The Best Benchtop Jointer of 2018
- 1 What is a jointer?
- 2 What to look for in a benchtop jointer
- 3 The Best Benchtop Jointer
- 3.1 Cutech 40160H-CT 6 Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
- 3.2 Grizzly G0725 6 by 28-Inch Benchtop Jointer
- 3.3 POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer with Built-In Dust Collection, 6-1/8-Inch
- 3.4 Delta Power Tools 37-071 6 Inch MIDI-Bench Jointer
- 3.5 Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer, 6-Inch
- 3.6 Porter Cable 6 Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer
- 4 Summary
What is a jointer?
A jointer is an electrically powered tool that serves as a way to flatten out warped pieces of wood. It flattens the face of a messed up piece of wood that would serve no other purpose than to be thrown away. A jointer is a tool that has a large base, which a flat surface on top, and a metal “wall” at the rear (Perpendicular to the flat surface).
What kinds are there?
There are three different kinds of jointers, and they all work similarly. The benchtop jointer (Which we are talking about today), the long bed jointer, and the closed stand jointer. All three of these jointers work the same; they just vary in size and stability.
The benchtop jointer is to be used on a benchtop as the name says. Like most benchtop tools, benchtop jointers have holes drilled into the base so that you can attach it to your workbench for extra stability. Benchtop jointers are great for small work areas or for people who don’t need to work with huge pieces of lumber.
Long bed jointer
The long bed jointer is larger than the benchtop jointer but smaller than the closed stand jointer. It stands on the ground so that it doesn’t need to take up valuable workbench space. The long bed jointer also has a capacity for larger pieces of lumber. This jointer is good for people who want a larger jointer, but can’t afford the cost of a closed stand jointer.
Closed stand jointer
The closed stand jointer is the largest of them all and is the best jointer for a professional workshop. This one has the capacity for the biggest pieces of wood, and also has an enclosed base. This enclosed base keeps dust and debris out of the motor and internal components of the machine. The quality and size of a closed stand has its benefits. It allows for vibration control, reduced noise, and increased safety and stability.
How do they work?
The way a jointer works is that the right side, the in-feed table, is lower than the left side of the jointer, the out-feed table. There is a cylindrical blade (cutter head) in the center that spins very fast and is level with the left side of the table. You’ll start with your lumber on the right side, pushing down with a push pad on the front, and a push stick in the rear.
You carefully slide the lumber from right to left, over the cutter head in the center.
Since the left side is higher than the right side, the higher corners or warped edges get shaved off so that the face of the wood is completely flat. The jointer gets its name because the result is used to be joined together with another piece of lumber.
This video below does a great job at explaining how a jointer works:
What to look for in a benchtop jointer
There are many jointers out there and making an informed decision is difficult with all the noise. Generally speaking, as with anything, the more you spend, the better quality of product you will get. Jointers are no exception. Safety and reliability are big factors because these tools can be dangerous if an accident happens. This means you want to take into consideration manufacturing quality and attention to detail.
The functionality is also something to consider when purchasing a benchtop jointer. This includes the mobility, cut depth, size, capacity, and more. Since making a decision is hard without knowing what to look for, I’ll talk about these below.
Since size might be a concern when choosing a jointer, you’ll want to keep in mind that bigger is probably better in this case. Benchtop jointers are great because they fit in tight spaces and a great for small projects. The problem with them is that they are usually fixed to the workbench and can’t move around (Unless you don’t attach it). The other kinds of jointers are larger and stand on the floor so moving them around is much easier.
Cutter head width
The width of the cutter head is a big determinate when choosing a jointer. When purchasing a benchtop jointer, the most you’ll probably get is around 6 inches. This means that the widest lumber you can cut is 6 inches.
But if you are looking for something more expensive and larger, the closed stand ones can get up to 16 inches and sometimes even 18 inches. With that being said, 6 inches is perfectly fine for the majority of hobbyist and even some professional woodwork. In addition to the cutter head, you’ll also want to look out for the depth capacity of the cutter head.
Cutting depth is also an important thing to look for because this can determine how much you can cut off each pass through the jointer. Cutting depths can be changed on most machines, so it just depends on how deep you want it to cut. The cutting depth determines how many passes it takes until the board is fully flat. Make sure to choose a benchtop jointer that has the cutting depth you desire.
