The Best Jointers for DIYers and Pros

Find out which features you should consider when choosing a jointer for your workshop, and don’t miss our list of top models.

Best Overall

The Shop Fox W1829 6-Inch 1½ HP Benchtop Jointer on a white background.

Shop Fox W1829 6-Inch 1½ HP Benchtop Jointer

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Best Bang For The Buck

The Ridgid 6⅛-Inch Jointer/Planer on white background.

Ridgid 6⅛-Inch Jointer/Planer

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Best for Beginners

The Wen JT630H 10-Amp 6-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer on a white background.

Wen JT630H 10-Amp 6-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer

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A jointer is a woodworking machine that smooths and flattens the face and edge of stock lumber to make it perfectly square. Instead of running a tool against wood like one would do using a hand planer, with a jointer, the wood is pushed against the tool.

This tool consists of a long flat surface bisected by a cutting head with a cast-iron guide fence. As the wood runs through the jointer, the cutting head’s blades remove a layer of the wood’s surface to create a perfect square. If you’re in the market for a jointer, keep reading to learn what factors to consider when shopping for one of these powerful tools.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Shop Fox W1829 6-Inch 1½ HP Benchtop Jointer
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Ridgid 6⅛-Inch Jointer/Planer
  3. BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Wen JT630H 10-Amp 6-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer
  4. BEST 6-INCH: Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer
  5. BEST 8-INCH: WEN JT833H 10-Amp 8-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer
  6. BEST CABINET-STYLE: Jet JJ-6HHDX 6-Inch Long Bed Helical Head Kit
  7. BEST LARGE: Wahuda 50180CC-WHD 8-Inch Benchtop Jointer
  8. ALSO CONSIDER: Grizzly Industrial G0814 Jointer With Cabinet Stand
A person using the best jointer to smooth and flatten the face and edge of a piece of stock lumber.
Photo: homedepot.com

How We Chose the Best Jointers

In researching more than a dozen different jointers, we considered a variety of factors. A good jointer should have a motor that spins the blade fast enough to make smooth cuts. With that in mind, the jointers in this list reach a max speed of at least 10,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). Jointers are typically used to plane larger pieces of wood, so table length is important.

For some added expert advice during our research, we interviewed skilled craftsman Jonathan Warshaw, founder and owner of Simple Woodworker who provided us with an insight into the role a jointer plays in a woodworker’s toolset. He recommends a table length of at least 8 inches for best efficiency. “The larger size accommodates wider boards, which is common in wood supply, thereby saving both material and time.” With this in mind, we made sure to include several options with ample table length, while also keeping a few shorter models for those with limited space available.

In addition to a long table, a good jointer should also have a fence that easily adjusts to cut at different angles. Warshaw also lended us his hands-on experience, stating that “dovetail-style jointers have a proven track record of reliability. It’s vital that the tables align on the same plane for consistent results.” As such, we included a few models that can meet these requirements.

Finally, since jointers create precision cuts, it’s crucial that they be made from sturdy materials such as cast iron that won’t warp or bend over time.

Our Top Picks

The following list of jointers includes both cabinet-style and benchtop jointers with 6-inch and 8-inch cutter heads. These models feature powerful motors and durable steel and cast-iron construction from some of the top manufacturers on the market.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 6 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 20,000
  • Table length: 28½ inches

Pros

  • Powerful 1.5-horsepower (hp) motor and cast-iron build allow for effective, heavy-duty use
  • Integrated vacuum system to manage sawdust; prevents dust from entering the lungs
  • The fence can adjust between 45 and 90 degrees in either direction for excellent precision
  • Ample table length for small to medium-size pieces of lumber

Cons

  • Shorter table length than other jointers on the market; cannot accommodate larger pieces of lumber

Power equates to a good, smooth cut, especially when it comes to harder woods. Shop Fox’s benchtop jointer comes well equipped to handle such jobs, thanks to a stout 1½ horsepower motor that delivers up to 20,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) and 20,000 cuts per minute. With its durable cast-iron build, the jointer makes a good option for home or professional workshops. Its 28½-inch-long cutting surface and 6-inch-wide blade can handle medium-size lumber.

