The 6 Best Pocket Hole Machines
This wiki has been updated 8 times since it was first published in November of 2018. They might look nice, but not everyone has the expertise or time for complicated dovetail or dado joinery. Fortunately, pocket hole machines allow anyone to quickly, confidently and accurately create those butt and edge joints that are the foundation of all furniture projects. The models on this list come in a variety of prices and styles, so you'll be able to find the option best suited for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best pocket hole machine on Amazon.
June 03, 2019:
If pocket hole joinery is a large part of your woodworking business, then its definitely worth considering buying a machine dedicated to doing that work for you. By automating the time-consuming process of setting up and drilling with a manual jig, you can increase productivity and save yourself time and money.
The two brands listed here, Castle and Kreg, are both trusted manufacturers and have been making tools for a long time. Their customer service departments are both responsive and helpful, so you shouldn’t really be worried about factoring that into your choice between the two.
Durability-wise, the steel Castle models are built like a tank and are going to win out every time. That doesn’t mean Kregs are especially fragile, they’re just made with more plastic components that wouldn’t hold up for too long getting banged around in an especially high-traffic factory environment.
The biggest difference between these brands is the cutting method they use to create their pocket holes. Kreg machines have a regular stepped drill bit that naturally shreds the wood as it's being plunged, leaving a hole that's a bit messier and rough-looking. Castle splits this process in two, utilizing a drill and router bit separately, which leaves a much more finished-looking final product. The Castle models also angle their cuts at a shallower depth than Kreg, a technique that helps prevent the two pieces of wood being joined from sliding around while you’re screwing them together, making it easier to create a flush surface.
These small differences make Castle the more attractive option for a fine woodworker that needs a bit more precision and consistency in their work, but if you’re ok with a little extra sanding this shouldn’t affect your decision too much.
All that being said, when choosing an option from this list, you just need to figure out how much the increased productivity would be worth to you and your business.
For example, if you’re currently paying an employee to manually drill hundreds of holes, it would make more sense to purchase a machine that does the same job in a quarter of the time, allowing those man hours to be used for assembling the piece itself. Also, if your shop is responsible for producing a high volume of products, then you should take into account the quality control that a machine can add. Eliminating the inevitable human errors that naturally come with this type of high-repetition work will give your products a consistent, professional look.
On the other hand, if you’re a part-time woodworker assembling a few pieces a month, (or just a shop that primarily uses a different joining technique) and don't mind spending an extra half hour using a $50 Kreg jig, then investing in an expensive machine wouldn’t make much sense (not to mention the fact that a jig and drill can slide into a drawer, while a big machine can take up a lot of room in a shop or garage).