Looking for enjoying the benefit of producing factory-grade metal or woodwork engraving in the home or small workspace?
Then, having a CNC router can be your best option.
But only the best CNC routers can ensure the higher level of productivity rates and deliver consistent and precise work.
Unfortunately, from a number of brands and models, picking the right one can be confusing.
We’re here to suggest you the best product and we’re confident that this list of 10 top notch CNC routers would be of great help for you.
We have selected the BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit as the top pick.
But why is this top pick?
MYSWEETY 1610 is the best budget-friendly CNC router you can buy below $200.
But, what makes it our budget pick?
It’s very much affordable considering the features it comes with compared to the other types of CNC router on the market. Indeed, it’ll live up to the user’s expectation with its performance. Under 200, you are truly getting an outstanding deal.
25 x 19 x 25
Best Home CNC MYSWEETY 1610
14.2 x 9.2 x 6.5
Best Desktop CNC
24 x 19 x 16
Best For Small Shop
48 x 96 x 2.4
Mini CNC Machine
MYSWEETY 3018 Pro
17.8 x 9.6 x 7
Best for the Price
Best For Fine Work
Next wave CNC Piranha XL
30.5 x 19.5x 24
Personal CNC Router Kit
DIY CNC Desktop
16.9 x 13 x 16.9
Best For Aluminum
Next Wave Automation T30502
46 x 14 x 58.16
Axiom Precision ARPro
39.17 x 37.36 x 3.27
10 Best CNC Router for Woodworking, Metal and Aluminum
Now, it’s time to check out the details of all excellent CNC routers we’ve chosen to meet your cutting and engraving needs.
1. Best Overall- BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit with the Router
We start our top 10 CNC routers reviews with one of the best CNC engraver kits from the famous brand BobsCNC. It’s the most trusted and praises router by customers on the market. From packaging to customer support, this brand puts the commendable effort in all the areas to make customer experience truly amazing and satisfactory.
If you’re looking for best entry level CNC router with a large enough footprint to do some good sized carving, then this BobsCNC E3 CNC Router Engraver Kit is perfect for you. It’s inexpensive, works well, and has enough capability for what you want to do.
E3 DIY CNC kit is easy to assemble and does excellent work on small objects and great on lettering. It’s one of the best hobby CNC routers which is great to get introduced to CNC or to get started quickly with a new machine. The quality of the parts and material are top line.
The unit features a lightweight, yet elegant and robust design. It weighs only 26 pounds that means it’s extremely lightweight as compared to other units of its class. On the other hand, the rigid laser cut frame makes the unit durable and sturdy for long time operation.
The 25 x 19 x 25-inch dimensions allow it to be placed with the computer and other accessories on the workbench.
But that’s not even the best part guys!
The unit provides 30,000 rpm which is definitely larger than any traditional CNC routers. This powerful motor cuts a large number of materials quickly. Additionally, the 450, 390 and 85 millimeters cutting area on X, Y and Z axes respectively offer wide working volume that allows the user to handle large workpiece without any trouble.To sum up, E3 CNC is a great entry-level, hobby CNC router kit for aspiring hobbyists CNC routers for the money.
2. Best Home CNC Machine- MYSWEETY 1610
MYSWEETY 1610 CNC router is an excellent item that comes with an incredible pocket-friendly price. It’s also amongst the cheapest on our list. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s definitely worth a closer look, as it comes at a much more comfortable price point for many.
It’s also the best home CNC router due to the flexibility it offers for handling light-duty task. It can cut softer materials such as plastic wood, acrylic, PVC, PCB, or the like material. It’s super easy to assemble and operate.
1610 CNC Machine comes with a stable structure. Its shape is also simple. The 775 spindle motor provides high speed (7000 rpm) which is enough for carving task. The 42 stepper motor has enough power to get the job done.
Additionally, it features a GRBL control system with high-quality control panel. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Win7, Win8 and Win10.
