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When it comes to woodworking, a benchtop jointer can be the difference between being an amateur and a pro.
There are so many choices on the market these days. Understandably, it can be overwhelming.
We’ve put together a list of some of the top models on the market as well as buying a guide at the end.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Benchtop Jointers with Reviews 2020
Here’s a list of the best benchtop jointers we found:
1. Cutech 40180H-CT 8” Bench Jointer
- Improved version on the Cutech 40160H 6" model
- Includes a powerful 10 Amp 120V motor for extra power
- The spiral cutterhead has 16 HSS Inserts for a great finish and reduced chip evacuation
- You can tilt the fence anywhere between 90 to 135 degrees
- Adjust the level and tension to work for any project
- Light enough to transport to a workplace but still sturdy
- Excellent machine for the money
- Ideal if you don't want to splash out on a $1000 industrial model
- Very quick set up time.
- The machine is very stable and won’t move even if heavy boards strike it when you place them.
- Some reports of the fence being a little finicky - needs to be tuned to the appropriate degree before each use
If you’re working in a small shop, in your backyard, or are just handling a single project, this unit may be the best option for you. It handles up to 8-inches with ease but may have some trouble dealing with material that’s longer.
The aluminum fence will keep it stable while you’re working, while the cutters provide clean cuts for all types of wood. You may want to build your own fence to keep it square while you’re working.
2. PORTER-CABLE PC160JT 6" Bench Jointer
- Variable 6, 000 to 11, 000 RPM speed range.
- Two knife cutter head with jack screw knife leveling arrangement for easy replacement and adjustment of knives.
- Built-in cutter head lock facilitates knife replacement and adjustment.
- Extra large table provides ample work support and Surfacing stock up to a full 6" wide.
- Center mounted fence gives needed support throughout the cut for accurate edge jointing
- Makes excellent value.
- Great alternative if you don't want a top end model.
- Variable speed allows the user to select the right speed for the size & hardness of material being cut.
- Simple set up out the box.
- Not recommended for very large cut depths.
- Not recommended if you're a serious woodworker who would need it on a daily basis.
3. WEN 6560 6" Benchtop Jointer
- The table is wide and spacious, allowing you to put any sized piece of wood on top
- The 10 Amp motor will run at 20,000 cuts per minute
- The base is made from cast iron to prevent movement and excessive vibration
- An adjustable fence can move up to 45 degrees in either direction
- Receive a dust port, filter bag, push stick and push block with your purchase
- One of the cheapest models on the market
- Woodcuts straight and beautifully, so you’re not fumbling around with anything.
- The blades usually stay sharp for a while before you need replacements too.
- Strong fence that stays mostly straight for the entirety of the project.
- Instructions aren’t very clear.
- If you’ve never put a jointer together, you may have a hard time figuring this one out.
- People also have a hard time adjusting the fence, finding it tough to shift the angle.
The WEN benchtop jointer is great for experts who know what they’re doing, but it may not be the best option for people who are just starting out. It takes a while to learn how to use it, although if you can figure it out, the cuts are sleek, and the blades remain sharp and stable.
Experts love the power behind the blade while beginners like how easy it is to use once they get the hang of it.
4. Grizzly G0725 Benchtop Jointer
- The motor runs at 1-1/2 HP, 110V, single phase
- Thanks to the cast iron table, it remains stable when you work without excessive vibration
- Cutterhead speed caps at 10,000 RPM
- It’s only a 6-inch jointer, but still has enough power to handle big jobs
- Includes a built-in dust collection system and 2-1/2-inch dust port
- The construction is solid and is made of real steel so that it won’t shift or move while you’re working.
- Superior cut quality compared to competitors.
- If you want to adjust the infeed table, you have to do it from underneath the unit.
- The stripped and tight bolts that hold the knives are a real problem too.
- Adjusting the blade takes some time and patience.
If you’re a beginner, you may not like the learning curve that comes with this benchtop jointer. You will need to maneuver it a little bit to make adjustments. However, if you can get past that, the cuts are clean, and the machine itself is very sturdy.
You’ll see increased productivity since it stays stable on all your jobs and is well-designed too.
5. Shop Fox W1829 Bench Jointer
- The motor uses 1-1/2 horsepower, 110V, is 12 Amps and is single-phase
- Cutter head speed goes at 10,000 RPM, with 20,000 cuts per minute
- You’ll get clean cuts with the two-knife HSS cutter head and fully adjustable fence
- There’s a 2-1/2-inch dust port to keep your work area clear of dust
- You’ll also receive a free pair of safety push blocks and a dust collection fan and bag
- Very solid when you use it, meaning that it won’t move even if you don’t bolt it down
- The cuts are clean
- Automatic dust port works well to handle waste without getting clogged up.
- The motor itself is strong too, even when you’re jointing a full 6-inch board
- The infeed and outfeed tables are not necessarily flat, making it difficult to use efficiently.
