The recipe to a perfect benchtop jointer would typically include great build, high power, a sturdy fence, and the highest number of cuts per minute.
What is a benchtop jointer in the first place? It is a device that consists of a motor and two tables. Essentially, the motor powers the blades that shave off a little bit of your wood to make it perfectly even.
Such a step is crucial to the beginning of any wood project as with the naked eye might not be able to spot the unevenness. However, when you start to actually use the wood piece, your final project will be lacking much due to its unevenness.
So we will take you on a merry ride to discover the best benchtop jointers and what each one of them can offer you.
List of The Best Benchtop Jointers:
- PORTER-CABLE PC160JT – Best Overall
- Grizzly Industrial G0725 – Best Durability
- Delta Power Tools 37-071 6″ – Smoothest Cut
- Shop Fox W1829 – Best Budget
- RIKON Power Tools 20-600H – Lightest and Safest
- Powermatic 1791317K – Best Helical Cutter
- CRAFTSMAN CMEW020 – Adjustable Speed
- JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX – Best Working Surface
Our Top Picks:
|PORTER-CABLE PC160JT||41 lbs.||6,000-11,000||110V||Two-Knife|
|Grizzly G0725||80 lbs.||10,000||220V||Two-knife|
|Delta Power Tools 37-071||76 lbs.||10,000||120V||Two-knife|
|Shop Fox W1829||80 lbs.||10,000||230V||Two-knife|
|RIKON Power Tools 20-600H||36 lbs.||20,000||220V||Helical|
|Powermatic 1791317K||328 lbs.||6,000||115-230V||Helical|
|CRAFTSMAN CMEW020||39.8 lbs.||6,000-11,000||110-120V||Two-knife|
|JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX||256 lbs.||6,000||115-230V||Two-knife &Helical|
The 8 Best Benchtop Jointers in 2020
1. PORTER-CABLE PC160JT – Best Overall
This Jointer combines all of the essential features that you will need and extra for an extremely affordable price. Let’s discuss the basics first: it comes at a very moderate weight of 41 pounds and a horsepower of 1 ½.
It boasts a two-knife blade system combined with jackscrew arrangement, which makes this jointer very powerful and portable if needed. The blade system as a whole is very easy to comprehend, and, in general, the whole device lies on the easy side in regards to assembly and usage.
It can deal with wood pieces up to 6 inches and has a cutting depth of 0.25 inches. The defects that come with this device include an aluminum table, which although 30 feet long, does not sit well with extension tables. The fence is flimsy and tends to not stay in its place.
Nevertheless, this device comes with an advantage that’s clearly seen, which is adjustable speed. It can quickly go from 6000 RPM to 11,000 RPM. This translates into 12,000 cuts per minute to 22,000 cuts per minute, which is impressive.
One more thing is that the dust port on this device is not your standard 2.5 inch; it’s actually 4 inches, which means that bigger chunks and pieces of wood will not be stuck here. The chance of clogging here is slim to none.
The final verdict regarding this project and why it was put at the top of our list is that it balances out all of the features that you might need in a benchtop jointer and some more. It’s sturdy but still portable. It gives you a massive package of features for an affordable price, which is a huge advantage and something that a tiny number of products can indeed boast.
Read also: Best Jointer Planer Combos in 2020
2. Grizzly Industrial G0725 – Best Durability
This desktop bench jointer is all about durability and enhanced build where the only plastic that you were going to see on this one is the on and off switch. Let’s get to the chase concerning the basics first. It has a 1.5 HP motor with 10,000 RPM giving 20,000 cuts per minute. A major plus on this model is that it has an integrated dust collection system with a 2.5 in port.
The cutting depth is ⅛ inch, and it weighs around 80 pounds. Consequently, it is, of course, rather heavy, but that does not mean that it’s not portable as Grizzly has added something that we don’t see a lot on these jointers, which are wheels. Hence, you don’t need to carry it around; if you choose not to bolt it, you can simply wheel it around.
The device is entirely made of cast iron. The table, fence, and everything are as sturdy as it gets. The knobs themselves are made of steel. Though, one thing concerning the knobs is that the adjustment of the table itself has been reported to be a little bit tricky as maneuvering the leaver is not the easiest thing. Still, it gives you 45°, 90°, and 135° stops.
The only defect that comes with this device is that it has a lot of mixed reviews. A lot of people receive their devices, assemble them, and get to work no problem whatsoever. On the other hand, some receive their tables with crooks on them that make them unleveled while others receive striped/broken knobs, which can make assembly into an, overall, tedious process.
