Having a jointer is a must for anyone who is a woodworker and a benchtop jointer offers huge advantages compared to other options. When working with wood, one of the most crucial things to be able to do is smoothing down the wood. If you plan to attach two pieces of wood together, smooth wood is important. This is exactly why having one of the best wood jointers makes a huge difference in the outcome of woodworking projects.
However, many people are under the assumption that jointers are the same as planers, which isn’t accurate. While both of these tools can do the exact same thing, they have very different purposes.
Jointers were created to help straighten out a piece of wood or square up edges. Planers, on the other hand, are used to create a flat piece of wood with a uniform thickness. Jointers are used on smaller pieces of wood, while planers are used for large pieces.
If you are interested in getting a benchtop jointer of your own, finding the one that best meets your needs can be challenging. There are tons of options out there and knowing what to look for can take time. That’s why we want to offer you insight into the best 10 benchtop jointers on the market. We’ll also look into what to think about when choosing a jointer so you get one that works right for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best Benchtop Jointer for 2020
- 2 Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH Jointer with Helical Cutterhead
- 3 Rikon Power Tools 20-600H Benchtop Jointer with Helical Cutterhead
- 4 Powermatic 1791317K 54HH Jointer with Helical Cutterhead
- 5 Porter-Cable PC160JT Variable Speed 6” Jointer
- 6 Cutech 40160H-CT 6” Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
- 7 Wen 6560T Cast Iron Benchtop Jointer
- 8 Jet 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX Jointer with Quick-Set Knife System
- 9 Steelex ST1010 Jointer with Mobile Base
- 10 Jet JJ-6HHDX 6” Helical Head Jointer
- 11 Powermatic 1791279DXK 54A Deluxe Jointer with Quick-Set Knives
- 12 Considerations When Purchasing the Best Jointer
- 13 Conclusion
The Best Benchtop Jointer for 2020
Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH Jointer with Helical Cutterhead
Powermatic is a popular name when it comes to powerful woodworking tools and the 1610086K shows exactly why that is the case. This is a closed-stand jointer with a bed width of eight inches, which is the largest n this list. As far as cutting depth goes, it will fit most people’s needs at ½ inch maximum. In addition to that, this jointer has a robust two horsepower motor.
The fence on this benchtop jointer is also made for performance. There is no need to deal with time-consuming changes involving screws. Instead, there is a simple handwheel you can use that takes care of things quickly. It has adjustment levers for easy table positioning and quick cut depth changes. It has magnetic push blocks that can be stored on the machine, so they are always in reach.
Another feature that makes this jointer stand out is the non-marring fence insert to prevent damage to the table surface. It also has a high-mounted operating switch for safety purposes.
● Features a cutting head that is both powerful and quiet
● Offers the use of a three-knife cutterhead or four-knife helical cutterhead
● Comes with a five-year warranty showing quality and durability
● A heavy-duty unit that may require help unpacking and fitting into a workshop
Rikon Power Tools 20-600H Benchtop Jointer with Helical Cutterhead
The Rikon is one of the most compact benchtop jointers available on the market today and would make a great addition to a small workspace. This jointer is a six-inch and while compact can also dish out a good amount of performance. As with most six-inch jointers, the maximum cut depth is 1/8 inch. It has a 10 amp motor that can go at 11,000 RPM. The helical cutterhead has six rows of steel inserts for a smooth finish.
Inserts are sharpened on each edge to make them effective for twice the amount of time. If you notice damage or wear, the inserts can be rotated to ensure a fresh edge instead of being forced to replace it. When it is time to swap things out, the blade is easily accessed. The inserts are also auto-indexed so there is no need to go through height adjustments.
The table is 30-inches which gives extra room for woodworking at home without feeling stuck in one spot. The fence is adjustable from 90 to 135 degrees and measures 10 ¾ inches by 4 3/8 inches to offer a reasonable level of support.
● Easy to use with a quick to change blade system
● The helical head makes this a quieter jointer than many on the market
● Small enough to handle small projects with intricate cuts needed
● Requires a separate vacuum to remove wood shavings and other debris
Powermatic 1791317K 54HH Jointer with Helical Cutterhead
The 1791317K 544HH jointer is an impressive piece of machinery for any woodworkers. It offers a helical cutterhead that has four-sided knife inserts. The bed has a width of six inches, which is more than enough space to handle any work you need to get done. There is also the option to make precise adjustments using the lever for the infeed table.
