5 Best Wood Jointers of 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide
If you are serious about woodworking and want to save time by making cheap uneven wood straight, the jointer is an indispensable tool in your workshop.
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If you have been looking for a good quality jointer lately, then you’re in luck! Our jointer reviews will steer you in the right direction and help you find the best wood jointer for your need!
1. Jet - JJ-8HH Helical Head Jointer
8 x 1/2 in
2. Powermatic 1610086K 60HH Jointer
8 x 1/2 in
3. Powermatic 1791317K 54HH Jointer
6 x 1/2 in
4. JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX Jointer
6-1/16 x 1/2 in
5. Porter-Cable PC160JT Bench Jointer
~ 1 HP
6-1/8 x 1/8 in
Why You Need a Jointer Instead of a Planer?
Basically, a jointer is used to make one plane of wood flat. It is ideally used to straighten a specific face of a plank. A planer, on the other hand, is used to straighten/flatten the whole plank with an equal thickness on both sides.
If you are mostly looking for a tool that will only straighten one side, and need a perfectly straight wood face on only one plane, then the jointer is ideal for the job. This is a great tool if you are buying rough-sawn lumber on the cheap and straightening only one edge of it.
5 Best Wood Jointers - Reviews
#1. Jet - JJ-8HH 8-inch Helical Head Jointer
Editor's Rating: (4.8 / 5)
The JET JJ-8HH is one of our favorite wood jointers. Why? That is because it gets many things right and does things right. It has a large bench-top that will accommodate all your material and come equipped with helical insert cutter head that will trim wood confidently and accurately. All of this is driven by a heavy-duty motor that sends a smooth and constant torque to the knives.
It is good to note that the whole cutterhead design in this model was revamped over past models and the JET JJ-8HH is today an undisputed beast at trimming wood. The included 4 inches dust port fits an industry standard dust collection system and the system is very stable in operation, with no vibrations. At 521 lbs, it is kind of expected.
- Great price to performance ratio
- Heavy-duty wood trimming with robust motor
- Little to no vibration
- Efficient cabinet design
- Excellent cut depth
- Great ergonomics and dust collection system
- The drive belt is somewhat difficult to install
- Not the most straightforward and intuitive jointer
- Helical head no suited for rabbeting
Who should buy?
If you are not a beginner and know the ins and outs of jointer, you will will feel at home with this model. One of the best jointer in its category if you know what you are doing. Beginners need to steer clear, however. It has a small learning curve.
#2. Powermatic 1610086K 60HH 8-Inch Jointer
Editor's Rating: (4.3 / 5)
If you are looking for a reliable and dependable heavy-duty monster, then it is hard to beat the Powermatic 1610086K. It is driven by very powerful 2 HP motors and retrofits four-sided helical cutter heads. Those superior knives guarantee a very smooth operation regardless of material density and does so very efficiently.
The arms are extra-long at 73 inches, guaranteeing to fit long pieces of lumber. The infeed can easily be adjusted and the handy fence has inserts to prevent scratching the table while adjusting.
We like how Powermatic offers the option of either using 4-side helical cutterheads or a 3-side knives, depending on the result you want. The push blocks are even metallic and can easily be stored by sticking to any metal surface.
- Durable cast-iron build
- Powerful 2 HP heavy-duty motor
- Choice of 3-sided or 4-sided helical knives
- Front accessible control levers and buttons
- Magnetic push block
- Easy infeed adjustment
- Fence adjustment hand wheel (anti-scratch fence)
- Industry standard dust port
- The price can be too steep for some
- 240V only
Who should buy?
If you need to edge-straighten a lot of lumber fast and efficiently, this model definitely fits the bill. It is one of the best jointer for a consistent and smooth user-experience and therefore, will guarantee satisfaction if used for long hours.
#3. Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch Jointer
Editor's Rating: (4.5 / 5)
The Powermatic 1791317K is very similar to its older brother reviewed above with small trimmed-down features. It has a less powerful motor and shorter arms, but yet it still delivers the same consistent and smooth experience to the user. We like the build quality in this model and tip our hat to Powermatic for the effort they went through in making this model. It is user-friendly and more affordable as well.
The front on/off switch is a simple and yet sweet addition. You will be amazed how many manufacturers place this in awkward positions. It is a potential health hazard anywhere except placed at the front. This wood jointer has a good weight and the design form factor absorbs shock for a smoother and linear experience.
The knives are minutely calibrated to cut material at a 14-degree angle. This delivers more accurate cuts and requires less passes.
- Solid cast-iron construction
- Magnetic push block
- Machined carbide inserts and helical cutterhead
- 66 inches wide arm & 38 inches easy to use fence system
- More affordable that the model above
- Trimmed down motor of only 1HP (still plenty powerful)
Who should buy this?
If you still require decent heavy-duty wood straightening but is restricted by the steep price of its older brother the Powermatic 1610086K, this model is one of the best jointer for the money.
#4. JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch Jointer
Editor's Rating: (4.4 / 5)
The JET JJ-6CSDX is an affordable wood jointer that comes with rabbeting functions. It is equipped with 33-1/8 inches fence and best, it even has 45 and 90-degree fence stops. The 1 HP motor delivers great overall performance and the cast-iron build quality is exceptionally good the price.
What demarks this model apart is its ability to change the knife speed - it provides 3 settings. The dust port along with the easy to use infeed and fence adjustment levers make it a clean and fun experience to use. We like how one of the forte of this joiner is rabbeting. This is a department where many wood jointers fail - and this one excels in.
