If we were to list some of the smartest innovations in the 21st century, leaving out the CNC router would be unfair play.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router is a natty technology that links to a computer through special software.
This integration allows the user to program (route) the machine to produce high-quality carvings, decorations, frames, moldings, panels, and just about as far as your imaginations can take you.
The speed, consistency, and professional output of this machine have been the reasons behind its ever-increasing popularity among workshop owners and home hobbyists.
Now, due to the technicality of this tool, choosing the ideal option remains a great chore for professionals and beginners alike.
With this in mind, I and the rest of the team combined our extensive knowledge in CNC routers in a bid to find the market’s very finest. Find your next investment in our review of the best CNC Routers.
- Top 11 Best CNC Routers
- #1 Genmitsu CNC 3018 Router Kit
- #2 Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
- #3 TopDirect 2500mw Laser Engraver CNC 3018 Pro Engraving Machine
- #4 MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018-PRO 3 Axis CNC Router Kit
- #5 CNC Piranha FX
- #6 Mostics CNC 3018 Pro with 5.5W laser module CNC Laser engraver
- #7 Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha XL
- #8 MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router Kits 1610 GRBL Control
- #9 BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit
- #10 BobsCNC E4 CNC Router Engraver Kit
- #11 VEVOR CNC Router 3020T 3 Axis CNC Router Machine
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Top 11 Best CNC Routers
#1 Genmitsu CNC 3018 Router Kit
Taking the very first spot on the list is an amazing option from Genmitsu. The unit packs fantastic features that you probably want in a CNC router and brings them at a price that is hard to beat.
I mean, in case you are looking for the hottest deal in the market, Genmitsu CNC 3018 is one of the options you should never go beyond. The unit works with the GRBL software which is compatible with Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10.
Since it is designed with beginners in mind, Genmitsu CNC 3018 comes neatly packed and is easy to assemble. In fact, it arrives with an instructional manual to get the work done perfectly in no time.
But just in case the guide does not provide answers to all the questions that may arise, you can seek the solution from SainSmart wiki page or contact the support staff for assistance.
This high-quality machine has a large engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm. Although this may not be the greatest volume a router can offer, it is large enough to handle nearly all your DIY projects.
The unit works on materials such as plastic, soft aluminum, PVCs, PCBs, wood, acrylics, and other many types of materials. The mechanical parts are of high-quality and sturdy and should serve you for several years with proper maintenance.
#2 Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit
This CNC router is the second on our list and stacks lots of impressive features. The unit is an upgraded version of the Genmitsu CNC 3018.
For this reason, it possesses better features than the older version. For example, the base of this machine is raised to 4 cm to maximize stability for greater precision.
The new version also has advanced power adapters that are certified to ensure the safety of the user and that of the machine.
Additionally, the parts of this model do not require the user to position. This feature makes its assembly and general set up a breeze, rendering it a great option for those that have limited knowledge on CNC routers.
Nevertheless, this machine arrives with installation instructions so that you don’t have to rely on guesswork at any point in the assembly.
The GRBL software of the machine communicates with the hardware components seamlessly to increase speed and improve the quality of the output significantly.
The ability of this router to provide excellent results on different materials makes it among the most versatile models you will come across out there.
I mean, whether you want to create a form out of plastic, wood, acrylics, PVC, PCBs or soft aluminum, you can always count on the Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO.
The engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm means that it will handle most home applications.
#3 TopDirect 2500mw Laser Engraver CNC 3018 Pro Engraving Machine
This is also an advancement of the TopDirect 3018 CNC Router. The advanced model adopts a new design that makes installation work easier and straightforward than before.
The unit features an offline controller to eliminate the need of having to connect it with a PC. In fact, since the offline controller has files already stored in it, there is no need for downloading them online.
The frame of this machine measures 330 x 400 x 240mm with an engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45mm.
With such space, this engraver will allow you to create larger forms from several materials so that it will come handy in most of the light-duty applications.
The unit accepts different materials such as wood, canvas, leather, cardboard, soft metals, bamboo, PCB, and other materials. In other words, if you create forms from different materials, investing in this great engraver will be a wise decision.
The 2500mw laser module features a heat sink which ensures proper heat dissipation for great performance and to ensure a prolonged service life of the machine.
The piece uses the GRBL control systems software and will work with the common operating systems such as Windows XP, Win Linux, Win 7, 8, and 10.
