Best Jointer Review and Buying Guide [2019]

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A jointer is a must-have tool in your woodshop, especially if you are a seasoned woodworker or hobbyist who values saving time by making uneven pieces of wood straight. However, with various options, it can be challenging to pick the right jointer.

If you are searching for a quality jointer, our in-depth reviews and guide will help you get the best jointer on the market.

Our Top Jointer Reviews

Brand
Best Overall
Cutech 40160H-CT
Best for the Money
Powermatic 1610086K
Best Cheap Pick
Porter-Cable PC160JT
Product
Cutech 40160H-CT 6" Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead...
Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2 HP 1-Phase...
PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6" Jointer
Product Dimensions
32 x 12.2 x 11 inches
25 x 73 x 46 inches
32.1 x 12.4 x 11.2 inches
Item Weight
40 pounds
490 pounds
35 pounds
Rating
-
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Cutech 40160H-CT
Product
Cutech 40160H-CT 6" Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead...
Product Dimensions
32 x 12.2 x 11 inches
Item Weight
40 pounds
Rating
-
Best for the Money
Brand
Powermatic 1610086K
Product
Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2 HP 1-Phase...
Product Dimensions
25 x 73 x 46 inches
Item Weight
490 pounds
Rating
-
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Porter-Cable PC160JT
Product
PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6" Jointer
Product Dimensions
32.1 x 12.4 x 11.2 inches
Item Weight
35 pounds
Rating
-

Best Overall Jointer: Cutech 40160H-CT

Cutech 40160H-CT 6' Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead...

If you are ready to invest in a reliable and robust jointer, the Cutech 40160H-CT might be a unit to consider including on your woodworking tools list. It is categorized among the heavy-duty units and boasts of a simple design.

However, its features, and inner components make it stand out from more pricey jointers. The Cutech jointer is built to be rigid and weighs 40 pounds, which makes it portable as you can carry it to various project sites.

The jointer’s tabletop is constructed with aluminum to enable you to have a smooth time when flattening and moving pieces of wood. Also, you can elevate or clamp down easily your workpieces exactly to the place where you want to cut.

Moreover, the cutterhead has 12 sharp inserts that you can use for spiral cutting. If speed is a priority to you, the 40160H-CT should top your list as it comes with a powerful 10 amperage/120 voltage motor.

The spiral cutting system enables the jointer to provide a quiet operation compared to most high-end jointers. So, you will not require any hearing protection. The jointer also features push pads with adequate padding to prevent slipping and to offer a firm grip.

This comes in handy, especially for people who do not like using gloves or whose hands get sweaty regularly while working. The model has an integrated dust port system that measures 2¼ inches.

It is located on the side to minimize tear-out and to offer a better finish. You can adjust the jointer easily because the settings have markings, making it user-friendly. In case of emergency, you can use the safety key that is placed next to the on/off switch.

The spiral cutterhead jointer offers a 90 to 135-degree fence stops adjustability. The table adjustment device ensures the table remains in place. The table measures 30 inches long for versatility when cutting long pieces of wood.

With 1/8 inches maximum cutting depth and 6 inches width capacity, you can comfortably work on heavy and thick wood while making wide cuts.  The fence of this jointer is a bit flimsy, making it difficult to remain positioned to the table squarely all the time.

However, the jointer has a reliable cutting head. You may also be a bit frustrated when assembling the model because it is difficult to see the instructional pictures in the included manual.

You can bolt the jointer down securely, especially when cutting 6 inches of hardwood since its lightweight. Overall, this jointer from Cutech is perfect for users with a small woodshop at home.

What We Like

  • Easily adjustable and versatile
  • Spiral cutterhead for high performance
  • Quieter operation
  • Affordable
  •  Powerful motor
  • 2-year warranty

What We Don’t Like

  • Assembly pictures are difficult to see
  •  Flimsy fence
Cutech 40160H-CT 6" Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead...
  • Powerful 10 Amp 120V motor
  • Spiral Cutterhead with 12 HSS Inserts
  • Fence with 90 to 135 Degree Tilt

Best Budget Jointer: Porter-Cable PC160JT

PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6' Jointer

The Porter-Cable PC160JT jointer is great for those users that need a tool to flatten surfaces of wood and like working on DIY projects when it comes to face jointing, flattening, and edging. It is built to be durable and resilient, making it perfect for long-term use.

It is a small jointer that can fit easily in your workspace. You can also carry it to your project site as it only weighs 35 pounds making it lightweight.

It can be inefficient if you have a jointer that is equipped with a limited or set speed control. This can make it difficult for you to adjust the speed limits based on the density of the workpieces you are flattening.

The Portable Cable jointer boasts of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM to solve this problem, which makes it easy for users to adjust the speed limits accordingly.