One of the advantages of this unit is you can use offline modules instead of computers. Thus, MYSWEETY 1610 helps you to increase usability and increase work efficiency. Furthermore, the machine requires no adjustment, just position when installing the motor.
Finally, its bottom features advanced slider bearing; high-quality T8 threaded stainless steel screw and 10mm diameter optical axis that help to eliminate backlash. It has a frame size of 260x240x220mm that offers a working area of 160x100x45mm.
To sum up, MYSWEETY 1610 CNC Machine is a cool little CNC machine, and a great value for the money.
- 1x Full set engraving machine
- 10 x PCB cutter
- 4 set plates
Here is an excellent router engraver CNC 3040 from CNCEST brand which has 25 years Industry experience. If you have limited space and are on a limited budget, this unit is great for you.
It’s a user-friendly desktop CNC machine, also suitable for a laptop. It’s designed for processing hobby, technology research or industrial purposes. It lets you do engraving work at home or office.
In fact, it’s a miniature version of carving machine that allows you fast and large 3D engraving anywhere, anytime. It’s perfect to use for carving nonmetal materials, PCB, PMMA, plastic, and wood. But by its spiral flute bits you can engrave much more materials.
CNCEST 3040 comes with Mach 3 software which is intelligent and simple to use. The stepping motor is highly precise that makes the engraving more precise. The Spindle motor knob lets you adjust the small positioning accurately. Moreover, you can use flexible coupling for high torque transmission.
The best part of this router is its cover plates that reduce pollution for the shafts and screws. Additionally, the emergency stop button ensures security while using the unit.
CNCEST Power Milling Machine 3040 is durable. It features Aluminum Alloy frame and chrome shafts. The shafts are strong that won’t deform easily and suitable for long time use. This construction provides steady and strong support while making transportation of the unit absolutely safe.
One of the great advantages of this unit is it comes with all the accessories, so you don’t need to purchase them again.
- 1 x 3040 CNC router
- 1 x Control box
- 1 x USB Cable
- 3 x Axis motors
- 1 x Software
- 1 x Rotary axis and tailstock
4. CNC Machine For Small Shop - Green Bull 4×8
If you’re looking for a much better alternative to a traditional router, then this heavy-duty CNC router from GreenBull is a great option for you. It’s a fully equipped CNC router kit that will meet all your machining needs. To automatize the process for general woodworking applications, sign making or milling light aluminum or acrylic, this unit is enough to reduce the production time significantly.
This best 4×8 CNC router comes with large 3D carving ability for larger sheet sizes. It’s perfect for engraving standard 4” x 8” sheets. Don’t let the wooden frame of the unit fool you. It can manipulate almost every task you throw at it with accuracy and precision.
The machine features three main travel sizes: 4X, 5X and 6X. It comes with increased sizes overall for stability along these three new travel length. Thanks to its increased sizes overall, NEMA 34 motors and new dust shoe design.
The GreenBull CNC Machine let you cut and burn on the same unit. It has an option to add a 40W CO2 laser tube to the Granty for dual Spindle/ Laser capability. The gantry of this unit features an increased height between the top v-groove bearings and the bottom v-groove bearings. This increased height increases resistance to flex and with the ribs within the gantry.
Additionally, its rigid steel coupling provides much more strength in high torque situations. It includes a USB cable for 5v power.
The unit comes with 2.2kW Spindle with 110V inverter that makes it a great option for domestic users who don’t have access to 220V mains. It provides variable control speeds and cuts more efficiently.
It also reduces dust factor and noise. The updated dust shoe redirects the blower air from the router so the space under the dust shoe has almost total suction.
Overall, it’s the best CNC machine for small business.
5. Best Low Cost DIY Mini CNC Machine- MYSWEETY Upgrade Version CNC 3018 Pro
Next, we have this DIY mini CNC machine 3018-PRO from MYSWEETY, upgrade version of 3018. It comes with all the major features to meet your DIY engraving needs.
