A CNC wood router is a machine that is commonly used for different woodworking projects like cutting, carving, routing, drilling, slotting, and much more. The machines are used on 2D or 3D woodworking like wood arts, woodcrafts, sign making, wood gifts, and making furniture. The majority of CNC machines feature robust build quality because of their versatile application.
If you’re searching for the best CNC machines for woodworking projects, you may get overwhelmed by the number of models in the market today. The good news is that we’ve selected the best CNCs to make things easier for you. These are fantastic machines for both beginners and hobbyist woodworkers. We will give you a full review and detailed buying tips to enable you to choose a quality CNC machine for your woodworking projects.
Top 10 Best CNC Machines For Woodworking Reviews
If you are getting started in your woodworking projects, you might want to explore different machines, but your budget can limit you. We have researched the market on your behalf to compare various affordable, quality, and durable CNC machines right for you. Here are our top picks.
1. Genmitsu CNC 3018 – best wood cNC machine.
If you are in the market for a reliable and efficient CNC router, you need not look further than the
Genmistu CNC 3018. This desktop router performs better than many routers at its price point, offering the highest quality cutting and decent finishes.
Genmistu CNC is great for beginners. So if you want to learn new cutting skills, this tool should be your first choice. Once you are good at it, you can buy expensive CNCs.
The most significant advantage of Genmistu CNC is that it can work well with much open-source software. This means you won’t have to worry about buying specialized software. Additionally, you’ll get many great ideas you can work with.
This CNC uses GRBL, meaning it is compatible with quite various CNC software, not only the ones suggested by the company. Another thing that makes this model stand out is that it can work offline, which means you can use the machine anywhere without worrying about an internet connection.
Even though Genmistu CNC doesn’t have a laser, it has the capability of using a laser. The laser can be bought separately and used with the model.
- Genmistu CNC can cut through a variety of materials.
- It works with open-source software.
- Easy to assemble.
- You can use it offline.
- Easy to use.
- Best beginner CNC machine with an affordable price.
- The instructions are confusing, especially for beginners.
- It’s only suitable for beginners.
- You can’t cut hard materials.
2. SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine – best cheap CNC machine.
SainSmart Genmitsu CNC Router Machine is the best CNC router if you want to work right from home. This machine is very efficient and affordable. It has loads of features that make it easy to use, even for beginners. Some of its parts are pre-assembled to complete the setup process easier. You can take 15 minutes or less to set it up and start working. This explains why many beginners like this model.
However, using this CNC router will require you to know how to use the GRBL v1.1 software. The CNC has some ingrained Toshiba drivers, which work in the background.
The CNC is very durable, thanks to the optocouplers, which provide extra protection to its mainboard. The body is also made of aluminum, contributing to its longevity and making it stable for high-quality work.
At its sides are acrylic baffles, which protect the user. The baffles also prevent this model from spreading the dust everywhere, thus keeping your workshop clean.
You’ll like this CNC because it comes with a handheld remote control that you can use to control it. This means you don’t have to rely on the software entirely. It also has a 1.8-inch display that shows your working progress.
- It can be used to cut through a variety of materials.
- It works with open-source software.
- You can use it offline.
- Easy to assemble.
- Quite durable.
- Best inexpensive CNC machine.
- Not suitable for professionals.
- Cannot cut rigid materials.
- The instructions are difficult to understand.
3. MYSWEETY Upgrade Version CNC – best CNC wood router.
MYSWEETY Upgrade Version CNC is an upgraded version of the MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018 router. It is powered by a 775 spindle motor that runs at 10,000 rpm on a 24-volt power supply. The top advantage of this version is that you don’t have to connect it to a computer. Once you download the files you need for carving, you can save them in the offline controller.
The machine comes with a TF card reader or USB. This machine has a controller that enables it to be used offline. With this controller, you can perform simple tasks such as curving shapes and punching.
By design, this tool works well for beginners. If you are a pro, you can upgrade it by adding a module to it. The modules will allow you to exploit your creativity to the fullest. The machine works with either the 2Pin or 3Pin modules.
