Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router

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Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20 Review

Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 2723-20
Price: 179.00
Power source: 18 volt X2 [36V]
Motor size: 10,000 – 31,000 RPM
Weight: 2 lbs 15.4 oz [bare tool]
There are many advantages of a Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router. Carpenters, use compact routers to make my own window sills when trimming windows, easing edges on decking and trim, creating chamfers, installing built-ins, mortising hinges, and sometimes to make on-the-spot moldings.  More and more contractors are cutting the cord on their job sites and the ability for a cordless router to move freely around a job site is a huge plus.

Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router Applications

Smaller routers, like the Milwaukee router are useful in applications such as:

  • Duplicating parts
  • Cutting hinge mortises
  • Profiling edges
  • Flush cutting veneer
  • Trimming shelf lipping
  • Flush cutting plugs
  • Making small moldings

Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20 Specifications

  • Collet: 1/4″
  • No Load Speed: 10,000 – 31,000 RPM
  • Battery: 18V
  • Width: 3-3/4″
  • Length: 5-1/2″
  • Height: 10-3/4″
  • Weight:  2lb 15.4 oz  [bare tool]
  • Variable Speed: yes
  • LED light: Yes

Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20 Performance Evaluations

We looked at several categories:

  • Features – an overall comparison of features and specifications.
  • Ergonomics – Ergonomics is really important to users and an important category to consider when purchasing any power tool. In addition to traditional ergonomics, we also included functionality in this category.
  • Performance – The performance evaluation took a very deep dive into router motors and how fast cut a dado into AC plywood.
  • Run time – The run-time evaluation proves the user with a good baseline of expected work per battery charge. We use 1/2 round router bits to come up with a linear foot length and compute that to carpenter speak of “number of window sills” routed.
  • Price – Price is always an important factor in determining which router is best for a user. We’ve included the current pricing found online for the routers at the time of publication.

There were a few stand-out features that affect performance and safety.

Power Switch

The Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router power switch is centered and well placed. the switch has a rubber boot that protects it from  dust and water. We found it durable and liked the switch placement which is set up for a right-handed user.

Variable Speed Adjustment

The Milwaukee router variable speed switch is set up for right-handed users. As a right-handed user, the dial is perfectly placed for your thumb to adjust the tool while gripping it. The speed dial knob has protruding ribs, for easy grip and use. It was easy to adjust on the fly.

Router Base Depth Adjustment

The Milwaukee router has an outstanding quick-release lever. It utilizes a push-button macro adjustment and a dial for micro-adjustments. The micro screw adjustment knob on the Milwaukee is rubberized, is easy to grip and is precise and smooth to operate.   This router has the best base adjustment of all the routers I’ve used.

LED Work light

The Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20 has two ERY BRIGHT LED bulbs. We liked that the router LEDs do not cast a shadow, and the light stays on for 15-seconds after turning off the tool or pressing the unlock button.

Electric Brake

an electric brake stops the router bit instantly, when turned off.  Electric brakes on routers is a huge safety feature.

Base Plate

The Milwaukee comes with two plates and is a great value. The larger of the two plates is a 5-3/4” sub-base and is perfect for template bushing routing. Template bushings are typically used with mortising hinge jigs.

Overall Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the science of designing and producing tools that improve a worker’s efficiency while reducing discomfort, fatigue, and risk of injury.

The Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20 is one of the nicest designed compact routers Ive tested. It is a VERY comfortable too to use for long periods.  It has excellent balance, is easy to change the bit, has an excellent line of sight and is one of the easiest routers when it comes to depth adjustment.

Milwaukee Router Grip

You may not pay much attention to grip, but if you’re mass-producing stock for a project, grip matters! The Milwaukee has the  best router grip that I’ve seen when comparing to other compact routers. It has a full rubberized coverage, and is comfortable to grip.

Milwaukee Router Bit change

The Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router has 6 spindle lock positions. The other three routers have cut out holes in the shaft, that allow 2-positions (180 degrees to engage spindle lock). With regard to the actual spindle lock button, the Makita has a superior collet button over the others. Changing the bit is straightforward and easy.

Ease of Adjusting Depth of Cut

Ergonomically speaking the easiest base adjustment of all the routers on the market is the  Milwaukee, utilizing a push-button macro adjustment and a dial for micro-adjustments. The rubberized knob is easy to grip, adjust and precise.

Line of Sight

It is no secret that the routers with the larger base opening provided a better line of sight. The Milwaukee has a large base opening at 2-5/8″ and 2-1/2″ respectively.  The larger opening and strong LED light help provide an excellent best line of sight.

Router Housing – Fit and Finish

Fit and Finish was not scored but does show through in the total Head-to-Head scoring.  Milwaukee all has durable aluminum router housings. Better quality construction, materials, seams, and adjustments show thorough here.

Cordless Router Run-time Test

In order to simulate a real carpentry application for our run-time testing, a window sill routing procedure was used. This is an application that relates directly to trim carpenters in the field. A 3/8″ round-over bit and bearing was used to rout two sides of a seven-foot Poplar board.

Testing Procedure:

  1. Install a new Rockler 3/8″ round-over bit
  2. Use a fully-charged 6.0 Ah battery
  3. Set router to highest speed
  4. A 1-2 second per foot, feed-rate was used
  5. 7-feet of the board was routed on 4-edges
  6. Rest tool while rotating the board and ripping edges off
  7. Repeat until unable to complete procedure
  8. This was an aggressive test for these routers but realistic if a carpenter was to mass-produce all the window sills needed for a large house.

Run-Time Test Results

The Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router plowed through the material with ease and was able to make 88 1/2 rounded steps for a total of 308 lf. When you translate that into carpenter talk, this router is capable of making 106 window sills 36-inches long.

Milwaukee [bare tool] Accessories

The Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router 2723-20  comes with some [value added] accessories, clearly, they were thinking of their users and common applications. The bare tool accessories are:

  1. Dust Shroud
  2. Straight Edge Guide – fits common jigs without dipping [e.g. hinge jig]
  3. Larger 5-3/4” sub-base plate with an opening sized for template bushings,

Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Milwaukee FUEL M18 Router consistently performs as well as a 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 cordless router on the M18 platform.

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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  1. OldDominionDIYer

    Thanks for the review, I have one of these and am very pleased with it, though I have only had the chance to use it a few times so far. I’m really looking forward to picking up the plunge and offset bases this coming year. One comment that I don’t understand is how the power switch you say is setup for righties?? I’m a lefty and it is perfectly placed for me especially since it is centered along with the micro adjustment knob. The speed adjust knob being on the side favors righties which is understandable but I think perhaps the power switch is ambidextrous for sure. Being in two different locations makes it difficult to attribute them both to righties I think…

  2. dpow

    “In order to use this Makita router, base and router bit, we had to turn on the router and cut through the base-plate with the bit.”

    Is this a typo? Or a comparison to a Makita trim router?

    1. typo thanks for bringing to our attention

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