If you’re a hobbyist or experienced carpenter and woodworker, you would know that a jointer is one of the most important tools to have in the workshop.
It’s considered to be the foundation amongst many of your other woodworking tools, and when your foundation is off, everything else will be off too.
Warped or bent lumber boards can be straightened out, allowing you to enhance the look of wood without creating too much damage. Since there are many different types of jointers in the market, it’s a bit tricky when searching for the right one for your projects. Below is where we’ll review some of the best jointers to help you find the ideal one.
Best Benchtop Jointer of 2018 – Reviews
|Porter Cable 6-Inch Bench Jointer|
|32.1 x 12.4 x 11.2 inches||40.6 pounds||$|
|Cutech 40160H-CT||32 x 12.2 x 11 inches||40 pounds||$$|
|Delta Power Tools MIDI-Bench Jointer||35 x 17 x 13 inches||76 pounds||$$|
|Powermatic Model 60HH 8inch||25 x 73 x 46 inches||518 pounds||$$$$|
|Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch||66 x 24 x 37.5 inches||328 pounds||$$$|
|Jet 708457DXK 1HP Jointer||71 x 26 x 13 inches||256 pounds||$$$|
|Jet JJ-8HH 8-Inch Helical Head Jointer||70 x 27 x 14 inches||521 pounds||$$$$|
Porter Cable 6-Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer – Best under $500
For those that like doing home DIY projects and need something to flatten the surface of wooden boards, the Porter Cable bench jointer could be of practical use for edging, flattening, and face jointing.
It’s a rather small machine so you can easily fit it in your garage or workspace, and considering it’s also light for its size, you’re able to load it onto the back of your truck when you need to take your work with you.
It can be pretty inefficient having a jointer that has a set or limited speed control, especially when the speed needs to be adjusted according to the density of the material that’s being flattened. To combat this, the Porter Cable bench jointer has a speed range of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM making it easy to adjust the speed accordingly in order to flatten the type of wood you’re processing.
Jointers tend to get dull blades over time, and some jointers make it particularly difficult to replace them. When you need to replace the blades in a hurry, this product comes with a two-knife cutter head that can be adjusted via the jackscrew leveling mechanism that’s built into the jointer itself.
This makes it almost effortless when it’s time to either replace or adjust the blades and won’t cut a huge gap of time during your project.
Because of its center mounted fence, the Porter Cable jointer can let you evenly flatten wood materials through its effective stability. It’s also made to be rather resilient and durable which makes it ideal for long-term use.
Overall, the Porter Cable jointer can be great for anyone on a tight budget but is looking for quality and effectiveness.
Cutech 40160H-CT Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer – Small Jointer for Home
If you’re willing to spend a little more cash on a high-powered and reliable jointer, the Cutech spiral cutterhead jointer may be a favorable machine to put on your list of woodworking tools to acquire.
It’s considered to be among the more heavy-duty options and while it looks to have a pretty simple design, its inner mechanics and features are what makes it a lot different from more expensive benchtop jointers.
The jointer is designed to be tough and weighs around 40 pounds, making it easy to transport it to different work sites. The table top is made of aluminum to give you a smoother timer when moving and flattening your boards. You can also easily clamp down or elevate your boards to the exact point where you need to cut, making this jointer a reliable right-hand benchtop with the main jointer.
The cutter head is also made of aluminum and is equipped with 12 sharp inserts for efficient spiral cutting. If you prioritize speed when it comes to jointers, the Cutech jointer would be at the top of the list with its powerful 120V/10amp motor. Because of its spiral cutting system, it’s also a bit quieter than most high-end benchtop jointers so you most likely won’t need any sort of hearing protection.
This Cutech 40160H-CT has one of the most adjustable fences of its kind as it provides a 90-135 degree adjustability for the fence stops. The nifty table adjustment tool helps to keep the table in place and the table itself has a total length of 30-inches for extra versatility when working with long boards.
It has a six-inch width capacity and 1/8-inch maximum depth capacity so that you can work on thick and heavy boards and make wide cuts.
While the Cutech jointer has an effective cutting head, its fence seems a bit flimsy and doesn’t stay square to the table at all times. It’s also a bit frustrating to assemble since its instructional photographs in the included booklet are hard to see. Because the jointer is light, it’s best to bolt it down securely especially when working with 6″ wide hardwood.
Ultimately, the Cutech 40160H-CT jointer is great for those that have a small shop or garage at home and have a little more money to spend on power and durability.
Sporting a contemporary design, this benchtop jointer is more on the high-end spectrum of affordable jointers. Its heavy-duty construction makes it practical for clean cuts and optimum stability and packs one of the most powerful motors in its category with 10,000 RPM speed.
The Delta 37-071 isn’t exactly lightweight when it comes to regular jointer standards for it weighs a little more than 80 pounds.
Fortunately, its weight makes it a lot less susceptible to wobbling or vibrations as you’re working, especially when working on large and dense boards. Because of its touch cast iron build, the Delta jointer is ideal for both professionals and hobbyists alike who need a reliable tool to work with full-time.
