Manufacturers now produce cordless routers that allow contractors and woodworkers to cut the cord. Contractor and tool expert Rob Robillard of Tool Box Buzz ran a series of performance tests to find out how they fare.
"We conducted two relative measurable comparison tests in this head-to-head," Robillard says in the video. "We looked at performance of power and then runtime. We felt strongly that these tests give you an excellent baseline on overall tool performance. Additionally, each of the crew members spent time using the routers to evaluate them and to evaluate them independently on things like features and ergonomics, and of course we did the performance and the runtime testing and then we looked at bare-tool pricing which gives us best overall tool."
Watch the video to find out more.
[ Transcript ]
Guys, who has the best 18-volt cordless router? well the toolbox buzz crew wanted to know - so we've routed well over a half mile of stock to give you the result. w looked at five routers Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Ridgid, and Ryobi, and like an of our head-to-heads if you want to learn more information about the model numbers of the specs or just do a deeper dive you need to go the toolbox buz website and read the article. it's all there.
We conducted two relative measurable comparison tests in this head-to-head. w looked at performance of power and then runtime we felt strongly that thes tests give you an excellent baseline on overall tool performance. Additionally each of the crew members spent time using the routers to evaluate them and to evaluate them independently on things like features ergonomics, and of course we did the performance and the runtime testing and then we looked at bare-tool pricing which gives us best overall tool.
I do want to thank Rockler Woodworking. They provided the bits for this testing they work great and we appreciate the help on the tests.
Alright, let's get into the tests.
We looked at best features and the winner of best features was the DeWalt each of the tools were ranked one through five one being the best to determine the best feature ranking we use this ranking for throughout the DeWalt barely took first place it came in twelve points but that was just one point ahead of Milwaukee the makita and the Ridgid were third and fourth with 23 and 24 points respectively. Now, the DeWalt is pretty much screwed a one or two score on almost every category except the baseplate and we talked about that later.
Let's look at some of those features for instance the power switch the best switch was the makita Dewalt milwaukee in that order. Makita has a two step safety switch basically there's an unlock button that puts the tool into a standby mode and then the power button turns on the router. If the tool is inactive for 10 seconds the router locks so you have to use the unlock, but again this separate lock button might seem like a pain in the neck but I think it's pretty good for preventing accidental startups. We just like to see maybe a longer timeout time than 10 seconds maybe 20.
Alright the rigid router. It has a pull-out mechanical switch in order to turn it on and off. The switch is awkward to use, difficult to reach, and not intuitive. The team did not like that switch. Switch placement was also considered in the routers and those routers that had ambidextrous switch placement they fared better. For example Makita and rio be switch placement is on the front and rear of the tools respectively. Alternatively the DeWalt in Milwaukee are geared towards right-handed users of the switches on the left side.
We looked at variable speed adjustments the DeWalt had the best variable speed adjustment followed by the rigid and Makita Dewalt and rigid variables variable speed dials. They're basically setup ambidextrous setup it's located on the back of the tool easy to use with the other hand. The makita and Milwaukee are set up for right-handed users again on the left side so you hit it with your thumb as a right-handed user. The dial is perfectly placed for me right where my thumb is. It was perfect but lefties don't like it so much. The Milwaukee variable speed dial also has these protruding ribs on them which made it really easy to kind of grip in and use no slipping. The Makena on the other hand, the speed dial is recessed into the tool it was difficult to to kind of reach and use but it was the smoothest of all the routers to operate.
We looked at the base depth adjustments all the routers have quick release levers but they do differ in style and quality of their micro and macro adjustments for example Makita uses a quick-release cam lever to adjust to remove the router base but they for micro adjustments they utilize a rack and pinion depth adjustment system this adjustment is smooth it's fast and it's super easy to use but it does have some slop in the mechanism which made micro adjustments difficult. The best based adjustment of all the routers was the Milwaukee and utilizes a push-button adjustment and a dial for the micro adjustments.
You could dial it right in the micro adjustment knob of the Milwaukee is rubberized it's easy to grip we found it precise and smooth one really nice feature on the rigid in Rio B routers is their micro adjust dial and obviously for dialing that depth of cut they were super super easy to use the rigid when we were testing it thequick release lever had to be adjustedby team by the team prior to testing because it was loose and not holding adjustment ok the DeWalt adjustment was also precise but different it has a screw to adjust and a thread cut into the router housing barrel they call it a depth adjustment ring the ring is used for micro adjustments but also larger macro adjustments we liked the precision of the ring but not the slower speed ok well one thing also under mention about the dualist while setting it up for runtime testing we noticed that if you actually grip the tool high by that a depth adjustment ring the tool comes out of adjustment we tightened the quick release lever twice on the tool but it still occurred so as a result we had to be cognizant not to grip the DeWalt router high this is something that maybe the wall might want to look at or something that we found we basically found it annoying and a problem if you want to maybe set this tool up as a window sill set-and-forget tool you got to just be cognizant that you can't grip it there ok all of the routers have atleast one LED light the DeWalt Makita and milwaukee have two LEDs on them.