The Best Router Lift Reviews and Comparisons

A more conventional system would require you to remove the router table plate, disengage the router, install the bit, and re-engage the router.

You will be doing all the above with the plate hanging upside down in the table. Then you’ll have to use the height control mechanism to make the necessary depth adjustments.

You will not go through all that hassle when you use the best router table lift. With a lift, you can do everything from above the table without bending to reach tight spaces.

In this router lift reviews site, I have listed nine products that are taking the market by storm. These products will certainly make your depth adjustments and bit changes super easy.

Top Pick

JessEm 02311 Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift is a well-designed router lift that will meet all your bit changes and bit depth adjustment applications.

Last update on 2020-11-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best Router Lifts

#1. JessEm 02311 Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift – Best Overall

JessEm 02311 Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift for Use With Makita 1101 Router Motors (Renewed)

The JessEm 02311 Rout-R-Lift II is a good offering. It will get the job done fast and easy, but it’s worth noting that it will not support routers with motors over 3.5-inch in diameter.

Key Features

  • Compatible with Makita 1011 router motor
  • Designed to receive reducing ring inserts from JessEm
  • The phenolic insert plate is highly durable
  • Snap lock feature allows for easy collet release

What I Like

This tool comes with a heavy-duty phenolic insert plate, which provides a more supportive, stable surface when routing.

A built-in micro-adjustment scale adds even greater precision by allowing you to accurately track setup changes down to thousandths of an inch.

You can adjust the scale to zero at any point to establish your baseline bit setup, which makes it easy to tell precisely how far the bit is moving from that point.

Another great feature that comes with the 02311 model is the built-in anti-backlash compensation, which assures that there’s no slop when you turn the crank.

What I Didn’t Like

There are no threaded holes in the cast iron table for securing the insert plate, which limits its use to specific stand-alone routers without lifts.

Pros

  • Supportive phenolic insert plate supports the smooth operation
  • Micro-adjustment scale adds more precision
  • Built-in anti-backlash compensation prevents the router from creeping
  • Easy to lock the carriage in position with an Allen key
  • Built for durability, resist scratching, and doesn’t sag

Cons

  • No threaded holes in the cast iron table

Conclusion

It is without a doubt a major addition by JessEm. Unlike the previous models, what makes this one the overall best router lift is the added precision you get with each bit change or setup.

Overall Rating – 5

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#2. JessEm 02120 Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift – Most Versatile Design

JessEm 02120 Mast-R-Lift II Router Lift + 02030 10-Piece Insert Ring Kit with Caddy Bundle

Introducing the best router lift of 2019, JessEm 02120 Mast-R-Lift II, a heavy-duty piece of engineering that is worth every penny. It is solid and precisely made.

Key Features

  • Features a hard-anodized CNC machined aluminum plate
  • A solid clamping system that’s compatible with most fixed-base router
  • Cam lock mechanism inhibits spindle rotation
  • Double sealed ball bearing features threaded spindle runs
  • It has built-in table snugglers and tab-loc insert ring

What I Like

This lift rides on three-quarter-inch solid steel shafts, which are hydraulically pressed into shaft mounts to give you the most rigid support possible for your carriage.

The carriage rides on a sixteen-thread spindle that is mounted on to double sealed bearings, which is great because it allows for smooth rotation and extended durability.

It has snugger bars on the sides and back, which help to secure your Master lift in the riveted edge in your table.

There is a unique clamping mechanism that accommodates eighteen of the most popular routers on the market.

What I Didn’t Like

There is no doubt that this is a great lift. But I wasn’t pleased with the user manual. The instructions didn’t seem right when matching it with a Milwaukee router motor.

Pros

  • Built-in table snugger bars provide a tight fit
  • Has a clamping system that’s compatible with eighteen router brands
  • Rigid mount that’s ideal for the toughest routing jobs
  • Easy above the table bit changes
  • Tab-loc insert rings allow you to reduce your bit opening

Cons

  • Possible user manual flaws

Conclusion

This is a very impressive lift, which is not only solid but also precisely built. Not to mention that it is compatible with most router motors.

Overall Rating – 4.8

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#3. Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift – Most Compatible Model

Kreg PRS5000 Precision Router Lift

Kreg Precision Router Lift is engineered to overcome the challenges of changing your bits and cutting depths, giving you complete control of all aspects of your router setup.

Key Features

  • Compatible with Kreg router tables and other brands
  • Easy, fast above-table bit changes
  • Heavy-duty aluminum plate scratch and sag resistant
  • Carriage is bearing guided for smooth operation
  • Backlash-free precision adjustments

What I Like

This tool accepts twenty-plus popular router models just that easily, which is great because you don’t have to buy additional adapters for modifications.

Installing router bits is remarkably easy with this lift because you don’t have to reach under the table or remove the router from the table entirely to do so.