- The fence is tough to get square sometimes.
This benchtop jointer is perfect for novices who are just starting out since there’s incredible ease of use and makes clean cuts. You don’t need to worry about dealing with clogs with every cut you make.
The fence is a problem for many people, but novices and experts alike enjoy how stable the jointer is and how it doesn’t shift with projects. If you need to transport it, you may want another model though. This one is so heavy that some people find it hard to handle.
6. RIKON Power Tools 20-600H 6” Benchtop Jointer
- Includes a helical cutter head with 12 two-sided inserts
- The fence is large compared to others and tilts from 90 to 135 degrees
- The safety on and off switch will prevent any accidents on the job
- Made entirely of metal with machined aluminum tables
- Includes two adjustable push blocks to make the work safe and quick
- The helical head of the blade is quieter than some other options out there.
- It’s easy to use too since the blade changes quickly.
- The machine itself is small enough to handle precise cuts on small projects.
- Shavings don’t properly disperse and clog without a separate vacuum.
Beginners love the RIKON since it’s so easy to use and manage, not to mention easy to learn too. Experts can use this jointer too though and will benefit from using it on smaller projects that require more precise cuts.
The blades themselves work very easily thanks to the helical head. If you can overlook the problems with the fence, you’ll get yourself a stable and easy to use machine.
7. POWERTEC BJ600 Tabletop Jointer
- Use the built-in dust collection system to remove wood chips quickly
- The infeed and outfeed tables are made from cast iron, so you know it’s sturdy
- The fence is also made from cast iron and can tilt 45 degrees inward and outward
- Stay safe with the safety power switch lock just in case
- Runs at 120V with 12 Amps of power
The biggest issue people have boils down to quality control, as people have had to switch screws or call about poor packaging. If you can overlook that though, the cuts on this jointer are smooth and clean, while the machine remains stable while you use it.
It works best for woodworkers who are always busy since no matter how many projects you have, it’s meant to remain in good condition.
What to Consider When Buying a Benchtop Jointer
The type of benchtop jointer you should use depends on the type of woodworking you’re planning on doing. The three most popular right now are closed stand, open stand, and benchtop.
All have unique advantages and disadvantages that will help or hinder you, depending on:
- how often you plan on transporting it
- if you plan on it being stationary
- If you’re using it for simple wood cutting
- if you’re using it for more complex wood cutting
Regardless, a little research can go a long way.
Size of the jointer
Most benchtop jointers are already spatially economic, which allows for variable placing in cramped spaces like your garage. This makes jointers perfect for working on small projects in a small space. However, sometimes size does matter.
Not all models and types are small, and within those models, you have a variety of sizes.
Typically, the more accessories, the bigger the bench.
Also, the size of your bench, more specifically the width of the bench bed, limits the size of wood you can use. If you opt for a smaller size, you may be limiting the amount of work you’ll be able to do.
On average, jointers can accept planks of wood that are about 6 inches in width, which is enough to get most jobs done. You can still get jointers with bigger beds but only do so if you have the space to do it.
Also, something important to consider is the fact that size can be the largest contributing factor to the price. Only get wider beds if it’s necessary.
The cutter head is the rotating cylindrical blade located at the center of the jointer. The blades protrude out above the infeed table of the jointer, which is arranged radially in the cutter head.
The purpose of this is that when it spins, the blades contact with the wood. Then, it shaves off the protruding areas. Jointers are obsolete without a proper cutter head.
Cutter heads come in a variety of different shapes and sizes that can cut varying degrees of wide and short lumber. As mentioned previously, the average width of wood a cutter head can slice is 6 inches.
It’s possible to find some that can cut 16 inches, even 18 inches. Obviously, the larger it is, the more expensive it will be. Your average jointer tends to be dual bladed, with more expensive versions being spiral bladed.
These use four blades and tend to be quieter, but they are significantly more expensive. You’ll also want to consider the feeding speed of your cutter head. That is the average rotations per minute at which your cutter head operates.
The feeding speed can be especially important if you’re trying to straighten out or smooth over a plank of wood. This can take multiple cuts, a process that can be excruciatingly time-consuming.
Finding cutters that have more rotations per minute could save you much time. Whichever cutter head you decide to get, make sure you’re looking for quality. The lower the quality of the blade, the faster you’ll have to get it replaced.
The depth your blade can cut is also an important factor in your woodworking. Although most jointers give you the option to adjust your blade however deep you want it to be, some do not.
A lack of adjustability can critically impair the amount of woodworking you’ll be able to do, so keep an eye out for it. Cutter depth can contribute how fast you can cut, but how much as well.
Keep in mind that the larger your cutter depth, the fewer passes the blade will need to cut through, which could save you much time.
However, varying cutter depths can be useful for different purposes. That is why a jointer that offers a range of cutting depths is ideal.
