With the advent of technology, CNC routers have become very common among welders & other DIY professionals. They can help you achieve a pre-determined aesthetic cut. A good CNC router will reduce your workload by a great factor, giving you immense time to complete other jobs.
Choosing a good machine for your shop is never easy and with a wide range of CNC routers available in the market, it has become difficult than ever before. My Welding Yard study will pave your path for the purchase of an ideal router that will take your fabrication & DIY skills to next level.
List of Contents
- See Our Top Selection of 2021
- 10 Best CNC Routers for 2021
- Buying Guide
- Things to Consider while Buying CNC Routers
- Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
See Our Top Selection of 2021
BobsCNC Evolution 3
16" x 18" x 3.3"
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO
11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8”
11.8 x 7.1 x 1.7"
Upgrade Version DIY
11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8″
22.4 × 14.1 × 0.5"
10 Best CNC Routers for 2021
1.BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router
This model consists of a rigid frame and an excellent laser cutter that is intelligently made to work equally well on small as well as large projects. Due to its very productive performance, it is highly recommended for beginners and workers in small shops.
Based on the Arduino microprocessor, this model has a USB port to import your designs. The system used information of this router is also compatible with all the operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Raspberry Pi. Manufacturers have used screws and special design techniques to come up with a rigid design.
Once you buy it, the whole kit will come in pieces which you have to assemble yourself. It is tricky if you are doing it the first time but for those who have already assembled a CNC machine, it is not that much difficult. Moreover, the kit consists of everything you require including a DeWalt router, motors, electronics, and even the software for control purposes.
The motor’s average speed is 30,000 rpm which is too fast for aluminum. Thus, you may require to buy a DC motor controller for cutting materials other than wood. Apart from its large size, the weight of the whole system is just 32 pounds. It works on 115V input which is best if you are working in a residential area.
SG20U rail system along with GT2 belts provide precise timing and handling of the workpiece. Price may look high but thinking of the applications it provides, buying it is saving a lot of money. Altogether, BobsCNC has come up with a very good CNC router that can provide valuable working in a wide range of applications.
2.Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router
Genmistsu has provided the workers with a versatile kit that can be used for a number of projects. The best part about this model is that all components are fixed on its body, saving the headache of assembling it before using. Designed on Arduino, there is no limitation in the software support this unit provides you with. Basically, this router used Grbl as software which has enhanced dependability and simplicity to be used in industrial tasks.
The ergonomic design of this machine enables it to cut a lot of material like wood, aluminum, plastics, and acrylics up to an engraving depth of 1.8 inches. The easy controls and operation of this device make it ideal for beginners who want to learn CNC working and make up their careers. The spindle rotates with a rated speed of 10,000 rpm.
One thing I liked about this model is its offline control facility that enables you to work on this device without even connecting to the internet. You can place it anywhere in the garage and start working.
The precision is reliable while working on professional projects, however, it is not the most precise in the market. You have to code the operator smartly in order to get the most proficient results. The box comes with everything you need to start with.
Apart from so many features, the weight is just 15 pounds, which symbolizes its smart design. Low price is just the icing over the cake for buyers. This is one of the best choices for a CNC router if you are going to buy one.
If you are a beginner or works in a small shop, then this model is everything you need. This product is very easy to assemble with features that are supportive during your job. Like the BobCNC router, this unit is also based on GRBL which is compatible with operating systems like Windows and Linux. However, this product also has the support for PCD processing and Toolpath creation, but you have to buy this equipment separately.
This router from MYSWEETY also provides you with offline controls that don’t require you to sit beside a computer while using it. Comes with a spindle-stepper motor rotating with a speed of 7000 RPM, which is substantial to work with aluminum or wood and many other materials.
The control board is designed intelligently with a lot of new features like a fixed heat sink, external fan, and sturdy casing. Manufacturers provide 12 months of warranty to users that promise durability. Base Plate is created with aluminum and the whole system only weighs up to 12 pounds. This CNC router has everything which can unleash your creativity.