You just have to raise the router with the lift to access the collection from above the table, which is great because this reduces the time you will take to change your bits.

What I Didn’t Like

My Bosch 1617 router couldn’t fit in the clamping mechanism of this lift. I had to get a router that fits properly without messing up with the parts.

Pros

  • Works with most routers
  • Above the table, the setup allows for easy bit changes
  • The aluminum plate will not scratch or sag
  • Bit height changes made easy with indexing ring
  • Lack of backlash guarantees precision adjustments

Cons

  • Some Bosch router motors may not be compatible

Conclusion

This is a perfect choice when creating your custom table, setting up a new one, or when upgrading an existing table.

Overall Rating – 4.6

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#4. JessEm 02310 Rout-R-Lift – Best for a Beginner Woodworker

JessEm 02310 Rout-R-Lift II Router Lift + 02030 10-Piece Insert Ring Kit with Caddy Bundle

This is one of the best router table lift from JessEm. The 02310 model comes in five different styles, which you can choose depending on your router and router diameter.

Key Features

  • CNC machined components are highly durable
  • Above the table, bit changes for convenience
  • Double sealed ball bearing allows for smooth operation
  • Shafts are pressed into a heavy-duty shaft mount
  • Easy to install even for an inexperienced user

What I Like

This tool is engineered for use with Bosch and Porter Cable routers as well as models with 3.5-inch diameter motors.

The plate on this unit is made of heavy-duty aluminum that’s very flat and sturdy, which means it will not sag, bend, or scratch under heavy use.

I like the double sealed ball bearing on this unit, considering how easily and smoothly it was for me to raise and lower my router motor.

Another flagship feature that comes with this lift is the above the table wrench, which allows for easy bit changes without bending under the table.

What I Didn’t Like

The instruction manual was misleading. It made me believe that this lift could be compatible with the Bosch RA1181 router table.

Pros

  • Has a significantly high compatibility
  • Easy to raise and lower for smooth operation
  • CNC machined construction is highly durable
  • Easy and quick setup
  • It locks firmly into place to prevent movement

Cons

  • The instructional manual may be misleading

Conclusion

This is a well-made router lift that is easy to install and operate. It allows for very simple bit adjustments above the table.

Overall Rating – 4.5

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#5. JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 Router Lift – Most Suitable for Fixed Base Routers

JessEm Mast-R-Lift II 02121 Router Lift, 8-1/4-Inch by 11-3/4-Inch

Another best router table lift from JessEm. The 02121 model has the patented feature of increasing the ideal amount of tension needed to eliminate backlash.

Key Features

  • A special cam lock system
  • Compatible with most fixed base routers
  • Features machined aluminum for durability
  • Above the table bit adjustment for convenience
  • Double sealed bearing for smooth operation
  • Exceptional cam locking system

What I Like

The plate is made of hard-anodized material, which is great because it provides you with a thick abrasion resistant coating that will withstand heavy use.

It has a patent-pending quick gear dial, which enables you to raise and lower your bit four times faster than a typical router lift would.

So, it is great for closer adjustments or to bring the bit up to be changed. The best part is that you can zero out the dial to increase precision.

What I Didn’t Like

The surface was uneven, which was a detriment for me because it was hard for me to move my finger in a straight path from side to side.

Pros

  • Easy to lock the lift into position
  • Quick gear dial for above the table adjustments
  • Easy to zero out the dial for added precision
  • Machined aluminum is sag and scratch-free
  • Suitable for most fixed base routers

Cons

  • Possible surface flaws

Conclusion

Apart from the minor surface flaws, which you can overlook. The 02121 model is expertly made for precision bit adjustments.

Overall Rating – 4.4

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#6. Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Router Lift – Most Compatible Carriage Design

Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R Designed for Rockler Tables

Presenting the new Incra Mast-R-Lift-II-R, a precision machined tool from one-inch-thick aircraft-grade aluminum.

Key Features

  • Comes with five steel reducing rings
  • Corner-mounted cam screw provides a snug fit
  • Hard anodized aluminum top plate improves durability
  • Thread tensioning system ensures there’s no lash
  • Quality ball-bearing mechanism for low friction and smooth action

What I Like

The available plate size of this tool is compatible with all router table from Incra as well as other few brands on the market.

It has a unique carriage design that is compatible with several router brands on the market without the need for modifications or adaptors.

With this router lift, you don’t have to reach under the table to make the necessary bit changes. All you have to do is raise the router to make the changes.

Another great feature that’s unique to Incra is the Magna lock, which is great because it allows for perfect ring fitment.

What I Didn’t Like

The first model I got did not fit my Incra table. I had to request for a replacement, which was time-consuming.

