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Once you’ve accumulated your basic woodworking tools, it’s time to start investing in some more specialist equipment.
Biscuit joiners, also known as plate joiners, will help you to join two pieces of wood speedily and precisely. These joints are held with a combination of wood biscuits and glue.
Choosing the wrong biscuit joiner will only make your woodworking experience miserable, but the right tool can simplify your work and improve craftsmanship.
We’ve put together this short guide on some of the top models on the market today.
Here's 3 products we picked out that thought you would be interested in depending on your budget...
The Best Biscuit Joiner Reviews 2020
Here’s a list of the best biscuit joiners we found:
1. Festool DF500Q - Best Professional Biscuit Joiner
- Ability to create five depths for mortising depending on tenon size which helps you rattle out repeatable work at high speed.
- Rotating, oscillating router to make pro-grade mortises
- Pivoting fence has three quick stops for your added convenience
- Dust-extraction enabled, your glue will stick better, and the cutter will last longer
Not so Good
- It’s impossible not to mention the price tag, but you get very few complaints from Festool owners.
- Attachments are distressingly brittle plastic which is inexcusable at this price point but not a deal-breaker.
Festool exemplifies the stereotype of German precision engineering. Their incredible power tools stand in a league of their own. Were it not for the eye-watering price tag, this domino joiner would have got our vote for best pick.
The unique cutting action oscillates as it rotates so you can enjoy cutting the smoothest mortises repeatably with very little effort.
With positive stops placed at 22.5, 45 and 67.5 degrees, you’ll be able to cut without measuring when it counts. Indexing pins help with perfect alignment, and the overall cutting quality is second to none. You’d expect nothing less from Festool.
A built-in benefit with Festool is the way all tools are designed to integrate seamlessly. They don’t just happen to work well together; they’re expressly designed that way.
It’s sometimes hard to say what makes some people pay a significant premium for certain brands. When it comes to Festool, though, it’s easy to understand the attraction. You’ll struggle to find a better joiner however long you search.
2. DeWalt DW682K Plate Joiner Tool
- Blade and fence remain parallel at all time thanks to innovative fence design.
- The heavy-duty aluminum shoe won’t scratch up your workpiece.
- All main biscuit sized catered for from 0 through 20.
- The standard 3-year DeWalt warranty lets you buy without a headache.
Not so Good
- The dust bag is a nice touch but slightly too small.
- Tends to kick out a fair bit of noise in operation so consider whether that’s an issue for you.
DeWalt has a hard-won reputation for producing top-tier power tools at very affordable prices. Whether you want a joiner for your home workshop or a small commercial outlet, you’ll benefit from a poky 6.5-amp motor running at 10,000 RPM. This is more than enough to work with harder woods.
The way the one-piece fence is set out means you can always keep it in line with the blade . Make flush cuts at 0 degrees without removing the fence and adjust it on up through 90 degrees to suit.
Presets are in place to deal with size 0, 10, and 20 saving you time and fiddling around.
When you’re cutting biscuits, it’s all too easy to scratch up the workpiece, but the non-marring shoe prevents this from happening and ensures you get a quality finish, not just raw speed.
For woodworkers and contractors alike, the DeWalt DW682K is a hard-hitting biscuit joiner that gives power and flexibility married to outstanding overall value.
3. VonHaus - Best Cheap Biscuit Joiner
- You’ll get dust collection thrown in, so you can work safely as well as quickly and accurately.
- Join up mitered pieces fuss-free by fine-tuning the easily adjustable fence.
- D-grip handle designed to enhance control while comfortable enough to use for extended periods.
- Cut all regular biscuit sizes without needing to measure thanks to the nifty presets in place.
Not so Good
- Depth gauge mount is flimsy so handle with care.
- Runs into trouble if you want to do much beyond basic biscuit cutting.
VonHaus manufactures capable power tools at budget prices. While to some extent you generally get what you pay for, if you’re looking for an entry-level joiner for some simple biscuit cutting, this plate joiner represents an absolute bargain.
