CNC Router Vs CNC Mill

When it comes to CNC machines, there are a lot of different options out there. But when it comes down to two of the most popular choices, it’s hard to decide which one is better: the CNC router or the CNC mill.

To help you make your decision, we’ve put together a list of differences between these two types of machines. Keep reading to learn more about CNC routers vs CNC mills!

Price Overview: CNC Router Vs CNC Mill

What Is a CNC Router?

A CNC router is a computer-controlled machine related to the hand-held router used to cut various materials, such as wood, composites, aluminum, steel, plastics, and foams.

A typical CNC router has three control axes—X, Y, and Z—and can produce intricate shapes. However, unlike the hand-held router, a CNC router is automated and can be programmed to make identical copies of a given design rapidly.


  • It can be used for a wide range of materials, including wood, plastic, aluminum, and composites
  • It can be used for both 2D and 3D applications
  • Relatively fast setup time
  • Ideal for small to medium batch sizes


  • Not well suited for heavy-duty or high-precision applications
  • Limited tooling options compared to CNC mills

What Is a CNC Mill?

A CNC mill is a computer-controlled machining device that is used to remove material from a workpiece. Unlike a CNC router, which uses a rotating bit to cut material, a CNC mill uses a rotating cutting tool to remove material.

This makes CNC mills well-suited for machining materials that are difficult to cut with traditional methods, such as aluminum or stainless steel.


  • It can be used for a wide range of materials, including metals (steel, aluminum), stone, glass, and composites
  • It can be used for both 2D and 3D applications 
  • More robust construction can handle heavy-duty and high-precision applications 


  • More expensive than CNC routers 
  • Longer setup time

Difference Cnc mill vs router

When it comes to CNC machines, the two most common types are CNC routers and CNC mills. Both machines are used to create precision parts, but there are some key differences between the two.

CNC routers are designed for cutting soft materials like wood, plastic, and composites. They typically have smaller working areas than CNC mills, but they can be more precise.

CNC mills are designed for cutting hard materials like metal and stone. They have larger working areas and can handle heavier cuts, but CNC routers are more precise.

So, which one is suitable for your project? A CNC router is a good choice if you need to cut soft materials precisely. A CNC mill is a better choice if you need to cut hard materials quickly and with less precision.

Bottom Line: Which Is Better?

When it comes to CNC machines, the router vs. mill debate is a tough one. Both have pros and cons, and the best option for you will ultimately depend on your specific needs and preferences.

A CNC router is your best bet if you’re looking for a versatile machine that can be used for a wide range of applications.

On the other hand, if you need a machine that’s more precise and can handle tougher materials, a CNC mill is probably a better choice.

No matter which type of machine you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be able to create some fantastic projects with it.


There are benefits and drawbacks to CNC routers and CNC mills, but ultimately the decision of which one to use depends on your specific needs. For example, a CNC mill is the better option if you need a machine handling large pieces of material.

If you need a more precise machine that can create intricate designs, then a CNC router is probably the better choice. Whichever machine you choose, make sure you do your research so that you get the best possible results for your project.

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