The spindle runs at an amazing speed of 10000 RPM so that you finish the work quicker when still getting professional results.
#4 MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018-PRO 3 Axis CNC Router Kit
This router kit has all the necessary features to suit your DIY projects. The unit adopts a user-friendly design that makes it an ideal choice for those that do not have extensive knowledge in CNC machining.
The model has an open design that lets the beginner see the effect of several adjustments on the performance of the machine. Therefore, even if you haven’t used a router kit before, expect to know the ins and outs of CNC routers in no time.
The package includes an installation booklet. For this reason, you should not worry about putting the unit together by yourself.
The drill bits may not handle hard metals but they offer great compatibility with other materials. Some of the materials that you can engrave with this router include; wood, bamboo, plastic, ceramic, metal surface paint, and other many types of materials.
The improved control board supports an offline controller so that you don’t have to use it with PC. In fact, the controller allows you to download and store any important files as well as allow you to perform other basic operations.
The frame adopts aluminum and nylon construction for maximum durability. The mighty 775 motor boasts a no-load speed of 4100 RPM.
#5 CNC Piranha FX
This router may not be the ideal option for the low-budget DIYers. However, considering the features and how nicely it handles projects, it’s clear that CNC Piranha FX lives up to the price tag.
The unit delivers excellent results on materials such as plastic, soft metal, acrylic, and other common materials that professionals and amateur users love to use in their projects.
Most users love that the unit comes pre-assembled. Therefore, with this model, you won’t need to go through the detailed lengthy manuals or watch boring tutorials since the work is already done for you.
The unit offers a generous work area that takes materials of 12 x 18 inches nicely. But even with this space, CNC Piranha FX has overall dimensions of 23 x 16 x 16 inches to only take little space on your worktable.
This property indicates that it will be an ideal addition to workshops with tight square footage.
The 3D carving capability is also among the product’s amazing features since it lets you get the exact carvings and engravings just as they appear in your design.
The unit utilizes the VCarve Desktop V9 Design Software that readily works with most computer operating systems.
#6 Mostics CNC 3018 Pro with 5.5W laser module CNC Laser engraver
This engraver uses GRBL software that works perfectly with most operating systems. Therefore, whether your PC is running Windows XP/7/8 or 10, you can buy knowing that they will link easily.
The frame measures 420 x 355 x 280 mm and is of aluminum + PF material that guarantees outstanding performance.
The engraving volume of 300 x 180 x 45 mm means that it will support most light-duty home applications.
Furthermore, all the core parts of this machine come already assembled, leaving the user with the easiest part of the assembly work.
The unit even comes with installation instructions which make the setup process a piece of cake.
Most users claim to finish the installation work in about 20 minutes although this may differ depending on the familiarity of the user with the CNC machines.
Plus, like the previous options, this unit won’t cut hard metals although the drill bits are sturdy enough to provide excellent results in materials such as plastics, soft aluminum, wood, acrylics, PVCs, PCBs, and other common materials.
#7 Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha XL
This unit is made in the United States. Therefore, even before we dig deep to examine the features, we already know that the quality is premium and that it will hardly disappoint.
The price may not be the most affordable in the market although its capability makes it worth every penny. The XYZ travel measures 12” x 24” x 4” while the overall dimensions of the machine stand at 19.5”W x 30.5”L x 24”H.
You will like that this unit does not need to be connected with a computer to create what you need- just save the created design in a flash drive, plug it into the USB port of the unit and sit back and wait as the unit gets the work done just as you intended.
The piece works in most materials although it works best with materials such as wood, plastic, soft metals, and other common materials that people love to use in creating CNCs.
Like some of the options already in our list, Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha XL router arrives pre-assembled to rid you of the daunting affair.
The unit is also simple to operate since it employs a straightforward plug-and-play design.
This design renders it excellent for those that don’t have extensive knowledge in operating CNC routers since it will only require the user to make a few adjustments.
The weight of Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha XL stands at 75 lbs. Therefore, it is not the market’s most lightweight options although it is still fairly portable.
#8 MYSWEETY DIY CNC Router Kits 1610 GRBL Control
This machine is a great option for anyone in the need for a reliable low-end piece.
Although one may easily judge the performance by looking at the price, the performance of this lower-end machine matches that of some expensive models in the market.
The engraver has just about every feature that most professionals and apprentices want for their projects.
