If you’re a DIY enthusiast who goes above and beyond for beautifying your home, you’ve landed in the right place!
It’s such a great feeling to be able to decorate the home without hiring anyone for putting up the wallpaper or setting up the ceiling lights. As long as you have the skills and all the tools at hand, it is possible to save the extra dollars needed for those services.
Let’s say you’re also going to build furniture using your carpentry skills. You’ve bought a wood slab for turning it into a coffee table. But as you’re about to begin, you’ve found that the surface is uneven.
So, how are you going to fix that?
In order to flatten the slab smoothly, you will need the best router for flattening slabs. We know that it can be pretty difficult to find one which is why we have shared our recommendations below.
Router for Planing Wood Slabs Comparison Table
Name - Base Style
Makita RP2301FC - Plunge
9000 - 22000
Triton TRA001 Dual Mode - Fixed/Plunge
8000 - 21000
DEWALT DW618PKB - Fixed/Plunge
8000 - 24000
Bosch 1617EVSPK - Fixed/Plunge
8000 - 25000
SKIL RT1322-00 - Fixed/Plunge
0 - 25000
DEWALT DW625 - Plunge
8000 - 22000
BOSCH 1617EVS - Fixed
8000 - 25000
Metabo HPT Router Kit - Fixed/Plunge
2-1/4 Peak HP
8000 - 24000
Top 8 Best Router For Flattening Slabs [Reviews]
1. Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP* Plunge Router
Starting with lighting equipment, motors, and transformers, Makita became the leading manufacturer of power tools in the late 1950s. The brand has a reputation for offering high-quality products compared to other brands in the market.
An example of such a product is the RP2301FC plunge router. This router is built in such a way as to allow you to work for long hours without any trouble. It features a 3.25 HP motor, which makes the device tremendously effective for flattening slabs for doors and cabinets.
If you need to change the speed appropriate for your desired application, you can easily do it with this router. It features variable speed ranging between 9000 rpm and 22000 rpm. Moreover, the router will maintain its constant speed when it is under load.
It can be dangerous if you turn on a device and it starts with a sudden jerk. The device would start softly, thanks to its added safety feature. Not only that, but also you’ll be able to apply brake in the middle of the woodworking session.
With this machine, you can make grooves of a depth up to 2.75 inches. Because of the linear ball bearings, the router will be able to plunge without any interruption.
You can rest assured you won’t feel uncomfortable using this amazing tool because it features a rubberized handle, a convenient switch, a lock-on trigger, and LED lights.
- The router is capable of penetrating slabs up to a 2.75-inch depth
- Effortless speed adjustment capabilities
- Ability to halt operation instantly using the brake feature
- The linear ball bearings ensure smooth plunging motion
- The rubberized handle ensures a firm grip
2. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Router for Flattening Slabs
Triton is also a reliable brand known for its range of high-quality power tools. The brand aims to offer precision with every tool, including its award-winning routers.
The Triton TRA001 precision plunge router is something you will appreciate because of its dual-mode capability. With the press of a button, you can transform the router from a plunge base to a fixed base and vice versa. This versatility allows you to perform both simple and complex tasks with ease.
Like the previous router, this one also features a 3.25 HP motor for a powerful performance. There’s a knob that you can use to control the speed. The variable speed ranges between 8000 rpm and 21000 rpm, so there’s more room for controlling the speed required for different woodworking tasks. Even if you need to flatten the toughest type of wood, the router will maintain the pre-adjusted speed.
Some routers can give you difficulty in changing the bit, but you don’t need to worry about the TRA001. Using the included collet wrench, you can easily change the bit to the one of your preferred size. To prevent the bit from coming off, there’s a spindle that automatically secures it into place.
This versatile router boasts of a feature that you’ll appreciate. As you flatten slabs, the vents located on both sides of the router will suction the dust particles. This is a crucial feature to look for in the best router for flattening slabs, especially if you have dust allergies.
- Fixed and Plunge modes add versatility
- You can easily adjust the speed up to 21000 rpm
- The collet wrench allows for easy bit replacement
- The air vents prevent dust from damaging the router
- The cutting depth can be adjusted
3. DEWALT DW618PKB Fixed/Plunge Base Surfacing Router
Dewalt is a renowned brand that offers a range of power tools, safety gear, and accessories required for various professions.
The DW618PKB router is among the many tools that simplify tasks for woodworkers. This is actually a set that includes a motor, a fixed base, a plunge base, a sub-base, collets, a wrench, and an adapter all neatly packed in a large bag. If you’re a professional woodworker who’s always on the run, you’ll enjoy the convenience.
