Tool: DCW600 Router
Price: $179 (bare tool)
As power tools all go cordless, it’s especially nice to be able to lose the cord on a router. Going cordless really is a step forward—as long as the tool doesn’t sacrifice power and productivity that is. For all-day production output, I’d still look to a corded model, but I was impressed with the power of DeWalt’s DCW600 cordless router throughout my testing. It’s larger than a laminate trim router, it’s part of a step-up class of compact, more powerful routers.
The basic features of this tool include variable speed settings from 16,000 to 25,500 rpm, dual LED headlights, and a brushless motor with a soft-start feature and a near-instant motor brake. Two other features I appreciated in use are the tool’s D-shaped subbase that provides a little extra support and doesn’t have to be centered on the bit for the flat side to work accurately along a straightedge, and the battery mount surface that lets the inverted tool sit flat and stable when changing bits or setting the cut depth.
The DCW600 compact router runs on all of the brand’s 20V Max and 60V Max Flexvolt battery packs, and I tested it with their popular 2.0 amp-hour (Ah) and 5.0 Ah packs. Throughout a variety of jobs from edge profiles to inlays to dadoes and grooves, it handled everything without compromise. While really pushing the tool cutting 1/2″ by 1/2″ dadoes in ash, I couldn’t discern any difference between the performance of the 2.0 Ah and 5.0 Ah packs, but I know that sustained high current draw can really tax a compact battery compared to a full size pack with more battery cells to share the load. With varying loads on the motor, and a fair amount of no-load idling time, it was difficult to measure the router’s runtime, but I’d say that I got most of an hour’s use out of a 5.0 Ah battery pack.
The DCW600 is a close copy body-wise of DeWalt’s DWP611 corded compact router, and works with all of the same accessories (including the very useful plunge base, a round sub-base that accepts template guides, and dust collection shrouds for both fixed and plunge bas- es). One improvement the new cordless model boasts is the rubber surface around the base for improved grip. Other than that, the components and operation of both are largely the same. The corded DWP611 is one of my favorite routers, and I’m happy to report that the capable cordless DCW600 is a real (wood)chip off the old block.—Michael Springer