Best Router for Dovetail Jig: A Woodworker’s Ultimate Guide

Whether you are a pro woodworker or hobbyist, a dovetail jig is necessary to create precise and accurate dovetail joints for drawers, cabinets, and boxes.

But to get an accurate and consistent cut, you must need the best router for dovetail jig.

It provides ample power and speed to ensure precise cuts, especially when dealing with hardwoods. Besides, a good router will have a smooth and stable base with an adjustable depth stop for a customized shape with a longer lifespan.

Editor’s Pick


  • 2.25 HP motor
  • 8,000-25,000 RPM
  • Fast bit changing

Premium Pick

  • Fixed and plunge bases
  • Micro depth adjust
  • Solid construction


SKIL RT1323-00
  • 2-1/4 HP Motor
  • Slow start
  • Dust collection

What Will You Get From This Guide?

After reading this guide, you can understand which is compatible with your dovetail jig. I have invested hours after hours in finding the right router for your dovetail jig that can ensure a precise cut with its power and consistency.

An unbiased and reliable comparison among the top routers for the jig – You can save your time and effort by making decisions after reading this Router dovetail jig guide.

We will cover the key specification, such as power, speed, proper usage, compatibility, pros, cons, and an overall summary to make your decision-making easier. So hold on tight to read.

Why Should You Trust Us?

Well, I have years of experience in handling fine woodworking tools. Besides, I have tried to communicate with some top woodworkers, such as  woodworking specialist and Elite Woodwork USA, to figure out whether these general tools I have selected with my expertise are top-notch or not.

What Needs To Consider When Picking The Best Router For Dovetail Jigs?

Here are the things you should consider to get a good deal.

Fixed or plunge base

A fixed base model you get a good deal on that once you get the height dialed in the router bit and doesn’t remove until it needs replacement and when you only use it for the dovetail jig or dovetail template.

However, picking one with dual modes is better for added versatility. Let’s see the differences.

The main differences between a fixed base and a plunge base for a router are:

Fixed Base

  1. Stability: Provides a stable platform for precise cuts and is better suited for trimming and edge work.
  2. Consistent cutting depth: Cutting depth is fixed and does not change, allowing for consistent cuts.
  3. Larger base: Offers a larger base for stability and control.
  4. Limited versatility: The fixed base design limits versatility compared to a plunge base.

Plunge Base

  1. Versatility: The plunge base allows for greater versatility and is ideal for making cuts into the center of a workpiece.
  2. Adjustable cutting depth: Cutting depth can be adjusted, allowing for different depths in the same workpiece.
  3. Precise cuts: Precise cuts can be made with the plunger base, making them ideal for joint jig and box joints.
  4. Smaller base: The smaller base provides less stability but allows for greater mobility and maneuverability.

Both fixed-base and plunge-base routers have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on the user’s specific needs and preferences.

Check the collet

Collet is important to attach dovetail bit to the router. It is better to have ½ and ¼ collets to attach different router bits for versatile work. But make sure to have a ½ collet when working with dovetail jigs or box joints.

Side and D handle

Side and D handle is important to have a comfortable experience. The handle should have a good grip to enjoy working and reduce fatigue while working for a long time.

Soft start

Soft start prolongs the lifespan of the machine. It also prevents kickback when starting the router. Make sure to have one with a soft start.

Depth adjustability

You are not going to work with woods with the same depth. Also, the grooves need to be different for different dovetail joints. Having depth adjustment helps you do all of those with ease.

Speed and Horsepower

I found out that 1.5 hp is not enough. It causes a lot of chatter. Try to get one with a 2HP motor for smooth operation. Try to have speed adjustment since we often need to deal with soft and hardwood.


This is highly important. Check whether the router is compatible with your dovetail or jigs. If you have a porter cable jig, check if the router is compatible with that or not. The same goes for other models.

For example, a router might be suitable for 12 inch dovetail jig, but it might not be good for rockler complete dovetail jig. So check the compatiblity.