All jointers run on electricity, but that doesn’t mean that they are all created equal. The power of the motor can vary from machine to machine. You should make sure that you are getting whatever speed you need before purchasing one. Most jointers run between one and two horsepower (HP). Benchtop jointers typically on the lower end of that range. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t fast enough to get the job done, it just means that on rare occasions, you may not be able to cut some wood.
A 1 hp motor is sufficient enough to flatten the majority of wood out there. As far as power outlets go, benchtop jointers will just use the standard power outlet. Since they are designed for home workshops, they don’t need any more power than that. As far as industrial jointers go (And some of the large stand up jointers), these may need a dual phase outlet of 440 volts.
The fence is the metal “wall” along one side of the jointer. The fence is used to stabilize the wood while you are running it through. It’s also a good way to see if your wood is truly flat once complete. For certain projects, you may want to cut the wood at different angles, so you would need a fence that adjusts. Luckily most jointers have adjustable fences. The fence is an important part of the process, and you need to be sure that it is as sturdy as possible.
The cutter head is the rotating cylindrical blade in the center of the jointer. Without the cutter head, then you can’t have a functioning jointer. It typically consists of two or more blades that protrude out above the infeed table of the jointer. These blades, often called knives, are arranged radially in the cutter head. This makes it so that when it spins the blades will come in contact with the wood and shave off the protruding areas.
On more expensive models of jointers, the blades are shaped in a spiral around the cutter head instead of in a straight line. This spiral shape allows for less tooling marks left behind, and the use of less power. If you are looking for a spiral blade, companies will often state it as having a spiral or helical cutter head.
Since you would most likely use a benchtop jointer your home workshop, cleanup can be a real big pain in the butt. Luckily, many benchtop jointers come with the ability for dust collection. You will be able to tell right away if the machine comes with this function because you’ll see what looks like a pipe fitting coming out of the side. This fitting allows for you to attach a collection bag to gather all the sawdust in or even some kind of shop vac or vacuum system. Some jointers even come with the bag for extra convenience.
The Best Benchtop Jointer
Now that you know a little bit about what to look for in a benchtop jointer, you can make a more informed purchasing decision. Here is a list of the best benchtop jointers available on the market today. See which one is the best for you, and buy that baby.
The Cutech 40160H-CT is the first on the list. This benchtop jointer has a 6-inch wide spiral cutter head, 90 to 135-degree fence, powerful motor, and adjustable tables. The Cutech 40160H-CT has a 30-inch table width, a 2.5-inch dust extraction port, and a cutting depth of 1/8 inches. This jointer is great for both DIYers, woodworkers on a budget, or even professionals with a smaller workshop.
Don’t let the size fool you either. While it may not be able to handle boards over 4 feet very well, anything under 4 feet works beautifully. This jointer can handle board after board of both soft and hard kinds of wood. Make sure to use some dust collection system for this baby because it spits out the dust. Although it doesn’t get clogged up, the dust collection feature helps keep the workshop clean. To get the boards fully flat, you’ll probably need around 2-3 passes at 1/16″ to 1/8″ cuts but this machine never bogs down, and it works flawlessly.
Another positive is that the machine is fairly quiet too. Although it is still recommended that you use some hearing protection. One thing that is nice about this machine is that the fence can adjust from 90 degrees all the way up to 135 degrees. This can be great if you need to flatten boards at specific angles. The Cutech, in my opinion, is the best benchtop jointer on the market today. It has all the trappings of a quality jointer, at a price point, you can’t beat. The quality and features of this jointer will have you camping out in the garage for days. You’ll want to run foot after foot of wood through this baby.
- Spiral cutter head
- Dust collection bracket
- Adjustable fence
- Adjustable beds
- Smooth flat edges
- Only cuts shorter boards
- Difficult to adjust the fence
- Push pads aren’t great
This benchtop jointer is the best value for the money. It is small enough for a home workshop, but big enough to handle boards up to 6 inches by 4 feet with ease. It has a spiral cutter head to allow for smooth cuts and less friction. And with the dust collection fitting, added push pads and the powerful motor, you’ll be flattening boards for days.
The Grizzly G0725 is another 6-inch wide benchtop jointer, but unlike some of the other ones on the market, this one is built tough. Many other jointers out there are built with cheap and flimsy metals like aluminum. The G0725 is built with cast iron. It has both a cast iron table and a cast iron fence. This means that it is solid. You won’t see any bends or wobbling on this benchtop jointer. For the price, it’s a hefty machine. The only plastic you will see on this jointer is the on/off switch.
