While there are plenty of woodworking tools, one of the most common is a router table. It is a platform with a handheld router, which will let you run the wood on the top of the equipment instead of being under it. In this Harbor Freight router table specs and review, I will walk you through some of its specs and features to help you determine if this is the right router table for you.
The Harbor Freight Router Table is a compact, affordable, and beginner-friendly tool. The platform has a decent size to make the material stable as it is cut. More so, it has great safety features for your peace of mind, such as the clear plastic guard and quick-stop electric brake. Plus, it has a dust collection system.
Here is a quick rundown of the specs of the Harbor Freight Router Table:
|Speed||Max of 20,000 RPM|
|Miter Gauge Adjustment||0 to 60 degrees|
|Table Dimensions||Length – 14-3/8 inches, width – 23-3/4 inches|
Read on to learn more about the Harbor Freight Router Table, its notable features, and the pros and cons of owning one. I will also share some tips on how you can maximize its use.
About the Harbor Freight Router Table
Quality tools, lowest prices – this is what Harbor Freight aims to deliver. It may not be a brand as popular as the other names in the market for woodworking tools, but it has a decent selection of incredible products. With their state-of-the-art test labs and factories, the company is confident that they are a great alternative to professional brands.
The story of Harbor Freight began in 1977. It was the brainchild of Eric Smidt and his father. Today, they have over four decades of experience, over 1,200 stores, and more than 40 million happy customers.
Nonetheless, note that Harbor Freight sells it, but the brand name is Chicago Electric. It is a platform that comes with a handheld router. Meanwhile, it has a router cutter protruding through the surface. It is where you will feed the material as the cutter spins. Making smooth and straight cuts is almost effortless when you have this tool.
Main Features of the Harbor Freight Router Table
What makes this router table a great investment? What can it do? Will it deliver an impressive performance? To answer this question, below is a rundown of some of the most important features that you will find in this product:
1. 19-Gauge Steel Construction
This router table is made of 19-gauge steel. It may not be a high-end material, but it is commendable. Additionally, it has a tough composite tabletop, which can hold different materials easily. With its construction, you can expect that it’ll offer long-term functionality despite being an economical product.
2. Quick Stop Electric Brake
Safety is a crucial consideration when you are using a router table. One of the most important safety features in this model is the quick stop electric brake. As soon as you engage the brake, the machine will stop in an instant. It is highly responsive, unlike others, wherein lags are common.
3. Clear Plastic Guards
Another feature that can promote safety as you work is the clear plastic guard. The retractable guard will minimize the possibility of an injury. Because it is transparent, you can have a better view of what you are working on, which can also help in improving accuracy.
4. Dust Collection Ready
When cutting, dust is a common problem. It can affect your visibility, especially if you are not wearing protective glasses. Not to mention, it also creates a lot of mess in the work area. Good thing, this model has a dust collection system. In turn, it minimizes the effort necessary when it comes to clean-up.
5. Depth Scale
Another feature that you will find in this tool is the depth scale. According to the manufacturer, this is one thing that will increase the precision of bit positioning. Nonetheless, as you will learn later, doing so can still be a bit of a challenge.
Specs of the Harbor Freight Router Table
When choosing a router table, you must look at its technical specifications. Doing so will give you an idea of the overall quality and performance that you can expect. That said, below is a quick list of its specs:
As you search for any woodworking equipment, one factor is how powerful the motor is. With this, you should consider horsepower. The higher the engine’s horsepower, the more powerful it is. For this model, the horsepower is 1-3/4.
The horsepower is no match to the more expensive models that you will find in the market. Some people might find it to be underpowered, especially the pros. However, if you are a DIY enthusiast, the motor is more than enough. It is capable of handling light to medium-duty applications.
Like horsepower, amperage is also indicative of power. It refers to the electrical current load that the motor carries. It also dictates the electrical requirements of the equipment, making sure that it is enough for the motor to work.
For this router table, it has 11 amps. For reference, it is common for small tools to have an amperage of 2 to 8. Meanwhile, for larger power tools like router tables and circular saws, you will often find 6 to 16 amps.
