6 Best Router Lifts of 2017 – JessEm, INCRA, Kreg Router Lift Reviews

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The router lift is a very handy and practical way to boost the ease of use and versatility of your router table. Instead of your router bit being under the table and hard to adjust, with a router lift you have the ability to adjust the height of the bit with extreme accuracy and ease. This gives you a greater vantage point and allows you to route material in a more efficient manner.

6 Best Router Lifts - Reviews

Here is our careful selection of some of the best router lifts we know of. They will make a great addition to your router table and ensure you get the most out of your routing.

6. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift

Editor's Rating:  (4.7 / 5)

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02120 Router Lift

This router lift comes with the the bells and whistle you would expect from a good quality router lift. It is a well-regarded model that is solidly built and popular in the wood working industry.

Features

  • Excellent cam locking mechanism: You can easily lock this router lift in place securely with the twist of a wrench. The left side of the mechanism is unlocked while the right side locks it into place.
  • Double seal bearing: Adjusting height with with unit is a cinch. It comfortable moves up and down thanks to its bearing mechanism. Furthermore, it is sealed from the outside meaning that it will not be affected by debris, greatly extending its smooth height adjustment lifespan.
  • Above table bit change. Fits an industry-standard variety of bits
  • Durable construction with anodized aluminum
  • Compatible with most routers

Compatible with: Porter Cable 7518, Porter Cable 690/890, Bosch 1617/1618, DeWalt610/616/618, Craftsman 17543/17540/28190, Makita 1101, Hitachi M12VC/KM12VC, Milwaukee 5626, Milwaukee 5615/5616/5619, Rigid R29302

See how to setup this router lift

Pros

The solid and premium look of the JessEM is legendary. It adds some great appeal to your workshop. The ball bearing technology makes working with this unit pleasurable. 

Cons

The construction could have been from steel but that’s nitpicking. It is a bit above the price range for budget-minded buyers.

Who should buy?

Anyone looking for a high-quality router lift that offers both durability, comfort and ease of use will appreciate this unit. It is easy to adjust the height, lock in to place and fixed on your router thanks to its dedicated insert plate.

5. JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift

Editor's Rating:  (4.5 / 5)

JessEm Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift

This router lift is more of an entry-level lift in the JessEm series. It is more affordable than its counterpart reviewed above but hosts an equally impressive set of features that make it worthwhile.

Features

  • Lightweight at only 8.8lbs. You can easily carry this lift to your work place, no problem.
  • Small form factor. Will not take a lot of space on your router table. However, make sure that it will fit your route if yours is relatively bit.
  • Easy to mount and handle. It is certified frustration-free for those who do not like tinkering with their lifts.
  • Varied pre-drilled holes on insert plate to host a slew of routers. If yours is not listed, you can always use an adapter (if provided or available).
  • Lock/Unlock mechanism. The locking system merely consists of a one-way lock or unlock - but it’s nice to be there and located at an intuitive and easy to reach top position.
  • Delivered with machine and leveling screws out of the box.

Compatible with: Porter Cable 690/890, DW 610/616/618, BOSCH 1617/1618, DEWALT 610/618/616, CRAFTSMAN 1754/17540/28190 and Any other 3.5" Motor Diameter

Pros

This unit is offered at a really budget-friendly price. The construction is sturdy and adequate for handling heavy-duty routing. The insert plate comes with a host of pre-drilled holes to accommodate a great variety of fixed routers.

Cons

Lacks the fancy features like the ball bearing system of its bigger brother above. It is mostly a mechanical router lift.

Who should buy?

If this is your first router lift and you’re looking forward to see how it works and facilitates your routing, it is a great router lift to be had for not much money.

4. Bosch RA1165 Under-Table Router Base with Above-Table Hex Key

Editor's Rating:  (4.2 / 5)

Bosch RA1165 Under-Table Router Base with Above-Table Hex Key

One of the simplest router lift that will not put a ding in your pocket. The Bosch RA1165 is a very basic router lift that has just enough features and mechanics to get the job done. But still, it works brilliantly!

Features

  • Compatible with almost all router tables
  • Large bit hole of 3-3/4” enough to accommodate all fixed router bits.
  • Easy to mount and unmount
  • Simple design and yet adequate for most routing jobs.
  • Depth adjustment can be made from above the table with leveling wrench.

Compatible with: Bosch 1617, 1617EVS, 1617EVSPK, 1618, 1618EVS

Pros

If you are on a shoestring budget, it’s hard to beast this little beast. It is very portable and compatible will all router tables. Best, it’s easy to mount and the depth adjustment is done from above, making this unit incredibly easy to use and control.