The Shop Fox allows users to fine-tune the cutting depth to a maximum of ⅛ inch and the angle on the adjustable fence from 90 to 45 degrees in either direction. An integrated vacuum system and sizable 2½-inch dust port enable maximum dust collection to help keep your workshop clean. This benchtop jointer will move from the workshop to jobsite as long as there’s an extra set of hands to help move the 80-pound unit to the truck.

Get the Shop Fox benchtop jointer at Amazon or

The Home Depot

.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 6⅛ inches
  • Maximum rpm: 3,450
  • Table length: 45½ inches

Pros

  • Ample table length of 45½ inches for large pieces of lumber
  • Sturdy cabinet base with storage for holding additional accessories and tools
  • Dust ports are integrated for the sawdust vacuum system

Cons

  • The smaller 1 hp motor may not provide the torque required for some users’ needs

For DIYers who don’t have room in the workshop—or the budget—for a jointer and a planer, Ridgid offers a great solution. The cabinet-style jointer offers planing options, too. It features a powerful 1 hp motor and blade supported by a durable steel cabinet that sits on a sturdy cast-iron base, ensuring this jointer will stand firm while cutting. It includes a capable 6⅛-inch blade for planing and jointing jobs. A built-in storage area includes a place to store accessories and blade alignment tools.

This jointer/planer also handles longer pieces thanks to its 45-inch-long tabletop. A dual bevel adjustable fence includes stops at 45, 90, and 135 degrees. The jointer’s 4-inch dust ports help keep the work area clean. At 213 pounds and 45½ inches long by 31⅛ inches high and 19½ inches deep, this makes a great option for those who have the space for it in their workshop.

Get the Ridgid jointer/planer at

The Home Depot

.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 6 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 11,000
  • Table length: 30 inches

Pros

  • Ample 30-inch table length can accommodate small to medium-size pieces of wood
  • It comes equipped with a powerful 1½ hp motor for heavy-duty cutting power
  • Includes safety features like easy-to-grip knobs and a blade guard; ideal for beginners
  • The adjustable aluminum fence can bevel up to 45 degrees

Cons

  • Lower-quality build than other jointers

For those new to jointing or who only need one for a few projects a year, Wen offers a great choice for beginners that won’t break the bank. Similar to higher-end benchtop jointers, this model comes equipped with a 6-inch-wide blade that’s powered by an impressive 1½ hp motor. The large easy-to-grip knobs adjust the blade depth from 0 to ⅛ inch.

Wen’s jointer includes an ample 30-inch table length that’s broad enough to provide a comfortable workspace for new woodworkers. The aluminum adjustable fence measures an ample 19¾ inches by 4¼ inches and can bevel up to 45 degrees. A spring-loaded blade guard and two push blocks make nice safety features to keep less experienced users’ hands safely away from the blade.

Get the Wen benchtop jointer at

Amazon

,

 

Lowe’s

, or The Home Depot.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 6 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 11,000
  • Table length: 30 inches

Pros

  • Can be transported if desired; the total weight of the unit is just 35 pounds
  • Good table length of 30 inches to accommodate small to medium-size pieces of lumber
  • Variable speed range from 6,000 to 11,000 rpm provides sufficient torque for most projects

Cons

  • Some users have reported that the fence can be difficult to adjust

Craftsman gives users a lot to like about its impressive benchtop jointer. Its powerful 10-amp motor can make up to 22,000 cuts per minute, which is plenty of power for both softwoods and hardwoods. A variable speed range of 6,000 to 11,000 rpm allows users to control the blade speed for optimum performance. A large aluminum fence tilts up to 45 degrees to provide plenty of support while cutting.

