Cordless routers are a dream come true for many carpenters. They’re literally a tool they’ve been dreaming of since the first battery-powered tools came out. Several hit the market in the past year including Ryobi and Ridgid. But the anticipation surrounding the US launch of the Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router has surpassed it all. But hype and anticipation don’t guarantee a quality tool that performs well. And when you’re talking about replacing a corded tool, often the tradeoff comes in performance or ergonomics.
So where does the Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router come into play with all that? Once again, we’re teaming up with Tim Johnson of Shop Tool Reviews to get a handle on his experience so far.
Who Needs a Cordless Router?
Some people might ask who doesn’t need a cordless router? However, it’s not for everyone – or is it?
The obvious winner is the jobsite carpenter. Whether it’s a custom build in, standard trim work, or just wrapping up a punch list, cordless convenience is hard to beat. As long as it has the power to leave the professional results your clients expect.
But even production level shops can benefit from a cordless router. You’re not going to use it on the big stuff, of course. But going over the material to put that last finish cut around the workpiece is a lot easier without a cord getting caught up on each corner. Since these are lighter-duty tasks that require just a couple minutes of runtime in most cases, the cordless router is a fantastic tool to supplement your larger models.
As the tool industry cuts the cord on more products, tools like cordless routers really benefit from brushless motors. The Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router takes advantage of a Makita-built motor. With it, you’ll get better runtime than you do with a brushed motor, which also allows for more power to transfer from the battery to the motor.
Makita tends to do a pretty nice job in the ergonomics department and the grip on this model really stands out. A cordless router isn’t a tool that is hurt terribly by a few extra ounces in weight but having a solid, comfortable grip really helps with precision work. Makita does a nice job here.
The big deal with the feature set isn’t so much innovative new features, but the fact is that the Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router isn’t really missing anything of consequence compared to our corded trim routers. You have your variable speed controls, rack-and-pinion fine adjustments, quick release cam lock, and removable base. The dual LED lights aren’t on every trim router, so that’s a nice addition that’s nearly an industry standard on cordless tools these days.
There is a plunge base available, but you’ll have to buy the kit to get it. You’ll also get a pair of 5.0 amp hour batteries and a charger to go along with it plus an interlocking tool case.
We’d be remiss if we failed to mention that this is a cordless router. Although, we’ll also question how closely you’re reading the review if you’re just now picking up on that. It’s the constant cord management that happens with a corded router that we don’t miss.
Power and Performance
It goes without saying that this isn’t a corded router, but how far away is the power?
It’s still short of our more powerful trim routers, but it’s not DIY level by any means. For any of your standard trim work, it’s a solid bet. You’ll want to hold off on tasks like cutting a channel through a workpiece. You can certainly finish them, but you’ll be faster with a corded model.
Tim and Seventeen20 owner, Jon Bucklew have spent a lot more time using this router than I have so far. Head over to Shop Tool Reviews to check out more details on the performance and features of the Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router.
Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router Key Features
- Makita-built brushless motor
- Variable speed control dial (10,000 – 30,000 RPM)
- Electronic speed control
- On/Off button with separate lock button
- Soft start feature
- Rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment system
- Slim and ergonomically designed body with rubberized grip
- Aluminum housing and base
- Dual L.E.D. lights
- Quick release cam lock system
- Accepts industry standard template guides
- High visibility base design
- Available in various combinations
- Base can be removed to install other bases
- Plunge capacity of 0 – 1-3/8″ with plunge base attached and 0 – 1-9/16″ with trimmer base attached
- Non-marring high-durability base insert
- Shaft lock
- Easy-to-read depth scales
- Uses 1/4″ shank routers bits
- 8-7/8″ tall; weighs only 4.6 lbs. with battery (battery not included)
- Connects to Makita vacuum cleaners with optional dust nozzle
- Star Protection Computer Controls to protect against overloading, over-discharging and over-heating
- Compatible with Makita 18V Lithium-Ion batteries with a Star symbol (batteries sold separately)
- 3-year limited warranty
Makita 18V LXT Brushless Router Specs
- Model: Makita XTR01T7 (5.0 AH kit), Makita XTR01Z (bare tool)
- Collet: 1/4″
- No Load Speed (Variable Speed): 10,000-30,000 RPM
- Brushless Motor: Yes
- Battery: 18V LXT Lithium-Ion
- Overall Length: 5-1/4”
- Net Weight: 4.6 lbs. (with battery)
- Base: Fixed
- Variable Speed Control Dial: Yes
- LED Light: Yes
- Constant Speed Control: Yes
- Available as Bare Tool ( Makita XTR01Z) or Kit (Makita XTR01T7), which Includes: Tool, (2) 18V LXT 5.0Ah batteries, (1) 18V LXT Rapid Optimum Charger, (2) Spanner Wrench, ¼” Collet, (1) Straight Guide, (1) Plunge Base, (1) Interlocking Tool Case
- Retail Price: $129.00 (bare), $448.99 (kit)
- Warranty: 3 years