Last updated June 2, 2021
Computer Numerical Control or otherwise known as CNC is a method for automated 3D cutting and milling processes and the best CNC routers found in the market will give you the ability to produce first-grade work at the back of your home or in your garage. By making use of computers and coding software to direct an instructed cutting process, CNC routers always give its users precise and consistent work along with high productivity rates and exact reproduction. You can use a CNC machine on woods, foams, plastics, and other materials that are used to produce signboards, furniture, frames, decorations, and carvings.
Recently, it is now easier to find a CNC router kit that offers speed and precision at the same time for a price that can be afforded by any DIY enthusiast. In this article, we take a look at some of the best CNC routers you can find on the market.
- Best Starter Kit: Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO
- Best for Hobby: MYSWEET 3018 Pro
- Best for Sign Making: SainSmart Genmitsu 3018 CNC Router Machine
- Best for Proffesionals: BobsCNC E3
- Best for Desktop: MCWdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro
- Best Portable: Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro
- Best for Multifunctional: CNC Piranha XL
- Best High Efficiency: VEVOR CNC Router 3020T
- Best Thick Aluminium Plate: Taishi 6040 CNC Router
- Best Accuracy: CNC Piranha FX Router
CNC Router Buyer’s Guide
CNC routers are coded machine guidance systems that are used to produce complex shapes. They are versatile in use. If you frequently need a tool to slice through thick sheets of metals, woods, plastic, and other thicker materials, then purchasing a high-quality Router is your primary goal.
Below are some of the features and specifications one has to consider before purchasing a new CNC Router.
When buying a CNC router machine, software compatibility is one of the factors one should focus first on before they make the purchase. It is important you buy a CNC Router in which the software is compatible with your laptop. These routers are designed to use with Mac, Windows, and Linux OS. If your computer is running on Mac, consider going for routers that are compatible with Mac OS. With the aid of a software system, users can use their routers to create their designed shapes on their workpieces.
Capabilities of the Machine
The next question is for you to ask yourself ”what will the machine be used for and what results do you intend in getting from it”. Once you have known the answers to these questions correctly, you will be going down the path of buying that product that will match your taste. Sometimes users do blame the machine when the question falls on their choice of techniques, not with the product itself.
Size of Machine
One of the features you need to look into when purchasing a CNC router is the size which will be deduced by either what the functions of the machine are for or the size of your workspace. Industrial-sized routers are often big and they do take a lot of space however benchtop CNC machines are smaller in size can it can be positioned comfortably On top of the work table.
It is also important to know that when it comes to power and versatility, the best small CNC router cannot be compared with industrial-sized ones.
Availability of Spare Parts
Buying the best CNC router means you are buying one in which the spare parts can be found easily. This is very important especially when any parts stop functioning and need to be restored. The parts of the router that requires more replacement than other parts because of its sensitivity are the drill bits, router bits, and profile cutters.
There are only three drive systems that are found in the CNC router which include lead screw, ball screw pinion, and rack. Ball screws are said to be the costliest because of their tendency to handle a lot of materials accurately.
This is not only important for the CNC machine but for other tools with tables, you plan on buying such as drill press table and cabinet table saw. The size of the router table should be big enough to take all the materials you are working on. Therefore, the size of your material should depend on the size of the machine you will purchase.
The cutting speed and the torque of the CNC router are defined by the motor system. Routers with high motors can perform faster and stronger than the products with a low motor. This is a very important factor.
The part of the motor that actually cuts with the support of a cutter is called the spindle. Most of the features of a spindle to watch out for are the Rotations per minute, the input power and the torque.
Spindle vs Router
A spindle CNC mechanism is more suitable for industrial applications and heavy-duty jobs. They are powered by 3-phase lines through an inverter. Due to this, they produce more power for cutting even at lower speeds than a router.
In addition, spindles possess precision bearings which make their cut accurate, beautiful and smoother. Also, some of the components were made out of strong solid materials to enhance durability. But spindles are very costly.
CNC routers, on the other hand, are cheap and most of them are designed to accept spindle kits so the upgrade can be done easily anytime. With everything said, it still depends on your main aim of buying it since they can handle small takes while spindle handles bigger heavy-duty projects.
Automatic Tool Changing System (ATC)This factor is very important if your work requires you to combine with more than one device. Every CNC router on this list is equipped with an ATC feature. With this function, you can change tools effectively and easily. This also decreases the time wasted on delays and errors with the project.
