Makita Cordless Router| Cordless Routers are like Chips…

 In Tool Reviews

…You can’t just have one

Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Variable Speed Compact Router in action
A powerhouse trim router that just so happens to be cordless.
This post is part of a paid partnership with the Home Depot and contains affiliate links.
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With the advent of quality and affordable cordless routers, cabinet makers everywhere have stopped changing bits altogether.  Cordless routers are not like a router table or a standard router (although some shops have tons of those too). Cabinet makers and furniture makers have racks of them with specialty finishing bits dedicated to each tool.  Makita, a long-time favorite of high-end cabinet makers and furniture makers alike has thrown their hat in the ring with the Makita 18-Volt LXT Brushless Cordless Router. It is really good though…Let’s take a look at the Makita cordless router.

What’s so special?

Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Variable Speed Compact Router in hand
The Makita Cordless router packs a lot of punch, is all metal in all the key areas, and brushless to boot.

Ok well not special, I mean it is pretty darn good…

Special?  That’s a bit much.  Most of the cordless routers on the market are brushless [cause battery life], 18-volt [cause compact], palm routers [cause c’mon man] and have a basic feature set.  Does anything set the Makita Cordless Router apart?

A few things, they’re small but they matter…

Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Variable Speed Compact Router ergonomics
Great button and speed adjustment on the Makita Cordless Brushless router makes it one of the most comfortable palm routers to use.

Rather than having a physical toggle switch in a non-ergonomic position, the Makita cordless router has a button right where your hand falls on the tool.  This is not insignificant but does present a small challenge. To avoid accidental powering on the tool, a safety lock (arm/disarm) switch needs to be pressed prior to the power button.  The speed control on the Makita cordless router is in a perfect position to be manipulated by your thumb while operating the tool. This makes it much more comfortable to adjust the speed of the bit as you change grain directions,  flush trimming veneer, or what have you, to avoid tearout.  

Makita 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Variable Speed Compact Router
I haven’t had this thing for long, but the metal adjustment mechanism certainly instills confidence.

The Makita cordless router also has an all-metal locking and height adjustment mechanism, this has proven a very reliable locking mechanism in my short time with the tool thus far, but is a welcome upgrade from the other cordless routers I have handled. The final and really significant thing,  this router is a fixed based router BUT they actually make a full plunge base for it.  This could be huge for certain applications. It also comes with a dust extractor dust shroud attachment in the box, it’s not great, but it’s better than nothing.

makita cordless router optional plunge base
One of the things that really sets the Makita cordless router apart is the availability of a plunge base.

A little room for improvement?

I think tool companies know what these will be used for, almost exclusively…roundovers, flush trimming, and mitering edges.  So why do they include such a narrow base plate? It seems like they should come with a wide plate attachment for properly doing the task they will live and die doing.  Maybe I am missing out on part of the market for these little guys?  I keep a round over in one and a flush-trim bit in the other.  Overall the Makita Cordless router is a great tool.  I would highly recommend it as a secondary router in a shop for doing trim work and detail work.  It doesn’t fully replace a full-size router, but neither does a palm router. It doesn’t quite stand up to the corded model from Makita or the popular Bosch Colt.  As a trim router for doing round overs, miters, and flush trimming veneer, I’d buy a bushel of them.

Checkout more articles from THD Prospective at the links below:

Milwaukee FUEL Cordless Circular saw

DeWalt WormDrive Cordless Circular saw

Milwaukee Cordless Sander


Keep your tools sharp and your mind sharper


This post is part of a paid partnership with The Home Depot as part of the THD Prospective.  All thoughts and impressions expressed in this article are my own.

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