Starting with the motor, it has a horsepower of 2.25. Being in the low-HP range, the motor offers variable speed ranging between 8000 rpm and 24000 rpm. You have the freedom of selecting the speed needed for flattening, grooving, tracing, and other tasks.
Whenever you need to take out the motor or change the base, all you need to do is lift the thumb latch. There’s a button that locks the spindle for the safe replacement of the bit.
As for the plunge router, it allows you to make adjustments per your requirements. There’s a turret depth stop that allows you to set the depth up to five positions. Additionally, you can make micro adjustments to slightly increase or decrease the depth of the cut.
It can get annoying when you have to deal with dust particles scattered all over your work area. Thankfully, you can work in peace as the DW618PKB comes with a dust collector.
- Features both fixed base and plunge base
- Offers a maximum speed of 24000 rpm
- The dust collector suctions most of the dust particles
- The thumb latch allows for easy removal of the motor and the base
- Features five depth stop positions
4. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Slab Flattening Router
Bosch not only focuses on convenience but also the quality of its products, which makes it a reliable brand.
If you’re looking for a router combo kit by the brand, you can take a look at the 1617EVSPK. This one includes a motor, a fixed base, a plunge base, collets, and other accessories that will come in handy when you’re woodworking. Instead of a bag, all of these items come in a hard shell case for a more professional look.
This router’s motor has 2.25 horsepower with variable speed that you can adjust from 8000 rpm to 25000 rpm. Depending on the size of the bit you’re using for flattening slabs and other woodworking applications, you can adjust the speed accordingly.
Apart from that, you can also make micro cutting depth adjustments up to an inch for more precision. Besides flattening slabs, you can make dovetail cuts, round wood edges, and perform other tasks accurately. The best router for slab flattening shouldn’t limit you to a single task, which you can expect from the 1617EVSPK.
When it comes to changing the bit, you can easily do so by using the respective wrenches for the collet and the spindle. There’s a half-inch collet as well as a quarter-inch collet, so you don’t have to purchase collets separately.
What’s more, the 1617EVSPK comes with chip shields to prevent the wood chippings from flying towards you.
- Features both plunge base and fixed base
- You can adjust the speed up to 25000 rpm
- Micro cutting depth adjustments for precision-enhanced performance
- The wooden and soft grip handles ensure comfort
- Includes chip shields to prevent wood chippings from flying towards you
5. SKIL RT1322-00 Plunge and Fixed Base Router Combo
Skil is another popular brand that offers various power tools, including angle grinders, cordless sealant guns, and routers.
It can be a hassle to search for a fixed base router and a plunge base router separately. Like most routers in this list, the RT1322-00 is a combo package that comes with both routers. The package also includes collets, wrenches, dust extraction adapters, chip shields, an edge guide, and a sub-base. Whichever woodworking task your job calls for, you’ll be ready in no time!
The motor of the RT1322-00 has a horsepower of 2.5, which is pretty decent for flattening large slabs of wood. Also, you can set the speed of the router starting from zero to 25000 rpm.
Speaking of speed, this router has a unique feature that can be of great help for aspiring woodworkers. There’s an LCD on top of the motor that lets you know the optimal speed once you set the type of bit and wood you’re using for your project. The router will begin its job while maintaining that speed.
You can rest assured you won’t jerk every time you turn on the router because it will always start slowly before reaching the set speed. In order to ensure you work comfortably throughout the project duration, the router is integrated with knob-shaped, rubberized grips.
- Features plunge and fixed bases
- The motor can reach a maximum speed of 25000 rpm
- Features an LCD that suggests a suitable speed for a particular type of bit and wood
- The router starts slowly every time you turn it on
- The knob-shaped, rubberized grips allow you to work comfortably
6. DEWALT (DW625) 3-HP Plunge Router for Router Sled
Here’s another Dewalt router worth mentioning for various woodworking applications, the DW625.
This is a plunge base router that you can use for not only flattening slabs, but also making inlays, and cutting mortises. Its motor operates at 3 HP, which provides enough power for completing any kind of woodwork easily.
Not to mention, you have the option of adjusting the speed suitable for the type of bit and wood you’re using. This router can reach a maximum speed of 22000 rpm. Whether you’re flattening slabs or performing other woodworking tasks, you can rest assured the machine will never alter the set speed on its own.
Apart from that, you have the option of adjusting the depth of the cut using the rack and pinion depth adjuster. You can even increase the depth of the cut slightly using the micro-cutting depth adjuster. This kind of convenience is worth appreciating when you’re looking at the best router for the router sled.
The DW625 also allows for easy changing of bits. Unlike most routers that require wrenches, this one features a spindle-lock button that only needs to be pressed to remove the bit.