The fence controls also create a better level of control and are center-mounted for convenience. The fence on the tool has a robust tilt and supporting mechanism to create better accuracy. It can tile 45 degrees both away from and toward the table. The entire machine is anchored by the base, which also assists with dust and debris collection. There is a chute below the cutterhead connected to a four-inch port, so cleanup is a breeze.
This is one of the longest tables at 66 inches long and 7 ½ inches wide so it supports larger projects. It’s mounted on the dovetail to keep it aligned throughout and has a handwheel underneath the table for adjustments.
● Easy assembly but may need two people for the job
● Cast iron table that is durable and sure to last a long time
● Offers four-sided helical cutterhead for smooth and quiet cutting
● The fence may not be as flat as some will desire
Porter-Cable PC160JT Variable Speed 6” Jointer
One of the biggest perks with this Porter-Cable wood jointer is that it includes variable speed functionality. This jointer has a 10 amp motor which provides one and a half horsepower. The ability to adjust the speed according to the hardness and size of a project is a huge advantage. This machine can start out at 6,000 RPM and go all the way up to 11,000 RPM when you’re in a situation where you need a little extra power.
It’s simple to adjust and change out the pair of steel knives and making changes to the fence is just as easy. This is a great thing for beginners who don’t want to struggle through learning extra things to get a project underway. There is also a cutterhead lock that keeps the machine as safe as possible. The table is 30 inches long for plenty of room to work with long and thick boards.
The fence for this jointer has positive stops at 45 and 90 degrees to make operating easy. It supports your wood throughout the process of the cut due to the mounting method for accurate edge jointing. It also has a four-inch dust port to keep things clean.
● Comes with many features at a great price for a high level of value
● Simple and easy assembly so you can use it right away
● Features an adjustable blade speed for precision
● Fence feels a bit flimsier than some of the other models available
Cutech 40160H-CT 6” Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
The Cutech 40160H-CT is one of the most lightweight benchtop jointers on the market at just 40 pounds. This means there is a bit less stability than with a large jointed, but it also allows you to easily move the machine around whenever needed. It won’t take up much room, which is an advantage for anyone who works in a smaller workshop.
Despite the fact that this jointer comes at a competitive price, that doesn’t mean it can’t do the job. It offers a spiral cutterhead for the best efficiency while planning along with 12 two-sided inserts to make it even quicker to flatten out your lumber. If an insert is worn, rotating it will make it just as good as new. The motor can go up to 11,000 RPM and offers precision along with the power and speed.
The table size is larger than average for this jointer at 30 by 6 3/16 inches which offers plenty of room to maneuver. It lets you work with longer boards than you would have many other jointers. The depth of cut is 1/l8 inch which is fairly standard for a benchtop machine.
● Simple and easy to clean when paired with a vacuum
● Creates precise and consistent finishes on all sorts of wood
● Simple setup lets you get started quickly after receiving the jointer
● May struggle with harder types of wood
Wen 6560T Cast Iron Benchtop Jointer
Any hobbyist woodworker and many contractors will find the Wen 6560 jointer offers everything they need to smooth down wood quickly and efficiently. It offers a solid bed width of six inches and the typical cutting depth of 1/8 of an inch. It can easily handle most types of wood with a motor that can handle up to 20,000 cuts every minute.
This jointer offers a surprising amount of control with the fence and infeed. The infeed has an effect on how deep the cutterhead can slice into a piece of lumber. The fence is created to move up to 45 degrees, although some find that it is challenging to make adjustments to it.
It also has additional features that many will appreciate. There is a spring-loaded blade guard to protect the user from injuries if the cutterhead comes off while using the jointer. This jointer also comes with an onboard dust bag where all the chips and dust go via a chute. All you need to do is take it out to clean up and move on.
