Milwaukee M18 Fuel Compact Router – Hands-on
Milwaukee Tool’s fans have clamored for a trim router and it’s finally arrived in the form of the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Compact Router. Since it bears the “FUEL” designation, it operates on a brushless motor.
10-Second SummaryThe power of the Milwaukee cordless compact router impressed us straight away. We tested it using a cut-off bit, a larger size roundover bit and a 1/2-inch rabbet bit. These are large bits for the size of this router, so the power claims are real and the tool feels both smooth and powerful.
First Impressions and Testing
On the woodworking side, this new M18 FUEL Compact Router operates at 31,000 RPM. That makes it the fastest cordless router on the market as far as we know. The variable speed dial lets you set different speeds and you can dial it all the way down to 10,000 RPM in the lowest setting. For a carpentry tool, this router offers some great features.
Milwaukee speaks in terms of horsepower when referring to this router. They claim they can get 1-1/4 HP out of this tool. That would equate to what you see from a corded trim router. Based on our initial testing, we’re optimistic we’ll see this bear out in testing once we get one in for a full review.
To gauge run-time, Milwaukee says you should be able to do 250 linear feet of roundover in red oak off a 5Ah battery pack.
You can make both macro and 1/64-inch micro-adjustments to dial in the depth exactly as you need it. This level of depth adjustment matches what we’d want to see in a high-end trim router.
Tom was really impressed with the power of this tool. He popped in a Milwaukee M18 5Ah battery and went to town. He used a cut-off bit, a larger size roundover bit and a 1/2-inch rabbet bit. These are large bits for the size of this router, so the power claims are real. The tool feels good in the hand—smooth and powerful and not too big to hold on to.
The battery does make it a little bit top-heavy, but that has been the case with every cordless router we’ve used so far. Suffice it to say, you probably want to avoid the HD 12.0 pack on this tool!
Milwaukee Cordless Compact Router Specifications
- Brushless motor
- Speed: 31,000 rpm (High), 10,000 rpm (Low)
- Variable speed dial
- Run-time: 250 linear feet roundover on red oak
- Power equivalency: 1-1/4 HP
- Macro & 1/64-in. micro adjustments
- LED work light
- Price: $179 (tool-only)
Milwaukee Compact Router Plunge Base
- Price: $99
Milwaukee Compact Router Offset Base
- Price: $99
Buying the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Compact Router
The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Compact Router is priced at $179 for the bare tool. We do recommend you pair it with a 5Ah battery for optimal results. A smaller battery will slightly affect power and significantly affect run-time. A larger battery just becomes unwieldy. We’re looking forward to checking out this new tool when it and the bases are available closer to October.