Using this device, you can work on the AC input of 120V and 240V. Perfect for lighter jobs, but you can’t take any heavy-duty tasks from this tool. The screws are of plastic which comes out repeatedly after being touched the first time. The manual that comes with the package is very easy to follow and enable starters to work efficiently. Altogether, this device is perfect for the price tag it comes with.
4.Upgrade Version DIY Mini CNC Router
This GRBL based CNC router is excellent if you are going to work on small to medium range projects. This is an upgraded version of the CNC machine which has enhanced qualities like an integrated driver chip, fixed heat sink, and external fan. This apparatus also has self-contained short circuit protection, which allows working in a voltage fluctuating environment.
Offline controls allow you to use it without connecting to a computer and an SD card reader is also available to import your code in this way. The spindle is very dutiful and rotates up to a speed of 7000 rpm which is best to work with aluminum, acrylics, and wood projects. You can get very precise cuts while working on this model.
Not good with professional and heavy-duty projects but this device is excellent with DIY tasks and small jobs. The frame is made up of aluminum with a weight of just 16 pounds. It can be used for engraving or give through holes to your workpieces. This Upgrade version of CNC 3018 is a very good choice for starters in the field and can help them to deliver artistic cuts over the different metals.
This is a professional machine with high-end features and has a maximum motor speed of 24000 rpm. This high speed is suitable to work with professional projects or engrave high-density materials. The whole frame is made from aluminum with high construction techniques ensuring longer life and enough space for working. There is also a special XYZ axis travel switch to save you from the trouble during operation processing.
The Z-axis function realization can promise the output with zero error. The package also includes a 110V water cooling device which ensures the working of the tool during hot days or in extreme projects. The motor fitted in this machinery is a two-phase stepper motor which is very productive and can generate enough torque to cut thick metals.
The industrial level functionality of this mechanism enables it to cut with a speed of up to 135 inches per minute. It provides support to all the operating systems; however, it also has a separate housing that can operate different kinds of software like ArtCAM and CopperCAM.
This unit has versatile features that are not straightforward to use and you may require some background in using CNC for using these features. The intelligently engineered machinery of this instrument helps in giving stable operation even at high speed. The unit is heavy, and also pricey which is obvious for the features it offers. Thinking of the features and working it gives, this machine is one of the best CNC routers available.
6.Mostics 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro Machine
Mostic has come up with an excellent CNC router that has everything you will require during your job. It has an integrated driver chip, which will provide stable operation during heavy jobs. This machine also has a heat sink for working at high temperatures and an external fan. The sturdy housing of this machine accounts for longer life.
Self-sufficient short circuit protection provides additional support in voltage fluctuating situations. The maximum speed of this apparatus is 10000 rpm which is very great if you are working with wood, plastic, or acrylics. Additionally, the software of this CNC router is compatible with windows, Linux, and many other operating systems. The whole unit is offline supported and required less than 20 minutes to completely start working.
This model is specifically designed for starters and has easier controls. It has 3 handles for adjusting the starting position of your engraving. With the help of this feature, you will not need to download any files for start position accumulation.
The whole apparatus weighs only 18 pounds which is nice if you work in a small shop or require your machine to move regularly. Anodization was not good in aluminum on both sides. Anodization is the process of engraving the surfaces of the aluminum on both sides, but this machine is not precise in these kinds of jobs. The screws are not of the best kind and create trouble on a longer life scale.
But the PROs of this machine are a lot more than its CONs, that’s why is a highly recommended hardware for starters. This is a very good unit to invest in if you are looking for a CNC router.
7.VEVOR 3020 3 Axis
If you are looking for a platform to provide you best engraving skills, then this is what you are looking for. The spindle speed of 8000rpm can etch a lot of materials including wood, plastic, and acrylics. The software is upgraded to be linked with a number of operating systems. The spindle is rated to provide you an accuracy of up to 0.03mm, which is great during any engraving task.
Special trapezoidal screws are used to construct 3-axis giving a stable operation. Shaft chrome plates are strong and feature optimized plain engraving skills. The motor with 300W of power is powerful enough for professional-level duties. The whole frame is manufactured using aluminum, which is both rigid and lightweight.
