|Review by richgreer||posted 02-03-2012 06:42 PM||15903 views||1 time favorited||25 comments|
I discovered that there is no review of this router on this website so I decided to add one.
I know that Festool tools are a little controversial. They are expensive. Some of us who own them have been called “Festfools”. In my case, I was able to buy this router used for a reasonable price that was just a little more than I would pay for a comparable new router from a different manufacture.
I decided to do part of this review on a comparative basis. I will compare this router to my Makita. I consider my Makita to be a good representative of routers of compatible size and power from other manufactures. It’s a mid-sized plunge router with 2.25 hp. It is very much like the Porter Cable 890 (which I also own) or the DeWalt 618 (which I do not own).
My Festool and my Makita have comparable size, weight and power.
Plunge routers tend to be a little top heavy. The Makita feels a little more top heavy when you grab the handles which are lower on the body of the machine. The left handle on the Festool is in about the same position as the Makita, but the right handle is higher and wider. You truly feel like you have more control over the machine and it feels less top heavy.
FYI – I have owned the Festool for about 2 years and the Makita for about 10 years. I think I have enough experience with each to speak with some insight.
Both machines offer smooth plunge motion – but the Festool is smoother.
When you are ready to start the machine, on the Festool your hands do not leave the handles. You can retain a firm grip on the handles of the Festool and start and stop it. The switch for the Makita is at the top of the machine.
The Festool allows for very precise micro-adjustment of the depth. You will see a dial on the depth guide on the left side of the Festool. It can be turned with a click every 1/10th of a millimeter.
One of the niftiest features of the Festool is how you change bits. It has a ratchet mechanism. You will see this in the second picture. You place a 22 mm wrench on the collet nut and move it back and forth with your finger on the tighten or loosen side of the green rocker switch you see. Very slick.
In the third picture you see another unique Festool feature. You see a insert plate that easily clicks in and out of the router base, yet it is securely in position when it is in the router. It is so easy to pop it out, attach a bushing, and pop it back in. With just your hands you can tighten the nut on the bushing very tightly. It never comes loose when being used.
By contrast, with the Makita, if you add a bushing you can only use, what I call, “fingertip power” to tighten the nut. I’ve had the bushing nut come loose on my Makita more than once. It is a sure way to destroy a bushing.
THere is no question in my mind that this is the best mid-sized plunge router available. Is it worth the price? It certainly is worth what I paid for it as a used machine. Is it worth the full price of a new machine? That’s for you to decide.
-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.