MYSWEETY is a very powerful tool. It can engrave on wood, PCB, PVC, acrylic, plastic, and such kinds of materials. If you are new to CNCs, don’t worry, this machine comes with a detailed instruction booklet.
- Can engrave on a variety of materials.
- It can be used offline.
- It’s portable.
- It has a robust casing, which extends the lifespan of its control board.
- You can upgrade it using a module to improve its functionality.
- I can’t work on hard materials.
- The instructions in the manual are confusing.
- Not designed for professional use unless upgraded.
4. Upgraded Version 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit – best small CNC machine.
Though designed as an entry grade machine, this Upgraded Version 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit has wide applications. It’s suitable for carving CCL, PCB, acrylic, plastic, wood, and soft metals like aluminum and copper. The machine comes with an instruction manual that you can use to assemble it and the software, which runs it.
It has an offline controller, meaning you can operate it without connecting it to a computer. It comes with an SD card reader, which you can use to write into NC files or G-code files. You’ll love this machine because of its small size. Even if you have just a small workshop in your backyard, the machine will fit perfectly. Because of the same reason, you’ll be able to move it easily from one place to another.
The greatest advantage of this machine is that its spare parts are readily available, and even beginners can easily install these parts. So if your machine breaks down, you’ll not need to call an expert, just buy the spare part and install it.
- You can use it without connecting it to a computer.
- It has an aluminum frame, which makes it durable and resistant to impacts.
- Can cut through a variety of materials.
- Spare parts easily available.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- Cannot cut or carve jade, hard metal, and other rigid texture materials.
- Entry grade machine, not for professionals.
- The assembly instructions are difficult to understand.
5. BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC Router Kit – best CNC machine for wood.
BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC is packed with features you’ll most likely love. Its cutting area is extensive, measuring 610 by 610 mm. The SG20U rail system supports it, making it one of the best CNCs in the market today.
Its frame is laser-cut and rigid, so you’ll love working on it. The BobsCNC Evolution 4 CNC is powered by a Nema 17 Stepper motor, giving it the ability to cut through a wide variety of materials. It can cut through hard plastic and low-strength wood.
This machine is very suitable for beginners. It provides high-quality cuts and is easy to use. It is also easy to assemble. You don’t have to be an expert to have it set up. Even if you are new to CNCs, you’ll have it up and running in a matter of minutes.
The BobsCNC E4 comes with many safety features, which will help you get the best out of the material you are working with. If you are just starting, you can visit the BobsCNC Youtube channel to learn more about this machine.
- It makes a consistent and excellent connection between motor and screw to provide the best cuts.
- It doesn’t wobble.
- Smooth spatial movements of axes X and Y.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- Broad cutting area.
- Best CNC wood cutting machine for beginners to pro.
- Not portable, weight and size-wise.
- You cannot use it to engrave or cut metal.
- Very expensive.
6. BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit – best CNC machine wood.
BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit is an entry-level CNC designed for beginners. Its features are pretty balanced, ensuring that it can perform all the functions of a CNC. What makes it very popular among beginners is that it’s easy to operate and assemble.
This Router isn’t expensive, so if you want to learn some cutting techniques, it will be the best starting point. You can practice well without breaking the bank. This Router produces excellent marking, making it the best tool where accuracy is a priority. This machine’s human interface isn’t complicated. You’ll adapt to it quite easily – no need for any training.
BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router works perfectly for small marking projects, especially those that involve plastic materials or wood carvings.
- This unit is straightforward to assemble, and you don’t have to worry even if you are new to CNCs.
- Its instruction manual is easy to understand.
- It has a well-researched compact design, which makes it portable.
- Its frame is stable and will allow you to high-quality finished products.
- You’ll get excellent post-purchase customer support.
- It’s the best affordable CNC machines in the industry.
- The machine is a little noisy. You’ll have to wear ear protectors to feel comfortable while using it.
- Not suitable for professional use.
- Though it’s easy to assemble, it will take you a long time to assemble it completely.
7. CNC Machine, MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018 – best CNC wood carving.
If you are enthusiastic about DIY projects at home, MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018 should be one of the tools to consider buying. It will open up for you myriad DIY possibilities.
