Best Jointers: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide In 2020

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If you want to make your wood straight and smooth, a planner is one of the tools you will have to consider. On the other hand, there are wood works that require nothing short of perfection. 

That is why you need the best jointers to strip the wood’s roughness to a set depth all across the top. If the wood does not sit straight on the table, jointer will fix that too.

There are numerous models out there, but a jointer will have a fence to guide the wood as it goes through the cutter head with many knives. 

Are you a carpenter looking for a jointer to help you keep your wood straight and smooth? Stick with us through the guide to see some of the selections you can consider for your wood (whether hard or soft) and what else you need to know about jointers.


Top 10 Jointers Review in 2020

1. Powermatic 1791317K 54HH Jointer

Key Features:

  • Small with a sturdy base
  • Angled cutting blades
  • Cast iron table and fence
  • 5-year warranty

We start with something expensive,but the spending starts paying off when the machine gets to your work station. Powermatic is a brand that has never failed woodworkers and here is a compact design that does not seem to have much luggage on it.

As you use it, the supporting base is made of 24 x 14 ½ inch steel base. The steel is also responsible for housing the inner components. It utilizes the one horsepower, 115/230 volts motor that is one-phased but that does not mean less power. 

It will work on the oak woods with twists all over and deliver something spectacular. For precise cuts on your wood, the infeed cast iron table can be adjusted up and down for coarse adjustments and rotation for fine adjustments using the hand wheel and the long handle respectively.

What makes it work on your wood to your desired level is the helical cutterhead. The blades on it are broken into segments and bent at a 14-degree angle. Having that arranged in a spiral shape, you get a continuous smooth finishing every time a piece of wood passes through.

Other admirable accessories include a 66-inch long table and 38-inch fence that can be angled at 45 and 90 degrees on both sides of the unit. They are both made of cast iron, which is durable. 

The only thing you have to take about using this equipment is the fast-filling dust port,and many chips are thrown on the floor. For us here, we would prefer that than a jointer that does not perform.

2. JET 708457DXK Jointer

Key Features:

  • Fan-cooled motor
  • Easily changeable knives
  • All-steel enclosure
  • Hand wheels and limiter combination

The table on the JET jointer is not big,but it will work on long pieces of wood. Safety of use starts with all steel enclosure from the base, all the way up. 

That secures the workload on the table placed at 31 ¼ inches above the floor. Starting it makes use of the mechanical push-buttons that are within reach.

To keep it going for long hours, the motor has an accompanying fan that keeps it cool as it rotates at 6000 RPM. It’s a 1 HP one-phase motor that is powered via 115/230-volt cable. 

The base also holds a rear door that enables you to access the motor. The table is not that long but how the sturdiness is what the woodworkers are after. Both infeed and outfeed table are made of cast iron. 

Being all flat implies easy wood sliding which guides them to be flat and smooth as needed.

The hand wheels guide the three changeable blades to cut as per the table measurements with a limiting depth of 1/8 inches. That means the knives cannot go beyond the height to prevent deeper cutting. 

Speaking of changeable blades, they are only three on this jointer,and that makes changing quicker.

The only thing you might not like about this machine is the too much vibration it has while working. Otherwise, it will perform as expected.

3. PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Jointer

Key Features:

  • Variable RPM speed
  • Changeable knives on inbuilt cutterhead
  • Cheaper than most models

Do you have different types of woods that need different cutting speeds when you slide them in the jointer? The Porter Cable PC160JT jointer is a secure tool whose speed adjustments range between 6000 to 11000 RPM. That means the cutterhead speed varies from 12000 to 22000 cuts per minute.

The speed calculation comes from the two knife blades on the cutterhead that are properly screwed for better placement and easy removal. You can only remove the edges here since the cutterhead is built-in. 

The table accepts any wood that is not more than 6-inches wide which gives you more space to work on your wood pieces to precision. The fence is mounted on the side but centered along the table length. It guides the wood to move straight as usual.

Something that might make the jointer look cheap is the plastic covering on the swing blade guard. It is vulnerable to breakage as some customers have testified,but that does not affect how it performs. 

Another thing, you need to connect to a vacuum if you want to have a smooth working time. The vacuum perfects the art of dust collection. You have to get a hose with a 2 ½-inch diameter though for proper fitting.

4. Cutech 40160H-CT Jointer

Key Features:

  • Spiral cutterhead with inserts
  • Tilt-enabled fence
  • Cast aluminum table and fence
  • 120-volt motor

It is another of the cheaper models that will still work on your wood. If you are starting with no money for the Powermatic at the top, the Cutech 40160H-CT jointer will help you get there. 

