The 10 Best Dowel Jigs
This wiki has been updated 10 times since it was first published in March of 2019. Whether you’re a weekend woodworker or a professional carpenter, you’ll appreciate the convenience and precision provided by a quality dowel jig. This handy tool helps you align and drill holes when joining boards together to craft tables, bookcases, and more. You'll enjoy a sturdy finished product, with no unsightly screws visible. Here we rank them for durability, ease-of-use and price. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 17, 2020:
For this update, we removed the Rockler 3/8” Kit due to availability issues, and replaced it with the nearly identical Powertec 71497. This new version still has the transparent acrylic guide plate, allowing you to see exactly what you’re working on, and is an ultra-affordable option for those who don't have a large budget.
We also included the Kreg KMA3200, the gold standard when it comes to shelving that utilizes pins or dowels for support. If you're making bookcases or cupboards that use removable pins to adjust their shelf height, this is a great choice. We also added the Jessem Model 08350 as well, a high-end jig that is designed with precision in mind. Its cost probably wouldn't be worth it for the occasional hobbyist, but it's well-suited for professionals.
Though they're relatively safe tools, you should still practice the proper safety protocols when using a dowel jig. A common accident that can occur is to force your drill into the opening, or apply too much pressure when drilling, causing you to break your jig or the wood piece itself, throwing you off balance. You should also always wear eye protection when using a dowel jig, since there's a good chance of debris flying towards your face and eyes.
If you're interested in other types of no-show joinery, you might also appreciate a pocket hole jig. These handy tools allow you to create angled holes in wood pieces that can then be used to screw into another piece. A specially angled dowel is then inserted on top of the recessed screw head, resulting in a joint with no visible screw or fastener holes. These are really handy for creating drawers for dressers or closets.
You'll also want to make sure to purchase a bottle of wood glue, if you decide to choose one of our options that don't include their own supply.
April 16, 2019:
The dowel jig has been used in woodworking for centuries. It’s a clever way of joining two boards or other materials in a seamless manner. Not all of today’s models are created equal, however, so you’ll want to do your research and choose one with a quality build that offers the right features. For a selection that’s simple to use, look to the transparent Rockler 3/8” that appears on our list, and it’s also durable and won’t break the bank.
For one that’s stood the test of time, you can’t go wrong with the Dowl-It 1000, which is made with sturdy aluminum and steel components, clamps tightly shut, and conveniently offers 6 drill sizes. If you’re looking for a full kit, consider the Milescraft 1309, which comes with everything from the jig to the wood glue – except note that it does not offer a clamping mechanism.
No matter which you ultimately go with, all of the ones featured here are up to the task when it comes to proper alignment, durability, and design.