What do you think of when you heard the word Milwaukee? Okay, let me rephrase that because when I hear the word Milwaukee I think cheese, beer, Laverne and Shirley and a sub par baseball team. Sorry I had to throw that one in since I am a Cubs fan, but I guess I can't talk since we haven't won a World Series since 1908. I should say what do you think of when you hear the words Milwaukee Tools? You probably think innovation, brushless and a whole lot of other new ideas about an old company. One word that probably will not come to mind is Router. That's why when we heard a bunch of you talk about and ask us to review the router, we were a little curious. Well it turns out not only does Milwaukee make a great brushless line, but they make a pretty good router.
Now it might take some searching, but yes Milwaukee does sell routers. You may be asking why doesn't Milwaukee focus more on their miter saw and routers? Well Milwaukee wants to leave the woodworking to other companies and Milwaukee wants to focus on their main specialty items such as their cordless line. With that being said, that's why you don't hear a lot about their routers. The router we are going to cover is the 5616-21 which is a 13 amp 2-1/4 max hp router. So not necessarily a lightweight. This is designed to be used by serious woodworkers. One thing serious woodworkers do is go through large amounts of material. With that in mind Milwaukee designed this router with a feedback motor which monitors the load and maintains the speed under load. Yes, it is a variable speed which has a range of 10,000 to 24,000 rpm.
Okay, I am not going say I am a hard-core router guy who uses a router everyday. However I do use them and have some experience with them. Picking the router up, it has some weight, 8.8 lbs to be exact. For me, I love the weight. Now if it was a trim router, then the weight would suck, but considering the type of router, I love it. I feel it gives me greater control and more accuracy. With the Bodygrip design, this is pretty easy to control even for someone like me who doesn't have patience and just wants to rip through large amounts of wood instead of taking a couple passes.
I have to say using the features of this router was a huge surprise to me. Again, I don't look at Milwaukee for being a company who makes a killer router. However this router is very easy to use. The micro fine adjust is easy to move within 1/64″. Adjusting the depth is also very easy, especially compared to some of the other brands we have tested. If you are a fan of router tables, then you will like how easy it is to adjust the depth while it sits in a table. Yes, you can adjust the depth above the router table.
As with some of the other bigger routers, this will accept both 1/4 and 1/2″ collet bits. The one problem I have with trying to explain power tools is the ease of use and how well a tool works. Well this router is no different. This is one of those routers you just have to get your hands on to try. Trust me it will surprise you. Now I am not saying this is the best router on the market, but I am saying it is the best router you never heard of. It's a sleeping giant that is pissed it doesn't get the exposure it should.
In the end I have to say this is one killer router. Now I am not saying it is better than Porter Cable, Bosch, Hitachi or Festool. I am just saying this is a great router and a great alternative to the other brands on the market. It should be one you look at when you are shopping for routers. Before this review I would have passed up the opportunity to look at this router. All I can say is I am glad all of you brought this to our attention.