The working area measures 160 x 100 x 45mm. With such dimension, expect it to handle comfortably most of the home applications.
Also, it works in a wide range of materials such as wood, PCB, acrylic, PVC, plastic, and other many common materials around the home.
The high-quality unit arrives with GRBL Controller which integrates with most popular window versions such as Windows XP, 7, 8, and Linux.
The high compatibility indicates that you can buy this machine without concerns that it may not work with the operating system of your computer.
The rugged construction is an indication that this budget-friendly mode comes with durability in mind. Also, the unit is available in two finishes, that is, black and silver to allow the user to choose their favorite.
#9 BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit
This engraver is not among the low-end options and neither is it in the category of the most expensive machines. The unit is not of metal although its wooden construction guarantees to stand up to the challenge for several years to come.
Therefore, in case you like being unique, this engraver kit should be at the top of your list of priorities.
The high-quality machine offers a generous cutting area of 17.7 x 15.3 x 3.3-inch. The piece features a Dewalt 660 Router and uses the GRBL software to control the hardware components.
However, unlike some options that can work without connecting directly with the computer, this piece requires a computer to run several operations.
For this reason, this device is compatible with systems such as Windows, Raspberry Pi, OSX, Linux, and other popular operating systems.
The assembly work is a chore itself although it’s worth it considering the price, size, and the number of areas the unit outshines other models in the market falling in the same price range.
#10 BobsCNC E4 CNC Router Engraver Kit
This router engraver kit is a later version than the just reviewed sibling.
Also coming from the same manufacturer, this machine shares most features with the BobsCNC E3. For instance, it utilizes solid wood construction. Therefore, expect it to stand the test of time.
However, this model boasts a greater working area of 610 x 610 x 85 mm. Hence, expect it to handle larger workpieces than the previous options.
For this reason, be prepared to pay a slightly higher price for this model than the earlier-reviewed sibling. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the contents of the kit, the price remains a real bargain.
The engraver kit is designed to work with materials such as wood, PCB, acrylic, and other materials of the like.
The unit features Arduino based microprocessor and uses GRBL software to control the hardware components.
The compatibility of this kit is also amazing since it works with the major operating systems.
#11 VEVOR CNC Router 3020T 3 Axis CNC Router Machine
This unit utilizes a compact design that makes it a nice addition to homes and workshops with limited space. Although compact, this router has a spacious aluminum worktable measuring 240 x 425 x 15mm.
The working area will accommodate a workpiece measuring up to 200 x 300 x 50mm. This feature means that it can handle light-duty tasks at the workshop and home perfectly.
Furthermore, this router comes with a dust-proof plate to give the user the easiest time to clean up and to suit prolonged use. It also brings great versatility to your space so that you get maximum value for your money.
The spindle will run at any speed between 300 to 8000RPM. With such capability, you can control the speed of the spindle depending on the material you are working on so that you get excellent results no matter the type of project.
The unit features a functional USB port that allows you to link it to a computer for easy controlling of the operations. The weight of 47.3 pounds allows for easy portability when need be.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
How much is a CNC router?
In case you are wondering how heavy your pocket needs to be before leaving for the market for a CNC router, you will be surprised to know that we have different options out there for nearly every budget. Some CNC routers go for as less as $200 while some will cost as much as more than ten times of this.
What can I do with the CNC router?
A CNC router is one of the most versatile machines you will come across out there. The unit is used for producing carvings, decorations, wooden frames, moldings, wood panels, among other many uses. Depending on the nature of the drill bits, these machines will work with different materials. However, most of them can work with wood, plastic, soft metals, leather, PVC, and many others.
What is the best wood for CNC carving?
For those that have used both hardwood and softwood for CNC carving, they agree that hardwood gives better results and that it machines better than softwood.
What is the difference between a CNC router and a CNC mill?
Although these machines are closely related, there are slight differences between the two. For example, the CNC router has a larger work area than the then the CNC mill. Also, the spindle speed in the CNC router is higher than in the CNC mill.
What is the right CNC router for me?
Even with the market being flooded with many models, not every option out there is good for you. For this reason, our review suggests the top-of-the-line models on the market. Therefore, rely on our reviews to identify the right option for you.
A CNC router allows you to create just about any shape that comes into your mind. However, to enjoy the best part of this innovation, it all begins by getting it right at the point of purchase.
Our review contains some of the top-performing models currently. Be sure to check them out as they will help you make the final decision.