The Best Benchtop Jointers of 2023

Don’t let warped boards and uneven edges ruin your woodworking projects. One of these benchtop jointers can help.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Feb 6, 2023 4:43 PM

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Best Benchtop Jointer

Photo: amazon.com

Instead of throwing warped or uneven wood into the scrap bin, DIYers could benefit from equipping their workshop with a jointer machine―or, more specifically, one of the best benchtop jointers.

These power tools mill completely flat and square edges on boards, allowing users to make perfect cuts and joinery. Keep reading to learn about the key features to consider when shopping, and then explore the picks for some of the best benchtop jointers on today’s market. An in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting went into assembling the list of top picks.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Craftsman 10-Amp (CMEW020) Benchtop Jointer
  2. RUNNER-UP: Delta 6-Inch 12-Amp (37-071) Benchtop Jointer
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Wen 6-Inch 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer
  4. UPGRADE PICK: Porter-Cable 6-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Jointer
  5. BEST W/ SPIRAL CUTTERHEAD: Wahuda Tools Benchtop Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
  6. BEST WITH PLANER: Jet 8-Inch 13-Amp (JJP-8BT) Planer-Jointer Combo
  7. BEST W/ HELICAL CUTTERHEAD: Rikon Power Tools 6-Inch (20-600H) Benchtop Jointer
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Shop Fox 6 in. 110-Volt 1-1/2 HP Benchtop Jointer
Best Benchtop Jointer

Photo: iStockphoto.com

How We Chose the Best Benchtop Jointers

Benchtop joints are one of the foundations to a good woodworking project, so putting together a list of the best was a challenge. First, we drew on all of our experience with woodworking and DIY projects to determine the features and abilities we thought were most important for a benchtop jointer.

Once we knew what to look for, we performed extensive product research and came up with a pool of potential candidates. Then, we compared additional features, safety items, power, and price to determine which models truly met our criteria. We threw out those that didn’t, and the ones that did received awards based on their strengths.

Our Top Picks

We’ve researched the most popular and innovative benchtop jointers on the market from the top tool brands and many niche tool makers and have selected this list of some of the best benchtop jointers on the market for specific categories. One of these may be perfect for your woodworking requirements.

Best Overall

The Best Benchtop Jointer Option: Craftsman 10-Amp (CMEW020) Benchtop Jointer
Photo: amazon.com

Craftsman’s CMEW020 benchtop jointer is certainly worth a look when hunting for a benchtop jointer with plenty of speed. Considered our best jointer, the CMEW020’s 10-amp motor to cutterhead has an adjustable speed control from 6,000 to 11,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The top speed turns the two-knife cutterhead to create up to 22,000 cuts each minute on a 6-inch-wide board.

This Craftsman benchtop wood jointer has some other attractive features as well. The center-mounted aluminum fence offers plenty of support for edge-jointing and squaring boards. It has an oversize stop switch and spring-loaded blade guard, as well as a standard 2-inch dust port for tying into a dust collection system. The built-in cutterhead lock will hold the Craftsman jointer’s cutterhead in place, making blade changes safe and easy. Do keep in mind that while two blades are sufficient, a benchtop jointer could benefit from a 3-blade cutterhead (but we’re splitting hairs).

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6-inch-wide board
  • Amps: 10 amps
  • Blade type: 2 straight blades

Pros

  • 22,000 cuts per minute when at max speed; suitable for heavy-duty use
  • Built-in cutterhead lock for safe blade changes; also prevents unwanted cutting and injury
  • Built-in 2-inch dust-collection port to reduce materials and particles in the air

Cons

  • 3-blade cutterhead would be better than a 2-blade cutter

Get the Craftsman benchtop jointer at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Runner-Up

The Best Benchtop Jointer Option: Delta 6-Inch 12-Amp (37-071) Benchtop Jointer
Photo: homedepot.com

Delta’s 370-071 6-inch benchtop jointer is worth checking out for those looking for a sturdy jointer with plenty of speed for a workshop. This benchtop jointer features a 12-amp motor that produces up to 10,000 rpm. The bed measures 28½ inches long by 6¼ inches wide. This jointer has a straight-blade cutterhead and a maximum depth of cut of ⅛ inch. It also comes with a 2¼-inch dust port with a 45-degree elbow and a built-in chip blower.