Like the other benchtop jointers, this one is great for people with a small area to work in. But just like the others, this means that handling longer boards is pretty difficult. For wood under 3 feet, this thing cuts perfectly, but everything over that gets a little sketchy. The Grizzly comes with an internal exhaust fan and dust collection bag which is a bonus because it works without the need for a shop vac. The other positive about this is that the fence can be adjusted to a 45-degree angle for cutting wood at an angle.
With all this being said, buying this product seems like a roll of the dice. I talked to many people and had heard a mixed bag of good and bad with this jointer. Some have had it working perfectly right out the box with no issues. Some people have reported that the tables are not level and there is no easy way to adjust them. Some reported that the fence bracket is weak and can be easily swayed in either direction. Some even reported broken pieces and stripped bolts. It’s as if the QC done before the product is shipped out is just spotty at best. This may not be an issue because the product can always be returned if there is a problem. But obviously, this could be a pain in the butt if it doesn’t come in perfect condition the first time out of the box.
- Cast iron table and fence
- 1.5 HP motor
- Internal exhaust fan for dust collection
- Cuts well
- Mixed bag regarding quality
- Weak fence bracket
- Sometimes shipped with broken pieces
This benchtop jointer is built with heavy duty cast iron and works great regarding functionality. It is the perfect size for a home workshop. The motor is fast, and the internal dust collection is perfect. With that being said, buyer beware. This product is a mixed bag when it comes to QC (quality control).
The Powertec BJ600 is a great benchtop jointer if you are on a budget, or if you just want the best value for your money. It comes with the same bells and whistles as the other jointers, but for a reasonably lower price. The Powertec BJ600 is a solid jointer that was built to last. Made with a cast iron in-feed table, out-feed table, and fence, you won’t find yourself needing to replace this guy anytime soon. The fence on this jointer can rotate 45 degrees in both directions, inward and outward. This makes it so you can do both chamfer and bevel cuts on any piece of lumber.
One of the best features of the BJ600 is the fact that it comes with an internal dust collection system. This means that you don’t need to worry about hooking up your shop vacuum or another vacuum system to the dust collection fitting. The BJ600 comes with the dust collection bag too, so you don’t need to buy that also. Just like the other benchtop jointers, this one also can raise and lower the tables. This allows you to be able to vary the cut depth depending on how much you need to cut off. This benchtop jointer comes with a 1 3/4 horsepower motor (At its peak), which is fast for jointers of this size. It also has a larger than the normal cutting width at 6 1/8″ and a maximum cutting depth of 1/8″. The cast iron table measures in at 28 1/2″ and the fence at 22 7/8″. If you’re looking for a bang for your buck, then look no further than the Powertec BJ600.
- Cast iron table and fence
- Inward and outward fence adjustment
- Internal dust collection (Bag included)
- Powerful motor
- Wider than typical tables
- Instructions to assemble are confusing
- Fence bracket is weak
- Adjusting the in-feed table is difficult
The Powertec BJ600 is the best benchtop jointer for the money, hands down. It’s made of cast iron; it has both inward and outward fence adjustment and an internal dust collection system. This machine has a powerful motor, a wider than typical table, and everything you need to get started is included. The only downfall is that the manual is hard to understand, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you try to assemble this one.
The Delta 37-071 is another great benchtop jointer to add to the lineup. While the price may be higher than the others, it seems like it is justified in most ways. Delta is a power tools company that has been around for close to 90 years now and is a company that has certainly made a name for themselves in woodworking. Not only do they make benchtop jointers, but they also make every other woodworking tool you could imagine. This means that they know the market and create products with extreme precision.
The 37-071 bench jointer is no exception. This tool is another great tool to add to their lineup. Made of solid cast iron, this machine vibrates less and is more stable overall. The tables and fence are machined with precision for accuracy over the long run. This also provides ultra accuracy for jointing. The cast iron fence on this machine adjusts inward and outward at 45-degree angles, and the in-feed table can be adjusted up to 1/8″ cutting depth. The max width of a cut for this machine is 6 inches, and the cutter head has two knives for a smooth cut every time. The blades cut well and can be easily changed when needed.
Another positive about the machine is that it comes with a dust collection port. Although it doesn’t have the internal exhaust fan, hooking your external vacuum system up is easy. Just be sure to use some vacuum system because it doesn’t eject the shavings well otherwise. With its precision, quality, and ease of use, this machine will have you running foot after foot of wood through it with no problems to speak of.
