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Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router (Variable Speed)

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Review by lashing posted 1233 days ago 10550 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Makita RP2301FC 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router (Variable Speed) No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I just got this router. So I’ll likely update info as I get more familiar. I noticed there are not many reviews for this new model from Makita so we need one on LJ.

Amazon offered a really low sale price on this for Black Friday. It was $100 less than the sale price here in Canada. Being 10 minutes from Detroit, I had it shipped there and even got free shipping from Amazon. To my horror, Amazon didn’t pack it. They shipped the router in its own box – unsealed. I guess UPS took care to carry it top up as if they flipped it upside down it likely would have spilled out.

It arrived anyway and I gave it a test run. Really I bought this for use in the table. I know – it’s a plunge router. Lots of people use its predecessor the 3612 in tables and it was the power/price that got me to buy it over the Milwaukee or PC 7518.
I like Makita. They often build a good tool. I also like that this router is made in Japan. Their routers have a good rep. I was impressed with the build quality out of the box. True to Makita the manual sucks. Terrible manual with no exploded parts diagram.

The plunge action has me thinking maybe I should keep it out of the table. It is effortless. I’ve never felt anything like the plunge. Apparently there is a new up/down bearing system utilized. It’s so smooth.

There are two LED lights to illuminate around the bit. I thought this would be hokey but actually, I like it. It totally helps. Not a deal maker/breaker .. it is useful and well placed so not at all annoying.

I haven’t put it thru all the paces but the soft start is nice. Plenty of power and it seems to sustain that power under load. It also has a brake so it stops quickly. The only gripe I have in this area is the power switch. There’s a safety switch you have to press in when you power it …. It feels a little flimsy. Minor gripe. With today’s silly rules they were probably forced to put it on to sell to America. Some idiot would change bits without unplugging it and sue.

For the last 2 years I’ve been using a Triton. I really like the Triton feature. It does everything others do not. Its build is a tad plastic though. In comparison the Triton is way easier to setup than the Makita. Putting the Makita in my table …. Well, its much more effort to get the bit in place. The Triton has a great feature of dialing the bit up and down quickly with the knob then using the fine adjust. The Makita forces you to wind forever on the fine adjustment. No quick up or down. Will I get used to this? No one has the feature of the Triton and I rave about those features. Until you try it – you’ll not know.

The Makita has more power than the Triton. This was expected. The Triton is the older 2 ¼ hp model. It performs well but there have been a tiny few instances I felt it might have been the culprit in tearout via not quite enough guts. The Makita appears to have plenty. The Makita gets hotter than the triton. Again – it’s a larger machine.

The bit is straight up 90 degrees. No wobble. The base is rock solid and the whole machine feels completely solid. It wins over the Triton here. After playing in the table a bit I still felt that maybe I should keep it out of the table. While it’s a heavy beast its really nice to handle freehand. Very balanced. The triton is not. Also the bit depth etc isn’t that big a deal to adjust when it’s right there with gravity working with me rather than against me. Unlike the Triton there is no way to take out the plunge spring. So it fights you in a table. I could see mortises being lovely with this Makita. That plunge is so smooth and the comfortable grip and balance actually make me like the weight. It’s like my Makita Circular saw – heavy yes but it actually helps the tool stay on course for their intended operation. Fine Woodworking complained they had to “help it back up” during mortises. I noticed no such thing. I also do not trust Fine Woodworking as in my opinon thye rate tools based on ad dollars not experience. Just my opinion. They rave about Ridgid and Dewalt to much.

Overall the Makita is a finer tool than the Triton and has more power. But we’ll see if the adjustment differences become too large to get over. From what I’ve seen so far – in tough woods like maple the power and stability of the Makita make the adjustment worthwhile. Any bogging down in maple gets disastrous on curves. We all know what happens when grain changes. You or your too cannot hesitate or wander. If you do that piece is going to fly. The Triton was dicey on grain changing curves.