MYSWEETY is excellent even if you want to carry out some research or scientific work, and you can use it to work on any material. MYSWEETY DIY CNC can handle all kinds of projects at home.
This is because it is small and will easily fit into your backyard workshop. Its worktable only measures 100 by 160 mm.
Its spindle can move along a 45mm length, making it the best tool to craft various designs conveniently and easily. Another advantage of this machine is that it supports many operating systems and can run on Linux or Windows 10, which other CNCs don’t support.
MYSWEETY can cut through soft metals and other materials. So if you have a project that involves cutting copper or aluminum, you won’t have to worry if you have this tool. This tool can make a smooth and perfect cut on all surfaces, thanks to its 775 spindle.
- You can use it offline.
- It is compatible with the laser.
- Relatively cheap.
- The best home CNC machine for the money.
- It works with many operating systems, unlike other CNCs.
- It uses open-source software.
- Come without software.
- Cannot cut through metals and other hard materials.
- Can work with Mac.
8. 3 Axis Desktop DIY Mini CNC – best CNC routers for woodworking.
RATTMOTOR CNCs never disappoint, and the 3 Axis Desktop DIY Mini CNC 3018 Router Kit isn’t an exception. It is an excellent tool for small-scale projects. If you have a garage or backyard workshop, make sure you have the 3 Axis CNC Router in it, you won’t be disappointed.
Because it’s small, it is the best tool for many DIY projects. It’s pretty convenient to use, its small size notwithstanding. The machine makes excellent carvings and cuts on all materials you’d want to work with. Some of its parts come pre-assembled to help you set it up quickly and start working. And you would find it challenging to assemble because it comes with a detailed manual.
For cutting, chiseling, and carving operations, you can use its spindle bit. The spindle is motorized to make work easier. Though it doesn’t come with a laser, you can buy one separately and fix it to its head to help you etch intricate designs on surfaces. The 3 Axis Desktop Mini CNC is made of aluminum, making it durable and sturdy.
- Very simple – best for DIY woodworkers.
- It can be used on acrylic, PVC, wood, plastic, etc.
- It is the best mini CNC machine for the money.
- Strong, durable, and sturdy.
- Best woodworking CNC machine that anyone can afford.
- Can work with a variety of software.
- It provides excellent speed and power.
- The spindle isn’t of good quality.
- A bit expensive for its quality.
- It needs monitoring while in use.
9. Mostics 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro – best CNC woodworking machine.
If you need an affordable and small CNC router for your DIY projects, the Mostics 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro Machine fits the bill. It isn’t like many very bulky CNC tools, requiring large spaces. The Mostics CNC Pro Machine parts are designed and assembled such that you’ll need only 20 minutes or less to set it up.
If you are using this machine for the first time, there’s an accompanying disc with manuals to help you with the setup process. The disc also has software and the manufacturer’s contact information for your convenience.
Its working bed is solid because of the aluminum metal used to make it. The bed measures 180 by 300 mm, and its spindle moves along a 45mm axis in terms of depth. The 775 spindles on this machine can run at 10,000 rotations per minute at 24 volts. The machine requires between 12 – 36 volts to function.
The machine comes with ten pieces of bits. This is enough to last you a long time. It also comes with four clamps that you can use to fix the materials you are working on, a 5.5 watts laser, and offline controllers.
- A very versatile CNC with variable speed for a variety of applications.
- It’s durable, courtesy of the metallic motor base.
- The power button is secure because it’s dust-sealed.
- Allows precise cutting.
- Best small CNC machine for wood.
- Easy to assemble.
- The machine overheats and can disrupt your work.
- Low-quality software.
- Can’t cut hard materials.
10. MYSWEETY CNC 3018Pro MAX Engraver – best cNC router machine.
MYSWEETY CNC 3018Pro MAX Engraver is an upgraded new 3018 CNC router version. The former version used many plastic parts. On the other hand, the 3018Pro Max Engraver has an all-aluminum body, making it more stable and durable.
Its spindle motor is more powerful, and its drive mechanisms have improved significantly on the X-Y axes. The machine can cut through metal surface plating, acrylic, PCB, flammable plastic, leather, ivory, paper, bamboo, and wood.