● One of the least expensive models on the market
● Cuts straight and with precision for consistency every time
● Strong fence and sharp blades on a professional jointer
● Adjustment of the fence can take some time and effort
Jet 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX Jointer with Quick-Set Knife System
This 708457DXK jointer from Jet is another closed stand benchtop jointer but it also happens to offer one of the larger work surfaces of the options on the market. While it has a six-inch bed width that might seem small, it works well for many projects that a benchtop jointer will traditionally be used for. This device had a one horsepower motor and can cut to a depth of ½ inch. All of this combined created a powerful tool for any woodworker.
For those concerned about durability, this jointer is made of cast iron, so you know it’s going to last. In addition, it offers an easily adjustable center fence. There are front-mounted handwheels that help move the outfeed and infeed tables for a higher level of control.
This device also has a built-in dust chute to make cleanup easy. There is a four-inch port connected to it that pulls in all the dust and chips as you work.
● Offers a substantial work surface for handling all sorts of projects
● Simple operation with multiple ways to manipulate the jointer
● Cleaning is easy courtesy of a four-inch dust chute
● Tends to vibrate more than other jointers on the market
Steelex ST1010 Jointer with Mobile Base
This jointer from Steelex comes with a one horsepower motor that is 120 volt to work with any home electrical system. It has a six-inch cut width at maximum and can cut down 1/8 of the inch. This is an excellent jointer to choose for a woodworker with a budget and a lack of shop space. It’s smaller and easier to move around but without being expensive or sacrificing quality.
This is a well-built tool that offers a center-mounted fence that is fully adjustable. It has dovetailed ways with adjustable gibs and a lever-action infeed table that is simple and quick to adjust. There is also a handwheel on the outfeed table for additional adjustments. This gives you a high level of accuracy from a wood jointer that is less expensive than most.
There is a built-in mobile for this tool and it comes with a locking foot pedal. All you have to do is press down on the pedal to move the machine and then move the pedal back up to set it in the space you want. It also comes equipped with a four-inch dust collection hood for easy cleaning.
● Mobile base and small size are ideal for small workshops
● Features a fully adjustable fence with three positive stops
● Comes with a built-in dust collection hood and mounted switch
● May not be as powerful as some would like
Jet JJ-6HHDX 6” Helical Head Jointer
The second product from Jet that is worth considering is the JJ-6HHDX jointer with a helical head. It offers a large number of features and is focuses on heavy woodworking projects. It has a six-inch bed width along with a 1/8 inch cutting depth. While this is fairly shallow, it’s average for a benchtop jointer and ensures you keep excellent control over your project.
Carbide inserts are used in the helical cutting head to offer a quiet experience. It also offers the perk of providing a clean finish on any wood that you are working to process. With a one-horsepower motor, it offers plenty of speed to the cutting head to handle most types of wood you will run into.
You can’t count out precision with this jointer, either. It has a fence that titles both ways at 45-degree stops. There are also handwheels to control the infeed table very precisely. This helps ensure each pass of the knives is accurate. However, dust can be an issue as the waste collection chute may not get everything.
● Features a great price point for an assortment of top features
● Easy assembly allows you to start using the tool quickly
● Includes a tilting fence with two positive stops at 45 and 90 degrees
● Waste collection isn’t as streamlined as it is on other jointers
Powermatic 1791279DXK 54A Deluxe Jointer with Quick-Set Knives
The final jointer on our list is the 1791279DXK by Powermatic. It is a high-quality piece of equipment with a helical cutterhead that boasts four-sided carbide knife inserts. This jointer has a bed witch of six inches which is more than enough for most people. It also has an infeed table adjustment lever to offer a higher level of fine control when working.
The quick adjustment lever helps create precise cuts while fence controls are center-mounted to make working on the jointer convenient and simple. The fence also has a tilt and supporting mechanism to add accuracy. It can tile towards or away from the table at 45 degrees.
This jointer has a base that anchors everything and helps with preventing dust from getting into the machine. It has a four-inch port and a dust collection chute to help with keeping things clean.
● Cast iron table is durable and will last a long time
● Quick and easy assembly but may require an additional person
● Includes two positive stops at 45 and 90-degree intervals
● The fence is not entirely flat which may be an issue
Considerations When Purchasing the Best Jointer
Choosing the right sort of benchtop jointer has a lot to do with the sort of woodworking you plan to do in the future. The three most common types are benchtop, closed stand, and long bed. These all do the same job, but some are more useful for certain projects than others.
