First Impressions, Second Thoughts & the Third Degree: Ridgid Compact Router

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Review by ajw1978 posted 12-04-2014 10:55 PM 6874 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
First Impressions, Second Thoughts & the Third Degree: Ridgid Compact Router No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Today, I picked up this very popular—judging from the reviews on this site and others across the web—little offering from Ridgid. It’s was the fourth compact/palm/trim router I’ve tried in the last few weeks, but I think I’ve got a keeper.

Earlier this summer, I purchased my first router; a Craftsman combination fixed/plunge base kit with a router table. And so far, so good. They’ve been very adequate for my incredibly-basic skill level, though I found myself not quite able to master the freehand method with the plunge router.

My father then suggested I look at these smaller, compact models, and when I found a good deal at Direct Tools Outlet, I jumped on it. But, recons aren’t eligible for the warranty and I wasn’t satisfied with the condition (namely, the adjustment knobs) and sold it to the Old Man. I then tried a friend’s Bosch Colt, but found it a little more than I wanted to spend. I also briefly (and shamefully) considered a $30 offering from Harbor Freight, before giving a Performax from Menard’s a test run and finally settling on the Craftsman Pro, which I found just too big and bulk.

So, with a HD gift card discovered buried in my desk, I went back to the Ridgid and I’m quite pleased.

I’ve only used it minimally so far but I’ll update and edit this posting as I go along. In the meantime….

First impressions—As a beginner, there is a lot to love about this model. First of all, it’s size. It’s quite small and feels very easy-to-manage. I tested it out on some poorly-aligned shelves and a table I constructed and was able to move with confidence and ease. ... I also very much like the soft-start feature, which I know is fairly common now, but again, as a beginner, it’s quite helpful. ... Adjustments are very simple, especially compared to the Craftsman which required a latch and knob and was hard to maneuver with precision. ... The case is just a case; I’d prefer the hard case that comes with the Bosch but in the end, it’s just a damn case. ... The extras really set this model apart for me, a budget-conscious beginner. You get the standard guide sticks (sorry, the technical term escapes me) and the edge guide. The two bases (round and square) are nice, as is the 1/2-inch shank flush trim bit. At first glance, it’s a good deal at $89 and I will admit, though I’ve heard the horror stories, I’m intrigued by the Ridgid LSA.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back in a few days after I put this thing to the test on some Christmas projects I’m attempting to craft.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

View ajw1978's profile


165 posts in 2280 days

14 comments so far

View sawdustjunkie's profile


410 posts in 2575 days

#1 posted 12-05-2014 01:20 AM

I have the same trim router. I got it last year when I made a Rocking Horse for my Granddaughter.
The thing has a ton of power and doesn’t stall even when I was cutting hard maple.
Seems hard to change router bits, but not impossible.
I love the light on it and it is very bright.
Very easy to hold and move around.
Hope you enjoy yours.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View CooperDBM's profile


33 posts in 3204 days

#2 posted 12-05-2014 02:28 AM

Are you sure about the 1/2” shank bit? I thought that router had a 1/4” collet like most trim routers.

I prefer the soft bags. I often struggle to get all of the pieces and cord back into a pre-formed hard case.

-- Dave, Ottawa, ON

View ajw1978's profile


165 posts in 2280 days

#3 posted 12-05-2014 03:30 AM


I think you’re right. It said 1/2-inch on the bit (twice) but now that I think of it, it was probably the size of the actual bit and not the shank. It’s packed up for now, but I’ll pull it out in the AM, double-check and edit. Thanks for the heads-up.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

View Andre's profile


3706 posts in 2664 days

#4 posted 12-05-2014 04:09 AM

Looks like a great little router, I picked one up a few months back after looking at the colt but found the rigid on sale! On sale means I have to buy right! Problem is I have a Ryobi cordless that is so nice to use that the Rigid never comes out to play! Oh ya it is a 1/4 shank.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 3891 days

#5 posted 12-05-2014 05:34 AM

Thank you.