With depth stops preset for all main biscuit sizes, a brisk and powerful motor, and a neatly adjustable fence, you’ve got all the basics in place. Customization beyond this point is limited, so think in advance about how you plan to use your joiner and make certain the VonHaus will mesh with your needs.
While those depth stops come in handy, the mount to the gauge is pretty fragile, so you’ll need to be cautious to avoid any breakage.
The 4-inch blade comes carbide-tipped and is ideal for miter joints, corner joints, butt joints, and T-joints, so you’ve got plenty of options.
If you have fairly elementary joining needs and you want a budget joiner that won’t stiff you in terms of performance, check out this dark horse from Von Haus.
4. PORTER-CABLE 557 Plate Joiner
- Seven different cutting settings for complete flexibility.
- Hook up the 557 to a shop vac or use the dust bag thrown in if you don’t have a wet dry vac.
- The handle over fence allows you to exercise complete control.
- You can adapt the PORTER-CABLE for a 2-inch blade if required.
Not so Good
- Initial set-up could be quicker and easier.
- Blade changing can be awkward which is a disappointment from such a powerhouse brand.
The PORTER-CABLE 577 hits all main pain points in a very keenly-priced package.
The brisk 7-amp motor runs at an impressive 10,000 RPM, and you’ll benefit from 7 settings catering for most cutting needs.
The fence has a handle positioned over it allowing you impeccable control over the tool while your options while you’ll be able to tilt the fence all the way out to 135 degrees giving you a great deal of scope.
If you plan to use your joiner for extended periods, you’ll appreciate the lock-on trigger that makes this easier on your fingers. You can also make small tweaks to the height to customize things perfectly.
Even though the PORTER-CABLE is our overall top pick, any product has some downsides. Luckily, with the 557 that’s limited to a slightly fiddly set-up and an intricate blade change.
If you’re a committed home woodworker prepared to invest in the best, this PORTER-CABLE biscuit joiner is tough to beat.
5. Makita XJP03Z Best Cordless Biscuit Joiner
- Rack-and-pinion vertical fence to streamline adjustments and ensure absolute accuracy
- Not only do you get some handy presets at 0, 45, and 90 degrees, but you’ll also get one-touch stops for 0, 10, and 20 size biscuits
- You can get 320 cuts or 160 joints from a single charge thanks to the impressive battery
- You’ll enjoy complete freedom of movement without being tethered to the power outlet
Not so Good
- Be aware that you’ll need to splurge more to get a battery and charger unless you already own the Makita’s LXT system
- Since this unit is battery-powered, there’s every chance you’ll run out of steam mid-project
- More expensive than the competition once you buy battery and charger
Cordless power tools were once underpowered and always inferior. As technology advances, you can now find examples like the Makita XJP03Z which deliver extreme maneuverability without sacrificing power or performance.
You’re buying a bare tool here. If you don’t already have a lithium-ion battery and charger in place, you’ll need to make provision. Once up and running, the 18-volt battery allows you to make 160 joints or 320 cuts before it needs a boost. The battery is extremely compact and well protected against overloading or overheating.
The vertical fence is highly dependable, and you’ll get those three all-important positive stops at 0, 45, and 90 degrees. Cam locks let you tweak the fence with ease.
Depth settings are generous with six common biscuit sizes.
If you’ve got a fairly flexible budget and you’re looking for an adaptable and powerful biscuit joiner from a brand you can trust, look no further.
6. Silverstorm 128999 Biscuit Cutter Tool
- Outstanding price to performance ratio in a unit built to stay the distance.
- Clear, user-friendly dials so you can see what you need without breaking your stride.
- Works equally well with hard or soft woods, so you’ve got ample scope for most projects.
- The very precise range of cutting depth is surprising in a budget tool from a lesser-known brand.
Not so Good
- You’ll need to remember to register the warranty to benefit from coverage.
- Some complaints about biscuit area being rather tight.
Last but by no means least in our biscuit joiner reviews is the Silverstorm 128999.
