Did you know that the very first furniture joints in the world were devised over 5000 years ago? Can you guess which?
If you guessed dovetail, you’re right! Examples come from ancient Egyptian and Indian furniture. Woodworking has come a long way since then. Labor-saving power tools like the jointer facilitated this. Now, we can do amazing, complex joints in a day. No more carefully constructing each joint by hand- and frustrating yourself when they don’t fit.
If you’ve been wanting to take your woodworking to the next level, then the best jointer is what you’re looking for. People often loathe to take the leap, however, because this can be an expensive purchase. Fortunately, you have us to help. Today, we answer all your jointer-related questions. If you’re curious about what the market has to offer, we have both benchtop and stationary jointer reviews for you.
Best Jointer Reviews
1. Cutech 40180HC-CT 8” Benchtop Jointer
Cutech introduced this model in response to widespread demand for an 8” benchtop jointer. A 33 ½” table length, fully extendable, pairs with this width. Additionally, they’ve added a spiral style cutterhead. 16 carbide 2-sided inserts minimize tear-out and perfect your finish.
The 2 ½ and 4” dust port adapters ensure you aren’t left coughing in the debris, either. A one-piece, fully-adjustable fence will tilt from 90 to 135 degrees. Cast aluminum construction adds strength. They’ve also allowed the in- and outfeed tables to be leveled, as can the extensions. This easily portable benchtop jointer weighs 49 lbs, making it heavier to carry than most, but portable. Included in the box are push blocks and all the tools you need to tinker with the cutter tips. The 120 volts, 10 amp engine pushes out just above 1.6 HP making a slick, user-friendly tool.
2. WEN 6560T 6 in. Benchtop Jointer
This cast iron benchtop jointer gives you a 6” table. It’s a master at edging, flattening and face-jointing tasks. Over 20,000 cuts per minute make even the hardest of woods feel soft. With a 28 ½ “ table length, and 2-blade 6 ⅛ “ cutterhead, this is a serious contender despite the smaller table width. Vibration is pleasantly dampened, too. A spring-loaded guard will keep you safe. The onboard dust port makes cleanup simple, also. Precision adjustments can be made on the cutterhead and fence. Meanwhile, the 2-blade system stays sharp and lasts long. It scores tops for precision. This 110V, 10 amp engine is powerful and long-lasting.
WEN certainly have full confidence in their product, backing it with a 2-year warranty. There are some known faults in the tables for this line, however. Customer service is generally very good, so don’t stress if you need assistance or help.
3. Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ Benchtop Jointer
This may be a cheap jointer, but it stands up to the test. The compact design is perfect for limited spaces. With a spiral cutterhead and 12 2-sided inserts, you get the same great finish as the 8” table version. Weighing in a 40lbs, it’s very lightweight. The one-piece fence allows a 90 to 135-degree tilt. A 2 ½” dust port keeps things clean, too.
Also made of cast iron, it’s easy to level the in- and outfeed table. With a ⅛” maximum depth capacity and 30” table, it’s surprisingly robust. With the same 120 V 10 A motor, it’s tough although it’s little. Everything you need, including push blocks and tools, are in the box. It’s certainly a worthy cousin to the Cutech 8” option. If your budget doesn’t stretch to the larger model, don’t worry. You’ll enjoy using this mean little monster.
4. PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6″ Jointer
The PORTER-CABLE® PC160JT variable speed 6″ jointer offers you a variable speed range up to 11 000 RPM. The cutterhead offers 22,000 cuts per minute, making working with hard and soft wood a possibility. Knife replacement and adjustment are welcomingly easy on this unit. A jackscrew knife leveling arrangement facilitates this. The cutterhead has a 2 knife setup. If you’re looking for a consistent companion for flattening, face jointing or edging, this is a great choice.
A center-mounted fence allows you plenty of support as you cut. This then facilitates accurate edge jointing. Weighing in at 40lbs, it’s a nimble unit you’ll be able to move easily. Cast aluminum construction is a key part of this welcome weight reduction. With a cutting table length of 32.1”, it’s also one of the longest 6” tables on our list. While this is a tiny jointer, it’s one that delivers on its promises
5. Delta Power Tools 37-071 6” MIDI-Bench Jointer
Delta likes to praise themselves for their innovations. We’re not too sure the white finish on this unit was one of them! There’s little to fault with the actual unit itself, however. Pair up a 1.5 HP (120V 12A) engine with 10,000 rpm and 20,000 CPM, and it’s a little beast. There’s 2 knives powering the aluminum cutterhead. Expect to get up to a ⅛” cut. Fence positive stops are at 90˚ and 45˚.