We’ll see how it goes as projects progress. You do not get any extras from Makita. The unit comes with one ½” collet, a ¼ adapter sleeve (I hate when companies do this) a stamped wrench for the collet. No extras, no straight guide. Which brings me to my other gripe – no dust collection? My Triton has a nice plastic dust surround that works great with a shopvac. The Makita has nothing but a straight plastic shield operator side. Nothing on the other side so wood blows everywhere. I think dust collection is available as an accessory. Of course no one carries accessories and I assume they must be ordered.




View lashing's profile

lashing

108 posts in 1323 days



12 comments so far

View smitty22's profile

smitty22

585 posts in 1449 days


#1 posted 1233 days ago

Excellent review… Objective, factual, and the comparison with the Triton is very worthwhile. I will follow this for any updates as you use the Makita more.
thanks!

-- Smitty

View BTKS's profile

BTKS

1954 posts in 1966 days


#2 posted 1232 days ago

Of all the Makita tools I have purchased over the years I’ve been happy with all of them. Glad to see they are continuing with quality tools.
Have you tried the Router Razer? It’s an above the table and on the tool adjustment adaptor. I believe it’s a 1/16 thread with a crank handle to work above the table. I have it on an older PC Plunge router and love it. It’s also going on a three horse PC I picked up a year or two ago. You can do fast gross adjustments or fine tune your cut for less than $100.00. Usually around 70, maybe 80. I have not priced one for over a year.
Best of luck and it sounds like you’ve got a fine tool. Enjoy,
BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Dustmite97's profile

Dustmite97

430 posts in 1722 days


#3 posted 1226 days ago

Thanks for the review, looks like a good one. I currently own a Ryobi 1.5 hp router. I am planning on stepping up to a plunge router soon and the variable speed sounds like a great feature.

View lashing's profile

lashing

108 posts in 1323 days


#4 posted 1222 days ago

An update after more use:

After using this in the table a bit I am confirming that I will probably reserve it for plunge use. I find it works fine but I must admit the Triton adjustments are simply much easier. I can swap a bit and get my height setup in the Triton within one minute – even switching collets and all above the table.

A Strange thing about the Makita is the brake seems to not work in the table. Using the router in plunge mode the unit stops very quickly. Upside down in the table the unit no longer has this feature. Weird. Another strange thing is the soft start. The Makita comes up to speed then appears to drop down a notch.

Power wise it has not stuttered. I never hog away to much in a pass but tested it with normal use and it has yet to tell me “I cant take it”.

Its been awhile since I’ve used a sleeve for 1/4 bits. Another way the triton wins – having both 1/2 and 1/4 collets. I beleive Makita offers a 1/4” as an accessory. I do not like the idea of collet adapters. Much rather have the extra collet.

There is no dust collection on the Makita so for much plunge use I will have to get one. I wish they would just include this and price the router higher. Give me the straight guide 1/4” collet and a dust guard in the box please. Or at least make your dealers stock them if they sell the router.

I couldnt have bought this router sooner as the Triton has been making some sqealing sounds. Hopefully that will go away once I clean it out. It had a run of MDF in the table. That dust …. ugh.

View lashing's profile

lashing

108 posts in 1323 days


#5 posted 1004 days ago

Its been several months of using this router. Its out of the table. Its so much harder to adjust and change bits over the Triton that the Makita is now in plunge use only. Of course the plunge on this router is insanely smooth so thats where it belongs anyway.

The cons are – no accessories. I’d really like a dust shield with vac attachment since is now used for plunge action. Its doesn’t come with one and there is zero info anywhere about one that exists. I thinks the shield for other Makitas should fit but nowhere is the model listed even on the Makita website. No one sells their accessories anyway. Frustrating. Its a huge mess using this. The Triton came with the dust shield and it works well. Come on Makita. I don’t care if it costs more just put it out!

So not much more to say thats new except its a quality unit 217 days after my last update.

View lashing's profile

lashing

108 posts in 1323 days


#6 posted 879 days ago

Another update. Still no dust collection solution found. Everyone who sells the Makita does not sell the accesories. No response from Makita.

