The Best Router Lifts

The Best Router Lifts: A Review

If you’re into hardcore woodworking and you regularly churn out high-quality finished goods, you probably use a router table for your projects. These products will not only help you out, but will please your potential clients as well, and you will need efficient and accurate tools like these to get your projects just right.

This is where router lifts come into play. These lifts play an important part in developing a system that ensures accuracy, efficiency, and power, giving you the freedom to modify your workpieces without removing them from the router. If you’re still questioning their importance, watch this video on the importance of router lifts.

In this review, we’ll cover the 6 best router lifts available today, from which you can pick the best option for your specific needs.

1. Kreg Precision Router Lift

This router lift from Kreg is built for providing precise setup changes to your router table. The lift has an above-the-table collet that allows for fast changes to your workpiece without having to reach down under it. The cartridge provided on the lift is bearing-guided, which ensures smooth operation of the lift if maintained and oiled properly.

The plate on the lift is made out of hard anodized aluminum, giving it the strength to hold up under heavy loads and preventing sagging. This also ensures that the lift cannot be scratched. If you already own a Kreg router table, this lift will work perfectly with it, but it fits well on router tables from other competitive brands as well. Adjustments down to thousandths of an inch are possible with this router lift, and the micro-adjust scale can be calibrated to repeat your settings every time.

Specifications

  • Plate dimensions — 3/8 x 9 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches
  • Item weight — 1 pound
  • Product dimensions — 13.5 x 11 x 10.38 inches
  • Material — Metal
  • Color — Black, Red, and Blue

Pros

Pros
  • The Kreg Precision Router Lift allows precise above-the-table setup changes for table-mounted routers, making it so you don’t have to reach under the device every time you want to make an adjustment.
  • The router lift is very accurate and can make adjustments to a thousandth of an inch for precise work.
  • The lift is very versatile and can fit on more than 20 routers without requiring pads or adapters.

Cons

Cons
  • Though the lift fits on most tables, sometimes the fit may be too tight, and you might need extra instruments to fix or remove it.
  • If you want to go back to a previous setting, you will have to count the turns of the handle, rather than there being a clear marking system for this process.

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2. JessEm Router Lift for 3.5-Inch Diameter Motors

This router lift from JessEm is designed for use with PC, Bosch, Craftsman, and Dewalt router tables, and is made out of aluminum with a phenolic top plate. The lift is available to use in 5 different styles, depending on the router you use, and can easily fit on any 3.5-inch diameter router.

The movement on the lift is smooth as well, owing to a double-sealed bearing to the spindle that helps to easily raise and lower your motor. Multiple screws are used to attach the shaft to the top plate of the lift, making the lateral load evenly-distributed and rigid enough to provide proper accuracy on your work. With the help of this lift, you will not need bent wrenches to change your bits from above the table.

Specifications

  • Plate dimensions — 9.25 x 11.75 x 10.1 inches
  • Item weight — 8.56 pounds
  • Product dimensions — 13.6 x 11.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Material — Aluminum
  • Color — Red, Silver

Pros

Pros
  • The plate on this lift is made out of aluminum and a phenolic top, giving it durability, stability, and more accuracy due to no bending of any kind.
  • Raising and lowering your workpiece is very easy with this lift, as it comes with a double sealed bearing to the spindle.
  • The shafts on the lift are pressed into the shaft mount with the help of a hydraulic press, ensuring that you don’t have to worry about broken or detached pieces.

Cons

Cons
  • There could be some fitting issues with the hex key on this lift, and you may need to file it down a bit to get it to work properly.
  • If you do not have one of the router tables mentioned earlier in the description, you might need special corner brackets to fit this on your table.

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3. Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R for Rockler Tables

This router lift from Incra has a lift crank system, which helps you to adjust the height of your router without having to reach below the table. You can wind this mechanism either up or down for easy usage. The lift also comes with an exclusive reducing ring system that helps to make ring changes instantly, allowing for a better overall fit.

You can make adjustments as low as a thousandth of an inch, and the included ball bearing mechanism ensures smooth action and low friction during movement. The lift also comes with a 16TPI direct drive lift screw mechanism that makes the device responsive and easy to use. This lift is compatible with Bosch, Craftsman, Milwaukee, and Porter Cable tables.

Specifications

  • Plate dimensions — 8.25 x 11.75 x 3/8 inches
  • Item weight — 15.2 pounds
  • Material — Metal
  • Color — Black, Gold

Pros

Pros
  • The lift comes with 5 reducing rings that are magnetic in nature and fit on top of the table. This makes the work fast, easy, and accurate.
  • The direct drive 16TPI lift screw mechanism included in this lift makes adjusting your parameters extremely easy with its responsive nature.
  • With possible adjustments of 0.001 inches, you can make your workpieces extremely precise with very accurate measurements.

