MLCS PowerLift Pro Router Lift

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Review by Indiana_Parrothead posted 10-28-2016 01:06 PM 8875 views 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
MLCS PowerLift Pro Router Lift No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

About three years ago I built a new router table and added the MLCS PowerLift model 9450, I had reviewed it here. Since I use a router quite a bit this was a great addition to the shop. With it having a digital readout it gave me a lot precision when it came to the depth of cut and made changing the depth of cut very easy. A few months ago MLCS introduced a new model that incorporated a Android Tablet to control the lift that added a lot of new features. Since I use the router a lot I decided to upgrade to this new model.

Just like the older model the lift was completely assembled right out of the box, the only thing that had to be assembled was the arm that holds the electronic control box. Since I had already cut the opening using the installation jig kit (#9331), I only had to disconnect the cables and lift the old one out and drop the new one in. Set screws in each corner of the plate made leveling the plate quick and easy. The cables were easy to attach to the router lift and control box and clearly marked.

I did not have an Android Tablet so I got the one offered by MLCS, if you already have one you just need to down load the app. Note there is no app for an IOS (Apple) device. The app came preloaded on the tablet and started up as soon as I plugged it into the control box and turned it on.

The app gives you a lot more options that the older digital model could not offer. I liked being able to install a bit, zero it out flush to the table and then raise the bit to my cutting height and then set the height in one of the 6 user defined memory positions. Then lower the bit back or below zero. Place my wood on the router table start the router and select the memory I set and the bit raise into the wood while I keep both hands on the wood, great for slots especially for cutting keyhole slots. There are also preset memories that start at 1/100” and go up to 1/2” it really makes guage block and measuring bit height a thing of the past.

Unlike the older model the up and down movement even at the slowest speed was very smooth. The also changed the installation of the reducer rings from being screwed in with three flat head screws to the insert screws into the top plate with the use of an included spanner wrench. These changes moved it from 4 stars on the older model to 5 on this new one.

There are a few additions that I would like to see, but they are not a make or break when it came to purchase, some of these changes may be able to be updated in the app without changes to the hardware.

The first is I would like to see a “HOLD” button added, it is way to easy to accidently hit the foot pedal and change the bit height.

The third would be having variable speed for the height in the foot pedal.

Being able to label the user defined memory settings is nice but not real usable. With fat fingers it is hard to use the little on screen key board to label them, so I just go by the dimension that is displayed when I set the height.

And last is the tablet connects to the electronic control box through a micro USB cable. When the cable is plugged in it does not appear to charge the tablet, it just runs off batteries, it would be nice if it could charge when connected, or even be able to use Bluetooth for the connection.

-- We are the people our parents warned us about.

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110 posts in 4367 days

5 comments so far

View sh2005's profile


97 posts in 4447 days

#1 posted 11-29-2016 03:24 PM

IndianaParrothead, glad to see your review. With tablets being so cheap now, i think woodworking tools can become “smart” and have tablets as user interface.

View a1Jim's profile


118201 posts in 4788 days

#2 posted 02-21-2017 01:46 PM

Good review I purchased my powerlift a few months ago and love the ease and fine adjustments it offers.


View BBF's profile


144 posts in 3050 days

#3 posted 02-01-2019 06:29 PM

FYI MLCS now has bluetooth on its PowerLift Pro and an adapter to upgrade its older model to bluetooth.

-- I've never been disappointed buying quality but I have been disappointed buying good enough.

View spitfirepete's profile


18 posts in 952 days

#4 posted 06-06-2019 03:30 PM

I have had the older model for several years. Absolutely love it. Accurate and super easy. It has to be best lift on the market. When lift motor died after a couple of years, they sent me a new one at no charge. Highly recommended.

-- I'm a consultant...when she wants my opinion, she will ask for it.

View Mywoodisdusty's profile


2 posts in 781 days

#5 posted 12-02-2020 06:30 AM

Update: I just ordered the kit from MLCS for the Bluetooth one, aluminum plate, X1 fence (on backorder, will arrive in a couple weeks) and the phenolic table.

John from MLCS was a super nice, knowledgeable guy, told me about their updates they are doing and helped me with the package. Got it in about a week, minus the X1 fence, which is fine since my big job right now is going to be pattern routing anyway.

Setup couldn’t have been easier. Plugged everything in, assembled the table, dropped in the lift and plate, and turned it all on. The Bluetooth from the tablet automagically connected and was controlling the lift without any lag. The tablet is a cheap Chinese knockoff but I’m not using it for anything else so I’ve got no complaints.

Some things I would like to have seen that were not included:
A on/off switch for the router to mount it to the face.

A better mounting solution for the PCB, preferably under the table.

A spot for putting a power strip along the back since you’ve got plugs for the router, the lift, and the tablet

A mount at the base for the foot control, and integrate mobile base.

All of these can be fabbed up in a reasonable wood shop, but I would have been happy to pay more for some of these features

With all that negativity out of the way, the accuracy and ease of use on this thing is phenomenal. All of this while being a couple hundred less than a jessum manual lift, just makes it a no-brainer for me.

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