Trend T5E

Wednesday 11 July 2018

The T5 has gone through several revisions improving its handling and safety, this is I think version number three. Is it better or more of the same?

The existing T5 models consist of the 'basic' version at 850 watts with a simple shielded push up and down switch 'ELU' style (the now defunct but respected brand of router on which newer 'clone' models are based) and the 'safety switch' Mark 2 version that is more suited to router table mounting. So this is the T5E Version 2.0, slightly confused, like me?

The first crucial item is the 1010watt motor that has been shoehorned into the same size casing giving a significant power boost to an already powerful machine. It is of course electronically controlled giving even speed under load as well as speed selection for different size cutters or types of material.

The next change is the switch which compared to previous versions is comparatively small and is shaped to a shallow tip which seemed on first trying in the office, to be a little awkward. However when I started using the T5 in the workshop on an actual job it was natural enough although a fingernail tip helps to operate it.

The spindle lock is a much more solid sophisticated affair with a large red 'dished' push button to operate it.

The two grip knobs now sport rubber coating much the way that so many powertools do today. This eliminates a long standing but minor irritant of the ridge-line moulding on the shiny knobs caused by the mould where it's closed during manufacture.

The fence assembly has a lot more flat casting designed to try and contain dust under the machine rather than ejecting out at all at the fence side.

Speaking of extraction, since the beginning the dust spout could only be clipped in from one side, now with a casting alteration you can now choose either side. The plastic clips firmly into position and can be released with a bit of pressure from the side perhaps using an implement like a screwdriver to apply enough force.

A last but significant little feature is the speed thumbwheel which now projects enough so that it is easier to turn than before.

On Test

The speed pick up seemed quicker than early versions which had an inordinate delay it seemed, until running speed was reached. Noise was acceptable and handling very much as before, the questionable switch shape didn't bother me during use, in fact I didn't think about it so it obviously wasn't a real issue. Power hasn't seemed a problem before however the increase in motor size will benefit anyone using larger cutters on 8mm shanks. The ability to swap sides with the extraction spout solved a long standing irritation for me. The fence rods seemed a bit short although they are the same length as on the old T5. I would prefer them to be longer though, as there are times when a greater degree of reach is useful especially with two fences when mortising. The simple, easy to 'drop out and lose' depth rod seems basic by today's standards and depth setting is therefore rather inaccurate unless you have something of a known thickness like a drill shank that you can place between the rod and the depth turret to get a precise plunge.

The verdict

A good, powerful and workmanlike if slightly basic machine that is suited to both home and trade use, very versatile and backed by a huge range of cutters and accessories from Trend.