Favorite brand

Do you have any favorite brands to pick? If so, go for it. Some people like Dewalt, some people like keller dovetail system, and some people like routers leigh industries or Bosch. Go for any brand but do not compromise with the quality.

The 5 Best Routers For Dovetail Jig

With hundreds of options available, it is easy to be overwhelmed. I have picked only 5 routers compatible with different brands and models of jigs. Let’s check.

BOSCH 1617EVSPK Wood 12 Amp Router Tool Combo Kit

You know most woodworkers like a fixed-router. That is because once you adjust the height, you can go on and on until it is replacing time.

That is why our first pick is BOSCH 1617EVSPK Wood 12 Amp Router Tool Combo Kit. Its fixed base has threaded holes for easy router table mounting and jig installment.

And you know the best part?

This one offers both the fix and plunge base for a more convenient operation.

This combo accessory kit is another name for versatility. For any dovetail jigs and joints, this kit is perfect. You can do plunging, slot cutting, edge forming, laminate trimming, and jig joints.

You often need to deal with hardwood or other tough woodworking projects. To handle the pressure, it comes with an aluminum construction that makes it lightweight yet rugged.

Let’s talk about power and capacity.

With its 12 AMP motor, it can deliver the optimal speed from 8,000-25,000 RPM to tackle those jig applications such as box joints or sliding dovetail.

Its speed variable dial allows you to adjust the speed for precision. Just turn it up and down like our grandfathers used to do with their radio dials.

Its two wooden side handles with a soft grip make them comfortable. You can use it for a long time without experiencing fatigue.

The wide base opening and 2-inch subway opening allow easy and fast router bit changing for different dovetail joinery cuts.

Adjusting the depth is also easier thanks to its Coarse and Microfine adjustment bar. It also has a right or left switch location to ensure that the motor does not move while adjusting the depth.

Precision center design makes keeping it on the line while working with the dovetail jigs easier. It helps you work with template or any guide. The 2 inch-opening facilitates more to work with template or guides.

It does not start at the speed you set previously. It slowly reaches the desired speed to prevent start-up torque. You will get constant speed throughout the cut.

Keeping the working environment clean is important. That is why it comes with an end-to-end collection system to ensure a cleaner work environment.

The 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch collet chucks extensions allow you to use it smoothly with the jig.

With all these features, this Router dovetail jig kit is the best router for porter cable dovetail jig. However, you will need a Milescraft sub-base extension to make this router work for the porter cable jig.


  • Versatile with both fixed and plunge base options.
  • Durable with aluminum construction.
  • 12 AMP motor and adjustable speed from 8,000-25,000 RPM.
  • Comfortable to use with soft grip handles.
  • Easy router bit changing with wide base opening and 2-inch subway opening.
  • Accurate with precision center design and adjustable depth.
  • Clean work environment with an end-to-end collection system.


  • The motor is loud; you may need hearing protection

DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

Dewalt is the leading-edge company in the power general tools industry right now.

Like any other good dovetail router, this one also has a soft start to reduce start-up torque. It ensures better control at the start.

With its D-handle design, you can comfortably maneuver the router with the dovetail jigs for a precise cut. The handle incorporates a trigger switch with a lock-on feature for even more control in operation. It makes bottom mortices and dadoes easier.

Besides, the fixed and plunge bases allow more flexibility with dovetail jigs. A quick-release motor latch facilitates base changing when needed.

It comes with a 2-1/4 HP motor with 12.0 amp power to generate up to 24000 rpm speed. But the speed is controllable. You can adjust the speed from 8,000-24,000 rpm to deal with different woods – from hardwood to softwood.

Moreover, its micro-fine depth adjustment ring allows 1/64-inch depth adjustment to create different dovetail joints and finger joints. And changing depth is simple thanks to the tool-free steel motor cam lock.

You can even change the router bits based on the need for its easy-to-use spindle lock button. It also accept template or guidance to make the setting easier.