The 28” table length isn’t bad for a benchtop jointer. We were a little disappointed in the 2 ¼” dust port, however. Not only is it smaller than average for these units, but it was lackluster too. A 5 year (limited) warranty makes up for it. It’s a heavy benchtop jointer, but that’s the cast-iron speaking. It’s an improvement on the aluminum of earlier models. Overall, this is a solid choice for a small DIY shop that needs reliable jointing.
6. Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer, 6”
This is a truly classy budget choice. A powerful 1.5 HP (110V, 12 amp) motor delivers tough performance. The jointer body is of cast-iron construction. The fence is cast-aluminum. The design is pleasingly compact, too. Bevel jointing up to 45° is possible, and you don’t need a knife-setting jig. The 2 ½” dust port can easily be used with an ordinary trash can. A mini-impeller, however, keeps the cutterhead free of chips.
It’s surprisingly precise for the price. We also liked the infeed table knob, which allows precision control for the cutting depth. 10,000 rpm delivers 20,000 CPM. Surface planing, edge cuts, and beveling couldn’t be simpler. The blades are not carbide. Upgrades are possible, however. Some units do suffer a small flaw where the very end of the in- or outfeed table dips slightly. Friendly customer service should be able to resolve the issue, however.
7. Grizzly G0725 6” Benchtop Jointer
Built of solid cast-iron, this is the heaviest benchtop jointer on our list. The center-mounted fence, also cast-iron, helps keep everything balanced. It also makes it a robust unit that can take a beating. The dust port is actually a little small compared to other units, but at 2 ½”, it gets the job done. The whole dust collection system is actually fully integrated. The cutterhead delivers 10,000 rpm, which is solid for most jobs. Do note, it cannot be expanded to include a rabbeting ledge if this matters for you. The infeed table can be adjusted, but the outfeed not.
This is a great unit for those who regularly handle short pieces. We’d recommend it for under 3-foot lengths. Above that, it can sometimes cause a slight bowing. Its warranty is a little short at only 1 year. However, most users find this a dependable, solid purchase for the budget shopper.
Stationary Jointer Reviews – Editors’ Picks
1. Jet JJ-8HH 8” Jointer
If you’re looking for a beast of a stationary jointer, this could be the unit for you. With a 2HP motor that runs deceptively quietly, it’s up to anything you throw at it. Front-mounted handwheels on the 8” table allow for easy (and accurate) corrections. Cast iron in- and outfeed tables are longer than average. This makes the unit great for working on longer boards without tipping.
The cutterhead is a helical insert, using staggered carbine. Of course, this extended functionality comes at a price. The unit weighs 521 lbs. The 66” of table help offset that cost. A 38-inch long fence with 45 and 90-Degree stops also allows ½ “ rabbeting. Meanwhile, a 4” dust port keeps things clean. Add in the 5-year limited warranty Jet offers, and you know you have a quality product on your hands. You can always get the job done easily with updated industrial controls.
2. Jet 718250K JJ-8HH 8” Jointer
The Jet 718250k is the newer version of the JJ-8HH. This means you can often pick it up more easily, while still maintaining many of the great features. The 8” table features the same 38-inch long fence with 45 and 90-Degree stops. You can tell a decided difference between older and newer models with this, however. It also allows for ½ “ rabbeting. This stationary jointer is also powered by a 2HP motor, and the same industrial push-button interface is present.
3 high-speed steel knives make up the helical cutterhead. They’re easy to swap in-and-out. Fitted with a 4” dust port, you don’t have to worry about debris. The same confidant 5-year warranty applies. The load bed still extends to 70”, but this machine is much lighter at 379 lbs. Quiet and silky smooth cuts are the name of the game with this jointer
3. Powermatic 1791317K 6” Jointer
The Powermatic 1791317K helical spiral head jointer is a 6” table width. Also equipped with a helical head, it’s a quiet and smooth-running machine. 40 four-sided, indexable carbide knives contribute to the gliding action. While the engine is only 1HP, it’s a stellar performer. This unit can also be converted to run on 230v power.
