Milwaukee #5625-20, 3 ½ Hp Fixed Base Router
A solid combination of power and features
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Updated - 12-19-2008
Woodworkers are using a wider range of router bits, in an increasing range of diameters than just a few years ago. That range of bits and sizes means the need for high-powered routers grows as well. The Milwaukee #5625-20 combines brute power with controlling electronics and unique features that make it a user-friendly router for hand-held or table mount use.
The Milwaukee #5625-20 router kit includes a 1/2" self-extracting collet, a pair of collet wrenches (heavy forged tools, not stamped) and an instruction manual. In addition, Milwaukee includes a not-so-common 8"-long T-handle socket wrench to access the through-the-table height adjustment feature.
Power Under Control
Milwaukee has a reputation for producing stout, dependable electric motors and the 3 ½ Hp version built into the #5625-20 lives up to those standards easily. Behind the scenes circuitry stabilizes RPM during routing by adding power as needed when resistance at the bit tries to slow the motor. This makes setting and using a specific RPM easier because you get what you set. Consistent RPM makes it far easier to find and maintain the proper feed rate for the job. The motor also has a smooth-operating Soft-Start circuit that eliminates most torquing on startup.
The dial that operates the speed control has numeric markings from 1 to 7. A chart on the motor itself defines those markings as 10,000 RPM (1 on the dial), 12,000 – 14,000 – 16,000 – 18,000 – 20,000 and 22,000 RPM (position 7). The dial is infinitely adjustable but has fine detents that help prevent inadvertent changes during use.
Fixed Base Versatility
To make such a powerful router controllable for hand-held use, the Milwaukee #5625-20 features a 7"-diameter base. Accessory bases are available to make it compatible with the Porter Cable style guide bushings.
The motor is secured in the base with a simple but effective flip-lever clamp. The clamp mechanism has an adjustment should that ever be needed.
Bit height is controlled with a smooth-operating Acme-threaded shaft that is captured in a boss cast into the side of the base. An easy-to-use push-button releases the motor for removal or quick, rough depth setting. Overall, depth setting range is 1 21/32".
A dial with graduations every 1/64" makes ultra fine bit height changes easy to make accurately. Though Milwaukee advertises the 1/64" graduations, those hash marks are separated by approximately ¼." Making changes as small as 1/128" with exceptional precision is as easy as putting the pointer halfway between the hash marks.
The scale on the adjustment dial is repositionable so you can "zero" it out wherever needed.
When mounted in a router table, the Milwaukee #5625-20 base has an opening through which a 3/8"-hex head can be accessed that allows above-table bit height changes. The 8"-long T-wrench included in this kit is more than long enough to make these changes comfortably.
Get It Handled
Another unique feature of the Milwaukee #5625-20 kit is the real world sized composite handles. These grips are angled to keep the operators wrists in a comfortable position. The grips themselves are rubberized and ergonomically shaped. The grip design and angle make them very comfortable and give a very secure feeling to the hand.
In the Shop
At a trim 11.8 lbs, the Milwaukee #5625-20 relatively light for a router with this much power and is surprisingly easy to control during hand-held use. The motor delivers the 3 ½ Hp smoothly with no sensation of fighting the bit or torque responses. The RPM stabilizing circuitry is effective and subtle to the point it is hard to detect during cuts.
The bit height system is accurate and easy to use. While the motor clamp must be released to make height changes, it is easy to operate and does not change the setting when returned to the locked position.
When using the fixed base as a table mount, the through-the-base height system is easy to use and very accurate. The Milwaukee #5625-20 base also fits many lift plates on the market with more being adapted all of the time.
I really like the composite handles on the Milwaukee #5625-20. They are comfortable and afford very good control without feeling like you are straining to keep it going where you want. I also did not feel like I had to "get used" to the angle of the grips. Despite looking severe, the angle feels very natural.
Throughout our evaluation, everything on the Milwaukee #5625-20, including the self-extracting collet, performed perfectly. Even removing and replacing the sub-base plate was easy because when installed, it was accurately centered on router shaft.
The Milwaukee #5625-20 router kit is a solid performer that makes its 3 ½ Hp very useable in both table and hand-held configurations. It is very well built, the controls effective and easy to use. The Milwaukee #5625-20 would be a good value for most woodworkers with its hand-held or table-mount capabilities.
With a street price of $282.95 (12-19-2008) the Milwaukee #5625-20 is an exceptional value for the buck on today's market and could be the answer for your router needs for years to come.
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