This CNC is compatible with 450nm 5.5W laser diodes from MYSWEETY and other laser cutting modules. The laser is an important addition to this machine because it can cut through acrylic and 3mm plywood.
It’s quite easy to assemble this machine. If you have never assembled such a machine, you’ll have to rely on the company manual. But whatever the case, assembling this machine will only take you a few minutes. If you get stuck in the assembly process, you can contact the supplier.
- Supports laser modules to enhance functionality.
- All-aluminum body, making it strong and durable.
- It has a powerful spindle motor, which enables it to cut through materials like copper and aluminum.
- The maximum power can reach up to 300 watts.
- Easy to set up.
- One of the best c and c machine on the list.
- Cannot work on silver, jewelry, 201/304 stainless steel, glass, iron, and other hard materials.
- The motor is a little loud and not well balanced. You may have to wear an ear protector to work comfortably.
- The plastic wheel just above its motor may rub against the casing and interfere with the controller board.
Best CNC Router for Small Businesses 2021
BobsCNC Evolution 3
If you have a small business where you custom material like wood, then BobsCNC is the real deal you can go for. The tool comes with high-end features to enable you to get excellent outcomes.
The accuracy level of this Router is on point. It fits into any small project. The direction change is smooth, and it happens immediately it receives instructions to do so. The Router has a firmly constructed frame which enhances accuracy.
For any product, durability is required to ensure long-time service delivery. Therefore, when you talk of durability, the BobsCNC Router is what you are talking about. The Router operates smoothly due to its firm construction; therefore, no much hassle. The Router is trusted for quality performance, especially for small woodworking shops.
- Has firm construction for durability.
- Easy to assemble.
- G-code based system.
- The rigid wood frame provides stability.
- Proximity switches have a lousy quality.
Best CNC Routers for Hobbyists and Learning Purposes 2021
Maslow CNC jumpstart kit
The router model is hard to call a home tool. It can be the ideal Router for woodworking at the workshop. The aim of building such a CNC router is to make furniture and engrave large pieces of wood. It is sold as a kit for you to assemble, but it began as an open-source project. The large working area of the CNC router makes it an ideal choice for hobbyists and learners.
The most attractive part of the Router is that you have the liberty of deciding the size of the work area you want to use. You can shrink the work area or maximize it by making your frame, and the Router usually operates. Despite the frame’s size, the calibration and the software can adapt the frame to work without posing any challenge.
The machine comes as a kit with all parts, which gives you less hassle when assembling it. The affordable machine is user-friendly and comes with easy-to-use software, thus giving you a smooth work experience.
- User-friendly software.
- It is easy to assemble.
- Can easily adjust to a large or smaller working area.
- Can work on different types of material.
- Not a desktop model.
- Not designed to create smaller detailed projects.
Best mini CNC router reviews 2021
Genmitsu CNC Router 3018 Pro
One of the best affordable mini CNC routers offers a more comprehensive build are compared to other models. The wider build area enables you to work on extensive material. For maximum stability, the Router has an effective aluminum anchor.
Though it is meant for woodworking, the CNC router is versatile since it can cut through various materials, including metals like aluminum and several plastic materials. The versatility makes the Router one to die for when it comes to handling soft material.
The CNC router can be operated using GRBL software on Arduino to regulate motion. The kit comes with an offline controller, which allows you to control the Router movement while offline. For more prolonged use and safety, the Router has an upgraded adapter which happens to be the latest feature of the Router.
- Can engrave different material.
- Easy to use.
- Upgraded adapter enhance safety.
- You can control it offline.
- It gives room for creativity.
- Can have elements of inaccuracy.
Best CNC Router for Aluminum 2021
One of the fantastic things about being a woodworker is having a versatile CNC machine that you can rely on. A CNC machine can work on both wood and still handle materials like aluminum. Therefore, if you are interested in crafting aluminum, you won’t have second thoughts on going for MY SWEETY CNC router.
The Router is versatile as it can handle several projects and different materials since it comes with different operating systems. The Router is above the rest since it can operate o Linux or windows ten while they cannot.
