Benchtop Vs. Cabinet Jointer: Which One I Would Buy At First?

Are you looking to buy a new jointer or upgrade from your old one? If your options are a benchtop jointer or a cabinet jointer, then you have come to the right place. We’re going to look at a benchtop vs. cabinet jointer comparison to help you make a decision that suits your needs. This article defines the two giving some of their features, benefits, differences, and ideal examples in the market today.

Benchtop Vs. Cabinet Jointer: Benefits of a Cabinet Jointer Over Benchtop Jointers

  • Power – Standing jointers are generally more powerful than benchtop jointers. They can work on more significant wood pieces despite the extra cost.
  • Accuracy – Due to their weight, cabinet jointers are stable and operate with minimal vibrations. It is ideal for an upgrade in a workshop that currently uses a benchtop jointer.
  • Minimal Noise – The heavy weight also makes the jointer stable and firm while operating.
  • Capacity – A standing jointer can work on significant pieces of food than a benchtop jointer. It is more powerful and can cut through wood more easily.
  • Long-Term Reliability – Standing jointers are made using cast iron material which is durable and guarantees the tool’s long life.

Benchtop vs. Cabinet Jointer: Which One Should I Buy?

If you are stuck at which of the two to buy, it is essential to note that replacing a benchtop jointer with a cabinet jointer is likely to be an upgrade. Cabinet or standing jointers are generally more robust, accurate, quieter, heavier, produce more torque, and handle more capacity. Therefore, they are ideal for experienced woodworkers looking to up their jointing game or working on more significant tasks.

However, if you are beginning your woodworking aspiration or career, you can go for a benchtop jointer. It is more compact and less powerful, and easy to handle even by newbies. It helps you gain the skills required to operate more powerful jointers such as cabinet jointers. The only downfall of benchtop jointers is that they are a bit noisier and can handle less workload than a cabinet jointer.

What is a Benchtop Jointer?

It’s a woodworking device used to flatten the surfaces on wood pieces. It works by flattening one surface and squaring up the edges, which improves the overall quality of a piece of wood. A benchtop is also ideal for removing twists that frequently form on a piece due to the natural knots in the lumber.

After flattening one side of a piece of wood, you can use a planer to complete the process on the other side. But did you know that you can use a jointer on both sides? However, such complex tasks are not recommended for beginners.

A benchtop jointer consists of several knife blades to cut into the wood and bevel edges to easily fit. It leaves a smooth, fine finish on the wood and makes it look brand new.  It’s ideally placed on a stand or workbench to ensure stability.

How to Choose a Benchtop Jointer

Any woodworker’s choice of a benchtop jointer mainly relies on how and what you plan to use your jointer for. If you intend to use hardwood pieces, you will need a heavy tool with a strong blade. If you are a beginner at woodworking, investing a lot of money in an extremely powerful benchtop jointer is not recommended. Therefore, I recommend checking my list of the best budget jointers.

New woodworkers need to use relatively less powerful tools before advancing to more powerful tools. Therefore, a simple benchtop jointer is an ideal solution for an aspiring woodworker. When buying a benchtop jointer, simply ask yourself; what will my finished projects be used for?

Most Popular Benchtop Jointer Options

CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Jointer

It is an affordable benchtop jointer with a 10 amp motor producing speeds of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM. The cutterhead can manage to make 12,000 to 22,000 cuts every minute. These two features alone make it suitable for use by both new and experienced woodworkers.

The Craftsman Benchtop Jointer has a two knife cutter head with an in-built cutter headlock that guarantees a perfect cut every time. It is also adjustable, allowing you to swap the knives effortlessly. The following are the pros of a Craftsman Benchtop Jointer:

  • It is easy to set up and use
  • It has a center-mounted fence
  • The motor runs pretty quietly when producing power

Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer

This jointer uses a 12 amp single-phase motor that produces 1 ½ HP, ideal for significant tasks. It can make 20,000 cuts per minute with a cutting speed of 10,000 RPM.

The cutterhead has a two-knife design that makes a precise and clean cut every time. The infeed table has a fine-adjust knob that gives you control over the cutting depth and adjustments required for your project.

  • The fence and tables are made using cast iron
  • The motor can deal with board up to six inches thick

Rikon Benchtop Jointer With a 6-Row Helical Style Cutter

It is one of the best benchtop jointers with a helical-style cutter head recognized for its effectiveness. The cutter head has sixteen two-sided carbide inserts that are relatively easy to sharpen and replace. The fence can tilt at 90 and 135 degrees to suit your kinds of projects.

