The Best Benchtop Jointers of 2022

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

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Jul 11, 2022 7:23 PM

BobVila.com and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Best Benchtop Jointer

Photo: amazon.com

Instead of throwing their next project in the scrap bin, DIYers should equip their workshop with a jointer―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 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 Benchtop Jointer, 10-Amp (CMEW020)
  2. RUNNER-UP: 6″ Bench Top Jointer 37-071 from Delta
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer, Variable Speed
  4. UPGRADE PICK: WEN 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer
  5. BEST CAPACITY: Wahuda Tools Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
  6. ALSO CONSIDER: Shop Fox 6 in. 110-Volt 1-1/2 HP Benchtop Jointer
Best Benchtop Jointer

Photo: iStockphoto.com

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 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.

Cutter Head

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

  • Straight-blade cutter heads 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 cutter heads have several smaller blades positioned in a spiral pattern around the drum of the cutter head. 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 models 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.

Our Top Picks

With that primer on what to look out for, it’s time to start shopping for the best benchtop jointer for the workshop. Below is a list of some of the best benchtop jointers on the market. Be sure to keep the important considerations above in mind when comparing these models.

Best Overall

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

Craftsman’s CMEW020 Benchtop Jointer is certainly worth a look when hunting for a benchtop jointer with plenty of speed. The CMEW020 has an adjustable speed control, adjusting the 10-amp motor to cutter head speeds between 6,000 and 11,000 RPMs. The top speed turns the two-knife cutter head to create up to 22,000 cuts each minute on a 6-inch-wide board.

This Craftsman benchtop 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 2½-inch dust port for tying into a dust collection system. The built-in cutter-head lock will hold the Craftsman jointer’s cutter head in place, making blade changes safe and easy. Do keep in mind that while two blades are sufficient, it could benefit from a 3-blade cutter head (but we’re splitting hairs).

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 10 amps
  • Blade Type: Straight (2)

Pros

  • 22,000 cuts per minute max speed
  • Built-in cutter-head lock for safe blade changes
  • Built-in 2 ½-inch dust collection port

Cons

  • Three-blade cutter head would be better

Get the Craftsman Benchtop Jointer at Amazon.

Runner-Up

Best Benchtop Jointer: 6" Bench Top Jointer 37-071 from Delta
Photo: homedepot.com

Delta’s 370-071 6-inch Bench Top Jointer is worth checking out if you’re looking for a sturdy jointer with plenty of speed for your workshop. This benchtop jointer features a 12-amp motor that produces up to 10,000 RPMs. The bed measures 28½ inches long by 6¼ inches wide. This jointer has a straight-blade cutter head and a maximum depth of cut of ⅛ inch. It also comes with a 2½-inch dust port with a 45-degree elbow and a built-in chip blower.

The base and bed of the 37-071 are cast iron, adding extra weight to keep the tool grounded while you’re 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.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 12 amps
  • Blade Type: Straight

Pros

  • 10,000 RPM design
  • Maximum depth cut of ⅛ inches
  • 21/2 inch dust port
  • Built-in chip blower

Cons

  • Pricey

Get the Delta Benchtop Jointer at The Home Depot.

Best Bang for the Buck

Best Benchtop Jointer

DIYers and woodworkers hunting for a jointer that can shave wood and save cash should check out Porter-Cable’s Benchtop Jointer. This benchtop jointer features a 6-inch capacity, as well as a twin, straight-blade cutter head. The 10-amp motor powers this jointer to up to 22,000 cuts per minute, with variable speeds as low as 11,000 cuts per minute.

This benchtop jointer features a depth of cut of up to ⅛-inch, allowing users to tune in 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 (2 ½-inch), as well as a blade lock for safe blade changes. Do note that this model has a simple on-off switch, not an oversized switch that would be easier to hit in an emergency.

Product Specs

  • Capacity: 6 inches
  • Amps: 10-amps
  • Blade Type: Straight (2)

Pros

  • Adjustable speeds between 11,000 and 22,000 cuts per minute
  • ⅛-inch depth of cut for working quickly when necessary
  • Built-in dust port

Cons

  • Small on-off switch

Get the Porter-Cable Benchtop Jointer on Amazon.

Upgrade Pick

Best Benchtop Jointer: WEN 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer
Photo: homedepot.com

For precision while working with hard and soft wood types, look no further than the WEN 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer. With a 10-amp motor and a 6 ⅛-inch cutter head, this jointer is capable of 20,000 cuts per minute. This model also has an adjustable infeed table that cuts from 0 to ⅛ inches deep.

An onboard scale, spacious table space, a spring-loaded blade guard, and a bevel fence that reaches 45 degrees also make this model easy to use for precision cutting as well as safe for the user. As for easy cleanup after use, the 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

Pros

  • Capable of 20,000 cuts per minute
  • Adjustable infeed table
  • Spring-loaded blade guard
  • Built-in dust port and filter bag
  • Affordable

Cons

  • May not be suitable for long-term use

Get the WEN benchtop jointer at The Home Depot.

Best Capacity

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

For DIYers whose woodworking projects frequently call for wide boards, check into the Wahuda Tools Bench Top 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 cutter head features 20 blades, producing a smooth and relatively quiet cut.

The Wahuda offers some other attractive features, including a 4-inch dust port with a 2½-inch reducer, ensuring it can tie into most dust collection systems. It has a 24-inch fence that bevels up to 45 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: Helical

Pros

  • Helical-style cutter head with 20 blades
  • Wide 10-inch capacity and 33 ½-inch cast-iron bed
  • 24-inch long fence for improved control

Cons

  • Not small for a benchtop model

Get the Wahuda Benchtop Jointer on Amazon.

Also Consider

The Best Benchtop Jointer Option: Shop Fox 6 in. 110-Volt 1-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 cutter head and a 10-amp motor that combine for a cutting speed of up to 20,000 cuts per minute. 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’s 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: Straight (2)

Pros

  • Cast-iron bed for accuracy and durability
  • Oversized shut-off switch is easy to find
  • Up to 20,000 cuts per minute

Cons

  • No depth gauge for quick adjustments

Get the Shop Fox Benchtop Jointer at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

Ultimately, woodworkers looking for a high-quality jointer should check out the CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Jointer for its 22,000 cuts per minute top speed and built-in dust collection. However, those looking to save a little money might find the PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer’s built-in dust collection port and 22,000 cuts per minute will serve their purposes nicely.

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.

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 cutter head using the paddles and push sticks that your jointer came with. Continue making several passes, checking the board between with a straight edge.