Routing or woodworking produces a lot of dust. The column dust collection captures all the dust to provide a cleaner working surface.


  • Has a 12-amp, 2-1/4 horsepower motor for ample power.
  • Offers precise depth adjustments and fine-tuning the depth of cut.
  • Built with high-quality materials to withstand heavy use.
  • Includes a fixed base and a plunge base for easy switching between routing applications.
  • Has a soft start feature to reduce start-up torque, providing better control during starting.


  • The dust collector system is not always highly effective, leading to a messy work environment.
  • Depth adjustment knob requires releasing and closing the base clamp every time.
  • Not good for leigh super.

BOSCH MRP23EVS 120-Volt 2.3 HP Electronic Plunge Base Router

Another Bosch item?

Well, that is because Bosch is making some quality routers different from one another to fulfill your versatile needs.

This one does not have a fixed base, only a plunge base. It ensures precise depth adjustments to achieve a smooth, accurate cut, less vibration while operating, easy router bit changes, and, most importantly, versatile operation, including mortices, finger joints, grooves, and dovetail joints.

A 2.3 HP 15 Amp Motor can easily generate 10000 – 25000 Rpm speed to work with tough hardwoods.

It also has speed adjustment like any other good dovetail router. It helps you control the speed to ensure accuracy.

The spring-lock plunge lever provides a secure lock on the desired plunge depth, reducing the chances of accidentally moving the router bit while in use.

Sometimes, we need to work in low light, which is an obstacle to precision. But this fantastic router features LED light to let you see what you are doing with jig joints or box joints.

Its ability to deal with larger and tougher woods is what sets it apart, thanks to its durable aluminum construction, plunge lever, depth rod, and 6-11/16 Inches Base Diameter. Besides, the micro-fine depth adjustment with a toolless knob also allows working with subtle woods.

If you need the best router for Leigh dovetail jig, this is the one. Of course, this one can work flawlessly with other dovetail jigs, thanks to its 1/2″ and 1/4″ collets.

Moreover, like any other good router, this one consists of a soft-start function with clean and accurate results.

Last but not least, the precision-centering system smoothens the maneuverability for a balanced operation and smooth template or guide work.


  • Comes with a recyclable cardboard box to reduce waste.
  • Has a nice cord of usable length.
  • Comes with cast wrenches and both proper 1/2″ and 1/4″ collets, providing better functionality.
  • Has a well-calibrated spring force for a smooth plunge action.
  • Well-designed depth stops provide precise depth control.
  • Comes with after-lock adjustability, making it as easy to fine-tune as a fixed base.
  • Has a LED light, providing better visibility in low-light conditions.
  • Suitable for leigh super or leigh d4r.


  • is no external access to get to the brushes.
  • The speed selector could have been white-marked for easy visibility
  • No adjustable stop on the plunge returns that concerns safety issues

Triton MOF001 2-1/4 HP / 13 Amp Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

Another dual-mode router for versatile dovetail joints – Triton MOF001 2-1/4 HP / 13 Amp Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router. This router is suitable for the best dovetail jig.

A single button is there to switch from plunge to fixed-base router. You already know the benefits of having two modes, right?

It also has Rack and pinion mode to control cutting movement for high precision and accuracy and control cutting with the best dovetail jig.

To make it even more precise, it features a 3-stage turret with a direct reading scale so that you can see the cutting depth.

You can consider this as the best router for Rockler dovetail jig or other jigs for such accuracy and precision.

The automatic spindle lock makes wrench bit changing easier. You can change or replace the dovetail bit without any tool to achieve your desired cut.

Besides, the Micro winder allows easy depth adjustment to get the perfect dovetail joints. It also has variable speed for all types of joints and cutting.

The soft start reduces start-up torque and increases the router’s lifespan by lessening the motor’s pressure. It also prevents kickbacks for safer use. To make it even safer, it comes with fully enclosed guarding.

Moreover, you will get an automatic spindle lock that works only when the power switch is closed. The side air vent reduces the intake of dust in the router for added longevity.

