This Bench Top Router Table from Bosch isn't new to the market, but it stands out from other options available. Router Tables take your shop to the next level, giving the user even more precision and function from their routers. This Bosch Router Table is a great option for the bulk of users, and the quality of the materials makes this table a great value.
I love Routers. It would be difficult to even quantify my affection for these versatile tools that can pretty much do it all. I recently reviewed the Bosch 12V Cordless Palm Router which is an amazing tool and is an awesome addition to the shop. For certain applications that require a bit more power and a bit more precision a full-size router is needed to give the best results. This is where the magic Router Table comes in. These tools can take a somewhat cumbersome Router and make it more accurate and easy to use. From creating special joints to detailed trim work, router tables are a pretty great addition to any shop, especially for professionals. I had loads of questions about this Router Table from Bosch, so let's hop into the Bosch Bench Top Router Table Review.
Bosch Bench Top Router Table Review Overview
Whats not to love about Bosch? They seem to have flooded the market this year with awesome new tools, many of which I have been genuinely blown away by. Its hard to believe the number of things Bosch is involved in, technology and tools are just a portion of their worldwide empire. Over 130 years since their founding, and they still seem to bring the best of the best to the market.
Router Tables come in all shapes and sizes. We have large ones on casters, you have plates sold that can be inserted into an existing workbench, and you have benchtop ones like this model that sort of meld the best of both worlds. You also have a huge variance of materials that they are made from, metal, plastic, melamine, and MDF all come to mind as common components. Digging through the options can be a lot to take on, but when I am not sure of where to start in picking a tool, going for versatility and a trusted brand is reassuring. Benchtop models are available from several manufacturers, but there are a few key features that drew me to the Bosch one.
Bosch Bench Top Router Table Review Features
The first and most notable feature of the Bosch Router Table is the die-cast aluminum top. The top is thick, sturdy, and meant to last. The top Measures in at 27 inches by 18 inches. The base of the router table is made of ABS plastic.
The aluminum router mounting plate allows for precise leveling and keeps the router stable and secure. The listed measuring marks are helpful as well, with markings in 1/8- inch increments two inches forward and three inches behind the center of the bit. There is a multitude of routers that are listed for compatibility. Hardware is included to cover the possible router choices.
Bosch included a dual outlet switch, allowing the user to connect both the router and dust collection equipment. The switch is powered by a 15-Amp plug with a 6-foot cord. The included switch lock is also included to prevent unauthorized use.
Three mounting plates are included based on the application that snap into the table easily.
The aluminum fence allows for easy adjustments and includes adjustable MDF faceplates. The fence measures 25 1/8 long and 4 7/8 inches high to accommodate taller workpieces.
The fence also includes a dust collection port that allows for connection to 2-1/2 inch hoses.
Jointing shims are included which allow you to offset the fences to allow for edge jointing of wood. While you have some limits here, due to bit and table size, it is still incredibly useful.
Bosch included a starter pin and guard to provide support while working with curved pieces.
The clear guard is mounted on the fence and allows for adjustments based on workpiece size. This protects the user from contact to the router bit as well as directs dust into the vacuum port.
There are two featherboards which provide both guidance for a workpiece and as well kickback protection. The 3/4 inch accessory slot allows for use of the included featherboards as well as other optional accessories like a miter gauge that can be purchased seperately.
The included mounting holes and hardware allow for easy mounting to a workbench.
A storage pocket mounts on the side of the table base, for easy storage of accessories.
On the left of the table base is a place for cord storage.
Bosch Bench Top Router Table Review Performance
I used my Dewalt Router Model #DW618PK, which is listed as a compatible router in their manual. Using a quality router will absolutely allow this table to perform at its best. One of the true positive points is the cast aluminum table. I like that both the table and router mounting plate are made of aluminum. As well, the aluminum is easy to clean and wax when needed. The table for me has been level and solid, reinforcing the benefit over other materials we commonly see on router tables.
The fence is also made of aluminum, with attached MDF fronts. The knobs allow for the fence to stay pretty secure, but is something you always should be sure of before you start operating your router table. I used a number of different bits- roman edge, straight, cove, and rabbeting. This is where you really learn the importance of a great fence and how a table differs from free handing. Pairing a solid fence with the featherboards helped to keep the workpiece straight and secure, as well as preventing kickback. The end quality of the cut, as well as the time and effort needed, is significantly less than using a full-size router freehanded.
The safety switch worked well and the lock stayed secure when desired. The jointing shims initially seemed a bit flimsy, but surprisingly they perform as you'd expect. The dust collection worked well when attached to a shop vac, eliminating probably 80% of the dust and debris created by the router. I didn't have too much trouble adjusting my mounted router making bit changes and adjustments pretty simple. Like with any new tool it just takes a bit of practice to find the process that works best for you. Bosch does offer a table base that allows for adjustments of bits from above the table that can be used with one of their routers. You have to purchase this separately, and runs about $52 dollars at Home Depot.
Overall the assembly was pretty simple. The hardware was good quality, although I would have liked to have seen it a bit more organized. The most tedious part of assembly was leveling the router mounting plate. Doing so relies on adjusting 8 screws to level the router plate and does take a bit of effort. As long as you take your time, the instructions are incredibly detailed and include photographs for easy assembly. I did not mount the table to the workbench yet, as I will build a dedicated workbench for it. All tools like this require a bit of effort to really dial in, but their time savings later are well worth it.
Bosch Bench Top Router Table Review Value
Several things drew me to the Bosch model over other manufacturers when searching for the ideal router table. When you really get down to it, a lot are going to offer similar features. The cast aluminum top stands out at this price point, as most tops are made of laminated MDF or Melamine. I have no problem with those materials in general, but I really wanted a table that would hold up and resist splitting and cracking as well as surface damage. As well, the dual outlet power supply with the safety lock is a win too. I would have liked to see the base made from something other than molded ABS plastic, but its plenty strong and stable. Given the price point, I think anything more would have been pretty impossible to expect.
As I mentioned previously, router tables range significantly. There are a few true budget buys and some that cost multiples of this one. For just under two hundred dollars, I think the Bosch is priced fair. The quality of the components is above average, with the cast aluminum top standing out as the true value-add. You can purchase this model the RA1181 on Amazon for $199.00.
Bosch Bench Top Router Table Review Final Thoughts
When looking at Router Tables, especially in the benchtop category, you will be hard pressed to find a better option than this one from Bosch. Including safety features, accessories, as well as the cast aluminum top and aluminum fence gives you more quality than other router tables in its class. Ultimately, if you're a home woodworker or hobbyist, or even run a small woodshop this router table is likely all you will ever need.