5 Best CNC Router for Small Shop Reviews

Do you not love the satisfying engraves on the wood or metal surface? How do people come up with these concepts?

Better yet, how can you attain such work right at your workshop? Since these carvings of various shapes are achieved via computer programs, it is time to learn more about the feature.

You will not have to calculate an overpriced device for this operation, though. All you have to do is find the best CNC router for small shop. An affordable one will assist you greatly in becoming successful in your business.

The issue is figuring out the right kind for you. Do not worry; with our proper study and research, we have gathered five high-quality CNC router machines to choose from.

Are you ready?  

BobsCNC Evolution 3 CNC Router Kit with the Router Included

The first product is from a renowned brand called BobsCNC. Many consumers have praised this unit for being trustworthy and suitable according to their needs.

It is one of the most commendable routers machines that delivers truly incredible experience and satisfying performance. Any entry-level user looking for an inexpensive device can happily go for it.

The unit has quite a large footprint to provide some decent sized carving. Therefore, you will not regret keeping it in the small shop for not too major carving tasks. Moreover, it is quite simple to assemble and get to work.

This also means each part associating the device is made from top-notch materials. That does not mean the user will have to face a heavyweight stance. It is highly elegant and sturdy compared to other CNC routers of a similar class.

Another best part about the unit is the moderate operating dimension that fits perfectly in a small shop. Plus, it delivers 30,000RPM, which is kind of bigger than other traditional machines.

And most importantly, it has a powerful motor that cuts materials fairly quickly. When you add these features with the large working area, the machine becomes an invincible means of handling greater working volume.   

So if you inspire to be a hobbyist who wishes to earn a living, this unit will not be a letdown. It is something a first-timer can get without splurging money in return. 


  • Ease of operation
  • Simple to assemble and function
  • High-end sturdy construction
  • Ideal for hobbyists
  • Excellent performance


  • It is loud

2. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit GRBL Control, XYZ Working Area 300 x 180 x 45mm

Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit GRBL Control

The Genmitsu 3018-PRO is a fine CNC router unit that can work on several soft materials. If the user does not wish to spend so much, at first, here is the mini version of the model.

It comes with a laser module to deliver accuracy when cutting. Thus, you can not only put wood but also add soft aluminum and PCVs as well. What we have found most impressive is the instruction manual.

The guide was right to the point and elaborated for the consumers to feel at ease. Therefore, you will hardly have to memorize the assembling direction. This is why the users have remarked on how handy the offline controller was.

Now, if we discuss the spindle, it is a 36V and has a 9000RPM speed. It is sufficient to get the machine going without a hassle. All in all, the entire frame has quite a robust build.

Consequently, one cannot flex or bend any of the pieces without the help of tools. There is also a CD along with the kit that allows faster firmware upgrade.

As for the connection, it packs a global control software. You can use it to initially test a file from the CD before going full with other projects. This is a pretty fun activity as the motor speed is very easy to control.

Lastly, the only drawback it has is the clamp system. The thing is pretty burdensome to unbolt before each application. Do not forget to utilize a good USB connection to prevent freezing in the middle of a task.


  • Portable due to small structure
  • Suitable for DIY jobs
  • Affordable price
  • Delivers clean and precise cuts
  • Sturdy build 


  • Incapable of generating new G-Code

3. MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018-PRO 3 Axis CNC Router Kit

MYSWEETY DIY CNC 3018-PRO 3 Axis CNC Router Kit

If you are already deep in the business of CNC router kits, you have probably heard of the name MYSWEETY. This machine offers some of the best features that are beginner-friendly.

Therefore, it can be the DIY router unit to meet all your needs in engraving some amazing designs. If you wish to learn the basics, this should be your initial priority. Oh! And you don't need to employ your woodworking vacs too much if decide to own this, as it doesn't make much of a mess.

Furthermore, you can easily find parts replacements in case any errors or mistakes occur. The user can see the way the machine works due to the open-design style. As a novice, being able to watch the adjustment effects is anything but boring!