Durability, affordability, and portability are three major advantages offered by this device. However, if you are a beginner, then perhaps it won’t be the most comfortable learning curve to take on. Plus, as mentioned before, the assembly can be a little bit tricky, so if you want to take your chances on it, it will not fail you.
3. Delta Power Tools 37-071 6″ – Smoothest Cut
This device also boasts robust build as it’s entirely made of cast-iron, which explains the weight of 76 pounds. It has an RPM of 10,000 provided by the 120V motor. However, the blades are a two-knife system made of aluminum, which gives you the smoothest cut possible in this category.
Although it is a small benchtop jointer, it is a rather heavy one due to its metal build. Another consequence of this build is that it is the best jointer to reduce vibrations, also contributing to the smooth cut. It has a dust port, the standard 2.5 inches. However, it does not enjoy an integrated dust removal system that’s why you have to hook it up to a bag or a vacuum to collect all the debris.
One thing that has been reported is the fact that the manual is poorly written that even professionals have had a little bit of trouble reading it. The cutting depth of ⅛ inch along with the fence that can tilt inward and outward at 45° allows for precision and smoothness.
One last thing is that although the blades need to be replaced quite regularly, they are accessible and can be cleaned along with the rest of the device with relative ease.
The final say regarding this device is that it is an excellent investment for any workshop. It gives you everything that you might need with super high quality without going overboard. However, as mentioned before, it’s not that portable so it can only serve as a tabletop bench jointer.
4. Shop Fox W1829 – Best Budget
This is a solid, robust device made of iron cast, which explains the 80-pound detail. Let’s go over the basics first. This desktop jointer can deal with woods of all kinds all the way up to 6 inches. It has a 1½ HP motor, which allows for 10,000 RPM, unadjustable, unfortunately. Its cutting depth can go all the way to ⅛ inches.
An interesting detail is the two-knife HSS system, which is easily accessible and comes with already sharpened blades. However, it’s the helical system that is the real winning card here. This jointer comes with its own dust collection system, which means that you don’t have to do anything in the cleanup process afterward. The port is your average 2 ½ inches, though.
There’ve been a lot of conflicting reviews regarding its fence, which can be adjusted at 90°, 40°, and 130°, which is excellent. However, people have reported that the fence itself migrates no matter how tight the knobs are.
Most of the complaints revolve around quality control, which is concerned with details such as the device itself being painted rather than powdered. The paint job is not that good either, so you might find striped paint here and there. Also, a lot of people who have received their devices found the tables to be misaligned, the knobs striped, and the assembly/installation process to be quite complicated.
This device gives you a lot for one of the lowest prices you’ll ever see. Our advice is to always know what you want in your work. If it allows you to let such deficits pass in order for you to save some valuable bucks, then you won’t need anything beyond what this device will offer you.
5. RIKON Power Tools 20-600H – Lightest and Safest
This specific Rickon is designed to give you as many options as it can while still costing you as little as possible. It’s made of metal with aluminum finishing and a helical blade system with 6 knives on each side. It also retains the privilege of switching the knives from one side to the other for a fresher effect, which doubles their lifespan. Another thing concerning these blades is that they can cut up to ⅛ inches without difficulty using 20,000 cuts per minute.
This product weighs 36 pounds, which is the lightest seen on this list. It has a 220V motor, which gives you an RPM of 20,000. Such details are pretty impressive for the size and the price that they come in/at. Also, do not forget that the weight makes this device easily portable.
This model sports a dust collection chamber that is situated under the blades. It’s all merry until the port is filled, clogged, and therefore stopping you mid-work. However, the presence of a dust chute and filter lightens the blow a little bit.
This device is perfect for small workshops and on the go jobs. It gives you a big package for a reasonable price if you are ready to deal with the fence problems.
6. Powermatic 1791317K – Best Helical Cutter
This is a device powered by a 130V motor with a helical blade system that features 40 carbide knife inserts on four sides. This allows for a smooth result and an aesthetic finish. Although it is your normal 6-inch benchtop jointer, it has one of the longest tables with a length of 66 inches and a width of 7½ inches.
Another appealing quality about this device is that it was manufactured to serve the concept of comfort in any way possible. For instance, the fence is one of the strongest you’ll ever see. It’s designed as a supporting mechanism to create precision. It can also tilt 45° away from and towards the table.
