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Best Wood Routers for the Money

Designing on hard surfaces like wood may look mesmerizing, but it requires precision for which you need high-quality tools. Speaking of which, the machine that does this designing is a wood router. And the best wood router can give you the freedom to cut through the woods to shape up your craft with precision.

Best Wood Routers for Beginners

Since there are tons of different models and versions of wood routers in the market, you might have trouble making a choice. To save your time, we have shrunk down your options to the top 5 wood routers. Keep up until the end of this article to find out the product that suits your crafting works.

Editor’s Picks: Top 3 Best Wood Routers for Beginners

Best Overall
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit...
Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
Best In Budget
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Product
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit...
Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Price
$213.80
Price not available
$149.00
Our Verdict
A powerful 12-amp motor combined with an impressive variable speed of 8000-25000 RPM makes this product one of the best out there. It is also quite sturdy and comfortable to use.
A great option for those looking for a powerful combo wood router. It has a 3.25 HP motor and a variable speed of 8000-21000 making it usable for all kinds of wood router tasks. Also quite light in weight and has soft start.
Makita keeps on releasing woodworking beasts on a budget and this product is no different. It has a 6.5 amp motor and an RPM range of 10K to 30K. It is also quite comfortable, versatile and has soft start.
Best Overall
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit...
Product
Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit...
Price
$213.80
More Info
Our Verdict
A powerful 12-amp motor combined with an impressive variable speed of 8000-25000 RPM makes this product one of the best out there. It is also quite sturdy and comfortable to use.
Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
Product
Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
Price
Price not available
More Info
Our Verdict
A great option for those looking for a powerful combo wood router. It has a 3.25 HP motor and a variable speed of 8000-21000 making it usable for all kinds of wood router tasks. Also quite light in weight and has soft start.
Best In Budget
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Product
Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
Price
$149.00
More Info
Our Verdict
Makita keeps on releasing woodworking beasts on a budget and this product is no different. It has a 6.5 amp motor and an RPM range of 10K to 30K. It is also quite comfortable, versatile and has soft start.
We have reviewed five of the Best Wood Routers for Beginners In 2020. For doing so, we have taken a good mix of products that suits all kinds of customers.

Top 5 Best Wood Routers for Beginners Reviews

We have carefully picked the top 5 wood routers available in the market at the moment. Go through the in-depth reviews we have done on each of them and find out the best-suited one for you.

1. Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router

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Our first pick is a truly versatile one. The Bosch 1617EVSPK is powered by a 12 amp motor that enables it to hollow through woods with little difficulty.

The router can be used for a broad range of wood routing works. Foaming the edge, slot cutting, bit plunging, dovetail cutting, laminate trimming you name it, you can carry out a great amount of work if you get a hold of this product. Simply put, it is a top contender when it comes to valuable wood routers.

The aluminum body of this machine gives it the perfect sturdiness that you need. Despite that, you are provided with a wood handle to hold which tremendously decreases the fatigue felt by the user over time.

With a 12-amp and a 2.25 horsepower motor, this router can strike through the wood at a rate of 8000 to 25000 RPM. Additionally, you can also monitor and control the RPM for the exact speed that you require. The constant speed of this routing device makes sure you can take it for a spin to complete the toughest jobs.

There is a variable speed set-up regulator for setting up the optimum speed. It also comes with a couple of plunges that support its total routing mechanism also also provide smooth movement while setting up the exact height and precise position. The speed dial provides a soft-start, and it keeps a constant speed that is required under load.

It includes a fixed base that can be used to adjust the bit height from the upper part of the router table. Coupled with the precise centering, it provides an excellent cutting position for you.

This versatile kit comes with all the necessary components required for fixed-depth routing. The microfine bit-depth alteration on the base of the router makes accurate and quick changing possible. It works under the range of an inch and accuracy to 1/64 inch.