The jointer has a maximum cutting width of six inches and a maximum cutting depth of 1/8 inches making it able to work with thick boards. The blades have a cutting speed of around 20,000 cuts per minute which is handy for if you’re looking for both speed and efficiency in a jointer.
The Delta jointer makes it almost effortless to replace the blades because of the included careful jackscrew arrangement along with specialized push blocks that let you move your wood boards safely across each end. The additional dust blower takes trapped shavings and debris and blows it out so that your workflow isn’t interrupted.
This jointer’s assembly instructions are pretty clear to follow and assembly time should only take less than an hour on your own. After assembly, it can be used to make small to medium sized projects such as small boxes or pieces of furniture such as stools.
Other than these setbacks, the Delta MIDI-bench jointer is efficient enough for slightly larger projects than smaller and more lightweight bench jointers can handle.
Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH – Best Heavy-Duty Jointer
Reliable and dependable jointers can last you plenty of years as you move from project to project, and the Powermatic 1610086K is a popular choice when it comes to finding a heavy-duty jointer.
If you’re looking to straighten the edges of a big load of lumber quickly and efficiently, this jointer is designed for the job for a consistent and almost effortless user experience.
The Powermatic can do a lot more than your average jointer for it has a helical cutter head equipped with four-sided inserts that give you a much quieter, smoother, and more appealing result. If you need to work with wooden boards that are a little longer than usual, the jointer’s arms are extra-long at 73 inches (compared to the average 30 inches with regular jointers), which gives you a lot more space to work with long pieces of lumber.
The push blocks are magnetic so that they can be easily stored away as they can stick to any metal surface. In terms of power, the Powermatic is driven by a heavy-duty 2HP motor for smooth cutting, and the motor is also rather quiet for a jointer of this size.
It’s also recommended you have help from another person when moving the jointer because of its heavy weight. One annoying design flaw that the Powermatic has is that the wood shavings come out from the front which can make a mess on your clothes.
Powermatic 1791317K 54HH – Best 6-Inch Jointer
Highly practical for experienced and professional carpenters and woodworkers, the Powermatic 1791317K has a table that sits about 32 inches above the ground. At the steel base of the jointer is a cabinet and the jointer itself runs with a 115/230V motor for a high-performance level.
The base cabinet additionally has a channel to collect dirt and debris, mobbing the trash from the point of the cutterhead to the port for a smoother user experience.
The helical cutterhead is integrated with separate carbide cutters, and the whole carbide unit is placed in spiral-like rows. Each carbide insert has a floor placed on top of the cutterhead tube to meet wood at a position of about 14 degrees. This gives a more accurate and clean cut without being disrupted by wood fibers. The Powermatic cuts rather quietly so you may be able to use it without hearing protection, although it’s safer to use headphones or earplugs anyway.
The cast-iron fence system is 38 inches long and is precisely ground to ensure a straight edge. It can tilt up to 45 degrees both towards and away from the table for further versatility. The center-mounted controls make the Powermatic easy to operate and requires little maintenance with positive stops at 90 degrees vertically and 45 degrees to the right and left.
While lighter than its sister jointer, the Powermatic 1610086K, it’s still quite heavy at 328 pounds. This makes it difficult to move it around your workspace and isn’t ideal to take with you when your workspace shifts or you need to work on your projects elsewhere.
The fence is a bit tricky to deal with since it doesn’t remain square to the table the whole time, not to mention that it’s slightly warped. Assembly is pretty simple but you might need a second hand in order to set it up and move the bed on top of the stand.
The Powermatic 1791317K is better meant for more experienced woodworkers for it can handle large pieces of lumber for big projects and has a lot more stability than benchtop jointers.
Jet 708457DXK 1HP Jointer – User-Friendly Features
One of the first most noticeable things about the Jet jointer is its quality of materials. It’s designed to last you many years of use being that it’s made from heavy-duty cast-iron tables and fence with all the knobs and adjustment wheels made of metal.
The jointer’s cabinet is made out of heavy gauge sheet metal for extra durability and the entire machine sports a nice powder coat finish. The only thing that isn’t made of metal is the dust port which would have been more resilient if it weren’t made of plastic.
The infeed and outfeed tables have front mounted handwheels so that you can easily adjust their height. For further ease when cutting in a pass, the infeed side has a scale mounted to it. The fence has center-mounted controls to make it easier to quickly adjust the fence from its current position. It’s able to easily move across the cast-iron tables and won’t easily warp like other benchtop fences.
The Jet 708457DXK is equipped with three two-sided knives on the cutter head and they don’t really need any adjustments out of the box. The quick change system lets you replace the knives easily as it holds the correct knife spacing without you having to spend more time calibrating. The 4″ diameter dust port is placed on the left side of the lower cabinet and is compatible with 4″ diameter collection hoses. The cabinet keeps all of the debris from your project confined inside so it won’t leave too much of a mess.
The Jet 708457DXK is easy enough to use by both novices or experienced woodworkers and can be a very handy tool to add to your workspace.
