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May 9, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Ridgid 18V Octane Cordless Compact Router Review R860443B

Ridgid 18V Octane Cordless Compact Router
PTR Review
  • Overall Rating 8.6

Ridgid starts with their time-tested design and gives it an Octane boost. Once you get used to the pull-out power switch and opposite side placements for the speed and micro adjustment dials, it's perfectly capable of replacing your corded trim router.

Overall Score 8.6 (out of 10)

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.


Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

Depth Adjustment

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.

RIDGID Octane compact router depth adjust

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.

RIDGID cordless compact router base plate

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.

Ergonomics

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.

Sightline

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 cordless compact router

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.

Octane compact router door hinges

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.

Ridgid router door lockset freehand

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

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Bill

Does Ridgid make a template guide that fits this router?

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