This is part of the CNC which holds the workpiece. Heavy substances can be held by only a strong vacuum. The ability of a vacuum to clench unto the material can be calculated by its pressure.
CNC Routers work with a thorough integration with computer systems. The software of both your computer and the CNC router should be free of bugs. They should also be receiving a direct update from the main company that created it. Also, the most complex application needs advanced software to be used on the router.
Dust Collection System
This factor is important because it helps keep your environment clean and healthy from the debris created by your device. You should consider purchasing a CNC router machine which has a dust collection port. Also, check the capacity and functionality of the dust collection system.
Price is one of the main factors that should be considered when purchasing any product no matter what. You should always aim for products that have much functionality and at the same time, aim within your budget. If the purpose of getting a CNC router is to handle small and simple jobs, you can then get a cheap router.
Ease of service
It is important to evaluate the type of maintenance that will be needed by the product and the ease at which it can be maintained. Some machines are designed to be set up and maintained by its users, others are not. However, most products come with a warranty so always confirm from the manufacturer or seller if the device comes with a warranty.
Best CNC router in the 2021 year
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit Wood Carving, Milling, and Engraving Machine is a nice piece of design made to be a perfect router kit for a newbie or a beginner. The 3018-PRO CNC Router Kit is packed with a lot of amazing features which makes it a perfect choice for some woodworkers. Some of these features may make the device very easy to operate and it is also constructed to be gotten from the carton. This unit as it comes out of the box is ready to go. With its plug-and-play feature, not only does it make it safe to use but it’s durable too.
When you look at the device, it might not look very solid but when users use it, they find out that it actually lasts longer than most CNC routers out there in the market. What we don’t like about this product is that it most times comes with incomplete sets that require you to purchase before use. The manual is also difficult to study but we advise that you can practice and learn from online websites. There is also a design flaw we need to talk about, and that’s the lack of a limit switch which would cause the user to make errors and mistakes.
- Purchasing the package can get you a free power supply before you check out.
- It has a very large working area.
- It has a high motor spindle that rotates from about 7,000 RPM to 9,000 RPM depending on your choice.
- It can work on various platforms. It can work on Linus, Windows (XP, 7, 8, 10), and Mac.
- It can carve on different materials such as soft metal, PCB, wood, plastic, PVC, and acrylic.
The SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer with GRBL Offline Control has an easy-to-assemble feature which in turn gives versatility to the router for enhanced operation. We noticed that the software for the product is very easy to use but users have complained about having difficulty downloading it.
The BobsCNC E3 CNC Router looks more like a homemade kit which would be really good for a newbie or an enthusiastic. The main material used in the production of this unit is wood. It has a large cutting area and each unit comes with a DEWALT 660 router. The gantry and cutting head runs on an SG20U support system. The control of the router is carried out by an Arduino-based microprocessor running Grbl motion-control software. The BobsCNC E3 CNC Router can be connected to a computer which is required to run the CNC machine in Windows, Linus, as well as Mac.
The solid wood body has its benefits but it also has its negatives; it is impossible to flex from the bed to the gantry and users would end up constantly checking and tightening its components. On the other hand, wood is eco-friendly and it is easy to work with especially if you plan on making a lot of modifications.
- It has a rigid laser cut frame.
- It runs on SG20U support rail system.
- It makes use of GT2 belt drive both on the X and Y-axis.
- The 5/16-18 nut on the Z-axis.
The MCWdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine, Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller is a high-quality CNC Router in which customers and users cannot pass by. It is an upgraded version of the MCWdoit CNC 3018. This model comes with very amazing but useful features which may include; a fixed heat sink, an integrated driver chip, a fan, and a huge upgrade to the motherboard. This CNC features a very spacious surface in which users can be able to make use of their projects.
The MCWdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine, Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller is full of spare parts. The manufacturers advise that this product should be used only by professionals and also this machine wasn’t built to handle projects on an industrial level. The MCWdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine, Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller is a versatile tool and it is suitable for surfaces made of several materials such as soft metals, plastics, acrylic, and PVC.
Produced by Yofuly, the Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control Engraving Machine with Offline Controller is the upgraded version of the CNC 3018 with a new control board and an integrated driver chip. It is very easy to install and the manual, as well as the software, can be found easily over the Internet. When the Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control Engraving Machine with Offline Controller arrives, it comes in a box and is semi-assembled meaning that users have to spend at least 20 minutes setting up their devices.
