Professional and seasoned woodworkers find a router indispensable for completing a range of cabinetry and woodwork jobs.
Carpenters and woodworkers use both plunge-base and fixed-base routers for chipping out accurate ruts and grooves on hardwood and softwood surfaces. Nevertheless, most carpenters struggle to take good advantage of a router, especially when working without a template.
This is where a router lift can come to the aid of the woodworker, making the entire task considerably easier. A router lift is installed on the router table and helps in stably locking the router below the table, thereby minimizing the chances of error associated with freehand operation.
Experienced woodworkers are aware of the multiple benefits of working with a router when the woodworking tool is strapped to the best router lifts.
Why Buy a Router Lift?
A router lift relieves you from the hassle of having to make height adjustments from underneath the table. A router lift allows you to make adjustments in height above the workbench and frees you from the need to detach the router for changing bits. Router lifts are mounting plates that come equipped with a built-in movable component that attaches the router to the workbench.
The availability of various types of router lifts can make the task of finding an appropriate product remarkably difficult. We’ve put together this article to make it easier for you to shop for a router lift that will best serve your needs and preferences.
Router Lift Buying Guide
Regardless of whether you’re on your way to purchase a router lift for the first time or thinking of upgrading, this buying guide will help you to make a practical decision. Before reviewing the aspects to keep in mind while making a purchase, let us explain how a router lift can help eliminate problems that woodworkers face while using a router.
Why Use a Router Lift in the First Place?
Router lifts come in perfectly handy for use with a wide range of routers as these tools help get rid of some major problems woodworkers face.
For a start, a router lift frees you up from the need to fumble beneath the table for adjusting the bit height. On the other hand, a lift spares you from the irritating task of having to detach the router every time you replace a bit.
To say the last but not the least, lifts are crucial when it comes to making very fine or micro-adjustments for achieving precision cuts.
Our Recomended the Best 5 Router Lifts
Before you make a decision about which router lift to purchase for your home or woodworking shop, you should do your research. To save you time, we have compiled a list of the five best router lifts for 2022 based on their price, quality, and durability.
It’s important that you consider the above metrics when deciding which router lift to buy because this will impact your overall purchase price. If you are looking to purchase a lift for a small home shop or a hobbyist, you might be able to find an option with less money than the options found below.
1. JessEm 02310 Router Lift – Best Value
The JessEm 02310 Router Lift has been designed with painstaking care, which makes it compatible with different fixed-base and plunge-base router models. The lift has been shaped out of premium quality aluminum and features a phenolic top plate, thereby making it very versatile. This Rout-R-Lift II is available in five distinct styles or types and so you can choose one that best works with your router.
The JessEm Rout-R-Lift II is compatible with Bosch 1617/1618, Dewalt 610/616/618, and Porter-Cable 690/890 routers. The lift is companionable with any router that comes with a motor of 3.5-inch diameter. The Rout-R-Lift II can effortlessly elevate and lower your router’s motor owing to the double sealed bearing on the spindle. The lift’s shafts are bunched inside a shaft mount that uses hydraulic pressure to work.
All the shafts are embedded into the top plate and can be fastened using multiple rivets, thereby disseminating the tangential load.
Consequently, a very firm and steady mount is created with the capacity to tolerate heavy-duty routing operations. Every component of this router lift from JessEm has been manufactured using CNC machining technology which makes the tool incredibly durable.
- Sturdy aluminum construction together with a phenolic top plate makes this router lift incredibly hardwearing
- Availability in five distinct styles allows you to choose a lift that best fits your needs
- Companionable with select router lifts of DW, Bosch, Porter-Cable and any other router having a motor diameter of 3.5.”
- Lowering & raising the router motor is a breeze owing to the double sealed bearing of the spindle
- CNC machined components for extra durability
- Shaft furnish a firm & stable mount enabling the lift to tolerate the most heavy-duty routing jobs
- Costlier plates than other comparable models, users expect the manufacturer to include a couple more
- At the price JessEm is charging for this model, it offers only one ring
- Inserts are not as compatible as the counterparts of other brands
2. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 021020 Router Lift – The Most Portable
As a reputed and established manufacturer of premium quality router lifts, JessEm continues to set and follow very high standards for creating innovative and versatile tools. And the state-of-the-art Mast-R-Lift II 021020 Router Lift more than meets the lofty standards set by the manufacturer.
