How to Find the Best Jointer for Your Next Project
If you’re a woodworker, you probably want to have your own jointer. Owning a jointer is a considerable advantage, especially a benchtop model. Working with wood is not easy, but it can be beautiful. Some people learn it from their fathers and grandfathers, so it becomes some sort of tradition. What you need to do first is to smooth the wood board. Therefore, you need to find the best jointer you can afford.
A lot of people tend to confuse jointers with planers, but I will clarify that confusion later on, in today’s article. Besides this information, below, you will also find some of the best jointer models on the market, the main types of jointers, things to consider before buying one of these tools, and many other helpful details.
How to Find the Best Jointer – Main Steps and Guidelines
Things to Look for
If you want to straighten a wooden surface, you will need a powerful jointer. Most people purchase jointers that have a one horsepower motor because this level works fine and it is enough for the majority of wood boards. Obviously, the bigger the motor, the quicker the tool will shave through the wood. On the other hand, more powerful jointers are also more expensive.
A good-quality jointer is more reliable and more durable. A well-built model should last longer while also performing better. Moreover, high-quality power tools have user-friendly functions.
There are several different types of jointers (I will discuss them in the following section). You should always choose the one that suits your needs that’s based on your workshop’s layout. Simply put, think about how much space you have. For instance, if the workshop is small, you should opt for a small benchtop jointer.
d. Bed Width
This represents the area that the tool can shave off of the wood board at one time. Most jobs can be quickly done with a six-inch jointer. This type of benchtop jointer is a favorite among carpenters and homeowners alike because it does a great job, and it is also affordable.
e. Dust Collection
This feature is essential if you want to maintain a clean workspace. Furthermore, if you buy a jointer with this function, the motor won’t get filled with dust particles which prolong the tool’s lifespan.
f. Knife Adjustments
Jointers that are suitable for beginners have only two knives. They are cheaper but not as efficient as the models that come with four knives. Buy one that is easy to adjust.
This is a no-brainer. It is only reasonable to get a lightweight jointer that weighs only 40 pounds if you plan to take it with you wherever you go. On the other hand, for a fixed work station, you can safely pick a 600-pound jointer.
h. Cutting Depth
This feature shows how many times you need to move the tool back and forth to achieve a polished result. The higher this is, the quicker you will finish your work.
Types of Jointers
- Tabletop jointer – this jointer model comes without an outfeed, and it is typically secured and fixed on a special kind of table;
- Closed jointer – this is called a closed jointer because of its base part which plays the role of protecting the tool’s cutter head as well as preventing the motor from collecting dust. Moreover, the closed section prevents the user from getting hurt while using the jointer. It is a heavy and robust unit, but it is the safest jointer type;
- Benchtop jointer – both tabletop and benchtop jointers look pretty similar. There are a few differences, though. The benchtop version is smaller and has a closed-form;
- Open stand jointer – on this jointer, the motor area is exposed so you can see it entirely. These aren’t the best models if you ask me. Some of their disadvantages are the following ones: no shock absorption, loud and noisy, no safety measures;
- Hand jointer – this is a very versatile tool that allows you to trim wood anywhere you want. Unlike a regular jointer, this one lets you shave wood on any part of the board. You don’t have to start from one end;
- Longed jointer – this is called “longed” because of its arms. The purpose of this jointer type is excellent trimming. However, it isn’t as versatile as the hand jointer because you can only adjust its infeed.
Top 10 Best Jointers on the Market
*The following products were listed in no particular order. I chose them due to their ratings, features, and advantages.
1. Powermatic 1610086K 2HP Jointer
The 1610086K model by Powermatic is a dependable heavy-duty jointer. It has a powerful motor of two horsepower, and the head cutter has a helical shape. The structure comes with premium quality knives that enable users to operate the tool smoothly.
Its arms measure 73 inches, so they are very long. You can adjust the tool’s infeed almost effortlessly. It comes with a protective fence so that the working table doesn’t get scratched during the adjustments. Find the Powermatic 1610086K 2HP Jointer here on Amazon.
- The structure is durable, made from iron;
- The motor is powerful, built for heavy-duty projects;
- You can select from two alternatives, one that comes with three knives, and the other model that features four knives;
- There’s a useful magnetic push block;
- Users can control the device by pushing front-accessible buttons;
- There’s an anti-scratch fence.
- The jointer has a voltage of only 240V;
- It is an expensive model.
2. PC160JT Bench Jointer by Porter-Cable
This Porter-Cable Jointer is an entry-level tool that measures six inches. It comes with pretty nice features and, buying it, won’t break the bank. You can adjust its speed, and the jointer’s leveling system has two knives. The entire item is user-friendly.
Due to its adjustable fence, you will be able to achieve a pretty good straightening. Although there are better versions out there, the Porter-Cable jointer does its job quite well. Find the PC160JT here on Amazon.
Variable 6, 000 to 11, 000 RPM speed range allows the user to select the right speed for the size and hardness of material being cut. Two knife cutter head with jack screw knife leveling arrangement for easy replacement and adjustment of knives.
