If you are an experienced woodworker, you know how satisfying it is to get a perfect joint between two boards. If your boards become bowed or with uneven edges, your entire project may become ruined. Such surfaces are generally hard to cut, route, mill, and glue. Instead of putting your project at risk of going to the scrap bin, you should get yourself the best benchtop jointer for accuracy and efficiency.
A jointer is a power tool that mills completely square and flat edges on your boards to allow you to create perfect cuts and joinery. Most of this equipment is in the form of floor model machinery that is pretty heavy and requires a significant space in your workshop for operations. However, there are smaller portable units referred to as benchtop jointers.
A benchtop jointer is perfect for portability since contractors can quickly put it in their truck and take it from one job site to another and then back home. If you’re looking to buy the best benchtop jointer, read on to see the top choices in 2021. We have come up with the most ideal and user-friendly list of benchtop jointers.
The 7 Best Benchtop Jointers in 2021 – Our Top Picks
Craftsman Benchtop Jointer, 10-AMP (CMEW020)
It is an excellent benchtop jointer from Craftsman with a powerful 10-amp motor that can make up to 22,000 cuts every minute. It is powerful for both hardwoods and softwoods, with variable speeds ranging from 6,000 to 11,000 RPMs. This allows you to control the blade and maximize performance. If you get one with a large aluminum fence tilting up to 45 degrees, you will get plenty of support while cutting.
The Craftsman Benchtop Jointer’s knives are easy to adjust and replace due to the two-knife cutter head. The fence is center-mounted to give the necessary support during cutting to ensure accuracy during edge-jointing. This jointer is exceptionally versatile and ideal for both beginners and experienced woodworkers.
- Lightweight – weighs approximately 40 pounds
- It has a relatively small footprint
- It is budget-friendly and has a variable speed
- It may be challenging for beginners to achieve flatness.
Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer, 6-Inch
If you are looking for a powerful jointer with 1 ½ HP and a 12 amp that can manage up to 20,000 cuts per minute, the Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer is an ideal choice. It also has a dine-adjust and in-feed table knob that allows you to control the cutting depth effectively. It is capable of performing multiple functions such as edge jointing, surface planning, and bevel cuts.
Additionally, it has a flexible fence that can be adjusted to 45-degrees inwards, 90-degrees, and 45-degrees outwards (135 degrees). It also deals with the annoying wood chips through a built-in mini impeller that sucks them away and blows them out through a 2½ inch dust port. The dust chute whose size fits a standard galvanized trash can helps maintain cleanliness in your workspace.
- It comes with a free pair of safety push blocks
- It has an efficient built-in vacuum system
- It has a fine-adjust knob for accurate control of the cutting depth
- Non-flat infeed and outfeed tables
PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer, Variable Speed, 6-Inch
Are you looking for a benchtop jointer that can effectively work on both hard and soft materials? The Porter-cable Benchtop Jointer is 6 inches and can manage an RPM speed range of 6,000 to 11,000. It has a two-knife cutter head and a jackscrew knife to level arrangement and make it easy to replace and adjust knives. Moreover, the cutter head has an in-built lock that facilitates the replacements and adjustment.
This benchtop jointer is excellent for face jointing, flattening, or edging. It is also lightweight and weighs approximately 35 pounds despite being made from sheet metal. The extra-large table gives you enough workspace to stock up a piece of wood up to 6 inches wide. Another great feature in this benchtop jointer is the center-mounted fence that provides adequate support throughout the cutting process.
- It is lightweight
- It has adequate table space for most medium-sized projects
- Setting the fence back to a true 90-degree can be challenging.
POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer
Our next review is an excellent jointer from Powertec that can produce up to 1¾ HP with a cutter head speed of 10,000 RPM. It has a strategically placed power switch that is easy to reach in case of an emergency. The jointer also comes with a dust collection bag to maintain your equipment’s cleanliness and workspace.
Another thing worth noting about this jointer is that it weighs around 75 pounds, making it firmer and study during operations. When working with such a heavy jointer, you don’t need to worry about shaking interfering with your work. Most of its parts are made using cast iron, including the base, table, fence, and more.
- It has a powerful motor
- It’s made from durable materials
- It’s heavy
Delta 6″ Midi-Bench Jointer
This product by Delta Power Tools is one of the best benchtop jointers in the market. It allows you to make up to ⅛ inch depth cuts in a single pass and produce up to 20,000 cuts per minute. Its simple but durable iron construction ensures increased weight which is good for stability, especially when working with large boards.