This versatile router lift comes equipped with five dual-sealed bearings, which make it compatible for use with the heftiest of routers for nearly a lifetime. This JessEm lift, like all other JessEm router, lifts sports the proprietary feature that imparts tension to the threaded spindle for minimizing vibration and backlash.
This feature also contributes towards maintaining the settings (instead of making frequent changes) while routing. This lift features a novel intuitive locking mechanism for facilitating extended and heavy-duty routing projects.
You can also set up the Mast-R-Lift II with the majority of fixed-base routers without having to use an adapter. The lift includes special clamping blocks that help in setting up the tool with various fixed-base routers. The top plate of this Mast-R-Lift II has a tough and robust anodized surface for tolerating rigorous wear and tear.
Hard anodizing, as experienced carpenters and woodworkers will surely understand, is a highly specialized surface treatment rather than being a cosmetic surfacing job that will erode in due course. All the shaft of this router lift, have been bunched inside a shaft mount using hydraulic pressure technology.
This mechanism of tethering the shafts to the top plate ensures the provision of a very durable and firm mount for withstanding the toughest of routing jobs. With this JessEm lift, you do not need to hover beneath the table but make the changes right over the tabletop. All components of this tool have been designed and created using CNC machines, while all the aluminum parts have been anodized making the tool corrosion and wear-and-tear resistant.
- Five dual-sealed bearings ensure a long-term use with different types of routers
- Added tension to threaded spindle helps eliminate or minimize vibrations and backlash
- Frees you from the need to make setting changes while routing
- Intuitive locking mechanism facilitates heavy-duty routing operations for years
- Height adjustments can be done from the top of the table, thanks to crank handle
- Compatible with majority of fixed-base routers without having to use an adaptor collar
- Hard anodized top plate enables it to withstand wear and tear for many years
- Does not come with a dial indicator for indicating the height you are aiming at
- Installing an aftermarket dial indicator may not be feasible as top plate is not magnetized
- May not be companionable with the router you have
3. INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift – Best high-end router
This INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift lets you smoothly elevate and lower your router while the latter remains attached to the workbench. The cam lock system allows you to adjust the height of the router bit with a +/-0.001” error margin. The built-in crank handle lets you make precise height adjustments while the five sealed ball bearings allow you to work almost effortlessly.
Using a wide range of bits is not at all an issue, thanks to the five steel reducing rings included in the package. Additionally, all five rings are magnetized that facilitates an easy and quick installation of the rings. The Mast-R-Lift-II lift from INCRA will work with different router models including but not limited to Bosch, Craftsman, DW, Hitachi, Milwaukee, and Porter-Cable.
The top plate of this router lift is companionable with almost all full-scale Rockler workbenches and router tables, as well as a few other brands.
- Router lift has been shaped out of the best grade of cast iron
Included crank handle allows you to make bit height adjustments right from the top of the table
- Proprietary INCRA MagnaLock reducing ring system helps in making quick & easy ring changes
- Unique ball bearing system minimizes friction and vibration during operations
- Works with a broad range of routers and router tables
- At 15.2 pounds, this Mast-R-Lift-II router lift gets a tad hefty for most users
- Does not include an indicator dial which would have this lift more versatile
4. Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Adjustment System – Most hardy router lift
You can bet that the Tools 40-150 ProLift will ensure that you’ll never have to fumble under the table for adjusting the router bit’s height. The Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Lift has been designed and created with meticulous care, thereby enabling you to make height adjustments smoothly and bit modifications from top of the table.
While making the adjustments, you do not need to bend or stoop but can do so remaining standing in a comfortable position. The 40-1500 ProLift comes in perfectly handy when you are using hefty fixed-based routers.
The lift has a cast-iron framework that has been crafted with precision and robust bronze bushings which slide along on the double toughened-steel columns. The insert plate comes with three-bit opening sizes that enable the installation of a wide variety of router bits.
