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For dedicated woodworkers who have moved past the “beginner stage”, a jointer is an extremely handy tool to have in the workshop. For serious woodworkers, jointers are immensely helpful for straightening lumber that is bent or has natural curves. However, these costly woodworking ‘beasts’ are not worth the investment for most beginners. Jointers typically require a financial commitment of several hundred dollars.
A jointer’s primary use is to help to correct the dimension of contorted timber. Jointers allow twisted and wrapped boards to easily be straightened which enables you to work on your projects with minimal damage. It can be extremely difficult to determine which jointer is best for you because of the many different types and price tiers. This largely includes standard jointers that are usually huge freestanding equipment and bench jointers that can easily be mounted on top of a bench. Bench jointers are typically portable whereas freestanding jointers are extremely difficult to move once they are set up.
Furthermore, jointers now exist in hundreds of brands, thousands of models, and varying price points for you to choose from. This makes it cumbersome to search for the best jointer for your own projects. Consequently, this article thoroughly reviews some of the top jointers in the market aiming to assist you to find a perfect match. Before that, here are a few terms that will help you understand the reviews better:
Spiral Rutters – Peat-cutting tool that makes spiral inserts that diagonally wrap around the shaft.
Helical rutters – Here the insets are aligned about 14-degrees with the rotational axis of the shaft resulting in a shearing cut with fewer gouges.
VAC – A vacuuming system that produces an airflow of low-volume but high static pressure
H-VAC – A system that produces both heating and cooling services while rutting
Variable vs. Set Speed – Jointers with variable speed refers to those that allow you to adjust the operational speed while those with set speed only have fixed speed units that can’t be adjusted
Jointer Plane – A woodworking tool used to straighten boards during jointing.
Dust Collector in Jointer – A section of a jointer where dust and wood debris are collected.
Pick #1 Delta Power Table - Best For The Money
The Delta Power Table is a powerful and very versatile jointer that comes with high precision and accuracy. It uses a 12A motor that requires a 120-volt single-phase connection to operate its 10000-rpm (rotations per minute) cutter head, which also comes with 2 straight aluminum knives. These knives make up to 20000 cuts per minute allowing you to cut through straight-grained hardwoods such as walnut with a maximum depth of 1/8 inches.
Its table can comfortably handle work on very dense hardwoods and also join several wood types plus 2 by 6 boards simultaneously. Its adjustable positive stops range from 450 to 900 making it easy to work with different fence angles. Be sure to use the speed square to confirm your working angle.
Lengthwise, its table and fence measure 281/2 and 227/8 inches respectively. Therefore, this allows for jointing stocks double the length of its bed without additional support. This model is cast iron made and also features an in-built dust blower and 2 push blocks.
Considering its price and the 5-year warranty, this jointer is the best option for the money. However, you might find some difficulty in accurately adjusting the fence mechanisms. Weighing 76 pounds, it can be a bit hard to move around on your own. Apparently, there are claims that some purchases turn out to be defective and occasionally lack repair parts.
Pick #2 PORTER-CABLE PC160JT 6 Inch Jointer
The Porter-Cable PC160JT Jointer is our best recommendation for an affordable bench jointer. The model features variable speed settings with up to 5-speed points that allow users to adjust operational speed between 6000 rpm and 11000 rpm. This enables you to appropriately match the right speed with the type and size of wood stock.
A single-phase 10A/2hp motor with up to 110-volt connection powers its cutter head. The jointer’s table and fence lengths measure 30 inches and 19.5 inches respectively. This gives some flexibility when working with stocks measuring double its length.
Despite being less powerful than our top pick, the Porter-Cable PC160JT also features 2 straight knives with speed ranging from 12000 to 22000 cuts per minute. This makes cuts up to 1/8 inches in depth and allows jointing boards with 6-inch wide surfaces.
Its fence also comes with 450 and 900 stops but drifts after it’s secured making it a low-precision jointer. Moreover, it’s built with aluminum sheet housing and plastic levers and is not very durable compared to the Delta model. Overall, the Porter-Cable PC160JT is the best option if you are on a tight budget and want an effective bench jointer.
Pick #3 Jet Quick Knive Jointer
The Jet Quick Knive Jointer derives its power from a 1hp 115/230 volt single phase motor that is totally enclosed and is fan cooled. This coupled with its 3 double-sided knives, enables it to easily cut through the densest and hardest of woods such as maple.