-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View lab7654's profile


266 posts in 3105 days

#6 posted 12-05-2014 12:44 PM

I had a couple issues with my R4512 that the LSA covered, it was just a matter of taking it to a certified shop (in my case a very trustworthy tool dealer and servicer). You can ship the tool to Ridgid or bring it to HD, and I could see where it could go awry with those options. Just make sure you get it registered in time and if you have issues, find a reputable repair shop in the area.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2865 days

#7 posted 12-05-2014 02:13 PM

I’ve had this same router for a couple years now. I dont use it (or any of my other 3 ) very often, but I really like it. Compact size and light weight makes it easy to handle and maneuver. It’s the first one I grab. Yes, changes bits can be a pain but only if you leave the height adjustable sleeve on it. Take it out of the sleeve and it’s easy as pie. The light IS a nice feature too

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View AandCstyle's profile


3286 posts in 3115 days

#8 posted 12-06-2014 12:56 AM

I bought this router reconditioned for about $70 and like it a lot for the features mentioned and that it weighs almost nothing compared to my Festool OF 1400. I really like the light. The only downside IMO is the lack to dust collection. Bit changes can be made somewhat easier by cutting a notch in each side of the included wrench where it buts against the vertical struts.

-- Art

View ajw1978's profile


165 posts in 2280 days

#9 posted 12-06-2014 01:01 AM

I bought the reconditioned at first, too. Wish I would have just held onto it and not wasted time trying all the other options, none of which were as good, IMHO.

-- May the good Lord help me if I ever actually have a shop, garage or basement.

View mramseyISU's profile


594 posts in 2404 days

#10 posted 12-06-2014 01:34 PM

I bought one of these back in August. My other router is usually in my router table so I though it would be nice to have one for doing some flush trim work and knocking down a chamfer on occasion. It works great for that.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3373 days

#11 posted 12-08-2014 02:34 PM

I have one of these, and also one of the Dewalt models. My Rigid didn’t come with the square bottom, just the round one. That is why I often go for my Dewalt. The only other thing I find hard with the Rigid is it is very hard to raise the bit with the little wheel. Easy to make it go back into the router, hard to make it deeper.

On the other hand, the body removes easily for bit removal, whereas the Dewalt pin system on the aluminum body is harder.
Overall, I give just a little edge to the Rigid.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Lee's profile


50 posts in 2055 days

#12 posted 02-20-2015 02:44 PM

I’ve got one of these and two of the full size routers. Wouldn’t own any other brand!!

-- Lee

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2443 days

#13 posted 03-07-2018 12:21 AM

I got one of these from H Depot a few months back, and I really like using it. I have struggled with the bit change issues, as others have said. The wrench body is just too wide and there isn’t enough range of motion inside the collet area of the base to get it to work properly. That’s why I came here to read these older reviews, to see if this very issue was addressed at all.

I now have two good ideas:
One is the take the motor out of the “sleeve”. I presume that what people are saying is to remove the base from the motor. I would have thought that would be slow to reassemble, but I had not even thought of it. Gotta go out and take a look at how that works.
The other is to cut grooves in the handle of the wrench that would allow a greater swing arc for the wrench. That’s a great idea for using it fully assembled.
I am going to go mess around with both ideas.

Otherwise, I think it is a great little router. I like using it a lot. Small, not too noisy, and easy to maneuver. Mine came with the edge guide and the two clear bases, but did not include any bits at all.


-- Jim, Houston, TX

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2443 days

#14 posted 03-09-2018 04:22 PM

Just this morning I ground off the shoulders of the original equipment wrench, and it solved the bit change issue nicely. And I can still pull the motor out of the base, that option is always available.

Didn’t even have to remove much material, maybe just under 1/8”, just enough to let the jaws swing over to the next set of collet nut faces. What a great idea – I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t think of it myself.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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