Cons

Cons
  • If you fit the plate too tightly on your table, you might notice some bending in the plate material. This can be a problem for people who want a precise, flat surface.
  • The increment dial on the lift is not available in the metric system. This might cause confusion and inconvenience if you are from the US.

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4. Rockler Router Lift FX

This router lift from Rockler comes with a heavy-duty plate that ensures it does not sag when you’re working on bigger projects. It is designed for routers of small to medium sizes and is compatible with Porter Cable, Dewalt, and Bosch router tables. It is a good fit for large opening inserts.

If you have a router table that has a 3.5-inch diameter motor, you can use this lift for your router needs. Stability will not be an issue with this lift, as multiple screws are present on the plate to ensure it stays in place. This also allows for an even distribution of weight on the plate and prevents any bending from happening during work.

Specifications

  • Item weight — 12.7 pounds
  • Material — Metal
  • Color — Blue, Gold

Pros

Pros
  • Stability is well taken care of with this router lift, as the plate comes with screws that ensure the load is distributed evenly.
  • The plate on the lift is made out of heavy-duty metal, ensuring that no sagging or bending takes place with heavier loads.
  • The lift comes with the setting for a 3.5-inch diameter motor and is suitable for most major brands with the same motor size.

Cons

Cons
  • The lift is only usable with medium to small-sized motors. If you have a router table with a motor that is more than 4 inches in diameter, this lift will not fit.
  • There is no option to lock the height in place once you’ve set it. If you’re leaving a project overnight or for long periods of time, you might have to keep track of the height numbers you use while working on long-term projects.

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5. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift

This additional router lift from JessEm comes with an exclusive Cam Locking System. It features 5 double-sealed bearings for smooth movement during height adjustments, and can be attached to most router tables, allowing you to conveniently change your bits without having to reach below the table. The plate is quite heavy-duty as well, and is made from 3/8 inches of solid aluminum that is also hard anodized for durability.

The lift is very versatile in nature and can fit on most fixed base routers. It also offers an interesting feature that adds tension to the threaded spindle, which helps in stabilizing your workpiece. Clamping blocks are included with the router lift, making it easy to fit on your table.

Specifications

  • Plate dimensions — 9.25 x 11.75 x 3/8 inches
  • Item weight — 13.69 pounds
  • Product dimensions — 13.7 x 11.2 x 12 inches
  • Material — Hard anodized aluminum
  • Color — Red, Black, Gold

Pros

Pros
  • This JessEm router lift comes with an exclusive technology that adds tension to the threaded spindle. This tension makes sure that there is no backlash by removing vibration, thus ensuring that the workpiece does not shift around while working. This provides great accuracy.
  • The metal plate used on the lift is made out of hard anodized aluminum, giving it a sturdy and durable feel, and preventing bending or sagging of any kind.
  • The construction and material used in this lift make it a great fit for even heavy routers.

Cons

Cons
  • The lift does not come with included templates, and you might have to purchase them separately to make the product work well for you.
  • The rings included in the package are made out of plastic, and might require changing over long-term use.

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Router Lift Buyer’s Guide

In this review, we have gone over the many specifications, pros, and cons of the best router lift options available on the market today. But if you want a better idea of which one would be the best fit for your specific needs, we have curated a buyer’s guide that you can use to aid in your decision.

  1. Versatility – If you want a router lift that works on most tables, you should go with the JessEm Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift or the Incra Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift.
  2. Strength and Durability – If you’re looking for a lift that is strong and will serve you well with heavier pieces, you should check out the JessEm Router Lift For 3.5 Inch Motors.
  3. Accuracy and Precision – If you want something that can give you very small adjustments accurately, you should look into getting the Rockler Router Lift FX or the Kreg Precision Router Lift.

Conclusion

Router lifts can make or break your project. If you work long hours on router tables, and the project requires multiple small adjustments, having a precise tool at your disposal can really decrease your frustrations and overall workload. A great router lift can not only help you make adjustments more conveniently, but these adjustments themselves can be very precise, providing your workpiece with a sense of finesse and quality workmanship.

We hope that this review has helped you figure out which of these options would be the best router lift for you. If you would like to learn more about some of the other tools you can use for woodworking, please feel free to check out our other reviews as well. Good luck with your projects!

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