Metabo HPT cordless trim router (M1808DAQ4) is a great little router coming on the heels of the company’s release of the world’s first cordless full-size 1/2-inch router. The two routers complement each other quite nicely. The 1/2-inch Metabo HPT 36V Cordless Plunge Router (M3612DA) can handle anything you can throw at it. Their new trim router can do anything a trim router is supposed to do. It is also fun to use!
- Small and lightweight
- One-hand operation
- Bright LED lights
- Easy bit changes
- Multiple accessories included
- Can operate from multiple power sources
- Dust port falls off easily
If you have never had a trim router before, you are probably going to want one…or two. At least two. Maybe Three. Definitely three. Full-size routers a great for their power, but they are big and heavy. They are also harder to balance on the wood. A trim router runs along the edge of a board much easier and more stable than a full-size router and it can be used one-handed. Your other hand can hold the board in place.
Why would you want more than one? Some router bits are so useful and convenient in a trim router, like a 1/8-inch round-over bit, that they tend to stay in use constantly. I leave my round-over bit in all the time unless I am specifically using the router for another purpose. That way I can instantly grab it to ease the edges of a board or project. The fact that the trim router is cordless makes it incredibly convenient and fast.
The Metabo HPT M1808DAQ4 Cordless Trim Router is an awesome trim router. It will do anything a trim router is supposed to do and do it well. It is not a full-size router and will not do full-size router tasks. To see just how hard I could push it, I cut 5/8-inch wide by 5/8-inch deep dados in red oak. After a few about 6-inches the trim router shut down and the LED lights blinked at me in protest. This is a great safety feature. The tool is telling you that you are overloading the motor and it is shutting down to prevent burning out the motor.
As a general rule of thumb, you should not make cuts more than half the thickness of the router bit shank in hardwoods. In this case that would be 1/8-inch since I am using a 1/4-inch router bit. Even if the router can handle it, the bit cannot without flexing. However, I wanted to push the router so I cut to a 1/4-inch depth by 5/8-inch wide. The Metabo HPT trim router had no issues cutting the dado in red oak. If it will do it in oak, that easily, it will do it in most anything wood you are likely to encounter.
Raising and lowering the bit is accomplished with a rack and pinion gear on the side of the router. The entire housing can lift off. Because the housing is so easy to remove and replace, bit changing is easier than any router I have used to date. Of course, I still want multiple routers so I don’t have to change bits, but that is just me…and probably more than a few of our readers!
Both the 1/2″ full-sizeMetabo HPT router and this trim router include a lot of goodies for your money. This one included a trimmer guide for following patterns. It included and straight edge guide for routing rabbits and dados. The straight edge guide has holes for adding your own wooden fence which I highly recommend. It includes a single template guide, for cutting patterns, much like the trimmer guide. There are two collets, 1/4 and 3/8-inch.
A dust port comes with theMetabo HPT M1808DAQ4 router to direct the dust into a shop vac or dust extractor. This is one of the only things I was actually disappointed with. It keeps falling off. The dust port works great when it stays in place. If you seriously plan you using the dust port, you are going to need to either keep your hand on it to hold it or duct tape/zip tie it in place. This is too bad because this router actually hooks up to a dust extractor without any adaptors. It works great it if would just stop falling off.
Turning on and off theMetabo HPT M1808DAQ4 can sometimes be a little frustrating. It has a bubble-style button on one side of the tool and a physical button on the other. The bubble-style button unlocks the router, then you have 10 seconds to start the tool by pressing the physical button. Most of the time this works fine unless you are like me and keep switching the direction of the buttons sometimes when you change the bit.
Since the housing is removable, the buttons can be reversed when they go back on. I kept accidentally switching them sometimes. I “know” I should put it back in the same direction every time, but there is a difference between knowing and doing. Even when I make a conscious effort to pay attention, I just don’t have muscle memory for easily turning the tool on and off as I do with switch-style tools.
Available anywhere Metabo HPT tools are carried, the Metabo HPT Trim router can usually be found for around $149 as a bare tool. One of the biggest advantages of Metabo HPT is their Multivolt 36V AC/DC Adapter. This adapter lets you plug any of their cordless tools that use their Multivolt batteries into a wall outlet so you never run out of power while your batteries are charging. At the time of this writing in the summer of 2021, no other company offers this product, though they should all be working on it in my opinion.
The Metabo HPT Trim Router Makes a great second router. I don’t think it should be your only router. I always think your first router should be a full-size router. However, in all likelihood, you will probably end up using your trim router more than your full-size router becauseit’s so convenient. This router is so small, lightweight, and easy to use, I think that is what will happen. You will use this router constantly and only use your full-size router when you need the extra power and extra size of 1/2-inch bits.
Metabo HPT Trim Router Specifications
- Model M1808DAQ4
- 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch collets
- Soft start
- Quick brake
- 10,000-30,000 RPM
- Brushless motor
- LED light
- 2.5 lbs. without the battery (1.13 kg)
- 18V or MultiVolt battery