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Router

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181 Review

If you’re looking to up your woodworking game, then you need to get your hands on a high-quality router table. This is a specialized table where a handheld router is placed beneath the table with the router bit protruding upwards through a hole. All that’s left to do is push your workpiece across the provided worktable and through the bit.

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181 Review

Bosch has been among the most trusted power tools and power tools accessories manufacturers for quite some time. One of their router table models – the RA1181 – has garnered quite a few stars, so we’d like to see what makes this table so beloved by its customers.



Durable, Smooth Table Top

The most important thing to consider when shopping for a table your handheld router tool is the smoothness of the table. After all, you’ll be gliding pieces of wood across the table and into a spinning router bit, and any bumps on the table could cause unwanted results. We’re glad to find that the RA1181’s cast aluminum table is super smooth, free of imperfections, and creates an almost frictionless surface that lets your workpieces glide seamlessly.

Huge Worktable

Benchtop router tables need to be small enough not to crowd your workspace but large enough to support a wide range of different-sized boards. This Bosch-made router table comes with a tremendous, 27 x 18-inch aluminum to support almost any board you can get from retailers.

Bosch Benchtop Router Table RA1181

Rigid Mounting Plate

The mounting plate is where the router tool will be placed upside down, so the bit points upward and past the worktable. This plate needs to be strong. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a dangerous wobbling tool that won’t dig grooves or carve edges effectively. The mounting plate on the RA1181 is rigid, durable, won’t move even in the slightest when pushing material against the spinning router bit, and is pre-drilled to support a wide range of router models (not just Bosch’s). The base stays true to the worktable’s surface for precision cuts every time.

Reliable Dual Featherboards

The feather boards on the fence of router tables help in ensuring that your workpiece slides across the table’s surface without straying from the desired trajectory. This is important for a number of different reasons, the most important of which are accuracy and safety (prevents kickback). This router table comes with a pair of featherboards that attach to either side of the router and mounting plate, giving your material maximum support on both the infeed and outfeed sides of the table.

Bosch RA1181

Small Footprint

Any benchtop tool shouldn’t take too much space. This is because they sit atop a table rather than take up your workshop’s floor space. This base of this tool measures 22-3/4 inches in length and 27 inches wide. You won’t need to dedicate more than a tiny portion of your workshop bench to give this router table some height. There are also four pre-drilled holes on each of the table’s legs where you can drive screws in to keep this tool from wobbling while in use.

Awesome Dust Management

Like so many tools, routers produce sawdust and chips in large quantities. The more the tool is in use, the more sawdust you’ll need to clean up. Any woodworker will tell you that sweeping and scooping sawdust is a pain in the neck, which is why it’s important to find a router table with a working dust port, such as the Bosch RA1181.

This table comes with a standard 2-1/2-inch dust port that connects to your shop vac or dust extractor. The table is designed in such a way that most of the sawdust produced from your router will go flying towards the dust chute, ready to be suctioned up by your vac.

Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table

Onboard Storage Compartment

Since routers use a ton of different bits and accessories, you’ll need to keep the detachable items safe and secure when not in use. The RA1181 can be of tremendous help thanks to the onboard storage compartment which can house any and every accessory for your router tool. There’s even a handy place to store your router’s cord to keep it away and out of sight.

Verdict

So what do we think of the Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router TableIt has everything you’d expect for a high-quality router table and more. The ultra-smooth worktable is helpful in keeping your workpieces from sticking, letting you produce beautifully carved channels and edges without any trouble at all. The secured fence, adjustable featherboards, and dust port make this tool not only easy to use but also safe. Essentially, if you have a router tool of any brand and need a durable table, the RA1181 by Bosch is the table to get.

Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table Review




Categories
Router

Bosch vs. Skil Router Table

Router tables are stationary units commonly used in woodworking applications that make it easier for craftsmen to create intricately designed moldings or trims.

Bosch RA1181 vs Skil RAS900 Router Table Comparison

Bosch RA1181

In this comparison, we will be closely comparing the relevant features of the Bosch RA1181 and the SKIL RAS900 Router table against each other, so that you can make a better-informed decision as to which of the two would better suit your own particular needs.

The Bosch RA1181 has a wide surface area which makes it a perfect unit if you need space for your various woodworking activities. The base of the table is constructed from stiff-molded plastic while the mounting plate, as well as the bench top, consists of cast aluminum. The fence is made from veneered MDF and the turn dials are crafted from molded plastic.

