10 Best CNC Routers – [Unbiased Review & Guide]

Computer Numerical Control, otherwise known as CNC, is a method for automated 3D cutting and milling processes. 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 using computers and coding software to direct an instructed cutting process,  CNC routers always give their 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 any DIY enthusiast can afford. In this article, we look at some of the best CNC routers you can find on the market.

  1. Best Starter Kit: Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO
  2. Best for Hobbyists: MYSWEET 3018 Pro
  3. Best for Sign Making: SainSmart Genmitsu 3018 CNC Router Machine
  4. Best for Proffesionals: BobsCNC E3
  5. Best for Desktop: MCWdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro
  6. Best Portable: Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro
  7. Best for Multifunctional: CNC Piranha XL
  8. Best High Efficiency: VEVOR CNC Router 3020T
  9. Best Thick Aluminium Plate: Taishi 6040 CNC Router
  10. Best Accuracy: CNC Piranha FX Router

🔎 CNC Router Buyer’s Guide

CNC routers are coded machine guidance systems 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, purchasing a high-quality Router is your primary goal. 

Below are some of the features and specifications one must consider before purchasing a new CNC Router.

➡️ Software compatibility

When buying a CNC router machine,  software compatibility is one factor one should focus on before they make the purchase. It is essential 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 compatible with Mac OS. With a software system, users can use their routers to create their designed shapes on their workpieces.

➡️ Capabilities of the Machine

The next question for you to ask yourself is: ”what will the machine be used for, and what results do you intend to get 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 blame the machine when the question falls on their choice of techniques, not the product itself.

➡️ Size of the Machine

One of the features you need to look into when purchasing a CNC router is the size deduced by either what the functions of the machine are for or the size of your workspace.   Industrial-sized routers are often big, taking a lot of space. However, benchtop CNC machines are smaller in size, and they can be positioned comfortably On top of the work table.

It is also essential to know that the best small CNC router cannot be compared with industrial-sized ones when it comes to power and versatility.

➡️ 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 router parts that require more replacement than other parts because of their sensitivity are the drill bits, router bits, and profile cutters.

Ensure that the model you purchase has spare parts from its manufacturers because they tend to fail when you need them the most.

➡️ Drive System

There are only three drive systems found in the CNC router, including lead screw, ball screw pinion, and rack. Ball screws are said to be the costliest because they tend to handle many materials accurately

➡️ Table Size

This is important for the CNC machine and other bench tools you plan on buying, such as drills, press tables, and cabinet table saws. The router table size 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.

➡️ Motor System

The motor system defines the cutting speed and the torque of the CNC router. Routers with high motors can perform faster and with more power output than products with low motors. This is a critical factor.

➡️ Spindle

The part of the motor that 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. 3-phase lines power them 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 materials to enhance durability. But spindles are very costly

On the other hand, CNC routers are cheap, and most of them are designed to accept spindle kits, so the upgrade can be done quickly anytime. With everything said, it still depends on your main aim of buying it since they can handle small takes while spindle handles more significant heavy-duty projects.

➡️ Automatic Tool Changing System (ATC)

This factor is critical if your work requires you to combine 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.

➡️ Vacuum

This is part of the CNC, which holds the workpiece. Only a strong vacuum can handle heavy substances. The ability of a vacuum to clench onto the material can be calculated by its pressure. 

➡️ Software

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 that has a dust collection port. Also, check the capacity and functionality of the dust collection system.

➡️ Value for Money

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 essential to evaluate the type of maintenance needed by the product and the ease at which it can be maintained. Some machines are designed to be set up and maintained by their users; others are not. However, most products come with a warranty, so always confirm if the device comes with a warranty from the manufacturer or seller. 

🏅 Best CNC routers in 2022


1

Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO

Best CNC Router Starter Kit

Good start for learning CNC cutting

  • 300 x 180 x 45 mm Engraving Area
  • PF+ Aluminium Frame
  • 10000 RPM
  • Multi-Supported OS

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 many outstanding features, making it an ideal choice for some woodworkers. Some of these features make the device very easy to operate, and it is also designed to be ready out of the box. 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 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.

Pros
  • Made of high-quality materials
  • You can easily get an online tutorial
  • It comes ready to use from the box.
  • Capable of handling an average job
  • Compatible with a lot of materials
Cons
  • Software is not very innovative
  • No limit switch in the router’s design
Title
Although the Genmitsu 3018-PRO CNC Router Kit Wood Carving, Milling, and Engraving Machine has a few drawbacks, it is a great choice when it is evaluated overall. It is mainly recommended for beginners and newbies. Having the privilege of understanding the strengths and limits of the machine means that you will be able to take advantage of its vast features, which can result in a professional or an exclusive project.