The motor is mounted especially to allow for easy adjustments to the tension belt. The infeed table also has an adjustable lever to assist. Tripping hazards are reduced thanks to a 4” dust port at floor level. The table is an impressive 66”, made fully of cast iron. Of course, it also tilts for comfort and convenience. While just shorter than the Jet, this is still impressive. With a 38” fence, it’s a potent combination. The weight also isn’t bad, topping out at 328 lbs. Rounded off with a 5-year warranty, this is a quality purchase.
4. JET JJ-6HHDX 6” Long Bed Jointer
Jet seems to dominate this category- but their products truly demonstrate class. This is equipped with the standard 2-way tilting fence, complete with positive stops. You’ll also notice the same front mounter adjustment setup for accurate corrections. This model uses a 32” fence, and a 4” dust port. The 1HP motor is up to most challenges. The table length is, however, considerably shorter at 56”. That’s still not bad, however.
The same helical head with carbide inserts is present. There’s also the same 5-year limited warranty to enjoy. This is a neater and more compact option than the previous Jet entries on the list. It’s reflected in the weight, too, which is a manageable 260 lbs. Push blocks are included as standard. If you’re looking for a great value-for-money tarter stationary jointer, this may be the right choice for you. It’s certainly a steal at its average market price.
5. JET JJ-6CSDX 6” Jointer
Another budget Jet entry, this carries the same 5-year warranty. With a 6” table width and 56” table length, it’s a compact unit. It can still handle pretty hefty loads. The cutterhead uses three steel knives to get the job done. They’re easy to swap in and out when replacement is needed. A 1HP motor powers this little beast, with a 56” table length. It’s a great addition to any home DIY workshop. It also weighs only 256 lbs. The 6,000 RPM is not particularly impressive, but it still gets the job done with grace.
A ½-inch rabbeting ledge comes built in, adding extra versatility. It is limited to ⅛” cuts, however, with a built-in limiter for safety. This can be overridden but must be done manually. This unit was specifically built to appeal to the home market and offers versatility in a small package. The price point is also attractive.
6. Grizzly G0813 6″ Jointer with stand
This jointer features a knock-down stand bed with a built-in mobile base. It’s very petite, perfect for a smaller workshop. That pairs with a commendable 5,000 rpm cutter head speed, however. What’s particularly worth noting is the addition of a 135 degree positive stop alongside the standard 45/90 degrees. Add in a 1 HP motor and 47” table, with 4” dust port.
3 knives power the cutter head, allowing for a ⅛” depth of cut. You can also rabbet up to ½”. As it’s a fairly solid, reliable unit, we were somewhat surprised at only a 1-year warranty. Table adjustments are pleasantly simple. They use a lever action on the infeed and handwheel adjustment on the outfeed. Fence angle is likewise set by a handle. If you’re looking for a great entry-level stationary jointer, this one’s for you. Grizzly is, of course, the online brand of Shop Fox, so parts are generally interchangeable.
Jointer Buying Guide
What is a Jointer, Anyway?
A jointer is a specialized woodworking tool. It’s created specifically to square up the end of your boards. This ensures that they can be edge-laminated together seamlessly. The same job can, perhaps, technically be done with a table saw. However, the best jointers will give you a far superior, seamless finish. If you often need to edge-joint boards, you will find a jointer indispensable. They come in a variety of lengths and widths to suit all types of board.
Top 6 Considerations When Buying a Wood Jointer
You may be wondering what questions to ask yourself when buying a wood jointer. Luckily, we have all the guidance you could need. Here are some key questions to consider when buying a jointer:
What table do you need?
Table width and cutter depth are key. Wider tables are usually pricier. Remember that the bed needs to be accurately orientated to the knife. This means that the bigger tables need more precision to create, hence the price. 6”- 8” are average for DIY work. If you typically need to use larger timbers, you may need more.
Cutting depth refers to the passes needed to achieve results. ½” and ¾” are standard, typically needing only one pass. Smaller depths may need two. Tables should also be adjustable. This helps you flatten wood at different angles, ensuring a quality cut. Bigger tables are harder to adjust. This is mostly because of their weight and reach.
