best-benchtop-jointer

Best Benchtop Jointer 2017 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Are you someone who likes to craft jewelry boxes and other square sided custom items out of wood? If yes then you can really benefit from having the best benchtop jointer in your workshop.

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Jointers are amazing tools to help prep the wood you are using in your projects. Without them, it would be very tough to make drawers, dressers, cabinets and other items that require two flat and smooth pieces of wood to be “jointed together”.

In this article will discuss in more detail how a benchtop jointer works and also review some premium jointer models that are available in the tool marketplace.

What Exactly is A Benchtop Jointer?

Benchtop Jointer

Via Amazon.com

A benchtop jointer seems to be one of the most mysterious woodworking power tools there is. Part of the reason for that is because these machines are not called benchtop jointers in countries other than the USA.

They are simply referred to as ‘planers’ in other countries like the UK. When you refer to a ‘planer’ in the USA you are referring to a power tool that controls the thickness of a board. That is not what a benchtop jointer does.

Before you can understand how a jointer works you need to first know a little about its anatomy? It’s a device that consists of inner and outer flat tables that are adjustable. In between those two tables is a set of rolling knife like blades that spin at very high speeds.

This is the part that does the cutting. At the side of the table furthest from you is a vertical fence that acts as a guide for squaring edges.

So What Exactly Does A Benchtop Jointer Do?

What Does A Benchtop Jointer Do

It has two main purposes:

  • It will flatten the faces of the boards you want to use in your projects so they are smooth and look good. This also makes them be more precision cut for the next step too.
  • Once you have a smooth face you can rest it up against the machines fence. This will help you square all the edges of the boards you will use in your project. This makes them much easier to join together properly (hence the name jointer).

A jointer is typically used on boards that are no more than 5 – 6 inches wide.

Here is a YouTube video that explains just what a benchtop joiner does in a little more detail:

You have to be patient when using a benchtop jointer. These are known to be one of the most frustrating tools for beginner woodworkers to use. Just be patient and you will get the hang of using it with practice. Once you learn how to use your jointer to square and smooth your wooden boards for your projects, using it will soon become second nature to you.

PRO TIPS

Professional woodcrafters can tell by the sound the machine makes as the wood passes over the rotating knife blades if they have the jointer set right or not.

Pay close attention to this and you will be able to do it also. Over time you can hone this listening skill to perfection if you use your benchtop jointer enough.

If you have never used a benchtop jointer before or seen it done you may be interested in taking a look at this informational video on how to run a benchtop jointer:

Benchtop Jointer Buying Guide and Shopping Tips

Once you have decided to buy a benchtop jointer you don’t just want to purchase the first one you come across. Believe us when we say there are good model jointers in the marketplace and others that are very poorly designed.

Here are some of the key characteristics of these handy power tools that you need to pay attention to during the buying process.

1

Price

These machines run from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars in cost. They are many different models of them too. Start by setting a budget for yourself as to how much you can and are willing to spend on a benchtop jointer.

Base this on how much you are going to be using this handy woodworking device too. There is no use spending thousands of dollars on a benchtop jointer if you only will use it a few times a year.

2

Motor Size

You want to have a decent model motor on your jointer that turns some pretty good RPM’s. It should be capable of doing cutting at speeds of 5,000 – 12,000 RPM’s.

You must also take note if the motor runs off of 115V or 230V power. If it runs off of 230V power you will need to have that type of outlet installed in your workshop.

3

Fences

You want a high quality fence to come with any benchtop jointer that you buy too. Make sure these are easily adjustable too. A good fence is very important as to how your finished boards turn out.

4

Cutting Knives

These are something you want to stay sharp a long time so they cut smoothly. Look for ones that are made out of hardened steel. These stay sharp the longest and work the best too.

5

Inner and Outer Table

Raising and lowering your inner and outer flat tables is what makes a benchtop joiner do its precision cutting. You want a machine with inner and outer tables that are made of a very durable material and are easily adjustable too.

6

Safety Features

This should be a major point of emphasis in the model benchtop jointer you buy. These machines can cause significant injuries or even death if not used properly. Look to make sure the jointer you are interested in buying comes with safety guards to put in place as you are doing various jointing tasks with your machine.

7

Warranty

Your benchtop jointer will take a beating if you use it very much. The motor will get hot, it will get banged with pieces of wood and saw dust will fly into places it’s not supposed too. A good warranty will give you some piece of mind that you are getting a well-protected investment.

Reviews of the Top Benchtop Jointers

Cutech 40160H-CT 6" Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer

Via Amazon.com

It is not often that one of the top rated products on our review list is also one of the most affordable ones. That is exactly the case with model benchtop jointer. It works as well as many jointers that are several times more expensive than this model is.