The lift features a crank-style yank for speedily and smoothly lowering and raising the router.
- Nickel finishing of the top plate together with the sturdy insert rings furnishes a frictionless & smooth surface
setup & installation are very easy with the majority of routers and router tables
- Three integrated hole sizes on the top plate for accepting a wide variety of router bits
- Body is made of cast aluminum which makes this tool hardy and adaptable
- Adapter included for fitting with router motors having a diameter below 4.2-inches
- Might need to file the top plate for making it compatible with some routers
- Might have to buy a covering plate for the holes on the insert plate for closing the openings
5. Kreg PRS5000 Precision – Most versatile router lift
The Precision Router Lift from Kreg enables woodworkers to hone their woodcraft skills and create masterpieces in wood. With this router lift, replacing bits and making accurate height adjustments right from over the table becomes a child’s play.
This Kreg lift serves as the ideal replacement for a standardized insert plate in a workbench. The included top plate not only fits all Kreg router tables but is also compatible with more than twenty other router brands. You also do not need to make any expensive adjustments or buy adapters for making your router companionable with the Kreg PRS5000.
This lift enables easy adjustments and smooth bit changes without the need to grope underneath the router table. The device comes with a sturdy crank spindle that facilitates router height adjustment from the top of the table.
The built-in micro-adjust dial helps in attaining the exact height you have in mind. At the same time, you can lock-in your preferred height or heights so that you can get to work straight away for your subsequent projects.
- Flange access above the table facilitates smooth replacements of router bits
- The top plate designed and created to work with most routers & router tables
- Hard anodized insert aluminum plate insert resists wear & tear, grazes & scratches
- Ball-bearing system on the carriage helps in the smooth operation
- Intuitive indexing ring with a micro-adjust scale makes replacing bits very easy
- Might need to plane the top plate to install the same on your router table
- Leveling the router on the workbench could be an issue when using rubber bushings
- The fence could obstruct the key lift control when the beaded face frame system
Considerations for Buying a Quality Router Lift
Since the majority of router lift brands available in the market appear somewhat alike, choosing the right product can be quite challenging.
How will you figure out that a particular router lift will best fit your needs? Keep the following factors in mind while you’re out shopping for the product that will enable you to complete your woodwork projects effectively.
You surely don’t want to purchase a router lift that is not compatible with your existing router. Given that a router lift comes at a price, you’d want to ensure that the product you ultimately select works with your router.
Though the majority of the models are designed to work with different types and editions of routers, you should still go through the product literature.
Studying the product manual in detail will make it clear to you whether the router lift will match your router. When it comes to buying a top-quality router, you should always aim towards buying a product that will be companionable with a broader range of routers.
2. Height Modification
The chief purpose behind using a router lift is to have it easy to set the router at just the right height you are looking for.
Router lifts usually feature a thumbwheel or a crank handle for facilitating height adjustments. Visit a tool shop and check out five to six router lifts and choose one that you feel most comfortable with.
Better still, if you can take your router to the outlet so that you can see for yourself how the lifts help in height adjustment.
We recommend opting for a router lift featuring ball-bearing technology as such a product will facilitate near hassle-free height modifications. At the same time, a lift reinforced with ball bearing technology calls for minimal maintenance.
The user-friendliness of a high-end product is what makes it stand out from the cheaper models. Though almost all router lifts enable you to level them with the workbench, the more expensive ones make it remarkably simpler.
The best router lifts allow you to directly set them over the top of the table while others need you to buy additional components for the same.
Apart from checking how easily the lift can be leveled on the table, you should also test out how conveniently you can make the tool work in coordination with your router. A router lift that can be set up with your router within minutes leaves you with more time to focus on your projects.
4. Fixed vis-à-vis Plunge-Base
The majority of router lifts you’ll come across have been designed for use with plunge-base routers. You’ll not be required to detach the motor when you couple a plunge-base router with a lift. However, you’ll still have it easy in coupling the lift with the router as you’ll have to make very simple adjustments.