Plus, the adjustment lever for the infeed and outfeed tables also makes fine adjustments and significantly contributes to the accuracy of the results. The majority of the great weight of 328 pounds lies in the lower part of this tabletop bench jointer. It holds a dust collection chute below the cutter head. This collection chute does not clog up easily all thanks to the 4-inch port, which allows for easy cleanup.
Moreover, the motor itself is fitted on a special mount designed specifically for it inside this cabinet
This device is one of the closest to perfection amongst its class. However, such stability, precision and strength of performance do not come at a low cost. This device is costly, so if you’re willing to deal with such a hefty price-tag in exchange for a luxurious product, then go for it.
7. CRAFTSMAN CMEW020 – Adjustable Speed
The common reports regarding this device are that it is a reincarnation of the discontinued Porter-Cable PC 160JT, which is still being sold; however, not manufactured anymore.
Running through the basics of this device. It enjoys the maneuverable weight of 39.8 pounds, a motor that can go all the way from 110 to 120V, giving the varied speed of 6000 to 11,000 RPM such speed allows for 22,000 cuts per minute. It has a two-knife cutter head system with a jackscrew arrangement, which allows for easy access and, therefore, easy replacement whenever needed.
Finding blades and spare parts for the Craftsman is relatively easy as they are manufactured and sold by the company itself. It is a relatively small device that will fit in a compact space in your garage or workshop while still comfortably, maneuvering 6-inch pieces of either hard or softwood.
The fence, which acts as a support system plus the built-in person headlock, prevents any damage that can happen to the wood ends ensuring a sleek finish. It is entirely manufactured of metal with an aluminum base. It comes with your standard dust port of 2.5 inches plus a filter bag.
Although there is nothing extraordinary regarding this device, there are no significant defects either. So, it is designed to serve a purpose, and that’s precisely what it does. You do, however, get a lot of value for your money, and you won’t be losing an arm and a leg over it. To wrap up, if you don’t want/need top-notch luxury, then this device will satisfy all your needs.
8. JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX – Best Working Surface
This is a device that you purchase when the cost is not a problem for you at all. It is one of the most powerful devices on the market. With her weighing 256 pounds, as it’s made entirely out of cast iron, it houses a powerful motor that gives 150-230V. This provides an RPM of 6000.
One extremely attractive feature is that it enjoys both a two- knife cutter head system plus a helical system. This helical system is quick to reach and change, plus its high-speed, which gives us a lot of products in so little time. This can also be a result of the cutting depth that is ½ inch. As a result, it is capable of working on the toughest woods without any hardships.
As mentioned before, this device offers you the longest working surface; 56 inches. It also has front-mounted handrails that move both of the outfeed and the infeed table for a higher level of precision. One last thing is that it has a built-in dust chute for easy cleanup with an uncloggable 4-inch dust port.
This device lies on the luxurious side, which offers you precision and strength. It can deal with any projects thrown its way. However, all of this comes at a very high price. We would, personally, recommend luxurious products to professional woodworkers who would need/use them for larger, more intricate pieces.
How to Pick a Benchtop Jointer
A jointer of any kind, not just a benchtop kind, is quite the investment, and purchasing the right one is essential to get maximum use out of your device. Hence, we will now walk you through the most important details related to benchtop jointers. Moreover, you can use this mini buying guide as a checklist throughout your shopping trip.
Mostly the power needed for any jointer is something between 1 and 2 horsepower (HP). That is perfectly capable of finishing all your projects, and it will never let you down. Still, always keep in mind that the higher you go, with power, the more expensive the jointer will get.
2. Cuts Per Minute
This is actually dependent on the power supplied to the device. More cuts per minute means that you will be able to finish your piece in less time than usual. It will save you valuable time that you can utilize to produce more products. It also means less wear and tear on the device and on the piece of lumber that you are working with as you will not have to put it into the machine several times to reach the desired effect.
The fence on any jointer is crucial to the professionalism of its products. A fence has to be sturdy, versatile, and very precise. With so many pieces of lumber, you really cannot fix defects of the angle, so it’s mostly just one chance.
Also, most of the time, you will be putting a lot of pressure on the fence, so it has to be up to the task. One more thing is that, sometimes, you will need to bevel a piece of wood, so many jointers come with marked angles for such a task. The more, the merrier.
