You’re comfortable with your old corded trim router. It has served you well over the years and has rounded the edges of so many workpieces you’ve worked on with as few hitches as possible. It has never failed you, and it’s going to take a lot to pry it from your hands.

But there are instances when bringing a corded compact router is not practical, such as when you are working in a remote jobsite or when the electrical outlet is too far from your work area and using an extension cord is out of the question. In these situations, it’s better to have a cordless trim router in your arsenal.

If you’re shopping for a new cordless laminate trimmer, then you’re going to find this article helpful. We reviewed the 6 best cordless trim routers on the market, as well as discussed the features you should look for when shopping for one.

1.
Makita XTR01T7 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Router Kit
  • Makita-built Brushless motor delivers faster and more accurate cuts in a variety of materials
  • The electronically-controlled BL Brushless motor efficiently uses energy to match torque and RPM to the changing demands of the application
  • Variable speed control dial (10, 000 - 30, 000 RPM) to match the speed to the application
  • Electronic speed control maintains constant speed under load
  • On/off button with separate lock button helps prevent accidental start-up of the tool for user and work piece protection
2.
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MILWAUKEE'S Cordless Compact Router,18.0 Voltage
  • Power Tools
  • Manufacturer: Milwaukee
  • Country of manufacture: China
3.
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DEWALT 20V Max XR Cordless Router, Brushless, Tool Only (DCW600B)
  • Dual LED lights help illuminate the work surface
  • Depth adjustment ring allows for fast and easy height adjustments
  • Electronic brake slows the motor down faster after the unit is shut off; Speed 16,000 to 25,500 rpm
  • Variable speed dial allows the user to match speed of the router to the application
  • Soft start motor with full time electronic feedback allows the motor to maintain speed during cuts
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Bosch 12V Max EC Brushless Palm Edge Router (Bare Tool) GKF12V-25N
  • POWER: The Bosch GKF12V-25N provides ergonomic 12V Max palm edge router construction and delivers a lightweight, well-balanced design, cordless convenience, EC Brushless power and runtime for hassle-free edge routing.
  • STABILITY: This cordless router allows easy handling with most of the tool and its gripping areas positioned over the workpiece for maximum stability when edge-forming and trimming.
  • EFFICIENT: With an EC Brushless motor, the GKF12V-25N cordless router provides efficient power, with a maximum 13,000 rpm and up to 23 Ft. of round-over capacity per battery Amp hour.
  • VERSATILE: Featuring a versatile depth-adjustment system, the GKF12V-25N ensures precise fine depth adjustment (0.04 In. per dial revolution) and easy macro depth adjustment.
  • CONVENIENT: The router’s depth adjustment lock helps prevent tampering with depth setting while the easy-change spindle lock provides easy one-wrench bit changes for maximum convenience.
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Ryobi P601 One+ 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Fixed Base Trim Router (Battery Not Included – Tool Only)
  • LED LIGHTING: A set of LED lights onboard this unit allow you to see your project clearly in less than optimal lighting conditions
  • GRIPZONE OVERMOLD: Maintain a firm grip with the rubber coating that allows precision handling, even in slippery conditions
  • DEPTH ADJUSTMENT KNOB: Don’t worry about having to use a tool; fine tune the depth of your cuts with the onboard, easy-to-use knob
  • ALUMINUM BASE: This sturdy base will keep this compact power tool stable while you perform a variety of tasks around the home or jobsite
  • ONE+ COMPATIBLE: A variety of Ryobi 18V lithium ion batteries are compatible with this tool. Compatible battery models include the P100, P102, P103, P104, P105, P107, and P108
6.
Ridgid R86044B 18V Lithium Ion Cordless Brushless 1/4 Inch Compact Router w/ Depth Adjusting (Battery Not Included / Power Tool Only)
  • EASY DEPTH ADJUSTMENT: No tools needed to make micro-adjustments to your drilling depth
  • LED LIGHTING: Clearly see your project with the help of onboard LEDs that activate when the tool is on
  • BRUSHLESS MOTOR: This tool’s brushless motor helps it run faster and last longer than its brushed counterparts
  • VARIABLE SPEED: You can change the speed of this router from 17,000RPM to 25,000RPM
  • SOFT START MOTOR: This motor takes time to get up to full speed to prevent damaging your woodworking product

Cordless Trim Router Buyer’s Guide

There are many things a cordless trim router can do. These include rounding out edges, cutting grooves, dovetailing, and more. It can also drill holes and cut inlays. Although the cordless version has its limitations when it comes to battery life, it is nonetheless as powerful as a corded laminate trimmer. 

It also has the added benefit of being more portable than its corded sibling. You have to be diligent when it comes to making sure that your battery is always fully charged before you go to the jobsite, but that’s a small price to pay for having a compact and portable power tool.

Fixed Base or Plunge Base? Which One’s Right For You?

A fixed base trim router is great for common routing jobs, such as rounding out edges, chamfering, and shaping. Because of its compact base, it is more lightweight than its plunge base counterpart. It is also easier to maneuver while working, making it ideal for first-time users.

You can tell that you’re using a plunge base trim router when you see that the base is larger and that it has two handles at the sides. As the name implies, the base allows you to ‘plunge’ or drop the tool into the material you’re working on before cutting it.

This type of router is ideal for cutting grooves, dovetailing, engraving, and other more challenging routing jobs. It’s going to take some time before you can perfect the use of this tool if you’re an amateur DIYer or woodworker.

The good news is some brands and models let you have the best of both worlds with interchangeable bases. These laminate trimmers are more expensive, but you can always swap a fixed base to a plunge base or vice versa whenever you want.

Power

A trim router with 1 HP or less is ideal for light and occasional projects. But if you’re planning to use the cordless laminate trimmer every day, then choose one with a higher HP rating.

But trim routers are more than just their horsepower rating. The most important factors when determining routing power are amp rating and RPM. The rule of thumb when it comes to these tools is the higher the RPM and the amp rating, the better the performance.

Soft Start Feature

Remember the first time you held a router? The sudden jolt its motor produced startled you, only increasing your apprehension in using a powerful tool. Thankfully, a lot of trim routers available on the market today are equipped with a soft start mechanism. Laminate trimmers with this feature start gently before slowly accelerating to the desired speed.

Variable Speed Control

Many cordless trim routers are equipped with variable speed control. This allows you to control the tool’s feed rate, especially if you’re cutting laminates, plastics, and other delicate materials. Running the tool at a lower speed setting also prevents the bit from causing damage to the surface.

While it might be tempting to adjust the speed to the highest setting when using a larger bit, this is not recommended. It can damage your workpiece with burn marks, as well as dull your bits pretty quickly. But keep in mind that setting the speed too low can also produce rough and uneven cuts.

Bit Changing System

Some cordless trim routers only take one collet wrench to change the bit. Just push a button near the tool’s base, and use the wrench to tighten or loosen the collet when changing or installing a bit.

Some woodworkers, however, are more comfortable with the two-wrench bit-changing system. The first wrench is used to hold the shaft, while the second wrench is used to hold the collet. Take a look at this video for a quick demonstration on how to change a router’s bit using the one-wrench and two-wrench bit changing system.

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Conclusion:

So, what’s the best cordless trim router, and what are the features that made it stand out?

If you’re willing to invest in an expensive piece of equipment that has it all, then the Makita XTR01T7 Compact Router Kit is the best choice. At the time of writing, this complete router set costs more than $300. But rest assured that you’ll get your money’s worth as the kit contains the tool itself, a battery pack, a fixed base, and a plunge base.

You’ll also get a wrench, a straight edge guide, and a durable plastic carry case that protects the tool and its accessories. The performance of this laminate trimmer with variable speed control was impressive even when you dial it down to the lowest speed setting.

But not everyone can afford this complete router kit, so if you’re looking for more affordable versions, then check out the RIDGID R86044V Compact Router and the Ryobi P601 One+ Trim Router. Both cordless trim routers exceeded expectations when it comes to performance and reliability. While it’s a little bulkier than the Ridgid compact trim router, the Ryobi router has the added advantage of having an LED light to illuminate your work surface.

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