- You can adjust the speed of the router up to 22000 rpm
- The rack and pinion depth adjuster allows for easy depth adjustment
- To make precise cuts, you can fine-tune the bit’s depth
- The router starts slowly every time you turn it on
- Features spindle-lock button for easy bit removal
7. BOSCH 1617EVS Electronic Fixed-Base Router
For simple woodworking tasks, you might not want to invest in a plunge router or a combo set. In that case, you can choose the 1617EVS router by Bosch. This is actually the same fixed-base router that you’ve previously seen, with the exception that it doesn’t come as a combo set.
The 1617EVS features the same motor that delivers 2.25 HP and a speed ranging between 8000 rpm and 25000 rpm. Whichever type of wood slab you’re flattening, the router will ensure you keep working at a constant speed.
When working with machinery, you might jerk when the machine starts at high speed all of a sudden. However, with this fixed-base router, you can rest assured that it will start softly before reaching the set speed.
Often you will need to adjust the bit depth to keep up with the gradually decreasing slab’s depth. With the 1617EVS, you can easily adjust the bit’s height from the router table as well as make fine adjustments.
Speaking of the router table, this router can be easily mounted to it using the threaded holes located on the underside. Not only that, but you will find operating the router convenient because of the rounded handles.
- The router can reach the highest speed of 25000 rpm
- You can adjust the height of the bit with ease
- The router maintains its set speed
- You can easily mount the router to the router table using the threaded holes
- The rounded handles ensure a comfortable grip
8. Metabo KM12VC HPT Router for Planing Wood Slabs
Metabo is popular for its range of sturdy and reliable power tools, such as angle grinders, circular saws, and routers. The brand is a top choice among many homeowners who are always installing and repairing things on their own.
The HPT router kit is one of the tools that you can easily use for woodworking applications. This kit contains a fixed base, a plunge base, collets, wrenches, and other items, so there’s no limitation when working on complex projects.
What you’ll love about this router, its motor is quieter than most router motors you’ll ever find! Since the loud noises made by power tools can annoy the people around you, you can rest assured this tool won’t because of its low noise level of 79.5 decibels.
The router operates at a horsepower of 2.25 and can reach a maximum speed of 24000 rpm. You can consider this the best router for planing wood slabs, making grooves, and trimming edges.
With the HPT router, you can make adjustments to the depth of the bit according to your requirements. You can also make fine adjustments for more precision. When you need to adjust the depth or change the base, all you need to do is lift the latch to release the motor.
What’s more, your hands won’t ache because the ergonomic handles ensure comfort.
- Features a fixed base and a plunge base
- The motor produces less noise
- You can easily adjust the depth of the bit
- The device can reach up to a staggering 24000 rpm for performing medium to largescale woodworking operations
- The ergonomic handles ensure comfort
What Features to Look Before Buying Router for Slab Flattening
Fixed Or Plunge Base
Routers are available with two base types- fixed base and plunge base. There are also some routers that use both types of bases. Before you start your project, it is essential to know the type of base you need.
If you’re new to woodworking, it will be easier to flatten slabs using a fixed base router. As its name suggests, this type of router has a fixed base that ensures easy maneuverability without moving up and down. If you’re mostly doing simple tasks, such as smoothing the edges, a fixed base router is an ideal choice.
On the other hand, a plunge base router is suitable for professionals who are doing complex woodworking projects. Unlike a fixed base router, a plunge base variant has the ability to move up and down. This motion allows you to make grooves and complex engravings.
If your router features both base types, you will have the advantage of doing simple and complex tasks instead of purchasing separate routers.
Whichever type of router you prefer, it should have enough power to flatten the type of wood you’re working with. If the power is too low, it will be difficult to make grooves on the slab. You’ll find that in every router, the power is rated in HP or horsepower.
The power of routers is typically classified as low HP and high HP. While low HP refers to the rating between 1 and 3, high HP refers to the rating above 3. Unless you’re a professional doing complex woodworking tasks, you should go for a low-HP router.
How fast you can flatten slabs depends on the router’s motor speed. The speed is measured in revolutions per minute or rpm.
If you’re using a smaller bit, let’s say an inch, you will need to choose a router having a high motor speed. High-speed motors, such as those with rpm above 20,000 will ensure cleaner cuts. If you’re going to use larger bits, lower speeds such as 10,000 will be ideal.
To prevent any limitation to your creativity, it is a good idea to invest in a router with variable speed. The greater the speed range the router offers, the better it will be.
A collet is a part of a router that holds the bit tightly. It usually comes in two different sizes- 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch. Smaller routers make use of the 1/4-inch collet while larger ones accommodate both sizes.