When we say power, we’re not talking about the physical power source; we’re talking about the amount of force applied.
This can vary from jointer to jointer and is something amateurs overlook a lot of the time. The ideal motor should be running at least 1 HP or higher. Just keep in mind that the lower your horsepower, the more likely you will encounter a piece of wood that you won’t be able to cut.
However, if you have a jointer that runs on 2 HP, this shouldn’t be an issue. Typically, the more HP your jointer runs on, the higher the price you’ll have to pay.
Benefits of a Benchtop Jointer
Benchtop jointers are the smaller version of your regular free-standing jointers. Regarding its core function, it is the same as the full-sized jointer. The difference is the added versatility because of its semi-portability.
It creates smooth, 90-degree flat edges the way you would with a regular-sized jointer, but with smaller-sized boards because of its size. Ideal for beginner woodworkers who need a honing of skill or for professionals with a small workplace, a benchtop jointer will surely fit your needs.
In a nutshell, the downsized version of your free-standing jointers has countless benefits based on two main strong points: small size and portability.
If you have smaller pieces of material to work with and limited space to work on, a benchtop jointer is a reasonable replacement for a full sized one. This is due to its comparable motor power and portability.
Only weighing around 70-100 lbs., you can quickly move around your work area wherever and whenever you need to.
Affordable Price Tag
Since a benchtop jointer is a smaller version of a regular one, it is without question more affordable. Without sacrificing the quality of a good jointer, you can allow yourself to spend more on other necessary equipment or materials for your woodwork.
Noise Output Efficiency
You can easily work at home whenever you want to and without disturbing your neighbors with a non-existent noise output of a benchtop jointer. There aren’t any non-restricted working hours, so you can focus more on starting or finishing your woodwork in no time.
Serious Motor Power
Packed with serious motor power, you are sure to have perfectly clean edges without spending too much and without restricting your mobility around your work area.
Usually weighing around 70-100 lbs., benchtop jointers are portable enough to move around your workshop and even carry to different job sites.
You can add other necessary tools and equipment inside your workshop while still having enough space to work within the confines of your garage.
Loaded with a powerful motor to provide you with the quality flattening of your wood, benchtop jointers are reliable at giving you the same functionality of a full-sized jointer but at a smaller size.
Because of its smaller size, benchtop jointers are uncomplicated to maintain. The inserts take less time to replace and are usually ready to operate again within a minute or two. This means lesser time for replacing parts and more time to do your work.
Faster Learning Experience
From aspiring woodworkers to professionals, a benchtop jointer is easy to use and yields a faster learning experience. Being comfortable to work within a limited space and knowing the ins and outs of woodworking are possible with the use of a downsized jointer.
Should I buy a benchtop jointer, long bed jointer, or closed stand jointer?
A benchtop jointer is best for those who want to conserve space in their workshop which is why suggest them to most woodworkers. Long bed jointers require a stand, so they take up more room. That said, these jointers can handle larger pieces of wood. Closed stand jointers are the largest size of jointer and can take on your biggest projects and workload. However, their performance is matched by their size, so they can take up a considerable part of your workspace.
What are the components of a jointer?
A benchtop jointer is comprised of the table, fence, blades, and sometimes a dust collection system. The fence serves as a guide for the woods as your feed it into the jointer. The blades help flatten the surface of the wood as well as straighten it out. A dust collection system would vacuum out the debris should the jointer come with one.
How do you feed wood into the jointer?
Make sure your lumber is firmly and flatly against the fence. Guide the wood slowly through the infeed and catch it as it exits the outfeed. Repeat this process on the other side to ensure the wood is flat all around.
How do you maintain a benchtop jointer?
Use mineral spirits after operation then apply wax to keep the table easy to glide on. Wipe the mineral spirits on the rollers as well or their grip could suffer. Clean out the head cutter and rollers with a shop vac to remove debris and wood shavings. Use compressed air to remove dust after periods of inactivity. Inspect blades occasionally and replace when dull.
If you are already accustomed to a free-standing jointer, you are capable enough of finding a downsized jointer suited to your needs.
To reiterate, the best kind of benchtop jointer has all the necessary features you need. For instance, the right size, cutter depth, and cutter head. Also, consider the power of the jointer.
The best benchtop jointer in our view is the WEN 6560 10-Amp 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer.
Since the instructions are a bit hard to understand, it is more suitable for pros. However, new woodworkers will learn from this tool and will greatly improve their abilities.
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Quick question on the WEN model. Did you have any trouble getting the fence square to the table?
I purchased one and sent it back because I thought either the fence or one of the tables was warped.
While adjusting the fence for 90 deg, I would have a different result on my square on the outfeed table versus the infeed table (one side telling me I needed to adjust the fence out while the other needed to be adjusted in). I sent the unit back for a replacement and the replacement has the same issue. Am I missing something?