12 Best Cnc Router in 2022

No two CNC routers are the same. Some may or may not be compatible with your computer software, while others may be user-friendly. That is why you must carefully choose the one you buy. 

Image of best cnc routers

In this article, you will find the list of the best routers for different purposes and what you must know before choosing a router for your business. 

What is a CNC router?

A CNC router is a computerized machine used to cut and engrave on different materials, including wood, plastics, MDF, HDPE, and even aluminum. CNC means computer numerical control, which means that the machine is controlled by computer software and electronics, not a human operator.

CNC routers (though not all) can cut in three directions: X, Y, and Z axes. When the machine cuts from the front to back direction, it is said to be the X-axis, the longest. When it cuts in a left to the right direction, it is the Y-axis, and up and down movement is the Z-axis.

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These routers are more precise and faster than humans since they run on computers, which is why they are used in many manufacturing industries.

A CNC router comprises the cutting bed, drive system, spindle, and CNC controller and computer.

To use the CNC router for designs, you must first use software to create the design on your computer. After this, you will communicate the layout to your CNC controller by utilizing a post-processor that translates the design file to g-code for machining.

The CNC controller will then carve out this design by moving the drive system according to the design file.

What to consider before buying a CNC router

Several factors are essential for choosing a CNC router. So before investing in any kind, consider the following:

  1. Purpose

Not every machine is suitable for the task at hand, so you must choose the one that is calibrated to meet your needs and application. Consider the material you work with if the machine can go through it consistently at the expected speed.

  1. Table size

CNC routers are available in different types and sizes. The larger the machine, the larger its table size and working area. So, choose the one that suits your production needs. 

These table sizes are available from a 2 x 4 top machine to a 6×12” full table machine. You can also find CNC routers with more extended and broader tables for your work.

  1. Schedule and cycle time

CNC routers with reliable schedules and cycle time can help you meet pressing deadlines. So, before buying a CNC machine, ensure that it can be programmed to go as fast as possible with high-speed tolerance.

  1. Electrical and software requirements

Know the electrical capacity of your shop before buying any new CNC router. Also, consider the type of software necessary for the CNC router to work.

Some CNC routers can work with the necessary CAD software, while others require something different.

  1. Maintenance

For efficiency and productivity sake, your CNC machine must always be up and doing most times. So, ensure the CNC machine will need minimal downtime and maintenance. It is best to go for devices that automatically lubricate, though those that require manual lubrication are still good. Also, go for machines that can easily be serviced at your location.

Again, know the routine inspection requirements for your machine to keep it at the utmost speed.

  1. Return on investment

A good CNC router will cut down on time and cost. So, before making any tangible investment in buying a CNC machine, know that it will help your job faster and better. 

You may not need to buy an expensive and robust machine if your job doesn’t demand it. Getting a suitable CNC machine for your work will help you get a job done faster with more accuracy.

  1. Budget

Your overall spending budget is another thing to consider when getting a CNC router. Though the price for getting a CNC router for a smaller shop can vary from that of a more extensive shop, you can still find suitable CNC routers that fit your budget. So, consider how much you have, your shop size, and the type of CNC router within your range.

  1. Customer service

You need reliable customer service before buying any CNC router. Machines can go wrong at any time, and it is terrible to have no one who can check it up for you. 

It is best to go for CNC routers with an accessible service team that will help you fix problems at no time.

  1. Adaptability

Some manufacturers customize machines to suit precise needs. If you think you need this, go for companies that offer them. This customization process could require only a tweak in the programming, and it may not cost so much. There’s no harm trying.

Best CNC router for small shop and laser combo

SainSmart Genmitsu 3018-PROVer

Photo of SainSmart Genmitsu; one of the best cnc routers

Source: Amazon

The SainSmart Genmitsu CNC machine has highly fitting parts and durability. Most of the components of this router will be assembled at the point of order and will be ready for use within a few hours after delivery. You’ll be glad that this solid desktop router can carve lots of materials, including aluminum.

This CNC router has an aluminum body with excellent safety features, including an emergency stop and end stop.

The acrylic CNC enclosure replaces a dust collector and saves you the extra cost. Also, the machine has a very low operating noise because of this acrylic enclosure. It gives lovely laser engraving and works for both the DIY and professional settings. It is the latest version of the 3018 Desktop CNC kit series, and the customer support is impressive.

SaintSmart Getmintsu 3018 PROver CNC router has a web presence, visible documentation, and customer support. So you will get a quick response in case anything goes wrong.

