Festool 1400 Router - Yea, it's better

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Review by richgreer posted 02-03-2012 06:42 PM 39595 views 1 time favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Festool 1400 Router - Yea, it's better Festool 1400 Router - Yea, it's better Festool 1400 Router - Yea, it's better Click the pictures to enlarge them

I discovered that there is no review of this router on this website so I decided to add one.

I know that Festool tools are a little controversial. They are expensive. Some of us who own them have been called “Festfools”. In my case, I was able to buy this router used for a reasonable price that was just a little more than I would pay for a comparable new router from a different manufacture.

I decided to do part of this review on a comparative basis. I will compare this router to my Makita. I consider my Makita to be a good representative of routers of compatible size and power from other manufactures. It’s a mid-sized plunge router with 2.25 hp. It is very much like the Porter Cable 890 (which I also own) or the DeWalt 618 (which I do not own).

My Festool and my Makita have comparable size, weight and power.

Plunge routers tend to be a little top heavy. The Makita feels a little more top heavy when you grab the handles which are lower on the body of the machine. The left handle on the Festool is in about the same position as the Makita, but the right handle is higher and wider. You truly feel like you have more control over the machine and it feels less top heavy.

FYI – I have owned the Festool for about 2 years and the Makita for about 10 years. I think I have enough experience with each to speak with some insight.

Both machines offer smooth plunge motion – but the Festool is smoother.

When you are ready to start the machine, on the Festool your hands do not leave the handles. You can retain a firm grip on the handles of the Festool and start and stop it. The switch for the Makita is at the top of the machine.

The Festool allows for very precise micro-adjustment of the depth. You will see a dial on the depth guide on the left side of the Festool. It can be turned with a click every 1/10th of a millimeter.

One of the niftiest features of the Festool is how you change bits. It has a ratchet mechanism. You will see this in the second picture. You place a 22 mm wrench on the collet nut and move it back and forth with your finger on the tighten or loosen side of the green rocker switch you see. Very slick.

In the third picture you see another unique Festool feature. You see a insert plate that easily clicks in and out of the router base, yet it is securely in position when it is in the router. It is so easy to pop it out, attach a bushing, and pop it back in. With just your hands you can tighten the nut on the bushing very tightly. It never comes loose when being used.

By contrast, with the Makita, if you add a bushing you can only use, what I call, “fingertip power” to tighten the nut. I’ve had the bushing nut come loose on my Makita more than once. It is a sure way to destroy a bushing.

THere is no question in my mind that this is the best mid-sized plunge router available. Is it worth the price? It certainly is worth what I paid for it as a used machine. Is it worth the full price of a new machine? That’s for you to decide.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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25 comments so far

View felkadelic's profile


220 posts in 3311 days

#1 posted 02-03-2012 07:44 PM

Does the Festool take standard-size bushings, or only proprietary sizes?

View mrpedaling's profile


30 posts in 3309 days

#2 posted 02-03-2012 09:06 PM

I borrowed a porter cable bushing and it screwed right into my 0f 1400 plate… so any of those should work.

I also picked up the adapter for the festool rails, and the edge guide for about 65 bucks… each. Ouch.

Love them both though. And the router.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4041 days

#3 posted 02-03-2012 09:21 PM

I agree with you Rich, as this router is my go to for hand routing. The dust control and the nifty engineering make this a very user friendly router. I still have my others – a Dewalt, a Milwaukee, a Makita and a Hitachi (I bought only one of these – the Makita to fit in my MLCS Motorized lift). I have all these chucked up in different configurations…all are plunge/fix base kits. When I finally bit the bullet and bought some Festool tools….I discovered that, should I have known sooner, I would have just purchased the Festool….it is that much better. The price is high….no disagreement there…but the quality…and the precision…makes this router much easier to use and set up – you can do the same cuts with any router….but to get the crisp cuts…where you want them to be..requires less effort with the Festool…..but like Rich says….it is your call as to what you prefer…and what your budget will allow.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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4541 posts in 3845 days

#4 posted 02-03-2012 10:30 PM

The bushings I use with the Festool are the same bushings I used previously with the Makita. I believe they are referred to as the “Porter Cable standard”.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3781 days

#5 posted 02-03-2012 10:34 PM

Rich, please delete this review immediately. It will only contribute further to my fesfoolishness.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Dwain's profile


614 posts in 4630 days

#6 posted 02-04-2012 01:11 AM

First, thanks for the review, I appreciate it very much. Second, I would never call anyone a “FestFool” as I believe you buy the best tool you can afford. Don’t ever feel that you have to justify the purchase of an excellent tool. The complainers are just trying to justify purchasing less than what they want…

-- When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there is no end to what you CAN'T do

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1554 posts in 3276 days

#7 posted 02-04-2012 01:42 AM

Informative review. Thanks Rich!

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4348 days

#8 posted 02-04-2012 01:56 AM

Thanks for the review ,It sounds like a good tool. I guess in the past I use poo poo Festool’s prices saying they can’t be worth that much more,but after having some input on some tools I own Poo pooed by people who have never owned one, It made me realize you just don’t know unless you have used a particular tool yourself. Rich I believe your an experienced enough woodworker to give us a good solid fair evaluation. In short no more POO POOing from me, and thanks for the super review.


