We have tested Craftsman’s new digital woodworking router (model 27669), and it left us with a fairy positive impression. The RPM recommendation function was a little wasted on us, but we can see how it would benefit beginners not yet familiar with how to match up router speeds with bit sizes.
The router has a built-in library that offers speed recommendations in case you’re not sure which setting to use. Working through the library speed settings is absolutely painless and takes just a moment. First, you match up the shape of your bit to a very limited selection of bit styles. Then, you set the diameter of your router bit. While doing this, you will see the recommended RPM settings change accordingly.
Next, you set the material type that you will be working with – hardwood, softwood, or plastics. After this step, the RPMs are set to one of 6 settings, with both the setting number and RPMs displayed on the LCD screen for reference.
There is of course a manual override as well. Without pressing the “set” button at the top of the spindle, simply press + or – to adjust the RPM setting. You can manually fine tune the spindle’s speed from 10,000 to 25,000 RPM, with a total 11 speed settings.
What We Liked
- Solid construction
- Quick and easy plunge depth settings and micro-adjust
- Soft-start motor
- Comes with edge guide and vacuum adapter
- Consistent power and performance
- Easy straight-in, straight-out spindle removal for bit changes
- Spindle lock, meaning that only one wrench is needed for bit changes
- Printed RPM guide at top of spindle
- Digital speed readout with 11 manual speed settings
What Needs Improvement
- Plastic chip deflector keeps popping off
- Power switch in a slightly awkward place
- Sub-base opening is too narrow to fit larger bits**
- No fixed-base kit option
**Update: as mentioned by Joe in the comments, an optional add-on sub-base kit is available, and includes sub-bases with a range of opening widths.
In the end, we were impressed by the router’s solid performance and neat feature set. Beginners will appreciate the speed recommendations, and intermediate users will appreciate the router’s digital speed readout. Pressing either the + or – button to change speeds is also a lot easier than rotating a tiny knob.
The $130 retail price seems a bit high for a one-base consumer kit, but it’s a great buy when on sale for $100. The router comes with an edge guide, vacuum adapter, and both 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets. There is also a depth adjustment wrench, but we do not recommend that you use a plunge router base with a router table.
Buy Now(via Sears)
Thank you to Craftsman for providing the sample for this review unconditionally. Review samples are typically returned, donated, or in some cases retained for further testing or benchmark and comparison purposes.