If you want to achieve cleaner cuts with minimum vibration, we recommend you choose a 1/2-inch collet. And if you prefer achieving thinner cuts within a budget, a 1/4-inch collet will do.
An important thing to look for when shopping for the best router for flattening slabs is the handle. Since you’ll be using the router by gripping the handle, it needs to be comfortable. Otherwise, you might not be able to achieve your desired results.
So, when you’re looking at the handle, make sure it is coated with rubber and has a sturdy construction.
Woodworking involves the scattering of dust particles, which can create a mess in your work area. It might leave you frustrated considering the additional energy you will need to expend in cleaning up the mess.
That being said, it is recommended you look for a router that allows you to attach your vacuum cleaner. As you work, the dust particles will be suctioned to the vacuum cleaner and leave the work environment clean.
If you’re a beginner aiming to make precise cuts, you can take help from an edge guide. The tool is optional because you will still be able to work without it. Although many routers come with an edge guide, you will also find it being sold separately.
How To Flatten A Wood Slab With A Router?
If you’ve never used a router for flattening a wood slab, but ready to do it now, simply follow the steps below.
Step 1: Make A Sled For Holding Your Router
If you don’t have a sled already, you will need to make one. The router sled can be made with three pieces of plywood and it should measure twice as long as the width of your workbench. For example, if your workbench measures 34 inches wide, the router sled should be 68 inches wide.
Wrap a piece of paper around the router’s base and use a pencil to mark the two holes and the flattening router bit. Place the paper on a piece of plywood and transfer the markings. Use a drilling machine to drill a countersink hole through the three markings.
For the sides of the sled, cut two pieces of plywood measuring 3/4 inches in length and 2 inches in width. Clamp the pieces to the edges of the plywood base and then glue them into place.
Once done, use a jigsaw to make a shallow relief cut in the side rail. Take a dust hood and mount it to the sled using angle brackets.
Step 2: Make The Side Rails Of The Sled
Cut two pieces of plywood measuring 3/4 inches in length and 6 inches in width. The length should be of the same size as the workbench. Glue a small block of wood at each end of the side rail. Align the side rails on both sides of the workbench and clamp them into place.
When done, rub some paraffin wax along the top edges of the side rails to allow the jig to slide smoothly.
Step 3: Level The Top Surface Of The Slab
Make sure your workbench is straight. Place a level on top of the slab and inspect any high spots. If you notice that the gap underneath the level is unequal at both ends, you will need to adjust the height of the slab using shims. You will be cutting away about 1/4 inch of wood at every pass, so minimizing the gap will prevent you from taking off the excess wood.
Step 4: Start Routing
Attach the hose of your vacuum cleaner to the dust hood. Make sure that the router has the appropriate speed in accordance with the bit. Place the router on the sled and set its depth so that it cuts away 1/4 inches of plywood. Turn on the router. Pass both the router and the sled slowly across the slab until the surface becomes flattened. Re-adjust the depth if needed.
Step 5: Finishing Up The Flattened Slab
Once you’ve flattened the slab, there will be tracks from the router’s bit. To make the surface look cleaner, use a belt sander on both sides of the slab. Here’s to check how to flatten live edge slabs in different ways.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can You Flatten A Slab With A Trim Router?
It is possible to use a trim router for flattening slabs. However, as a trim router uses less power, you’ll have to use a smaller bit. That means it will take a lot of time to get the job done than using a plunge router.
2. Can You Use A Router On Concrete
Concrete is a hard material. A router’s motor isn’t powerful enough to pierce through concrete. While it might be possible to cut using a router with a diamond bit, a saw is a better option.
3. Can I Use A Router For Cutting Plywood?
It is possible to use a router for cutting plywood as long as the router has a suitable type of bit. For plywood, a spiral solid tungsten carbide bit is recommended.
4. Is A Router Sled Necessary For A Router?
To be able to run the router multiple times across a large slab precisely, it is recommended you use a router sled. You can either purchase one from a local hardware store or build it on your own.
5. How Much HP Do I Need?
For flattening slabs, a router having a minimum of 2 HP is required. If you use a low-HP router having a motor of 1 to 3 HP, you will be able to make smoother cuts. For making deeper cuts, high-HP routers with more than 3 HP will suffice.
6. What Can A Wood Router Do?
With a wood router, you can perform various tasks. You can cut wood into different patterns, make duplicates from a pattern, trim the edges, and flatten the surface.
Whether you’re a beginner or a professional in woodworking, you won’t regret purchasing a router. It is such a handy tool that allows you to perform a range of tasks, such as flattening, cutting, and profiling edges.
Speaking of which, the routers you’ve read about in the list have all been thoroughly researched, so there’s no room for disappointment when you pick one. Just make sure to read the buying guide before you decide on one!