Cons

Many be far too simplistic for some. Will not work well with powerful 3hp+ routers as this unit is too small and flimsy.

Who should buy?

This router lift makes for a great emergency router lift. It’s also a good secondary lift if you own another router. It’s is extremely affordable and you have no reason not to try it out.

3. INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift

Editor's Rating:  (4.4 / 5)

INCRA Mast-R-Lift-II Router Lift

Moving a little away from entry-level router lifts, the Incra Mast-R-Lift II is a professional router lift that offers great versatility when changing height of your router and has superior accuracy of router. All this can be performed from above the table, including changing the router bits.

Features

  • 5 Sealed Ball Bearing System: Allows for minute height adjustment delivering great accuracy and control to the handler. It also auto-protect against dust and promises a long lifetime.
  • Lightweight. At only 14.2lbs, it will not add some extra weight to your router table and is also fairly portable.
  • Cam Lock: Intuitively lock the router table in place when turning the cam lock to the right. There is no wobble or give when it is locked in place.
  • Include Steel Reducing Rings: 5 reducing rings to find the perfect fit for your router. It will allow the router to sit flush to the table reducing vibration and enhancing router comfort.
  • Thread tensioning system: Adjusting the height of the lift just got smoother with the thread tensioning system.

Compatible with: Porter Cable 7518, 690-699 series, & 890-899 series, Bosch 1617EVS,1618, DeWalt DW610 & DW618, Milwaukee 5625, 5615, 5616, & 5619, Craftsman 17543, 17540, & 28190, Ridgid R29302, Makita RF1101 & RD1101, Hitachi M12VC & KM12VC

Pros

The accuracy of this unit is phenomenal. The thread tensioning system as well as the sealed ball bearings ensures that you get the most comfortable experience while adjusting the height. It feels and looks premium to the user. The one-year manufacturer warranty is a no-brainer.

Cons

Can be a bit pricey for some.

Who should buy?

If you are looking for a professional router lift that offers exceptional ease of use and very comfortable height adjustment with extreme accuracy - then this unit will wow you.

2. Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Adjustment System

Editor's Rating:  (4.4 / 5)

Bench Dog Tools 40-150 ProLift Router Adjustment System

A little less popular that the router lifts reviewed so far, but with features that does not leave it undesired. Indeed, the Bench Dog Tools ProLift has a lot of professional features that will prove handy in the workshop. Best, it still remains quite affordable.

Feature

  • Pre-load nuts made from bronze. This ensures easier height adjustments and prevent vibration back driving when the router is in use.
  • Self-cleaning screws. This requires little maintenance and will boost the longevity of the router lift - automatically.
  • Machine engineered flat surface made from cast-iron for your material to sit perfectly flush.
  • Dual ball bearing system. Excellent height adjustment which is also very comfortable.
  • Adapters can host a slew of routers from other brand (beware, those adapters are sold separately)

Compatible with: Porter-Cable 7518/7519.

 - Using ProLift Adapter 40-002, compatible with Porter-Cable 690 Series Porter-Cable 890 Series, Bosch 1617/1618, DeWalt 610/616/618

- Using ProLift Adapter 40-003, compatible with Makita RF1100 and RF110

You can buy ProLift Adapter 40-002 here and ProLift Adapter 40-003 here

Pros

There are many things that the ProLift got right with this mode. Many things that we like and many things that will make your working with a router lift easier. The perfectly flat cast-iron surface will allow your material to stay perfectly flat boosting your routing accuracy.

The height adjustments are comfortable despite being powered by only a dual ball bearing system. The back driving mechanism prevents the top for moving and all it needs are bronze pre-loaded screws - nifty.

Cons

Price is prohibitive for budget buyers. Looks great but still can’t compete with similarly premium router lifts in terms of features. Limited insert plate holes. The height can only be adjusted from the bottom and not the top as most router lifts.

Who should buy?

This router lift will make a great addition to any workshop equipped with a router. It does what it is supposed to do and the price remains fairly affordable. If your current router fits this router lift, it is only a question of preference whether to get this unit or not. Newbies will also love the intuitive and easy to use interface.

1. Kreg PRS3000 Precision Router Table Lift

Editor's Rating:  (4.2 / 5)

Kreg PRS3000 Precision Router Table Lift

The Kreg PRS3000 is intended for heavy-duty routing without sacrificing accuracy and height adjustment comfort. It is delivered with a leveling screw wrench and has a minimalist form factor. This is a great and easy to assemble unit that will allow you to perform hours of router with exceptional ease.

