Trim Router vs Regular Router: Differences & Uses

Ah! so you just started woodworking and got your first client. You are pumped because it’s all you have been dreaming of.

You go to the client’s house, and they show you what you’re going to work on. This is where the complexity kicks in.

As a newbie, you’re not sure what sort of wood router you should use for the job. Using the wrong one can ruin the project and potentially put a bad impact on your career. in this post we will talk about the difference between a trim router vs regular router before destroying your woodworking career.

Trim Router Vs Regular Router

Trim Router Vs Regular Router – Which is Better For Woodworking?

This is an age-old question, and sorry to pop the balloon, there is no definite answer.

Every router is made for different purposes, and since we can’t compare all of them, we have selected the routers that are commonly used or popular in the business.

Before we find out the outcome of trim vs regular, we must first know about both of the routers. Without knowing what they are, every piece of information we provide will seem confusing.

Trim router

Trim routers (also known as laminate trimmers) are smaller and less powerful than traditional full-sized routers. But don’t let that distract you. This small router is capable of doing wonders.

Because it is small and compact in size, you can carry it around easily. Not only that, but you can also use it with only one hand. Yes, you heard that right, only one hand is enough to complete the job.

Furthermore, a trim router is a must when you are doing work that requires accuracy and precision. Again, because of the size, you can easily rotate it or turn it around without effort.

You can’t work with regular routers in such cases because they are too big and powerful for precision cuts or molds. you can easily install door trim by helping this one.

Last but not least, laminate trimmers are less expensive than regular routers. Because such routers are affordable, they are available in almost every woodworking shop or hardware shop. No matter how powerful a router is, what’s the use if you can’t find it?

One a side note: if you want an even smaller and less expensive router than laminate trimmers, you can buy palm routers. They are less powerful but can quickly get the job done.

Now that we know about trim routers. Let’s look at the pros and cons.


  • Lightweight and compact size, which ensures portability.
  • You can use it with a single hand which does not require much strength.
  • It can give you precision and accuracy, unlike others.
  • Really affordable price.
  • Widely available in every store.


  • Unable to cut through thick woods.
  • Not suitable for big projects.

Regular router

This is the type of router you see in big woodworking shops. They are also called full-sized routers. We already know trim routers are used for precision cutting, but regular routers are used when massive force is required.

Because the blades generate a lot of power, you can easily cut door hinges and cut through dense woods, which is hard to do with trim routers. Do not expect accuracy when working with regular routers.

The size and weight make it tough to carry around. So, do not expect it to be portable. Moreover, you can’t use it with one hand like trim routers.

You have to use both of your hands while using it. Be sure to check whether you have enough strength prior to operating it.

The best part about regular routers is that they come in two versions. One is a fixed base, and the other is a plunge router.

Fixed base, as the name suggests, is fixed in a single place. But on the other hand, a plunge router can be used on any spot you want.

For example, you want to make a hole in the center or start cutting from the center. A fixed router won’t be able to do that. But, you can easily do it with a plunge router.

One drawback is that regular routers are really expensive (which is justified because of how powerful they are). And you won’t find them everywhere because of how complex and big they are.

That is all you need to know about regular routers. Let’s take a quick glance at the pros and cons before moving on.


  • It can be used for big projects because of how powerful the regular routers are.
  • Comes in two versions for versatility.
  • It can cut through just about any wood you throw at it.


  • Immense size and weight make it tough to carry around.
  • It can’t provide precision and accuracy.
  • Requires two hands to operate.

Now that you know everything about both trim and regular routers, including their pros and cons, it is easy to say that there is no clear winner, and that is not a bad thing. It depends on the project or job you are doing.

When you are doing household works, a regular router would be a waste of money. In such a case, a trim router is suitable for you.

But if you regularly work on big projects, a laminated trimmer won’t be sufficient. So whether you like it or not, you’ll have to buy a regular router.

Comparison Between Trim Router Vs Regular Router

Column Trim router Regular router
Easy to carry yes no
Can cut precisely yes no
One hand usability yes no
Can cut thick woods no yes
Horsepower 1-2 HP 3HP+

Few things to keep in mind before using a router:

Whether you are buying a trim router or a regular router, you must remember some crucial things before using routers. 

We know fatalities are fun when playing Mortal combat, but in real life, fatalities are not very nice to have.

This is why safety is a must. Trust us; the tips and suggestions given below will help you big time.

1# Securely place your wood

Before you start drilling or molding, it is essential to put a friction mat on top of the table to make sure the wood does not shift during the routing process. After that, place your workpiece or whatever you are going to cut on top of the table. 

2# How to start the router

Before you plug in your router and start cutting, make sure the blade orbit of the router is not in contact with your workpiece. Doing this can potentially damage the router bit.

So, start the router and slowly move towards the wood. After completing your work, please wait for the router to stop rotating and then switch it off.

3# No pushing

Trim Router Vs Regular Router

When you are cutting wood, if you feel like forcing the router through is not helping. Please don’t force it further. Forcefully Pushing it through a plank of wood can burn the wood due to overheating.

You can just move a bit backward, reset the bit, and try again for a lighter cut. If that’s not helping either, it means the bit of your router has become dull, and changing it should solve the problem.

4# Hand protection

gloves for woodworking

Always remember to keep your hands and fingers away from the blades of the router. This is so obvious that sometimes people forget it. 

Please keep your hands on the router itself and never on the wood you are working on. And, of course, wear safety gloves to protect your hands further.

5# Safety gears

Trim Router Vs Regular Router

It is not a surprise that routers make a tremendous amount of noise. However, it’s not just the noise. Routers also create a big mess of dust particles. This is why safety gears are necessary.

The first thing you would want is ear protection. If a person is exposed to loud noises for an extended period of time, it might cause hearing problems. To avoid this problem, you can wear earplugs. 

Then, you should wear safety goggles because small wood particles might enter your eyes and harm them. With the gloves, earplugs, and goggles, you are now all set to start your routing. Go, show them who’s the boss.

Final words

Woodworking has always been a popular profession since the early ages. And, with each year passing, woodworking routers are getting better and better. We now have routers as small as our palms. 

Furthermore, routers now have so many features that it makes woodworking easy as pie. 

Here’s a final tip: always go for a router with variable speed and a soft start. If your existing router doesn’t have these features, you’re missing out a lot.

Whether you’re a professional woodworker or a hobbyist who is just starting out, routers can be a blessing if you use them correctly. 

We hope you found this guide on trim router vs regular router. Go through the article once more if you have any confusion still.

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