Firstly, MYSWEETY CNC 3018 Pro is one of the best beginner-friendly CNC machines to learn the basics of CNC machining. Its open-design lets the novice to see the effects of any adjustments while trimming the axis easily. The troubleshooting is also simpler. Additionally, any mistake that may happen when learning the unit will be simpler to repair and cost less than on a production type CNC unit.
Secondly, this best 3018 CNC router comes with an assembly instruction booklet and the assembly is reasonably easy. The powerful 775 motor offers no load speed 4100rpm. Although the drill bit is unable to engrave hard metal, for wood, plastic, acrylic, PCB, PVC, or the like material it’ll do a fine job.
The best part of this CNC machine is it features an upgraded control board which can support offline controller function. The main advantage of this feature is you can download the needed carving files into the off-line controller. You don’t need a computer or to download any files. The offline controller will let you control all actions and you can directly do simple curving, punching and so on.
Additionally, this machine lets you manually open or closes the spindle. You can manually adjust the position of the three axes of XYZ as the starting point of the carving. Of course, the Aluminum and nylon frame makes the unit sturdy, more stable and run and engrave better.
Wait! There is more…
CNC 3018 Pro allows adding the laser module kit to the machine. If you’re an experienced CNC engraving enthusiast, by using this module you can unleash your creativity. Overall, it’s a nice DIY CNC machine for the price.
- 1 x Full set engraving machine
- 1 x Offline controller
- 4 x Clamp
- 10 x Bits
- 1 x Extension rod with ER11 collet
(To use the computer, you need to unplug the offline controller)
6. Best for the Price- JFT 3040 3 axis 1.5Kw CNC router
The JFT 3040 CNC router is a small but creative, versatile CNC router. The unit is perfect for long continuous work. It’s capable of carving material like wood, stone, metals including steel, copper, aluminum alloy and iron. You can also mill or drill of EVA foam cotton, plastic boxes, chassis panel.
The start button, the external reset and the resume carving function of the JFT 3040 ensure continuous processing the next day using or in case of tool breakage.
The JFT router has the 3 axis original imported TBI SFU 1605 ball screw with the high-quality nut that will never rust. The water-cooled spindle is low noise and offers high precision.
The unit comes with an independent drive to keep the speed and stability. The professional control layout highlights the excellent quality.
Another great feature of this unit is its 3.5A high current stepping motor. It’s located in the direction of the three-axis respectively and has the feature of returning to the original point of the machine with one button. It helps to avoid the trouble of the operation process.
Importantly, the USB port, MACh3, 3 axes, 1.5KW- all the products are European CE certified. What’s more, it comes with a one full year machine parts free warranty and the good quality construction usually means it is something you can rely upon for your carving needs.
Finally, it supports MACH3 system in both English and Chinese.
- 1 x Engraving unit
- 1 x Control box
- 1 x CD (containing Mach3 and other supporting software)
- 1 x USB port cable
- 1 x Power cable
- 1 x Tool package
- 1 x Cooling water pump
- 1 x Tool Auto-checking instrument
7. Best for Fine Work- CNC Piranha XL
No matter you’re into miniatures, a modeler or a model railroader, there is almost no limit to the versatile, creative results that you can achieve with the Piranha XL CNC router. Its numerous automatic alignment features, touch screen controller, 24-inch of Y capacity and virtual Zero Software gives CNC Piranha XL an` influential bite.
One of the nice features of this unit is its extra Y capacity that brings it one step closer to a full-sized CNC router while still maintaining its affordable price. The XY homing capability makes assembling of the router easier than before. Additionally, the enhanced Z travel helps to handle additional thickness.
This model features an aluminum interlocking table with T-track slots that ensures secure and flexible clamping. The extra-large table and 24-ich homing capability make the unit perfect for projects like plaques, carving and so on. It works fine on soft metals, wood and plastics.
The router is easy to operate. The color touch-screen makes the unit easy to use. Additionally, the VCarve Desktop V9.5 software that comes with the unit is not only versatile but also offers user-friendly interface. Simply design your project with the included design software on a PC with a USB 2.0 port. Then save your program directly to a USB flash drive and run the program.