The whole system is based on Mach3 software and requires you to buy software licenses separately. This task is both time-taking and costly. I loved the way designers have developed the base of this model to provide enough work-space for all workpieces.
Offline controls are not available in this CNC router and you will need to connect a desktop computer or your laptop with it to do work. The working is also dustproof which means it will provide shining looks even during dusty jobs.
8.Desktop CNC Router Machine
This is a CNC machine that can be used for small to medium range tasks and any beginner can buy it because of its low price. The best thing about this model is that it comes with a transparent enclosure so that the workplace remains clean and you can watch the engraving process. The spindle mount can fit with Fox Alien 5000mW and 1500mW modules but it can also be upgraded to a 300W spindle directly.
This unit is altogether made for beginners and starters who don’t have experience in CNC routing. Because of this intent, this device has many safety features like limit switches and emergency stop. The assembly of this apparatus is also very easy as the main part comes pre-assembled from the factory. A very explaining manual comes with this device with precisely labeled cables.
With a maximum speed of 10000RPM, this router can carve and cut a number of materials which are woods, plastics, and acrylics. Like most CNC routers, this system is also based on Grbl software which is compatible with most operating systems.
This machine is not good for professional jobs or works where precision is required as this has only precision up to 0.1mm which is not reliable in many tasks. The working area is large enough to work with most of the materials. In a nutshell, this is a machine made for beginners and can help them in their cutting jobs.
9.Upgraded Laser Engraver CNC
This is a laser engraving CNC router that is precise and uses laser technology to engrave and cut. It is very precise and can work on most materials especially wood. The new design is 97% protective for the eyes. You cause this CNC router without goggles on which is best and also saves your cost of goggles.
The machine is completely made with metal which is rigid and strong enough to promise a long life. The assembly of this device is also very easier and takes only 10 to 15 minutes to completely start working for the first time. The laser is special and has a fixed focal laser, thus you don’t need to adjust the focal point of the laser each time. Additionally, the laser power of the fixed focal laser is also more stable than the zoom laser.
Based on Grbl, this machine can be used with most operating systems. Apart from windows and Linux, you can also use this unit on LaserGRBl and LightBurn. LightBurn supports the input by images in .JPG and .PNG format. I loved the level of preciseness; this Laser router grants which is very nice for all types of projects. The price is also low enough so that a beginner can afford it for his small shop. Altogether, this is a very nice CNC router that has many digital features that can assist you in your projects.
10.Yofuly GRBL Control 3 Axis
This CNC router has some functions which are very helpful in difficult and tricky jobs. Its sturdy and rigid shell along with ergonomic structure helps the worker in engraving materials precisely. The machine can be operated offline without needing the connection to any computer or laptop. The precision of this machine is also reliable in many professional jobs.
Manually adjustable X, Y, and Z-axis help the user to start the job from any point. Motor speed is maximum at 10000 RPM that is good if you are dealing with wood, acrylic, and plastic surfaces. All windows formats are supported when you are working with this router machine.
This device is not helpful if you are working with any hard metal or trying to cut steel. However, in a small shop or for DIY this is a very good CNC unit. It works fine if you are going to cut a workpiece of up to ½ inches thickness. Lightweight and easy controls are other things that appeal to many users. Starters can easily assemble this unit and start working. This is an efficient pick if you are going to cut small to medium range projects.
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Controls Machine. These machines can automatically carve and cut the workpiece. A good CNC machine can precisely cut the materials and can engrave patterns over woods, acrylics, and plastics. Some workers use CNC routers to make rough surfaces smooth.
To work with a CNC router, you will need a CAD program using a desktop computer, laptop, or any other format. These machines have an axis to work with the X, Y, and Z-axis and some have manual whereas in some machines you have to set the starting point automatically using a program.
On the basis of tabletops, CNC machines are divided into some main types. These types are as follow:
- T-Slot Table Top:
These are the standard CNC devices that are found. The table formations are like ordinary tables. These CNC devices are heavier because they are formed with steel.
