How to Install a Router Bit

This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

​When you think about purchasing a wood router, you will find a variety of choices in the form of various shapes, sizes, cost and benefits. Thus in order to select an ideal one you should have a clear idea about intent of use of this impressive wood working tool.

Safe use of a quality router bit is only ensured when you are using right size and have properly installed the bit in the router’s collet.

A router bit if not properly installed can result in improper functionality and bit may also get permanently damaged.

Thus a wood router user before using a wood router should make sure that the bits are clean, sharp, and functional and they have learned how to install a router bit correctly in order to get the desired results out of this machine.

​How to Install a Router Bit

Here we are not just talking about tightening collet nut but proper installation of a router bit means much more. We are now sharing some of the important details that would guide you on proper installation and use of a router bit with a wood router:

Router Bit Size: One of the most important considerations is to get a router bit that is appropriate size for your specific wood router. You will find different sizes of router bits in SAE and metric. Thus look for specification that would fit in your router collet otherwise it would not function properly and will be of no use to you.

Router Bits for Intended Use: Before installing a router bit in your router’s collet, make sure that it would be able to serve the purpose you desire. A wood worker deals with straight cutting, molding, joinery, rabbit, stile, edge and many other types of router bit. Each one of them has their own purpose of use. You cannot and should not use a rabbit bit for lamination of edges, straight cutting bit for joinery and so and so forth. So make sure that you are choosing right labor for right job.

Setting up Bit for Installation: First and foremost you must go through instructions given by your router manufacturer in order to avoid causing any irreparable damage to your equipment. Install the bit in to the router’s collet but make sure that you do not excessively tighten it. The bit must not be seated as you tighten it but you should insert the bit until the router shank reaches collet bottom. Loosen it up at around 1/8 to ¼ inches before completely tightening the collet.

When you are done tightening the bit, the bit shank should not be less than 3/4 inches. If in case you find that it is shorter in the collet, you should not use that bit and better opt for a replacement.

Adjustment of Height: Now that you are done with tightening of router bit, you should adjust correct height for router. Adjustment of height depends upon your particular model and manufacturer of wood router. For adjustment, you should bring router down towards the base and then adjust height as required according to your work piece and cut type that you wish to perform with the tool.

Additional Tips for Router Bit Installation

  • A user must make sure that correct type of bit is used with correct depth for a specific purpose.
  • Router bit must be used in correct direction for cutting.
  • If you find that your router bit is damaged, burned, dull or chipped, avoid using it. Sharpen your dull bits and replace damaged ones before using your wood router.
  • Safety always should be considered while using any wood working tool. Before using your router bit, it is important that you should take all safety measures and precautions such as wearing protection for eyes and ears in order to avoid any dangerous accident.
  • Make sure that apart from using an appropriate router bit, you must set your router at an appropriate speed. Having incorrect router bit or speed would have negating effects on performance of your wood router and your router bit may even break when using router at an incorrect speed.
  • Moreover after installation of bit, you must give router some time to come at its full speed for use. You should not begin any routing before your router reaches the chosen level of speed. Failing to do so can affect performance.


It is recommended that one should opt for a good quality router bit as quality of cut depends primarily on quality of your router bit. Proper installation is crucial in order to get the routing results you desire.

Improper installation and setting up of router bit can damage your bit, work piece and even your wood router and can give you expense of repair and maintenance.

Not only that but it could also result in a disaster for human safety. So, it is best to have router bit installed properly according to instructions of your manufacturer.

Many of the router bits would give you positive results when used on a router table with fence. So if you have budget, it is best to arrange for all the safety and convenience measures that can make wood working simpler and easier for you.