The best way to mark your territory is by hanging a sign. And when the sign is handmade and customized, it gets way more personal. If you’re a fan of handmade wooden signs, you’re definitely familiar with sign-making routers.
These mechanical tools come in different shapes and sizes that may leave you scratching your head - which one to use for your own project? So, here we are with a list for the quest for the best router for sign making.
We took brand value, quality, durability, and accuracy into consideration while we listed down our suggestions so that you don’t have to worry at all. Read till the end to get more insights!
Makita RT0701C Compact Router
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Bosch Router Tool PR20EVS
4.5 out of 5
Hammerhead 10-Amp HAPR100
4 out of 5
Avid Power 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Lettering Router
4.5 out of 5
Our Recommended Best Routers For Sign Making in 2020
We took our time to dig deep into the router options in the market until we found these 8 devices. These tools are highly functional and durable to meet any sign making needs. Follow the reviews to get an in-depth idea of these devices.
1. Makita RT0701C Compact Router
To start it off, we have the Makita RT0701C compact router on our list. This tool is truly living up to its name, being compact.
The device is ergonomically designed to be compact in size to be easily handled by any user. Be it a professional or a DIY enthusiast - this device can be easily operated by any sign maker.
What matters the most in a wood sign making machines router is the speed control option. That’s what Makita put their emphasis on for the RT0701C. You have an impressive variable speed control dial on it that can allow the router to turn from 10000 to 30000 RPM, depending on your routing needs.
Impressive? Wait for more. The RT0701C comes with a smooth rack and pinion fine depth adjustment system. This makes it pretty easy to adjust the height between the wood surface and the router-bottom.
Removing the base of the tool is pretty straightforward in this device. Using the Quick Release Cam lock, you can quickly detach the base within seconds.
The RT0701C comes with a fully aluminum housing that makes it pretty durable. Use it for any project you want but make sure you’re taking care of it after use.
- Variable Speed Control Dial from 10000 to 30000 RPM
- Ergonomic design for a comfortable grip and use
- Smooth depth adjustment system for accurate use
- Heavy-duty aluminum motor housing for durability
- Quick Release Cam Lock for easy base removal
- Variable speed control dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM) enables user to match the speed to the application
- Smooth rack and pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings
- Slim and ergonomically designed body for increased comfort and control
- Quick release cam lock system for easy depth adjustments and base removal/installation
2. DEWALT DWP611 Sign Making Router
When you’re talking about tools, you hardly can ignore Dewalt! That’s why we have Dewalt DWP611 at number two.
With a 1.25 HP motor inside, the DWP611 comes out as one of the most powerful routers in the market right now. It’s optimized and designed for some of the toughest jobs you can work on.
Having a variable speed controlling feature makes it significantly simple to use the device for diverse operations. Adjusting the speed according to the needs is just a few dials away. Simply turn the knobs to surf through different paces.
It comes with a useful adjustment ring that enables you to change the depth of the router. It helps to attain the desired accuracy and precision you want for your sign.
Another useful feature is the large, low-pressure spindle lock button that makes enough room for you to change the bits without much of an effort. Trust us, changing the router bits has never been simpler and easier.
One thing that really makes it a stand-out device is its extended sub-base. You can easily work on wider surfaces with this router. Again, it allows you to have more control and comfort while using the device.
Having a set of LED lighting is another perk that makes it extremely easy to work with this device in a darker environment. It illuminates the entire routing area for a clear and better vision.
- Durable and powerful 1.25 HP motor
- Variable speed control option to regulate routing pace
- Dual LED lighting for better vision
- Extended sub-base for wider working area
- Adjustment ring for easy depth-adjustment
- Imported from: Mexico
- POWER TOOLS
- Commercial Brand: DEWALT
3. WEN Shopsabre Pro Series | Best CNC Router for Sign Making
If you’re looking for an industry-grade CNC sign router, there’s simply no comparison to the Shopsabre Pro series. If you’re looking for Shopsabre reviews, here you go!
The devices in this series come with industry-leading Mitsubishi A/C closed-loop brushless servo motors. This means that the routers are here for some true business. You can tell it from the Ball Screw technology that they have used in these routers.
The devices feature a 3-Axis Ball Screw that drives with a long axis that gives it 7 times more rigidity than any other routing device in the market.