It is lighter than most models which makes some of the users to screw it on the floor securely. Otherwise, the vibrations will be too much.

Being light does not affect how the table and fence should work – keeping the wood straight as it goes through the cutter. They are both made of cast aluminum which might have questionable durability against bending until you try it out. 

You can tilt the fence at 90 and 135 degrees depending on the wood requirements. The table accepts anything that is 6 inches or less. It is one of the smaller ones, standing at 30 inches long, which is good for those who have limited space at the workshop.

The cutterhead on this machine is what will make you buy it. It is a spiral type with 12, 2-sided inserts that tear out the woods’ roughness into a smooth finishing, ready for the next step. 

What is adjustable before the cutterhead works on the wood are the infeed and outfeed tables, and the cutterhead’s spring tension too. 

While you are allowed to make your precision measurements for smoothening and straightening, it will not let you cut below 1/8 inches.

One thing you will have to take care of is the small dust port that needs a ‘shopvac.’ Otherwise, the machine will be bogging now and then.

5. Powermatic 1610086K Jointer

Key Features:

  • Four-sided cutterhead inserts
  • Long table
  • High-mount switch
  • Non-mar fence insert

Powermatic is known for quality jointers and here is the 1610086K that costs an arm and leg but for the good of your woodwork. It is small but sturdy from the base, upwards.

Since it is an 8-inch jointer, the 73-inch long table will support the big and long wood pieces. Both infeed and outfeed tables are dovetail mounted for more wood support. 

What makes it a worth tool is the helical cutterhead that houses four-sided inserts. That saves you the cost of adjusting and replacing the blades. 

Whenever you get one of the edges dull, rotating the blades at 90 degrees gets you the other sharp edge.

The helical head has 2HP 1-Phase specification that needs 230 volts. You, therefore, need to make proper adjustments if your powering does not meet this requirement. 

Another thing about this model is that it does not come with a power supply,but you can purchase that separately.

More to the features involve the adjustment lever that helps you in positioning the infeed table and fine-tuning for precise depth-cutting. You can also tilt the fence smoothly using the handwheel worm gear. 

As you adjust, the non-mar insertprevents it from scratching the table. To secure the wood tool in place, the magnetic push blocks allow you to make it sturdy on the floor especially if you are placing it on a mounted metal surface.

6. Delta Power 37-071 MIDI-Bench Jointer

Key Features:

  • Nice white finishing
  • Tilt-enabled fence
  • 1.5 HP motor
  • Benchtop design

You have probably used one of the Delta tools in your workshop. The quality of production extends to jointers and here is an affordable Delta Power 37-071 MIDI-Bench model for proof.

It comes in a white finish with a pre-finished shelf. The motor in use is a 12A 1.5HP 1-phase,and it needs 120 volts for it to work. 

The blades on the cutter head are small but sharp to cut the smallest pieces on the wood as it smoothens it. At the top, you have a 6-inch table that allows adjustment of up to 1/8-inch cut.

The side supporting mechanism is aided by the fence that can be tilted with stops at 45 and 90 degrees. For those of us with trouble locking the fence in place after angling it, the handle meant for that is spring loaded. 

Therefore, you have to pull it outwards before the rotation. After rotating, you can release it to lock,and that’s it.

To give you smooth woods with no blemishes or dents, the cutterhead rotates at 10000 RPM. Since there are two knives, the cuts per minute increase to 20,000. 

What might trouble you with this machine is if you need to be a bit portable. It does not come with the necessary carrying mechanism,so you have to improvise by purchasing a stand that enables you to move it.

7. Baileigh IJ-883P Bed Parallelogram Jointer

Key Features:

  • Parallelogram table lifting
  • Uses various cutterhead options
  • 3 HP motor
  • Wheeled base

The IJ-883P Bed Parallelogram Jointer model from Baileigh is quite expensive,but just like the high ranking jointers, it comes with extra capability. First, it has one of the longest tables we have reviewed, standing at 83 inches. 

That is long enough for a piece of wood you have at the workshop. With an 8-inch width, most of your wood pieces will have something to pass through. Most of what we have above comes with a 1 HP motor. 

This one has a motor that has thrice the amount of horsepower which requires 220V to keep the four-row helical cutterhead in constant rotation. The 3HP specification is what makes it suitable even for the hardest woods.

The helical type is however optional,so if your machine doesn’t have it, you can order it directly from the company. If you want to use what it comes, with, well and good. 

The cutterhead, however, attains a rotation speed of 5000 RPM which is quite low when compared to some of the rates we have already come across.

Back to the top, the table has a parallelogram design that enables you to rotate it via the edges around the cutterhead. That does not adjust the gap distance after adjusting via the wheel. 

