Kobalt router severe speed fluctuations...anyone else?

Hi all. the lowrider is working like a beast. however tonight I noticed the Kobalt router was having large surges and fluctuations in rpm at the #1.5 and #2 speed settings on the dial. seemed fine at higher speeds. has anyone had this issue? any idea where to start to fix it? could it be caused by static build up? longshot I know but I was cutting pvc board with dust collection and there was a lot of static…im going to try and do some grounding tomorrow.

How long have you had the Kobalt router? A number of folks have had them run in after having initial speed fluctuations. Some others have had them be flakey and ended up returning them.

I’d suggest you put a bit more runtime on it, and if there’s any doubt return it for an exchange. The Kobalt router unfortunately has been discontinued and is on close out in most places- so if you’re going to do an exchange it would be better sooner than later.

Return it before they are gone!

oh wow. that didn’t last long did it?

It’s a little bit odd. There were folks on the team that brought that product out that reached out to Ryan.

Then to have it only half-heartedly roll out and be discontinued seems a bit weird.

I believe the very same contract manufacturer that builds these for Kobalt is also building a similar model (minus the ER11 collet and some other stuff.). I believe that one is being sold as a Bauer trim router by Harbor Freight.

It could be that the appearance of an undercut competitor spooked them, or perhaps Lowes saw a really high return rate on these for some reason.

The good news is that there was a 5 year warranty, so if you kept your reciept and it dies when they have none to exchange it with, you’ll get a refund.

If you can still swap it out for one that works, that seems to be a good plan. It seems only a few are affected by the speed problem.

I was affected by the speed problem… I tried putting 30 minutes of runtime on it to wear in the brushes and see if it would correct itself.

It didn’t.

I returned it, and the one I got in exchange worked perfectly out of the box.

Maybe. It takes some digging to find that kobalt is primarily made in taiwan, and bauer is ‘international’. However Bauer is supposed to be made for HF only, but really who knows?

Lowes local when I first saw the display didn’t actually stock any of the corded routers, but does have the cordless. I was there yesterday and found the cordless amongst all the other kobalt tools, and did find 1 corded on the shelf, and it is on clearance for $40. Had this happened 6 months ago, I’d have tried it but at that time I picked up a bauer for around $70. I bought the 2 year extended warranty and have marked it, so dec 2025 it’s becoming defective one way or the other :laugh:

For wearing in, I don’t think most of the trim routers are built to the same standards as the bigger guys. I know the 1st bauer I bought, the collet was HOT after a test run. I took it back and replaced it. The next one got hot as well, but I’ve been using it anyway and now it’s right on par with the dewalt I was using earlier. So I’m guessing it wore in and some extra friction is now gone.

Speed wise, most power tools I’ve used have seemed fairly flakey at low speed settings and smooth out as they pick up speed. I don’t know if the kobalt would be the same or if there’s a problem with it.

In my case, it was flaky with the surging speeds through the entire range, but wasn’t quite as noticeable at the higher speeds. At 1-3 it was really bad.

Yeah, didn’t sound right. All the newer ones have a soft start feature so they ramp up. But should be steady after that.

Fwiw, here’s startup, RPM and steady state behavior I observed…

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last night I loosened and reseated the brush caps…and noticed the collet nut was getting hot so put a small amount of ptfe lube down the shaft. it seems to be much smoother now. hopefully it will get me by till the veveor spindle I want becomes available. However I may loose the internal battle to visit pwn spindles website. they are located in my town…so I may bite the big bullet there.

I honestly don’t know how consistent an rpm to expect out of any trim router, these aren’t precision instruments. They’re designed to cut some wood and are using a manual dial to set the speeds. I don’t think a few rpm in either direction would affect anything.

the reasonable expectation is that when set, it will stay at that speed and not surge or wander excessively, which has been the observation on a few of these. think supercharged v8 in idle… fast, slow, fast, slow or 2 stroke motorcycle at high speed… all on, then off, etc.