The table comes with an on-off power switch and a circuit breaker to guard against any power surge damaging your equipment’s electronics. It is also provided with an onboard storage to keep your accessories save while a handy cord wrap also helps to keep these neatly tucked away. The table is very light and portable, making it a great option for both professionals or DIYers who frequently move to and from different sites.

Meanwhile, the SKIL RAS900 arrives as a pre-assembled router table. It comes with a hefty storage bag for accessories and a composite MDF top. The fence and router bits have more than adequate space by virtue of the self-contained structure of the SKIL RAS900’s design.

Skil RAS900 vs Bosch RA1181 Router Table Comparison

Skil RAS900

The quick-release router mount makes it super easy to attach and separate the router within seconds. The table is actually pre-assembled, so there is only very minimal additional work that needs to be done in setting up the equipment after purchasing it. Among the defining characteristics of the SKIL RAS900 is its highly improved routing accuracy, courtesy of the two feather-boards provided. This greatly helps in accurately guiding the workpieces in order to attain a very high degree of precision.

One distinct advantage of the RAS900 table is that it matches with a wide selection of different routers. The presence of a bit height gauge also aids in the set-up completion as well as to ensure that all cuts are created with a high degree of accuracy. It is very easy to route curved edges as the table is equipped with a pin and guard starter that provides excellent support to the workpieces in order to achieve the desired curved designs.

Below is a detailed look at the key defining features of each unit, compared side-by-side, for a proper evaluation:

Bosch RA1181 vs Skil RAS900

Bosch RA1181

Weight and Dimensions

Bosch RA1181
The Bosch RA1181 benchtop router table measures 22.8 x 18 x 14.5 inches and weighs 33.6 pounds.

SKIL RAS900
The SKIL RAS900 weighs 32 pounds. It’s 27.7 inches in length, 17.7 inches wide and 9.5 inches high.

The weight of each router table is actually very similar and their dimensions are also almost identical, except for the height where the Bosch RA1181 stands at almost ½ foot higher than the SKIL RAS900.

Skil RAS900 vs Bosch RA1181

Skil RAS900

Assembly

Bosch RA1181
You have to allocate enough time to properly set up Bosch’s RAA1181 Router Table. We actually spent almost one hour assembling the entire set. But before that, we had to acquaint ourselves with its different features and functions to ensure that we would do the set-up right.

The manual was very self-explanatory, with easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations to explain various facets of the setup.

SKIL RAS900
The table is remarkably easy to set up. It will not take you more than 30 minutes to set-up. After familiarizing yourself with how the different parts work, you can basically start working once you are able to mount the router.

Because the table is equipped with a cleverly-designed fast-clamping system and an advanced mounting bracket and clamp at the table’s base, attaching and removing the router is fairly rudimentary.

The SKIL router table is actually easier to assemble than Bosch’s. But when it comes to durability, we have to give the nod to the Bosch RA1181 as it is made of sturdier materials and is generally more stable once completely assembled. The folding table and legs that make the SKIL table easy to store and assemble, also makes it inherently weak.

If you are going to be working on some heavier workpieces, there is a possibility that the table might bend, which is counter-productive and basically unsafe. Hence, use the SKIL table only for lighter projects as much as possible.

Skil RAS900 vs Bosch RA1181

Skil RAS900

Fence and Featherboard

Bosch RA1181
With a high aluminum fence measuring 4-7/8” in height and 25-1/8” in length, the table can handle tall workpieces with ease. The fence includes retractable MDF plates for better support during operation.

SKIL RAS900
The adjustable fences are provided with corresponding shims to offset the force from the opposite side. Another use of it would be as a surface planer or jointer.

Both products have two feather boards which provide more control to the user, and a fence which is very useful in aligning the workpieces. Both feather boards are also adjustable, making it easier to accommodate different types of workpieces.

Bosch RA1181 Router Table

Check how much you can save, buying the Bosch RA1181 Router Table on Amazon >>>

Bosch RA1181 vs SKIL RAS900: Final Words

Bosch’s RA1181 is an excellent and versatile router table for most woodworking applications. Overall, we were extremely satisfied with the outstanding performance and capabilities of this product.