Transporting a jointer to a work site or even from a storage shelf to a workbench can be difficult, as some models weigh up to 80 pounds. Craftsman’s benchtop jointer weighs in at a manageable 35 pounds. Despite its lightweight construction, it can handle boards up to 6 inches wide and features a sturdy 30-inch-long work surface.

Get the Craftsman benchtop jointer at

Amazon

,

Lowe’s

, or

Ace Hardware

.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 8 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 11,000
  • Table length: 33 to 51 inches

Pros

  • The table is extendable up to 51 inches to accommodate very large pieces of wood
  • The spring-loaded blade guard and push blocks provide added safety while the tool is in use
  • Includes ports for dust management systems; keeps dust and debris out of the air
  • Affordable price for an 8-inch jointer

Cons

  • The motor is not as powerful as those of other 8-inch jointers
  • Cheaper build quality than other jointers on the market

Most 8-inch jointers, which are typically designed for pro shops, cost thousands of dollars. But Wen’s 8-inch jointer comes in cheaper than many 6-inch jointers. While the 10-amp motor won’t rival those of industrial-grade jointers, it provides enough juice for most home

woodworkers

.

Wen employs a smart design with its jointer table. It measures 33 inches long but can reach 51 inches with the help of extenders, which allows DIYers to use bigger workpieces that demand an 8-inch blade. As with Wen’s 6-inch jointer, this model features a spring-loaded blade guard and push blocks for safety. The fence bevels up to 45 degrees. This jointer’s 4-inch ports help manage dust.

Get the Wen spiral benchtop jointer at

Amazon

,

Lowe’s

, or The Home Depot.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 6 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 6,000
  • Table length: 56 inches

Pros

  • 4-blade helical cutter head and cast-iron table surface for effective use
  • 4-inch dust port keeps debris and dust out of the workshop, air, and lungs
  • Front-mounted adjustment handwheels built in for ease of adjustment
  • Large push-button controls are ideal for beginners as well as professionals

Cons

  • Pricey compared with similar options on the market
  • Large unit may take up a lot of space in a workshop and provides limited portability

Cabinet-style jointers provide a higher level of performance than their benchtop cousins, making them suitable for professional workshops and serious woodworkers. This jointer from Jet is one of the toughest 6-inch models available. It features a 4-blade helical cutter that removes wood evenly while maintaining an ultra-smooth finish. It also offers a 56-inch-long work surface made of cast iron, allowing users to mill longer pieces of lumber with ease, along with a 4-inch dust port to keep the workshop clean.

Large front-mounted adjustment wheels make raising and lowering the feed table and cutter head easy. Large push-button controls are conveniently placed above the workbench, allowing for quick starts and stops, and the two-way tilting fence is capable of up to 45 degrees of adjustment in either direction. This jointer weighs 237 pounds.

Get the Jet helical head kit at Northern Tool + Equipment, Acme Tools, or Amazon.

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Product Specs

  • Blade width: 8 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 12,000
  • Table length: 34 to 51 inches

Pros

  • Helical-style blade creates smooth and precise cuts
  • Table extends from 34 to 51 inches to accommodate small and large pieces of lumber
  • Light enough to be portable if desired; ideal for DIYers as well as professionals
  • The wide 8-inch blade is suitable for making large cuts

Cons

  • Motor not as powerful those of as other 8-inch models; may not work well with dense woods

Most benchtop jointers feature a 6-inch two-sided cutting blade—adequate for most home woodworkers. Wahuda Tools takes it up a notch with this 8-inch helical-style four-sided blade. With its wider cutting edge and spiral shape, this blade removes wood more evenly and leaves a smoother edge than standard two-sided blade jointers.

An 8-inch blade doesn’t mean a whole lot alongside a small work table that can’t support larger pieces of wood. Still, a longer benchtop takes away the portability of a benchtop jointer. Wahuda solves this dilemma with roll-out extensions that expand this jointer’s benchtop from 34 inches to 51 inches. The jointer weighs in at a portable 60 pounds. But the all-steel and cast-iron jointer doesn’t skimp on quality.