Pros

  • A unique carriage that fits most routers
  • Easy to make bit changes above the table
  • Magna lock enables perfect ring fitment
  • Available in different plate sizes for versatility

Cons

  • Possible to receive a poorly packaged lift

Conclusion

The finish and fitment of this model are exceptional. The Magna lock ring is super easy to install as well as adjust.

Overall Rating – 4.2

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#7. Rockler Router Lift FX – Best Rapid Height ADjustment

Router Lift FX

Adjust your bit height easily and quickly from above your router table with the Router Lift FX. This a great upgrade to your router table.

Key Features

  • Well-designed cam lock for easy removal of the motor
  • Compatible with Porter-Cable, Bosch, Dewalt routers
  • Comes with a durable machine aluminum plate
  • A quick gear mechanism for rapid height adjustments
  • The anti-backlash feature prevents the router from creeping

What I Like

This model has two patent-pending innovations that enable you to change bits faster than ever, which will save you time and effort.

The insert is securely held in place with six screws, which would require only a screwdriver to remove quickly and effectively.

The plate is machined from thick phenolic material, which is great because it is very effective at resisting sagging and scratching under the weight of a load.

The inserts of this lift are properly secured by a tab lock system, which ensures they are held tightly in place and a flat position.

What I Didn’t Like

There are few occasions when the tension nut became loose and I had to adjust it every time. Rockler could do better.

Pros

  • The machined plate is scratch and sag resistant
  • Comes with starting pin for freehand routing safety
  • Quick and easy to secure the motor with a single lever
  • Easy to adjust the locking mechanism to fit motor case diameter
  • Positional scale ring supports tiny bit height adjustments

Cons

  • Tension nut may become loose

Conclusion

This is a great addition to your router table. Installing it would only require a few tools. But it allows for quick and effective small increment moves.

Overall Rating – 4.2

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#8. Bosch RA1165 Above-Table Hex Key – Most Affordable Model

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

Introducing Bosch’s new base that doubles as a router lift, the RA1165 Above-Table Hex Key. A quality lift designed for precision bit adjustments.

Key Features

  • Compatible with 1617 and 1618 series routers
  • Wide base opening accommodates larger bits
  • Threaded holes for easy and convenient mounting
  • Easy to raise the router above table for quick bit changes

What I Like

It has easy above table wrench access, which is great because you can make quick bit changes and fine adjustments without the need to access hard to reach places.

It has one of the widest base openings of 3-3/4-inch, which enables you to use larger bits for those heavy-duty applications.

This model has a very durable and versatile motor housing, which will not rotate when making depth adjustments. This helps to eliminate any horizontal bit movements.

What I Didn’t Like

This product has limited compatibility. I could not get it to work with one of my Bosch routers, which was quite frustrating considering how much I spent.

Pros

  • Wide base works with larger bits
  • Aluminum housing is highly durable
  • It prevents horizontal bit movements
  • Has protective devices that help to prevent the motor from falling

Cons

  • May not be compatible with some Bosch models

Conclusion

It is one of the simplest router lifts to use and setting it up is a breeze. But its compatibility is limited to a few Bosch models.

Overall Rating – 4.1

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#9. Jet Xacta-Lift Router – Best with the Widest Table Opening

Jet 708124 XLIFT-K: Xacta-Lift Router INS w/DLX Fence

Another unique router lift mechanism that works slickly. The Jet Xacta-Lift comes with all the features you have been looking for at an affordable price range.

Key Features

  • Precision adjustment handle
  • Adjustable above the router guard positions
  • Heavy-duty anodized aluminum insert plate
  • Has a larger base opening for larger router bits

What I Like

It has a precision adjustment handle, which is great because it allows for fine depth adjustments and it is easily removable.

It has the widest table opening of 3-5/8-inch, which is amazing because it enables you to use larger router bits.

Another great feature that comes with this model is two 3/4-inch solid steel shafts, which add rigidity to your router bit application at your preferred depth.

What I Didn’t Like

I noticed that the belt gear was made from cheap Delrin material, which can only withstand friction and high-wear in the short-run.

Pros

  • Allows for precision depth adjustment
  • Adjustable guard positions improve safety
  • Ten leveling screws for perfect alignment
  • Anodized aluminum plate is sag-resistant

Cons

  • Belt gear is made of cheap Delrin

Conclusion

This may not be the most popular router lift on the market, but it comes with some of the best bit adjustment features.

Overall Rating – 3.9

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What to Consider when Looking for Router Lifts

With the best router table lift, you no longer need to remove a heavy router from your router table to change bits. You can easily do all that from above the table.

The factors that you have to consider during your router lifts comparison include the following:

Quality of the Plate

The first important part of a table lift is the router lift insert plate, which is supposed to be made of high-quality material.

The finest insert plates on the market are made of either phenolic or aluminum materials.

Phenolic Insert Plates

Phenolic is one of the newest materials used in the production of router lift insert plates. It is very dense, strong, and hard, making it well-suited to the routing job.