Features

  • Heavy gauge aluminum plate that feels very solid to the hand.
  • Large thumb wheel at the bottom for easy height adjustment without the use of any tools. It even allows you to perform more accurate maneuvers than a conventional crank system.
  • The lift system is spring assisted. This makes changing height fairly comfortable and will make it easy to do so even if you have material sitting on the insert plates.
  • Low vibration system that is also lightweight at 15.6lbs.
  • Cam lock situated at the top in an intuitive position. Dial system.
  • Intuitive layout and very beginner friendly.
  • 3 stop auto leveling system.
  • Twist lock insert rings. Tight fit of your router bit for more accuracy, control and performance.

Compatible with: Porter-Cable 7518. Buy Adapter pads from Kreg, can use for Milwaukee 5625, Porter Cable 690/890, Bosch 1617/1618, Craftsman 17542/17540/28190 & DeWALT 618

Pros

This is one of the most intuitive layouts on the market. It is easy to figure out how it works and the auto-leveling system makes height adjustment a cinch. It is a small router table that concentrate more on the router bit (rightly so) than anything else. The thumb wheel mechanism makes height adjustments without any tools easy and hassle-free. It is also very accurate. Great for those who do not want to waste additional time adjusting the height with tools.

Cons

Limited to a deep blue insert plate coloration. Many not fit larger router bits.

Who should buy?

Beginners will love the intuitive and easy layout of this router lift. It is small and does only what a router lift is supposed to do - adjust the height of your router bit while allowing you to concentrate on your routing.

Benefits of Using a Router Lift

There are superb benefits that accompany a router lift and makes the purchase worthwhile. Here are a few important gains:

  • Solid base plate: A router lift comes with a solid base plate that is usually more stable and robust than the insert plates of a router table. With a stable base, you get less vibration and more stability to perform your routing.
  • Ease of use: The prime reason most people buy a router lift is ease of use. It is finicky to adjust the height of a router bit and many times it requires tinkering under the table. The router lift height can be adjusted by using a T-wrench on the base plate itself or with a thumbwheel mechanism.
  • Accuracy: The router lift is a smooth device that most of the time contains a ball bearing system that makes adjusting height smooth and accurate. You can adjust height to a fraction of an inch with great ease and accuracy.
  • Standard mount: A router lift has standard mounts where you simply bolt your router insert plate on. Most router inserts already contain those pre-drilled holes. If not, they are very easy to drill and fitted on the router lift.

What to Look for When Buying a Router Lift 

best router lift

When on the market for a router lift, there are some key considerations to take into account:

#1. Construction

The construction finish including the materials used in the construction are important factors. You do not want one that is cheaply made or made from plastic. The most common materials with good quality router lifts are aluminum, cast-iron (better) and steel (best).

#2. Router Compatibility

You have to ascertain that the router lift will fit your current router. Manufacturers will give recommendations for routers that are compatible with the lift. If your router is too big, or too powerful, then a smaller router lift (even if it fits) will be a bad combination. As this will result in a lot of vibration and makes working with it awkward.

#3. Plunge Type

Router lifts are particularly suited for working with a fixed plunge router. This is where the motor of the router is removable and makes it easy to fix the router to the lift. If you own a non-removable motor plunge router, make sure this model fits the router by checking the manufacturer specs sheet.

#4. Router Lift Locking Mechanism

With a locked lift, you gain on versatility and accuracy. Make sure that your router lift has a locking mechanism that will not allow any play when the router is retrofitted on. It can be as simple as a lever locking mechanism or a bolt system.

#5. Height Adjustment Áystem

Most router lifts either use a crank handle system or thumbwheel for height adjustment. Your favorite system will determine your choice for a router lift.

#6. Ball Bearing

A ball bearing technology (or similar technology) guaranteed a smooth height adjustment and minimum maintenance. Look for models that contain a specific technology for height adjustments.

#7. Lift Adapters

If you own a couple different router or planning to buy a new one down the line, make sure that the router lift has the appropriate adapters and insert holes to accommodate those routers. Additionally, you can buy new routers that will fit your router lift without the hassle of drilling holes in the insert plates.

In any case, checking the dimensions and insert rings on your router is a must before purchasing a router lift. This may prevent you a lot of tinkering and unnecessary adjustments later on.

Conclusion

This router lift reviews come to an end. We have covered quite some ground so far and seen quite a few models. First and foremost, what we have seen is that your future router lift should imperatively be able to accommodate your current router. This should be made possible by either a factory pre-drilled insert plate hole in the lift or with the use of an adapter.

Go through the models reviewed above and check the dimensions to see if it fits your router (or conversely, buy a router that fits the router lift). Your boost in productivity when using the router lifts in this review will be well worth the effort.