MAKITA 18V LXT Cordless Compact Router XTR01Z

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MAKITA 18 V 1-1/4 H.P. Cordless Router Review

Makita 18 V Cordless Compact Router

4.5/5
Manufacturer: Makita
Model number: XTR01Z
Price: 135.00
Power source: 18 Volt
Motor size: Brushless
Weight: 4.6
If you’ve been a carpenter for at least 20 years you know that MAKITA’s lineage is with the carpenter and woodworker. To prove this just think back to your first miter saw, table saw or slide pack drill and I’d bet it was a MAKITA for most of you.

Who would’ve guessed, back then, that cordless tools would be as powerful as their corded brethren. Lately, MAKITA’s goal is to only launch new, cordless tools of they were equal to or better than their corded version.

Makita Compact Router XTR01Z

We recently took the MAKITA 18V LXT brushless cordless compact router XTR01Z to the jobsite and for some testing in our shop. This router is geared toward the Pro contractor. These days, so many people are using compact routers do the lion share of their routing applications.

The exciting thing about this new cordless router, besides being cordless, is that is a mirror image to the corded RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router. That means that all the expensive accessories, like plunge bases, tilt bases, guides and dust shrouds, that guys already own, will FIT the cordless router. Not only is it a similar looking router but it will provide you with similar performance to its corded version.

That’s not only smart, but a nice thing to do. Clearly Makita is thinking about its tool users, and making the transition to go cordless more cost-effective and cheaper.

Makita Cordless Router First Impression

Seeing a battery on a router is a bit strange, but a VERY welcomed sight. The new 18V LXT Router has a durable aluminum housing, and a rubber over-mold that really allows you to grip the motor housing.

This router measures 8-7/8″ tall; weighs 4.6 lbs. with battery, and the battery pack is located on top of the tool which makes sense for balance, since this is a sliding tool.

NEW to this tool is the addition of two bright, and well placed LED lights. The lights are situated on either side of the collet and are controlled by a separate electronic switch. This LED switch is also the lock / unlock switch for the router.

Motor and Power Switch

The 18V LXT Router is a great addition for trim, cabinetry and woodworking applications. It has brushless motor and a variable speed control dial with five settings to match the speed to the application:

  1. 10,000 rpm
  2. 15,000 rpm
  3. 20,000 rpm
  4. 25,000 rpm
  5. 30,000 rpm

The router has built-in electronics to control speed and maintain torque and RPM under load, as well as a, soft start feature.

To turn the tool on, you must first press the unlock button, which also activates the LED lights. Then to turn the tool on you press the power button. As long as the LED lights are on you can operate the tool with the power switch. Once the LED light turns off, you need to press the unlock button first. The LED lights stay on for 10-seconds after to tool is powered down.

This separate lock button may seem like a pain, but I think it’s smart. It helps prevent accidental start-up of the tool for user and workpiece protection.

Router Base Adjustment

Next to being cordless, the router base adjustment gets me excited. Like most router manufacturers MAKITA uses a quick release cam lever to adjust or remove the router base. But for micro adjustments, I love how MAKITA uses a rack-and-pinion depth adjustment system, which lets you dial precise settings. This adjustment is smooth, fast and super easy to use. Frankly it blows away most of the competitor’s adjustment.

The aluminum housing of the router also has etched in and easy-to-read Imperial and Metric depth scales.

This router Uses 1/4″ shank routers bits and has a plunge capacity of 0 – 1-3/8″ with plunge base attached.

Accessories

Additional bases and attachments are available (sold separately). For users of corded Makita compact routers, (models RT0700C, RT0701C), the bases used with these corded routers are fully compatible with the cordless router. (XTR01Z) In addition, the cordless router easily connects to Makita vacuum cleaners with the optional dust nozzle for improved dust extraction. We used the dust shroud to do our testing, it worked great and we enjoyed dust free routing.

I want to stress that this accessory compatibility is an awesome feature and one that will save you money and, as MAKITA hopes, will help the transferring to cordless less painful.

Visibility

Half of the router base is a sturdy rubber over mold and the other half is open to view the collet. Enhanced with the two LEDs visibility on this router is excellent. Even with the clear plastic dust shroud, visibility is good, although it does occasionally need to be wiped clen.

Dust Collection

We used the clear plastic dust collection nozzle. This nozzle is designed for use with fixed base and quickly and easily attached to the base. At first I connected the router to my dust collector, and due to the longer run, it collected about 50% of the dust. Afterward I connected it to my shop vacuum, which increased that to 95% collection. As an added bonus – the fixed base dust shroud completely closes off the area to the collet, enhancing safety for hand placement.

