A trim router is great for Formica and getting those small details on door stiles. I do some custom kitchen doors, and a small laminate router comes in handy. Really, this type of tool is for anything that doesn’t require the removal of a lot of material. Bigger jobs take a larger shaft and motor as these smaller trim routers aren’t made for harder pulls. The Ridgid cordless trim router is a new tool that gives you a lot of freedom. Operating on the company’s 18V battery platform, this is only the second cordless trim router I’ve seen. Aside from the Ridgid R86044B, there’s just the Ryobi One+ model P600G which sells for less than $50.
Having never previously used either cordless router, I like the design of the Ridgid a little better. It seems to center the weight, and I’d surmise there’s a bit more power available due to the brushless motor.
One thing is for sure, a cordless router is a step into the future. Of course, for us older guys, even a corded router is a godsend. Before routers were invented you’d use hand planes. Guys in their shops would have 25 different planes with unique profiles to make the shapes they needed. It was a slow, arduous process.
Ridgid Cordless Trim Router Features
The first thing I noticed about the Ridgid cordless router was the thick acrylic shoe. The size of the shoe on this router is about the same as the Bosch Colt palm router I currently use. The size stabilizes you as you pull without getting in the way. Ridgid also includes a circular acrylic shoe which you can install to replace the square one. A square base is often more convenient when you’re using a straight edge during a free-hand cut. A round base can yield mixed results if it isn’t perfectly centered on the router blade.
Compared to my Bosch Colt, the adjustment is a tad harder for using the included fence or edge guide. There are two set screws instead of a single centered screw. Still, the set screws hold it nice and fast, and the Ridgid cordless trim router depth is easy to adjust.
A handy rheostat at the top of the router lets you adjust the speed. I don’t think I tend to back off the maximum RPMs with smaller bits, but if you wanted to, you could.
The Ridgid 18V router stands up nice—right on the battery. The pull switch takes some getting used to when you first start it up. After I did it a few times, I actually liked the safety of the design. There’s no way you’re going to accidentally turn that motor on. It’s also easy to turn off.
Ridgid 18V Router Specifications
- Battery: 18V
- Collet size: 1/4-inch
- Speed (variable): 17,000-25,000 RPM
- Softstart motor
- LED light
- Micro-adjust depth dial
- Quick release depth set lever
- Weight: 3.1 lbs
- Includes: Edge guide, square (attached) and round base, wrench, 1/4-inch laminate edging bit, soft zippered bag
Using the Ridgid R86044B Cordless Laminate Router
Before using the router I set the depth of the bit we were using. It was a small contour bit I use to make the outside edge of custom cabinet doors. It just gives them a nice look, and it’s a great fit for the smooth, even grain of poplar. The clamp for the depth set was a bit too loose out of the box, so I adjusted the clamp screw with a 5/16-inch wrench to give it a surer grip.
When holding the Ridgid cordless router, it’s certainly controllable. The grip isn’t exactly as comfortable as a Hogue combat pistol grip, and you may have to figure out the best placement for your fingers. Overall, none of this detracted from using the tool accurately.
So long as you’re doing smaller trim jobs—roundovers, detail trim, laminate trimming, etc—this tool is going to rock your world. You’re not going to want to plunge route with a 25,000 RPM trim router. I’ve seen guys do that, and it’s a good way to get hurt—like giving a monkey a chainsaw. These small trim routers should be held sure.
Also, you don’t want to use a larger bit in this (or any other) trim router. When you do need to get deeper rabbet cuts, for example, you should probably do it in two passes. It’s not that the power isn’t available to get the job done in a single pass, it’s just a safer and smarter way to work.
The Ridgid cordless trim router definitely gave me as good a cut as my colt router—but without the cord. The RPMs are certainly there, as is the power and control.
I route all of my hinges and locksets with a small trim router like this. Using this battery-powered router will be really handy when mortising those hinges and locksets.
The Ridgid cordless trim router is a great tool with lots of promise. The only negative is the design of the included fence. While easy to set up, the individual threaded rods take a little more time to install and remove. They also require the complete disassembly of the fence as opposed to simply unscrewing a single stud and removing the whole thing as a single unit.
In a place without power, this is a great addition to all the other tools I’m now able to use without a plug. It’s also just convenient. I remember when I never thought I’d use a cordless orbital sander, and now my corded tools just sit in the garage unused. A tool like this Ridgid R86044B makes the job quicker, so my in and out time improves, and I get home in time for the game.