- Precision machining
- Super accurate
- Cast iron table and fence
- Inward and outward fence adjustment
- Solid fence that doesn’t move
- Easy to change blades
- No internal dust collection system
- Hard to understand manual
- Easy to strip adjustment screws
Although the price is higher than the others, this benchtop jointer comes with the Delta name. This means precision machining, accurate tables, and solid structure. This machine cuts well, is easy to adjust and change out the blades on, and is super accurate. The only downfall is the lack of a dust collection exhaust fan and some QC problems from the factory.
The Shop Fox W1829 is another 6-inch benchtop jointer that will leave you craving for more. With its 1.5 horsepower motor, 10,000 rpm (rotations per minute) cutter head, cast iron table and fence, you’ll find yourself running board after board through this bad boy. The W1829 is a benchtop jointer that is built to last. The table measures at 6.25 inches wide by 28.5 inches long. This means that cutting boards up to around 3-4 feet will be stable.
The fine adjust knob on the in-feed table allows for precise cutting depth changes. The fence has a capability of adjusting inward and outward 45 degrees. There is also the ability to adjust between the preset angles for further precision. Another nice thing about this benchtop jointer is that it has the built-in dust collection vacuum system. This means that you don’t have to hook up any shop vac or other vacuum system to suck the woodchips and sawdust out. Like the other benchtop jointers, this one is great if you have a small workshop.
Since it mounts to a workbench, it is sturdy and won’t move around. It is heavy enough that you don’t even need to bolt it down if you don’t want to. Although the ability to make it mobile is not possible, you can create your rolling table and attach it to that. With all that being said, the Shop Fox is another great benchtop jointer for the money. It’s on the more affordable side of the range of jointer prices, which means if you are on a tighter budget, then this is a great option for you.
- Cast iron table and fence
- Inward and outward fence adjustment
- Built-in dust collection system
- Fast motor
- Clean cuts
- Quality control issues
- Hard to understand manual
- No gauge to know the cutting depth
The Shop Fox W1829 is an affordable benchtop jointer that would make a great addition to any small workshop. With a solid cast iron table and fence, built-in dust collection and clean cutting blades, this jointer will keep you occupied for hours at a time. One thing to note is that there have been known to be quality control issues such as knicked blades and unlevel tables.
Last but not least, the Porter Cable benchtop jointer. As our runner-up for the best benchtop jointer, this one is sure to impress. But let me start off by saying that if you are a professional woodworker, you might want to consider the Cutech instead. First of all, let’s just start with the price tag. This thing is super affordable. It’s right in the middle of the range when it comes to benchtop jointers, and for what you get, it’s well worth every penny. The features on this baby are endless.
Yes, it’s still a benchtop jointer. This means that can only cut up to 6 inches wide and around 3 feet long of wood. This jointer is not intended for long boards. But this Porter Cable jointer has features that no other ones have. For one, is the speed control feature. This jointer can adjust the speed of the cutter head from 6,000 to 11,000 rotations per minute. This allows you to change the speed based on the thickness of the wood you are cutting. The cutter head itself has two knives that cut smoothly and efficiently. The best part is that they can easily be replaced with minimal trouble.
This jointer has a dust collection system that works great when you hook it up to your external vacuum. And like the others, the fence tilts to your desired angle. Not to mention, this thing is so easy to set up, you’ll find yourself cutting wood in less than 30 minutes. While this jointer may not have the high quality cast iron and internal dust collection system, for the money, it sure packs a punch. This machine is great for what it is. Don’t expect to be cutting 10-foot boards with 100% precision on it. But for smaller boards and use by a hobbyist, this jointer is the best for you.
- Variable speed
- Easy to replace blades
- Made with precision
- Dust collection fitting
- Easy setup
- Right price
- Aluminum fence and table
- Not for professionals
- Hard to adjust
For the price, this is the best benchtop jointer. Although it isn’t made of cast iron, it has a variable speed control, easy to replace blades, easy setup, and cuts with precision. This isn’t the table for a professional, but for a hobbyist looking for an affordable yet still reliable jointer, this one is for you.
As you can see, choosing a benchtop jointer can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. The prices of the best benchtop jointers can vary so much that knowing what makes a good one and what makes a bad one is important. Hopefully, this guide did a good job at showing you what you need to look for, and providing you with the options for the best benchtop jointers on the market today. It doesn’t matter which one you pick because this list has all the best options. Now it’s your turn to pick one and see all the benefits that benchtop jointers have to offer.