The fence, base, and bed of the 37-071 are cast iron, adding extra weight—total weight is 76 pounds—to keep the tool grounded while using it. It also has a tall, adjustable fence with positive stops at 90 and 45 degrees. It comes with two push blocks, a spring-loaded blade guard, and an oversize stop switch with a removable key that allows users to safely lock it in the “off” position.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 12 amps
  • Blade type: 2 straight blades

Pros

  • 10,000-rpm design is suitable for light- to medium-duty jointing tasks
  • Maximum depth cut of ⅛ inch for larger pieces of wood and cutting projects
  • 2¼-inch dust port collects unwanted materials and particles, preventing air pollution and mess
  • A removable safety key allows users to store it without worry of accidental use

Cons

  • Some users have reported difficulty while using; leveling and adjusting the knives on the jointer may be tricky
  • Dust port needs to be connected to a hose to ensure safety while operating tool

Get the Delta benchtop jointer at The Home Depot, Acme Tools, or Delta.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Benchtop Jointers Option: Wen 6-Inch 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer
Photo: amazon.com

For precision while working with hard and soft wood types, consider the Wen corded benchtop jointer. With a 10-amp motor and a 6-inch-width cutting capacity, this jointer is capable of 12,000 cuts per minute. This model also has an adjustable infeed table that removes from 0 to ⅛ inches deep of material in one pass.

An onboard scale, spacious table space, a spring-loaded blade guard, and a bevel fence that reaches 45 degrees also make this Wen jointer easy to use for precision cutting as well as safe for the user. As for easy cleanup after use, the 2½-inch built-in dust port, push stick and block, and a filter bag prevent dust particles from entering the air and making a mess in the workshop.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 10 amps
  • Blade type: Straight blade

Pros

  • Capable of 12,000 cuts per minute; suitable for quick cutting in the workshop or on the jobsite
  • Adjustable infeed table is suitable for many cutting depths
  • Spring-loaded blade guard prevents unwanted injury and keeps wood in place
  • Built-in dust port and filter bag prevents unwanted dust particles from circulating
  • Affordable compared to many other benchtop jointers on the market

Cons

  • May not be suitable for long-term use; limited durability compared to similar options

Get the Wen benchtop jointer at Amazon, The Home Depot (no glue dispenser), or Lowe’s (no glue dispenser).

Upgrade Pick

The Best Benchtop Jointers Option: Porter-Cable 6-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Jointer

DIYers and woodworkers hunting for a jointer that can shave wood and save cash may want to check out Porter-Cable’s benchtop jointer. This benchtop jointer features a 6-inch capacity, as well as a twin straight-blade cutterhead. The 10-amp 120V motor powers this Porter Cable jointer to up to 22,000 cuts per minute, with variable speeds from 6,000 to 11,000 rpm.

This Porter Cable benchtop jointer features a depth of cut of up to ⅛-inch deep, allowing users to tune up their milling while still working quickly. It also has a wide aluminum adjustable fence and a spring-loaded blade guard. It comes with a built-in dust collection port that works with a standard 2-inch vacuum hose, as well as a blade lock for safe blade changes. However, this model has a simple on/off switch, not an oversized switch that might be easier to hit in an emergency.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 10 amps
  • Blade type: 2 straight blades

Pros

  • Versatile construction; adjustable speeds between 12,000 and 22,000 cuts per minute
  • ⅛-inch depth of cut for working quickly when necessary; suitable for heavy-duty cutting needs
  • Built-in dust port collects particles and materials, preventing unwanted air particles in the workshop

Cons

  • Small on/off switch; not as safe as other benchtop jointer options

Get the Porter-Cable benchtop jointer at Amazon or Acme Tools.

Best W/ Spiral Cutterhead

The Best Benchtop Jointer Option: Wahuda Tools Benchtop Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
Photo: amazon.com

For DIYers whose woodworking projects frequently call for wide boards, check into the Wahuda Tools benchtop spiral cutterhead jointer. This 12-amp heavy-duty benchtop jointer is capable of milling boards up to 10 inches wide—much wider than most benchtop jointers. It has a 33½-inch-long cast-iron bed with two pullout extensions that provide up to 51 inches of total length. The helical-style cutterhead features 20 blades, producing a smooth and relatively quiet cut.

