Some people claim that the router is the single most versatile tool in any workshop. It’s easy to see why: with a router you can make nice deep cuts in any surface, starting right from the middle if it is a plunge router. You can then use this to do everything from cutting grooves, to cutting straight through wood, to making intricate patterns and decorative fluting. It can take the place of a miter saw by allowing you to make stunning bevel cuts, it can round of edges and when you own one you’ll constantly find new things for it to do besides.

With all that in mind then, it follows that getting the right router is a good investment. This is a tool you’re going to find yourself constantly reaching for and it’s a tool that can take the place of many others. But not every router is made equal and in order to get the very best results, you need to do your research and ensure you are spending your money well.

So the question is: is the Hitachi M12VC money well-spent?

Gliding through wood…

The Hitachi M12VC is a powerful looking tool that has a lot of heft to it. It’s particularly thick and wide and has an imposing grey and green colorscheme. The top of the router has the appearance almost of a robotic visor. All in all, it makes a good first impression and looks and feels well made and like a serious piece of kit.

What’s more important when it comes to design though is just how the tool feels to hold. The good news is that it is very comfortable and ergonomically designed. You should have no problem using this for long stretches without feeling too much fatigue.

So far so good. But how does it actually perform?

Well, with a 2-1/4 HP motor powering it, you can rest assured that this is no slouch in the power department. The Hitachi M12VC has no problem whatsoever when it comes to gliding through a range of woods and other materials and for the price you really are getting a lot of power here – we were very impressed in our reviews and found that it made some other routers we’ve used lately seem relatively underpowered!

Better yet is the fact that the motor is also a variable speed. That means you can adjust the speed to suit the nature of the job you’re doing – speeding it up if you’re cutting through tough woods for instance or slowing it down where a little more delicate care is required.

Also impressive is the usual electronic speed control to ensure constant RPMs under heavy loads. This results in some vary straight and smooth cuts. The noise level is also low and with a 2-stage motor release clamp, depth adjustments are also easy.

The good and bad

This is a router that has an awful lot going for it. It is incredibly powerful for the amount you’re paying, it is very well made and it has a lot of functionality thanks to the variable speed controls, easy depth adjustment and more. In short, it really is up to most tasks you can throw at it and it represents particularly good value for money.

But there are a couple of faults that prevent this from being an absolutely perfect experience. For one, the plunge base is a little stiff out of the box and requires some adjustment. Likewise, bits can occasionally come lose if you aren’t cautious.

Summary & Conclusion

These flaws are minor though and can be easily fixed. You will need to do a little adjusting and for that reason, absolute beginners might be better off with something else. But if you’re willing to tweak, then you’re getting one of the best routers out there in terms of the power, function and price. It is rare to see something this powerful for such a low cost and especially with variable speed control as well. This is highly recommended for pros and intermediates.

So what do you think? Is the Hitachi M12VC a great deal? Let us know in the comments below or check out some of our other reviews for a range of other great tools!