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Generally, a benchtop jointer isn’t the first power tool required for woodworking projects, and hobbyists and DIYers might not need one. You probably turn to a portable table saw and sliding miter saw first.
However, don’t underestimate the power of wood jointers. They’re just as important to the woodworker as any other power tools. If you tend to work on rough-hewn stocks, it’s almost impossible to get uniform and smooth workpieces without one.
When it comes time to find the best benchtop jointer, you need to do plenty of research. This review has everything you need to know about the top benchtop jointers on the market. Plus, there’s a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ section, so you’re sure to get all the information you need.
Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-inch Benchtop Jointer Best Overall
Jet JJP-8BT 8-inch Jointer/Planer Combination Best in list
Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer Best Choice
Delta 37-071 6-inch Benchtop Jointer Best features
Wahuda Tools 50160CC-WHD Bench Top Jointer Values for money
Grizzly Industrial G0725 Benchtop Jointer Best Compact
Top 7 Jointer Options
There is also a two-knife cutter head that gets through tough hardwood. Since it has a cutter head lock, you can put it in the right setting.
- Lightweight and compact benchtop jointer
- Feels and looks solid, with a stable base
- Easy to assemble
- Handles tough hardwoods, even with its compact side
- Most budget-friendly of the benchtop jointers
- Features two knife cutter heads instead of the helical cutter heads
- Infeed/outfeed table and fence made of aluminum which could warp
If you want a full-sized stationary jointer but don’t have the budget, you may wonder what to do. With that, you could be a weekend warrior, so to speak, so you’re not sure if you need this machine often or if it might just sit around in the garage, collecting dust. Those who want a budget-friendly and powerful machine that delivers should consider the Craftsman benchtop jointer.
This jointer has a solid construction and stable base. It handles the weight of heavy woodblocks. With that, it’s lightweight and compact, so it’s easy to carry it from the garage to the job site.
You’re sure to appreciate the variable speed, making it the best jointer out there. With the variable speed option, you can have a variable speed range from 6,000 to 11,000 RPM!
There is also a two-knife cutter head that gets through tough hardwood. Since it has a cutter head lock, you can put it in the right setting. Other power jointers don’t feature this! Plus, there’s a jackscrew knife leveling arrangement, so you can easily replace or adjust the knives as necessary
Though the infeed/outfeed tables and fences are strong and solid, they are made of aluminum. Therefore, you should be careful.
It does feature a 6-inch width of cut, making it easier to work on large stocks comfortably.
- Highly affordable benchtop joiner
- Lightweight and compact (perfect for professionals and hobbyists)
- Easy to assemble
- Conveniently located dust exhaust port on the side of the machine
- Reliable performance
- Offers smooth cuts
- Features two knife cutter heads instead of helical inserts
- Infeed/outfeed table and fence made of aluminum which could warp
Those who primarily work with small stocks and want a fully portable machine might prefer the 6-inch jointer from Porter-Cable. This benchtop jointer has two very sharp knife cutter heads that plane through tough workpieces easily. You also get reliable performance, and it’s easy to use.
The infeed and outfeed tables and the fence are made of aluminum. Though it does resist corrosion quite well, this material could warp in the long term. Therefore, you should think about that before buying the jointer.
However, it does feature a 6-inch width of cut, making it easier to work on large stocks comfortably. On top of that, this jointer has a variable speed range going from 6,000 to 11,000 RPM. It’s quite affordable and could make a good investment for hobbyists.
The bottom section is a planer. You can switch your dust collection system at the top to have a fully-functioning planer.
- Power jointer and planer in one
- Fairly inexpensive
- Wider cut width than other jointers
- Features a 13-amp motor
- Uses two steel knife cutter heads to handle tough hardwoods
- Extruded aluminum used for the fence
- Oddly positioned dust extractor
- hose gets in the way of the outfeed
Some people might like the two-in-one power tool from Jet. With a planer and jointer, you can complete your collection of tools in the workshop. Plus, it doesn’t cost much to get both options.
When you choose the Jet 8-inch jointer/planer, you can have the budget for one tool and get them both.
This machine has a heavy-duty steel housing with sheet metal for the infeed and outfeed tables. The upper portion comes with a jointer and two cutter heads. Then, the bottom section is a planer. You can switch your dust collection system at the top to have a fully-functioning planer.
You’re sure to appreciate the cast iron construction. Even with cast iron, it’s portable and compact, weighing just 67 pounds. However, it does come with an aluminum fence, so it could dent or warp in the long term.
The tables feel and look solid on this 6-inch jointer.
- Durable high-speed steel used for the cutter heads
- Conveniently located on/off switch for easy reach
- Infeed/outfeed tables made of precision-ground cast-iron
- Two safety push locks
- Reasonable price
- Could have issues with alignment and fence stability
The Shop Fox brand is different from most benchtop jointers reviewed today. Though other benchtop jointers are suitable for hobbyists because of their light builds, this one features a solid-steel cast-iron construction. Therefore, it’s a bit more stable and heavier than others. You can cut many workpieces here without worrying about excessive vibrations or sway.