This material features laminated layers of resin-impregnated fabric or paper. Pressure and heat are applied to cause polymerization to transform the layers into laminated plastic.

It has the stiffness and strength needed to resist sagging and scratching under repeated use. It will not warp easily and its wear is uniform.

Anodized Aluminum Insert Plates

Anodizing is a way of dying the surface of aluminum insert plates to improve the strength and durability of the material.

Aluminum has greater stiffness and strength than most plastic materials. So, it is best suited for resisting corrosion, sagging, and scratching when exposed to continuous use.

Also, aluminum insert plates are typically available with insert rings.

Easy and Precise Height Adjustments

The main purpose of any router lift is to raise or lower the router for you to be able to make easy and precise height adjustment.

One of the most important accessories that would help do that easily is the crank handle, which is the tall metallic rod with a handle for turning.

It should be easy for you to insert the crank into the lock bushing, allowing an easy right to left turns for unlocking the carriage.

Some brands use a thumbwheel mechanism to raise the router instead of a crank handle. Make sure you pick the one that best works for you, but I would always prefer a crank.

Also, the lift should have an easy to use carriage lock, which you can engage to lock the carriage in a position to maintain precision, one cut after another.

Effortless Bit Changes

One of the go-to features of any router lift is the ability to change router bits easily. You will need to change the bits between applications.

Choose a router table lift that allows for incredibly easy bit changes without the need to reach under the table or remove the router from the carriage.

A quick right and left turn using a crank handle should bring the router above table for bit removal. The bit should be easy to remove with a twist of a wrench.

Precision Bit Cutting Depths

The lift you choose should also provide you with new levels of simplicity and precision to set your router bits cutting depths.

In this case, you will need a lift that is fitted with a reliable micro-dial adjustment system. The right dial will need a few turns to lower or raise the bit to the preferred cutting depth.

A typical micro-dial adjustment would have the following calibrations 1/16, 1/32, and 3/64 of an inch. So, every revolution is supposed to move the bit 1/16 of an inch.

You will get even better bit height/depth adjustment precision with a built-in micro-adjustment scale. This will allow you to accurately track setup changes to thousandths of an inch.

Also, choose a micro-dial adjustment scale that can be adjusted to zero. This helps to establish a baseline bit setup, which will tell you exactly how far the bit is moving from the original point.

Turning the crank handle to raise or lower the router may cause a backlash. So, you can avoid such problems by choosing a router table lift that features anti-backlash functionality.

This is a great feature because it makes sure that you do not experience any slop whenever you are turning the crank handle.

Compatibility

One of the biggest challenges that you will come across when looking for the best router table lift is compatibility.

The easiest solution is normally to buy a router lift from the same brand as your router and router table. This way, you will not have to worry about the clamping system not fitting.

But if you choose to buy a different or universal brand, such as JessEm router lift, then make sure the clamping system is compatible with your fixed base router.

Avoid making assumptions when looking for router table lifts. If at all possible contact your router’s manufacturer for recommendations.

Which Brand Is Best?

You might be forced to go for a specific brand after an extensive search. There are some brands on today’s that provide you with all the aforementioned features.

One of the most popular brands that I recommend is JessEm. What sets this brand aside from the rest is compatibility, quality of material and performance, and durability of parts.

Their lifts are ergonomically designed, making them easy to use even for a beginner woodworker.

They also have products in the lower and higher price range, ensuring that woodworkers of all budgets can use their quality products.

Other popular brands that you can consider are

Budget

You can foresee the quality and durability of a router lift before you even buy it by considering the price tag.

The cheaper it is the fewer features it will have. For example, some cheaply made lifts may have a micro-dial adjustment that moves on their own while you are busy routing.

You can avoid all the major flaws in design by going for a slightly pricier model that comes with the best design and performance features.

Important Safety Tips to Remember

  • Do not be distracted when using a router and a router lift
  • Wear protective gloves when changing bits
  • Occasionally check the tautness of fasteners and adjustment knobs
  • Always take extra measures to prevent your workpiece from lifting off the surface
  • Feed your workpiece against the bit rotation and not with the bit rotation
  • Avoid kickback when routing, you may harm yourself
  • Avoid awkward hand placement, which might bring you into contact with the bit

Final Thoughts

The overall best product of this router lift reviews roundup is the JessEm 02311. This router is well-built and engineered to receive reducing ring inserts.

It features the industry’s best phenolic insert plate, which is great because it can withstand the effects of repeated use under heavy load.

It comes with the finest adjustment features JessEm has to offer, including above table bit changes, and fine bit height adjustments for precision cutting.

The rule of thumb for buying any router table lift is to make sure it is compatible with your router and it provides the best bit cutting depth adjustments you have been looking for.

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