Click here to buy SainSmart Getmintsu 3018 PROver on Amazon

Best CNC router for beginners

Carbide 3D Shapeoko4

Photo of Carbide 3D Shapeoko; one of the best cnc routers

Source: Carbide3D.com

Carbide 3D Shapeoko 4 CNC router was launched in May 2021 and is a highly celebrated version of the Carbide 3D Shapeoko series. It is available in three sizes: the standard, XL, and XXL. Their work areas differ according to size. 

The standard begins at 444 x 444 x 101 mm, while The XL follows at 838 x 444 x 101 mm. The XL gives the largest workspace at 838 x 838 x 101 mm.

This desktop CNC router can cut plastics, wood, HDPE, PCB, and MDF, amongst other non-metallic materials. Though it can also cut aluminum sheets, the speed will be lower when cutting wood.

This shapeoko4 uses big 3D custom aluminum extrusions and is very rigid for anything cut by shapeoko.

Best desktop CNC router

Inventables X-Carve

Photo of Inventables X Carve; one of the best cnc routers

Source: Inventables

The Inventables X-Carve CNC router is very popular and with a size of 1250 x 1000 mm. It also has an effective cutting area of 750 x 750 mm.

This X-carve machine was available in smaller sizes of 500 x 750 mm, but not anymore. However, this current size of the X-Carve device can still be used on a 4 x 4 table size.

After assembly, this 1000 mm X-Carve machine will weigh about 102 pounds, so ensure your desk and carry this kind of weight.

The Inventables X-Carve CNC router can only be used for materials with not more than 4” thickness.

Its aluminum frame is solid for wood, MDF, plastics, amongst others, but if you want to mill aluminum with the wood, then you must get the X-Carve PRO which costs about $8,500.

Best hobby CNC router

BobsCNC E3 and E4 CNC router kits

Photo of Bobs CNC E3; one of the best cnc router

Source: Amazon

BobsCNC E3 and E4 routers are kits, and you will assemble the parts yourself. These machines have a larger cutting area with a rail system of 24 x 24 inches, which can also be expanded. The frames are made from laser-cut wood and can be pretty unstable to cut hard materials.

Besides this, its cost is reasonable and suitable for low-budget shops.

This machine can engrave and, without a tool change, cut through plastics, wood, MDF, and other materials at about 1.2” deep into a 3.3” thick wood. However, it can go in about 3.3” thickness if there is a tool change.

Though many users appreciate E3, they say E4 is better in function, form, fit, and finish. It is also the best hobby CNC router in Australia.

Click here to buy BobsCNC E4 router kit on Amazon. 

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Best budget CNC router

VEVOR CNC 3018 Pro 3 Axis GRBL Control

Photo of Vevor CNC 3018; one of the best cnc routers

Source: Amazon

This Vevor CNC router is made from durable materials and has a large working area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm. It is famous and one of the most affordable CNC routers with a straightforward workflow.

This CNC router comes as kits that you must assemble and its programming software. The assembling process is not challenging.

With the Vevor CNC router, you can handle numerous soft materials like plastics, wood, acrylics, and soft aluminum.

Consider it a great model to upscale since its build allows you to add some extra space.

Click here to buy Vevor CNC 3018 PRO 3 Axis GRBL control on Amazon

Best 4 x 8 CNC router

Avid CNC PRO4896 4 x 8 CNC router

Photo of Avid cnc 4x8; one of the best cnc router

Source: AvidCNC

This 4×8 CNC router is high quality and can be gotten under $10,000. It is highly reputed in the CNC community due to its quality. Everyone that has used Avid can vouch for its durability.

Avid uses a rack and pinion system with a 96” Y-axis, the best drive choice for a 4 x 8 CNC router.

It has a 49.5 x 97.5” bed size or cutting area and can fit a 4×8 full sheet material. This bed size can even be expanded if you buy an extra frame.

Best 4×4 CNC router

BobsCNC KL744 4×4 CNC router

Photo of Bobs CNC KL; one of the best cnc router

Source: BobsCNC

KL744 is a cheap but highly functional 4×4 CNC router. It is made from a 12 mm Baltic Birch with a durable and well-designed frame. If you need more cutting area, you can extend the cutting area to a 4×8 by buying the extension kit.

This CNC router is very accurate, with a 0.002 to 0.004 repeatability. This makes it suitable for professional and hobbyist use. After buying this router, you will be added to the BobsCNC community, and you will meet other users and share great design ideas and other benefits. 

