Do you fumble around under the table to adjust the bit height or pull out the entire router to change the bit?
It’s an epic struggle you do each time you go under your router table and lose the battle more often as you hardly make the precise adjustment you wished for. Not to mention the time consumed.
You can win the battle by picking up a well-designed router lift that works as a magic. But, you may feel reluctant to grab it as the price may seem bit high and deciding which one to buy isn’t straightforward. Here’s a buying guide and top 3 router lift reviews to help you get the best router lift at a great price and end your under the table struggle.
Top rated router lift comparison
|View||Name||Insert Plate Dimension||Price|
|INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift||9-1/4x11-3/4x3/8 inches||Check Price|
|JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120||9-1/4x11-3/4x3/8 inches||Check Price|
|Kreg PRS3000 Precision||9-1/4x11-3/4x3/8 inche||Check Price|
|Bosch RA1165 with Above-Table Hex Key||-||Check Price|
|JessEm Rout-R-Lift II||9.25 x 11.75 x 10.1 inches||Check Price|
Why you’d want a router lift?
Long gone the days when router lift considered a luxury in the list of router accessories. Nowadays frequent router table users who crave for quality and quick work considers router lift near-necessity as it’s provide unmatchable convenient by giving you mainly two benefit
- Precise bit height adjustment with ease and
- Hassle free quick bit changes
Best part is you can do the both from above the table giving you respite from the awkward moments that you would have passed under the table. Also, adjusting the bit to a precise height gives you the perfect cut you always wanted. The more precise the bit height the more perfect cut you get.
George Vondriska of Woodworkers Guild of America explains the necessity of having a router lift quite amazingly check the video.
What to look for to get the best router lift?
Choosing a router lift can be challenging, as there’s a good number of lifts, which looks similar. You need to consider many things, to avail the best router lift for your wood-shop. Stop worrying here’s what you need to look for to get the best lift-
•Routers that the lift will accept. You must pay close attention to the list of routers that are compatible with the lift. A lift designed for smaller routers like 2-1/2 HP can’t house in or support the bigger and powerful routers of 3-1/2 HP.
• Lifts that come with adapters. If you’re planning to grab a powerful router in near future, look for a lift that comes with adapters so that you can also use it for your small router.
• Fixed or plunge base router. Most of the router lifts on the market designed to work with fixed base router that has removable motor. On the other hand, plunge router has non-removable motor. Make sure what type of routers you are using before going ahead.
• Router lift insert plate that will fit into your router table top openings. The insert plates have neither standard or fixed size nor the table top openings. You should check the dimension of insert plate openings and choose a lift whose insert plate will fit into it. You can also buy the insert plate separately.
It’s recommended you buy a router table package if you are looking for both lift and the table, that make sure you don’t have to worry about the fitting and also you will save some money.
• Lifts that can be locked. Locking the lift guarantees you it will not drift up and down with the router vibration, which will help you to get a precise cut. Most commercial lifts comes with this feature and it’s good to have it.
But, its usefulness mostly depends on the nature of your job. Its more useful when you aren’t required to change the bit height frequently like cutting an ogee or roundover rather than the job where you need to change the height more frequently like producing a mating parts with tight tolerance.
• Lifts that provide smallest increments in height. Look for a lift that gives the smallest increments in bit heights that will make sure you can make the finest adjustment you need to make the perfect cut.
• Above the table bit changes and height adjustment. Make sure the lift raise the router collet above the table so that quickly and easily you can change the bit above the table. I prefer crank handle to thumbwheel for raising and lowering the router. Crank handle does the job easy and in quick time.
• Insert ring on the mounting plate. Go for a lift that provides various sizes of insert ring. These are important for changing and using different diameter bits. It’s essential you provide the maximum support possible to the wood piece passing by the bits. You can also buy insert rings as per your need.
Router lift reviews: 3 of the best lift on the market
JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift
JessEm Tool Company invented the router lift and other manufacturers followed in. As if today, a great number of router lifts made available to the market that pretty much alike. JessEm again lead the way by introducing JessEm Mast-R-Lift II with some unique features.
Making you stop worrying about fitting and prevents you from choosing a lift that won’t work with your router. That’s a huge benefit. You don’t need to dedicate a router for the lift either.
You can change bits, adjust heights, lock the lift all from above the table saving your precious time, and ease the work.
However, only fixed base routers are compatible with JessEm Mast-R-Lift, it’s the norm for router lifts. Its unique tab-loc insert rings provide a quick bit changing function but Jessem provide only one ring with this lift. So, you may need to buy additional rings. But it’s not a deal breaker, considering the unique clamping feature and brand of Jessem it’s worthy of the praise.
INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift
Incra and JessEm collaborated to build INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift whose router carriage is identical to JessEm Mast-R-Lift II. Hence, you get all the benefits of the unique clamping system that you would’ve got on the JesseEm lift.
Moreover, it comes with unique feature of 5 different size metal insert rings that are locked down in place rock solid by magnets something the JessEm lift lacked. You may call this lift a well-upgraded version of JessEm lift.
You can easily level the rings accurately with router plate as it provides you height adjustment screws in the four corner tabs. It also helps you keep the table clean by allowing the dust to suck down through the dust slots.
You can smoothly raise and lower the router thanks to its exclusive ball bearing mechanism and can have a precise height adjustment of 0.001-Inch giving you the finest cut.
It has a plate size of 9-1/4-Inch x 11-3/4-Inch x 3/8-Inch that fits in all the Incra tables you may need to buy additional insert plate for other brands. If you have decided on this lift, make sure to check the table top opening size before going ahead. Considering the quality of the lift, it will be a good investment to buy additional insert plate.
JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift
If you’re on budget or a hobbyist looking to get a good quality lift, JessEm Rout-R-Lift II is the perfect match for you. Provided you are using one of these four routers
It gives you a smooth raising and lowering of the router by cranking the handle and provides precise height adjustment. Its 9.25 x 11.75 x 10.1 inches insert plate fit into almost all the router tables.
You can change the bit from above the table but you have to use an offset wrench to change the bit as the router doesn’t come up to insert plate level, large portion stays below it. Overall, it does the job very well considering the price you are getting it.