What attachments do what?
Fences keep the wood straight and aligned. These, and the bases, should always be adjustable. This allows you to flatten at any angle. Typically, you will want the guides and fences to be adjustable. This adds versatility and helps secure everything.
How powerful is it?
The average jointer’s motor is 1 hp. This is pretty ideal for most softwoods, even at cutting depth. Motors rated above this are typically for hardwoods.
Does it stay clean?
Dust collection can be pretty key for DIY woodworking. Dust collection features are a boon. Dusty workshops can be dangerous, as well as cause breathing issues. Bigger bins tend to be better for you, ensuring you can work longer.
How do you work with the blades?
Out of the box, you will have a nice sharp cutterhead. Over time, however, your jointer’s blades will wear down and need to be changed. Curved blades are safer than straight blades, with less risk of snapping. They also hold a sharp edge for longer.
How much can you spend?
The best jointers are typically a pricey addition to a workshop. Cheap jointers tend to be poorly made, however. If remotely possible, it’s best to aim for a middle-of-the-range model unless you specifically need premium features. Be aware that closed-stand stationary models will be pretty pricey.
Jointer Features and Specifications to Watch out for
So, you’ve decided a jointer is right for you? It’s time to get serious about your purchase. Each specific style comes with jointer features and specifications to watch out for. Here are our top tips.
Stationary jointer features and specifications
Let’s look at open stand stationary jointers first. As these are designed to be portable, it’s important that the unit is lightweight and easy to move. Make sure that the body lends itself both to the space you are considering. The stand must be a good, solid construction. Also, make certain that it can be raised to a convenient height for you. Watch out for the following key features:
- Indexing pins to allow for quick alignment. These allow you to use the edge of the workpiece and still make accurate cuts.
- Dust extraction features help keep the motor clear of debris. This ensures a longer life from cutterhead and motor.
Closed cutters should always be made from robust, durable housing. Make sure to check out the frame, too. This is important, as it will ensure a long life of vibration-free use. Look at the blades carefully. They should be easy to swap in-and-out, allowing for faster maintenance and work. Also, check out the speed controls. They should be easy to access when you are working.
Lastly, helical cutter heads offer quieter, smooth cutting with a better finish. Multiple carbide inserts allow you to swap out inserts to the cutter head for sharper work. Also, look for the following:
- Adjustment lever to allow faster table infeed
- Depth controls that are easy to access for fine-tuning
- Dust collection bins
Benchtop jointer features and specifications
While a benchtop jointer will always be smaller than a stationary jointer, you still want to ensure it has a powerful motor. This boosts cutting capability as well as reducing work time. The lighter the weight, the easier you will be able to store and transport it. The larger the table, the bigger the wood you will be able to work too. Also, look out for:
- Adjustable fences, guard and table. This allows for adjustability and precision trimming.
- A tilting table to allow for larger wood
The Stationary vs Benchtop Jointer Argument
Now you know what to look for in each type of jointer. It’s, therefore, time to make a decision- is a benchtop or stationary jointer better for you? How do you decide between them? If you considered our questions in the first section carefully, you should have a good idea about this by now.
Stationary jointers with a closed stand are widely held to be the best on the market. They do take up a lot of space, however, and are pricey. Benchtop jointers are a versatile choice. They do have smaller tables, and can only handle smaller loads. They do cost a lot less, however, and don’t involve a dedicated station in the workshop. In the end, which you choose will depend on your individual budget and needs. Most DIYers will probably be happy with a benchtop jointer. Those who love woodworking, or handle large size timbers, will get more from a stationary jointer, however.
Do I Need a 6” or 8” Jointer?
This will strongly depend on your timber sizes and needs. If you only work with smaller sizes, then the 6” jointer will do just fine. It’s also possible- though sometimes frustrating- to use a 6” jointer for larger work. However, it gets frustrating fast.
If you commonly buy timber that’s in the 6”-8” range, an 8” jointer will work better for you. Otherwise, you sacrifice some wood from the sides while you work.
In general, unless you commonly work only with woods 6” and below, we advise you to opt for an 8” jointer. If your budget is tight, however, a 6” will get the job done.
