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Solid, Simple, Powerful. Router Lift Not Required (Really!).

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Review by MetallurgyNerd posted 02-12-2013 11:23 AM 4193 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Solid, Simple, Powerful.  Router Lift Not Required (Really!). No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this router specifically to install in my router table, replacing a crummy Chinese router I bought years ago when I was poor. It installed easily on my 9” round Veritas phenolic base plate and the built-in above-table adjustment is great. Obviously not as precise as a $350 after-market router-lift that lets you precisely adjust bit depth a thou at a time, but perfectly adequate for everything I do, which is primarily furniture-making.

I had to remove the router D handles to get it up into my home-built router table, but that’s just a design quirk of my base plate and table rather than a problem with the router. Even so, the T-30 screws made it quick and easy to remove the handles and equally quick and easy to re-install them when I occasionally need to use the router out of the table.

With this router, bit changes above the table will either be not possible or not convenient, but I really don’t care. Unless you’re in a true production setting where every minute costs you money (?) I don’t see the big whoop about above-table bit changes and even then I doubt it’s that much faster (you still have to crank the router up, right?). With the 5625 I just reach under the table, undo one latch, push a button and the motor drops (literally) into my other hand. Then I can set it on the table and change the bits with the two included forged wrenches that will never break, slip, or fail to function like some collet locks eventually do. The two-wrench method is simple, reliable, and proven. Then I slide it back into the base, adjust it from the top with the included wrench, and lock it down with the latch (which does not change the adjusted height).

This router has gobs of power even with big bits, but I was surprised at how quiet it was compared to other large production routers I’ve used. Sure, at max speed it’s pretty loud, but at lower speeds it’s downright quiet. I seldom feel the need to wear hearing protection, and I’m vigilant about hearing protection. The digital speed control is very good as well.

Where this router really shines is mounted in a table, but don’t be afraid to use it free-hand. It’s lighter than I expected, the handles just feel “right” and provide great control. I found it very easy to use for things like rounding over a table edge, etc. But then again my router table base plate is round, so it makes it easy for me to pull the router out of the table and use it free-hand without re-installing the stock base plate.

If you are planning on doing a lot of dovetails in a jig or other fine, fiddly precision work you’ll probably want to buy a second (smaller) router for those tasks, but in a pinch this router will do those tasks as well. And besides, since you didn’t have to blow $350 on an after-market router lift, you can spend that money instead on a nice 1-3/4 HP or 2-1/4 HP router and some bits. Woo-hoo, more tools!

You really should consider buying this router if:

- You plan on doing most of your work in a router table and need to swing big bits at least some of the time.
- You’d love an aftermarket router-lift but can’t justify the cost.
- You value a simple, reliable design more so than a bunch of fancy features and doodads that may or may not actually work right or be of any use to you.

Time will tell how reliable this router is in the long run, but I have high hopes so far.

-- Challenge the prevailing perceptions.




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MetallurgyNerd

5 posts in 654 days



9 comments so far

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2158 days


#1 posted 02-12-2013 12:56 PM

Thanks for the review, I have this router and concur that it is awesome and lives up to Milwaukee’s slogan “Nothing but Heavy Duty”
It’s a great under the table router with easy height adjustment that is more than adequate for most users. It is powerful and surprisingly quiet, they don’t make them (other brands) like this one anymore. IMO Milwaukee is the most underrated tool manufacturer out there, all their stuff if first class and heavy duty. Would buy one again in a heartbeat.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1882 days


#2 posted 02-12-2013 03:02 PM

Good review. I’d hate to drop my motor each time I made a bit change, however. It’s heavy and difficult to access in a dust enclosure. Hard to beat my PRLv2 lift for this, especially with the quick height wrench.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3515 posts in 1537 days


#3 posted 02-12-2013 07:04 PM

Nice review.
Does the collet extend far enough above the table to change the bits topside? From your review it sounds like no?
Just curious. I could live without my Freud FT1700 above-the-table adjustments if I had to, because the knobs and levers are easy to reach below as well. What I wouldn’t want to give up is the collet that extends nice and high so you can get a wrench on it.

Thanks for the nice review, and I am glad your router is working so well for you.

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

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1523 posts in 1238 days


#4 posted 02-13-2013 01:17 PM

Wow…what a router. And my heavy duty Bosch I’ve used for the last three years, the collet lock cracked, just as you said. I like the twin wrench system better any day. Thanks for the review, I may have to look into this one.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View MetallurgyNerd's profile

MetallurgyNerd

5 posts in 654 days


#5 posted 02-13-2013 01:32 PM

@pintodeluxe:

When I raise the router as high as it will go in the supplied base only one collet nut is above the table. I guess you could reach under the table with one wrench and work the other from the top, but that sounds obnoxiously awkward. That’s why I just drop the motor. It really is quick and easy. Of course, mine is not mounted in a confined dust collection cabinet, it just hangs out in the open under a table saw extension where it’s easy to get to.

@Cosmicsniper:

I could see how dropping the motor for bit changes would suck if it was mounted in a cramped dust enclosure. Hadn’t thought of that. If I ever did decide to get an after-market router lift, a quick-lift mechanism would be a MUST for me. None of this spinning a little wheel a bazillion times to raise it up to full height. The PRLv2 would likely be my first choice.

-- Challenge the prevailing perceptions.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

904 posts in 834 days


#6 posted 02-13-2013 01:39 PM

I have this same router, also in a PRLV2 lift. GREAT motor!

The threaded base is plenty usable, but the lift really is helpful. Good lifts have coarse and fine adjustments. There’s no need to crank the router out and back in to change the bit. With the PRL (or Kreg), it’s a 1/2 turn and a push, and you’re in and out.

The bigger the bit, the more of a PITA it is to remove and replace the motor, especially without hitting the bit against the mount. Also, some tables are harder to get to the bit from below than others, and others don’t have enough room to completely remove and replace the motor with a bit installed.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

906 posts in 2337 days


#7 posted 02-13-2013 02:06 PM

You said it yourself in the review… this isn’t a substitute for a router lift.

When I acquired my router table, I bit the bullet and bought a Woodpecker QuickLift. I actually spent more on the router lift than I did on the brand-new DeWalt router I put in it. I have never regretted it. Bit changes happen above the table, it is easy to dial in thousandths of height change and I can’t tell you the last time I had the door open on the router cavity.

It doesn’t have anything to do with production – working with the router table the way you describe sounds like a PITA!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

15161 posts in 1912 days


#8 posted 02-14-2013 04:41 AM

I use to change my bits the old fashion way, got tired of bending down and taking the router out. I have this one and love it. But my Triton 3 1/4 HP lives in the table and with them there is not need to buy a lift. You can chage all the bits and adjust the height from the top, never removing it from the table.
Thx for the review and Welcome to LJ’s

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Lawseeker's profile

Lawseeker

8 posts in 651 days


#9 posted 02-15-2013 08:43 PM

Good review. Your perspective is helpful and you were clear about how you use the router. I agree, Milwaukee makes great tools. I have several of their smaller cordless and corded tools. All have been excellent. I am looking at purchasing a Milwaukee Router 5616-24. Thanks for your thoughts.

-- Marvin, Bakersfield CA -- stay alert, be courageous--

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