One of the great advantages of this machine is it comes fully assembled, so you can get started right away! No assembly needed other than adding your router and plugging in the cords. The slim design lets you fit the entire machine easily onto one end of your workbench.
- 1 X CNC Piranha XL router
- 2 x Hold-down clamps
- 1 x Touch Screen Controller
- 1 x V-Groove Bit
- 2 x Compact router clamps
- 1 x VCarve V9.5 Design Software Package
- 1 x Vector Art 3D Sampler Pack
- 1 x Instruction Manual
8. Best Personal Mini CNC Router Kit -DIY CNC Desktop Engraving Carving Machine
If you’re looking for a true DO IT YOURSELF CNC kit to do the little creative carvings, then this is the product. This USB Desktop Engraving Carving Machine will meet your common engraving or milling demands.
It’s good for wood, plastic, PCB CCL, acrylic and soft metal like aluminum and copper. It offers a great way to repeat processes and let you do the engraving tasks that no hand tool ever let you to do.
Although this personal mini CNC engraving machine is not intended for production use, it’s great for hobbyist, artist and craft makers for study, research and fun.
This DIY CNC Router Kit comes with all the components required for assembly. If you have certain mechanical skill, you can assemble it from scratch.
The unit offers working area 240x 170x 65 mm, positioning accuracy 0.04mm. It inaugurates the GRBL software and easy to use.
- 1 x Mechanical engraving machine
- 1 x Spindle motor
- 1 x Power supply
- 1 x Data lines
- 3 x Knife
9. Best CNC Router For Aluminum- Next Wave Automation T30502
Now at the next pick of our CNC router list, we’ve got this versatile and easy to use unit from NextWaveAutomation. For the advanced DIY CNC user, it’s hard to find a better product than the Next Wave Automation CNC Router T30502.
The unit includes many useful features. Thanks to its upgraded electronics, additional expansion ports and color touch-screen pendant controller, larger linear guides, and XY homing capability. This upgraded model also increases Shark capabilities and allows the attachments like water cooled spindle control, Laser, and 4th axis.
The router is fully compatible with Dewalt 610, 616, 618, Bosch 1617 and 1618, Porter Cable 690 Series, Porter Cable 890 Series. The Virtual Zero Software that comes with it maps the surface of your materials for maximum accuracy.
With aluminum and high-density polyethylene construction, T30502 is designed for heavy use. It doesn’t face any difficulties to handle large 2-1/4 HP routers as it features anti-backlash and high precision lead screws on all the three axes. It’s an ideal tool for machining and carving a wide variety of projects that involve plastics, soft metals or wood.
The CNC Shark HD 4.0 features reinforced plate aluminum heavy-duty gantry and the interlocking aluminum table that offers flexible and fast clamping. What’s more, it has an adjustable bearing that can accommodate greater torque levels and give more stability during heavy cutting.
Overall, it is a WONDERFUL machine and software.
- 1 x CNC Shark HD4
- 1 x Router Mount
- 2 x Hold Down Clamps
- 1 x 3/8” V-Groove Bit
- 1 x Shark Control Panel operating software
- 1 x Vcarve V9.5 Software Package
- 1 x 3D (Vector Art) Sampler Pack
10. Best 4-Axis CNC Router- Axiom Precision AR8 Pro+
Axiom Precision AR8 Pro+ CNC router offers advanced features usually found only on machines in industrial environments, but at consumer-friendly prices.
AR8 Pro+ includes all the useful features of Axiom Precision’s Pro Series machines along with 4th-axis capability. It’s a high quality, well- built piece of equipment. Don’t let you fool the other CNC routers that cost nearly as much but lack of rigidity and features of this one.
It’s a truly industrial-quality CNC. It’s very solid and cuts are precise. It cuts every piece exactly right. The integrated spoil boards promise you to ensure all the precision and accuracy you need for excellent results.
Axiom CNC 4th axis Pro+ lets you enjoy rotary machining capability and the powerful electro-spindle performance in a compact unit. Its 3HP Electro Spindle offers 0-24,000 RPM. This variable speed control lets you adapt the router speed to the application.