The extra-large table provides adequate space for various projects and precision-machining, which guarantees long-term accuracy. The fence, made of cast iron, supports the entire system for accuracy during jointing.
- It is made using durable materials.
- Effective shavings ejection when connected to dust collection
- Replacement parts are hard to come by
- It is heavy
- The cast steel table is not extendable
Grizzly Industrial G0725-6″ x 28″ Benchtop Jointer
If you are looking for a portable jointer that can handle big jobs, the Grizzly Industrial is currently one of the best benchtop jointers. It has a powerful motor that produces 1½ HP with a cutter head speed of 10,000 RPM to manage 20,000 cuts every minute. The fence is flexible, allowing adjustments at 45, 90, and 135 degrees.
The size of the table is considerable when compared to most benchtop jointers. This makes it one of the best benchtop jointers portable and efficient in carrying out significant tasks. It comes with a built-in dust collection system to help keep your working space clean and a pair of safety push blocks to prevent you from getting injuries through accidents.
- It has a powder-coated finish that makes it look elegant
- It is made with durable materials
- It is heavy
WEN JT6561 10-Amp Corded Benchtop Jointer, 6-Inch
If you are in the market for a heavy-duty benchtop jointer, WEN 10-Amp 6-Inch Corded Benchtop Jointer is approximately 75-pound heavy equipment. It has a powerful 10-amp motor and a two-blade cutter head that manages up to 20,000 cuts per minute. It makes it efficient even when handling the hardest of wood.
It has a large table for large boards, making it suitable for different types of projects. It also has a spring-loaded blade guard that protects users from accidents that could be fatal. The jointer is made using a heavy-duty iron base and tabletop, minimizing wobbling and shaking during an operation. Additionally, it comes with a push stick, onboard dust port, a push block, and a filter bag for cleaning up.
- It is made using quality and durable materials
- The iron tablespace is not extendable
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Benchtop Jointer
When buying a benchtop jointer, you need to consider your budget to avoid financial self-compromisation. The key factors to consider when looking for a benchtop jointer include:
Before you even think of the jointer’s size, you need to understand the average size of the material you will be using in your projects. It will help you determine the length and width of the best benchtop jointer. The size of every jointer is determined by the length of its knives, which corresponds with the widest board you can comfortably use with the jointer.
Another guideline to note is that every benchtop jointer can handle wood twice the length of its bed. Therefore, the knife and bed length play a significant role in determining the size of the workpiece a jointer can deal with. The different sizes and their uses include:
- > 6 Inch – it is the smallest-sized jointer that is ideal for passionate home woodworkers. These jointers are generally affordable and easy to use.
- > 8 Inch – they have bigger knives and longer beds, thereby accommodating more significant pieces of wood,
- > 16 Inch – they are large industrial jointers with extremely long knives and a broad workspace.
- Cutting Depth
A benchtop jointer’s cutting depth determines the number of passes required to obtain an evenly straight board. Generally, ½-inch to ¾- inch is usually enough for benchtop jointers. You need to think about what you will be carrying out and focus on the most appropriate cutting depth.
- Bed Length and Width
The jointer’s bed size helps determine its performance and price. Those with 6 to 8 inches are adequate for most minor to medium-sized projects, while 4 to 16 inches jointers are considered investments for businesses rather than a luxury.
The aim of using a benchtop jointer is to create a flat surface on a piece of wood. Therefore, jointer tables should be totally flat with parallel knives. Additionally, more extended tables allow you to create a straighter joint. If you use small boards, you don’t necessarily need to switch to a small benchtop jointer. However, you will need something sizable for longer boards.
Jointers mainly have power ranging from 1HP to 2HP. While the small 1HP may seem less productive, they are more fit for purpose with benchtop jointers.
The different fence designs vary significantly from one benchtop jointer to another, but they aim to ensure smooth operations. The majority of fences range from the angle of 45 degrees to 135 degrees. They may or may not have two positive stops: one at 45 degrees and the other at 90 degrees.
- Dust Collection
Woodwork involves a lot of dust and debris generation. Most benchtop jointers nowadays come with an integrated dust collector you can easily hook up.
How to Use a Benchtop Jointer
If you are a beginner at woodworking, you need to familiarize yourself with the parts and functions of a benchtop jointer. They include:
- Outfeed table – it is the second table of the jointer machine that presents the result of a flattened board.
- Infeed table – the first table where the board is put on and gradually pushed through.
- Fence – it is an adjustable part that is tilted when flattening or straightening wood. It also helps level up and squares up the board’s edges.
- Guard – this part ensures safety by holding a piece of wood firmly in place to avoid the board from going off.