View xanderzub2's profile

xanderzub2

3 posts in 1160 days


#7 posted 795 days ago

hola, tengo pensado comprarme este router y quisiera consultarte algunas cosas

- se puede ajustar la altura de router bits desde arriba de la mesa o hay que sacar la herramienta, hacer el ajuste, y situarla denuevo?

- sigue con el problema de la velocidad y frenado cuando esta boca arriba?

aqui en argentina esta es “la mejor” fresadora que se consigue de este tipo, despues le siguen las industriales, me recomendarias usarla en una mesa? o crees que hay mejores opciones?

por cierto, ya se consiguen los accesorios, saludos cordiales. Xander

disculpas por el ingles, use google jaja

Hi, I have thought of buying this router and would like to consult you some things

- You can adjust the height of router bits from above the table or have to remove the tool, make the adjustment, and place it again?

- Still with the problem of speed and braking when this face-up?

Here in Argentina it is “the best” router you get from this type, then follow the industry, I recommend using it on a table? or think there are better options?

by the way, are already available accessories, best regards. Xander

apologize for the English, use google haha

View lashing's profile

lashing

108 posts in 1323 days


#8 posted 795 days ago

No I do not reccomend for table use. You cannot adjust from the top when in table.

I no longer use it in a table. I use the Porter Cable 7518 with a lift in my table and it never leaves.

The makita is a good router but the dust collection is terrible. A very nice machine but they need to address these practical things. I find the Makita a better machine but my Triton plunge router has way more features that make it nicer to use, despite being somewhat less power and cheaper quality.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3032 posts in 1315 days


#9 posted 556 days ago

Interesting you place a large emphasis on dust collection. Both of my routers have dust collection, but I don’t bother with it. Don’t feel bad, most dust collection systems on routers don’t work very well anyway. They are a gimmick to sell routers at this point. I would like to see more auto-locking collets (for bit changes), and self-centering base plates. These are features we could really use.

Yeah, Triton and Freud seem to have a lock on the best table routers, but we all need a good plunge router too.
Nice review.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View lashing's profile

lashing

108 posts in 1323 days


#10 posted 556 days ago

Actually, I found the dust shroud at a supplier and hooked up to my Festool vac …. almost all the dust is sucked away while I route.

I guess you never routed MDF or on a very regular basis. I am processing wood every day so I like to clean up as much as possible and not eat it.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3032 posts in 1315 days


#11 posted 539 days ago

No, I don’t rout MDF much. I make as many cuts as possible on the router table, which has dust collection.
My Dewalt 618 plunge base has through the tube D.C., so maybe I should use that more.
Glad to hear you found a dust shroud that works.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View harry1's profile

harry1

509 posts in 787 days


#12 posted 539 days ago

Having been using routers since 1974 and Makita 3600’s and 3612C since 2001 plus a Triton TR001 for the past four or five years, I feel qualified to pass comment. A test that I often suggest to members of another forum who ask what router to purchase is to walk along the row of routers in the tool stores and ensure that they are all unlocked, then walk back pressing each one with the palm of one hand. Every time that I do this the Makita has the smoothest, easiest plunge. The RP2301FC is a worthy successor to the 3612C but like it’s predecessor, is NOT the best router for table use, the Triton is, after all, that is what it was designed for, with above table bit change and now with above table height adjustment, spring removal in seconds plus micro height adjustment.
The new quick method of fitting template guides plus the lights also of course the fact that it takes one piece template guides which are available, at least here in Australia in sizes up to 40mm which allows the collet to pass through for greater depth of cut. When template routing having plenty of light so that the tip of the bit can be seen is important, among my my posted projects is one showing how I made an illuminated base which I have fitted on a 3600BR permantly mounted on skis. Other methods that I use are shown in these shots. The last shot shows the simple pedal operated router lifter, brilliant for fast, course adjustment and perfect for routing dowell holes.

-- Harry, Western Australia

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