Bosch always maintains quality standards in all of their product releases, and that is evidently found in this particular unit as well. The only downside, at least initially, is that it takes up some valuable time to set-up this table although once it’s ready to go it can take on all comers, be it light or heavy projects.

Meanwhile, the SKIL RAS900 also does not fail to impress us with its wide range of features. It is very smartly-designed and even takes care of your accessories in the storage compartment. The table is composed of an integrated-power-chip which helps in managing the router, as well as to power the dust collector after use. It is very adept at performing various procedures, from making channel routes and simple edge molding.

Skil RAS900 Router Table

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Categories
Router

Bosch RA1181 vs RA1171 Router Tables

Routers are praised by professional and DIY woodworkers for their ability to produce a number of different sized and shaped cuts, such as textures and joineries. It’s the consistency and accuracy of router tables that make them so revered by carpenters of all levels. These tables come in a wide selection to choose from, and some even have different purposes to boot. If you’re out shopping for one, choosing the right one for you can be a challenging task. This is why we advise taking a look at Bosch’s line of router tables.

Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table Review

Bosch RA1181

Bosch is known for being one of the industry’s most trusted manufacturers, and they’ve been in the game for more than a century. They mainly focus on producing some of the world’s best handheld power tools, but their line of router tables is definitely worth noticing. Two of their models – the Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table and the Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table – have consistently received positive ratings from customers and experts. However, when it comes to which one is better there are several things to look at. You can read how the two models compare below.

Aluminum Fence

Bosch RA1181
One of the main purposes of a router table is to give a platform in which to produce accurate and consistent cuts onto long pieces of wood, so the fence is extremely important. The RA1181 features a durable and adjustable 4-7/8- x 25-1/8-inch aluminum fence for maneuverability. The opening can be set to a maximum of 3-5/8 inches which is great for working on materials that leave a lot of sawdust.

Bosch RA1171
Just like the RA1181, the fence of this cabinet-style router table is made of durable aluminum of similar size (4-7/8 x 25-1/8 inches). The maximum fence opening of this model is slightly smaller than the RA1181, measuring 3-3/16 inches. Although there’s hardly any difference, in general, a wider fence opening is preferred especially since it wider openings work better on materials that generate sawdust.

The fences are practically identical in size and opening. They’re both moderately tall so working on taller stock pieces won’t be an issue. However, the RA1181 is only slightly better fence-wise since the opening is just a width of a hair wider than the RA1171’s maximum fence opening.

Adjustable Featherboards

Bosch RA1181
Featherboards are devices which are specifically used to apply a constant pressure on the stock you’re holding. The RA1181 comes with two featherboards which can be used on the table and fence, helping to produce precise cuts.

Bosch RA1171
This model also features two fully-adjustable featherboards which help keep our fingers away from the high-speed router. Just like the newer RA1181 model, these featherboards can be attached to the table or the fence for creating accurate cuts along the stock you’re cutting.

There’s a complete overlap in featherboard performance and usability. Neither the RA1181 nor the RA1171 are superior in this regard, but it’s important to note that these models come with two featherboards which serve as a third hand to keep our delicate fingers out of harm’s way.

Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table Review

Bosch RA1171

Dust Collector

Bosch RA1181
When working with stocks of wood, you never want the residual sawdust to collect on or around your table since it can ruin measurements and accuracy. The RA1181 comes with a single standard 2.5-inch dust collector which connects to a shop vacuum. The 3-5/8-inch wide opening on the fence supports more effective dust collection.

Bosch RA1171
They say more is better, but it’s not always true with the RA1171’s dust collecting system. This unit features dual 2.5-inch dust collecting ports to which users can fit standard vacuum hoses. However, the only possible drawback is the placement of one of the ports near the on/off switch box which poses a risk of air leaks.

Looking at the dust collector ports, less is more, at least when comparing these two models. The placement of the dust collector in the RA1181 in combination with the wider fence opening allows for more effective dust disposal.

Aluminum Mounting Plate

Bosch RA1181
The sturdiness and flatness of a router table’s mounting plate plays a huge role in producing precise cuts. A versatile plate helps users swap routers out with ease. The RA1181 model features a rigid and smooth aluminum mounting plate which withstands all sorts of router weights. This unit comes with three mounting plate rings.