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit...
  • Versatile: This versatile kit can be used for a broad range of applications, including precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming and dovetail cutting; Making it one of the most widely used routers for woodworking
  • Durability: Aluminum construction makes this one of our most durable wood routers yet with wooden handles on a fixed base and a soft grip handle on a plunge base
PROS:
  • Aluminum-built strong body
  • Comfortable wood grip
  • Powerful 12-amp motor
  • Maintains constant speed with built-in constant response circuitry
  • Revolution power ranges from 8000 up to 25000 per minute
CONS:
  • It’s difficult to place the motor housing on the base

2. DEWALT DWP611PK Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit

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The second product on our list is the DeWalt DWP611PK Router. It comes with a durable 1.25HP motor that can provide you with the ultimate power you need to keep your routing works on the spin. No matter how difficult your task is going to be, this motor has got your back.

You can easily control the speed of the bit by the variable speed controller option the router proudly offers. Depending on the routing type, you can easily change the speed of the bit as well which makes it quite versatile.

There is an adjustment ring on the device that provides quite a support to adjust the bit-depth at about 1/64th of an inch. However, this is applicable to the fixed base only. Moving on to the plunge base, it comes with a fine-tune adjustment rod for precision in depth-setting.

Changing the bit was never easy. The large and low-pressure spindle lock can help in a comfortable bit changing. You can quickly change the bits using the multiple shaft-lock.

On the fixed base, the router uses its depth ring and the clamping mechanism to keep the motor in a fixed position for better and precise routing results. Switching between fixed and plunge bases require the transition of the motor, which can be easily done by the DeWalt DWP611PK.

Using this excellent wood router, you can make holes through the wood at depth up to 1.5 inches with the standard fixed base. You can also go deeper up to 2 inches with the plunge base.

For an easy grip and maximum comfort, the handles of the DWP611PK are made of over-molded rubber. This ensures not only comfort but also great security.

DEWALT Router Fixed/Plunge Base Kit, Variable Speed, 1.25-HP Max Torque (DWP611PK)
  • Durable 1.25 horsepower motor delivers the power to meet the toughest applications
  • Variable speed control feature enables bit speed to be optimized for changing applications. No Load Speed range 16,000-27,000rpm
PROS:
  • A variable speed control system
  • Comfortable and secure grip
  • Aluminum motor housing and base for durability
  • Extended sub-base for greater work surface
  • Larger plunge base for heavier application
CONS:
  • The depth adjustment system on the plunge base is a bit sloppy

3. Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router

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A combination of versatility and ease of use is something not every brand can provide when it comes to wood routers. Only an experienced and highly renowned brand such as Triton can provide that. And guess what, they have in the form of their TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router.

It comes with a 3.25 Horsepower Motor which allows it to maneuver wood at a wide range of 8000-21000 RPM. For adjusting this range according to the task in hand, you get an electronic speed control system that takes constant speed feedback to help users get accurate cuts on their wood.

Unlike classic routers, the TRA001 comes with soft start technology eliminating the annoying kickbacks you had to endure every time you wanted to work with a wood router. Adding to that, it also allows rack and pinion adjustment to switch to plunge mode for precise cutting.

When it comes to changing bits, it is very easy to do so in this router as it comes with a built-in router lift and an automatic spindle lock which allow the user to change bits using a single wrench only.

Triton has also kept safety a priority while creating this product as it comes with a fully enclosed guard for full protection from the cutting zone. Additionally, it also has a safety switch shutter which locks while the user changes bits preventing accidental power on.

Durability is another department where this product excels. Many of its customers have used it for years and have noticed no issues other than dust buildup. But even that can be dealt with using the side air vents that the product comes with.