With 1.4 horsepower/10 amperage motor, the unit produces 12,000 to 22,000 cuts per minute.  Additionally, the PC160JT jointer has an extra-large table that measures 30 inches for convenience.

The table surfaces the stock up to six inches wide, making your work easily accessible. It can also straighten boards that are much longer than the jointer’s length giving you more flexibility.

After some time, some jointers get dull blades while others make it difficult to change them. Fortunately, the Porter-Cable jointer has a two-knife cutterhead you can adjust using the built-in jackscrew leveling technology, especially when you want to change the blades quickly.    

This makes it effortless when you want to adjust or change the blades in the middle of an important project. The jointer features a center-mounted fence that offers stability while flattening pieces of wood. It also ensures accurate jointing.

However, sometimes, the fence drifts when you try to secure it. You’ll also have to re-square the jointer every time you adjust it. This can be a bit challenging, considering the way the fence is constructed.

Also, the jointer’s tabletop is less durable because it is built with low-quality aluminum.  Overall, the jointer is ideal for people who are looking for effectiveness and quality.

What We Like

  • Extra-large large table
  • Variable speed control
  • User-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Easy blade adjustment and replacement

What We Don’t Like

  • Poor build construction
  • Fence occasionally drifts
  •  Aluminum tabletop
PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6" Jointer
  • Variable 6, 000 to 11, 000 RPM speed range allows the user to select the right speed for the size...
  • Two knife cutter head with jack screw knife leveling arrangement for easy replacement and adjustment...
  • Built-in cutter head lock facilitates knife replacement and adjustment

Best Jointer for the Money: Powermatic 1610086K

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

Reliable jointers can be used for many years while you handle various projects. The Powermatic 1610086K is not an exception. It is a heavy-duty jointer and a top choice for those looking for a model to straighten big loads of wood efficiently and quickly.

The model boasts of high-quality features and is designed to carry out heavy-duty tasks. The helical cutterheader can do more than the average jointer. It comes with four-sided inserts to give you a quieter operation and a smoother finish.

The Powermatic jointer’s extra-long arms measure 73 inches to make your work easier when working on long wooden boards. This is an excellent feature since the arms of regular jointers are 30 inches long.

This gives you more room to work on longer pieces of wood. You can also adjust the infeed of this jointer effortlessly. The fence is equipped with inserts to prevent scratching and to enable you to mark the table when changing it.

The jointer is integrated with a worm gear system. You can operate using hands to make tilting the fence hassle-free. Another remarkable feature about this jointer is that you can either use three-side knives or four-side helical cutterheads depending on the kind of results you would like to see. 

Storing the magnetic push blocks is a breeze because they can easily stick to different metal surfaces.  When it comes to power, the1610086K jointer is powered by a two horsepower motor that offers a quieter operation while ensuring smooth cutting.

The jointer is bulky as it weighs 518 pounds, making it difficult to transport to your project site. Though it has a lot of remarkable features, it may not be an option for those people on a tight budget, as it is quite costly.  

It is worth mentioning that the unit is not user-friendly. So, you may experience some challenges while setting it up. You should also ask for help from someone else when you want to move the jointer due to its bulkiness.

One irritating construction flaw the unit has is the wood shavings that exit from the front, making a mess on your woodshop floor and your clothes. Powermatic offers a 5-year warranty.

What We Like

  • Powerful two horsepower motor
  • Ability to select three or four-sided helical knives
  • Magnetic push blocks for secure storage
  •  Robust cast-iron design
  • User-friendly infeed adjustment
  • Helical cutterhead

What We Don’t Like

  • Unsuitable for beginners
  • Not portable
  • Expensive
Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2 HP 1-Phase...
  • Helical cutterhead with four sided inserts provides smoother, quieter cutting and a superior finish
  • Extra long tables are mounted on dovetailed ways, for extended workpiece support
  • Adjustment lever offers quick infeed table positioning and fine tuning of cut depth

Best Jointer for Woodworkers: Powermatic 1791317K

Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch Jointer with...

The Powermatic 791317K jointer is ideal for professional carpenters and measures up to 32 inches high. The jointer runs a 115/230 voltage motor for optimum performance.

Moreover, the base cabinet has a built-in dust collection system for collecting debris and dirt. The system also mobs the trash from the cutterhead to the dust port to enhance a smooth user experience.

The 791317K jointer cuts quietly. So, you do not have to worry about using hearing protection. The helical cutterhead has different carbide cutters. Every carbide insert cuts the wood at 14 degrees giving you clean and more precise cuts.

The cast-iron table measures 66 inches long and 7½ inches wide, making it the longest table in its class. The dimensions also enable the jointer to offer plenty of space when handling big tasks.

You can adjust the height of the outfeed table using a handwheel that is located below the table. For the infeed table, you can move the handle up and down to make height changes. Alternatively, you can rotate the longer handle to achieve finer adjustments.

