Small routers are easy to handle, and the addition of multiple bases makes them good all-purpose tools. The basic 1⁄4″-collet router that comes in the new Makita compact kit (RT0700CX3) has good power and variable speed. The motor slides in the base and clamps firmly, with rack-and-pinion fine depth adjustment. A plastic shield contains chips, and there’s a fitting for hooking up a shop vacuum.
The kit we tested included the standard base, a tilting base, an offset base and a plunge base. Swapping bases is easy – no need for any tools. The plunge mechanism was a bit stiff out of the box, but a squirt of lube fixed that. The handles are comfortable, but due to the motor orientation, the switch and plunge lock are reached with the left hand.