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Paul wrote us to tell us how much he loves Hitachi’s M12V, a 1/2″ 3-1/4 hp plunge router, calling it “the best value in its class.”

Interestingly, I haven’t seen that many Hitachi plunge routers in use, and I’ve never owned one personally.  It sells for around $200 according to Froogle, which compares to Makita’s 3612C, which seems to sell for around the same price — possibly $20 more.  Though I’ve seen almost nothing but Porter-Cable in high-end cabinetry shops, Porter-Cable’s 7539 sells for more like $320, which seems to put it in a different “class” than the M12V.  DeWalt’s DW625 is a 3 hp model, selling for around $250.  Would that be in the same class?

Certainly a 3+ hp is a lot of power for a router, but I’m not sure that I see what makes the Hitachi stand out so much against these competitors.  Paul, maybe you could comment and give us a better idea.

Also, what about the M12V2, which seems to have improved specs and sells for significantly less — like $169 as shown in the Amazon link below (note: Amazon associate link)?

1/2″ 3-1/4 HP Plunge Router [Hitachi]
Street Pricing [Froogle]
Buy It Now from Amazon (M12V2) [What’s this?]


6 Responses to Reader Finds: Hitachi’s M12V Plunge Router

  1. nrChris says:

    I had the opportunity to play with some of the shop model P.C. routers the other day. Really heavy compared to my Craftsman, the guys in the cabinet shop swear by them. It was definitely a pleasure to use, but I can get by with a $100 router.

    The other day while in Lowes, the clerk came up to me while I was ogling a $200 base model regular base PC router, the clerk took the price tag and added a clearance sticker, new price $80. I decided to buy one, but the same clerk went on to tell me that the floor model was the only one in the store and they’ve been sold out for quite a while. Some deal, huh.

  2. Jeff T says:

    I saw some of these on eBay for like $150 a few months ago. Either way, that is inexpensive for a name-brand 3.25HP router. That thing probably has some serious b*lls.

  3. Mark says:

    Looks like a good deal compared to Porter Cable. Has soft-start and variable speed. I see that Hitachi has an array of routers now: http://www.hitachipowertools.com/store_list.php?&iDepartmentID=61&arrPath=1,12,61,

    As noted, the M12V shown above is now being upgraded (replaced) by the M12V2 with the signature “aggressive design.” I’d stay away from the single speed M12SA2. It is nice to be able to dial down the speed. Hitachi also has fixed/plunge base kits in lower horsepower. I’m surprised that they do not have the 3.25 hp in a fixed base style. It is easier to use the fixed base in a router table.

    I’ve never owned a Hitachi tool, but one of our local, high quality, woodworking stores carries many of their products and recommends their sliding compound miter saw above all others.

  4. Paul says:

    Well I will say this about this router, the biggest beef people seem to have with this model is the ears inside the opening to accept collars limits bits to something like 2 1/2″ which limits the use of some panel rasing bits. But in class these routers are so cheap that you can buy one to dedicate to your router table and just cut the ears out. I think I paid $169 for mine.

    This unit is variable speed with soft start. It does have some heft, but that just makes it more stable in operation for me. Hitachi makes everything from transistors to track hoes and this router feels like an industrial tool blending that range to me. Lots of tools I see the horsepower rating aod think to my self, yeah right, I have no doubts about Hitachi’s rating for the M12V.

    But it is all usable power, I use my router mainly for hand routing signs. If there is a more challenging router application I have yet to run into it. I’ve heard that before Porter Cable sponsered their show the Rosenthals used the Hitachi on their TV show The Router Workshop.

    Watching the Rosenthals you’d think that all you need in order to work wood is a router. Routers are essential woodworking tools and the 1/2″ plunge is the type of router you want. Hitachi is the least expensive quality tool in its class. I bought other routers before I bought my Hitachi, I feel that I am done buying routers now. And it is not that the other routers are doing something, but that the Hitachi is doing all that I need a router to do.

  5. Chris Murray says:

    Hitatchi tools are underrated in my opinion. My brother (a contractor) has this router and uses it everyday, and it takes a lot of abuse.

    Anybody who purchases this router will be very happy with it.

  6. Michael says:

    Missed this entry until I saw the link on the Masonry saw entry.

    I used a M12V2 at my friend’s cabinet shop recently. I’m not a fan of the “Aggressive Design”, but the router was more than pleasurable to use. It was a lot quieter than the P.C.’s I’ve used and was definitely powerful enough. I don’t think I’ll need to be replacing my Bosch anytime soon, but if I had too I would look into replacing it with a Hitachi. Hitachi spent some time insuring that the router was easy and comfortable to use.

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