- It is an affordable jointer that has a decent range of functions and features;
- You can easily replace the tool’s knives;
- The speed function is variable so it can be adjusted;
- This unit is lightweight, so it is easy to relocate it;
- The jointer’s design is intuitive, easy to understand, and straightforward;
- It is suited for beginners and experienced project workers as well;
- The benchtop is super flat.
- It may not be the best solution for heavy-duty jobs;
- The benchtop is made with aluminum instead of iron;
- There are other jointers on the market that have better build construction.
3. 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 1HP Jointer by Jet
The Jet Wood Jointer is an affordable option that provides rabbeting functions. It comes equipped with a protective fence, and its motor offers outstanding overall performance. The outside case is made of iron. All in all, this product meets users’ expectations at a reasonable price.
The speed of the knife can be set on three different levels. It is straightforward to use, and the entire experience will be a clean and fun one. Check out the Jet Wood Jointer here on Amazon.
- You can do excellent rabbeting and trimming with this tool;
- The unit is stable, and the infeed is easy to adjust;
- The product’s levers are located in easy-to-reach positions;
- It has a motor power of 1HP which allows a decent performance;
- This jointer is quite affordable.
- It may not be the best jointer for extended usage because it has a rather small motor;
- The tool’s arms are short, so it is not made for long materials.
4. Powermatic 1791317K Jointer
This Powermatic Jointer Model resembles the other tool manufactured by the same company that I’ve included in this list. One of the main differences is given by the fact that this version has trimmed-down features.
Compared to the previous model launched by the company, this one is more affordable as well as more user-friendly. There’s a simple yet useful addition to its structure: an on/off switch button that’s placed on the front part of the jointer. Find this jointer here on Amazon.
- The iron cast represents a solid construction;
- There’s a magnetic push block;
- The arm measures 66 inches, and the protection fence is 38 inches long. Both these features allow for better performance and easier use;
- This tool has a powerful helical cutter head, and the inserts are made of carbide;
- It is a much more affordable option compared to the company’s previous models.
- The motor is only 1 HP although it is powerful enough for plenty of work projects;
- One user complained about how easy the paint on the jointer’s exterior part came right off.
5. Jet Helical Head Jointer
This is a very popular jointer because you can use it for a wide range of projects and it does the work very well. The Jet JJ 8 HH jointer comes with a large benchtop so it won’t be challenging for you to accommodate your materials.
The cutter head has a helical insert that trims wood in an accurate manner. You will be pleased to know that the product features a heavy-duty motor. In fact, this model represents an improved and upgraded version of the previous alternatives. Check it out here on Amazon.
- You will get good value for the money;
- The motor is powerful and robust;
- Users won’t feel strong vibrations. As a matter of fact, there’s little to almost no vibration at all;
- The cut depth is excellent;
- The design of the cabinet is efficient;
- It comes with a dust collection system;
- The jointer features excellent ergonomics.
- For some users, it may be quite tricky to install the drive belt;
- This jointer type might not be the best choice for rabbeting because of its helical head;
- It does its work well, although it isn’t the most intuitive option on the market.
6. Cutech 40160H-CT Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
The Cutech benchtop jointer can be a nice acquisition, and it is an affordable purchase, too. It provides great value for the money, and the bed measures six inches. Still, it might be ideal for those of you who keep woodworking at a hobby level. Nevertheless, the motor is powerful enough to obtain a smooth finishing.
The fence is easy to control, and it is also adjustable. All these mixed together lead to an accurate cut. Near the jointer’s cutter head, you will find an effective dust waste port. So, your work area will remain pretty clean. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.
- It is great for beginners;
- It doesn’t cost too much, being one of the most affordable jointers out there;
- This jointer is lightweight and pretty compact. For those reasons, you can easily carry it around;
- With this tool, you will achieve smooth woodcuts;
- Users are satisfied with how responsive the company’s customer service is.
- Some people say that certain elements of this tool are a tad flimsy and you may need to tighten them;
- If you are a more experienced worker or if you want something very powerful, this jointer might not be the ideal solution.
7. Delta Power 37-071 MIDI-Bench Jointer
The Delta Power benchtop jointer works rather interesting. It is six inches wide, and its cutting depth reaches 1/8 inches. But the best features are the cutter head and the motor. It has two knives that can cut 20,000 times per minute.
Ѕou can work with plenty of soft and hardwoods because this tool will deliver your expected results. Users can easily adjust the fence from 45 to 90 degrees. The adjustment system, however, is a bit stiff. You can find the Delta Power 37-071 here on Amazon.
Durable cast iron construction increases weight providing stability and reducing vibration. Precision-machining of the table and fence ensures long term accuracy. Heavy duty, cast iron fence support system for accurate jointing.
- You can easily change the blades if you need to do some maintenance work on them;
- This jointer works well on numerous wood types;
- It is a great addition regardless of where you’re handling your projects: in your garage, workshop, or even bedroom;
- Most users are happy with the way it works, saying it does a great job, especially for small shop needs.
