to handle edge-working using a plunge router, you may be able to achieve this with much ease with the rights skills and expertise.

More Details on Fixed Base Router

Just as the same suggests, a fixed base router features a fixed base as opposed to the one that you will have to move up and down into the workpiece.

You have to manually set the depth of the bit before using it as its constant.

This type of router is often found in most workshops. Thus it will be ideal if you start familiarizing yourself with them in advance.

It would be much tricky to operate a plunge router if you are well conversant with the use of a fixed base router.

For starters, this is the type of router to go for in the woodworking industry as they are relatively easy to use.

This is because you wouldn’t have to be worried regarding how to manually adjust it.

Once you position the router where it is required to be, it gets physically locked onto that position and is fully set for operations.

You are much free to move the workpiece as you want since the router bit is fixed and not moving.

This feature gives you the capability of cutting pieces of wood with an advanced level of accuracy.

The fixed is suitable for woodworking starters and those seeking to make precise and clean cuts but with minimal skills and experience in the industry.

However, this power tool comes with a set of drawbacks that may limit your effectiveness while undertaking various projects.

Instances Where the Use of Plunge Router May be Perfect

Plunge routers can be ideal when you require adjustments on the depth of the cutting bit precisely where you require it to be.

This is because plunge routers are built to perform based on the level of force that you exert to the cutting bit as it starts the cutting process.

This type of woodworking router will provide you with an advanced level of control, significantly when you are cutting vertically compared to other types of routers.

Plunge routers are designed to offer you more mobility and versatility as opposed to a router that stays in a fixed position.

This power tool is perfect for woodworkers that require varying depths of cuts for their different tasks.

Shortcomings of a Plunge Router

As compared to their fixed base counterparts, plunge routers tend to be much costly. This can be attributed to the sturdy capabilities and the level of versatility that it provides to the users.

They are not ideal for starters who have a limited budget set aside for buying tools.

Plunge routers may also not be ideal for woodworking beginners as it requires some level of skills and expertise to operate them efficiently and with fewer difficulties.

Additionally, they may also be troublesome to operate since they lack a base, and you have to manually move them to the workpiece.

Only experienced and seasoned woodworkers can effectively use a plunge router. Buying this tool without experience may not be ideal as you face hardships operating it at first.

Instances Where the Use of a Fixed Base Router May be Perfect

The use of a fixed base router may be ideal when its base is mounted on its table or a working bench.

One of the impressive aspects of fixed-base routers is that they can be easily be used by everyone, including beginners.

A fixed base router is of compact size and thus will not occupy much space on your working station.

This will enable you to have enough space for the storage of other vital tools in your workshop.

Unlike the plunge routers, you can be able to use fixed-base routers to properly shape the edges of the wood to the required level that you desire.

Due to the lightweight, it’s much easier to maneuver, particularly if you own a table base where you could mount them one.

You will be able to make precise cuts even if you are not an experienced woodworker.

Shortcomings of a Fixed Base Router

Unfortunately, through the use of fixed base routers, you will not be able to achieve the same amount of versatility that you could achieve through the use of a plunge router.

This is a limiting factor that makes it not ideal for demanding projects.

Another limiting factor of the fixed base router is that you may not initiate the cutting process from the middle of the piece of wood.

This is because their cutting bit is fixed. It may be troublesome to use them for some woodworking tasks.

Final Verdict

The decision on which is better between a fixed base router and a plunge router will be based on the purpose you are buying it for.

If you are a novice in the woodworking industry, it may be ideal if you opted for a fixed base router since it’s much easier to use and requires minimal levels of skills of expertise.

Additionally, they are available at a budget-friendly cost.

If you are seeking versatility, then you should opt to go for a plunge router. However, you should be ready and willing to pay more for the advanced features.


Plunge router vs. fixed-base router

Which is better between plunge router and fixed base router

Difference between plunge router and fixed base router

Sokna Chan

Welcome to WoodWorkingToolsHQ.com Carpentry is my passion. I understand that it can be challenging for those seeking to venture into this industry, especially if you are a novice. I hope you enjoy and get a lot of ideas from my website. Thank you so much for your time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts