Makita RT0701C Wood Router Review – Should You Buy It?
The Makita RT0701C is a slim, compact and agile wood router that delivers good performance with its 1.25 HP motor at an affordable price. It has a variable speed control of 10,000 - 30,000 RPM, built from quality materials and offers excellent accuracy on the job. It is a popular router solution that quickly found a home in many workshops. But is this product worth it or are there better products for the job? If you are considering purchasing this model (or a similar one), then our hands-on review of the RT0701C is a must-read!
1. Technical Features
Motor Power/Soft Start:
We cannot talk about wood routers without mentioning the power. It is at the core of this power tool, and basically everything revolves around it. The Makita RT0701C sports a small 120V 6.5 Amps motor rated at 1.25 HP. It offers enough performance for general purpose routing, and although not the most powerful - it gets the job done.
Despite being nearly an entry-level routing solution, Makita opted to “beef up” the motor with specs that are usually found in more premium and expensive models. For starters, the motor has a soft start system. A small amount of torque is sent to the router bit, gradually increasing until it reaches the set speed. Technically, this prevents the router from damaging your material. But it also has an added benefit of making the router safer to use. A router is more maneuverable at a slow speed than at a high one.
1.25 HP is decent power when routing wood. It will perform very well for trim jobs, cuts as well as boring holes, regardless of whether it is soft wood or hard wood. However, we can only recommend this product for routing wood in a home workshop setting - ideally for DIY tasks or casual routing. Metal workers or professional woodworkers will struggle with this small and under-powered motor. For this, we recommend the Porter Cable 7518 which is a much more powerful router solution. Even the Bosch 1617EVSPK will perform substantially better.
The variable speed of 10,000-30,000 RPM makes the Makita RT0701C quite versatile. It allows you to adapt to the material you are routing, and switching back and forth between the different speeds is very intuitive and easy to perform.
Furthermore, this model has a special electronic speed load circuitry that will always deliver a linear speed. What this does is deliver a standard and more professional finish - whether you are performing trims, cuts or boring holes.
This electronic speed load also contributes massively to the excellent accuracy of this power tool. In fact, it is one of Makita’s main selling point for this tool.
Plunge Base vs Fixed Base:
Note that this unit can be purchased with or without a plunge base. By default, it is shipped with a fixed base plate.
- Plunge Base: A plunge base is usually used to bore holes anywhere on your material. Makita provides an easy way to adjust the bit depth anywhere between 0 to 1-3/8”. 1-3/8” is enough for most commercially available wood planks and boards that rarely exceed 1” in thickness. The plunge has comfortable handles on both sides and the ergonomic form factor is a pleasure to use for long hours.
- Fixed Base: A fixed base is ideal for edge trims or straight cuts. The fixed base rack-and-pinion offers good depth adjustment and the cam lock system allows you to quickly release this router from the base. Now, you can fit it to a router lift instead of being handheld to get more versatility and better accuracy. All the base dimensions are standard and made for easy fitting in either a router plate or table lift. When fitted to a table lift, it should work with any standard template guide out of the box.
Due to the smaller motor of the Makita RT0701C, it stands to reason that Makita only provides a 1/4” collet for the router bits. It can be made to work with a collet size of 3/8” but forget about 1/2” for larger router bits. It will not fit. 1/4” is good enough for general purpose routing as the most popular woodworking router bits are that dimension.
Ease of Adjustment:
The rack-and-pinion offers a smooth depth adjustment of up to 1-3/8” when used with a plunge and even further when in a fixed base. This model allows you to “customize” the depth adjustment to any setting and does not limit you to pre-set depths.
The cam lock system allows you to quickly and easily remove and replace the bases. All you have to do is press down and the spring release mechanism in the cam lock will immediately detach the base. Very neat and easy to use!
When the fixed base is attached, you can easily mount this unit to a router table since it uses industry-standard dimensions.
- Aluminum Motor Housing: The motor housing is made from aluminum that is both lightweight and help dissipate heat more efficiently. The whole housing of this router is made from a durable and strong metal alloy. This is a product that is durable and should last, even if used daily.
- Clear Base: The base is visible when used as a handheld router. You will always have a birds-eye-view on your routing.
- Ergonomic Design: It has a slim and ergonomic form factor. It feels great and fits really well in the hand, regardless of hand size.
Makita delivers this router with a few handy accessories like a 1/4” collet, a tilt base, straight guide, a wrench, and spanner wrench. Additionally, you can purchase this unit as either a fixed base or a fixed/plunge base combo kit.
This model offers a decent set of features and has excellent versatility, especially when bought as a fixed/plunge base combo kit. You can check current price here (kit with 1 Base, kit with 3 Bases). We think that it is reasonably priced and offers great value as long as the user uses this router exclusively for general purpose and casual woodworking jobs. For anything else that requires heavy-duty action, the Bosch 1617EVSPK offers more performance and better specs at around the same price point as the Makita RT0701C 3-Base combo kit.
- Excellent build quality. The shell is made from a durable metal alloy and the motor house from aluminum - which helps dissipate heat and allow the motor to run cooler.
- Speed Control: This unit can perform 10,000 - 30,000 RPM with the press of a button. 30,000 RPM is rare is routers and it will deliver a very smooth and polished finish.
- Versatility: It can be fitted to a router lift quite easily and the cam lock mechanism is easy to use - simply press and it will release the base plate.
- Price: Affordable and competitively price. It offers the user with a selection of combo kits that fit different budgets and price points.
- Form factor: The slim and ergonomic shape are a pleasure to use. Very comfortable router to hold and use as a handheld router.
- 1.25 HP is not enough for heavy-duty work. This is not meant for professional use.
Who Should Buy?
The Makita RT0701C is not the most powerful router in the world. It will deeply struggle with heavy-duty workload or routing through hard material. It is not meant for that. It is a versatile and easy to use package that is affordably priced and meant almost exclusively for casual wood routing.
We only recommend this model to homeowners or woodworkers who require a router for casual routing jobs. If you already own a router table, this model should fit right in and happily perform any small-time routing tasks you throw at it. Best, it will not cost you a fortune.