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Guide Chart: Safe Speeds for Woodworking Router Bits

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Safe Speeds for Woodworking Router Bits

When it comes to bit speed, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, for safety purposes, it's best to use a larger bit at a slower operating speed. You can refer to the chart below as a starting point, and then check the notes listed beneath it for more information.

Bit Diameter

Maximum Speed

UP TO 1"

22,000-24,000 RPM

1 - 2"

18,000-22,000 RPM

2 - 2 1⁄2"

12,000-16,000 RPM

2 1⁄2 - 3 1⁄2"

8,000-12,000 RPM


  • It's advisable to use the maximum RPM as a benchmark for safe operation speeds. However, a bit's "sweet spot" may be slightly below the maximum RPM depending on the material, router, and feed rate.

  • When routing a perfect profile, it's important to balance the RPM and feed rate. Even if the bit is set correctly, a feed rate that's too fast can cause chipping and tear out. To improve the cut quality, you can slow down the feed rate by increasing the number of cuts per inch, but you need to be careful not to slow it down too much. An excessively slow feed rate can cause heat buildup, which can damage the Woodworking Router Bits and the workpiece.

  • It's a good practice to make cuts on scrap material before using an unfamiliar bit or material. This can help you avoid mistakes and ensure that the final product is of high quality.

  • To achieve the best results, it is recommended to complete each cut with a very light pass, preferably no more than 1/32 inch.

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