View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3945 days

#9 posted 02-04-2012 02:46 AM

Oh, Man.

I am (Festool) green with envy, and I have absolutely no problem admitting it :-)

Thanks, Rich. Good review.

OhByTheWay: when I spent an afternoon with Tommy MacDonald and Eli Cleveland (“Rough Cut,” on PBS), they had finally gotten to spend some time with THEIR Festool tools, having NEVER used a single Festool product before.

They hated to admit it, but … they loved every single Festool product :-)

-- -- Neil

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3845 days

#10 posted 02-04-2012 07:26 PM

My own review has caused me to think about the question “Is it worth the price?”. That question caused me to ask a more personal question of myself, “If I lost my current Festool router due to theft, damage or whatever, would I replace it, even if I had to pay full retail price for a new one.” The answer is “Yes”. I would not want to not have this router.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 4127 days

#11 posted 02-04-2012 08:07 PM

That is an excellent review.

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3731 days

#12 posted 02-05-2012 12:25 PM

great review, i own the 1010 and it’s a nice little router. What makes it worth for me is the dust collection, these routers are amazing at that, especially when routing edges where normal routers would throw off allot of dust.

The comparison with a 10 year old possibly out of production makita may not be the best choice, i also own 3 other Bosch routers. When i got the festool i was shocked to see that you don’t get a bushing supplied with it standard, and that they require screwing and centering! While my Bosch’s had made me get used to getting guide bushes with them that you just clip underneath without any tools, and who self-center. not to mention their guide bushings fit all their models, with festool each router has it’s different bushings that don’t fit the others. And they are ridiculously overpriced.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3935 days

#13 posted 02-06-2012 12:43 AM

I never put down anything that costs more, if the performance is what you need. I have a very high end computer at home, but I need it for what I like to do. I use it constantly, and use its high performance to the max on a regular basis.

One thing I disagree with, and that is the comparison router. That is not fair. Most routers have changed their ergonomics considerably in recent years. I am running Bosch stuff, and their ergonomics are like the Festool, but I haven’t used their bushings yet. But I have them, and the adaptor came with it, and the bushings fit a large array of Bosch routers as previously noted. Meaning, apples to apples…Rich….....(-:

I have a dust extracting adaptor for my Bosch, gratuitously stuffed in with some other gizmos I bought for it, but I haven’t used it either.

You don’t see bad reviews of Festool stuff, and I would buy them with confidence, if they fit my needs, meaning duty cycle versus cost, and I needed their special capabilities. So far, they don’t’s the amount I would use them, versus the cost…but you never know. I have some high end Veritas planes, and that’s all I really have, and I love them. I didn’t want to tune up a plane, too much abuse of my wrists, so I bought them knowing I wouldn’t have to. Actually got them as wish list gifts.

The battery operated tools are changing rapidly: the batteries are better, the variable speed triggers smoother, the chucks better, the tools are lighter with the same power, and they have lights, better balance etc. I bought some light weight compact 12V Bosch drivers and drills for La Conner, and went home and did the same thing in Anchorage, even though I had some recent higher power Bosch stuff.

The corded stuff may not be changing as fast, but it is definitely changing, and the only way to compare two items is to compare similar aged items. And if you are using an expensive tool, then you have to select the best model offered by the lower priced items, that still costs the same or less. Tricky, especially because it is also a function of the model upgrade cycle of any given manufacturer.

Sitting here marking time until my flight from Las Vegas to Portland, where Sherie has some appointments. So I just HAD to be argumentative….....(-:

Have a good one, still have 2 weeks of vacation left, and I intend to enjoy it, even if it is at your expense…(-:....(-:....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3845 days

#14 posted 02-06-2012 01:57 AM

Jim – Thank you for your comments. Let me defend my choice for comparison. The Makita is what I have owned and used as my primary router for over 10 years. I also own a Porter Cable 890 that is permanently positioned in my router table and, therefore, I have no experience handling it.

For me, this was essentially a personal comparison of what used to be my primary hand held router to what I use now as my primary hand held router. As an FYI, I still use the Makita and I have always liked it but it is clearly my second choice now when I grab for a router. Recently, I attached my Makita to a 7’ board and set up a jig to cut arches. That’s how I shaped the communion rail last summer.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3935 days

#15 posted 02-06-2012 05:19 AM

Hear yah Rich, I was just dinging you. You know, until my old Skil router dropped out after, hmmmm 30 years I was using it. But I ditched it, mechnical stuff was breaking.

My current Bosch is nothing special, bought it in an “emergency” but it does seem to work well. I think one of the advantages for the Festool router is the dust extraction system….....I haven’t tried that with the Bosch. I don’t think you mentioned that? I have been reading and looking….......Festool is still on my list for one purchase, the plunge saw. Still not certain, but it may be the item.

Same, I have an old Hitachi half sheet sander that still works. But after buying my PC low profile ROS, I haven’t even looked at the Hitachi. The PC is a great sander, is always plugged in, and sits on a handy shelf in my multipurpose bench. The two tools are decades apart though, so not comparable.

Always like to read your posts, little late on this one because of the travel. We are in Portland for a couple of days now. Done with air travel for nearly two weeks. Tuesday we are down to Eugene for a night, then up to La Conner WA to our vacation house…......


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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