Best CNC router for sign making

ShopSabre CNC routers

Photo of ShopSabre; one of the best cnc router

Source: ShopSabre

ShopSabre CNC is a very sturdy brand that gives a high-level precision. This makes them useful for sign making since the minutest changes or mistakes can be seen in signs. 

With ShopSabre, you get total control of how things work because of the CNC-grade motion controller and PC compatibility. It is also very flexible for you to effect any change. 

Some of the best CNC routers from ShopSabre for sign making are:

Best mini CNC router

ORTUR CNC Laser Engraver

Photo of ORTUR CNC laser; one of the best cnc router

Source: Amazon

This CNC machine is the best for hobbies, especially when you don’t have a designed workplace. It has a compact size with unique features. It also comes with Optimal Safety Protection which switches it off if an unprogrammed movement is noticed.

This CNC engraver is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. 

It is a convenient tool for creating customized logos or images on woodwork and costs a small amount.

Click here to buy ORTUR CNC Laser Engraver on Amazon. 

Best DIY CNC router

3018 GRBL Control DIY mini CNC

Photo of GRBL 3018; one of the best cnc router

Source: Amazon

You can get this lovely desktop CNC router and milling machine at an affordable price on Amazon. It engraves beautifully on wood, plastics, PCBs, and you can mount a laser head on it.

This is new as a kit at the point of purchase, but you can quickly assemble them when you get home. According to users, it’s pretty challenging when setting up come up, but the overall work is not overwhelming.

The 3018 GRBL mini DIY CNC router cannot cut aluminum but can work on materials with medium sturdiness. Its working area is 300 x 180 x 45 mm and it is exact when you use the correct bit.

Click here to buy 3018 GRBL DIY mini CNC router on Amazon

Best CNC router for home business

MySweety CNC router kit 1610 GRBL

Photo of MySweety 1610; one of the best cnc router

Source: Amazon

This MySweety CNC router is the best for a home or small shop because it is highly flexible for light-duty projects. It is also simple to set up and use this tool.

One thing you will love about this router is that it has a GRBL-based support and control system that can be integrated from a windows operating system.

You can use it to engrave on plastic, acrylic, wood, and other materials. 

This machine is made with aluminum and is highly durable. It weighs 11.2 pounds and has a working area of 160 x 100 x 45 mm with a top speed of 7000RPM.

Click here to buy MySweety router kit 1610 GRBL on Amazon

Best CNC router bits for wood

To choose the best end mill for your project, you need to consider what is suitable for your task And the material you are working with. Though there are numerous engraving bits for wood, we found this to be the best.

  • Foos 1 / 4” Shank engraving bits
Photo of CNC bits for wood; one of the best cnc router

Source: Amazon

The Foos Shank engraving bits are suitable for all-purpose and come as a general working set. This gives you access to the best attribute of each bid style when you want to perform specific cuts.

It has a set of four-piece made from robust carbide material, two flutes, two significant group bits of 60 degrees and 90 degrees, and a 1/4 inch shank.

Click here to buy Foos 1 / 4” Shank engraving bits on Amazon.

Best CNC router software

Easel/ Easel Pro

Easel/Easel Pro is the best all-in-one CNC software and is suitable for beginners. It is made by Inventables and compatible with most CNC routers, including SainSmart, Maslow, MySweety, MillRight, etc. You can even import g-codes from Fusion 360 and other tools into Easel and get your machine functioning properly.  

As a beginner, you can do all your carvings within this one CNC CAM software. It allows you to store your designs and every change in the cloud.

You can get Easel for free, Easel pro at $233 per year (i.e., $24/month).


The Aspire CNC software is from Vectric, a notable producer, and is created to manage the complex tasks of using the CNC machine to produce parts.

This software is innovative and easy to use. It is a beautiful 3D modeling tool and has complete 2D designs. The edit option makes it very suitable for beginners.

Aspire software works on Windows and costs about $2,000. However, newcomers can enjoy Aspire’s unlimited free trial, which offers free projects to help you learn how to use the software before buying.

There are more than 5400 minutes of video tutorials and an active community to benefit from.

Final Thoughts

As a craftsperson, you should consider the SainSmart Genmitsu CNC 3018 PROver and BobsCNC E4 router kits. These are our best runner-up because they satisfy the quest of most artisans, and the cost is not pocket-draining. 

Though there are other brands with good reviews, we found the ones on this list exceptional. We hope our reviews were useful and will help you choose the best cnc router.

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