The Wahuda 10-inch jointer offers some other attractive features, including a 4-inch dust port with a 2½-inch adapter, ensuring it can tie into most dust collection systems. It has a 24-inch fence that tilts from 90 to 135 degrees for milling angles on workpieces. For safety, it has a spring-loaded blade guard and an oversize stop switch with a removable key. If there’s a complaint, it’s that this model can take up some space on a workbench.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 10 inches
  • Amps: 12 amps
  • Blade type: Twenty 4-sided carbide spiral cutterheads

Pros

  • Helical-style cutterhead with 20 blades; produces smooth and quiet cuts
  • Wide 10-inch capacity and 33½-inch cast-iron bed; much wider than many other benchtop jointers
  • 24-inch-long fence that tilts for improved control and for preventing unwanted injury

Cons

  • Not small for a benchtop model; may take up a lot of space in a workshop

Get the Wahuda benchtop jointer at Amazon.

Best With Planer

The Best Benchtop Jointers Option: Jet 8-Inch 13-Amp (JJP-8BT) Planer-Jointer Combo
Photo: amazon.com

For those who need the best benchtop planer-jointer combo, the one from Jet may be the right pick. This planer-jointer combo has a large aluminum-extruded fence to ensure that the joining process is accurate and stable. The 13-amp motor is also heavy-duty enough to take on a variety of joining and planing tasks.

This pick is compact enough to fit into a typical workshop or transport to the jobsite, and it can prep small boards that are up to 8 inches wide. Finally, this pick has an integrated cord wrap that makes transporting easy while the large, built-in knobs are easy to use and control for added safety.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 8 inches
  • Amps: 13 amps
  • Blade type: Straight blade

Pros

  • Large aluminum-extruded fence prevents misuse and provides accurate and stable jointing
  • Heavy-duty construction is suitable for long-term use and durability
  • Compact; suitable for transporting around the jobsite or in the workshop
  • Large knobs allow for user-friendliness and advanced control

Cons

  • At 58 pounds, it’s on the heavy side (but light compared to other Jet jointers)
  • Boards longer than 24 inches need infeed and outfeed support
  • Can only plane boards up to 8 inches wide

Get the Jet benchtop jointer at Amazon, Acme Tools, or Tractor Supply Co.

Best W/ Helical Cutterhead

The Best Benchtop Jointers Option: Rikon Power Tools 6-Inch (20-600H) Benchtop Jointer
Photo: amazon.com

If shoppers are after a helical-style cutterhead-equipped benchtop jointer, they will want to check out the 20-600H benchtop jointer from Rikon Power Tools. This jointer has a six-row helical-style cutterhead with double-edged cutters, providing a well-tuned smooth cut across a workpiece. It also has a maximum cut of ⅛ inch and a 10-amp motor, making quick work of thick and uneven boards.

Possibly one of the best features of the Rikon 20-600H is its bed. It measures 30 inches long by 6-3/16 inches wide, allowing users to mill longer boards accurately. This jointer also has an oversize stop switch with a removable key and a spring-loaded blade guard. The 2½-inch dust port will work with many shop vacuums as well. Keep in mind that this model is expensive compared to other jointers, but the capacity may be worth it for some.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 10 amps
  • Blade type: 6-row helical cutterhead

Pros

  • Helical blades for smooth cuts and quiet operation volumes
  • Long bed for milling longer workpieces; suitable for heavy-duty use
  • Built-in 2½-inch dust port collects dust particles and prevents unwanted dust in the air

Cons

  • Aluminum fence may warp or lose its form with wear and tear

Get the Rikon Power Tools benchtop jointer at Amazon or Acme Tools.

Also Consider

The Best Benchtop Jointer Option: Shop Fox 6-Inch 110-Volt 1½-HP Benchtop Jointer
Photo: homedepot.com

Shop Fox’s 6-inch benchtop jointer is certainly worth checking out for woodworking DIYers. This benchtop jointer features a 6-inch capacity that allows for milling most common boards flat and smooth. It has a two-blade cutterhead and a 10-amp motor that combine for a cutting speed of up to 20,000 rpm. It also has a cast-iron infeed table as well as outfeed table for durability and accuracy.