With its quick-fit pins, you can easily install it in the dovetail jigs and remove it when necessary.

Apart from that, the collets are ½ and 12mm for a greater range of drill bit fitment. You can use a larger dovetail router bit for larger grooves and a smaller dovetail router bit for precise and delicate fine woodworking joints.


  • Fully enclosed guard, safety switch shutter, and automatic spindle lock for added safety
  • Side air vent to keep the working area and hand tools clean
  • Wide router base with different collets for different bit fitment and versatile works
  • Dual mode router with a single button to switch from plunge to fixed-base mode for added convenient
  • Rack and pinion mode for high precision, accuracy, and control cuts.
  • Depth and speed adjustment to deal with different dovetail joint projects


  •  It is very tricky to release the router head to start the plunge
  • Might not be suitable for leigh super or leigh d4r.

SKIL 10 Amp Fixed Base Corded Router

The last one on this list is SKIL 10 Amp Fixed Base Corded Router.

You can consider this the best router for trend dovetail jig, porter cable jigs, leigh jig, leigh d4r, or other jigs.


Let me explain.

First of all, it is a fixed base corded router. Once you adjust the height, you can go on and on until the replacement time. It gives peace of mind. Of course, having dual mode would be better.

But purchasing dual mode will be a waste of money if you do not need a plunge base.

Besides, it comes with a 2.0 HP motor, perfect for tails joint works. You can achieve a smooth and accurate routing finish from beginning to end.

But Soft woods require lower speed, whereas hardwoods require faster speed. You will also have speed control from 10,000-25,000 rpm to solve the problem.

And you will not reach the high speed or the speed you leave last time thanks to its soft start function.

It also reduces sudden pressure on the motor to prolong the tool’s longevity. It has a die-cast motor housing guard that protects the motor from external pressure for added longevity.

But how can you know the router is connected and ready to cut?

Well, it features an indicator that lights up when the router is connected. It eradicates the guesswork.

Using the router with dovetail jigs is easier as well for the shaped handles. They provide superior grip and reduce fatigue while working for a long time. Lower weight makes maneuvering easier as well.

The 1/4″ and 1/2″ collet with wide base opening allows using different bits for different dovetail joints. It makes the router dedicated to the dovetail jigs.

Besides, you will have a vacuum port to get rid of dust and get a cleaner working experience. Three led lights help you see what you are routing.


  • Affordable price for budget-conscious DIYers and hobbyists.
  • 10 Amp motor provides enough power for basic woodworking tasks.
  • Fixed base design is stable and provides a consistent cutting depth.
  • Ergonomic handles provide comfort and control during use.
  • Comes with a 1/4 inch collet for quick and easy bit changes.
  • Easy to use depth adjustment system for precise cuts.
  • Corded design provides a reliable and constant power source.


  • Fixed base design limits versatility compared to dual-mode routers.
  • May not provide the same level of precision and accuracy as more advanced routers.
  • No automatic spindle lock for easy bit changes

Unboxing And Video Review

Check out this review for a better clarification.

BOSCH 1617EVSPK Wood 12 Amp Router Tool Combo Kit

BOSCH MRP23EVS 120-Volt 2.3 HP Electronic Plunge Base Router

DEWALT Router, Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

Triton MOF001 2-1/4 HP / 13 Amp Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

Questions To Ask When Picking A Router For Jigs

Here are the questions you should ask when picking a dedicated router for your dovetail jigs.

Will You Be Doing A LOT Of Dovetails?

Ask yourself how much you will do tails. Are you buying a router only for dovetail, or want a router for other tasks?

For other tasks, a dual-base router will work better than a single-base router.

Will You Use It Regularly?

Are you going to use it regularly?

If so, having one with easy maneuvering and grip will work better.

Will You Be Doing Through, As Well As Half-Blind Dovetails?

For through and half blind dovetails, a router with a variable speed control, a plunge base, and a 1/2″ collet is suitable for both and half-blind dovetails. Some popular options include the DeWalt DWP611, Bosch 1617EVSPK, and Makita RT0701C.