This benchtop jointer features two cutter heads and cast iron for the infeed and outfeed tables. In fact, the tables feel and look solid on this 6-inch jointer. Still, the aluminum fence is quite underwhelming. While it is an adjustable fence, it could warp or get damaged.
Still, you’ve got more control over the cutting depth, and this machine features a cutter head speed of 10,000 RPM or 20,000 cuts per minute. Plus, it’s reasonably priced, so it works well for professionals and DIYers.
These benchtop models from Delta have a 12-amp motor and an aluminum cutting head that gets through the toughest hardwoods.
- Very stable with cast iron construction
- Conveniently located on/off switch for easy reach
- Cast-iron fence
- Easy to assemble out of the box
- More expensive than others
- Hard to carry
- Fence support brackets stick out
- Poor customer service from the Delta brand
Overall, most benchtop jointers are made using aluminum and steel. That construction ensures that these benchtop models are portable and lightweight. However, that could compromise stability.
With the Delta brand, you don’t have to worry about it. The body features a cast-iron construction to reduce vibrations. Therefore, the model is stable under heavy loads. However, there’s also a cast-iron fence support system, with the infeed and outfeed tables being made of the same material. Therefore, there’s less risk of warping or groove development.
You’re sure to find that these benchtop models from Delta have a 12-amp motor and an aluminum cutting head that gets through the toughest hardwoods. Pair that with a cutting depth of 1/8-inch, and you can get quieter cutting and almost everything else you need when working with rough lumber.
The best jointers have push blocks and a built-in dust blower. This one is no exception!
Because of the cast-iron construction, there’s no need to worry about warping or grooves.
- Spiral or helical cutter head with carbide inserts
- Fence tilt of up to 135 degrees
- Outfeed/infeed tables made of cast iron
- Durable and solid steel base to reduce vibration
- Doesn't make a lot of noise compared to other woodworking jointers
- Extruded aluminum fence
- More expensive than others
- Takes time to adjust and fine-tune the tables
Though the Wahuda Tools brand isn’t as well-known as others, this benchtop jointer features everything you could want from a machine. It’s different because it features a helical or spiral cutter head. Plus, the square carbide inserts are sharp. Couple those things with the 10-amp motor, and it can handle the thickest wood pieces without damaging the wood’s surface!
You’re sure to appreciate the steel housing, and the infeed/outfeed tables are made using cast iron. Because of the cast-iron construction, there’s no need to worry about warping or grooves.
For the most part, the fence is reliable and square. However, it’s not made with cast iron; instead, it uses extruded aluminum.
Since both the infeed and outfeed table uses this material, it could be one of the best jointers out there. Plus, the fence is made of extruded aluminum.
- Cast iron table
- Fence tilt of 135 degrees
- Solid and stable base
- Challenging to adjust the cutting head because screws are overly tight
When you want durability and performance, the Grizzly Industrial benchtop jointer holds its own. Though it might look like something your grandfather owned, it could be one of the best jointers out there. The housing features heavy-duty steel, so it resists vibration. With that, it offers a stable base for the powerful motor.
You also get a cast iron table, so it’s warp-resistant. Since both the infeed and outfeed table uses this material, it could be one of the best jointers out there. Plus, the fence is made of extruded aluminum.
Overall, you’re sure to appreciate the two cutting-head options. They are knife-style, but you don’t get a helical cutterhead. With that, they are sharp and can handle tough stocks. There’s also a great dust collection system available to ensure that the workshop stays clean.
The Basics for Benchtop Jointers
Overall, benchtop jointers are machines that plane the board’s face. If you have a twisted, bowed, or cupped board that you want to cut to width on the table saw, you should run it through a jointer first. That way, it’s got a smoother and straighter face. Benchtop jointers can also be used to straighten the edges of workpieces so that you can glue them together.
Jointers are quite versatile. They’re used to remove marks and flaws made by your table saw. With that, you can cut rabbets and chamfers or taper a workpiece. However, solid wood is all you can cut with a jointer. Plywood, particleboard, and other materials can’t be cut here.
You can find two types of jointers (benchtop and stationary). A stationary one works well if you plan to cut in the workshop. However, if you must take it to a job site or have a small workshop, a benchtop version works well.
They have universal motors, so they could be a bit louder than stationary versions. With that, benchtop jointers have shorter infeed and outfeed tables but are still the best choice for woodworkers on a budget.
Buyer’s Guide for a Benchtop Jointer
Before buying power jointers, it’s important to consider these factors:
Infeed Table, Outfeed Table, and Width of Cut
When you’re focused on the best jointer, you must consider the length of its infeed table and outfeed table. The width of cut is also crucial.
