Tool review: Metabo HTP M3612DA cordless plunge router

Cordless plunge router by Metabo HPT
Model M3612DA
$400

Adding to a number of cordless trim routers on the market, including its own, Metabo HTP (formerly Hitachi Power Tools) has introduced a dedicated cordless plunge router. 

Its power, endurance, and cut quality are excellent.

This is a powerful, full-featured plunge router that includes 1⁄4-in. and 1⁄2-in. collets, an excellent edge guide, a bushing holder, and a full set of bushing guides. The ergonomic handles, easy trigger lock, smooth plunge action, and positive plunge lock are all user-friendly. The dust-collection attachment works great, too, even with a bushing guide in place, making mortising much faster and easier. Thanks to an included alignment pin, the bushing holder is also easy to center, making bushing-guided routing more accurate. It also offers soft start and adjustable speed. 

A 36-volt, 2.5 amp-hr. (Ah) battery and charger come with the router. You can also plug it in with an optional adapter that slides into place where the battery would go ($160). 

Smooth and powerful. The Metabo managed a deep cut in white oak without hesitation, leaving behind a perfect surface.
Smooth and powerful. The Metabo managed a deep cut in white oak without hesitation, leaving behind a perfect surface.
How low can it go? The plunge capacity is just shy of 2 in, meaning longer 1⁄2-in. bits may stick out. Other bits, like the 3⁄8-in. one used to cut this mortise, fit just fine, however.
How low can it go? The plunge capacity is just shy of 2 in, meaning longer 1⁄2-in. bits may stick out. Other bits, like the 3⁄8-in. one used to cut this mortise, fit just fine, however.

My main issue with the cordless version of this router is its 1-31⁄32-in. plunge capacity, which meant I couldn’t fully withdraw my 1⁄2-in.-dia. mortising bit into the base. The rest of my bits, however, from 3⁄8 in. down, worked fine. Also, the handles are only comfortable when held from the front, and the flat section on the base is also at the front. That means you have to turn the router around to place the flat side against a fence, making the handles less comfortable. Otherwise, the M3612DA is an excellent cordless tool. 

—Asa Christiana is a woodworker and freelance writer in Portland, Ore.

From Fine Woodworking #296

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