Will You Be Doing Inlaid Dovetails?

Will you do inlaid tails?

If so, having some features is essential.

One of the essential features is precise depth adjustment, which allows you to control the depth of the cut with accuracy and consistency. This is particularly important for inlaid dovetails, as the depth of the cuts must be exact to create the desired interlocking joint or perfect dovetail joints.

Another essential feature to consider is a soft start mechanism. This helps to prevent the router from jumping or bouncing when you turn it on, making it easier to start cuts precisely.

A variable speed control is also important, as it allows you to adjust the router’s speed to match the material you are cutting with the best dovetail jig. This makes getting clean, precise cuts easier and avoids damaging the material.

Will You Be Making Small Or Large Dovetails?

It is important to consider the dovetail size.

For Small Dovetails

A compact or trim router with a 1/4″ or 1/2″ collet is suitable for small dovetails. These routers are more maneuverable and have a smaller base, making working in tight spaces or on smaller pieces of wood easier. Some popular options include the DeWalt DWP611, Bosch Colt, and Makita RT0701C.

For Large Dovetails

A full-size router with a 1/2″ or 3/4″ collet is recommended for larger dovetails. These routers have more power and a larger base, which provides stability and control during cuts. Some popular options include the DeWalt DWP621, Bosch 1617EVSPK, and Makita RT0701C.

It’s important to note that regardless of the dovetail size, the router should have a precise depth adjustment and variable speed control for the best results.

How To Use A Router For Dovetail Jig Like Safely

  • Start by reading the instructions for your router and dovetail jig carefully, and ensure you understand all of the features and settings before you begin.
  • Make sure your router table and working area is clean, well-lit, and has plenty of space.
  • Use all the necessary safety equipment, such as eye and ear protection, gloves, and a dust mask.
  • Adjust the router’s cutting depth and speed according to the instructions for the best dovetail jig.
  • Clamp the workpiece securely to your work surface using clamps or a vise.
  • Start the router and carefully guide it along the edge of the workpiece, keeping your fingers and other body parts away from the cutting area.
  • Take your time and work slowly, keeping the router steady and level as you work.
  • Use a push stick or other general tools to help guide the router and keep your fingers away from the cutting area.
  • Keep your eye on the cutter while the router is in operation, and stop the router immediately if you notice any problems or issues.
  • Once you have finished cutting, use a chisel or other tool to clean up any rough edges or burrs that may have been left behind.
  • Finally, clean up your work area and properly store your router and dovetail jig when you’re finished.

These are the Router dovetail jig safety tips you should never forget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still got some questions in mind? Check the FAQs below.

Can I use a standard router for dovetail jigs?

While a standard router can be used for dovetail jigs, it is not recommended as it may not have the necessary features or precision for accurate dovetail cuts. A router designed specifically for dovetail jigs will have a better result with precision and accuracy.

 What is the best router for dovetail jigs?

It depends on your individual needs and preferences. Some popular options include the Bosch 1617EVS 2.25 HP Router, the DEWALT DWP611PK 1.25 HP Max Torque Variable Speed Compact Router, and the Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router.

Do I need a specific router for dovetail jigs?

While some routers are designed explicitly for dovetail jigs, many can also be used with these jigs with the help of additional components or accessories.

Is power an important factor when choosing a dovetail jigs router?

Yes, the router’s power will affect its ability to cut through different materials and make precise cuts. A higher-power router will typically be better suited for tougher cutting tasks.

My 2 Cent – Ya, Boring, My Last Tips For You

When looking for a router for your dovetail jig, consider the compatibility first. Do you need additional components to use the router? Or you can directly mount it on your existing jigs.

Besides, consider the power, speed, and adjustability. Build quality and durability also matter since you want to use it for a long time.

Check additional features and their negative effects of them. Everyone checks the positive sides, but I always suggest users check the opposing sides since you will experience them more than the good ones.

Hope for the best.

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