As its name suggests, it has a quick-change system for the knives and does not require any calibration for the knives. This model also features fence stops between 450 and 900, a half-inch rabbeting capacity, and parallel but adjustable infeed and outfeed tables.
The model is largely made of cast iron, which makes it very durable except for the plastic dust port. This measures 4 inches and is compatible with a 4-inch hose to facilitate easy dust collection making your workspace less messy.
On the downside, the jointer is top-heavy making it hard to move around, and if not installed to exact specification there will be loud vibrations. Otherwise, its price is excellent for performance and its 5-year limited warranty makes it a handy tool for both beginners and professional woodworkers.
Pick #4 Grizzly Benchtop Jointer
This jointer comes with a 281/2 by 61/4 table, which is a compact and convenient size for benchtops in general. Its infeed table comes with an adjustable knob to help with swift height adjustments. This model also features a 21/2 inch dust port that efficiently collects all the dust from your projects.
The Grizzly Benchtop Jointer’s fence also has stops allowing for both inward and outward adjustments from 00 to 450. These features pre-set calibrations that easily lets you to conveniently lock the fence at the angle of your choice.
For durability, this model is constructed using cast iron. However, most beginners might find some difficulty in assembling it and in fine-tuning the blades during replacement. Other than that, it is a good jointer for finish-ready surfaces and joints.
The Powermatic 1610086K is a full-sized 8-inch powerful jointer capable of handling almost any project you might have. Its 7000-rpm helical cutter head is powered by a single-phase 9 A 230 volt 2hp motor.
This model conveniently joints boards less than 8 inches wide and cuts up to ½ inch deep. For your workspace, it comes with a 38-inch fence and a 73-inch table that’s capable of supporting very long stocks. Furthermore, its infeed table features smooth adjustment levers for very fine and exact precisions and a no-mar gear system for accurately setting fence angles with the handwheel.
It’s also good to see that you can use either its 4-side helical rutters or the 3-side straight side blades for your finishes. The model also has an effective dust collection system that leaves virtually no mess.
For your own peace of mind, this model comes with a 5-year warranty. Being such an investment, it isn’t ideal for those seeking an affordable option. This jointer weighs 518 pounds and is nearly immovable after installation. It is also difficult for one person to set it by themselves.
Otherwise, this is the perfect fit if you are looking for a heavy-duty jointer and have at least intermediate carpentry skills.
How We Picked The Best Jointers
Jointers are generally expensive and you need to make the correct decision before buying either a benchtop jointer that saves on workspace or long bed jointers that are huge and perfect for heavy-duty projects. Since this is often influenced by the information available to you, we will systematically take you through the different criteria we used in reviewing the best jointers in the market. First, let’s answer a more basic question in people’s minds.
What is a Jointer Used For?
A jointer machine has a flat top with openings that expose cutting knives and rutters that spins at high speed. When the edge of a board passes over it, the cutter head shaves and straightens the rough board making it free of warping, twists, and knots. This results in flat smooth edges. Below is the formula that we used to consider all critical aspects.
Jointers are very costly and the price is one critical factor to consider. For instance, the models in the review cost between $300 and $2300. The decision to go for the Powermatic 1610086K that costs about $2250 should be backed up with a clear break-even system. The commercialization of such machines will help you enjoy having them in your workshop. Others like the Porter Cable PC160JT that goes for $330 are excellent for hobbyists and beginners.
Quality of materials
This normally boils down to the type of material used in building the jointer. In the review, we tend to be biased towards jointers made with cast iron due to its strength. However, you need to keep out an eye for those that allegedly arrive with dents and are defective such as the Delta model. For such expensive tools, excellent reviews on their quality control mean great material, zero defects, and premium experience.
Having a machine that can handle numerous project types is a big plus for your workshop. When it comes to jointing, models such as the Jet Quick Knive Jointer, Delta Power Table, and Powermatic 1610086K are versatile because they allow you to work with stocks double their own length. Furthermore, they can effectively straighten the hardest and densest of woods such as maple, walnut, and cherry.
As stated cast iron built, jointers are very durable but for such huge and expensive machines such as the Powermatic 1610086K, it’s always good to make sure that it comes with a warranty. Luckily, the Powermatic 1610086K is backed by a 5-year warranty that somewhat insures your $2250 investment. If your best pick has no stated warranty, always follow up with the customer service before committing to a purchase.