The fence system is made of cast-iron materials and measures 38 inches long. It is also stable to ensure straight edges. You can tilt the fence system away from the table and towards the table up to 45 degrees for versatility.

The Powermatic jointer features center-mounted controls to enable you to operate the unit efficiently. The good thing about this unit is that it offers positive stops at 45 degrees and 90 degrees.

You also do not have to worry about how to maintain this jointer as it requires little maintenance. It is a bit lighter than the Powermatic 791317K, but it is still bulkier at 328 pounds.

This might inconvenience you, especially if you want to work with the jointer on different project sites as you won’t be able to carry it around.  Dealing with the fence is also challenging because it does not remain square all the time. It is also slightly warped.

On the other hand, assembly is quite easy. However, you will need a helping hand to help you set the jointer up and place the bed on the stand. Generally, this jointer from Powermatic is ideal for experienced woodworkers.

It also offers more stability compared to benchtop jointers and can handle large projects with bigger pieces of wood.

What We Like

  •  Four-sided inserts for quieter and smoother cutting
  •  38 inches fence system
  • 66 inches cast-iron table
  •  6 inches adjustable infeed
  • Robust cast-iron design
  • Center-mounted controls

What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly warped fence
  • Assembly requires another person
  • Bulky
Sale
Powermatic 1791317K 54HH 6-Inch Jointer with...
  • Helical cutterhead with four-sided knife inserts provides smoother, quieter cutting and finer finish...
  • 6-inch long adjustable infeed and outfeed tables provide more working surface

Jointer Features and Consideration

First, you need to determine the type of tasks and jointer that suits your woodworking needs before making your buying decision. Here are essential factors that you should consider when looking for the best jointer:

Size

It is crucial to think about the size of wood you plan to work with. This will help you choose the right size of jointer and also be able to determine the correct width and length of the jointer you intend to buy.

Check how long the knives measure to help you know the correct size of your jointer.  The measurement will enable you to know the widest materials the jointer can accommodate comfortably.

It is essential to note that jointers can work on pieces that measure twice the size of their bed length. For this reason, bed and blade lengths are very significant when considering the size of material certain jointers can handle.

Here are some jointer sizes to assist you when shopping for a jointer:

16-inch

This is a large industrial jointer and ideal for people that own a big workshop. It Is a real powerhouse with longer knives that provide a wider scope of work.

8-inch

These jointers boast of longer beds with bigger knives. They are bulky and enable you to work on substantial pieces of wood. However, they are relatively expensive.

6-inch

This is a small jointer that is excellent for DIY woodworkers. Contractors can also use it. Generally, these types of jointers are user-friendly and affordable. If you are planning to work with materials that measure more than 6-inches, consider ripping them down first.

A planer sits in a garage, ready to be used

Type of Joint

A good understanding of jointers will enable you to shop for a quality model that suits your woodworking needs since there are different kinds of jointers available on the market.

Here is a short overview of the various jointers:

Closed Jointer

The bottom of this model is completely closed. This helps to protect the cutterhead of the jointer and the motor from sawdust. Also, the section that is closed protects you from getting injured, making it the safest kind of jointer.

The biggest advantage of this jointer is the heavy and stable bottom that retrofits like a shock absorption model. The jointer doesn’t produce noise and can also slice materials measuring 6 to 16 inches.

Hand Jointer

This is a versatile jointer because you can begin trimming any length of wood. However, with a standard wood jointer, you can only slice from one end. 

Benchtop Jointer

This jointer resembles the tabletop jointer. However, it is a closed jointer and is smaller. It’s also ideal for slicing pieces of wood that measure less than 6 inches.

Open Stand Jointer

The motor of this jointer is usually exposed as it isn’t covered and offers no shock absorption or any other safety measures. The jointer is also louder.

Tabletop Jointer

This type of jointer is not equipped with an outfeed and is secured on top of a table.

Longed Jointer

It is used to create accurate trimming while its arms are extremely long. It’s important to note that you can only adjust the infeed of this joiner.

A jointer covered in sawdust sits in a workshop

Cutterhead Type

It is also essential to consider the type of cutterhead before buying a jointer which includes:

Spiral/Helical Cutting Head

It is less noisy, and its performance is better than that of a straight cutterhead. However, it’s costly. These jointers are the industry standard and make use of four-sided cutters.

They maximize efficiency while cutting off workpieces in a slicing manner. The helical cutting heads also helps reduce your completion time.

Straight Cutting Head  

These cutterheads are the opposite of their spiral knife counterparts. The performance isn’t good. They also generate a lot of noise while cutting.

Depth of Cut

This will play a significant role in the number of cuts you will have to make before obtaining a straight wood.

The cutting depth varies from ½ to 1/8-inch. However, ½ to a ¾-inch depth of cut is usually enough, especially if you intend to work with benchtop jointers. 