The wheel, on the other hand, allows a cutting depth of up to 1/8 inches. The fence is another part that enables you to work precisely on this jointer. It’s tilt-enabled with stops at 45 and 90 degrees. 

The manufacturer also includes a no-mar insert that prevents the fence from scratching the table during adjustments.

Other features to enjoy include the 4-inch dust port which is quite wide. Carrying it is made possible by the linear wheels at the base. You will enjoy a one year warranty after buying,but the price is something to think twice about before buying.

8. JET - JJ-6HHDX Jointer

Key Features:

  • Helical cutterhead
  • Convenient push-button controls
  • Front mounted table wheels
  • Rabetting ledge included

When compared to the previous model, it is cheaper but still one of the expensive ones. The JET-JJ-6HHDX model has a moderately sized 6-inch table that supports the wood being worked on by a 1HP motorized helical cutterhead that has 4-sided carbide inserts. 

When testing, it appeared quieter than most models,and the finishing was more than perfect. The infeed and outfeed tables are made of cast iron which is not vulnerable to what you subject it to. 

The good thing about the carbide inserts is that when one edge gets blunt, you only have to rotate the blades at a 90-degree angle and that’s it. 

You have sharp edges that resemble the new ones. One safety measure that we can appreciate from this tool is the industrial buttons that can be mounted on a convenient wall position for instant and easy reach when you need to start and stop the machine.

It also comes with a wide dust port, 4 inches which make it convenient to connect to your vacuum system. The fence, just like the models we have already reviewed can be tilted with stops at 45 and 90 degrees. 

The fence and table controls are placed at reachable points whenever you need to use them. For the fence, the wheeling is done just behind it while the table uses the front wheels for movement. 

Do you need to perform some rabbet work? There is a rabbeting ledge that will allow you to do so via the front tables' protrusion. Those who have already used it, however, say that it will limit you when working on woods wider than the cutterhead.

9. Baileigh IJ-1288P Bed Parallelogram Jointer

Key Features:

  • 5HP motor
  • Long table
  • Parallelogram shifting capability
  • Replaceable cutterhead

The IJ-1288P model from Baileigh is another one that will dig deeper into your pockets but if that is what you need for your woodwork, why not? The table is one of the longest. It gives you a length of 88 inches and 12 inches on width. Every wood piece will pass here. 

Next, the motor gives you 5HP! That is far much more than what other 220-volt jointers are delivering. That covers for the 5000 rotations per minute which are quite low.

Another feature that this model inherits from the factory is the parallelogram table shift that allows you to tilt the table in parallel to the cutterhead without shifting the height. 

The cutter that comes with it is a 4-blade type that you can replace with the 4-row helical model if you want smoother finishes on your wood. 

That is one of the extra costs that you have to incur with this model. We hope that future units incorporate a better head that relates to the jointer’s price.

At times, you may need to adjust the table leveling. This one comes with easy cam and gib adjustments via the wheels placed at the front. 

The fence has its lever adjustments too that allow it to tilt with stops at 90 and 45 degrees. Overall, the only thing that will deter you from getting it is the more than $6000 price tag. It’s for the determined woodworkers only.

10. RIKON Power Tools 20-600H Benchtop Jointer

Key Features:

  • 6-row helical cutterhead
  • Benchtop design
  • Aluminum construction

Last but not least is a bench top styled jointer from RIKON Power. It is an affordable type that is all metal with aluminum tables at the top. 

You get a 6-inch table with an adjustable fence that tilts on both sides with stops at 45 and 90 degrees. The adjustments are made via the hand wheel and knob that are easy to reach.

The cutterhead is the essential component here. By buying this option, you get a helical or spiral cutter that has 12, two-sided inserts. That is what will work on your rough wood and get it done as desired. 

The knives are changeable too when you require new ones. Another appealing feature is the safety switch position that is at your leg’s position. 

While some may consider pushing it by accident while working, it is visible to you the moment you look at the front body.

The dust port is however small, measuring at just 2 ½ inches. That calls for a vacuum collection to avoid too much wood dust clogging. It also comes with two push blocks that will facilitate pushing your wood pieces with ease and safely.

Some of the issues you might get with this jointer are the fence adjustment. It would be best if you had proper instructions to lock it in place after tilting to facilitate holding in place after releasing the tension. Some usershave complained of it not holding after securing and instead leaning further.

Jointers Safety Measures

After going through some of the best jointers to check in the market, here are some safety measures to consider before and while using the machine.