Triton TRA001 3-1/4 HP Dual Mode Precision Plunge Router
  • Single button switches from conventional plunge to fixed-base router with rack and pinion mode
  • Through base, single wrench bit change is achieved with automatic spindle lock
PROS:
  • Speed motor is adjustable
  • Plunge mode is quite helpful
  • Relatively light in weight
  • Very easy to use even for beginners
  • Soft start option for hassle-free starting
CONS:
  • Might have to bear with frequent dust buildup

4. Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit

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Up next, you can focus on the Makita RT0701CX7. It is an all-round performer when it comes to wood routing. Including a 1-1/4 HP motor inside, this beast can deliver a power of 6.5 amp to ensure maximum performance.

The first thing you will notice in this router is its design which is ergonomic and provides perfect comfort and ease of use for any user. You can hold it quite well, and use it without much difficulty.

Having a variable speed control option is what makes this router brilliant. It will let you select the range of RPM for your customized work accordingly. The RPM ranges from 10000 to 30000, which you can set matching your task type.

To adjust the depth of the bit, you have the smooth rack adjustments system. The pinion fine adjustment allows precise and accurate depth adjustment to bring in better results. With a bit of help from the cam lock system, the depth adjustment and base removal or installation will be easy-peasy.

As for control, this router gives you maximum comfort. The electronic speed controller on the RT0701CX7 ensures the constant speed that’s required under the given load.

The heavy-duty aluminum body provides excellent strength to its body. Even if the device seems slim and small to hold in one hand, the strength is neck to neck with any industry-standard machine out there.

Makita RT0701CX7 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Kit
  • Variable speed control dial (10,000 to 30,000 RPM) enables user to match the speed to the application
  • Smooth rack and pinion fine depth adjustment system for more precise settings
PROS:
  • Ergonomically designed strong body
  • Fine adjustment for precision
  • Easy base removal and bit adjustment
  • Quick-release cam lock for depth adjustment
  • Soft start option for hassle-free starting
CONS:
  • Depth adjustment needs losing the current settings

5. PORTER-CABLE Router 3-1/4-HP (7518)

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The Porter-Cable 7518 router is a true masterpiece in its category. Having a 15-amp powerful electric motor, it delivers speeds ranging from 10000 RPM to at best 21000 RPM. That’s the versatility we are talking about to keep supporting all your routing tasks.

This router is supported by a soft-start system, which minimizes the torque to a lower level at the start-up. The motor can keep up a constant speed throughout the routing task, all day. To save your energy and time, the device features a collet system with an auto-release function that enables easy bit-removal after you’ve used it.

It is well-designed and perfectly crafted. The sealed ball-bearing design allows it to keep itself along with its vital organs off from the dust. That saves the machine from getting damaged or clogged with dust inside.

Not to mention, the aluminum motor housing and base make the router a sturdy one. The strength will pave your way towards using it even in rough-and-tough jobs. Integrated cast handles are very handy and comfortable to hold for better stability. Hold on to it with zero fatigue and greater comfort.

Overall, it’s small in size, but very strong if build-quality is concerned. The heavy-duty aesthetics and the comfortable grip, allowed this machine to get its place on our top 5 list. Considering the price tag, it has, it is also the best wood router for the money.

PORTER-CABLE Router, Fixed Base, 5-Speed, 3-1/4-HP (7518)
  • Precision machined aluminum motor housing and base; Dust-sealed switch and sealed ball bearing construction enhance tool durability
PROS:
  • Powerful 15-amp motor
  • Five-speed routing with a variety of RPM
  • Soft-start motor system
  • Auto release collet for better operation
  • Ball-bearing dust sealing option for dust-clearance
CONS:
  • The bit changing method may need a bit of time to get used to

6. Makita RP2301FC Plunge Router Electric Brake

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Last but not least, we have another Makita router on our list. Its HP 3-1/4, 15-amp motor enables it to route through the toughest of woods it comes across. The RPM that it produces with this powerful motor can range from 9000 up to 22000.

Its electronic speed control system helps you to keep a constant speed under the load it is given. You can be in full control of the speed of your router. A soft-start feature is very effective for a quiet start as you turn it on. It reduces the torque and makes sure the machine has a very smooth switch-on.