This Shop Fox W1829 benchtop jointer features a multi-positional aluminum fence for accurate planing. It also has a spring-loaded blade guard, as well as an oversized shut-off switch that can be easy to find in an emergency. The main downside is that this jointer doesn’t have a depth gauge for easier adjustments.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 10 amps
  • Blade type: 2 straight blades

Pros

  • Cast-iron bed for accuracy and durability; suitable for long-term use and heavy-duty use
  • Oversize shut-off switch is easy to find to prevent unwanted cutting or injury
  • Up to 20,000 rpm; suitable for quick and accurate cutting

Cons

  • No depth gauge for quick adjustments; may be tricky for some users

Get the Shop Fox benchtop jointer at The Home Depot or Acme Tools.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing the Best Benchtop Jointer 

Before striking out to find the best benchtop jointer for the shop, it’s important to learn a bit about what to look for. The following section will point out the most important considerations to keep in mind while on the hunt for the best benchtop jointer..

Power and Amps

Woodworkers use carpentry jointers to flatten boards, removing wide swathes of wood at a time until the resulting surface is an ideal plane ripe for woodworking projects. Between woodworkers’ and DIYers’ affinity for hardwoods and the amount of wood a jointer removes at one time, jointers need sturdy, powerful motors to get the job done.

While it might seem important to know how much horsepower a motor has, speed and amperage are actually more important. The motor has to fight the friction and stress created by the blade against the wood’s surface, and that can wear an inferior motor down quickly. Jointers with 10-amp (or more) motors are ideal. They have tougher components that can handle the stress and cool themselves to prevent overheating while doing heavy-duty jointing. They can also run faster, producing up to 20,000 or more cuts per minute.

Cutterhead 

A woodworking jointer’s cutterhead is the spinning drum with blades attached that removes the wood. Jointers come with one of two types of cutterheads: helical (or spiral) and straight-blade cutterheads. They both serve the same purpose, but their designs are very different.

  • Straight-blade cutterheads usually have three blades that span the drum’s entire width. They shave a piece of wood off the entire width of the board with each pass. Straight blades are easy to resharpen when they become dull, but they can be loud and choppy. Also, if the blades hit a nail or rock embedded in the wood, they could all become garbage.
  • Helical cutterheads have several smaller blades positioned in a spiral pattern around the drum of the cutterhead. Jointers with helical heads are usually more expensive, but they’re smoother-running and a bit quieter. Also, users can replace two or three smaller blades if they hit a rock, as opposed to throwing out an entire straight blade.

Bed Width and Cutting Depth

A jointer’s bed width will determine how large of a board it can handle. This measurement is one of the most important considerations to keep in mind. A 6-inch benchtop jointer can handle boards up to 6 inches wide, which is enough for most small woodworking projects. Most benchtop jointers fit this measurement, but DIYers can find 8-inch jointers and the occasional 10-inch model. For folks who consistently work with larger boards, it might be necessary to upgrade to a floor-standing jointer, which will be much more expensive.

The cutting depth also matters. The cutting depth determines how much of the board the jointer can remove at a time. The activity of milling perfect stock is often about patience and precision, but it doesn’t have to take all day. An aggressive depth of cut (⅛ inch) allows users to work quickly to remove the bulk of the waste.

Jointer Fence 

While the bed is arguably the most important component of a jointer, the fence comes in a close second. Its obvious use is as a consistent base to register a board against as the user planes it to a flat surface. But the fence’s role doesn’t stop there.

Once milled perfectly flat, DIYers can turn the board on its side and register the flat surface against the fence and pass the board over the jointer. This action can create a perfectly square (or adjustable) edge, which is something boards from home centers seldom have. This step is critical for high-end woodworking projects, so it’s important to have a solid fence to tackle those projects.

Dust Collection

If a DIYer isn’t considering dust collection, it’s only because they’ve never seen a jointer in action. Even benchtop jointers can create piles and piles of sawdust and shavings. These machines rip tiny slivers of wood off of a board and throw them at high-speed. The result can be a tan-tinged blizzard on a shop floor.