Before starting the machine

  • Unless you know what you are doing, always wait for the instructor or follow the guidelines given.
  • Make sure you have your safety goggles on you.
  • Do not adjust anything if you don’t know how to do it. That goes to the outfeed table.
  • Most machines are specified to cut at a maximum depth of 1/8 inches. However, make sure that the infeed table is set at half the required depth – 1/16 inches.
  • Always check to make sure there are no pieces lodging the cutterhead or on the table.
  • Never touch the cutterhead area. The cutterhead guard should always be on. 
  • After tilting the fence, make sure it’s locked in place before starting the jointer.
  • The wood pieces you are working on should be at least 12 inches long and two inches wide.

Using the jointer

  • Make sure the dust collector is on before starting the machine. The restriction plate should not be on the port.
  • Make sure there are no wood pieces on the cutterhead position when starting.
  • Always allow the jointer to reach maximum speed before joining in with the wood pieces.
  • Everyone around the jointer should stand on the left side of the wood and not behind.

Features To Consider When Buying a Jointer

Safety measures are essential when handling a jointer. After going through them, here are some of the buying considerations to make before landing on your final choice.

Which design are you looking for?

The jointers schematics involve three designs: the open stand, closed stand and the bench top design. While any will do work as required, our research leads us to closed stand types being the best for your woodwork needs. While in use, they keep dust away from the motor which is good for the longevity of the tool.

Width and cutting depth

Any table width having a 6-inch specification or more will suit you better. What you need to note however is that the 8-inch types are costlier than the standard six inches. Most of the machines we have just reviewed allow a maximum cutting depth of 1/8 inches.

Woodworkers on the other hand like using half the length which is enough to scrap of the roughness off your woods. The setting you choose depends on how many times each piece is passing through the jointer.

A tilt-enabled fence with stops

If some of your pieces require a tilted fence, then consider a jointer with stops at certain angles. If there are no stops, the fence will not stick in position when the wood is running through the cutter. That can even be hazardous as mentioned on the safety measures.

The horsepower

You only need 1HP for the motor to perform as expected. It’s enough for all types of woods. However, for more power on woods suspected to be harder and drier, more horsepower may be necessary.

Dust collection mechanism

They all come with dust port specifications. If your jointer does not come with the necessary dust collection protocol, then you need to get a hose that can fit in the port before connecting to the vacuum. A larger port helps in clearing the dust and debris out. It also makes your site cleaner and free from accidents.

Warranty information

That is where reliable manufacturers come in. It would help if you got a tool that has designed you can reach in case of a problem or clarification. As for the warranty, you should never get a machine that does not have one,and it should be more than one year. 

The length of guaranteed protection time, however, varies with the jointer’s price. Expensive ones have a more extended warranty.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a jointer and a planner?

The difference is in how they are made and how they work. As for the jointer, it comes with two tables, the infeed, and outfeed tables. The infeedlowers into a position that signifies the cutting depth. 

After passing through the cutterhead, the outfeed receives the wood in the desired form and shape. A jointer also has a fence that guides the wood as you feed it to the cutterhead. Most fences are adjustable.

The planner is more complicated than the jointer, but it is simpler to use. The bed is a planer table, and that is where you place the board. What the infeed roller does is to grab the board and pull it through via the cutterhead. 

The outfeed roller pulls out the wood. What depicts the wood’s thickness is the distance between the cutterhead and the bed. Depending on the thickness you need, the planner needs you to pass the wood a few times.

Why should I consider helical cutterheads?

They are also called the spiral cutters, and they have been the next big thing for woodworkers using jointers allover — the reason why you should consider the latest cutter mechanism for fine tuning your wood to smoother results. 

The earlier cutterheads had two or four knives that were straight when connected to the rotating cylinder. They were removing wood pieces from the surfaces as expected,but the results were a wood surface with some waveforms. 

To prevent the scooping action of the knives and leaving marks on the wood, the engineers had to consider a rotating cylinder with more blades and higher RPM.

The helical design comes in with more knives that are shorter than the previous model. They are also arranged in a spiral shape. That means as the cutterhead rotates, the knives scoop a lesser amount of wood which results in a smoother board. The models with helical blades, however, come with a bigger price tag.

Conclusion

Jointers make the smoothening wood pieces easier not to mention keeping them straight for what you are constructing. The best jointers should always give you more power, smoother finishes and the easy ways to operate. 

That is what we have in our picks. Safety is a concern while using it so make sure you follow the measures we have outlined. By reading our guide, you ensure that you will make an informed decision based on what we have presented to you and your woodwork needs.

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Abraham
 

This is Abraham. Professional power tools mechanic with years of experience. Writing is my hobby. So I decide to share my experience with people by writing about all types of power tools review and buyers guide that I'm using.

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