We tested two dust collecting shrouds:

  • 195559-1 Dust nozzle (fixed base, router)
  • 194733-8 Dust nozzle (plunge base, router)

Using the MAKITA Cordless Router

The shaft lock on the MAKITA router is a simple push button that indexes a pint in to the collet shaft, simple and effective.

When routing I found the router was the perfect weight and was well balanced. It was not too light where the router “walks, or chatters” along the surface. It cut well, and had plenty of power to handle small to medium routing applications. This router is easy to operate, has great visibility, and power.

Improvements

There is nothing negative too say about this router, it does exactly what it says it will do, and does it well.  As far as improvement goes, we think the plunge base, dust shroud attachment is weak and needs to be revamped.

While using this dust shroud with a dust hose attached, the weight of the hose popped the “clip-tab” out of its indexing hole, and caused the front portion of the shroud to contact the router bit. As a result, the should was damaged and ineffective moving forward.

We reached out to MAKITA and were told that this shroud has been out since 2008 with NO Issues! It’s possible that I experienced a freak and isolated incident.

Runtime Testing

Runtime is impressive to say the least. MAKITA tested this router and in Red Oak with a 6mm straight bit set to a 4 mm depth. They achieved the following:

  • Cuts up to 150’ with a 2.0Ah
  • Cuts up to 380’ with a 5.0Ah

I tested the MAKITA compact router in my shop and was able to route 208 Lf lineal feet of 3/4” Poplar stock with a 3/8” round-over bit.

To a finish carpenter that equates to 26 [half-rounded] window sills 48” long, on a single 5.0 Ah battery. That’s almost a whole house of windows, and more windows than I can trim out in a day.

Testing Procedure:

I wanted to simulate a real carpentry application for our run time testing. I chose a window sill routing procedure, where I typically would use a 1/4 round over bit and rout two sides of a boards edge.

For the test, eight lineal feet of routing basically equaled a 48″ wide window sill. My testing procedure was based on the following:

I used a lightly used, 3/8” round over bit with a bearing, and 8′ Poplar boards.

  1. Use approximately a 5 second per foot, feed-rate
  2. Route 8-feet of board
  3. Rest tool while rotating board and clamping.
  4. Repeat 3X
  5. Rest tool 10 minutes
  6. Repeat until unable to complete procedure

The reason for resting the tool was to avoid heat buildup in the battery or brushless motor.  I also wanted to simulate a real life carpentry application.

Mass Production Note:

Typically, I would rout a window sill or several sills and then go off and install them, including the window casing trim.  It’s rare that I would mill up an entire house at one time, and if I did I would probably do that in the shop on a table mounted router.

Cost

Bare Tool:  $ 135.00

Kitted: 370.00 (Tool, 2 batteries, charger, plunge base, straight edge accessory, and an interlocking storage case)

Makita 18 V Cordless Compact Router
135.00

Overall Impression

The MAKITA 18V Cordless Compact Router, model XTR01Z operated smoothly and cut precisely. We appreciated that MAKITA took the time to mirror their corded router in quality and performance. There is very little difference between the new cordless and the older cored version.

Bottom line, this router consistently performs as well as its corded version, but without the cord! That alone is enough for me to make the transition. The fact that we now have a compact, and powerful router to work with is huge. If your already on the MAKITA battery platform this is a no-brainer tool addition, if you’re not, you may want to!

We’ve come a long way in 20-years!

Makita 18 V Cordless Compact Router
135.00

MAKITA 18V Cordless compact Router Video Review

 

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is also the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and the editor of the blog, A Concord Carpenter and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts. As a carpenter and web editor, Rob is a recognized leader in tool and how-to information for building professionals. He is the carpenter correspondence for and writes a Q&A column, in the Sunday Boston Globe, called "Ask the Carpenter."He hosts the Concord Carpenter Cable TV Show,, offering the do-it-yourself audience in Boston’s Metro West region expert advice on home repairs and maintenance. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, where we post all of our tool reviews and video editorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

http://www.aconcordcarpenter.com/@https://twitter.com/robertrobillardRob Robillard

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1 Comment

  1. Daniel Schwetz

    The Makita cordless router. It looks very impressive. Especially with the rack and pinion adjustments. Without the dust collector being able to do all four sides of something large without the cord hang up on horses or stepping on the cord is a great idea. I seems on the video that it must be top-heavy because you have turn the top over which doesn’t matter on a three-round over cuz you can sand it smooth. I don’t own any Makita tools I am mainly on a DeWalt platform. How does the DeWalt compare if they have such a tool

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