The plunge depth capacity can vary from 0 inches to 2-3/4 inches to enable easy penetration of the bits. A built-in fan featuring a labyrinth construction makes sure no dust is getting inside it. This improves its durability.

To grip and hold it easily, it has ergonomically designed rubberized handles. You can hold on to it with maximum comfort. The two-finger switch also adds to the convenience. A built-in LED light proves to be very useful while you are using it in darker places. It will illuminate your working space for precise routing.

For easy bit-change, the Matika RP2301FC introduces a shaft lock, which enables quicker change of the bits. The removal and installation of the bits are completely tool-less to give you the convenience you deserve.

Also, it includes a quick-release adjustment for plunge depth. This has a micro control option, and three preset depth stops.

Plunge Router Electric Brake, 3-1/4 HP
  • Power Tools and Accessories
  • Country of manufacture: Japan
PROS:
  • Easy to read depth-scales
  • Chip deflector to direct chips away from the operator
  • Durable flat top design for better stability while bit-changing
  • Easy and comfortable grip
  • Built-in LED light for better vision
CONS:
  • Accessories and parts for this machine are hard to find

Features to Consider before Buying Wood Routers for the Money

Before deciding to buy a wood router for your routing works, you need to consider the following factors carefully.

Features to Consider before Buying Wood Routers for the Money

  • Size of the Router Matters

There are different varieties of routers on the market. The compact-sized smaller ones that can be easily held in one hand can be of great use while you are working on your feet. These are easy to transport and carry from location to location.

On the other hand, the larger and heavier ones are designed to be kept at the stores or the garage without much movement. But these larger ones are no alternatives when you have got a heavy load of works.

  • Ergonomic Design Is the Key

You are supposed to hold the router for quite a long time while you are working. This calls for a great design for both the body of the machine and the grip. An ergonomically designed wood router can provide maximum comfort to your hand and body if you are using the machine for a greater period.

  • Dust Collection Should Be There

Working with a wood router means a pile of dust after every session. The dust that is produced while routing does go to your lungs. A proper dust collection system can help you save your breath. Most of the top-notched ones come with a superior dust collection system that saves not only your breath but also the router itself.

  • Go for Precise Adjustment

A wood router with more adjustability is going to support you in many situations. It has more stops in its dial, which provides better precision while adjusting the depth and speed of the router. You definitely don’t want to miss out on that.

  • Soft Start Is Preferred

A soft-start system can reduce the torque of the device and provide a smooth start-up. This can help it to be in good health for a long time and increase longevity.

  • Look for Variable Speed

A wood router would work flawlessly when you get to adjust the speed of the bits. The ones that feature triggers for variable speed can help you out through any given projects.

Most people have the impression that wood routers are only used to cut fancy edges but there’s much more to them.

Types of Wood Routers

There are basically three types of wood routers that are widely used. We have the fixed based wood router, a plunge one, and you have the combo wood router.

Fixed-Based Wood Router

The fixed based wood routers are best for those who are new to wood routing works. These are very easy to use and handle. If you fit them on a bench or table, these machines can deliver the maximum performance.

If you need to draw out accurate straight lines on the wood, a fixed based wood routing device can help you the most in this case. In addition, it excels in edge cutting and DIY projects, as well.

Fixed based wood routers are lighter than the plunged ones. These are easy to carry and comfortable to use. The blade depth on it can’t be adjusted.

Plunge Wood Router

Plunge wood routers are more suitable for professional carpenters and larger projects. Similar to that of a high-quality lathe machine. These routers can perform a variety of tasks compared to the fixed ones.

They have a soft-starting system, which means you can have proper control over the machine and get optimum stability. With a plunge wood router, you can adjust the depth of the penetration while in-use.

The depth-stop allows you to set the precise measurement for exact depth that you need, that too, while the machine is working. And the only thing that a plunge wood router lacks is a lightweight feature.

