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Milwaukee 5616-24 Router Kit Review

User Rating 3 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Milwaukee 5616-24 Router Kit

Milwaukee 5616-24 Router Kit

(c) 2007 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

Milwaukee has a reputation for making very sturdy, solidly-built power woodworking tools. In that respect, the Milwaukee 5616-24 certainly doesn't disappoint. While the router isn't unusually heavy or bulky, it definitely has a rock-solid feel. The 2-1/4 HP EVS motor handled every task we threw at it and didn't seem to bog down much even under heavy loads. While the unit requires two wrenches to change bits, the supplied 1-1/8" open-end wrenches matched the sturdiness of the router.

We were very pleased with the performance, versatility and strength of this woodworking tool.
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Pros

  • Above-the-table adjustment built into fixed base. Adjustment wrench is included.
  • Fixed base offers wrap-around grip or dual handles
  • Operator's manual is well-written and easy to follow in English, Spanish & French

Cons

  • Three-section case required a lot of counter space to open
  • Need to remove motor from fixed base to change bits

Description

  • We loved the wraparound palm grip on the fixed base, and found the router to be very stable when using the fixed base.
  • Unique depth adjustment on plunge base.
  • Dust collection port (included) installs quickly and doesn't impair vision when in use.
  • In our test model, the fixed base's locking lever needed adjustment out of the box. After adjustment, it held well.

Guide Review - Milwaukee 5616-24 Router Kit Review

The Milwaukee 5616-24 router kit, equipped with the included fixed base, is one of the sturdiest 2-1/4 HP router kits we've tested. The wraparound palm grip made this very sturdy unit feel quite stable when routing. While the off hand could certainly be used to hold onto the opposite ball handle, we didn't have any trouble operating the unit with one hand. The fine depth adjustment was quite accurate and the electronic variable speed motor was responsive. The unit tends to start up a bit more quickly than other "soft-start" routers in it's class, which means one should have a firm grip before starting the unit. However, we didn't find this to be a drawback.

The plunge base was just as comfortable to use as the fixed base. We loved the stability and feel of the handles on the plunge base, and the plunge release lever was easy to reach for release, yet held firmly when engaged. Visibility and depth adjustments on the plunge base were very good.

When using the fixed base, the motor needs to be removed from the base in order to change bits with the two 1-1/8" open-end wrenches. On most routers, changing bits with the motor removed is a sure-fire recipe for a mashed finger. However, the large collet assembly and sturdy wrenches made changing bits a breeze.

One area that could use improvement with this router kit was the case. It essentially has three sections, with the two sides opening out away from the base. As such, it takes a lot of table or floor space to open up the case and access the tools. In its defense, Milwaukee did provide numerous spots for router bits and accessories, so there's a good chance we're being nit picky on this point.

Our preferences on the type of case certainly shouldn't detract anyone from considering what is a really well-built woodworking tool.
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User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
Milwaukee 5616-24, Member colonel_001

I am a joiner by trade and have put this router combo through its paces for 6 months now, and have developed a love / dissapointment relationship with it. I spent a long time deciding which kit to get, and chose the Milwaukee 5616-24 as i felt it sounded like one of the best from reading reviews (i live in the UK so couldnt test the many kits available to the US, none available in the UK at time of purchase) Out of the (large & rediculous) box, my impressions were of a very solid and professional tool. However my first fault was that using the 1/4"" collet showed that it was decentered resulting in vibration & snapped bits! (ofcourse i wasnt about to send the whole thing back to the US) So after 6 months of heavy use making hardwood/softwood window frames, mounted in router table and freehand with plunge base: Problems: 1) the router spindle has at least 0.5mm of up/down movement(this was apparent from new!) this can cause setting depth of cut to be a problem. 2) the router very quickly went from smooth to exhibiting quite a bit of vibration. Whether this is a problem with its bearings or 1/2"" collet i dont know. 3) using the router upside down in a router table eventually causes the on/off switch to fill up with dust to the point it wont work. I have had to clean out the switch about once a month. 4) the plunge base has very quickly developed a great deal of lateral slop in the bearings, causing much inacuracy when plunging deep cuts. 5) why oh why doesnt the depth stop turret have adjustable height stops? makes production routing to two different depths impossible. 6) attaching the guide rods with screws under the base is a real pain. 7) the knob on the depth rod locking screw is just to small, you cant tighten it enough by hand and it will shake loose. 8) the depth adjustment is a great idea but just isnt accurate enough. 9) the guide rods are a much smaller guage than many other routers, and very close together. Is difficult to find longer rods that will fit. 10) the guide rods are oriented the same way as the handles, so you end up facing the router when using the edge guide, maybe this is just preference but i have not seen this before and it makes routing with the edge guide akward, as both handles can end up over the pivot point. 11) scales only in inches.. Now for the good points. 1) seems to have plenty of power. 2) is pretty sturdy, and comfortable to use in most instances 3) fixed base with body grip is just great. 4) plunging action, despite the slop, is a joy, smooth, with a very good and well positioned locking lever. 5) under table height adjustment with fixed base. 6) really like the depth adjuster, just need more accuracy. 7) fantastic that it is supplied with two clear sub-bases. 8) a very decent amount of plunge available, up to 20mm more than many other routers i have used. So despite the problems with this router i still love it, I just wish these companies would talk to tradesmen more & keep more of an eye on quality control. If i wasnt in the UK i would have sent it back to see if i bought a lemon, but with so many faults i have my doubts. I did email Milwaukee UK with my faults, but they never replied! Would i recommend this? to a professional, definitely not unless i could be assured that the inaccuracies were fixed, to a DIY'er? maybe, but the edge guide situation probably makes it awkward

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