The 8 Best Jointers

Updated February 22, 2018 by Chase Brush

8  Best Jointers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 37 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. One of the most essential steps in woodworking is making sure your material is straight and smooth, which is where a quality jointer comes in. Whether you are a professional contractor or a home DIYer, you'll find the right option for your next project in our varied selection, which includes everything from bench top and handheld models to fully-fledged workstations. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best jointer on Amazon.

8. Grizzly G0725

The Grizzly G0725 is small enough to easily move around your garage or from one work space to another. It attaches conveniently to a tabletop and boasts iron platforms and a center-mounted fence, though it doesn't move boards as smoothly as other models.
  • built-in dust collection system
  • one-and-a-half horsepower motor
  • screws can be too tight
Brand Grizzly
Model G0725
Weight 81.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. Wen 6560

With a capable 10-amp motor, the Wen 6560 is best for home DIYers who need a solid option but don't want to spend $1,000-plus on a tool they will rarely use. It's affordable and gets the job done, albeit slower than more expensive units.
  • includes filter bag
  • movable fence with stops
  • making adjustments is difficult
Brand WEN
Model 6560
Weight 85.9 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Shop Fox W1829

The Shop Fox W1829 offers lasting toughness by incorporating a thermal overload protection switch and shielded and lubricated bearings that won't wear out even after years of use. It also features a depth scale that can be calibrated or zeroed for exact measurements.
  • best suited for use on wide boards
  • precision-ground iron table
  • poor assembly instructions
Brand Shop Fox
Model W1829
Weight 80 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Porter Cable Variable

The 6-inch Porter Cable Variable allows you to control the speed of the machine within a range of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM, letting it handle a wide variety of work pieces, from large hardwood boards to smaller softwood ones. It's ideal for edging, flattening, and facing.
  • 12000 to 22000 cuts per minute
  • extra large worktable
  • aluminum fence is not very sturdy
Model PC160JT
Weight 40.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Delta Power Tools 37-071

If you want accurate cuts and jointing but only have so much space in your shop, consider the rugged Delta Power Tools 37-071. Its durable cast-iron construction makes it especially heavy for a bench model of its size, giving it added stability and reducing vibrations.
  • great value for price
  • deep recess for dust disposal
  • can be difficult to square
Brand Delta
Model 37-071
Weight 86 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Cutech 40160H-CT

The Cutech 40160H-CT packs a lot of power into a compact design, making it the perfect addition to your cluttered wood shop. The cast infeed and outfeed tables can be leveled on the fly, and it includes the tools needed to replace its cutter tips.
  • powered by 10 amp motor
  • lightweight and portable
  • fence tilts 90 to 135 degrees
Brand Cutech
Model 40160H-CT
Weight 45 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Jet JJ-8HH

The Jet JJ-8HH has a helical cutter head with staggered carbide inserts, making it capable of slicing through even the densest of lumber with little resistance. Its exclusive front-mounted table adjustment hand wheels allow you to make quick and accurate corrections.
  • extremely quiet operation
  • special two-way tilting fence
  • durable long-lasting construction
Brand Jet
Model JJ-8HH
Weight 398 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Powermatic 1791317K

The Powermatic 1791317K can give your work pieces an extremely smooth finish while being much quieter than other models. It features an extra long 66-inch table, making it useful for professional applications where you will be working with larger boards.
  • helical cutterhead keeps blade sharp
  • adjustable cam corners
  • backed by 5-year warranty
Brand Powermatic
Model 54HH
Weight 317 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Jointers Versus Planers

A jointer is designed to square an edge or flatten and straighten a warped piece of wood. Planers are designed to help a woodworker create a uniform thickness throughout an entire board and make its two faces parallel.

Bench-style jointers will have an infeed table, which is where the board enters, and an outfeed table, which is where the board exits the machine. Inside the machine, there is a cutter head mounted between the two tables. Its cutting blades aligns flush with the outfeed table, while the infeed table lowers an equal distance to the amount of wood you want to remove from the board.

When the board passes through the machine, the cutting head removes the desired amount of wood, and then the cut board is supported by the outfeed table on its way out. If one is trying to straighten a warped board, an adjustable fence acts as a guide when the board is placed through the jointer.

Planers should be used after a board has been passed through a jointer to make the entire board a uniform thickness and make the second side parallel with the side that has been flattened by the jointer. The planer will remove wood from the entire length of the board from end to end.

Bench-style planers will have some kind of feed roller, which grabs the board as you feed it into the machine. As it moves through the machine, it runs past a cutting head, which removes some of the wood. Depending on the amount of wood to be removed, the board may have to run through the planer multiple times. Planers are not effective at straightening wood, as they will often just follow the curve in the wood as they plane, resulting in a thinner, but still curved, board.

Determining If You Need A Jointer Or A Planer

The first step before starting to work on a piece of wood, is determining what tool you should be using. This can be done by understanding what type of wood you are purchasing and fully examining it before starting. Purchased wood will usually come in three forms: S4S, S2S, and rough. Rough wood is completely unfinished. It requires the most work before one can start their project.

If starting with rough wood, you will most likely require the services of a jointer and a planer. S4S wood has already been surfaced on all four sides and typically does not require a jointer or a planer unless it is too thick for your desired use or it has warped terribly during storage or transport. S2S wood has two finished sides and may often require a jointer to smooth out the edges before it can be jointed with other pieces.

Once you have your wood, check the edges to see if they are uneven. You should also check the surface along the entire length of the lumber. If the edges are uneven, or if the surface has an unacceptable amount of bumps, a jointer should be used to correct these issues. Next, check the flatness of the wood. If the wood is warped or cupped in any way, a jointer must be used before one starts planing.

If working on a project that requires overly long or wide lengths of wood, you may need to join wood from end to end. This is where a jointer can be especially useful. It will allow you to flatten and smooth the edges to be jointed so that they fit together seamlessly once construction has started.

If the lumber you are using is already perfectly flat and smooth on all the necessary sides, but it is thicker than ideal for an intended application, then it is time to pull out a planner and start making the board thinner. A planer is also the perfect tool if you have lumber with some minor surface blemish or imperfection. It can be used to remove just a small amount of wood, revealing a layer that is free from any surface issues.

Simple Tips For Using A Jointer Effectively

There are a few simple tips that can ensure you get the most from your wood and your jointer. Always make sure you are jointing with the wood grain in the right direction. The grain should be running towards the outfeed table and away from the knives' rotation. If the grain runs in multiple directions, try and position it in a way that the majority of the grain is running correctly.

Double check the height of the outfeed table before starting to ensure that it is perfectly aligned with the knives. If it is too low, the cut will be heavier at the back end of the board. If it is too high, then you will wind up with a concave surface on the board.

One should always start by jointing the face first. After the face has been jointed, you can then joint an edge square with it. This gives you a perfectly flat surface as a reference for later milling and a trued edge for ripping.

The depth of the cuts should be enough that it makes a noticeable difference on each pass, but not enough to tax the motor needlessly. You will achieve better results with multiple passes than by trying to cut everything on one attempt, which can result in a rougher edge or surface that isn't perfectly flat.

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Last updated on February 22, 2018 by Chase Brush

Chase is a freelance journalist with experience working in the areas of politics and public policy. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY, he is also a hopeless itinerant continually awaiting his next Great Escape.

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