Where to buy


2

MYSWEET 3018 Pro

Best CNC Router for Hobbyists
  • 300x180x45 mm Engraving Area
  • Aluminum Profile
  • Available Modules for Upgrading
  • Offline Controller

The MYSWEET DIY CNC Router comes as a  complete kit that includes all parts and is mostly made out of aluminum with very few plastic components. Running on 110 or 240 volts, this 3-axis CNC machine provides its users with a very large workspace. The cutting plate is made out of aluminum, and 3 two-phase 1.3-amp stepper motors regulate the spindle, which rotates up to 7000 RPM. Setting up this device is very easy, and there is a lot of support online. Grbl controller software is included, and the MYSWEET DIY CNC Router also gives its users the choice of running a variety of programs for footpath creation.

Features

  • 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.
Pros
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Can be used on a variety of materials
  • Easy to assemble
  • Compatible with many Operating Systems
Cons
  • Most key components are made out of plastic
  • Only made for small jobs
Overall impression
When you order the MYSWEETY CNC Machine, DIY CNC Router Kits 3018 GRBL Control Wood Carving Milling Engraving Machine, it comes in a full set of spare parts. Users are required to set up this device in which users are required to handle the setup. It supports from Win XP to 10 and I totally recommend it.

Where to buy


3

SainSmart Genmitsu 3018 CNC Router Machine

Best CNC Router for Crafters
  • 300x180x45 mm Engraving Area
  • Safety Baffles
  • Fast Assembly
  • All-Aluminum Frame

The SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer with GRBL Offline Control, Limit Switches & Emergency-Stop is known as the successor to the 3018-PRO and the new design has included new safety features, excellent design, and a new innovative mainboard. This CNX router is a good, high-quality product that is a great option for both new and existing woodworkers. Whether a user is experienced or not, they always need a smooth-running machine that would assist them in their woodworking projects.

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 straightforward to use, but users have complained about having difficulty downloading it.

Pros
  • Compatible with many materials.
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Problems downloading the software
  • Z-axis isn’t smooth
Overall impression
The SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine 3018-PROVer with GRBL Offline Control, Limit Switches & Emergency-Stop is a great tool for both professional users and newbies. Although the z-axis does not maintain a smooth movement and the software seems so hard to download, you can handle these few issues for just a reasonable price.

Where to buy


4

BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Engraver Kit

Best CNC Router for Professionals
  • 300x180x45 mm Engraving Area
  • Aluminum Profile
  • Available Modules for Upgrading
  • Offline Controller

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 that 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.

Features

  • Rigid laser cut frame
  • Runs on SG20U support rail system
  • GT2 belt drive both on the X and Y-axis
  • 5/16-18 nut on the Z-axis
Pros
  • Easy to assemble
  • Good customer service
  • Perfect for beginners and enthusiasts
  • Compatible with all OS
  • Powerful engine
Cons
  • Difficult to run accurately
  • Software not included
  • Made of wood
Overall impression
The BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit with Router is a greatproduct to purchase. It comes with its own router, which most CNC router machines can’t boast of, and it is constructed with high-quality materials. I recommend it to beginners.

Where to buy


5

MCWdoit Upgraded Version CNC 3018 Pro

Best CNC Router for Desktop
  • 300x180x45 mm Engraving Area
  • Aluminum Profile
  • Available Modules for Upgrading
  • Offline Controller

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.

Pros
  • Offline controller
  • Can handle small to average projects
  • 1-year warranty
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Cannot be used at an industrial scale
  • Not easy to operate
  • Comes partly assembled
Overall impression
When purchasing the MCWdoit Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine, Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller, the company clearly states that it is suitable for CNC-based users. It is a very high-quality product that has the most features that even some CNC dream of having. I recommend it for desktop usage.

Where to buy


6

Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro

Best Portable CNC Router
  • 300x180x45 mm Engraving Area
  • Aluminum Profile
  • Available Modules for Upgrading
  • Offline Controller

Produced by Yofuly, the Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control Engraving Machine with Offline Controller are 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.

Pros
  • Offline controller
  • Versatile, and can work on many materials
  • Can handle complex jobs
  • 12-month warranty
Cons
  • Not for beginners
  • Comes partially assembled
Overall impression
The Yofuly Upgraded CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control Engraving Machine with Offline Controller is a great device, no doubt but if you are new to woodworking, this device doesn’t seem suitable for you. It is not easy to assemble, and it can take almost 30 minutes during the process. It is a very durable product, I recommend it.