There is an offline controller integrated into the system. This means that users can use the Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control Engraving Machine with Offline Controller without any computer. This CNC router can also be used on a variety of materials which includes some metals such as aluminum and copper and other surfaces such as plastic, wood, PCB CCL, acrylic. The Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control Engraving Machine with Offline Controller as we know is suitable for professionals or people who already have knowledge about the CNC router.
The CNC Piranha XL Router offers an ample work surface and many of the distinctive features displayed by one of the best CNC routers for professional needs in the market. It comes with a touchscreen controller along with auto-sensing and auto-edge capabilities. It also comes with the VCarve Desktop V9.0, the Virtual Zero workpiece mapping software, and the Vector 3D software packages.
The CNC Piranha XL Router can run anything the router can cut but it works best for wood, soft metals, plastic, and acrylic.
- Auto Edge and Rotational Sensing Technology with Virtual Zero exclusive software.
- It features a touchscreen color graphic pendant controlled software package.
- It is made in the USA.
- Can support only windows.
This is a multifunctional machine that is needed for art, research, industrial purposes, and teaching. It has a compact design making it get to this top 10 list of best CNC routers.The spindle can run between 300 RPM to 8,000 RPM making this device needed for engraving on various materials to get a beautiful finish. Weighing over 43.7 pounds, this machine comes with a 3D ability that lets its users create prototypes, artworks, advertisement signs, and much much more.
- Features a large work space in which you don’t have to worry about the size of the project.
- The VEVOR CNC Router 3020T has a very powerful motor that can produce spindle spins of up to 8,000RPM.
- It can be used to engrave and carve on various materials such as stone, metal, wood, etc.
- Features a durable design which makes the device last long.
The Taishi Desktop CNC Router is constructed and designed with a solid 15mm aluminum alloy plate making it a rigid and stable device. The spindle can run up to 24,000 RPM making this device a very powerful tool for professional engraving and designs.The Taishi Desktop CNC Router requires a desktop system running Mach 3 software to operate the unit. The table and gantry are solidly built with a smooth motor operation and extremely low noise production.
- Simple installation and operation, strong and steady due to the aluminum alloy frame.
- 3D carving on native wood, softwood, PVC, plastic, acrylic, etc.
- Can be controlled only by a desktop computer and not a laptop using the Mach 3 software which is easy and smart.
The CNC Piranha FX is known as the base model CNC device which is produced by the Next Wave Automation. It is a small unit but it has a manageable workspace that can contain light-duty jobs. This device supports the 3D Digital Duplicator touch probe which allows users to trace and duplicate objects to the tiniest details.
The Piranha XL Router offers a touch screen control and all the features found in the XL model. This machine is basically a nice one but it is needed in simple applications.
- Features a good balance of capabilities compared to the price range.
- It has a touch screen controller which makes operation easy and faster.
- Supports the 3D digital duplicate touch probe.
- Features specifications found in the high-end models.
|Product Name||Weight (lbs)||Primary Material||Work area (inches)|
|Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO||15.3||Multiple materials||11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8|
|MYSWEET DIY CNC||11.22||Aluminum plate||11.8 x 7.1 x 1.6|
|SainSmart Genmitsu 3018||20.8||Aluminum||11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8|
|BobsCNC E3 CNC||25||Multiple materials||16 x 18 x 3.3|
|MCWdoit CNC 3018 Pro||15.7||Steel||11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8|
|Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro||15.09||Aluminum||11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8|
|CNC Piranha XL Router||75||Aluminum||12 x 25 x 4|
|VEVOR CNC Router 3020T||15.45||Aluminum||7.9 x 11.9 x 2.0|
|Taishi Desktop CNC Router||121.2||Aluminum alloy||15.8 x 22.9 x 3.0|
|CNC Piranha FX Router||58.9||Aluminum||12 x 13 x 3|
ConclusionAs you can see, there is a vast range of quality products in the world of CNC routers, but they are very modest devices. You are spending money for a few features that will make operation easier and faster, but the cost is focused mainly on getting a sturdy build and solid operational characteristics that are compelled to produce accuracy and precision.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, there is a possibility that you would outgrow most of the lower-end machines, so our overall recommendation here is to learn and work with most machines as possible while saving for the best router you can get your hands on.