Bosch RA1171
Similar to the RA1181 model, this router table uses a smooth, predrilled aluminum mounting plate for swapping between routers. This unit also comes with three mounting plate rings to choose from. However, the assembly phase of the unit determines the overall level and balance of the mounting plate. We found that it was just a tad bit more difficult to keep the plate level when putting this unit together.

We’re noticing that the newer RA1181 model has fixed a lot of issues that we and several customers have complained about. The aluminum mounting plates and rings are identical, but when assembling the unit, it’s easier to keep everything leveled with the RA1181.

Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table Review

Bosch RA1181

Large Aluminum Work Surface

Bosch RA1181
In combination with effective dust and debris collection, a flat work surface is vital for producing accurate cuts, especially when working with long pieces of stock. In general, the longer the stock, the larger the work surface needs to be to keep the piece balanced. The RA1181 features a large 27 x 18-inch die-cast aluminum surface. The table is also durable to boot, making this portable router table a perfect solution for taking to various job sites. The problem with soft metals like aluminum is that they are prone to warping over time.

Bosch RA1171
This cabinet-style router table features an aluminum table that has been commended by a number of people for being large enough for a majority of woodworking projects but also small enough for personal use at home. The laminated work surface measures in at 25 x 15-1/2 inches. The problem with warping is also a risk that the RA1171’s work surface isn’t free from.

Considering the portability of these two units (more on this later), we find that the RA1181’s slightly larger work surface makes it the better choice between these two models. Both of these table’s finishes make for a seemingly frictionless experience when pushing stocks through the router, but the larger workspace of the RA1181 accommodates both small and larger pieces of wood.

Assembly

Bosch RA1181
One of the worst but also fulfilling experiences for any woodworker is assembly. The RA1181 comes in a number of pieces that users need to meticulously go through and count in order to ensure perfect construction. Luckily, the longest you’ll spend on building this unit is roughly 90 minutes. It might seem long, but just wait until you see the assembly time of the other Bosch model.

Bosch RA1171
As we mentioned earlier, the assembly can be a pain, and the RA1171 takes full advantage of how much trouble you should go through. The unit comes in even more pieces than the RA1181, so we had to spend roughly 25 minutes going through and counting each individual piece. It took us an additional 2-1/4 hours to fully assemble the unit. The hardest part was keeping the mounting plate level.

Hands down, the RA1181 was the easier of the two to construct straight from the box. We appreciated the extra systems in place to keep the mounting plate perfectly level and flush.

Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table Review

Bosch RA1171

Size, Weight, and Overall Portability

Bosch RA1181
Benchtop router tables are relatively compact and lightweight, especially when compared to their industrial-sized counterparts. The RA1181 weighs a total of 33.6 pounds and only takes up 22.8 x 18 x 14.5 inches of desk space. Disassembling the unit for storage or takeaway is also extremely simple to do, making it one of the most portable router tables available on the market.

Bosch RA1171
This older router table model is a little bit bulkier. It weighs 45.1 pounds and takes up a 27 x 24.2 x 14.8 inches of surface space. What’s disappointing is that it takes up more space to operate, but the table is considerably smaller compared to the other model. Disassembling the unit for taking to multiple job sites is also easily achieved. Even though it weighs more than 10 pounds heavier than the RA1181, we still find it portable and easy to set up.

We like the RA1181’s lighter and more compact build compared to the RA1171, but either model could suit you perfectly when needing a portable router table.

Bosch RA1181 Benchtop Router Table Review

Bosch RA1181

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Bottom Line

The Bosch RA1181 is the clear winner of these two portable router tables. This is hardly a surprise since the RA1181 is just an upgraded version of the older, bulkier RA1171. Back in its time, the RA1171 was the coolest kid on the block with its lightweight, numerous features, flawless cutting performance, and stocks of all shapes and sizes.

We’re happy to see that Bosch hasn’t left their RA1171 model forgotten in the dust, but instead opted to fix problems that customers had with the previous version. Perhaps our only complaint is that the base is made of plastic, but even so, it comes with sufficient ribbing support to prevent wobbling. Not to mention the plastic build is a cost-cutter where the savings are passed to the customer. In conclusion, the RA1181 will provide greater value compared to the smaller, heavier RA1171.

Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table Review

Bosch RA1171

Check how much you can save, buying the Bosch RA1171 Cabinet Style Router Table on Amazon >>>