- Excel at both trimming and rabbeting
- Great design and solid build quality
- Stable and easy to perform adjustments on infeed and fence. The levers are situated in intuitive and easy to reach positions.
- Decent performance thanks to its 1HP motor
- Knives can easily be changed
- Affordable price
- Not suitable for extended usage due to smaller motors (still delivers a crisp trimming on 99% of materials)
- Short arms not for long material
Who should buy?
Beginners will love this jointer. Most wood jointer reviews classify this unit as a beginner-friendly jointer and rightly so. It has an intuitive layout and using this unit, even by newbies is a cinch. It even does rabbeting like a real pro. If you currently own a jointer with poor rabbeting performance, this model is one of the best bench top jointer for the job!
This model is an affordable entry-level 6-inch jointer that has a decent number of features and functions without breaking the bank. The 2-knives with leveling system as well as the variable speed control of 6000-1000 RPM will guarantee control over your trimming.
The knives can be easily changed and the whole unit is very user-friendly - albeit user-friendly. It even delivers decent straightening thanks to its center adjustable fence. Obviously, this 6-inch bench top jointer cannot compete with much pricier models we covered in this jointer reviews, but it does the job adequately well, especially for the low price point.
- Easy knives replacement
- Variable speed control
- Lightweight and easy to relocate
- Straightforward and intuitive design
- Very beginner friendly
- Super flat bench top
- Levers are placed in an easy to reach position
- Weak motor not ideal for heavy-duty jobs
- Aluminum bench top instead of cast-iron
- Not the best build construction
Who should buy?
We feel that this model is ideally suited for beginners rather than professionals. It performs well but not enough for heavy-duty jointer work. If you are a DIY enthusiast or woodworker who needs only a small number of wood straightening, this model is one of the best 6-inch jointer out there.
Types of Jointers
Source: Todd Fratzel
There are several types of jointers on the market. Understanding them will help you find a good model that fits your need. Here is a brief overview of each type of jointers:
- Closed Jointer: The base of this jointer is completely closed and it helps protect the jointer cutterhead and motor from dust. The closed section protects you from injury. It is the safest type of jointer. The benefit of this type of jointer is that the solid and heavy base retrofit as a shock absorption unit. It can also shave wood from 6 inches anywhere to 16 inches.
- Open Stand Jointer: The motor is exposed to the outside and provides almost no safety measures or shock absorption. They also tend to be noisier than their closed type counterpart.
- Tabletop Jointer: This jointer is usually secured on a table and does not come with an outfeed.
- Benchtop Jointer: The benchtop jointer look similar to a tabletop jointer but it is much smaller and come in a closed form (closed jointer). It is also better suited for shaving material that is not more than 6 inches in width.
- Longed Jointer: The arms are exceptionally long and is used to deliver very fine trimming. Only the infeed is adjustable in this type of joiner.
- Hand Jointer: The most versatile jointer out there as you can start trimming wood anywhere along the length; while a typical wood jointer only allows shaving from one end.
What to Look for When Buying a Jointer
There are some aspects and features to consider than buying a wood jointer. Many times you will be tempted to go with one with the most features, or the pricier one thinking that it will be better. This cannot be further from the truth. Here are some specifics to keep an eye out when buying a wood jointer.
- Power: You cannot straighten anything without power. Therefore it is at the heart of the jointer. Choose one that is at least 1 HP for a smooth performance. The more powerful, the faster it will shave material. However, it also becomes more expensive. You will have to choose one that is a median to your need and usage.
- Type: Choose the type of jointer based on the layout of your workshop and the space you have available. If you are working in a small and closed space, 72 inches jointer will make little sense. A small benchtop jointer will be a better choice.
- Quality: The build quality of the jointer will give you a sparse but reliable indication of the reliability of the unit, Generally, a well-built model will last you longer and also perform better with more user-friendliness.
- Bed size: The bed size is simply how wide the jointer can shave at one time. A 6-inch benchtop jointer is adequate for most jobs. It is the maximum width of material it can shave and is usually a homeowner and carpenter favorite. It is also cheaper than jointers that can do more than 6 inches. For example, an 8 inches bed size jointer can cost almost twice as much as a 6 inches, with all features being equal. If you do not work with material more than 6 inches in width, a 6-inch benchtop jointer will suffice.
- Knife adjustments: Look how easy it is to adjust the knives. Entry-level jointers have 2-knives while premium ones can come with 4.
- Cutting depth: The cutting depth dictates the number of passes required for a polished result. The more the cut depth of your jointer, the less passes you will need. Cut depth is intricately linked to productivity and efficiency.
- Dust collection: This is important to keep your workshop clean. It also prevents dust particles from entering the motor and cutterhead of the jointer, helping prolong its lifespan.
- Portability: If you plan to move along with your jointer, 40 lbs one makes more sense than a 600lbs one.
In this review, we have seen that there are many types and models of jointers at different price points and of different sizes and performance. However, the best wood jointer is one that accomplishes everything based on your particular need and not exclusively based on price or features alone.
If you need heavy-duty jointer work and plan to work with large-width materials all day long, then models like the Powermatic 1610086K and 1791317K will gladly fit the bill as they are true powerhouses.
For more casual and modest workload, all other models in this wood jointer reviews should perform excellently.
Read More: Jointer vs. Planer: Which Is Better For You?
Last Updated on November 22, 2020 by Tom Bradly