This is a general buying guide on Jointers. To read Jointer Reviews on particular models, click below. To see our buying guide and watch the video, scroll down.
Our goal is to help you find the best Wood Jointer for you.
If you already know which jointer you would like, I have found the best prices are consistently at Amazon and in almost all cases, include free shipping.
By Mark Adams Senior Editor, Wood Tools Magazine
I remember when I bought my first jointer. At the time I had gotten irritated because I couldn’t get a table top to glue together like I wanted.
I couldn’t help but think of what a fellow woodworker had told me. He said: “I don’t know how many projects I’ve made, but I sure have accumulated some really nice tools”…Relevant to anybody who has been woodworking awhile, huh?
I wasn’t in the mood to buy yet another tool. But I did and like your first TV remote, after using it, you don’t know how you got along without it.
Amazing how my tabletops were now smooth and flush. My small boxes looked professional. How many more raised panel doors I made after glue up. In reality, my jointer allowed me to make a major leap from occasional weekend woodworker to being able to make about anything I wanted with skill and precision.
When you buy a jointer, I’ll bet you‘ll have the same type of leap. Here are a few things to think about when deciding to buy the jointer that’s best for you.
How easy does the fence move? This is important because after a while you will tilt the fence to make chamfers and other angled end cuts.
How easy is it to change the blades? OK, you don’t do this very often so don’t obsess over it, but you should at least know how this is done before you buy a particular machine.
How long are the boards that you cut most often? Most people joint boards less than 36 inches 95% of the time. If you’re part of the 95% you don’t need a 96 inch long jointer. I always buy a tool that fits the 95% use vs the 5%. You can always adapt for the 5%.
For most jointers, there are extension tables available or you can make your own. Just think through this before you decide.
Motor power. Jointers take off a very little amount of wood, so most jointers don’t have rocket engines for motors. Don’t get caught up in HP, unless you’re a cabinet shop that does hardwood jointing 8 hours a day.
Can I use my router as a jointer?
Maybe you’re thinking you don’t need a jointer at all. That you can use your router table with a tall straight cutting bit and just add a shim to your sliding fence. I would agree with you if you do light jointing work or if you don’t mind changing a bit every time you want to smooth a piece of wood.
The real benefit of a standalone jointer is that all you have to do is turn it on and its ready to go. No muss, no fuss. I find the less mussing and fussing I have to do, the more likely I will actually use a tool and my woodworking ultimately turns out better.
Why do I need a jointer and a planer?
Excellent question. The jointer vs planer is an important one. On the jointer you can straighten the edges. If the jointer is wide enough you can smooth one face to a fairly smooth surface. But its very difficult to keep enough downward pressure on the board so it will cut totally flat. What happens is that you just follow the cup of the board while you’re cutting.
But once you get a board relative flat on one side you can then feed it through a planer to smooth the top face. It will cut flat because the bottom face that was cut on a jointer is fairly smooth. The fixed pressure from above is what gives you a flat smooth cut. I always turn the board upside down and plane again to insure a perfectly flat board.
The ideal way is to use both a jointer and a planer, but unless you’re obsessive you can probably get by only using a jointer in many cases.
Here’s a nice video on jointers
I hope these quick jointer reviews will help you choose the jointer that’s best for you. Good luck and go out in your shop and make something!
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