Look for a benchtop jointer with a dust-collection port that can attach to a system or shop vac. Generally speaking, these ports should accept 4-inch or 2½-inch hoses. These are the most common sizes and will allow a vacuum or dust collection system to remove a large volume of chips at a time and avoid clogs.

Additional Features 

There are some additional features to look for when shopping for the best benchtop jointer. Many of these features are safety-related, which is always important when it comes to power tools.

  • A quality spring-loaded blade guard is an important feature in a benchtop jointer, so be sure to choose a model that is equipped with one.
  • Plastic push paddles will help keep hands away from the spinning blade. These paddles won’t damage the blades if they should accidentally come into contact with them.
  • Oversize stop buttons help to make shutting these machines down in an emergency much easier. The switches often include removable keys as well, preventing anyone from turning the machine on accidentally.
  • Extendable wings allow users to pass longer boards through a benchtop jointer, which can be a real benefit.

Shopping for a Used or Refurbished Benchtop Jointer

There’s potential to find a benchtop jointer on the reused market. Many budding woodworkers get into the craft and then find it isn’t for them, allowing DIYers to pick up expensive tools at budget prices.

Be sure to check places like Amazon Renew or Ebay Refurbished for benchtop jointers. While they might be expensive to ship, it may be possible to find a deal. It may also be possible to find them at estate sales, yard sales, or flea markets.

When shopping for a used benchtop jointer in person, be sure to fire it up and listen for any loud noises or vibration. Also, make sure the bed adjusts smoothly, or it may be impossible to mill certain boards flat. It’s also worth performing a quick search using the product number to ensure the blades are still available for that particular model, else it could be worthless down the road if a blade is too far gone.

Tips for Using a Benchtop Jointer 

Because jointers don’t cut all the way through a workpiece, it can be hard to tell where the blade is while using one. For that reason, it’s important to keep palms and fingers away from the end of the board. The blade can sneak up quickly, causing serious injury. To reduce the risk even more, use push paddles and a push stick.

The blade guard might seem like an inconvenience, but it’s absolutely key for workshop safety. Running thin pieces over a jointer can expose hands to several inches of spinning blades. The blade guard helps reduce this risk, so be sure that it’s operating properly, and don’t remove it.

Personal protective equipment is essential. Jointers cut with incredible speed and have the potential to send tiny knots or chips flying, so be sure to wear safety glasses. Also, even the quietest helical jointers are very loud. Be sure to wear ear protection while milling stock or using power tools of any type.

  • Use push paddles and push sticks to keep fingers and hands away from the spinning blade.
  • Be sure that the blade guard is working properly.
  • Wear eye and ear protection.

FAQs

Benchtop jointers are one-trick ponies, so it may seem that only serious woodworkers and DIYers would own one. It would be understandable if you had some questions about how they work or what they do. These tools don’t have to be so intimidating if you have the right information. Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions about benchtop jointers.

Q. What is a benchtop jointer?

A benchtop jointer is a scaled-down version of a floor-standing jointer. These tools sit on your workbench and allow you to mill warps, twists, and bows out of your lumber or hardwood by removing material until it’s completely flat.

Q. What is the difference between a jointer and a planer? 

A planer removes thickness, allowing users to peel off layers of wood until the workpiece is of the appropriate thickness. Jointers remove material in order to flatten the board.

Q. How big of a jointer do I need?

For most home shops, a 6-inch benchtop jointer will work quite well. It’s large enough to pass most DIY project-related boards through but small enough that you can remove it from your bench when you’re not using it.

Q. How do you use a benchtop jointer? 

Jointing is a labor of love, and it takes a bit of patience. To start, ensure that the infeed side of the table is just slightly lower than the outfeed side with the height adjustment knob. Turn the machine on and feed the board over the spinning cutterhead using the paddles and push sticks that your jointer came with. Continue making several passes, checking the board between with a straight edge.

Q. Are the Porter-Cable jointer and Craftsman jointer the same?

Many may think that the Porter-Cable and Craftsman jointers are interchangeable in design and functionality, but they are in fact different in construction. Most of the Craftsman products come with a more diverse catalog of options compared to Porter-Cable models. But, both companies are owned by Stanley Black & Decker, which is why the two brands are commonly thought to be of the same make and design.

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