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July 23, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Kobalt 24V Max Cordless Trim Router Review KR 124B-03

Kobalt 24V Max Cordless Trim Router
PTR Review
  • Overall Rating 9.0

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.

Overall Score 9.0 (out of 10)

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.


Pros

  • Fastest cordless router bit speed (31,500 RPM)
  • Slim, comfortable gripping area
  • Good bit visibility
  • Edge guide included

Cons

  • 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.

Control

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.

Bit Visibility

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

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David S.

I’ve been looking a trim routers for a while trying to decide which way I want to go. Being on the Milwaukee platform, their offering is at the top of the list, but it’s a little pricey for my SS disability income because I want the kit. That way I have another battery and charger, (you can’t have too many, right?). Therefore, I keep looking at others while hoping for a good sale on the Milwaukee kit. This Kobalt router looks like a good product, but I don’t have any other Kobalt cordless tools, so I would need to buy… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by David S.
FyrFytr998

Every review I read has me leaning more and more towards the Kobalt line replacing my Porter&Cable tools when the time comes to switch it up. Lowes becoming a Chervon house has me excited as well. The three headed brushless line up of Flex, Kobalt, and SKIL should shake up the SBD tree. Still kind of miffed at Stanley for killing off PC for Craftsman. While I know they killed off B&D as well. Why not keep PC as the mid grade line, and go all out with Craftsman to take on Ryobi for the DIY set, then develop PC… Read more »

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