Having reviewed the Ridgid cordless trim router some time ago, we were intrigued when they released an updated model. The new Ridgid 18V Octane Cordless Compact Router (R860443B) remains fully backward-compatible with all Ridgid 18V batteries. It does, however, offer some additional power when combined with new Ridgid Octane batteries.
- Decent run-time
- Plenty of power for corner beads, cutting in hinges, and basic routing needs
- Easy rough & fine depth controls
- Lightweight design
- Included fence guide is very sturdy
- Plastic tool housing doesn’t glide against the fence as easily
Ridgid 18V Octane Cordless Compact Router Design
Ridgid isn’t straying from their time-tested general design. They moved their corded trim router design to the original cordless model and it follows to the Octane version.
Power Switch and Speed Dial
Ridgid has a somewhat unusual power switch. Instead of pushing it in, you pull it out. It’s an easy enough operation using your thumb, though it takes some time to get used to. It’s actually a nice safety feature that makes it nearly impossible to accidentally activate.
Unlike many trim routers, the speed dial is on the opposite side from the micro-adjustment dial. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it is different than most.
Ridgid sticks with a standard micro depth adjustment which works as we expected. A quick-release lever and spring-loaded release handle macro adjustments before you use the micro-adjust dial to fine-tune your depth. We had no problems setting proper depth for avoiding ledges on corner rounds or when configuring the router for cutting in hinges and locksets.
Plates and Ports
The Ridgid Octane cordless compact router has everything you’d expect in a compact router. The collet takes 1/4-inch bits and it includes both round and square bases that swap easily with four Philips screws.
You get a detachable dust port and edge guide. The dust port does a decent job collecting material, even when using lighter-weight vacs like the Ryobi cordless shop vac. It can connect to 1-1/4 in. or 1-7/8 in. hoses.
Of the 18V cordless routers available, Ridgid’s is the lightest. By using a plastic motor housing instead of aluminum, they drop the bare weight to 2.28 pounds on our scale. If you stick with a 3.0Ah Octane battery, it maintains a very manageable weight.
The barrel diameter is right in the middle between DeWalt’s larger size and the smaller sizes from Makita and Kobalt.
Ridgid’s base cutout isn’t as generous as some, so you don’t have quite as wide a view of your bit and material. It’s not obstructed to the point of being a pain, it’s just not as open as others.
Ridgid 18V Octane Cordless Compact Router Performance
Because of the soft-start motor, the Ridgid Octane trim router eases into its 30,000 RPM top speed. This helps prevent the router from jumping when you turn it on. Anyone who’s ever put a gouge in a workpiece due to sloppy router handling knows this well. It also extends the life of the brushless motor.
Ridgid does make some specific power claims. In particular, the tool delivers up to 15% more power than the previous cordless model when using an Octane battery. That might let you handle slightly larger bits. It most certainly feels more confident when putting edges on denser, harder materials. The bit also doesn’t slow down as easily when you bear down into a longer cut.
We gave the Ridgid Octane router a bit of a workout when cutting in dozens of hinges on 6-panel replacement doors for a recent condo renovation. In conjunction with a Ryobi 1/2 in. Carbide Door Hinge Template, the router blew through the work as easily as a corded model. Well, perhaps even easier thanks to the lack of a cord.
We also used the router freehand to prepare recessed locksets for all those doors. The size and ergonomics of the tool make it easy to control. I got through the work quickly and my hands sat comfortably around the tool while I worked.
Side-by-side with the other cordless routers that are available, the Ridgid Octane 18V cordless compact router isn’t as strong as the top contenders. It shows on dadoes, dovetails, and other higher-demand cuts. It’s not underpowered in that it can’t do the job, though. Just plan on taking a little more time to do it.
Ridgid 18V Octane Cordless Compact Router Price
You can grab the Octane router at The Home Depot as a bare tool for $129—the same price as the corded model. There have been a few kit options in the past, but the bare tool is the only way to get it at the time we’re writing. That’s a good price, and certainly less than Milwaukee and DeWalt. However, it has competition from Makita and Kobalt.
In the box, you get the router, a round base, a square base, detachable dust port, a stout edge guide, 1/4-inch collet, and collet wrench.
As usual, Ridgid backs this router with a Lifetime Service Agreement, assuming you register the tool.
If—and this is a big IF—Ridgid decides to run an upgrade to pair with their recent Max Output batteries, we might see this model go on sale when it launches. We haven’t heard any rumblings of that, though.
The Bottom Line
What’s really nice about the Ridgid 18V Octane cordless compact router (aside from the fact that there’s no cord) is that it keeps its familiar design. If you’ve evolved with Ridgid from the corded model to now, it’s an easy transition. You can get higher performance if you need it, but if you’re already using Ridgid Octane batteries, this router will do the same jobs with excellent results.
Ridgid Octane Router Specs
- Model: Ridgid R860443B
- Power Source: Ridgid 18V batteries (Octane recommended for the best performance)
- Collet: 1/4-inch
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 7.25 x 3.5 x 5.9 in.
- Weight: 2.5 lbs.
- Includes: R860443 18V Octane brushless compact router, square base, round base, detachable dust port, edge guide, 1/4 in. bit, collet wrench, and operator’s manual