Overall, the infeed table is found on the right side. This is where you put the workpiece into your jointer’s cutter head. Then, the material passes to the outfeed table once it goes through the cutting head.
In contrast to the stationary models, benchtop jointers often have shorter tables because they are smaller. If you cut shortboards, the length of the tables isn’t a big deal.
The same applies to the width of the cut. The cutting depth determines how wide the wood pieces can be. Benchtop models often have a cut width ranging from 4 to 6 inches. However, more powerful ones might go up to 16 inches.
Cutter Head Speed
There are three styles of cutter heads, and you should understand the pros and cons of each.
The spiral or helical cutterhead is the first one. With this type, there are rows of square carbide inserts arranged into a helical or spiral pattern on the steelhead. With that, the spiral cutterhead produces better cuts with grain stock. Though they’re more expensive at first, they can be cost-effective in the long run because they don’t need to be replaced as often.
Most people go with a helical cutter head. However, you might prefer one with straight blades. If you cut normal stocks and need smooth cuts, helical cutter heads might not be ideal. In fact, straight-knife heads are much cheaper than a helical blade, but they lose their sharpness quicker than the carbide inserts. With that, you might find it hard to align and install new straight knives if you’re not experienced. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn, but it could lead to more exertion and stress while you try to work things out.
One other important aspect of the best benchtop jointers is their fence. This is what guides the stock so that it can go through the cutter head and make straight cuts. Overall, you need a flat surface and want accurate cutting with a smoother finish.
This means that the fence must tilt at the right angle to make chamfer and bevel cuts. You may also need it to taper your wood.
Generally, it is best to use a higher fence on your jointer. It must be perfectly straight and flat across its width. Before buying something, make sure to check the fence using a steel square. If you purchase it online, make sure that the company offers a money-back guarantee. That way, you can return it if it’s not perfectly straight.
Dust collection for a jointer is crucial. Overall, it depends on the location of your workshop. If your area is small, you may need something with its own system. That reduces the effort you must put in to clean the space. Plus, it keeps things cleaner while you work.
However, most models don’t have a self-cleaning option. If you don’t mind cleaning up a bit after you work, this might be a better choice. However, you should be aware that dust collection systems are known to boost the lifespan of the jointer.
Most jointer models have a one-horsepower motor. This is seen as standard and can handle most wood types. However, based on the stock you use and your experience, you might want something with more power.
With that, hardwoods tend to require a powerful motor, though softwoods don’t. It’s crucial to understand that a higher horsepower means that the machine uses more electricity.
Many times, people still have questions, even after reading everything in the review. This is normal, and the frequently asked questions section is here to ensure that you get all the answers you need. You may not know how to use the jointer or wonder what the difference is between this tool and a planer. Regardless, here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions:
How Can You Sharpen the Jointer Blades?
Whether you have three knives or one, you should make sure that they are sharp and ready for action, especially when working with longer boards. Though you can send them out to a professional for sharpening, that can get expensive when you have multiple blades. With that, your machine is out of commission for weeks until the blades get back.
You can sharpen your blades yourself with a jig that allows you to hold your cutter head in place. Therefore, you can sharpen the blades without having to install them. It’s possible to buy a jig, but you can make one with a small hardwood block that fits between the gap of the table and the cutter with a dowel blocking the blade so that the cutter can’t turn.
Once you buy or create a blade jig for the jointer, it’s possible to sharpen the blades. This cuts down on knife replacement prices, though you may have more knife adjustments to consider.
To sharpen your own blades, follow these steps:
How Does Someone Use a Jointer?
To use a jointer correctly, follow these directions:
What’s the Difference Between a Jointer and a Planer?
A planer and jointer are both used to remove wood from the sides of your wood piece. However, the jointer takes uneven or bowed lumber and makes it square and straight. The planer removes large amounts of wood to bring a thick board down to the right thickness.
Now that you know a bit more about what a jointer does and why you need one, it’s time to determine the winner. Which power tool is the best? Though there are differences in opinion, the Craftsman benchtop jointer might be the jointer on the market. Though it’s not perfect for every woodworker in the world, it does have many benefits.
How does this tool stand apart from the crowd?
When you’re cutting a tough workpiece, it’s not a problem with this machine. It can get through hard and softwoods easily because of the 10-amp motor. It also features a durable and sharp two-knife cutter head. This compact jointer features a variable speed setting to offer you more control when working on different pieces.
Dust collection is also fairly easy! However, it doesn’t feature dust collection systems, so you must hook it up to your Shop-Vac to make it work correctly.
The fence, as well as the outfeed and infeed tables, are made using aluminum. This is quite durable and handles heavy materials easily. Just make sure to take care so that you don’t dent it or overload it. Otherwise, it might warp.
When you get the tool, you can set it up effortlessly. Plus, the push blocks make it easier and safer to work with. Those who have a small workshop might prefer this jointer compared to others. It is also great for portability and weighs 40 pounds. Take it on the job site and never have a problem!