Types of Jointers on the Market
There are several types of jointer available on the market. Each of these has its own pros and cons. Which is the right choice for you will depend heavily on what you need it to do. The style of jointing will also need to be considered. Lastly, cast a thought to your space and budget constraints.
Let’s take a look at some common types of jointer in more detail
Stationary Jointers can be found in two main types: Closed stand and open stand.
- Closed stand jointers feature enclosed reinforced bases. This protects the motor and other components from the dust and debris of work. They’re a highly durable choice beloved of serious DIY users.
- Open stand jointers are more portable and considerably lighter. However, the motor is exposed. This results in more noise, vibration, and risk of motor seizure from dust.
Both styles of stationary jointer are stand-alone and provide all surfaces in one. You won’t need to place them on a benchtop.
Pros of closed stand jointers:
- Enclosed: With a housing around all moving parts, the motor is protected
- Vibration damping: The nature of the housing also means that noise and vibration are significantly dampened
- Durable: Being enclosed, the closed stand jointer is very durable
Cons of closed stand jointers:
- Price: This is typically your most expensive type of jointer as they are considered the best jointers on the market.
- Size: The large size and heavy casing means these cannot easily be moved around
Pros of open stand jointers:
- Portability: The major pro of an open stand jointer is its portability. You can move it from job site to workshop easily
- Price: While not as cheap as other jointer types, they are cheaper than closed stand jointers
Cons of open stand jointers:
- Risk of seizure: the open motor means dust and debris can affect the motor
- Vibration: The open design makes this louder and with more vibration
Benchtop Jointers are incredibly popular. They offer most of the features of larger jointers, at a more affordable price point. They’re also easier to squeeze into a domestic workshop. They are a smaller unit overall, with a smaller motor, so can only handle smaller pieces of wood
Pros of benchtop jointers:
- Affordable: These provide a big punch without hurting the wallet too badly
- Size: You can easily move this jointer
- Balance: You get the portability of an open jointer with most of the power and consistency of a closed stand jointer
Cons of benchtop jointers:
- Wood size: They can only handle smaller loads and sizes of wood
- Motor: The motor is considerably smaller
- Needs a workbench: You can’t just use this jointer as-is
If you’ve never been able to answer the jointer vs planer debate for yourself, this might be the device for you. It’s a single machine that does both jobs. The jointer sits at the top and planer at the bottom.
Pros of a jointer-planer
- Value for money: It’s cheaper than buying both machines together. This will be dependant on your major use, however.
- Takes up less space: Instead of owning two machines, this combines them together
- Less maintenance: Of course, with only one machine to maintain, maintenance needs are less. It’s one cutter head to service.
Cons of a jointer-planer
- One of everything: The same thing that is a pro for money and size can be a con, too. There’s only one set of parts. That includes cutter head and motor. Wear and tear and load double
- Needs adjustment: You will have to switch the machine over between each step
- Sniping risk increased: There’s more chance of sniping then on large machines.
Read more: A Planer, or a Jointer?
There is also, of course, the biscuit joiner. Although this lighter unit is slightly outside the scope of our jointer guide, you can find out more about the pros and cons, as well as the best biscuit joiners in our other handy guides.
The Benefits of Using a Jointer
Now you know more about the available types of jointers, and how to pick the best jointer. You’re probably wondering if the investment is worthwhile, however. They certainly can be a pricey workshop investment. If you often joint woods, though, it will soon pay for itself.
It is possible, of course, to joint woods in other ways. You can use a table saw, or even do it by hand. For one-off jobs, this can be more than acceptable. The process is a little laborious, though. Results are also not as guaranteed. The key benefit of a jointer lies in its ability to consistently turn out perfect butt joints. It can also help repair twisted and cupped wood. If you want to turn out picture-perfect joints that are ready to join, use a jointer. When used skillfully, each joint will be identical, and you will get a fit better than any other method.
6 Tips For Better Jointer Results
Joint on a ‘downhill’
When it comes to edge-jointing, grain matters. If you push against the grain or feed your stock against the grain, you will cause significant tear-out. Make sure your grain always runs ‘downhill’. This means away from the outfeed area and the knife’s rotation. If you happen to have a board with crazy grain that has multiple directions? Do your best to choose the dominant direction. Remember that end grain isn’t suitable to joint as the knives will shatter the unsupported area.