A benchtop jointer is a small jointer that is most often used for small woodworking projects. This sort of jointer is created to help straighten the faces of narrow boards and the edges of boards of all sizes.
A long bed jointer is going to be quite a bit larger than a benchtop jointer. This also means it is going to take up much more space in a workshop or garage. While a benchtop is best for wood of no more than six inches in thickness, a long bed can often work with wood up to 12 inches.
The sturdiest and most heavy-duty jointer is a closed stand jointer. It has an enclosed base that covers the motor to prevent any dust from getting into the cutter head. These jointers tend to be the most expensive but have higher levels of safety and stability.
Size of the Jointer
When you are deciding on the right benchtop jointer for your needs, what you want to think about is what size of material you will most commonly be working with. This will give you better insight into what width and length of jointer will meet your needs.
When you see a jointer size, this refers to how long the knives are. It also corresponds to the widest board that the jointer can easily handle. Jointers are capable of handling wood that is up to twice the length of the bed. Both the bed and blade lengths are important to consider when thinking about the size of wood that a jointer can work with.
● 6-Inch – The smallest benchtop joiners are this size and work well for home woodworkers as well as some contractors. Most jointers of this size are user-friendly and inexpensive. If working with a piece that is more than six inches, it will have to be ripped down first.
● 8-Inch – An eight-inch jointer has larger knives as well as a longer bed. This jointer is going to be heavier, cost more, and allow you to work with larger pieces of lumber.
● 16-Inch – This is an industrial-sized jointer with very long knives. These are ideal for all sorts of different projects. For a large workshop, the extra cost of this tool can be well worth the versatility it affords you.
Cutting depth is important to consider with a power jointer as it determines how many passes you need to make before you will have an entirely straight board. In most cases, a cutting depth of ½ to ¾ inch is enough for someone using a benchtop jointer.
This means you need to think about what kind of work you will be doing, how important efficiency and speed are to you, and then select a jointer with a cutting depth that works for you and your needs.
Width and Length of Bed
The bed width size of a jointer will affect both the performance as well as the price of the tool. Those who have typical planning requirements will be fine with a bed of six to eight inches, although there are jointers with beds from four to 16 inches.
As a jointer is able to work with wood that is twice the length of the bed, it’s also important to consider this measurement. Keep in mind that bed extensions also exist for those who occasionally work with longer than average pieces.
Another thing to think about is how large your workshop spade is. You not only need room for the jointer itself but for extra room to maneuver the wood as it is being planed.
There are tons of different designs for the jointer fence but what you want to look for is a smooth operation. If there are positive stops, angling the fence is simpler. Many fences are angled between 45 and 135 degrees with positive stops at 45 and 90 degrees.
You want to choose a fence that is rigid, flat, and durable. User reviews can give information about this component of a jointer. If you choose a jointer with a fence that is inadequate, it can result in poor project results.
When the purpose of a tool is to create a flat surface, which is exactly what a jointer is used for, the table needs to be parallel to the knives and entirely flat. In most cases, a longer table creates a straighter joint. However, when working with small pieces, there is no need to worry about having a long table.
Level of Power
Jointer motors are going to be somewhere between one and two horsepower. You might think you should shy away from smaller one horsepower motors, but these work just fine with a benchtop jointer.
It’s also important to look at the voltage of your tool. Some jointers are made for home use and use 110 or 220-volt outlets, while some are created for commercial work and have 440-volt outlets.
If a jointer has a spiral cutting head, that means there are four-sided cutters created in a spiral shape. This is becoming more and more common in benchtop jointers to the point where it’s nearly an industry standard. These jointers use a slicing method to remove room which is more efficient and less noisy than a straight knife model.
In addition to that, fewer tooling marks are left with spiral head jointers. This saves you time when finishing up a project.
In many cases, the use of a jointer creates a large amount of dust and debris that needs to be cleaned up later in the process. A jointer with a dust collector or which can be connected to a shop vac can prevent this problem. This is important for safety when using a power tool.
Above you can see how top picks for benchtop jointers on the market. However, everyone has different needs and the perfect jointer for your needs might be different than the one for the next person. If you follow our tips above about choosing the right jointer, you’re sure to find a machine that does exactly what you need.