This is a device that deals with massive pieces of wood on a daily basis, so it needs to have an excellent foundation. A perfectly structured jointer would have an iron cast which will reduce wear and tear and scratches. Even in the rare occasion of the device falling, it will minimize the effect of such a fall.
You take something, you give something, that’s the rule. If you have an iron cast jointer, assuming it’s not a benchtop jointed and it’s not bolted to the benchtop, it will be almost immobile.
Whether you’re going to be mostly working from your own workshop or always on the go is key information that affects your choice of build and therefore the weight of your device.
5. Dust Collection
As mentioned at the very beginning of this article, what a jointer does is that it shaves off a little bit off the wood as you pass it over the blade. Hence, the aftermath of such a procedure is horrible. Cleaning can be the worst part of your work; therefore, having a dust collection system on your benchtop jointer is a lifesaver.
We would highly recommend investing the extra money in the best collection system available, and we are positive that you will eventually thank us. It’s effortless to spot whether or not a jointer has a dust collection system as you will find a hose coming out of one of its sides or the back of the jointer.
6. Cutting Depth
This simply means how much the blades will remove from your wood. So, it’s quite crucial to know such information as it determines the number of passes required for your wood to reach perfection. Always try and go for a moderate cutting depth because although the highest cutting depth seems very attractive as it finishes your work as fast as possible, it’ll make fixing mistakes very hard. Therefore, go for something in between that will allow you to fix any mishaps that you might face.
We could say that the blades are the most important feature. There are two types of blades, which are the typical two-knife system and the helical system. The former comes with your standard old jointer. As for several years now, the new jointers have always supported the latter type. The two-knife system usually has two straight blades that go up to remove a part of your wood.
While the helical/spiral ones sport two sets of two or four blades that shave off little pieces as they go. It has earned its fame and popularity to the extent that almost 99% of jointers now use it. Helical blades are sturdier, more efficient, and overall a better alternative in relation to their ancestor.
Well, the thing is, always go for higher quality blades as they will give you a much better product and a prolonged life span. Lower quality blades will not take much out of your pocket immediately, but the constant replacements will.
8. Table Dimensions
The dimensions of the table are detrimental to the dimensions of the wood that you will be able to work with. You will see that the benchtop jointers do not go above 6 inches. However, other types such as the closed stand will go all the way to 8,16 and even ⅛ inch, so know what you will be working with and decide accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are the three most common questions regarding jointers in general and then some jointers specifically:
What’s the Difference Between a Planer and a Jointer?
In simple words, a planner is used to make two pieces of wood the same exact thickness as each other, while the jointer is used to fix any warp or twisted lumber and to make it even.
What Are the Types or Functions of Different Jointers?
1. Benchtop jointer
They are used for pieces of wood that are 6 inches or less. They are created to be bolted down to a benchtop to maximize stability.
2. Closed Stand Jointers
They are the industrial version of the benchtop jointers. They are used for woods as big as 16 and 18 inches, and although it is relatively huge in size, it’s not extremely noisy.
3. Open Stand Jointers
They are the very first version of jointers, and they are relatively noisy, however pretty cheap in comparison with its two siblings.
What Are the Components of a Benchtop Jointer?
The main parts of any jointer include:
- Infeed Table: Adjustable to decide how much it is going to be shaved off the word
- Outfeed table: Same height as cutter head
- Fence: Supports the wood and bevels it if needed
- The cutter head: Where the actual cutting happens
- Wear the proper safety gear such as goggles, a face mask (if there’s no dust collection), and working shoes.
- Do not wear anything that can be caught in the device.
- Make sure all your cords and cables are working well, and there is no ripping in any of them. Always work in environments that are completely dry and pet and childfree.
A lot of users have reported that the user manuals that come with benchtop jointers are poorly written, so make sure that you understand your user manual perfectly and to assemble your device correctly.
One last thing is that sometimes the jointer pieces may be a little bit oily. Rubbing them with minerals and some wax will solve that problem for you.
So, to wrap up things here, a benchtop jointer is a handy purchase, but the varieties on the market can simply lead you into spending a lot of money and still not getting what you really need. Consequently, our advice in order to buy the best benchtop jointer is to always know what the nature of your work is and create a corresponding checklist to your needs.
As we have explained, our top choice for a benchtop jointer is the Porter-Cable PC160JT as it balances out everything needed in a benchtop jointer and still does not cost you an arm and a leg.
You can also go for Grizzly Industrial G0725-6” x 28” if you have no problem with heavy weight for it is portable and has an integrated dust collection system.