Combo Wood Router

A combo wood router is what it is named after. It is a combination of fixed based wood router and a plunge wood router. You can change its base anytime according to your needs. Just remove the engine of a base and replace it on the other base to convert the fixed one to plunge one.

Which Wood Router Is The Best?

Though they might look like a complicated equipment to beginners, wood routers in fact have a really simple mechanism. For firsts, they are tools mainly used in the field of woodworking to create a variety of objects such as door hinges, boxes, etc. You can also use them to remove wood paneling from your floors. Unlike other similar tools, they are the only ones that are designed to shape wood instead of just cutting them.

When it comes to their working, fix based routers are used for cutting profiles in edges while the plunge base is used for cutting in the middle of a flat surface. But if you get a combo wood router, you get the benefits of both in one single equipment.

Which Wood Router Is The Best?

Over the years, combo wood routers have gained insane popularity among users as they provide versatility in terms of maneuverability and usage. Adding to that, it also saves you money and space as you can perform the tasks of both together. Hence, we recommend you to use them.

The motors in combo wood routers is that of a medium size starting from about .25 horsepower going all the way up to 4 horsepower. This figure determines the type of work the router would be used for.

Ideally, you should look for a product that is versatile ie. falls in the mid range of motor horsepower as only then will be able to accept multiple sizes of bits. However, it is worth noting that some brands include both half inch and a quarter inch collets meaning they can accept all kinds of bits.

How To Maintain A Wood Router?

Despite being a simple equipment, wood routers require certain maintenance measures for them to last long. But don’t worry as we’ll be discussing all of these measures below:

Clean The Gunk

Woodworking tools tend to get messy each time you are done using them and wood routers are no different. As you try to carve out your favorite wooden structures, routers tend to collect dust and other particles.

Start with unplugging your wood routers and checking for any debris or sawdust in the inner compartment of the router table. For cleaning this, you can use an air compressor or a hair dryer. If nether are available, you can also dismantle the router completely and clean it.

Making Sure Of Compatibility

Not all wood routers are created equally. Low horsepower routers are preferred while working with intricate wood carving while high horsepower are used for heavy duty work. Therefore, you must make sure that you are using your wood routers for their intended purposes only.

If you fail to follow the compatibility rules of wood routers, it will reduce its life span or lead to some kind of technical failures over time. And that is not taking into account the fact that you might not get precision in your tasks which completely voids the purpose of a wood router.

Manage The Bits

You can buy the most expensive wood router out there but it is toothless without bits. They are responsible for all the cutting you do with your routers. Hence, it is important that you manage them properly for maximum efficiency.

To get maximum efficiency with your bits, all you have to make sure is to check for their bluntness after each woodworking session. As soon as you notice that your bits are losing their bluntness, change them with a new one. This will make sure that your craft is precise throughout while also saving you money in the long term.

Lubricate The Blades

To achieve performance of the highest quality, you must apply lubricant to the blades and its surrounding. But to further maximize the effects of lubrication, you must invest in a top quality lubricant.

When it comes to applying the lubricant itself, there are tons of videos available on the internet that will help you out. If not, you can also visit your nearest hardware store and ask for their best lubricant for wood routers and they shall guide you with the applying mechanism as well.

How To Use Wood Routers As A Beginner?

So the concept of a wood router intrigues you and you have finally decided to invest in one. However, you still can’t decide what to actually create using your newest purchase. Well, here are a few projects you can try out with a wood router today.

Start With The Edges

Edges are one of the most crucial parts of woodworking. Hence, they require supreme precision that is extremely tough to achieve as a beginner. However, if you use a good quality wood router paired with a fresh pair of woodworking gloves, you can do so even when starting out.

By using a wood router, you can achieve beautiful looking cuts on your edges – ones that may be curved or straight depending on how you want them. You can also using different types of bit size to see how they turn out.

Carve Out Some Rabbets

Done with the edges? You may want to consider carving out some fresh rabbets. For starters, rabbets are a step-shaped recess cut on the edge or on the face of the wood. They are what you see on the edge of the back panel of a cabinet or in doors and casement window jambs.