- It isn’t effortless to adjust the fence because the system is a tad stiff. However, the tool compensates this small issue with other features;
- One client complained about poor customer service.
8. WEN 6560 Jointer
The 6560 jointer made by Wen is a great choice, and it is the perfect alternative for all your hobbyist woodworkers out there. Its bed width is six inches, which is a pretty decent size. The motor provides no less than 20,000 cuts per minute, which are quite enough for most wood types.
Both the fence and the infeed give you a lot of control over the machine. WEN comes with interesting features like a spring-loaded blade guard that protects users from injuries. There’s also a dust bag that collects waste, wood chips, and dust. Check it out here on Amazon.
- This is a good tool, and it works excellently as a hobby jointer;
- It meets most of the users’ needs when it comes to cutting and smoothing wood boards;
- For a benchtop jointer, this product comes with an incredibly large table that measures no less than 28 inches;
- It offers good value for its price;
- The blades are sharp and solid.
- Adjusting the angle of the jointer’s fence might be difficult at times;
- Some say that the adjustment system is too high and it is quite hard to handle;
- It is a great tool for beginners, but more experienced woodworkers might not love this jointer.
9. Grizzly G0452 Jointer
Grizzly’s G0452 jointer model is quite impressive. The bed’s width is six inches, which is a pretty decent size. It comes with an adjustable fence and the setting up process is quite simple, so it shouldn’t take more than one hour of your time.
Although the instruction manual offers plenty of useful details, you may need some help with the adjustment of the jointer. The dust collection feature works amazingly while the lever allows better control. Find it here on Amazon.
- This is the ideal jointer for a small workshop based at home;
- It is very easy to use;
- Most users find the placement of the jointer’s switch highly convenient;
- It is a sturdy power tool;
- This jointer provides smooth surfaces;
- The company’s customer service is responsive and helpful.
- Although it doesn’t take a lot of time, setting up the tool might take a while, especially if you have never done it before;
- One user stated that the blade system is poorly engineered and it is hard to remove it in order to change it with a new blade.
10. POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer
This benchtop jointer made by Powertec is an affordable piece crafted for beginners and hobbyists alike. You can either purchase the one that has a bed width of six inches or opt for the eight-inch alternative.
I would personally suggest you go with the standard six-inch version because it suits a jointer’s role a lot better. The cutting depth is a tad shallow but effective. The machine comes with a tilting fence so you will be able to obtain a wide range of different cuts. Find the latest prices on Amazon.
- It comes with an innovative automatic system for waste and dust collection which saves a lot of your time;
- The jointer’s body is made of iron which makes the entire structure more stable and durable;
- It is a great jointer that has a very good dust collector. You will keep your work area clean, and the machine will be dust-free.
- According to a few users, there seem to be a couple of issues regarding the assembly process. These problems are apparently linked to a poorly-written instruction manual;
- It is best suited for beginners. So, if you’re an experienced woodworker, you may want to opt for another tool.
What Is a Jointer & Why Would You Need One?
A jointer is a tool or a woodworking machine that’s used to achieve flat and smooth surfaces. The user must swing the machine back and forth along the entire length of a wood board. Sometimes, people call it a surface planer, although jointers are different than planers. It also goes by the name of the buzzer. The tool operates on the boards’ narrow edges, preparing them for further use as panels.
- Flattering a wood board’s face;
- Making tapered legs for desks or tables;
- Squaring the edge of the wood board to match its face;
- Trimming doors to size.
- Make sure that you joint while maintaining the wood grain towards the outfeed while also being away from the knives and their rotation;
- Double-check the tool’s table before beginning the woodwork. The table must be in alignment with the machine. Adjust its height properly;
- Jointing must be performed with the face first in order to achieve a smooth and flat surface;
- Make sure to verify the cut’s depth to keep track of your progress.
Most jointer types are used for the purpose of rebating. This kind of tool features very sharp blades. One couldn’t or shouldn’t handle a jointer when there’s a need of creating an even board that has the same thickness from one end to the other.
For this particular chore, you should also use a thickness planer after you’re done with the jointer. All in all, jointers can cut wood, and they create edges on numerous workpieces that are ready-to-glue.
Jet jointers work best for flat pieces of wood that are already prepared for the perfect cut. These tools’ cutter heads have helical shapes. Moreover, jet jointers come with indexable carbide inserts that allow a perfect and smooth finish on any kind of wooden board.
The jointer must be used first to flatten the surface you want to work with. Then, you can use a planer to achieve a perfectly parallel panel that has a consistent thickness. A jointer’s blades cut from below and are installed on the table. Meanwhile, a planer’s knives are mounted above the wood panel, and they cut from above.
How to Find the Best Jointer for Your Project – Bottom Line
One of the jointers mentioned above should be part of your toolkit. With a good jointer, your woodworking results will be improved. Nevertheless, you need plenty of practice hours before you can become an experienced jointer user. Get familiarized with your chosen tool and remember always to read the user’s manual. After that, feel free to explore all the possibilities.