Perforated Table Top:
These models have perforated tabletops. They have benefits over T-slot CNCs for being lighter in weight. They are also cheaper than T-Slot styles and provide excellent operating results.
Vacuum Table Top:
These CNC routers are the same as the perforated table kind but have punctured holes. The vacuum tables provide additional support over the perforated tabletop, but they are expensive than perforated top machines.
Disposable Table Top:
These are special kind of table tops which are made for beginners and starters. If your table gets scratches or any cuts then you can replace it with a new one. These tops are cheaper and can be bought iteratively. This unit has the benefit of giving you free hand to experience the CNC cutting without having any fear of damaging the table.
Things to Consider while Buying CNC Routers
If you are going to buy a CNC router, then you will need to consider some main things. While your purchase, you have to consider these things in order to get one of the best CNC routers.
While buying a CNC router, the cost is one of the main factors or the most important factor for your purchase. A good CNC router is not cheaper in price, however, there are many models that are specifically made for beginners or starters that are lower in price. However, it is important to note your applications before buying a device.
A CNC apparatus which are cheaper will not have enough functions for your tasks. For professional works, it is good to spend some more bucks in other to get more precision and functions. Thus, it depends on your work type and the materials you are going to cut.
SPEED OF MOTOR
This is also an important factor that will devise the spectrum of your applications. A CNC motor with more speed can cut through harder metals and also have more strength. For working with wood, acrylics, and plastic a motor up to a rating of up to 10000 RPM is enough.
However, if you are going to cut and etch denser metals then you should go for a motor with more speed. So, you should choose a motor speed based on your applications and the materials you are going to cut using this router.
DESIGN OF TABLE
The design of your table is very important and also its structure and weight. If a CNC machine is heavier, it will be difficult to move it or home it in a small shop. If a unit is made up of steel or any other rigid material, then it is going to last longer. A heavier model will also allow you to cut heavy and harder workpieces
Assembly of the table is also important. Many apparatuses come with pre-assembled parts however, in some routers you have to start assembly from the scratch. Many packages come with manuals that have complete rules and precautions for using the machine.
Some CNC routers have digital options which will provide an advantage for using these over the others. The software adapted by a CNC unit is very important. Most of the devices have Grbl software which is compatible with most operating systems. However, many software can also be used Linux and other systems.
The input style of a CNC router is also important. You should look for a unit that will have card-reader input or any other input style to help you during the job. Offline controls are very important. They allow you to work with a CNC device without connecting to a computer. Controls of a device are also important, if you are a starter or not worked with CNC before.
Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Are CNC routers worth it?
A CNC router can efficiently cut the workpiece and etch designs on it. If you are a beginner then a CNC machine will definitely help you in your job and provide a professional-level cutting application. Also, these models are easier to use and have accessibility to working offline. They can be expensive but it is absolutely worth it and help you take your cutting skills to next level.
What can a CNC router do?
A CNC router can provide precise cutting to the workpiece. Besides providing through-cuts, they can also form stylish patterns and etch the workpiece. A good CNC machine can be very helpful for your job with cutting and designing different materials.
How can I make money with a small CNC router?
A CNC router can help you provide cutting and engraving tasks. You can have a CNC machine and provide cutting and designing services locally. A good CNC model will help you cut wooden and plastic parts pretty quickly and precisely.
What is the difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill?
A CNC milling machine is generally used in professional tasks because of its high level of precision. This machine moves the workpiece to and fro around the spindle to provide cutting and etching applications. Whereas, a CNC router is suitable for small applications. Its applications are somewhat restricted to small projects. However, a router is generally given an advantage because of its small size and easier controls.
In this article, I have reviewed the best CNC models for woodworking and small business available in the market. I have clearly mentioned all the important aspects of all routers and how they will help you in your work. In the end, a lengthy buying guide will help you in your choice of ideal machine.
Based on my personal experience, after reviewing all these products I can say that BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router is the best CNC router available in the market. It provides excellent operations along with easier controls. But you can read the remaining reviews in order to get a product with personal requirements.