To make the right choice, think about the projects you plan to work on and how crucial efficiency and speed are. Then look for a jointer that has an appropriate depth of cut.

Bed Size

The width of the bed determines the performance of the jointers as well as the cost. So, 6 to 8-bed inches is enough for most occasional cutting requirements. However, you can also get jointers that have 4 to 16-bed inches.

You also need to pay attention to the length of the bed because a jointer can handle wood that measures twice the size of the bed length. So, it’s a good idea to choose bed extensions if you work with longer pieces occasionally.

It’s important to point out that the width and length of the jointer you pick will be influenced by the space you have in your woodshop. You’ll, therefore, need to ensure you have adequate room for your jointer and also to maneuver the material while cutting.

Table

You should choose a table that is parallel with the knives and also flat if your goal is to make flat surfaces on pieces of wood. Generally, a longer table will give you straight joints.

It doesn’t make sense to choose a long table if you are working with small materials. This also applies to the amount of space you have, especially if you have limited space.

That said, go for a table that suits your needs best.

Fence

The design of the fence varies; however, the most important thing is the ability to enjoy smooth operation. You’ll be able to angle the fence if the device has positive stops. For instance, you can angle many fences at 45 and 135 degrees with positive stops between 45 and 90 degrees.

You should also ensure the fence is durable, tough, and flat since investing in low-quality fences will cause poor cutting results. It will also affect your cutting experience.

Motor Power

Most motors range from 1 horsepower to 2 horsepower. You should, therefore, choose a jointer with a powerful motor to enjoy optimum performance. Remember 1 horsepower motor is enough to cut and trim softwood to the maximum depth of cut with ease.

It is also crucial to check the voltage and current rating of the device. Keep in mind that jointers designed to be used at home require standard 110 or 220 voltages while commercial units require 440 voltages. If you want satisfying results, opt for a motor that has a high wattage rating.

A jointer sits ready for use in a garage

Dust Collection System

You should look for a jointer you can connect to your workshop vacuum or one that comes with a dust collection system since jointers produce a lot of debris and sawdust.

A dusty working environment can cause accidents while being exposed to dust for an extended period may result in respiratory problems. For this reason, a jointer that features this system is a must-have.

It is advisable to go for a jointer with a larger dust bin because it can keep more dust and save you time from emptying the bin frequently.

Blade

Blades are not a big issue since most jointers are integrated with quality cutterhead blades. However, they tend to wear down quickly, especially if you are using your jointer frequently.

So, it is a good idea to use curved blades instead of straight ones when changing the blades. This is because straight blades usually dull and snap faster than the curved ones.

Cuts Produced Per Minute

This is a function that is performed by cutterhead speed and the number of knives a cutterhead has. For instance, a cutterhead with 5000 RPM and four straight knives can produce 20,000 cuts per minute. 

You will make a smooth finish on the wood surface if the rate of cuts is high. However, the lifespan of the knife tends to decrease when the rate is increased.

Design Quality

This is determined by the materials used in constructing the jointer. Mostly check the housing, stand, table, and fence and ensure they are built from metal. Avoid less accurate models that are built using aluminum materials. Jointers are not stable and require a lot of adjustment.

Instead, choose high-quality models made of cast iron and steel materials. Such models perform better, last longer, and are well-built.

The Number of Cutterhead Knives

The twin and triple knife cutterheads is the most popular knife specifications out there. Triple knife cutterheads remains sharper for an extended period compared to their twin knife cutterheads counterpart.

Feed Rate

To determine this, check the model’s manual or specifications. The manual usually contains the feed rate per minute. This will help you to know the amount of wood you should feed the jointer per minute.

Adjustment System

You should choose a jointer with a user-friendly adjustment system. The goal of milling your own timber is to create smooth surfaces. So, ensure you can calibrate your jointer effortlessly. The jointer should also be rigid enough to retain its settings when working on pieces of wood.

Portability

This is a crucial factor to consider especially if you will be moving with your jointer from one location to another. Check the weight to help you pick a lightweight model. For example, a jointer that weighs 40 pounds is more ideal than one that weighs 500 pounds.

Price

Jointers are costly, especially tabletop and closed stand jointers. However, you shouldn’t buy the cheapest units because their design quality is often poor and can break down within a short period.

If you want to end up with a good jointer, pick one from mid-range units. This way, you won’t spend a lot of money on premium features for a unit that is meant to cover the basics.

Warranty

The unit you plan to buy should be manufactured by a reputable brand and have a warranty because joiners are high-precision units. A minimum of two years should back a quality jointer.

In case something malfunctions, the warranty will protect the jointer, especially from defects caused by the factory.

Wrap Up

The jointers featured on our list are perfect for those people looking for a tool to help them carry out professional or individual tasks. Each differs when it comes to power, size, price, and use. However, the best jointer for you depends on your needs and preferences.