Talking about the construction of the routers, it needs no comparison. As the devices are made from industrial welded, stress-relieved steel tube frame construction, you can assume how rigid and well-built the devices can be.
Be precise when you route through the signs. The Shopsabre routers make it extremely easy to measure the wooden surface with its state-of-the-art tool measure technology.
The Pro series comes with three models - Pro 404, Pro 408, and Pro 510. While all these three differ in price and footprint measurement, the rapid speed, Z clearance, Z travel, drive motors of the three remain the same.
The footprint for Pro 404 is 80" x 84" x 95", for Pro 408 it’s 80" x 135" x 95", and for the Pro 510, it’s 92" x 155" x 95".
- Rapid spread measures 1200 IPM
- Run by industry-leading AC Servo motors
- Drive system comprises of Ball Screw X, Dual Y, & Z axis
- A state-of-the-art tool measuring system
- Comes with Quick Release Dust Skirt Technology
- Powerful 15-amp variable speed soft start motor provides speeds from 8, 000 to 23, 000 RPM
- Plunging base locks in downward position for functionality as both a plunge and a fixed Router
- Accepts both 1/4 and 1/2-inch Router bits with a plunge depth of up to 2-3/8 inches
- 7-Stop turret combined with both macro and micro-adjustment dials maximize precision
4. Bosch PR20EVS Wood Sign Making Machines
Bosch has been on a leading role in making top-quality power tools for decades. You can easily put your trust in the PR20EVS router tool that they have come up with top-notch specs to display.
Powered by a 15-amp powerful motor, the device can route at high RPM. The range can be set between 16000 to 35000 RPM depending on the project’s need and intensity. No matter what type of sign-making you’re working on, be it DIY or professional work, this is just the perfect tool you can use.
The depth adjustment system is simply unparalleled in this device. You have clearly embedded measurement lines to follow while you lower or raise the router head. It’s one of the easiest ways to adjust the depth of the router bit.
Having a rugged, fixed base is something that makes this device a stand-out one. The robust aluminum base does two things. One, it makes the entire device be firm and still on the wooden piece. Two, it makes the base durable for long-term use.
Changing the bit inside is as simple as it can get. You just need two wrenches to take the router-bit out of its place and replace it with another. It needs no movement of the device, and you can have the placement unaltered.
- 1-horsepower 15-AMP powerful motor
- RPM ranges from 16000 to 35000
- Depth adjustment measurement markings
- Rugged and durable aluminum fixed base
- Easy bit-changing with two wrenches
- PR20EVS Colt Palm Router features a 1.0 Horse Power 5.6 amp variable speed motor with speeds from 16,000...
- CONVENIENT: Provides a straight edge guide to lead router along edges of work piece or up to 3-5/8 inch...
- DURABLE: The rugged aluminum fixed base of the wood router is durable, solid and precise; The PR20EVS...
- PRECISION: The fast and precise depth adjustment system allows both macro and micro adjustment while the...
5. Hammerhead 10-Amp HAPR100
If you think the comfort of use is important for using wood sign making equipment, then Hammerhead HAPR100 may be the one that suits your taste.
It comes with a dual soft grip on both sides of the device for the easiest grip possible. Both the handles on two sides of the router are covered with soft grip fiber that makes it extremely comfortable to hold.
Given that the machine goes through pretty rough bumps and vibrations while in use, such comfortable gips make it very soothing for your hands to hold on to.
Apart from that, the device is run by a powerful 10-AMP motor that makes it easy for the device to cut through any wooden surface. Be it laminated or straight wood logs; you can route through the surface with precision.
That’s because you can route at different speeds according to your needs. Having a simple control dial on top allows you to regulate the router speed at a speed of 11000 to 28000 RPM. Based on your application, you can simply turn the dials to adjust the RPM.
The HAPR100 allows altering the bit-depth by simply adjusting the turret stop. It’s one of the easiest ways to adjust the height of the bits.
A vacuum adaptor is a very useful addition to this device. It can be connected to a vacuum to suck in dust and waste to keep your workstation clean and tidy.
