What Router Lift to select?

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Forum topic by Brodan posted 12-25-2015 10:19 PM 2433 views 0 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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149 posts in 1725 days

12-25-2015 10:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router

I will be building a router table using purchased plans in Woodworkers Journal 152. I currently have an old craftsman router but plan to purchase a new router to mount on the table.

With lift kits ranging from $99 to over $300 there’s obviously a huge difference in lifts? Any suggestions on which lifts I should consider and maybe more importantly ,which I should avoid? Also what about routers?



-- Dan, TN

35 replies so far

View swdst's profile


108 posts in 1514 days

#1 posted 12-25-2015 10:26 PM

I went with the incra lift made by jessem 1000% satisfied, absolutely no regrets. Stout aluminum table, super smooth adjustment, locks in place when height is set. Highly recommend, this thing is bullet proof!

-- The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for. Louis L'Amour

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108 posts in 1514 days

#2 posted 12-25-2015 10:33 PM

Belly of the beast before and after my dc box was installed

-- The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for. Louis L'Amour

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1182 posts in 3009 days

#3 posted 12-25-2015 10:35 PM

Don’t get the rockler. It vibrates down so it changes the bit height. I jam a widge under the router to maintain the height. That works fine but I should not need to do it.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1875 days

#4 posted 12-25-2015 11:02 PM

I have a Milwaukee 3hp 1/2” plunge router:

mounted to an Incra plate without a lift kit. Since the router has a side clamp you have to reach under the table anyway so the lift kit doesn’t help much. You can’t set the router depth accurately until the router is hung so I just use a digital cutter height indicator and use the existing plunge knob to set it to the nearest. 001”. The depth indicators are like $60 and the lifts are over $100 so this is cheaper and more accurate.

-- Madmark - [email protected]

View AZMike's profile


14 posts in 2459 days

#5 posted 12-25-2015 11:30 PM

Don t get the rockler. It vibrates down so it changes the bit height. I jam a widge under the router to maintain the height. That works fine but I should not need to do it.

- Woodmaster1

The tension on the lift bars is adjustable. I had a similar problem with one of my Rockler lifts (I have 4 of them) and found you can eliminate the problem by adjusting the tension. There is a screw in the gear-looking thing that you can adjust. Instructions are probably on the Rockler website. I personally would have no lift other than Rockler.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3653 days

#6 posted 12-25-2015 11:36 PM

I have a 3 1/4hp Triton mounted in a table. It is attached to a Kreg insert plate. No lift required. The bit can be raised above the table and locked for bit changes (using a single wrench) by using the supplied hand crank. A hole is drilled in the Kreg plate for the crank to fit through.

Note: The router is dedicated to the table. But, when I don;t need it, I lift it out and cover the hole with a blank plate I made from baltic birch. The table has adjustable height and can be used for other things in the shop when the router is not being used.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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1452 posts in 1646 days

#7 posted 12-26-2015 12:42 AM

I have the Triton also and it’s a great router for my table.

I also have a Bosch 1617 for most handheld work but it’s also available with a built in lift kit so you don’t have to go the route of buying a router, then a separate router lift.

View EEngineer's profile


1120 posts in 4036 days

#8 posted 12-26-2015 09:25 PM

Say what you will about routers with built-in lifts, they will not match a well-designed router lift.

For years now I have used a Woodpecker QuickLift 420 and I have absolutely loved it! It is expensive, I think I paid more for the QuickLift than the DeWalt 616 router I run in it, but what a joy to use! To change bits, insert the handle, twist 90 degrees, then pull the router chuck up completely up above the table for quick bit changes. When the bit is changed, the same procedure will drop it below the table to approximate height and a crank can be used to position the bit height with .001” accuracy. I NEVER go under my router table. The bit is always perfectly centered and I can use the built-in rulers to accurately position the fence to where I want the bit positioned.

When I bought my lift, I had pretty much decided on a Jessem Rout-R-Lift based purely on cost. When I went to the local Woodcraft they had both the Rout-R-Lift and the Woodpecker Quick-Lift in stock and were kind enough to let me open both and inspect them. There was no comparison; the Quick-Lift was better built and the quick lift feature looked useful. I paid about $100 more for the Quick-Lift and it was worth every penny.

Unfortunately, Woodpecker no longer makes the unit I use. All they have now is the pricier PRL-V2. Same features but maybe a little overengineered for my liking and more costly than my lift. Still, I don’t think you will ever regret buying one. I have used my buddy’s setup with a Triton router and the built-in lift and I always spend more time cranking the damned thing up and down to change bits than doing real work. I suspect the bit wanders a little from center (I haven’t proven this) because setups are always a little fussier on my buddy’s table. But he also doesn’t have the ruler lines on either side of the bit hole so that makes setting up the fence exactly tougher.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 1759 days

#9 posted 12-26-2015 11:40 PM

I have a benchdog mounted on a cast iron router table. Above table bit removal is a plus. Very simple height adjustment control. I got it on eBay for 150 dollars and I really like it. New price is expensive.

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Brodan's profile


149 posts in 1725 days

#10 posted 12-27-2015 03:19 AM

Thanks for all the insight. I appreciate the different points of view.

-- Dan, TN

View Woodbum's profile


875 posts in 3488 days

#11 posted 12-27-2015 05:41 PM

I have two Woodpeckers PRL V2 with PC 3hp motors. Good setup for me. Plus the WP folks are great to work with and their products are American made in Ohio.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Sarit's profile


551 posts in 3562 days

#12 posted 12-28-2015 11:43 PM

+1 on the Triton router

If you have side access for your router table then you can use the main knob to do quick adjustments. You don’t have to spend forever cranking the microadjust knob.

View pintodeluxe's profile


5955 posts in 3235 days

#13 posted 12-29-2015 03:57 AM

I am a big fan of routers with built in lifts. I use the Freud FT1700 which is great in a router table. In fact I have two. However that model isn’t available anymore. The Triton is a good way to go for a table router. If you are planning on getting a new router for the table, save yourself some money and get the Triton.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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794 posts in 3272 days

#14 posted 12-29-2015 04:11 AM

I had the triton and hated it the height adjustment was clumsy and difficult. I also tried the 3 hp dew alt plunge which worked ok. Last year I shifted to the Woodpeckers PRL V2 with PC 3hp. As far as I’ concerned it is a superior set up, I’m very happy with the setup,

-- Ken

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408 posts in 3444 days

#15 posted 12-29-2015 10:35 AM

+1 on the incra lift made by jessem. It’s rock solid, super easy to use, and the indicator dials are dead on accurate.

-- Greg, Severn MD

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