Get the Wahuda jointer at

Amazon

.

See It

Product Specs

  • Blade width: 6 inches
  • Maximum rpm: 5,000
  • Table length: 47⅜ inches

Pros

  • Durable iron and steel construction provides long-lasting durability
  • Powerful 1 hp motor and large-diameter blade provide quick, smooth cuts
  • The mobile base allows it to be rolled around a jobsite or workshop

Cons

  • More expensive than some comparable benchtop jointers

With its 1 hp motor that helps generate 15,000 cuts per minute, this heavy-duty jointer offers professional-grade performance at a price that fits a DIY budget. The high-power motor spins a large 2½-inch-diameter blade for smoother cuts.

Made from a single piece of forged steel, the table is more precise than lower-end benchtop models. Though the unit weighs in at 245 pounds, it sits on a hefty mobile base that allows one to easily roll it into position or into storage in the workshop. Other features include a 4-inch dust port and durable metal controls for the fence and blade depth.

Get the Grizzly jointer with cabinet at The Home Depot.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Jointer

Various factors ought to come into consideration when you shop for a jointer, including power, blade width, table length, and portability. Here are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind while looking for a jointer.

Type

You’ll typically have two different types of jointers to choose from: a larger, stationary cabinet-style unit and a smaller, mounted benchtop unit.

A benchtop jointer makes a popular choice for home woodworkers who don’t need the industrial strength of the larger and more expensive cabinet-style jointers. Smaller and lighter, they lack the power of a cabinet-style jointer, but they offer easy storage and portability.

Whether you choose a benchtop or a cabinet-style model, the best jointers should include sturdy adjustable fences and metal guards that allow for precision cutting. Cabinet jointers will include more substantial fences than those on a benchtop jointer, since cabinet jointers handle longer pieces of wood.

Power

Power determines how easily a jointer cuts through wood. A more powerful jointer generally leaves a smoother finish on the wood than a less powerful model. High-powered models also do a better job of cutting through hardwoods and handling broader cuts.

A 6-inch jointer typically has a 1-horsepower (hp) motor—sufficient to handle most softwoods, hardwoods, and even many exotic woods. Jointers with 8-inch blades require motors with 2 hp engines. High-end commercial-grade jointers with blades up to 16 inches wide feature motors with as much as 3 hp.

Material

Of course, build quality matters with most power tools, and it may matter most in a jointer. These tools make wood stock perfectly smooth and square, which requires the tool to be built from quality material that won’t bend or sag. Look for jointers with sturdy cast-iron feeder tables and guide fences that will stand up to long-term use.

Blades and Cutting Depth

Cutting depth determines how many times the user will have to run the wood through the jointer to make the wood smooth and flat. Cutting blade widths vary from 6 inches wide to as much as 16 inches wide. The wider the blade, the wider the wood stock the jointer can cut.

Cutting heads feature multiple blades. Smaller benchtop jointers have two or three cutting blades, while larger cabinet-style jointers have as many as four. The more blades, the smoother the cuts.

Most benchtop jointers can cut to a maximum depth of ⅛ inch, while commercial jointers feature depths up to ½ inch. The greater the depth, the fewer passes are needed to flatten a warped or uneven board.

Portability

Cast-iron construction makes many jointers heavy and difficult to transport to a job site. Once a cabinet-style jointer finds a home in the workshop, it won’t move easily. These massive power tools weigh between 250 and 500 pounds.

A benchtop planer makes the lightest option for a jointer, but even some of these can weigh upward of 60 pounds. Though heavy, benchtop jointers come small enough to transport to a job site.

Knife Options

When shopping for jointers, you’ll notice that some models feature straight blades, while others have a helical or spiral cutter head. Straight blades use two or more rows of blades that run straight across the cutting head. Benchtop jointers typically use this style of cutting head. They create smooth cuts but tend to wear out quickly and require replacement or frequent sharpening.