The CNC router comes with a versatile 775 spindle whose operation delivers excellent cuts regardless of the surface. The Router is compatible with the laser to enable you to make your designs on different surfaces.
- Offline mode is available.
- Options for manual control.
- Can engrave different material.
- The instruction manual is minimal.
- To use offline mode, it must be disconnected from the computer.
Best DIY CNC Router 2021
BobsCNC Evolution 4
The super DIY CNC router can be reliable for excellent outcomes in this model. The powerful CNC router is made just like BobsCNC Evo 3, but this has a larger build area.
The Router is built to provide utmost accuracy for projects requiring precision. The robust model has the capacity to handle the most challenging tasks requiring intricate cuts. The frame of the Router is made to be sturdy to enhance stability while tackling work.
Due to the machine’s capacity to operate under different GRBL software, you can consider it versatile. The good thing about using software is that it is compatible with high-end software like VCarve, that is if you can dig deeper into your pocket. Depending on your CNC objectives, you can get several upgrades for your Router.
- Larger work surface.
- Excellent outcomes.
- Designed to last.
- Can handle challenging tasks.
- Not very portable.
- Cannot engrave metal.
Best CNC Router for Woodworking Buyer’s Guide
Having reviewed some of the best CNC routers for woodworking that you can find in the market, you can now choose which Router is the best to handle your woodworking needs. However, there are more to consider when buying your CNC router; below are some of the critical factors you need to consider.
The material the Router can Handle
Just like there are different CNC routers, each Router is uniquely different from the other. Some routers can cut materials that others cannot. According to the list, I assume you have noticed some routers capable of cutting rigid material such as steel while others can only work on soft material such as wood and plastics.
When buying a router, I recommend that you keenly check the material you are willing to handle with your CNC router. For rigid material such as copper and steel, a robust router is good, while soft material does not require a much powerful router.
Some projects require high horse speed to have work done, while others work with just average speed. The spindle of the CNC router determines the horse speed of a particular CNC. For heavy-duty tasks, you will need a powerful spindle to get excellent results.
Therefore, before you get your CNC router, I would recommend that you countercheck the amount of woodwork you need to handle. Once you know the amount of work you have to handle using your Router, then you can determine the ideal spindle that suits your needs. It would be frustrating to have a soft spindle to handle your heavy-duty work.
Spindles have different cooling systems. There is a spindle that uses water to cool while others use air. Therefore, if your Router uses a water-based spindle, it calls for you to have a water pump. However, air cooling spindles require no pump but only cool by blowing air into them.
Availability of Spare Parts
Before you buy any CNC router, ensure that its spare parts are available. When you have spare parts for your Router readily available, it will be easy for you to repair your CNC router once there is a breakdown. On the other hand, a router whose spares are unavailable cannot be fixed once there is a breakdown.
What is the size of the working space that you need? Your working space is determined by the amount of work you intend to handle with your CNC router. Routers come with a working area; therefore, depending on the amount of work you intend to handle, you will go for a router that can accommodate you.
Budgeting is a crucial consideration when getting any product. You might be fascinated by a CNC router that is out of your budget and is disappointed, yet you can get an affordable one that works equally well. Therefore, I recommend that you consider buying routers with pocket-friendly prices but still deliver excellent performance.
How to Choose the Best CNC Router 2021
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) router machine is a tool used for cutting different materials. Each Router kit is used for a specific work, so you get the appropriate one following what you want to do. Also, pay attention to the machine body thickness, fast speed, and spare parts availability.
Comparison of the capabilities of the Router against the tasks.
Automated lubrication systems in CNC router machines make their maintenance less expensive and increases efficiency. The machines have boring heads that help to carve fine detail in woodwork easily a. They are also equipped with Fagor controls and automated tool length setters that help achieve accuracy during work.
Compatibility with the Software.
There are three parts in the CNC router toolchain; machine controller package, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). AutoCAD is most famous for 2D and 3D drawings. Rhino3D is used to make and format surfaces, curves, and solids. Also, Solid works, Fusion 360, and Sketch list 3D Can be used.
