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Laminate Trimmer vs Router

​Finding the right tool for the job can be a challenging task, as there are often multiple options for any given project. For routing or trimming, you may find yourself trying to choose between a full-size or compact router and a laminate trimmer.

​Laminate Trimmer vs Router

The following information will help you determine which power tool is best suited for your project. Compare the primary uses of each option to decide between a laminate trimmer and a router.

​Primary Uses for a Wood Router

​A router is a common tool for woodworking and comes in a wide variety of sizes and styles. You can find compact plunge-base routers, fixed base routers, and dozens of other options.

For weekend woodworking projects, most people choose a compact router over a table-mounted router. A handheld compact router is portable and easy to use. However, a table-mounted router does provide a safer option for working with smaller materials.

While there are many sizes, the primary use of a wood router is routing. You can hollow out intricate designs for doors or panels on cabinets or for trimming around the edges.

The latest wood routers typically offer a selection of add-ons and extra features that you can purchase to increase the function and versatility of the router. For example, you can purchase trimming router bits with guide bearings for trimming laminate. Some models also allow you to interchange a plunge base and a fixed base for working on different tasks.

Primary Uses for a Laminate Trimmer

​A laminate trimmer is a small handheld router with a few minor variations. The main difference is the size. Trimmers often feature smaller motors and may not work with larger bits.

 The compact size also allows you to use the trimmer with one hand, which can be convenient when you need an extra hand to hold down the material.

Trimmers also typically have a guide bearing attached to the router instead of the router bit. The purpose of this design is to prevent the bearing from scratching the laminate material.

As the name suggests, a laminate trimmer is designed for trimming plastic or veneer laminate. However, trimmers are also capable of handling other tasks, including light routing tasks. However, you will likely need to purchase additional router bits, depending on the project.

​Pros and Cons of Using a Trimmer or Router

​The trimmer offers several advantages compared to a compact router. However, these advantages only apply to the intended use of the trimmer, which is trimming laminate.

The guide bearing that is attached to the router makes it easier to avoid scratching and ruining laminate. You are less likely to make mistakes that may result in waste, which is always a benefit.

Trimmers are also lightweight and designed for use with one hand. When performing a lot of trimming or working in a remote location, this portability and convenience is a major advantage.

The trimmer also has a few limitations. While you can use the trimmer for some routing tasks, the smaller size is not suited for heavy-duty routing. Trimmers also typically lack the optional accessories that are available for routers.

The router is more versatile, offering a larger selection of bit sizes and add on accessories. It can do everything that a trimmer can and more. However, it may not be as convenient when trimming laminate.

Laminate Trimmer vs Router: How to Select the Right Tool

The bottom line is that the laminate trimmer is essentially a compact router designed for portability and ease of use. While it can be used to trim laminate, it is also suitable for light jobs that traditionally call for a regular router. However, a compact router is also capable of performing many of the same jobs as a laminate trimmer, and they often provide extra features and add ons, such as a plunge base.

Both products are similar and are used for the same purpose. Choosing the right one for your work table will depend on the types of projects that you typically tackle.

If you need to trim a lot of laminate, a laminate trimmer may be your best option. However, if you also need a router for performing other tasks, you may not need both tools. While it may not be as easy to use for the task, you can still use a compact router for trimming laminate.