Additionally, it features a readable depth scale for comfort and eliminates guesswork out of any project you are working on. This benchtop jointer weighs approximately 49 lbs making it easily portable. However, it is mounted on a stationary stand during operations.

  • It has a safety on and off switch
  • It is constructed using metal
  • Its dust port is usable without any attachment to clean up wood shavings

What is a Cabinet Jointer?

A cabinet jointer is also referred to as a standing jointer or a cast iron floor jointer. It works the same way as a benchtop jointer but offers more power, accuracy, mass for stability, long-term reliability, and other advantages. The current standing jointers in the market are available in two types including:

Closed Stand Jointers

They are the most common standing jointers with an enclosed base to host the motor and prevent it from dust. You can choose a closed-stand jointer of size 6, 8, 12, or 16 inches. The enclosure, mainly made from cast iron, increases the overall weight making it more stable and safe.

Features of Closed Stand Jointers

  • They have a robust metal frame and housing that reduces vibrations and ensures longevity.
  • They come with an adjustment lever to position the infeed table faster.
  • Controls for fine-tuning of the cut depth are easily accessible.
  • Blades are easy to change for a faster working time and easier maintenance.
  • The cutter heads, especially helical cutter heads, are efficient in providing a superior finish. They are also easy to replace as you simply need to swap out the inserts and replace them with new ones.

Open Stand Jointers

It is among the cheapest type of cabinet jointers since it is lightweight. This makes it easy to transport between workshops. However, it is likely to produce more noise than closed-stand jointers since the motor is uncovered.

Features of Open Stand Jointers

  • They are lightweight, allowing more portability
  • They come with indexing pins used for quick alignment against the workpiece edges for accuracy
  • A stable stand to raise the tool the operator’s convenient height
  • Dust collection properties to ensure longevity and the culture’s month

Most Popular Cabinet Jointer Options

Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2 HP 1-Phase

This cabinet jointer has a 73-inch long work surface and a blade 8 inches wide. It is a heavy-duty machine mainly meant for commercial and maybe some domestic uses. It features a massive 2 HP motor and an excellent four-sided helical-shaped cutter that deals with broad cuts.

The Powermatic has significant adjustment levels for the infeed table that makes control extremely easy. It also has an easily operable handwheel that tilts the fence. Moreover, it also has a knob for fine-tuning the blade depth. This 500-pound tool occupies a significant amount of space in your workshop.

  • It has an extremely powerful motor
  • It has a lengthy work surface
  • Occupies a large area

JET – JJ-6HHDX 6-Inch Long Bed Helical Head Jointer

The JET – JJ-6HHDX 6-Inch Long Bed Helical Head Jointer is one of the toughest 5-inch cabinet jointers you can buy today. It comes with a four-blade helical cutter head that eliminates wood evenly while preserving an extra smooth finish.

This tool offers its users a work surface 56 inches long made of cast iron, allowing you to work on long pieces of lumber quickly. It also has a dust port four inches wide to help collect dust and keep your working environment safe and clean.

You use the sizeable front-mounted adjustment wheels when you want to raise or lower the feed table or the cutter head. The buttons are strategically placed above the workbench to allow quick starts and stops. Additionally, you can tilt the fence up to 45 degrees in either direction.

  • It comes with a high-quality helical cutter
  • It requires a reasonable space

RIDGID 6 Amp Corded 6-1/8 in. Jointer/Planer

This cabinet jointer is a solution for people who don’t have that much space in their workshop. The RIDGID 6 Amp Corded 6-1/8 in. Jointer/Planer is also budget-friendly and serves two purposes: a jointer and a planner.

It features a 1 HP motor and blade held up by a durable steel cabinet sitting on a sturdy cast iron open base. It supports the jointer and ensures it is firm as you go about your operations. This jointer also includes an excellent 6-inch blade for both planning and jointing tasks.

The open base has a storage area where you can store blade alignment tools and other accessories. The tabletop, which is 45 inches long, is ideal for small to medium-sized projects. It also has a dual bevel fence with stops at 45, 90, and 135 degrees.

  • It is both a jointer and a planner
  • It has an open base that acts as a storage space
  • The open base causes the motor to provide and produce noise
James Thomas

James Thomas

Tool Enthusiast

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