Solid router at good price suitable for router table
Wanted a good router to fit in router table without spending $500. Was comparing the Ryobi RT1600 with the Makita M3600G. The Ryobi at Bunnings looked like a good deal with 1600W motor, soft start, choice of 1/4" or 1/2" collet and only $149. Then I compared the Makita M3600G for $189 with its far more expensive models such as RP1800 and RP2300 series. The latter are beautiful quality machines made in Japan with smooth plunge and the top model with variable speed. But the M3600G is just like the branding on the box "simple solid power". I...n comparison with the Ryobi it is a brute - powerful motor, really solid construction. For mounting in a router table, the advantages of the M3600G are: 1. four well-positioned screw holes on the base 2. comes with a metal guard plate accessory to protect the motor from sawdust when mounted inverted, and a collet spacer - both in the box 3. has a toggle switch rather than intermittent button (as in Ryobi), so it can be left in the 'ON' position when mounted and actuated from external power 4. has a good 70mm plunge travel (more than Ryobi 55mm) and both 1/4" and 1/2" collets 5. intelligible manual, unlike the Ryobi picture book (you can find both online to compare in advance) 6. a long large knob for fine adjustment of plunge height. (Not shown in Makita or retail seller web photos but how it comes in Australia). This long knob is normally used to limit the upward height of the body when used in normal plunge operations. I thought it would be good for adjusting the bit height when upside down in a table. Unfortunately in practice, it doesn't easily lift the inverted heavy router body very well when installed upside down. However it will allow minute adjustments of the body and bit downwards which is helpful. This was still better than the Ryobi which had no equivalent adjustment knob just a depth indicator. (The top of the line Makita series have a hole in the base through which you can access a threaded hole in the body to operate a long screw as a form of through- table height adjustment. Pity they don't put this on the M3600G model as well.)
- Verified purchase
I have had this router for 12 months now. I am retired and use it to do woodwork as a hobby. I had considered laying out $460 for another Makita router model and saw this for $169 at the time. Did some research and found that this was very close to the other in performance and features. This router, for the money, does everything I ask of it. I have been using it free hand but I recently mounted it full time in a router table and it has been great in that role as well. It has plenty of power for what I want and has a 1/2" chuck with the includ...ed option of a 1/4" collet so I can use a range of router bits. The plunge is not as smooth as the dearer models but it is never the less effective. I have found the depth adjustments to be accurate and the guide to be very sturdy. The only issue has been the torque steer on start up because it doesn't have a soft start feature for a powerful machine but if you are prepared for it it is not an issue. It also does not have variable speed control although the Makita model that does have it is another $400. I bought an aftermarket speed controller for $75 which performs the same function without issue. Overall, this router has been a real surprise for the price given the performance I get from it.
Great Router for the Price
Wanted a 1/2" router, and didn't want to pay several hundred, I saw the Makita M3600G, 1650 watts of power and appears well made. Has spindle lock and great collet assembly. Doesn't have soft start or speed control, but since I have it in a router table the soft start isn't needed and neither is the speed control as I only use bits up to 30mm diameter. The plunge mechanism could be a little smoother but since I am using a router lift this is not a problem either. Don't know how they make them for the price.
Questions & Answers
How effective is the dust collection on the M3600 router?
Truly abysmal. There is no standard gear with the router. The Makita options for dust collection do not fit this unit and are only for the more expensive models. The deflection shield only deflects as the name implies. There may be an aftermarket option (like Milescraft) but I haven't tried any.
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