Jet JJ-8HH 8-Inch Helical Head Jointer – Most Quiet and Budget Choice
If money isn’t much of an issue (although it’s considered budget-friendly in the more high-end jointer category), this jointer features all the bells and whistles of a quality jointer machine. If you wish to adjust the tables, there are handwheels underneath but they are turned more stiffly than front mounted handwheels.
This gear also features two positive stops at 45 degrees and 90 degrees to make the bevel operations go a lot smoother.
There are two mounting options for the control box so you can either “knee” the jointer’s paddle switch to turn it off or bolt it near the top of the base so that it’ll be above the infeed table for an easier reach.
For a quieter operation and superior finish, the jointer has a helical cutterhead designed with carbide inserts. If you’re working with especially dense and heavy lumber, the powerful 2 HP motor can easily handle even some of the most laborious jointing tasks.
The built-in dust chute collects wood chips and dust to prevent the jointer from making a big mess and has a 4″ portable to connect to your collection system for disposal.
How to Choose the Best Wood Jointer for the Money – Buying Guide
There are three types of jointers that you can choose which are benchtop, open stand and closed stand.
Benchtops are portable and more ideal for beginners who wish to work on smaller pieces and projects, but they aren’t designed to cut anything more than six inches wide. Open stand jointers are also portable and can handle slightly bigger projects, although they aren’t as stable and can be a bit noisy. Closed stand jointers have an enclosed base and are the most stable and durable, but they’re also the heaviest and aren’t often beginner-friendly.
The bed width of a jointer is a big factor in determining the overall price and what you’ll be able to do with it. Depending on your preference, most jointers come with either a 6″ or 8″ bed width, which are usually big enough sizes to suit most users’ needs.
A jointer’s cutting depth determines the amount of passes you need to make in order to get your wood pieces completely straight. Most prefer around a ½” to ¾” cutting depth as each pass steadily straightens out the wood.
It’s best to have a fence with easily adjustable positive stops. You’re likely going to work with some wood pieces that need the support of the fence at certain tilted angles. As for power, a 1 horsepower motor is pretty standard for a jointer while 2 horsepower motors are found on more professional options. 1 horsepower is sufficient enough to even out dense hardwood, softwood, or less conventional types of woods depending on what you’re working on.
Dust and chips from the jointer cutting the wood can get rather messy either on your clothes or on your floor, so you want to make sure that the product you choose has a dust collector. When dust and debris are out of the way, it makes it a lot easier and safer to operate the jointer machine, not to mention your workspace will be a lot cleaner.
The warranty of a jointer isn’t something to look past since there are some cases where your jointer may come in and have factory defects. Depending on the manufacturer, most jointers have a 1-5 year warranty and it can help you with replacing the jointer if there is a major issue that affects its performance and safety.
Learn more: How Does a Jointer Work?
5 Ways to Use Your Jointer
- Face jointing
As lumber dries it has a tendency to twist and cup. The first step in the milling process is to get one face of a board flat. Pass the board over the cutterhead keeping the pressure on the outfeed side so you don’t transfer the twist.
I usually take about a 32 of an inch per pass. After you have one flat side, you can pass it through your thickness planer to make the opposite side parallel.
- Edge jointing
Most lumber will have some degree of a crown where the board isn’t perfectly straight. Say you wanted to make a tabletop or a cutting board and needed to meet multiple boards together.
A common way to deal with a crown is to edge joint the boards. Pass them over the jointer with the crown up and the flat face against the fence. Then at the table saw place your newly jointed edge against the fence and rip the board straight.
Let’s say you need to make a quick chamfer on some stock for trim or for any reason really. Tilt a fence to 45 degrees and reference the fence as you pass the board over the cutter. Just be sure to pay attention to grain direction, so you don’t get tear out.
This trick is pretty slick, but you do need to remove the guard so proceed with caution. Mark the halfway point of the overall taper and mark all four sides. At the jointer lower the infeed table to half the amount you want the piece to taper then rotate the cutterhead with the stock as a reference to see where the cut will start.
Mark that location on your fence. Then slowly feed the piece from the bottom of the leg over the jointer until the lines you mark match the mark on your fence. Stop the cut there. I’m making a 1/2″ taper on all four sides, so my cut depth is a 1/4″ deep.
Then rotate the piece end for end and use a good push block to put pressure down on the end you just cut to pivot the top of the workpiece up making a second pass over the jointer giving you the final taper. Making tapers like this can feel a little foreign, but the results are pretty phenomenal.
This feature might be limited to most floor standing jointers that have a rabbeting clutch. Move the guard out of the way, and slide the fence over to expose how much of a rabbet you want to make. 3/8 of an inch is a pretty common rabbet size for making picture frames out of 3/4 material. I like making my rabbets in three passes taking a 1/8 of an inch with each pass.
Each of the mentioned jointers above is ideal for those who are looking to have a jointer that can help with their personal or professional projects. Each differs in terms of price, size, function, and power, but the best jointer for you ultimately depends on which better suits your preferences and needs.