It is crucial to have an adjustable router bit drill speed, which will let you customize the setting depending on what is most appropriate for a given task. Most will have a speed that ranges from 8,000 to 24,000 RPM. This model, however, has a maximum speed of 20,000 RPM.
4. Miter Gauge Adjustment
Speaking of customization, aside from speed, it is also a must to have an adjustable miter. The latter will make the router table more versatile to handle different jobs. With this model, you can adjust the router from 0 to 60 degrees to match the specific job requirements.
5. Table Dimensions
It is crucial to look at the dimensions of the router table as it is indicative of the size of the material that can fit on the surface. The table of this model has a length of 14-3/8 inches and a width of 23-3/4 inches.
Again, what does the Harbor Freight Router Table offer? Harbor Freight gives you a compact, affordable, and user-friendly router table. Its size allows users to make a clean cut. The platform is also equipped with safety features, including a clear plastic guard and quick-stop electric brake. Lastly, it is easy to clean due to its dust collection system.
Pros and Cons of the Harbor Freight Benchtop Router Table
Are you having a hard time deciding if you should buy this model? This section talks about the good and the bad in the router table – Harbor Freight, which will make it easy to make the right choice:
Below are some of the compelling reasons to choose this router table:
Compared to router tables from big brands, this product is cheaper. It is a great option for people on a budget, especially if you are a newbie looking for your first router table. Despite being economical, however, you can be confident that it does not compromise performance.
2. Durable Construction
For something affordable as this model, the durability is incredible. It may not be as solid as those from its higher-end competitors, but it is decent. You can feel that it is made using tough materials. Hence, it will withstand many years of use.
If you have limited space to spare in your workshop or garage, you have another good reason to choose this product. It is space-efficient while ensuring top-notch performance.
4. Easy to Assemble
It isn’t ready to use out of the box, but such should not be an issue. The manufacturer provides a comprehensive manual with easy-to-follow instructions. They also provide all the parts that you will need. With this, it won’t take a long time before you are ready to use the router table.
5. A Great Choice for Beginners
While there are some hiccups about its operation, overall, it is safe to say that it is beginner-friendly. It won’t take long before you figure out how to operate the equipment. You will have complete control of its different parts and expect an amazing job even as a newbie.
Despite the good things, there are also some drawbacks, including those in the list below:
1. Some Parts Are Hard to Tighten
Overall, this is a user-friendly router table. Nonetheless, the nuts and collars can be tricky to tighten, especially if your first time doing so. It can be frustrating. You need to exert a lot of pressure on your wrench.
2. Difficult to Reach the Chuck
When it is time to reach for the bits and change them depending on what a specific task requires, prepare for a bit of work. Reaching the chuck is difficult. Even adjusting the height of the bit is a complicated task.
Tips and Tricks for Using a Router Table
Make the most out of your Harbor Freight router table. Here are some of the tricks that you can do to ensure its peak performance:
1. Work in a Clean and Well-ventilated Area
Find a clean and well-ventilated area. Lighting is also a crucial consideration. The more comfortable you are, the easier it is to work. Not to mention, such will also minimize the likelihood of an accident.
2. Wear Safety Glasses
Safety is essential. Before you work, consider wearing safety glasses, which will protect your eyes from dust. Do not use in damp locations. Before working, inspect all components, making sure there are no damages.
3. Set up the Clamps
Set up the clamps before you start working. This ensures the stability of the table and the material for making more precise cuts. The more it moves, the more the blade will not be able to cut straight.
4. Use Light Cuts
If possible, use light cuts, especially if you are a newbie. The more aggressive the router table cuts, the more difficult it is to control. Not to mention, it also makes the equipment prone to kickback.
Conclusion – Harbor Freight Router Table Specs and Review
If you are looking for an affordable router table, Harbor Freight has you covered. The model I reviewed in this article is sold by the latter but made by Chicago Electric. It is a great option for people on a budget and newbies. While it does not have the features of its higher-end competitors, it is a great product.
The router table is made of 19-gauge stainless steel, which makes it durable. More so, it has several safety features for your peace of mind, such as the clear plastic guard and quick-stop electric brake. Meanwhile, for better precision, it has a depth scale adjustment.
The router table is dust collection-ready to keep the workplace clean and improve your visibility while working.