The 10 Best Plate Joiners
This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in December of 2018. Furniture makers will benefit from having a plate joiner in their arsenal, as these machines enable you to connect two pieces of wood together. They cut holes into the edges where you can insert small chunks of lumber, called biscuits, in order to reinforce a joint. The selections on this list are all well balanced and powerful, enabling you to make precise cuts every time. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
September 16, 2020:
Added the Festool DF 500.
The effectiveness of biscuits in edge joining (like joining solid boards edge to edge to form a tabletop) is highly contentious. This is partly because wood glue is already such an effective way to hold boards together (such that you'll often see the surrounding wood fail before the glue fails) that it doesn't seem like biscuits add to the structural integrity of the joint.
Joining end grain is where the plate joiner may earn its keep. Edge grain and plywood side grain are porous and require some sort of reinforcement. If you're making a butt or miter joint, biscuits may very well help to reinforce a joint that would be quite weak with glue alone. Out of excess caution, I tend to prefer using mortise and tenon joints where possible. This is why the Festool DF 500 has become so popular. It essentially makes floating mortise and tenon joints because it uses a cutting tool similar to a router bit (instead of the saw blade used by most biscuit joiners) and solid wood pegs that act nearly identically to a regular shaped mortise and tenon joint.
January 09, 2019:
The durability and consistency of the fence should be your primary consideration, as that is what will help you make consistently straight cuts. One of the most common failings we found with many models on the market is poor dust collection, so make sure that whichever one you choose has a competent port or bag attached.