DeWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Cordless Compact Router

The cordless DeWALT DCW600B performs as well as a corded router, is solidly built, and has a bevy of useful features.

It’s no wonder the DeWALT DCW600B won our 2020 Readers Choice Power Tool of the Year award for 2020. For light to moderate routing tasks in the workshop and on the jobsite this router is hard to beat. The router comes as a bare tool with a fixed base, but you can use any DeWALT 20V MAX battery with it. An optional plunge base (DNP612) is also available, along with a bevy of other accessories.

MANUFACTURER: DeWALT
MODEL: DCW600B
PRICE: $219.00 (bare tool)
SOURCE: Find a Retailer
KEY FEATURES:

  • Power: Any DeWALT 20V battery (Battery not included)
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Speed: 16,000 – 25,500 RPM (no-load)
  • Soft start brushless motor with full-time electronic feedback
  • Electronic brake
  • Dual LED work lights
  • Depth adjustment ring
  • Aluminum router housing
  • Dimensions: 3-1/4″ W x 7-3/4″
  • Weight: 3 lbs 6.8 oz (battery not included)
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Includes: Fixed base; wrench
  • Optional Accessories:
    • Plunge Base(DNP612)
    • Universal edge guide (DW6913)
    • Edge guide for fixed base (DNP618)
    • Round sub-base (DNP613)
    • Centering plate for sub-base (DNP617)
    • Dust collection adaptor (DNP615)

The brushless motor is encased in a durable aluminum body with the typical DeWALT high-impact ABS plastic housing enclosing the electronics. The on/off switch – covered by a dust proof seal – and the variable speed dial are on the top housing. The speed dial is easy to rotate with your thumb yet recessed sufficiently that you won’t inadvertently reposition the dial. As you’ll find on many compact routers, two grooved channels run the length of the body, and a guide pin on the inside of the fixed aligns itself in the channel.

The fixed base is made of high-strength aluminum alloy and has a rubber overlay that makes it easy to grip, which I found comfortable to hold when doing a lot of routing. However, the router has a diameter of slightly over 3-3/16″ so those with small hands might find it less comfortable. The locking lever flips open easily yet stays firmly in place when closed. The 4″ x 4-7/8″ clear polycarbonate shoe has one edge rounded and the other straight, which is very useful when using a straight edge to rout grooves and dadoes. Its large footprint provides a lot of stability in use.

A black quick release depth adjustment ring rotates over the motor body. You use this, in conjunction with the yellow micro adjustment scale, to make both micro- and macro-adjustments. You can make very precise depth adjustments of 1/64″ (.015″). Simply ‘zero’ the router bit, and then turn the black depth adjustment ring to raise or lower the bit. The markings on the micro adjustment scale are fairly easy to read, if a tad on the small size. Still, adjusting the bit is very quick. One full turn of the adjustment ring raises or lowers the bit 1/2″, and there is almost 2″ of travel.

The spindle lock button is at the bottom of the motor body. To install or remove router bits I find it’s quicker to remove the fixed base from the motor.

On the bottom of the motor housing at either side of the spindle are twin LED lights. They do a surprisingly good job of illuminating the work area. I find it especially useful when doing any precision work – routing inlays, dovetail keys or small mortises.

The split router collet is 7/8″ long, providing a lot of contact surface on the router bit and should contribute to less bit vibration.

The brushless motor generates between 16,000 and 25,500 RPM, which is sufficient for the kind of light- to medium-duty work that you would use this router for. The router incorporates electronic speed control that maintains constant speed under load. Soft start is a feature I appreciate – it eliminates the jarring jolt at start-up. And an electronic brake is an important safety feature as it slows down bit rotation quickly as soon as you switch the router off.

I installed a 5Ah battery on the router and estimate that I got about 70 minutes of run-time using it for a variety of daily tasks such as cutting grooves and dadoes and profiling edges.

The DeWALT DCW600B is a great compromise between a lightweight cordless trim router and a mid-sized corded router. It’s solidly built, has a quick and easy-to-use bit height adjustment feature, a quick acting electric brake, and a comfortable grip. This is a router you won’t regret adding to your power tool arsenal.

dewalt DCW600B
The DCW-600 is larger and heavier than a trim router but just as well balanced and stable in use.
dewalt DCW600B
The adjustable clamp makes raising and lowering the router body quick and easy.
dewalt DCW600B
Squeeze the release tabs on the sides of the black quick release depth adjustment ring and slide the fixed base off the motor housing.
dewalt DCW600B
Speed control is easy to adjust with your thumb.
dewalt DCW600B
Use the micro depth adjustment ring for precise router bit depth control.

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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