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Ridgid Router Review

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  • Ridgid Router Review

    I am by no means an expert using a router, nor am I particularly experienced using various brands of routers. I write this preliminary review to get some discussion started on the Ridgid router, R2900. I also own a Porter Cable 691 (D-handle), that I have always enjoyed using the last six years and a Skil plunge router that I’ve had for 15 years (and have hated since the first time I turned it on).

    Ease of base exchange.
    The bases use a lever to lock the base to the motor as opposed to the tightening knob on PCs. My router clamp came adjusted properly with easy to follow instructions on how to adjust. At first, the fixed base seemed awkward to remove: push this, then pull the base, then push this button, then pull base, but became more natural after several base changes. Removing the plunge base is easier. To replace both bases requires aligning a pin on the motor to a groove in the base while engaging the spindle lock. This can be a pain. But, overall, I prefer this method over the “screw” on the PC – I don’t have a power cord swinging around my workbench when I remove/replace a base.

    Ease of bit change.
    The R2900 comes with a spindle lock to allow for bit change with a single wrench. The router includes two nice long wrenches if you choose to use two wrenches rather than the lock. The collet nut is long, allowing easy wrench placement, but the motor-side nut is very narrow and requires you to rest the wrench on the spindle lock housing to keep it on the nut. I have had no issues with the collets or with changing bits.

    I didn’t anticipate a great difference between my 1 3/4hp PC and the 2 1/4 hp Ridgid, but now that I have used larger diameter straight cutting bits in both, I see there is significant difference. I’d have to say that the ½ hp makes a big difference.

    Depth Adjustments
    The fixed base is very easy and consistent when setting the depth. I like it much more than the PC. I can set it to 1/64” with ease and accuracy. The plunge base took some getting use to and does not match the fixed base ease and accuracy. It has an adjustable bar that controls the depth to “1/32 inch”. I haven’t achieved this level of accuracy: too much play in the bar and indicator. For finer adjustments, there is a knob on the base that can turn to 1/64” increments. It seems accurate, but its usefulness is minimized by other inaccuracies. I finally realized that for fine adjustments both to raise and lower the bit, don’t set the fine adjustment at zero, set it to ¼”. If set at zero, you can only raise the bit.
    The plunge base doesn’t have an incremental depth of cut system, so for deep cuts that require multiple passes, you either need to adjust the depth of cut setting or “eye-ball” dropping the bit into the cuts.

    Fit and Feel.
    The router isn’t heavy and has good balance to both bases: I wasn’t having to fight to keep the router level on edge cuts or using an edge guide (but did switch to my PC when cutting dovetails). On the plunge base, the locking arm is easy to disengage, but is a reach for my fingers to find and engage. The chip shields are easy to remove for cleaning. The router can be placed “motor-side” down and has soft pads. That is really nice.
    The plunge action is smooth and even.
    Not so nice for me is the power switch placement. Again, perhaps it is my familiarity with a D-handle with the switch at my fingertip, but I don’t like having to reach up (and look up) to turn the router on and off.

    Lights…. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that the LED lights are a true joy on this machine. I guess I never knew how much I was missing on an unlighted, black-based router. The clear bases seem well machined, thick and smooth.
    Dust collection… This is one of the features that I was looking for in my next router. The DC attachments are easy to install. With the fixed base I’ve only used the DC cutting dovetails and there was more sawdust on my feet than in the shop-vac. But I don’t put too much weight on this performance because of the nature of the jig. The dust collection on the plunge base worked well. Having said that, I don’t have much faith in the DC parts. They are made of plastic, and I’m anticipating them breaking. In fact, after an hour or so of milling dados the edges of the DC seem to have melted.

    Click image for larger version

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    Bag… The router comes with a canvas bag and does fit in the bag if you have an extra 10 minutes to figure out how.

    Not reviewed
    I haven’t placed this router on a router table yet, so I can’t review the T-handle adjustment on the fixed base. I haven’t extensively used the router with the fixed base and DC. I only used the variable speed minimally and while I thus far like it, I would like to hear others comments.

  • #2
    Thank you for the informative report. It is the first really worthwhile one i have seen. The other one I read in a magazine was just disguised advertisement.


    • #3
      Magnesium Housing on Ridgid Router

      I bought the new router (but haven't used it yet) and now am concerned over reports that the magnesium housing can corrode. Is this going to be a problem and what can be done to prevent it?
      Thought about returning it and getting the Ryobi Model RE180RL since I am only a weekend hobby worker. Any suggestions? Thanks, Ron


      • #4
        Any comments on the Ryobi and or the magnesium base on the Ridgid? Ron


        • #5

          I'm not familiar with reports of Magnesium housings corroding and would appreciate any reference you could supply. Mg has been used for circular saws, floats and trowels for years. I also take comfort that if there is a corrosion problem, the 3 year warranty and LLSA for Ridgid should cover the problem.
          As for the Ryobi, did you mean the plunge router model RE180PL? If I were to own one router, I would buy a fixed base: IMHO they are generally easier to use, adjust and change bits. (But remember, I don't proclaim to be an expert on routers). Even if you only woodwork occasionally, a router is an important tool and you will rely on its accuracy and ease of use.
          I wouldn't worry about the corrosion, use it for a couple of months and if you not comfortable with it, bring it back - you have 90 days. When I say comfortable, you should almost look forward to using it and not think "is there a different way to do this?"


