Shawn wrote in, asking about the new Ridgid 18V brushless compact router, R86044B. Others have mentioned it in comments, and I think someone mentioned it on the ToolGuyd Forum as well.
He wrote: I think this hit the shelves in Sep 2016, so it’s pretty new. This router has a brushless motor, and I think many would be interested if this was a capable cordless trim router.
Yes, it’s a new model, and I’ve seen it online but not in any local stores yet. A test sample is supposedly enroute, and so I’ve been avoiding others’ reviews to ensure I’m not biased or influenced in any way.
I didn’t want to post about it before I had an opportunity to see the new Ridgid cordless router in person, for one main reason:
Why haven’t professional power tool brands come out with cordless routers sooner? This leads to so many questions, none of which I can answer definitively yet.
See More: Cordless Routers, Why or Why Not?
Ryobi used to make a cordless router, and apparently they came out with a new one that looks exactly the same, but in a more modern Ryobi fluorescent green color scheme.
The new Ridgid cordless router looks good on paper, but sometimes that’s not hard to do. But how well does it work in real-world applications?
According to Ridgid, it can cut up to 400 feet of laminate per charge when powered by a 5Ah battery pack. Is that cut laminate, or trim? Is that for a minor edge round-over where it barely kisses an edge, or a deeper profile cut?
It looks like this is a trim router, meant for light flush laminate-trimming use. Which is okay, but how well does it fair when pushed harder?
What about balance? Comfort? Control?
To me, it looks like the router becomes very chunky at the top, which could be detrimental for control. And the last thing you want is a router that’s not easy to control and guide.
All these questions aside, I guess I’m optimistic. I’ve had great experiences with Ridgid tools – ones I’ve purchased and ones I’ve received for testing and review. But there are too many questions and hesitations. If I were considering purchasing this for personal use, I’d wait a while longer to let others be the guinea pigs.
So although optimistic, let’s call it guarded optimism.
This might just be the best cordless router on the market, and that wouldn’t be hard to do, seeing as how there’s only one competing model I know of, and it’s made by the same company to serve users looking for a lower price point.
Why haven’t we seen anything like this from Dewalt? Milwaukee? Porter Cable? Bosch? Bosch, with their super popular Colt series of palm routers – wouldn’t they have come out with a cordless laminate, trim, or compact router if such a tool was practical?
As a side note, has anyone ever seen the new Bosch Colt router we posted about last year? It looks to me like it never launched, or hasn’t launched yet. Weird.
Then again, Ridgid does make some different woodworking tools, such as their oscillating belt and spindle sander. So maybe it’s in their nature to take risks like this. Or to provide a cordless router solution even if this isn’t the best tool to give cordless treatment to. Or maybe they fine-tuned the heck out of the design to create a fantastic compact cordless router right from the start.
If you’re just trimming some laminate, you don’t need a very powerful tool, and you could probably expect decent runtime. But with tools like this, the power and capability demands can jump up very quickly.
Let’s say you want to cut some grooves, dadoes, rabbets, roundovers, chamfers, or more complex profiles. If this Ridgid brushless compact router is designed for trimming laminate, how well will it satisfy users’ more demanding needs?
Obviously there’s a limit as to how a compact router with 1/4″ collet can and should be used. But does that line move when there’s a battery pack feeding the tool instead of an AC power cord?
The lead-in for this post, in case you didn’t come here from the ToolGuyd homepage or newsletter, says: Ridgid has come out with a new compact brushless router. But what can it do? I really do mean that as a question. What can it do? And also, what can’t it do? I really don’t know yet. I’m hesitant and optimistic at the same time.
If anyone has tried this out already, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Or if this is something you’ve been waiting for, how likely are you to buy it? How would you use it?
Features & Specs
- Brushless motor for longer runtime
- Variable speed dial
- 17,000 to 25,000 RPM
- Micro-adjust dial for depth adjustment
- Soft start to prevent work surface gouging
- Quick release lever for motor removal from base
- LED worklight
Price: $119 for the bare tool
It looks to come with an edge guide, sub-base, collet wrench, and starter laminate trimming router bit.
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
I currently have Ridgid’s corded version and have been very happy with it. I wouldn’t swap it for a cordless, but that’s because I’m invested in Milwaukee’s M18 line.
Now, if Milwaukee released one, perhaps in a 12v, I’d strongly consider it. I don’t run my router for extended periods, so 12v should suffice. And it’d be less top heavy than an 18v.
A great addition would be a brake. But perhaps that isn’t possible with a router’s high RPM?
I would love to see a M12 compact router! I currently have my dewalt in a router table, which is covered in random junk. So I have to clean it off and take the router out just for a few small round overs. I’d love something smaller to knock sharp corners off work pieces.
There have been other cordless routers on the market in the past, but it has been quite a while and they haven’t re-introduced new models unfortunately. This style of router is called a trim router, but it’s not specifically limited to just trimming laminate. It is just as well suited to cutting profiles and flush trimming hard and soft words, but your limited to the 1/4 inch size collet, which in itself protects you from cutting too big a profile since most quarter inch bits are fairly small.
I haven’t used the Ridgid yet, but I have used another manufacturers cordless prototype and it had no problem cutting 1/4″ dados into solid oak. There will be more options coming.