For beginners, rabbets are a great way to start working with their wood router purely because that is a kind of cut we use in a variety of carpentered crafts in our daily lives.

How To Use Wood Routers As A Beginner?

Mold A Dream

Edges and rabbets are great if you are trying to get your outer aesthetics on point. However, if you can master creating decorative molding using your wood router, it will go a long way.

Make use of the numerous types of bits available to you and craft different kinds of moldings such as simple rounded, Roman ogee, etc. Molds are widely used to style out doors, chairs and other woodworking items seen in everyday life.

What’s That Pattern?

We all have signs, names or a pattern that is personally close to us. Having those things in our belongings is bound to provide joy to us and our loved ones.You can use your wood router to create a variety of patterns, grooves, designs, and signs. As a beginner in woodworking, this is no less than a dream come true.

Here’s an idea, create a woodworking project and carve out the name of your loved one(s) and give it to them as a gift. Have an already existing project whose patterns have started to omit over time? Use your wood router. The possibilities are simply endless. All that is there to say is be creative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here we have some of the most commonly asked queries regarding wood routers:

Q. What is a woodworking router?

It’s a device woodworking professionals use to make patterns on wood. But that’s not to say that beginners can’t use it. They are a highly safe and easy to use equipment that can shape wood in a variety of forms.

Q. Do I need a wood router?

Well, it’s totally your call, but if you’re someone who’s involved in or are interested in woodworking projects, a wood router is a thing you must have with you no matter what.

Q. What is the best router for home use?

For home use, you need something that’s light in weight and portable. You can try a wood router from a good brand such as Bosch or Porter-Cable.

Q. What’s the difference between a fixed base router and a plunge router?

With a fixed base router, you can lock in at a specific location in its base. You can’t move the cutting bit from top to bottom. If you want to have greater accuracy, you have to set the cutting depth and lock it manually.

For super-precise cuts, you can use fixed routers with complete trust.
Plunge routers, however, lets you move the base up and down. It has got spring-loaded arms on its side, which lets you plunge the cutting-bit all by yourself easily from above. If you’re focusing more on profiling the edges, you can give plunge routers a go.

Q. Do wood routers have warranty offers?

Yes, but if you want to know the exact duration, you should contact your seller or look into the official listing of your product.

Q. How do I choose a wood router?

Choosing a wood router can be tricky as a beginner. First of all, you are not exactly sure what you might end up using it for then comes the bombardment of options. However, we definitely recommend you to go for a combo wood router as you get all the benefits that it can possibly offer.

Other than that, you should make sure that it is easy to use and light in weight. Features such as soft start, automatic locks for safety and variable speed also go a long way.

Q. Do I really need a router table?

Definitely. No matter what kind of user you are, a beginner or a professional, having a router table is essential while using a wood router. Not only will it make your tasks easy but will also keep your working space neat and clean.

A Final Word

As we have reviewed 5 of the best wood routers in the market, you have probably set your mind up by now. If you need more help to decide, go through the article again to get a better idea of how to identify the best one. Our reviews and guidelines will surely land you on the right product page.

On an ending note, we personally recommend you to buy:

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit - 2.25 Horsepower Plunge Router & Fixed Base Router Kit...
  • Versatile: This versatile kit can be used for a broad range of applications, including precise bit plunging, edge forming, slot cutting, laminate trimming and dovetail cutting; Making it one of the most widely used routers for woodworking
  • Durability: Aluminum construction makes this one of our most durable wood routers yet with wooden handles on a fixed base and a soft grip handle on a plunge base

A powerful 12-amp motor combined with an impressive variable speed of 8000-25000 RPM makes this product one of the best out there. It is also quite sturdy and comfortable to use. Adding to that, it comes from a reliable brand such as Bosch making it a no brainer for beginners to use.

Last update on 2020-11-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API