Best Jointer for the Money | Top 5 Reviews and Buyers Guide

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The jointer is the ultimate workbench tool. This versatile machine can dimension boards, flatten surfaces, square edges, and create joints on the rough lumber. It’s a must-have for any woodworker who wants to improve their craftsmanship and ensure they consistently produce quality projects.

From experienced woodworkers to aspiring beginners, a benchtop jointer is easy to use, ideal for small workspaces, portable, and helps hone skills. A jointer is used to flatten warped, twisted, or bowed boards. Once flat, you can use the jointer to straighten, square edges, cut, and smooth down the wood to a perfect finish which is a crucial part of the job.

A benchtop jointer is reliable, versatile, and with low noise output, you can work from home without disturbing your neighbors with no restrictions on working hours.

But with so many different models available on the market today, it can be challenging to know which one is right for you. To help you to make an informed decision as to which benchtop jointer is suitable for your needs, we have compiled a comprehensive review and buyer’s guide on five quality products.

Here’s what we cover in this best jointer review article:

  • First, we’ll showcase our top 5 picks side-by-side in an easy-to-read comparison table
  • Then, we’ll look at each model’s features and benefits that you’ll find useful
  • Next, we’ll take a good look at their drawbacks we believe you should know about
  • And finally, our buying guide will give you much better insight into the product range

Sound good? Let’s begin!

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Our Favorite Jointers | Compared 

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What is The Best Benchtop Jointer? 


1. Powermatic Jointer (Model 1791279DXK) with Quick-Set Knives (Best Overall)

Pros & Cons

  • Heavy-duty projects
  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to setup and install
  • Large and adjustable working area
  • Expensive


2. Porter-Cable Benchtop Jointer (PC160JT) (Best Value)

Pros & Cons

  • Variable speed setting
  • Easily adjusts
  • Replace cutterhead knives quickly
  • Large working area
  • More complex to calibrate


Further reading: Best Biscuit Joiners – Top 5 Reviews and Buyers Guide


3. Delta 6″ Benchtop Jointer (Model 37-071)

Pros & Cons

  • Solidly built using cast iron
  • Stable
  • Reliable
  • Use with various sizes and kinds of wood
  • Nice fence adjustment
  • Not best suited to beginners


4. Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer

Pros & Cons

  • Solid, cast iron running bed and fence
  • Lines up true 90
  • Space saving
  • Excellent value
  • No depth gauge or speed for cutting RPM


5. Craftsman Benchtop Jointer (Model CMEW020)

Pros & Cons

  • Easy to use
  • Adjustable speed settings
  • Accurace cuts
  • Best suited to light duty work only


15 Best Types of Planers | What Are They Used For?


Video: How to Use a Jointer

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Jointers Buyers Guide

If you are a woodworker or make furniture, you should be well-acquainted with many hand tools. A hand planer or a saw should not be the only tool you know. There are incredible and outstanding tools like a jointer you should as well be well-versed with. 

What does a jointer do? 

A jointer, also widely known as a flat top or jointer-planer, is a great woodworking tool that gives a wood board a flat surface along the desired length. This machine works perfectly on the narrow edge of boards used to join panels or as a butt joint. 

As a woodworker, use this tool to make wood perfectly straight before joining it with other pieces without any problem. If you are using a jointer-planer to make a butt joint, remember to fit the elements without any spacing perfectly. You can use your jointer to straighten out wood and enhance its look without causing much damage. 

Type of jointer

There are three main types to choose from:

Benchtop jointers are a particular type of machine installed with a self-cleaning mechanism. These smaller versions can be great for those who have limited space in their garage or workshop as they don’t take up much room at all! This is good for people who have workshops or want to buy a home garage. So, if you are serious about working with wood and operating on a medium to large scale, you will be able to use benchtop jointers. Benchtop jointers can do heavy-duty work.

Most people usually prefer closed stand jointers. They are designed to keep dust and debris away from the motor. Closed stand jointers must be cleaned often for this reason, but they work great. You don’t have to worry about them breaking down or not working right because of dust getting inside.

Open stand jointers are more portable and lighter than closed stand jointers. They are suitable for moving between the workshop and the job site. But they can be loud because you can see their motor. And they have too much vibration because their metal body is not solid like on closed stand jointers.

Table length

Jointers don’t come with a limited table length. As you buy your jointer-planer, ensure the table you will feed into the machine and the height reference table where the wood is floated leave the tool cutting head. The table length will be raised or lowered independently concerning the cutting head. 

Table Width 

As you purchase your flat top, consider its table width. This is the ability of this woodworking tool to cut different proportions of wood. The width usually determines the cost of your planer. The bigger the width, the more money you will spend on your favorite model. 

