The Kobalt 24V Max cordless trim router is one of the more affordable cordless options available. We tested it side-by-side against the most popular brands to see if its design and performance can keep up with the ones that get more hype.
- Fastest cordless router bit speed (31,500 RPM)
- Slim, comfortable gripping area
- Good bit visibility
- Edge guide included
- Base slides freely when making micro adjustments
- No plunge base available
- No kits or combos available
Kobalt 24V Max Cordless Trim Router Performance
With a no-load speed range of 15,500 – 31,500 RPM, this is the fastest cordless router based on specifications. Milwaukee’s is the next closest at 31,000 RPM.
That speed translates to excellent work results. As we completed roundovers and flush cuts, it kept up with the premium models well. With dadoes and dovetails, it showed slightly less power than a couple of other models, but its performance was still excellent. You can also get a little boost by using one of the Ultimate Output batteries that pairs with XTR tools.
Overall, this has the performance to replace your corded trim router and we don’t have any hesitation recommending it for hardwoods.
Kobalt 24V Cordless Trim Router Ergonomics
Weight isn’t a huge issue for routers unless it’s way off-balance and Kobalt’s 3.05-pound bare weight is right in the middle of the cordless class. A 4.0Ah battery is the way to go in our opinion, and that brings the total weight up to 4.81 pounds. It’s top heavy like almost all cordless routers, but it’s centered and doesn’t throw off your routing.
The barrel diameter is on the slim side just like Makita’s and that’s what we prefer. There’s also a helpful layer of overmold that aids your comfort and grip. We’ve seen some brands forgo overmold on the base, but we think it makes the grip better all around, so we like to have it there.
Kobalt 24V Max Cordless Trim Router Design Notes
If you’ve seen or used Makita’s cordless router, Kobalt’s design is very similar. The two aren’t interchangeable, though. The barrel diameters are slightly different.
Height Adjustments and Base Removal
The key highlight is a rank-and-pinion adjustment system. Just release the clamp and use the knob to set the bit height you need. Etched measurements on the motor housing make seeing that height change really easy and it won’t wear off.
The downside of the system is that the motor slides freely when you release the clamp. If you’re trying to eyeball the bit, it takes some finger strength to hold the knob as you adjust. If you’re going to judge based on the measurement marks, just set the router on its side and you can be much more precise.
The placement of Kobalt’s spindle lock prevents you from changing bits without removing the base. Most of us remove the base of trim routers anyway, so we don’t really see that a big negative. However, getting the base off is super-easy. With the clamp open, just pull the base off. There are no extra buttons to press to release it.
I like the layout of Kobalt’s controls. The power switch, variable speed dial, and depth adjustment are all on the front. The power switch is a standard no-frills mechanical switch.
The variable speed dial has 6 settings with an extra stop between each one. There’s no speed change at the half steps, though.
Overall, it’s a simple, proven design and layout that works well.
The Kobalt 24V Max cordless trim router has a good-sized cutout in its fixed base that provides decent visibility to your bit. We’ve seen more generous openings, but none of our testing team felt it hindered their operation.
Two LED lights aid your visibility. They are mounted on the front and back rather than the two sides and do a very nice job of providing 360° light around the bit.
Kobalt 24V Max Cordless Trim Router Price
Lowe’s has this Kobalt cordless router for $119 as a bare tool and includes an edge guide. There are no kit or combo options available at the moment and we haven’t heard of any plans for an XTR version.
The Bottom Line
The Kobalt 24V Max cordless trim router starts with a solid foundation and builds out as one of the better cordless models available. What may cause some people to hesitate is the lack of an available plunge base. If that’s not a concern for you, this $119 router is an excellent addition to one of the best value cordless lines out there.
Kobalt 24V Max Cordless Trim Router Specifications
- Model: Kobalt KR 124B-03
- Power Source: Kobalt 24V Max batteries (including ultimate output)
- No-Load Speed: 15,500 – 31,500 RPM
- Collet Size: 1/4-inch
- Weight: 3.05 pounds
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $119 bare