What is more, it comes with a very simple directed instruction booklet. Even if you do not have any prior experience regarding the device, it is completely okay. You will find the assembling very straightforward.

It also offers a no-load speed of 4100RPM with a 775 motor. Thus, the laser module will do an excellent job carving on soft materials - way better than the dremel bits for wood carving. We highly advise against using hard metals, though.

The CNC machine has another cool feature. It has a control board, which backs up the offline controller. The reason this is a cool function is that you can easily load the engraving files into it.

Hence, you can directly maneuver all the actions via an offline controller without downloading any file on the computer. Another advantage of the unit is the ability to adjust the XYZ axes positions manually.

It is, overall, an incredible CNC router to have in the small shops.


  • Clear and concise functions
  • Lightweight
  • Steady and well-built
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Convenient and easy to utilize


  • Inability to use the offline controller and the computer together

4. Upgraded Version 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit, Mcwdoit GRBL Control, 300x180x45mm

Upgraded Version 3018 Pro CNC Router Kit, Mcwdoit GRBL Control

If we had to select the best compact CNC router kit, we would point at this one, without a doubt. The reason is simple; it is lightweight and requires standard working space for any project.

You will not have to worry about a machine taking up the area anymore. The notable feature, however, is something else entirely. You can continue working with the device without connecting it to any PC.

In fact, one can easily construct the tasks without downloading the carving files at all. That is why the users love their offline controlling feature a lot to carve out their design on the best wood for carving. Need we to tell you this product falls under affordability as well?

Therefore, it is the kind of a CNC router that provides stellar value for the money. With a few more extra buck to spend, you can own this machine to overcome any challenge related to engravings.

Other noteworthy attributes include a GRBL control software, spindle function at 1000RPM, and a powerful motor for the size. The software is supported by all the Windows operating systems, making it a versatile unit.

There is only one small matter with the machine. While other models have simultaneous operation benefits of the computer and the controller, it is not possible here.

So, the user will have to use the computer after unplugging the controller. It seems like a hassle, but once you get the gist of it, you will do fine.


  • Offers an offline controller
  • Easy to control via offline control
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Durable construction
  • Ability to use independently without a PC 


  • Not suitable for hard materials

5. 3 Axis Desktop DIY Mini CNC 3018 Router Kit GRBL Control, Working Area 30x18x4.5cm

3 Axis Desktop DIY Mini CNC 3018 Router Kit GRBL Control

Our final device is a 3-axis mini CNC router that comes with the GRBL control. Despite being a compact design, it can handle many kinds of soft materials.

From plastic, wood to PVC, acrylic, you can let your creativity out onto these surfaces. Whether it is to enjoy your free time or a way to make it into a business, this is the perfect way to take a leap.

It is a budget-friendly choice that will serve the purpose of carving and engraving effectively. The product is just what you pay for, a high-performing CNC router that lasts a long time.

The unit has a spindle 775 stepper motor that is powerful enough to generate 7000RPM. So, do not underestimate the device because of its size, for it has the torque of a big machine.

This router also has an instruction guide that many users have found helpful. It is quite simple to follow and assemble the unit on the first try. The ease of handling is actually one of the reasons the consumers have loved working with the machine.

Just make sure the USB connection is good enough to prevent any interruption halfway through the project. Since it supports the GRBL controller, the user can connect it to any computer operating system.

All you have to do is ensure the recommended system is mentioned to avoid misunderstanding. We think it is a remarkable device for any entry-level enthusiast who wishes to learn more about this creative work.


  • Capability of supporting offline
  • Sturdy build
  • Easy to assemble
  • Ideal for light-duty projects
  • Minimizes noise 


  • Assembling might take more than an hour

Things to Consider Before Buying

The first thing you have to do is make up the mind about what you intend to achieve with the machine. As your goals match with the product, in particular, there are few other things to consider.

Compatibility of Software

Make sure the CNC router you get can integrate with various operating systems in the computers. If the PC has Windows, MAC, or Linus, you must purchase a machine that is compatible with them all.

CNC Router for Small Shop

Without the open source controlling mechanism, it will be of no use even when you spend a lot of money on a quality router.