Max Depth Cut 

An adjustable gauge helps set the depth of the cuts in a jointer-planer. Your depth cut will vary depending on the model you choose. The best depth cuts should not be more profound than 1/8 inch per pass. The depth cut helps determine the number of passes to undertake and get your wood piece completely straight. 

Cuts per Minute 

Cutting speed per minute varies from one jointer-planer to another. For instance, a design with three knives and running at 4000 rpm will produce 12,000 cuts per minute, which is a more pleasing finish for your project. 

A woodworking machine with only two knives and running at 4500 rpm will produce 9,000 cuts per minute. You will get the cut per minute of your device by multiplying the cutter head rpm by the number of knives in the specific cutter head.

PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer, Variable Speed, 6-Inch (PC160JT)

Number of Knives 

Knives in a planer are arranged outwardly and cut into the wood board opposite to the feed. Standard jointer knives last longer than regular steel knives. Depending on your woodworking needs, decide between a 4-knives or 2-knives planer. 

Choose between self-indexing or indexed knives for your woodworking projects. 

Cutter Head Type 

Cutter head types of the available jointer-planer designs will vary. You can decide to opt for a spiral cutter head or helical cutting head.

Adjustable system 

A jointer is used to get fine wood boards, and you should keep it fine-tuned. The adjustable system of your planer has to be easy to adjust and help flatten your wood into different angles and with much ease. To adapt your jointer’s fence, loosen the stop screw in the system. Significantly, you can adjust the outfeed table by turning the knob underneath.

Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch Jointer with helical cutterhead

Build Quality 

Choose a flat top that will give you a reliable sign of capability and reliability. A well-built design will last longer. It is user-friendly and performs better.

Blade Guard Cover

Safety is quite crucial when using your woodworking machine. A blade guard cover will help enclose the cutting blades or the fence except for the working part of the blade. Be considerate when choosing a spring-loaded guard as it easily swings out of the way. 

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The cutter head of the latest jointer models is run by an AC electric motor rated at one horsepower. Traditional models used belts running from the line shaft. Pick a model that can produce torque suitable enough to straighten your boards. The more powerful the motor, the faster and accurately it will trim your material. 

Dust collection system

The dust collection system is fundamental. This means that the machine you buy must come with an excellent way to collect sawdust and debris produced when working on wood projects. Otherwise, it will spread around your workspace or garage. The best jointers feature an inbuilt dust collector at the bottom of their base for this reason. You can also purchase a dust collection system separately for your jointer.

The price range of jointer

Jointer prices range from a few hundred dollars to thousands. You need to set the budget you have in mind before going out and buying one of these machines. This will help narrow down your choices, making it easier for you to find the best jointer on the market within your price range. It is also important not to go overboard when spending on this type of equipment. You may not need all of the bells and whistles that a more expensive jointer offers.


The jointer’s warranty will vary depending on the brand you opt for. Go for a brand that offers a satisfying warranty. Also, ensure spare parts are easy to obtain and not too pricey.

Parallelogram jointer bed vs. Dovetailed ways bed

A parallelogram jointer-planer comes with its beds attached to the head. You can change the shape of this planer to move the beds and up and down. Hence, it’s easy to adjust the beds to desired heights. This jointer’s cam and arc design will make it easy for the woodworker to raise and lower the table using a lever. 

On the other hand, dovetailed ways bed will last many years of use and are wedged for easy alignment. You will get what you pay for the model you opt for, but dovetail ways are less-expensive

Power consideration – single-phase or three-phase?

As you shop for the best jointer model in the market, your power choice will matter a lot. You have to decide between single-phase and three-phase models. So, what’s better?

The critical difference is the power output. If you use your jointers in a big factory, you need a reliable and robust power distribution. Three-phase power is the best choice for an extensive woodworking shop, but you only need a single-phase in your small shop.

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The purchase of a jointer is not one you should make quickly. They are expensive, and you will need to consider all your options carefully. We have thoroughly reviewed 5 of what we believe are the best choices.

The Powermatic 1791279DXK won our Best Overall prize. It has all the features you need. It is solidly built, has a great warranty, and will have paid you back your investment 3 to 4 times over its lifespan. However, it is also expensive, so you’ll need to consider how often you will use it. Professional woodworker – no problem. Hobbyist – better value with a different jointer.

The Porter-Cable Benchtop Jointer came out as Best Value. It has a ton of features, is well-built, outstanding warranty, and is portable. This makes it perfect as an entry-level jointer and occasional user.

We hope we have given you all the information needed to go out and make a better buying decision.

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Here are our favorite biscuit joiners

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Walts DIY is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Walter Snyder