The nice features it has starts with its powerful 10 amp motor. It makes easy work of flattening out and squaring even hardwood boards. Its fence and tables are fully adjustable and it can handle board widths up to 6 inches.

Another unique feature of this model is that it weighs around 40 pounds. That means it is lite enough to take to a jobsite with you.

PROS

  • Powerful 115V motor
  • Precision spiral cutterhead
  • 90 – 135 degree tilt angle fence
  • 30 inches of total table length

CONS

  • Takes a little time to get used to adjusting it
  • The fence could be a little bit sturdier
JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch 1 HP Jointer with Quick-Set Knive System

Via Amazon.com

Here is an exceptional model benchtop jointer. Jet has done a very good job on the design with this model machine. With it, you can get high quality results on all the different type boards you flatten and square with it.

It can conveniently be run off of 115V or 230V electricity to help keep its powerful 1hp motor working at peak efficiency. This model also features a handy dust port and an extra-long fence that can tilt at several angles. It comes with three different style cutting heads and these can be changed out very easily.

The manufacturer shows a lot of confidence in this product too. They back it with a full 5 year warranty.

PROS

  • 115V/230V convertible motor•
  • Quickset cutting knives
  • Tilting fence angles
  • Durable cast iron table

CONS

  • At 200+ pounds this unit is not portable at all
  • It vibrates a little as you are working with it
Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch Jointer With Helical Cutterhead

Via Amazon.com

This is a high quality jointer that has a lot of precision features built into it. It is an exceptionally well-designed power tool. Powermatic has put together a benchtop jointer that is both durable and very easy to work with.

The advanced cutter heads alone on this model make it a joy to use. They ensure that each piece of finished wood looks and fits great. The powerful 1hp dual voltage motor makes sure the blades turn at high RPM’s so they work smoothly.

The cast iron tables supply a very solid work base and the extra-long 38 inch fence is a nice bonus too. Powermatic backs this up with a lengthy 5 year warranty too.

PROS

  • Advanced cutterhead design
  • Precision made cast iron tables
  • High quality fence system
  • 1 HP dual voltage motor

CONS

  • The fence system is a little tricky to setup
  • This model benchtop jointer is extremely heavy
PORTER-CABLE PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer

Via Amazon.com

Porter-Cable is a big name in power tools and this fine working jointer is a good example why. It is priced right but still includes many features that are found more often on much more expensive machines.

The best thing about this benchtop jointer is the versatility of its cutting knives. The blades can be set to rotate anywhere from 6000 – 11,000 RPM’s. This makes for a lot of different cutting variations you can do with it. The blades can also be changed out very quickly with the way this machine is designed.

Another nice feature of this unit is the adjustability that’s built into its tables and high backed fence. The fence is also center mounted so it’s very easy to work with. It is also a very durable power tool for the low price you will pay for it.

PROS

  • Cutting speeds up to 11,000 RPM’s
  • Excellent price point
  • High center mounted fence system
  • Variable speed precision cutting

CONS

  • The fence system is a little tricky to setup
  • This model benchtop jointer is extremely heavy
Shop Fox W1829 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer

Via Amazon.com

Shop Fox has put out a nicely designed benchtop jointer model with this one. It features everything from a sturdy table setup to easy cleanup thanks to its large 2 ½ inch dust port. It can easily flatten and square any board that is 6 inches wide or less.

At 1 ½ horsepower, it features one of the most powerful motors of those jointers on our review list. That makes for very efficient cutting power even on hardwood boards. This machine is fully adjustable to get you the precision cuts on your wood that you demand.

This is another model jointer that has a high backed fence. That ensures that you will get precision squared edges on all the wood you run through this machine. This model jointer will definitely make any woodworking project go smoother.

PROS

  • Powerful 1 ½ horsepower motor
  • Capable of making over 20,000 cuts per minute
  • Two knife cutting system
  • Variable speed precision cutting

CONS

  • The fence system initial setup took a little time
  • The instruction manual could use improvement

5 Great Benchtop Jointers and One Clear Winner

Without a doubt, these are all very good benchtop jointers. Any one of them would make a great addition to your home or professional woodworking shop. There is one that really stood out among them though. That is the Jet 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch 1 HP Jointer with Quick-Set Knive System.

Why did we choose this one over the rest? It’s because it checks all the boxes in what we like in a benchtop jointer. It has a powerful dual voltage motor. The table and fence on it are sturdy and adjustable. Not to mention, the cutting knives work with precision and leave a very smooth finished wood product.

We recommend that if you are in search of an excellent jointer for your woodworking shop that you take a serious look at this model. You will be hard pressed to find a better performing benchtop jointer in its price range.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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