While marketed as an industrial-grade joiner, the price alone should make it clear that claim is pretty ambitious. If you’re a keen home woodworker, you’ll experience no issues with build quality or durability.
Whether you’re working with hard or soft woods, the Silverstorm takes everything in stride. The cutting range is quoted as 0 to 19mm (3/4-inch), and you’ll get more precision than you might expect from a budget tool.
The robust motor gives you the power you need for all biscuits from 0 through 20. From cabinet making to furniture building, you’ll be able to work with speed, accuracy, and confidence.
A dust extraction port and bag are included so you can work safely without breathing in harmful sawdust and risking long-term lung damage.
For home hobbyists looking to streamline the awkward and time-consuming process of making biscuit joints, this affordable option is well worth popping on your shortlist.
Is it worth buying a more expensive biscuit joiner?
There’s not a clear-cut answer to this question.
You should consider far more than purely the bottom line when you’re scoping out joiners.
If you only plan to use it from time to time, there’s no need at all to splurge on a top-of-the-line unit.
If you make larger pieces of furniture in a small commercial shop, it would be reckless to expect a cheap biscuit joiner to pass muster.
As with all elements of hunting down the best biscuit joiner, analyze your needs carefully and spend as much as you can afford without overextending yourself.
What to consider when buying a biscuit joiner
Type of Handle
You’ve got two main choices with the handles on biscuit joiners:
- Barrel Grip: You wrap your hand through and hold the body of the tool with this type of grip. Many fans claim you’ll get far better control with a barrel grip. You’ll also be able to get lower down to the blade.
- D-Grip: This type of grip is a D-shaped handle and works well if you’ll be using your joiner for prolonged unbroken spells.
You should look for a fence you can at least set to 45 degrees and 135 degrees.
This will stop you needing to flip your workpiece, and you can simply focus on cutting.
While more angles give you more choice, it’s not worth obsessing about as long as you have these bases covered.
The vast majority of standard biscuit joiners have 4-inch blades. This will work with 0, 10 and 20 biscuits but you might want scope beyond this.
If you need smaller blades, then you’ll need a joiner with a plunger mechanism to hold those blades in place.
Think closely about your intended usage and buy accordingly.
It’s not only the amp draw you should consider when you’re looking at the power of different biscuit joiners.
You should also pay attention to the speed in RPM.
Getting the best of both worlds with a great power draw and rapid rotation means you’ll get more work done in less time.
If you can make bigger biscuits, you can join bigger pieces of wood.
For some elements of furniture making, you’ll need to cut a wide range of grooves. Be sure you look into the sizing, so you don’t make an expensive mistake.
It’s vital that you look for a biscuit joiner with varied depth settings.
The more flexibility you have with groove depth, the more ambitious the projects you can carry out.
The more you’re investing in your biscuit joiner, the longer you’ll expect it to last
What is the difference between a plate joiner and biscuit joiner?
There is no difference. “Biscuit” and “plate” are different terms for the same joining tool. The term “Biscuit joiner” is more commonly used in the United States though.
Isn’t it possible to just use dowel rods instead of a joiner?
Certainly. This is actually one of the most popular methods for joining pieces of furniture. The problem is, you’ll need to cut, drill, and align them perfectly. Beyond that, the joints created are not as long-lasting or effective either.
What is a biscuit?
A biscuit is a thin, oval sliver of wood normally made of compressed beech. You glue biscuits into the slot on a wood board, and it fits into the slot of another piece.
Can you use any size wood with a joiner?
No, usually biscuit joiners specify a minimum thickness below which you’ll run into trouble.
Do you get any form of dust extraction with biscuit joiners?
Many joiners come with a small dust bag or the option to hook up to a dust collection system, so you’ll have no excuse not to work debris-free.
Wrapping it up
We hope you’ve narrowed things down and are close to adding a biscuit joiner to your arsenal of tools.
We recommend the PORTER-CABLE 557 Plate Joiner for the serious woodworker who understands the importance of this biscuit joiner due to its power and range of cutting depths.