The Dimensions of the Table
A router table ranges from about 22 x 16 inches for benchtop tables to 36 x 24 inches for freestanding tables. The standard measurements for a typical CNC router size that the machine table will cut is 4 x 8 ft. Larger, extended, and even smaller sizes are available. Larger CNC router bed size may have measurements of 2100mm x 4500mm.
The Driver system
A drive system is necessary for moving the CNC router’s axes in a straight line. The two primary systems include; translation screws and Gear trains. Translation screws translate rotatory motion into linear motion using a screw thread. Gear train drives are based on a rack-and-pinion system and have two parts: the pinion and the rack.
The Motor system
The motor system turns a screw-like shaft to move the load. This results in conversion on non-linear input from the control to linear output at the table and spindle shaft. CNC machines often use stepper motors and servo motors. Servo motors are most commonly used due to their high speed and precision to work.
Dust Collection system /port/ chamber
A sound dust collecting system is vital in using CNC machines due to dust and excess debris build-up that can be hazardous. There are two key areas to consider in a dust collection system: airflow to the brush and its proximity to the material surface.
The vacuum provides space to create a hold-down force to oppose the force created on the table when using the CNC router machine. With a nested parts router, sawdust is pulled to the vacuum system as drilling and cutting occur. CNC routers use vacuum pumps to create the vacuum.
A hobby router which is relatively small in size cost $1,500-$5,000. A standard one cost $5,000-$30,000. A complex CNC machine cost $30,000-$100,000. Highest-end and industrial router cost over $100,000. Wood /stone CNC routers vary from $2,000-$50,000. Metal CNC routers cost $3,000-$100,000. EPS foam CNC cost from $5,000-$50,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
CNC machining is a manufacturing process that involves tools and machinery controlled using software that has been pre-programmed into a computer system. The process can control several complicated machines such as millers, grinders, and routers. The CNC system employs three-dimensional cutting to engrave carves into the wood and other material.
CNC is a short form for computer numerical control. Therefore, from the name, the system operates contrary to the manual control limitations. Here, live operators are used to controlling and direct machining tools using wheels, levers, and buttons. CNC machining is made different from other computation forms by software and console used.
The first step of building a CNC router is by making a design. The design will require you to make sketches on a piece of paper. Remember to include the dimensions of the Router. Make an X-axis to your CNC router, which consists of a bare frame. Integrate gantry side plates, then assemble the gantry.
Make a Y-axis of one plate and eight linear bearings attached to it. Then ensure the linear rails of the Z-axis are connected to the mobile part. Include timing belts and pulleys followed by motor mounts. Put a bearing block with cavities where the bearings sit on. Make a cutting bed for the machine, followed by electronics and their enclosure. Finally, integrate the software you need to operate the machine.
Before using a CNC machine, puck the materials you want to work on. They dictate the CNC machine you will use. Power the machine and get to grips with the software in three steps. The first step is the CAD program followed by CAM, which converts the drawing into g-code.
The machine will then reads and interpret the g-code to make a part. However, experienced woodworkers might prefer writing the g-code directly into the machine. Even though you can skip the g-code part, most woodworkers depend on the CAM program before writing the g-code into the machine.
Whether you are a professional or a do-it-yourself enthusiast woodworker, CNC machines are just incredible. There are different CNC machines with different features. All the CNC machines cannot cost the same price, and that is because of the unique features each model comes with. Below is a way you can determine how much a CNC machine costs.
While different machines are open for negotiations, some factors determine the machine price. Such variables include the machine’s size, the machine’s weight, the machine’s speed, power, machine configuration, and manufacture country. Therefore, you get the price of your CNC based on these factors.
Once you activate the CNC system, you program the cuts you desire to make into the software you are using. Then, you dictate the tools you need and the machine, which will execute the task you want to handle much like a robot works.
Despite the possibility of errors, the numerical system’s code generator will assume there are no flaws in the instructions. The part program directs the placement of a particular tool. With a numerical control machine, programs are inputted via punch cards. The CNC machine program is keyed into the computer via small vital boards.
We have come to the end of our best CNC machines for woodworking reviews. Each of the above CNC routers has its unique features. The one you choose will depend on the project you have and how much you are willing to spend. All the above machines are great for cutting and carving projects.