          • #6
            Bosch Combination Plunge & Fixed-Base Electronic Router Pack 2.25 HP Review at
            ... nicely backed in a molded case. first impressions ... difficult. Magnesium alloy used in motor housing ... problem is unique to only this series of models from bosch & other bosch routers

            FROM THE REVIEW
            "On downside, after about 4 months of use, changing motor from one base to another became rather difficult. Magnesium alloy used in motor housing as well as in bases corrodes. that makes changing motor from one base to another a chore. You will have to use either 1000grit sandpaper or 0000 steelwool on both bases & motor housing & then apply a light coat of paste wax to keep this from happening. I have been doing this every 4-5 months & do not have problem with motor getting jammed in base anymore"

            On epinions the review was with the Bosch and since the Ridgid has a magnesium housing, I wondered if it was a problem.
            Last edited by Ronald; 08-04-2006, 06:36 PM.


            • #7
              Anybody else have this router combo? If so, What are your thoughts/opinions, also on the magnesium case? Ron


              • #8
                I just bought the Ridgid router two weeks ago. Haven't had much use yet but I'll post my initial impressions. It was a really tough choice between the Bosch, Dewalt, and Porter Cable but I eventually settled on the Ridgid. Everything on the Ridgid just looked as good as the rest and was cheaper too. There are a few small things I really want to see how they go in the long run. For example small plastic bits in the adjustment knobs. I really wish they might as well make all these bits out of aluminium for durability and precisions sake. The dust collection parts I have not tried but look flimsy to say the least. Finally accessories which seem to be non existant as of yet such as an edge guide. It seems they made everything compatible with Porter Cable accesories from what I've read. I wonder if they will ever make a D-handle base option for it.
                Overall the tools feel is great. The knobs are very comfortable and the plunge base has a very good an smooth feel to it. The led lights are a surprisingly nice touch which I'm really glad is there. Power switch seems pretty conveniently located and easy to operate. I've used it to make some Dado's and roundovers so far and the motor has plenty of power to not get bogged down during very deep cuts I tried.
                As far as the magnesium corrosion resistance we'll just have to wait and see. Magnesium itself tends to corrode extremely easily without some sort of protective coating. We'll see how well it holds in this case. I've had a lot of experience with magnesium products in other fields such as cycling products which are subject to constant abuse. They actually hold up very well as long as parts are cared for. Once the corrosion sets in though it tends to go pretty bad if left unchecked.


                • #9
                  Thank for the additional review. Haven't used mine yet (still have to buy bits!). Any suggestions on what we should use to prevent corrosion or how to care for the magnesium case? Thanks, Ron


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ronald
                    I bought the new router (but haven't used it yet) and now am concerned over reports that the magnesium housing can corrode. Is this going to be a problem and what can be done to prevent it?
                    Thought about returning it and getting the Ryobi Model RE180RL since I am only a weekend hobby worker. Any suggestions? Thanks, Ron
                    As far as I know, the corrosion was a problem with the earlier versions of the Bosch kit, but have now been remedied. Whichever you choose to do, keep the Ridgid or return it to get another, I think the Ryobi is a step down from the other routers at this level....PC, DW, Milwaukee, Makita, Bosch, etc.


                    • #11
                      Re: Ridgid Router Review

                      I use this router as a table top fixed base.
                      I have to say, this router has been a nightmare.
                      It's difficult to replace bits, for starters and after awhile the body is nearly impossible to pull out of the sleeve.
                      But here's the real kicker;
                      After a short time, the bits were nearly impossible to get out of the collet. I broke several because they simply could not become loosened.
                      Thinking this was my fault, I replaced the collet adapter (1/2" to 1/4") and used all new bits...Guess what happened? Right away the bit got stuck in the collet.
                      At which point, I have now thrown the router in the trash.
                      It is worthless and I couldn't even justify giving it to someone for free.
                      It is a hazard.
                      DO NOT try to save a few bucks by getting this router instead of something decent


                      • #12
                        Re: Ridgid Router Review


                        Sorry for your problems, but I'm left wondering if this is your first router experience and whether you really do have a problem! Sorry, as I certainly don't wish to either insult you or make light of your concerns.

                        Personally though, my Ridgid R2900 has been excellent in most respects and certainly in it's collet design. The collet is very well machined on mine and is of the "auto release" design, very similar to the few Porter-Cables that I have used. There are basically two steps to release the bit, and perhaps that is where your problem lies.

                        You loosen the nut, basically with it tight it takes some torque with the wrench to get it initially loosened... it appears to be loose, but at that point you can only swivel the nut a little bit and it will reach a point where it feels tight again... it then takes another twist with the wrench to break the collet completely free and allow the shank to be removed freely!

                        If you only turn the wrench to the first point where the nut feels free, that isn't enough to extract the bit's shank... the collect still grips it quite securely! (Which sounds like your description.) If you then continue to loosen the nut, you will feel it being snug and then break completely loose. This last step is actually forcing the collet open and at the point the shank will actually fall out if you tipped the router over.

                        The only other challenge that I can think of is that you may be inserting the bit shank all the way into the collet. It should never be "bottomed" as the shank will grow as it is heated during operation and possible jam in the collet. I alway put the shank in, and then pull it up about an 1/8" on all my routers. But, I've never had any problem with the Ridgid.

                        IN any case, I hope this IS your problem and not somethink that was perhaps ill-fitted or damaged from the factory. I have four regular routers and one trim router and honestly the Ridgid has the very best and easiest to release collet of them all.

                        If however my suggestion does not apply to your circumstance, I'm sure Ridgid Customer Support would be helpful.

                        I hope this helps,

                        Last edited by CWSmith; 02-26-2013, 07:57 PM.