Product Review: Chicago Electric Benchtop Router Table

I was given this router table as a Christmas gift from my parents this past year. I have not used it extensively, but I wanted to let you know what I’ve found from the use I’ve gotten out of it so far.

First off, this table comes with the router, fence, and a port for dust collection. The router is 1 3/4 horsepower. It was easy to put together out of the box and the directions were helpful and easy to follow. Basically all the user has to attach is the legs and the fence.

The fence is adjustable front to back on the left and the right, giving you the ability to set it at an angle. It also has measurements built into the table top so it’s pretty easy to get it lined up on each side. I found that the exact measurements on the table are less important than making sure you’re in line with both sides to make a straight cut with the bit.

Changing the bit is easy and the table comes with three different collets for different sizes bit shanks. My one complaint here is that you REALLY have to crank it tight to make sure the bit is secure. The table comes with two wrenches to help make the adjustment. They are just thin metal and are not comfortable to use, especially considering how tight you have to get it, but they do work to tighten it.

Once the bit is in the router, the depth adjustment is easy to use and the router has a built in depth stop. The depth stop is not held securely in place when the router is being adjusted but it seems fine once the machine is locked in place. The picture below shows my attempt to rout a groove without the fence (groove on the right) versus with the fence (groove on the left).

The router works very well and is not overpoweringly loud. I used it mainly to cut grooves in some pieces I was making for a box-shaped candle holder, as well as some Morse Code patters In the sides (pictured above). The cuts were fairly clean through white oak and only needed a little sanding to get perfect. The main problem I found here is that the dust port opening is very large while the pieces I was routing were pretty small. I ended up using an auxiliary fence clamped to the regular fence and everything worked fine. There is also a small plastic dust shield to protect your fingers from the bit and help with dust control. This is adjustable up and down.

I will update this as I use the table more, but for now it seems to be a very good router at a very good price. It’s only $99 online at Harbor Freight. It’s very easy to use and assemble and the horsepower should be plenty to do what you need. I also like that it is fairly portable and easy to move around the shop. The only complaints I have are the dust port is too big for my shop vac (easily fixed with a hose adapter) and the slight difficulty in tightening the bits in the collet.

As always, thanks for reading. If you have any questions about the router or any of my other posts, feel free to let me know! If you got value out of this post, please consider subscribing and sharing it.

Thanks!

-S.A.

 

Click the picture below to check out the Chicago Electric Benchtop Router Table on Amazon!

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