The Makita RT0701C is a handheld router, which instantly makes it one of the most powerful and versatile tools on the planet. While there are some tools that you only bring out for very specific occasions, the router is a tool that you will find yourself using pretty much daily. This is one of those ‘bread and butter’ tools that you just can’t do without.

And with that in mind, it’s highly important that you think carefully when you choose what kind of router you want to get. Of course you will be limited to an extent by things like the cost, the space etc. But ultimately, the best strategy is to get the best handheld router you possibly can, as you’re going to use this for everything from rounding off edges on pieces of wood, cutting grooves, puncturing holes or even creating decorative fluting.

So, the question is whether or not the Makita RT0701C has what it takes to be your new compact router? It’s certainly compact and it’s rather budget too. But how does it perform?

Is it for you?

The Makita RT0701C is a compact router with a variable speed dial that lets you set it from 10,000 to 30,000RPM. That’s a very convenient way of being able to change the speed of the tool and it’s also a very useful function to have. Being able to change the speed on a router means that you can use it on a number of different surfaces and materials and this means that it will be even more versatile as a result – whether you’re working with wood, plastic, metal or another material, the Makita RT0701C should be able to do what you need it to.

So it’s off to a good start. What else has it got? Well, at 1 ¼ HP, it’s actually fairly powerful considering the size and considering the price. When looking at performance, often the most fair way to judge is in terms of the ‘cost to power’ ratio. And in this case, it comes out shining. It’s not going to replace any large desktop routers but for a cheap and cheerful handheld tool, it’s not bad at all.

You also get more versatility thanks to a capable quick release cam lock that will allow you to adjust the depth of the tool This is great for cutting holes, for making grooves and more.

As is quite often the case with this kind of tool, you also get electronic speed control. This means that the speed will stay constant as you’re working and not be affected by changes in the wood material, or by your own fluctuations in speed and angle. Another good feature to look out for. Soft start feature only further enhances this smooth operation and hopefully smooth work that will result from it. The base accepts industry standard template guides, which is good news for if you want to follow set paths and create patterns etc.

In terms of the look, the tool is also very nicely put together. It is colored in the usual Matika green and silver and has two firm handles on the sides. These are comfortable to hold, even for long periods and all in all, it’s a well put together package.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The Makita RT0701C is not going to set the world alight. There’s nothing new or incredibly top-end here. If you’re looking for something completely futureproof that you can use as a professional, then you might want to look for something a little more powerful.

The tool also does not come with an adaptor for the template guide and that means you’ll have to buy it separately.

But these are minor complaints for what is actually one of the very best budget routers on the market. The power is great, the build quality is up there and in terms of features, it has everything you could need. The reviews on Amazon are excellent too and it’s easy to see why.


Overall, this is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a beginner router. There’s just nothing wrong with it – it is well made, very capable and excellent value in terms of its power. It is highly recommended.