Manufacturers prototype? Don’t leave us hanging!
Ridgid makes it harder and harder NOT to go into there platform. Ryobi has a very similarly designed version posted. I see a trend where Ridgid is the brushless line and Ryobi is the brushed/econo/homeowner line. Not that any is less than the other (Other than price that is).
I think I like the idea of the Ridgid=Brushless and Ryobi=brushes. It certainly helps to easily differentiate the two. I know Milwaukee has Fuel for their brushless but it’s hard to tell the difference between the 8,000 different models each company has for a drill.
Actually Fuel does not mean brushless with Milwaukee. Well it does, but they also have one (compact I think) brushless drill & one impact driver, that do not carry the Fuel branding. I think they were $100 less for that kit.
I personally wouldn’t want one company to give up the other technology. If someone is in one battery platform, they may not want the best (or lesser) choice of a particular tool.
Another new Ridgid tool I seen posted at the Ridgid forum was a 18v rotary hammer drill. It’s posted on the Home Depot website but that’s all the info I’ve seen on it.
In saw it on HD’s site aso well. Looks like news territory for Ridgid.
It does seem a bit odd that this is one of the last small power tools to go cordless. Admittedly there seem to be challenges as you and others have noted – to battery-power a tool that needs very high rpm to work effectively. So in the case of Bosch – maybe their Swiss and German engineers have thought that there is some performance issue or a risk not worth taking. One question might be – how does the tool perform with bit-spinning if the battery suddenly begins to die? I know that big handheld routers with larger bits spinning in the work – have an issue if you have a power dip or outage. In that case there seems to be enough momentum to twist a users hands pretty good – but not enough to power through the cut. Not much of an issue – I suppose – if you’re just trimming laminate – but what about cutting a dado?
I really think the routing and sanding should always be paired with dust collection. So I don’t see the purpose of losing the cord if I am still going to have a hose attached.
In the shop – our production air sanders were tied to an air hose – and the downdraft table and dust hoods were tied into dust collection. In the field we tied our sanders to Fein dust extractors – but less so with routers – many of the older ones not having dust ports. The Betterley and Bosch laminate trimmers we used – may not have kicked up as much debris as a router being used for other tasks – but they both would have benefitted from integrated dust/debris collection.
This reminds me of my dewalt cordless drywall tool, which I have used as a router in a few pinches. Similar power, rpm, etc.
Maybe Bosch held off on the new Colt to design a 18v version?! One can only hope.
I have the old Craftsman C3 19.2 volt laminate trim router and was very disappointed when they discontinued it. There were a few issues; it seemed to do a great job of killing NiCad batteries but with the new lithium ones it does just fine, with the battery at an angle you cant set it upside down and its also difficult to adjust depth. If your looking to do 1/8″ to 1/2″ a round over or actually trim laminate its wonderful. I absolutely loved not having a cord to deal with.
Its not my main router by any means but for easing edges on sheet stock or deck building nothing better. Since they haven’t been doing much with the C3 stuff I’ve been looking to switch platforms and now Ridgid is a real contender.
I use my ryobi cordless router every day. We round over every post and evety window opening in our houses we build,also all the pressure treated post and decking for our decks we build. The ryobi is great ..lasts all day on one 4.0 …
Its light ,powerful and comfortable. .ive had this one 4yrs
Gotta love ryobi!
I use my cordless Ryobi trim router alot as well. It’s absolutely perfect for mortising hinges, strike plates, trimming laminate and edge banding…. the list goes on and on. I’ve even used it to make some ’emergency’ base shoe at the job site to avoid running into town on a Sunday afternoon. I actually prefer the weight of the battery on top – it gives it a nice heft and adds to the stability of the tool. I made my own custom base plate out of a piece of plexiglass larger than the original so I can increase the stability when used on narrow pieces of material. My only complaint is that mine is getting long in the tooth, and has developed quite a howl when using it. I would think the Rigid could only improve on the previous Ryobi platform with a better motor to boot.
I have the corded version of this tool, and I love it. A 1/4″ round over bit lives in it. I use it for breaking edges and it’s been performing daily for a year so far. Great Black Friday purchase.
I think Milwaukee had a 12 volt router 30 years ago. Full sized 1/4 ” collet.
Maybe milwaukee will do a full sized M18 fuel router to work with the 9.0 battery now and this is a feeler peice that actually works.
That would be nice.
If this item was available in a kit form with two batteries and a charger, I might be tempted to try it out. But when I checked the available stock of Rigid cordless tools at the three nearest stores, there were no other cordless tool kits in this brand that I needed or held any interest for me, leaving the router as an orphan tool that would require too much of an investment into what I would consider proper power supply for the tool.
I really do want a cordless trim router in my tool kit, but it will have to wait until one of the other companies I am already invested in, or planning to invest in at this point, decides to produce one before I make a purchase.
I waited a long time for DeWalt or Mikwauekee to come up with something like this, it is in my opinion ideal for routing door lock mortises or hinges, I have installed a bunch of doors on old houses where you have to fight the homeowner for a power outlet.
This would have save me time and at times maybe some unhappy customers.
But adding another battery system to my tool arsenal is not very covinient.