- Fast Micro-fine adjustment of the bit-depth
- RPM ranges from 11000 to 28000
- Runs with a powerful 10-AMP motor
- Vacuum adaptor for collecting dust
- Comes with an integrated Spindle Lock
- Variable Speed - Control dial to provide variable speeds for different applications
- Fast Micro-fine Bit-depth Adjustment - Simple and accurate at any plunge setting
- Adjustable Turret Stop – Control bit-depth range by adjusting turret stop
- Integrated Spindle Lock, Wrench on Board - For fast router bit changes
6. Avid Power 6.5-Amp 1.25 HP Lettering Router
Another champ on the CNC sign making router market is the Avid Power 6.5-AMP router. This medium-sized device is just as compact as it can get.
There’s nothing more important than having great control over the device when you’re routing through a wooden surface. A comfortable grip ensures that you’re holding the tool in an efficient manner.
That’s why Avid Power designed this device with a rubber-covered handle to make it extremely comfortable to hold. You can still feel the softness even if you’re routing rigorously for a long time.
A 1.25 HP motor fuels the device to perform at its best. Its 6.5-AMP machine powers through the tool to route through the toughest of wood you are working with. You can always alter and regulate the speed of the device by selecting the RPM rate from 10000 to 32000 - according to the power you need.
It comes with a simple quick-locking system that makes it conveniently easy to change the depth of the router bit. It helps you to attain the desired accuracy on the signs.
Apart from all these fascinating features, the router-body is made from rugged aluminum material that makes it a durable device. Also, there’s a dust hood attached to the body that collects the dust and keeps your workspace clean.
- Powerful 6.5-AMP motor with 1.25 Horsepower
- Rubber-covered handle for a comfortable grip
- Aluminum body for rugged construction
- Dust hood removes dust from the workstation
- Quick locking system for depth adjustment
- Powerful Motor & Variable Speed - 6.5-Amp motor with max horsepower of 1.25 delivers abundant power for a...
- Precise Operation & LED Lights - Smooth rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system ensures precise operation...
- Ergonomic Design & Convenience - Rubber covered handle for comfortable grip;The quick locking system for...
- Durable Housing & Clean Jobsite - The aluminum body and base for long term durability; Dust hood removes...
7. PORTER-CABLE Router
When you’re looking for the best router for sign making, it’s quite hard to ignore the Porter devices. Porter is well-known for its industry-leading quality when it comes to making power tools.
The Porter-Cable sign-making router comes with an ergonomic design that makes it pretty comfortable to hold the device in one hand. It’s interesting how you can handle the entire process with your one hand only - thanks to its intelligent design.
There is an adjustment ring that enables regulating the height of the bit. You can easily fix the depth of the bit on it by simply turning the ring. It also allows you to see the depth being altered to ensure the perfect setting.
The router has a soft-starting motor that makes it easy for the device to maintain the motor speed evenly throughout the operation. However, it comes with a fixed speed of 27000 RPM, which is actually a good speed to work with.
Being a compact device, keeping the motor in its position is quite important. That’s why the Porter-Cable CNC sign maker houses a depth ring and clamping mechanism that makes sure that the motor is locked in its default position.
It’s easier to work on a large platform than on a smaller one. Thanks to the designer team, the Porter-Cable router comes with a 4-inch diameter sub-base that fits universal template guides.
- Ergonomically designed router allows a comfortable grip and hold
- Fixed speed of 27000 RPM
- Functional adjustment ring allows easy depth adjustment
- Large 4-inch diameter working platform
- Springed release tabs for easy base-removal.
- Ergonomically designed to allow for comfortable and assured, single handed control
- Durable 1.25HP motor delivers the power to meet the toughest applications, Fixed speed, 27,000 rpm
- Soft-starting motor features full-time electronic feedback that maintains motor speed through the cut
- Adjustment ring enables controlled bit depth changes to within 1/64-inch
8. Ridgid R2401 Laminate Trim Router
We wrap our reviews for the best CNC router for sign making with the Ridgid R2401 device. Having two different bases - both square and round make it pretty unique and stand-out from other tools in the market.
It adds to the versatility of the device as you can place the machine over any surface - be it square or round.
Controlling the depth of the router bit is pretty simple and convenient with this device. Simply use the easy access micro-adjust dial to adjust the depth as precisely as possible.
If you need to remove the motor for any reason, you can easily do it with the quick-release lever. It makes it a matter of seconds to detach the motor from the device.
