Best CNC Router for Small Shop – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide 2021

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

CNC Routers are very popular among hobbyist as well as the professional the reason is a CNC mill machine is quite a costly and not everyone can afford.

The main difference is the CNC mill machine spindle can rotate around 1,000 RPM while a CNC router can go up to 20,000 RPM – Much faster than a typical CNC machine.

On the other hand, a CNC mill machine can deal with all kinds of metals, ferrous or no ferrous, special alloys like tools steel, die steel with precision and ease.

I hope you got a clear idea about the CNC Mill machine and a CNC router now and can decide as per your requirements.


QUICK PICKS

Here are my recommended products picked out through amazon you would be interested in depending on your budget…

Best Value
BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included...
The Evolution 3 CNC Router has the following features:; A rigid laser cut frame.; SG20U supported rail system.

Top 7 CNC Router for Small Shop Reviews

Either you are a hobbyist or a professional then you know a CNC machine is not that cheap but worthy equipment in any shop. I have compiled a list of the best but cheaper CNC machines available.

1. Mostics 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro Machine | Desktop MiNi CNC Wood Router

  • It has a wide working that can go 300 x 180 x 45mm
  • It has 5,500 mw blue laser
  • Fast spindle speed motor (12-36V) 24V: 10,000 RPM
  • You need not to connect the computer

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • It has a fixed heat sink & an external fan
  • It contains a Integrated driver chip
  • Professional support by manufacturer
Things to Consider!
  • It may not handle the larger projects

Overview

Neing an hobbiest this is one of the top preority as it can can up to 10,000 RPM easily. You can deal with wood, soft aluminum, wood, acrylic, PVC and PCBs and the soft rubber.

It has built-in by taking care of DIYers and for small shop guys. This is a very easy to install and beginner friendly CNC router with clear instructions to follow along.

You may not need to have a computer to operate as only an SD card is enough to run it for your jobs. You can connect it with the Desktop computer if you need to.

It has 3 wheels to move and making the engraving much easier. Also, the spindle can be manually open and close.

It has a Self-sufficient short circuit protection system. It supports all desktop systems Win XP/Win7/Win8/Win10.

It included an SD card reader to write into the root directory.

The CNC 3018 Pro machine comes with one year’s manufacture warranty.

Read More: Best Desktop CNC Machines for Beginners


2. 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit with Offline Controller

  • Effective working area: 11.8 x 7.1 x 1.8”
  • Spindle: 775 motor, 24V, 10000 RPM
  • It comes with 5.5W Module
  • It is a 3 Axis DIY CNC Machine
  • Wood Acrylic PCB Carving

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • It has a fixed heat sink & an external fan
  • It contains a Integrated driver chip
  • Professional support by manufacturer
  • It included SD card reader to write into root directory
Things to Consider!
  • You cannot use it on glass, jewlery.

Overview

The best feature of this router it can worki continuously as it uses Grbl control(Candle) software. It has sufficient enough area to get your workpiece to get the reuired output.

You can operate it at Windows XP / Win 7 / Win 8 / Win 10.

It can deal with carve wood, bamboo hardwood, leather, plastic, acrylic, PCB, CCL

You can manually adjust X, Y, Z, axis location as an engraving starting point.


3. MYSWEETY CNC 3018Pro Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller

  • Working area: 30x18x4.5cm
  • Spindle: 12000 RPM
  • Fixed Heat Sink & also External Fan
  • It has 52mm diameter professional air cooled main shaft
  • The frame is composed of 4040 aluminum

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Not easy to damage. 12 Months Warranty
  • It has a short circuit protection
  • It has high precision and high strength
Things to Consider!
  • Not any specific to mention.

Overview

This CNC router is of Pro Max version. This has enough working area to deal with medium range workpiece. The spindle speed is 12,000 RPM that can finish the small jobs in a flash.

This is ideal if you have a small shop or home garage.

You can use it for Windows XP, Win 7, Win 8, and Win 10.

You will get all the instructions and if got stuck you will get free assistance from the manufacturer.

You may also like: 10 Best DIY CNC Routers Reviews 2021


4. MYSWEETY Wood Carving Engraving Machine | Beginner CNC

  • The offline controller is of 1G Capacity
  • 3 Axis CNC Router
  • 5mm Extension Rod
  • A spindle motor and 5.5W module on Z axis
  • It has fixed heat sink & external fan

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • It is ideal for garage and workshop
  • It can cut plastics, woods, acrylics, PVCs, and PCBs
  • It has a 12 Months Warranty
Things to Consider!
  • Not any specific to mention

Overview

MYSWEETY Wood Carving Engraving Machine is an ideal guy in your workshop. This machine is designed for absolute beginners.