Adjusting your outfeed
If your outfeed table or area is misaligned, you’ll suffer imperfect cuts. If you set it too high, the surface will end up concave. Too low will make the back end of the stock a heavier cut. Make sure that the table is always set to match the height of your knives, however, and you’ll get great results. This may seem like fiddling, but it will get you the results you crave.
Joint the face first
Who doesn’t want a nice jointed edge that’s square with the board face? Make sure you joint the face first to get results. Then you can place the jointed face against the fence. Joint one edge square with the work you’ve already done. With this flat surface to act as a guide for future milling, you’ll also have a true edge to rip.
Perfect edge joints
We’ve all had that moment, where your ‘perfect edge joint’ has small gaps in the glue lines. The cause is usually an out-of-square fence. Not any more! Make sure you select the good face for each board. Edge joint one board with this good side away from the fence. Run the other with this good side facing the fence. Even if your fence is slightly out of alignment, the edges of the joint will match up perfectly.
Flattening warps and cups
It’s possible to remove about half the cup from warped boards with a jointer. Simply flatten the concave side with face-jointing. Deal with the convex side by sending it through a planter with the flattened side down.
Using a rabbet with a jointer
If you want a precision rabbet, you have the option of a table saw with a dado set or a rabbeting bit in a router. At least, those are your only options if you aren’t thinking smart. You can also rabbet with your jointer if the machine has a rabbeting ledge on the outfeed. It does require removing the guard, however. The width of your rabbet will be limited by the cutter head length, while the depth will tie to the machine’s maximum cut.
How do I use a Jointer Safely?
Even the best jointer on the market is still a powerful woodworking tool. It’s critical you always enact the very best safety precautions when working with your jointer. Accidents can literally be life-threatening. In order to keep safe while working, always bear the following in mind:
- Wear protective gear like safety glasses and ear protection
- Don’t cut with blunted knives. Keep knives sharp to avoid bounce back.
- Make sure the fence and all table-adjustment locks are tightened before you start work. It’s also a good idea to check them throughout use. The vibrations may knock them loose as you work.
- Never try to adjust any setting while the jointer is on.
- Don’t work without the fence. Freehand is not a good idea with a jointer.
- Try to avoid heavy cuts. These risk jamming the cutterhead. 1/16” is an ideal pass for softwoods.
- Hardwoods need an even smaller pass.
- Avoid workpieces less then ¾” wide and ¼” thick. They’re dangerous and unpredictable.
- Make use of hold-downs or push blocks on narrow wood (less than 3”)
- If you’re surfacing stock, keep both hands on top and use push blocks.
Even the best jointer on the market won’t help if you get in an ugly accident. Keep these safety tips in mind when working!
FAQs About Jointers
Hopefully, you now know everything you could ever want to know about jointers. In case you still have some unasked questions, here are some other facts to know.
- Can I use a table saw as a jointer?
Yes, you can. However, you run the risk of making joints that are not as finely fitted. If you make jointed wood pieces a lot, a jointer is a safer, more rewarding experience.
- What should I check before jointing?
Safety first! To avoid accidents and costly mistakes, please do the following:
- Check your knives are sharp, and set for clearance and cut depth.
- Is the fence anchored and the guard free to move?
- Is the equipment maintained and lubricated?
- Are all parts working properly?
If they are, you’re safe to work!
- How do I ensure I make strong joints?
Set the depth of the cut to ½ the thickness of the piece. This centralizes your joint. Use the thumb rest to avoid wobbling while cutting.
Wrapping Everything Up
That’s the end of our ultimate jointer buying guide! Hopefully, you’ve had all of your questions answered. You should be perfectly comfortable with all types of jointers. We’ve looked at the notable specifications and features of each type, too. Comparing their pros and cons carefully, we’ve also (hopefully) helped you decide on the right type for you. Putting the stationary and the benchtop jointer side-by-side will help you decide which style will suit your workshop.
We’ve also spent a little time looking at how to become a better woodworker with a jointer. You’ve learned all the safety basics. We’ve answered a few common FAQs. And we’ve examined why using a jointer is a great way to upgrade your woodworking skills. Fully empowered to make the best jointer choice, it was time to look at brands. We’ve included honest jointer reviews for 12 popular picks. Now all you need to do is make your choice!