Forget changing the bits blindfolded. The R2401 introduces the upside-down bit changing method! Just flip the device on its flat top and replace bits as you need - simple and easy!
If you’re worried about working in dark areas with the device, there’s good news for you. The device comes with a built-in LED light that lights up the entire working area while you route through the wooden surface.
Having a speed range from 20000 to 30000 RPM, you can be sure of getting the precise cut you need - no matter how hard the surface is!
- Comes with both round and square base for versatile use
- Easy access micro adjustment dial for precise depth adjustment
- LED light for illumination in dark areas
- Quick-Release lever for detaching motor from the base
- Flat top for upside-down bit-changing
- Round and Square Bases - for added versatility and convenience
- Easy Access Micro Adjust Dial – for precise depth control
- Flat Top – router sits upside down for easier bit changes
- No Mar Top – Overmold on top of router prevents marring of work surface
10000 to 30000 RPM
16000 to 35000 RPM
11000 to 28000 RPM
Router For Sign Making Buying Guide
So, you truly are after the best router for sign making, right? Well, we’re here to help. As you have seen, we have listed out some of the best devices we have found. But before you decide to buy one from the list, here’re some pro tips that you need to follow.
A router is a tough tool to handle. It needs a bit of physical effort, as well, to attain the best sign embedded in the wood surface. So, if you don’t have the best of the grips, you’re not going to make the most out of the router.
The device should be ergonomically designed, and the handlebar should be covered with rubber or soft fiber for a comfortable grip. Make sure the device you choose has these preliminary characteristics.
Now comes the power of the device. Unless the router is powered by a heavy-duty motor, you’re not going to get precise output from it. Any motor from 6.5 to 15-AMP should work great for router work. So, besides the design, motor power is another factor you can’t miss. Depending on the intensity of your project, you may choose the motor power accordingly.
Check our Shopsabre CNC reviews to get an in-depth idea of how powerful motors make incredible routing.
Variable Speed Dial
Another feature that you can expect from the motor is the variable speed option. You definitely need to control the rotation of the router bits depending on the roughness of the surface. So, changing the RPM of the bit is quite important for the best output.
Make sure the machine you’re going after has a variable speed dial that can control the rotation of the bit from at least 10000 to 30000 RPM. Otherwise, you’re not going to get the best result.
Depth Adjustment System
When you’re making CNC signs, you won’t need to route through the wood at the same depth for all the letters of characters. That means you will need to change the height of the router bit for letter to letter or icon to icon.
So the device needs to have a simple, easy, and functional depth adjustment system. Most popular routers come with adjustment rings for the purpose. You can rely on such a technique. Some tools have measurement markings for precise depth adjustment, as well.
A router is used for rough and heavy-duty works. That means the device itself should be robust and durable. The only way to make sure the tools are durable enough is to make sure it’s built from heavy-duty aluminum material.
It’s not that you’re going to work in bright daylight every day. So, a provision for lighting up the working area should be there to work in dark areas. You can go for the devices that have LED lights attached for easy vision in the night-time and darker environments.
Dust Collection Option
If you can meet the equilibrium, try looking for a dust collection option on the device. Most modern routers come with QuickRelease Dust Skirt technology or Vacuum Adapters. You can look for one if you get lucky enough. It will save you from a lot of cleaning works!
Frequently Asked Question
Q1. Do I Need to Print Signs Before Making it with a Router?
Ans. If it’s a sign based purely on letters, you can choose to print it first and then route on it. Otherwise, you can handwrite or draw the sign, too.
Q2. Can You Use Regular Router Bits in a CNC Machine?
Ans. Yes, you can use a regular router bit if it can remove the wood quickly in high-load situations.
Q3. How to Adjust the Depth of the Router Bit?
Ans. Most routers come with an adjustment ring. You can move the rings to set the exact depth you need for the router bit.
Q4. What Speed Should My Router Be?
Ans. While you can change the router speed from 10000 to a maximum of 35000 RPM on most devices, the ideal speed rests around 23000 to 24000 RPM for regular work.
Hanging a customized sign right in front of your own house or workstation adds tremendously to the look of your place. Using the best router for sign making can ensure that you have the perfect-looking sign hanging there.
Try any of the devices we have reviewed today to make your dream sign right now! If you’re still looking for options, keep our buying guide handy to land on the right page!
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