- Cutter heard – it is used to clear extensions around your contour of wood. This part removes unneeded materials from a piece of wood as it passes through the outfeed table.
- Enclosed floor stand – it is the immediate lower part of the machine below the table.
After familiarizing yourself with the different crucial parts, you can use a benchtop jointer in the following steps:
1. Tune or Ensure the Jointer is Tuned
It is essential to tune the jointer for maximum effectiveness and to avoid the frustration experienced from having washboard surfaces and crooked edges. You can try out different settings using a random piece of wood until you get what you want.
2. Set the Square Fence
To get the most out of your jointer, ensure the fence is in a square position. Failure to do this will cause the machine to frustrate you when using it.
3. Agree With the Board Stock Limitations
A benchtop jointer is a piece of equipment that can cause bodily harm when misused. An example is when milling smaller stock than required of a particular jointer. Therefore, users need to adhere to the boundaries set by a standard jointer. If you are not sure about the measurements, you can always confirm in the user manual.
4. Set the Depth and Upper Limit of the Cut
The most appropriate measure for the upper limit of the cut is the length of your board which should not be more than double the length of your infeed table. You should set the depth of the cut in a way that progress is seen after every pass.
5. Understand the Grain’s Properties
The direction towards which the grain runs your stock can influence the surface texture of the jointed edges. Understanding the mechanical properties of wood and grain allows the user to avoid cases of chatter or tear-out in the jointing process.
6. Flatten the Stock
Try to attain a flat surface by placing your stock against the table through edge-jointing and face-jointing. If you skip this step, the safety of your procedure and the quality of the project may be affected.
7. Determine the Level of Crook
The previous step allows you to determine the number of edges that will be jointed. If one edge, place the concave edge against the jointer bed and remain aware that the board’s crook may tip the leading edge causing a snipe.
If the crook is intense, you can mark the insides using a straight edge to eliminate the tiniest stock that may interfere with your edge. Then use the band saw to cut your edge to create something safe to run effortlessly through the machine.
8. Place the Stock
Now set your board against the fence with respect to the table’s edge. At this point, you need to ensure the wood piece is firmly and well-positioned against the fence.
9. Run Your Board Through the Machine
This is the most critical step that requires a strong and steady arm to put adequate pressure when handling the jointer. Your left hand should be on the top edge near the front. However, you should avoid putting too much or too little pressure, which would result in distortion of the board, causing a concave edge after finishing one pass. The following are the best ways to use your hands in this step:
Set your left hand for minimal movement, past the cutter head from the infeed to the outfeed table for just a few inches. Maintain the transition and pressure on the board while keeping the hand locked in position throughout the cutting period.
The right hand serves a different purpose and acts as an enhancement for firm pressure towards the fence. When applying this consistently, you should achieve a steady feed rate. If you go beyond the required feed rate, you are likely to get a rippled finish.
Benchtop Jointers Usage and Maintenance Tips
Jointers may not seem dangerous, but the slightest mistake could lead to your hospitalization or put you at home in bed for recovery. Did you know that most accidents in a workshop result from planning machines? Therefore, you need to stay safe and watch your steps with the help of the following tips:
- Avoid wearing jewelry, anything long-sleeved, or loose clothing.
- Ensure the jointer’s guard is in place and make adjustments where necessary.
- Always wear protective eye and ear clothing.
- When the board is passing over the cutters, ensure your hand remains far away from the board.
- Ensure your hands remain 6 inches from the cutter head by using the safety push blocks.
- Do not try to join any stock that is less than 12 inches long
- Before starting the jointer, check the depth of the cut.
- Ensure your cutting knives are sharp.
- Allow the cutter to attain maximum full speed before you begin your cut.
The above is a list of basic safety precautions every woodworker should adhere to despite experience levels. Apart from following the tips above, you should focus your full attention on the task at hand while cutting. Having distractions may cause you to make a mistake which eventually leads to an accident or a poorly done job.
You should also make a habit of cleaning your jointer to get rid of the debris. There’s not too much maintenance of the benchtop jointer apart from ensuring that the knives remain sharp, using your machine in the correct procedure, and ensuring it stays clean.
An effective benchtop jointer is generally light for easy portability. However, some heavier models that require strong trucks for transport are also considered portable benchtop jointers. They are much more powerful and can complete even the big jobs. Benchtop jointers are mainly used for face jointing, flattening, edge jointing, surface planning, bevel cuts, and other functions. If you are in the market for the best benchtop jointer, take your time to make sure you make the wisest choice that meets your needs and preferences