What’s more, the motor is quiet yet powerful. It runs smoothly at all speeds and it’s also easy to adjust. It’s so quiet that when the unit is on operation but not cutting, it’s tough to tell if it’s even running.
The spindle is integrated with the liquid cooling system. This feature maximizes the lifespan of the unit even under the most demanding conditions.
You don’t need to attach your CNC router to your PC to operate it. By using a USB storage device, simply transfer your file to the handheld controller. The handheld RichAuto is a lightweight, powerful, and easy to use controller.
This 4 axis small CNC router is the most compact of the Pro models, with the footprint of 24” x 48” x 6”. It has a full 6” Z travel capacity and 6.5 gantry clearance for compatibility with all workpiece. The Auto Tool Touch-off Plate makes it easy to zero out the Z-axis.
The interlocking aluminum table and steel frame of the machine are incredible and sturdiest. The welded robust steel frame ensures less vibration and offers greater accuracy.
Whether you’re looking to start with a CNC machine or you just want to upgrade your entry-level machine with one that is easy to use and promises top-quality, you’re sure to be pleased with this top rated CNC router. All in all, it’s the top CNC router under 10000.
- 1 x Axiom AutoRoute 4 Pro+ CNC
- 1 x 3HP Electro-Motor
- 1 x 1/4” ER20 Collet
- 1 x 1/2” ER20 Collet
- 1 x Axiom CNC Controller with Handheld Control Unit
- 1 x Tool Touch-Off Puck
Now before getting into the end, it is crucial that you should acknowledge yourself with some basic facts of CNC router. It is important to learn because it’ll help you in better understanding about the CNC router which will ultimately help you to get the best one from the lot.
So, let’s start from:
What exactly is the CNC router? How does a CNC router work?
A CNC (Computer Numerical Control) router is a computer-controlled cutting tool where instead of routing by hand, the cutting or engraving paths are controlled via computer.
The pre-programmed software dictates the movement of the machine. A series of drive systems and motors work with the CNC controller to move and control the router axes for executing the pre-programmed motions.
To get the job done, the user may need to have two programs- one for making designs and another to convert the design into “G-code” instructions.
The wonderful functionality of CNC router has made it possible to shape and curve a wide range of materials (such as steel, aluminum, wood, foam, plastic and so on) according to one’s needs.
In fact, the operator of the CNC router requires doing less work as the unit is automated. The operator needs to do other things during CNC operation such as measuring metal sheets, making the adjustment and so on.
The concept of CNC router is not very different to that of the CNC milling machine. There are many variations in CNC router, from DIY desktop CNC routers to large “Gantry” CNC machines. In general, they are available in 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis format.
Regardless of variations, CNC router comes with some common parts. These are: CNC controller, Workspace table, ball nuts, linear guides, a spindle motor(s), AC inverter drives. Additionally, they may have fixtures to hold the workpiece in place during engraving and vacuum pump.
What is the difference between a CNC router and a CNC engraving machine?
Basically, both are the same, but the concept of CNC engraving machine is a bit broader. Of course, the table and the outfit are a bit different.
Both are tools that use a computer to control their motion. CNC router is much more complex, can handle more operation and more tools.
CNC engraving machine is used to a wide range of flat material for cutting, 2D and 3D engraving. CNC engraving machine is perfect to process large-format signs to tiny nameplates and badges.
Let’s say, an engraving machine can only engrave while a router can also engrave
What is the size of the CNC router?
Old-version and industrial-grade CNC routers are very large which need a good amount of space to accommodate. Fortunately, desktop CNC routers are compact and can be set up easily on a workbench.
But these desktop CNC routers are not as powerful as the industrial one. These are ideal for DIY or home use only. User needs to simply use the software on their PC and program the router to accomplish the specific jobs.
Cnc Router Projects- 4 top common applications of CNC router
The greatest advantage of using a CNC router is it offers a smooth and accurate cut with consistency. It can repeatedly produce the same cut without any error where the waste is minimized and productivity is maximized.