Before purchasing a router lift, ensure that the same is companionable with your plunge-base router model. Most router lift models can be attuned with a fixed-based router as well.
Routers with fixed bases usually come with a detachable motor, and the chances are that they will be more effective when used with a router lift.
Ensure that the router lift you’re thinking of purchasing has been constructed from high quality materials. Since you intend to use the product for as many years as possible, it does not bear emphasis that the same should be made from robust materials.
The best router bits are generally made from industrial-grade steel while many products are fashioned out of cast iron or aluminum.
You’d use a router lift to get the maximum out of your router. So it does not need to be emphasized that a router lift has to be flexible which in turn implies that the tool should not be heavy. An unusually hefty router lift would simply negate the very purpose of using the tool in the first place.
Though you will exercise great caution in choosing an appropriate router, there’s a very slim likelihood that you might end up buying the wrong one.
In case you’re using more than one router, it could happen that the lift may not match with all. To get around this problem, it is safer to for a model that comes with an adapter.
An adapter is a component that nearly ensures that the router lift will work with gel with multiple router models. It is also extremely crucial to ensure that the lift has adequate insert holes. Having such a lift spares you from the trouble of having to bore new holes for setting it up with a new router.
8. Insertion Ring Plates and Sizes
You’ll be better off selecting a router bit that comes with a wide range of insertion rings. The insert rings enable you to work with different types of router bits that, in turn, help you in completing a variety of woodwork projects.
9. Locking Mechanism
Before you make up your mind on the router bit you’ll finally buy, make sure its locking mechanism is perfect. In other words, the locking system of the product should enable you to tether it with the router.
A good locking system will lock the contraption in such a way that it will remain perfectly steady for the entire period you work.
Bear in mind that a good quality router lift comes at a price, and the best ones out there could cost more than your router. Buying a router lift makes sense only if you use the router heavily and experience difficulty in making the most of the tool.
In case you wish to continue using your existing router and intend to make it as handy as an upgraded router, then opting for a lift router makes good sense.
So, if you’re thinking of choosing a router lift that has the features, you’re looking for and yet within your budget, then stay optimistic. Check this video to learn more about router left.
FAQ About Router Lifts
Working with a route lifts can be difficult if you don’t know what you are doing. Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions.
Are router lifts worth it?
Router lifts are a great way to lift your router without having to manually lift it. A route can give you at least 25% more space than a table and are also safer when handling tools. If you are planning on using your router in the future then yes, a router lift can be a great investment.
Do you need a router lift for router table?
This is a good question. If you are planning on only using your router table, you will be fine without a router lift. However, if you will also be using your router table to operate other tools then a lift is a good investment.
What does a router lift do?
A router lift is a tool that enables you to use your router for woodworking tasks in an easier manner. Using a lift does not change the way you operate your router but will instead eliminate some of the more tedious activities. For example, using a router lift will eliminate the need to raise and lower your router every time you want to make an adjustment.
Can you put a plunge router in a router table?
A plunge router cannot be used in a router table. This is because routers are used for making precise cuts and using it for these cuts will put unnecessary stress on the motor. If you want to use your router in a router table, you will first need to find out why the router is losing power.
Are router lifts universal?
Not all router models work with motorized lifts. In fact, you will need to remove the motor to fit a router lift on it. If your router model has been discontinued, then you can purchase a universal model that will work with your lift.
What is The Height of Router Lifts?
All of the routers we have reviewed in this article range between 60 to 90 inches in height. If you prefer a shorter lift, you can find models that range from 48 to 64 inches. The more compact the lift, the less it costs.
Selecting the five best router lifts models from the numerous brands out there in the market was a challenging task.
Most of the models we listed for reviewing met the criterion for being labeled as a ‘best router lifts’. After careful consideration of 7-8 models, we zeroed in five models for in-depth review.
After completing the review, we created a table that enables you to see at a glance the USP of each model. So, if you’re looking for a versatile router lift, the Kreg PRS5000 Precision would be suitable.
Alternatively, if you are looking for a model that is within your budget yet does the job, then go for JessEm 02310 router lift.