Where to buy


7

CNC Piranha XL

Best CNC Router for Professional Needs

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.

Features

  • 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.
  • Only supports Windows
Pros
  • Touch screen controller
  • Made in the United States 🇺🇸
  • High quality
  • Easy to operate
Cons
  • Not compatible with Mac OS
  • Some instability may occur during the use
Overall impression
Next Wave Automation is one of the prominent producers of CNC routers. Although this device is pricey, you can’t put money on the high-quality result this system gives off. A total recommendation for those who have the budget.

Where to buy


8

VEVOR CNC Router 3020T

High-Efficiency CNC Router

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

  • Features a large workspace 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.
  • Can be used to engrave and carve on various materials such as stone, metal, wood, etc.
  • Durable design
Pros
  • Supports breakpoint carvings
  • Supports spindle switch control
  • Supports customized keyboard carvings
  • Can be used with spiral bits
Cons
  • Cannot be used without a computer
Overall impression
Just one look at this device, you will discover that it is very compact and made with one of the highest quality materials you can find on a CNC router. It is equipped with a 3 rotating axis which has a whole lot of features any woodworker does not want to skip by.

Where to buy


9

Taishi 6040 CNC Router

CNC Router with a Thick Aluminum Plate

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 potent 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.

Features

  • 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 efficient.
Pros
  • Good design and construction
  • More accurate than most CNC routers
  • Incredibly quiet
  • Easy to assemble
Cons
  • Very heavy
  • Requires a desktop computer
Overall impression
One thing we love about the Taishi 3 AXIS 800W 6040 Desktop CNC Router 3D Engraving Drilling Milling Machine is the simple installation and operation. Unlike other products with offline control, this particular one doesn’t function without the presence of a computer. It can engrave on any surface, even soft metals and plastics. I recommend it.

Where to buy


10

CNC Piranha FX Router

Most Accurate CNC Router
  • Can perform light-duty jobs
  • Table dimensions: 12” x 18″, XYZ travel: 12” x 13” x 3”
  • 3D carving capabilities

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 best for simple projects. 

Features

  • Good balance of capabilities for the price range.
  • Touch screen controller makes the operations easy and fast.
  • Supports the 3D digital duplicate touch probe.
  • Features specifications found in the high-end models.
Pros
  • Touch screen controller
  • Made in the United States 🇺🇸
  • Supports 3D duplication to the finest detail.
  • It’s a bargain considering the capabilities
Cons
  • Not very strong
  • Not compatible with Mac OS
Overall impression
Whether you are a professional or a novice, the Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha FX makes it possible for you to run a very smooth, non-stop machine. It is built with a lovely design, and it beats most CNC routers in performance and efficiency. It also has distinctive features which makes it a bit futuristic.

Where to buy


Comparison Table

Product NameWeight (lbs)Primary MaterialWork area (inches)
Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO15.3Multiple materials11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8
MYSWEET 3018 Pro11.22Aluminum plate11.8 x 7.1 x 1.6
SainSmart Genmitsu 3018 CNC20.8Aluminum11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8
BobsCNC E325Multiple materials16 x 18 x 3.3
MCWdoit CNC 3018 Pro15.7Steel11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8
Yofuly CNC 3018 Pro15.09Aluminum11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8
CNC Piranha XL75Aluminum12 x 25 x 4
VEVOR CNC Router 3020T15.45Aluminum7.9 x 11.9 x 2.0
Taishi 6040 CNC Router121.2Aluminum alloy15.8 x 22.9 x 3.0
CNC Piranha FX Router58.9Aluminum12 x 13 x 3

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How deep can a CNC router cut?

    A CNC router device can cut as deep as ¾ inches or 19 mm deep, that’s if you use a 2.2kW spindle.

  • What can I do with a CNC router?

    A CNC router can be used on various materials, including aluminum, plastics, steel, wood, foams, and as well as composites. It can be used to produce 3D designs like decorations, carvings, furniture, moldings, wooden frames, wooden panels, and musical instruments.

  • Can a CNC router cut steel?

    CNC routers have a massive range of applications no matter the materials used during the application. Although CNC routers are mainly used for wood, they can also be used to cut metals such as aluminum and steel.

  • Can a CNC router cut Aliminum?

    CNC routers can be used with different materials producing a unique finished product. A CNC router can be used to cut aluminum.

  • How to sharpen CNC router bits?

    With the modern materials and geometry used to make CNC router bits, it is highly advisable to have your CNC router bits sharpened by professionals and sharpening services that possess the equipment used to sharpen them.


Conclusion

As 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 on a few features that will make operation more accessible 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.

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