The most common applications of CNC routers are to cut and shape multiple material types. They are also very effective at crafting precise materials., producing pieces of art, creating prototypes within the engineering field etc.
1. Cabinet components
For milling or cutting everything from cabinet doors to interior boxes and shelves, CNC router is the perfect tool.
2. Sign Making
The 3-axis CNC routers are the best suit to carve sign in everything from aluminum, bronze to plastic, wood and foam.
Everything from delicate and small toys to intricate designs in larger wood items can be performed with the CNC router especially with the wood carving router machine.
4. Instrument Production
CNC routers play a vital role in producing instruments. Body, inlays, neck, fretwork- all can be done with speed and precision.
Who makes the best home CNC router?
This isn’t an easy question to answer.
There are many quality CNC router manufacturers that offer high-quality, top-notch CNC routers at very competitive prices.
Next Wave Automation, CNCEST, BuildYourCNC GreenBull, MYSWEETY, JFT-Jessica, DiYCNC, Axiom Precision, BobsCNC are some of the well-known CNC router manufacturers.
However, "Which one is the right CNC router for me?" – it depends on the quality of the router, working area, applications, power requirement and your budget.
In general, all CNC routers do a good job on wood, MDF and acrylic. But if you want to do soft metal work like aluminum cutting or engraving, it would be better to go for the unit that features water cooling system.
How To Choose The Best CNC Router
There are numerous brands and models of CNC router in the market. So, deciding on the right CNC router is certainly a difficult task and is going to be a process that takes into account several factors. However, this buying guide will simplify your buying procedure.
Here are the some important factors to consider before making the purchase.
Capabilities of the router and types of your task
Firstly, your choice of a CNC router depends on the type of task you want to accomplish. Choose a model with the right Capabilities to get the job done. Consider what you’re planning to accomplish with it. This will help you to buy the type of CNC router that will match your goals.
Software compatibility is an important factor to take into account. Make sure that the model you’re planning to buy is equipped with the software which is compatible with your desktop.
Consider the table dimension of the CNC router in line with the size of the material you plan to cut or engrave. The table dimension of the CNC router should be large enough to handle the varying material size.
The three types of drive systems that come with CNC router are: lead screw, ball screw and Rack & pinion. Among them, the ballscrew drive system can handle various materials accurately and these are expensive.
The motor system of a CNC router determines the torque and cutting speed. The model with higher motor rating offers faster cutting process.
Dust collection system
To achieve the fault-free and precise results, this feature plays an important role. Check the model for dust collection port. Also check the capacity and power of the dust collection system.
It determines the hold down strength of the materials. The stronger the vacuum system, the heavier the material the unit can hold in place and cut.
Price and Your budget
CNC routers are not as expensive as many may think. However, you need to consider the price when shopping for a unit as they come with a broad range of price points. If you intend to handle simple task, it’s possible to get the best cheap CNC routers within your budget.
FAQs About CNC Router
1. How long does a CNC router last?
The durability of a CNC router is related to the initial quality of the product. Of course, it also depends on how well the router is maintained and how often it’s used. In general, CNC routers last much longer than five years. However, the average lifespan of a home CNC router is about ten years.
2. What is the GRBL controller?
GRBL Controller is one type of software that sends GCode to CNC machines. It’s a useful tool for the user to get commands down to whatever controller they’re using.
3. What does the term “axis” refer in terms of CNC router?
The term “axis” refers to the number of directions in which the router can move. On a 3-axis routing center, the router will move across the X, Y and Z liners axes to approach the material.
Overall, all the CNC routers on our list are the best combination of features, performance, quality and price. No matter, which one you’ll choose, it’ll certainly provide you the best quality-to-price ratio.
So, what are you waiting for?
Now that you’re well-informed which CNC router is right for you, based on your needs pick the best CNC router from our top 10 list.
Explore the New World of metal-/ woodworking!
Thanks for reading.