If you like to use it manually then you can use it without connecting it to the computer.

You will get one year warranty. If you got stuck in between then you can contact the manufacture.


5. CNC 3018PRO Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller

  • Spindle: 10000 RPM
  • Engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm
  • Compatible Windows XP, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
  • 3000MW Head

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • You can directly import pictures to lasergrbl for engraving
  • No need to connect the computer.
  • Fixed Heat Sink & External Fan
Things to Consider!
  • No good for hard material

Overview

This can deal with most of a DIYers project as it has enough effective engraving area of 300 x 180 x 45 mm.

You can get any software related technical support.

You can use an offline controller but make sure don’t use both online and offline simultaneously.

You can use it for wood, plastic, acrylic, soft metal like copper and aluminum.


6. BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit | Cheap CNC Router

  • It has rigid laser cut frame.
  • It has an SG20U supported rail system.
  • GT2 belt drives on the X-axis and Y-axis.
  • ACME TR8 on the Z axis

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • It is Makita RT0701C router
  • It has Arduino based microprocessor
  • It communication thru USB port.
Things to Consider!
  • It may not handle bigger projects

Overview

Evolution 3 CNC Router is according to the modern requirements. It has a latest a Arduino based microprocessor.

It can be operated with all types of operating systems including Windows, OSX, Linux, and Raspberry Pi.

This CNC router is beginner friendly and all the instructions are available on the manufacturer website


7. CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine | Wood Router

  • Working area: 30x18x4.5cm
  • Spindle: 775 spindle motor (12-36V) 24V:10000r / min
  • An offline controller is 1G Capacity
  • Hard Metal and Materials Can Engrave
  • It has a fixed heat sink & external fan

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Beuatiful Aesthetic
  • Very easy to install & operate
  • Software is in USB
Things to Consider!
  • No any mention

Overview

This is an upgradrd CNC router 3018 version that has enough speed to do the jobs in no time.

It has an integrated driver chip like all the other mentions. You can install it in a small shop or in the garage.

It is beginner friendly as well as a self-protection system. This upgraded CNC router can deal with harder material to engrave.

This machine comes with a one-year manufacturer warranty.


Buying Guide for CNC Router

When you going to buy a CNC router then you need to consider the following factors;

Offline Communication

This is a very important factor to know and make sure you have both the options. Also, make sure don’t use both these communication channels at the same time that will block your communication.

Safety Protection

Most of the routers came in self-sustaining circuit protection.

Heat Sink

Normally a heat sink & external fan are installed in any router as speed is higher in this mini CNC machine that needs efficient cooling.

Hardness of Workpiece

As I have mentioned a CNC router is good for soft material due to higher speed still you can get to engrave for Aluminum or hard metal surface with the help of special bits.

Operating System

As technology has advanced you can now use Windows, Linux, and other operating system as mentioned by many manufacturers.

Working Area

Working area matters according to your project. If you have a larger workpiece then go for a larger deck.

RPM Required

The major function of CNC router is the speed that is 10,000 RPM

Spindle Motor Volts

You also need to see according to your power source if compatible spindle.

Budget

See your budget as routers are a heavy investment but worthy too.

Final Verdict

The best part is you have many choices to choose from like if you an absolute beginner then don’t put a high amount instead go for a manufacturer that will give you a proper set of instructions.

I have explained it all in easy formate plus you can see the manufacturer page if any change what I have explained here.


People Also Asked about CNC Router

What is the best CNC Router 2021?

Here is a list of top rated CNC machine as per my recommendation;

  • Mostics 2 in 1 CNC 3018 Pro | Desktop CNC Wood Router
  • 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit with Offline Controller
  • MYSWEETY CNC 3018Pro Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller
  • MYSWEETY Wood Carving Engraving Machine
  • CNC 3018PRO Wood Router Engraver with Offline Controller
  • BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit | Cheap CNC Router
  • CNC 3018 Pro GRBL Control DIY Mini CNC Machine | Wood Router

Are CNC routers worth it?

Yes, CNC routers are not any replacement of CNC but can divide some job of it like Router can be operated at a higher speed like 10,000 RPM while a CNC machine can be operated less than 20 times.

What can CNC router do?

It is used in cutting and engraving soft materials like wood, composites, aluminum, plastics, glass, and metals. It is a computer-controlled cutting machine called a computer numerical control (CNC) router.

David Houghton
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