Spare Parts Accessibility 

One thing you have to keep in mind when buying a model is whether the parts are easy to find. This is very essential as any of them could deform or damage after regular use.

CNC Router for Small Shop

Some of these are very sensitive and hard to acquire, for example, drill bits, profile cutters, router bits, etc. See that the product you plan to purchase has an ease of replacement benefit or not.


This is a crucial feature because the size determines what sort of workshop you have. In brief, larger ones will take up more space while the small ones, benchtop CNC routers, fit perfectly on a table.

Therefore, the table size also plays a significant role here. It ought to be big enough to house the material you will work on. So this relies heavily on the type and size of material you mainly utilize.

Router or Spindle

While spindle is used for industrial applications, routers are more affordable to get. Although our main focus is on the CNC router here, it is important to learn the difference, nonetheless.

Spindles are precise at delivering enhanced and beautiful cuts. Routers are used for light-duty projects but still provides similar durability. The user should go for a router if he/she wishes to upgrade at any time.


If the CNC router motor offers a higher rate, the machine will provide faster and better performance. Thus, you will know whether the cutting speed and torque are high-quality by determining the motor rate.

CNC Router for Small Shop

It is a vital factor to keep in mind since the speed ergo, the motor power, decides the superiority of the inscription and such.

ATC (Automatic Tool Changing System)

Any best CNC router machine must equip with the ATC system. This system enables the program to combine with more than a single device. It also aids in preventing errors or delays caused during work.


A vacuum in the machine is where the router holds the work material. Not all vacuums are strong enough to keep a large workpiece in pressurized grips.

For that reason, make sure the pressure to cling on to the material is higher for bigger objects. However, the capability of a vacuum is solely dependent on the type of design you often create.

Service Convenience

Some of these router machines are easy to maintain and hardly require an outsider to assemble. On the other hand, not all models have such a luxury. If you are a DIY user, it is better to obtain an easy maintaining device that offers repair services.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between a CNC router and an engraving machine?

There is only one difference between the two. Even though both tools require computer control to set them in motion, a CNC engraving machine can only engrave.

A CNC router, on the contrary, can handle further operations, including the engravings.

2. What can I do with the help of a CNC router machine?

The user can cut various materials like steel, wood, glass, aluminum, plastic, foams, composites, and much more. These cuttings can be in the form of shapes, curves, engrave, etc.

3. How do I use a CNC router?

After you purchase the device, it will come with a software installation guide. You will have to connect the machine to the computer and then download the given software.

Next, load an image or a file that you wish to print out on the selected material. Finally, watch as the machine magically adapts the file on the workpiece. You may or may not opt for a router lift.

4. What does the GRBL controller do?

This is a kind of software that directs the CNC machine by sending GCode. It is a very useful controller for the user. The GRBL controller can enable any command given by the person.

5. What is the lifespan of a CNC router machine?

The answer will depend on how well the user maintains the machine. Looking after it properly will automatically extend its durability. Sometimes the quality of the unit will decide how long it can serve your purpose.

On the other hand, it is the construction materials that will determine the lasting duration.

6. What does axis mean in the CNC router?

We use the term “axis” to describe the number of ways/directions the router can travel. Now a CNC router can have two to five axes, two being basic and five as advanced.

For example, a 3-axis, the most common one, has an X-axis, a Y-axis, and a Z-axis. These are the linear axes where the router moves to approach the material.

7. Can I use a wood CNC router on aluminum?

Yes. A CNC router machine that is apt for woodworks can also be used on other soft materials. For instance, acrylic, soft aluminum, plastic, etc., are one way to work within one machine.

However, our advice is to avoid hard metals as much as possible to increase the longer lifespan of the device.

8. Can CNC routers cut metals? 

Not all machines have this feature despite having the ability to work on various materials. While soft metals are acceptable, hard metals can damage the router device.

Final Words

Let us hope that you have found the best CNC router for small shop among these five products. Each has been selected to meet the needs of a variety of creative projects.

If you are all about precision and accuracy on versatile materials, this is the way to shine your talent. Cheers!

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