Cordless vs Corded Router (Which Compact Router to Buy)

If you’re just getting started on carpentering and woodworking. And you’re getting ready to use a router, then this article is for you. 

Routers are extremely versatile tools for shaping joints and edges of stock for carpenters.

But which one’s better between cordless vs corded router?

Between cordless vs corded router, there is no better or worse. Cordless routers have only compact types. They can run for a limited time. But cordless routers do everything a corded router does. Yet they are heavier than corded ones due to battery weight. Corded routers don’t need much maintenance.

In this article, I made a head-to-head comparison between the two types of routers. If you’re confused or just curious about how each differs from the other, keep on reading.

Quick Comparison: Cordless vs Corded Router

For a better and more organized understanding, I made this quick comparison table. I compared the two routers based on these factors.

Take a look before you read the detailed analysis.

FactorsCordless RouterCorded Router
RuntimeDepends on various factorsEndless
Power Enough for round overs, chamfers, template work, and rabbitsVersatile range of power, depends on the grade of router
Weight4 - 5 lbs3 - 4 lbs
TypeOnly Compact7 different types
PriceExpensive when bought with battery and chargerAffordable
Lifetime20 yearsIndustrial - Decades
Mid Range - 15 years
Hobby grade - <10 years

1. Runtime

The runtime of a cordless router as stated in the table depends on various factors. These are – the amp hour rating of the battery. The recent router’s amp hour varies from 1.5 Ah to 12 Ah. 

The runtime also depends on the sharpness of the bit, and the heaviness of your pass. And the kind of material you’re routing into, and the general health of the battery. 

Corded routers run as long as you keep the router connected to the power. The order router takes power through the electric cord.

If you’re looking for routers to have a very long runtime, I suggest corded routers. They are very reliable and have been here for a long time. 

2. Power 

Cordless router’s power depends on the voltage of the battery you are using it with. The higher the voltage battery you use, the more power it will be. 

For example, the Ryobi cordless router provides 1.5 Ah to 12 Ah batteries with different voltages. So if you use high-powered batteries, you’ll get higher rotation per minute. 

On the contrary, corded routers, in general, have the highest 30,000 rotations per minute. And that is for compact routers.

As for the type of work you can do, you can do everything with a cordless router. There’s no limit on their capability for being cordless. 

They’re especially handy when you need to work in the middle of a stock.

Since they don’t run from edge to edge, cordless routers work for these works. You can also move around the stock as you see fit for your work. 

With a corded router, you are somewhat limited by the cord. You may not be able to move as you need to.

They can be inconvenient when you are working in the middle section of the wood piece. 

However, if you’re looking to sharpen or blunt the edges of wood pieces, type 1 and type 27 grinding wheels can be handy.

If you are doing woodwork as a hobby, you can definitely give cordless routers a try. Because the workload is not as intensive as industrial work. 

3. Weight

This measurement is only for compact routers. Because corded routers have different variations. So some are definitely heavier than cordless routers. 

I weighed a Bosch cordless and a corded router. The cordless router weighs more than 4.4 lbs. On the other hand, the corded router weighed 3.5 lbs.

But without the batteries, cordless routers are lighter than corded routers.

A compact router’s weight relies on your hands. So the cordless router will feel heavier as you work.

You won’t be able to work a long time with a corded router if it’s heavy. The weight will also differ based on the battery size you are using for the router. 

If you’re looking for a lightweight router, corded routers are better for long hours of work. But for hobbyists, cordless routers can work out well. 

4. Type

So far, cordless routers have only come out in compact types. Because of their main feature, being cordless.

Meaning you’d expect the router to be also portable. Hence, cordless routers are only compact. 

As for corded routers, there are many different types of routers.

Fixed base routers, plunge routers, combo routers, table routers, compact routers, and such. Different routers come in handy during different types of woodwork. 

According to that, corded routers can meet your requirements more than cordless ones. 

5. Price

The price of a cordless router is well within the range of $200. However, the DeWalt cordless router cost more than $300.

But you also need to buy batteries and chargers separately. The price can shoot up really fast from there.

Corded routers are more affordable in that aspect. You can find really good quality corded routers within a $150 budget.

Chargers are also a concern when it comes to cordless router purchases. I recommend Dewalt chargers, for hot and cold delay

6. Lifetime

The cordless routers’ lifetime depends on how you’re using them. As long as the battery health is good, they will last you about 20 years. Without showing any symptoms of degradation.

Corded routers on the other hand have three different grades. Industrial, Mid Range, and Hobby grade. 

The hobby-grade routers last about 10 years before they start to degrade.

Mid-range routers last longer, about 15 years. Finally, industrial-grade routers can last you for generations.

Due to the demanding nature of industrial woodwork, the routers are also made with high-quality materials.

The price also dictates how long your router will last. 

So, in terms of how long a router lasts, it depends on what you’re buying. And how long you’re using it for. 

Final Verdict

So does buying a cordless router over a corded one have greater value?

It will be of better value if you already have a charger and batteries. But if you have to buy the battery, charger, and the router, they’ll be more expensive.

In terms of performance, I was really impressed with the performance of corded routers. So they’re definitely worth having in your shop.

Besides, with a corded router, you’ll be able to work regardless of a power connection.

You’ll have to pay for replacement batteries in a few years. If you don’t mind doing so, I say they’re definitely worth a shot!


Is It Worth Getting a Cordless Router?

Most frequently suggested is a cordless router. The majority of my routing involves light edge profiles. Thus a compact is ideal for me and a cordless is much more enticing. I only use my full-size corded router for bigger projects. Another excellent option for a first router is a small, cordless router.

What Is a Corded Router Used For?

Multiple pieces of wood can be cut with patterns, grooves, and designs using corded routers. You can use the router to trace the outline of the original piece. And recreate it as many times as you like. Compact corded routers are also great for edging, template works, and doing rabbit work.

Is a Plunge Router Better than a Router?

For projects that call for working from above, plunge routers are the most effective. For edgework. However, fixed-base models are best when a task necessitates routing a workpiece’s center, like cutting chamfer. Plunge routers are the best option for those that do not extend from edge to edge.

End Note

That was all I had on cordless vs corded router discourse. Technology is always going through improvisation, a cordless router is also one such improvisation. 

But that doesn’t imply corded ones are obsolete. It really depends on how convenient the router types are for you.

So which one are you leaning towards? I’d love to hear from you. 

Jim Boslice

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