Some cutter heads use a helical or spiral-shape blade arrangement, which creates a smoother finish on the wood’s surface. Spiral or helical cutter heads have a spiral formation around the cutting cylinder, not unlike the double helix of a DNA strand.

With a spiral cutting head, each blade remains parallel to the axis of the cutting cylinder. With a helical cutter head, each blade sits 14 degrees off the cylinder’s axis, which creates a very smooth finish.

Dust Collection

Given that jointers remove significant amounts of wood to flatten and smooth boards, they create an enormous amount of sawdust. A dust collection system will keep your workshop clean and the air breathable.

Look for power jointers that include large ports for removing sawdust. Smaller benchtop jointers feature 2-inch dust collection ports, while large cabinet-style jointers include dust collection ports as large as 4 inches in diameter.

Additional Features

While power jointers rank as one of the safer power tools because the wood stock or a retractable guard covers the blades while they cut, they also offer additional safety features.

Some include push handles that allow users to guide the wood through the blade without using their bare hands. They also feature large “off” switches positioned in an easy-to-reach place, which allows users to quickly shut off power to the blade when needed.

Some jointers offer additional features that make them easier to use, such as large knobs that allow for quick and easy adjustment of the feeder table height and the adjustable fence angle.

FAQs

Whether you’re unsure how to use a jointer or wondering how a jointer differs from a planer, read on for answers to these and other commonly asked jointer questions.

Q. How do you sharpen jointer blades?

While sending out your jointer blades to be professionally sharpened is an option, it can be costly and put your jointer out of commission for days or weeks. You also may not be happy with the results when you get them back.

If you want to sharpen the blades yourself, you can use a simple jig that will allow you to hold the two knife cutter heads in place and sharpen the blades without even having to uninstall them. While you can purchase such a jig, you can also create one using a small block of hardwood that fits in the gap between the table and the cutter and a dowel that blocks the blade and prevents the cutter from turning. After creating or buying a blade jig for your jointer, you can sharpen the blades yourself:

  • Cover the outfeed table’s edges with thick tape, so they aren’t damaged during the sharpening process.
  • Once you’ve locked the blade in place with the jig, you’ll need to move the cutting head into the proper depth for sharpening.
  • Place a scrap piece of wood on the cutting table, and lower the outfeed table until the blade just makes contact with the wood.
  • Using a 600-grit diamond sharpening stone, begin sharpening the blade by placing the stone on the blade, then draw it back in the direction of the outfeed table.
  • Continue until you create a small bevel across the length of the blade. Use a magnifying glass to help you examine the blade.
  • Switch to a 1200-grit stone and repeat the above process.
  • Once you’ve sharpened the blade, remove the jig, rotate to the next blade, replace the jig, and repeat the process until you have sharpened all of the blades.

Q. How do you use a jointer?

Follow the directions below to properly operate a jointer:

  • Begin by using a shop square to make sure the joint between the outfeed table and the guide fence is exactly 90 degrees. The point of a jointer is to make a perfectly square edge. If this joint isn’t 90 degrees, that won’t be possible.
  • Adjust the depth dial to the desired setting.
  • Position the wood stock on the infeed table with the crown side up, then turn on the jointer. Make sure to cut the face first, followed by the edges.
  • Keeping the wood stock firmly against the fence, push the lumber through the cutter using push pads.
  • Next, cut the other face, followed by both edges.
  • If done correctly, you should end up with a perfectly square piece of lumber with four smooth sides.

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

Although a jointer and planer both remove wood from the sides of wood stock, a jointer is designed to take bowed or uneven lumber and make it straight and square. A planer removes larger amounts of wood, taking a thick board and planing it down to the desired thickness. To use a planer, one side of the board must already be flat.

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Tony Carrick

Contributing Writer

Tony Carrick is a freelance writer who has contributed to BobVila.com since 2020. He writes how-to articles and product reviews in the areas of lawn and garden, home maintenance, home improvement, auto maintenance, housewares, and technology.

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