A benchtop jointer is a woodworking appliance or device that is used to create flat surfaces on a piece of wood. It can be used to cut into the wood to straighten out and improve the quality of a piece of warped wood (as long as the warp isn’t from dry rot or moisture damage), and it can also remove twists that form due to knots in the lumber. It does this by flattening one face of the wood and squaring up one edge and then a planer is recommended to complete the process on the other side. It is possible to do both sides with a jointer but it can be tricky, so beginners could have trouble with this step.
A benchtop jointer uses a series of knife blades to make the cuts into the wood and create beveled edges that allow for wood to fit together easier. A benchtop jointer will also leave a smooth, shiny finish on the wood; transforming it from warped and twisted to brand new.
Generally, a benchtop jointer is placed on a workbench or stand for additional stability but can be moved as needed. If you do not tend to move your jointer from one location to another, then a stationary jointer might be more your style. However, these do tend to run in the higher price range than the benchtop jointer, so you can bolt or secure your benchtop version to a stand.
Benefits of a Benchtop Jointer
There are a few key benefits when it comes to a benchtop jointer and they include:
- Increases the quality of the wood being used in woodworking projects by removing twists and warped areas,
- They leave the surface of the wood shiny and smooth opposed to rough with little pieces stuck out (that can cause splinters),
- They keep cleanup to a minimum as most come with a dust and debris collection bag to collect wood shavings,
- They create wood shavings that can be used for other purposes such as Firestarter, animal cages, fertilizer, and more,
- And they also make woodworking projects go a lot smoother in terms of finishing edges to be joined together with the help of a joiner.
How to Choose a Benchtop Jointer
Choosing your benchtop jointer all depends on what you plan to use your jointer for. If you know you will be using hardwood species that will require a heavier motor and stronger blade, then you need to look at models that feature this. If you are a novice and want to dip your toes into the woodworking world, then you don’t want to invest a lot of money from the get-go into a jointer.
Consider what you will be using your jointer for, what the finished projects will be used for, and if you are planning to invest into a side business when it comes to your woodworking projects.
Do You Really Need a Jointer?
The answer to the question of do you really need a jointer all depends on what you are looking for when it comes to your woodworking needs and wants. Are you making furniture and you need smooth, straight pieces of board? If yes, then a jointer would definitely come in handy and increase the efficiency and accuracy of your work.
A jointer, when used correctly, produces high-quality pieces of wood that has a shiny finish to the naked eye. If you plan to sell or produce mass amounts of woodworking projects; then a jointer can definitely boost the quality of your finished projects.
What is the Difference Between a Joiner and a Jointer?
The main difference between a joiner and a jointer lies in the way it is used during woodworking projects. A jointer uses a cutter head with knife blades to cut down through the pieces of wood to create incisions, a smooth surface, and beveled edges. It is useful when you are trying to use a piece of wood that is warped or twisted as it can make it smooth and whole again. Jointers are available in both benchtop and stationary models. The benchtop ones are more portable and can be moved from location to location whereas the stationary models are generally larger and on stands that keep them in one spot.
A joiner, however, is used to create a joint between two pieces of board. They use their blades to create a slot in both edges of flat wood. These edges are then treated with adhesive and inserted into one another to join together the boards. Some other common terms for joiners are “biscuit joiners, plate joiners, or Tenon joiners”.
If your woodworking projects center around making furniture, such as tables or cupboards, or even bed frames; then you might want to look into investing into both pieces of equipment. If you plan to sell your woodworking projects upon completion, or you are taking orders for specific items; then you definitely want to look into both pieces of equipment for a factory-quality finish.
What is the Best Benchtop Jointer?
In regards to the best benchtop jointer, it truly depends on what you are looking for and what woodworking projects you intend to undertake. Some jointers are better than others when it comes to handling harder species of wood, others have different adjustable features, and others have dual or triple knife cutters to suit your needs.
We are going to take a look at some of the top benchtop jointers on the market today to give a wider and clearer picture of some of the options you could want in your benchtop jointer.
Top 5 Best Benchtop Jointers
With variable speeds from 6,000 to 11,000 RPMs, you able to lock the material you are cutting into place while selecting the right speed for the job. With a two knife cutter head, as well as a jack screw knife, with leveling arrangements; you can easily and quickly adjust the knives before starting your cutting.
Looking for some additional work space? Then you will enjoy the extra-large table attached to this benchtop jointer as it provides an ample working space up to a full six feet wide. Not that steady when it comes to cutting through material, especially harder materials such as metal? Then check out the center mounted fence that gives greatly received support through the cut.
- Built-in cutter head lock facilitates knife replacement and adjustment.
- Specialty features prevent a loss of control
- Nice smooth surface after cutting through the wood.
- Will have to purchase an adapter for vacuum hoses.
- Without a backup connected to the bench jointer; you run the risk of bogging down the motor with debris.
Not only does this bench jointer offer speeds that range from 6,000 RPM to 11,000 RPM; it also offers the user cutter head speeds of 12,000 to 22,000 cuts per minute! That alone makes this product a favorite among both experienced and amateur woodworkers. This bench jointer has jackscrew knife levelling arrangements, a two-knife cutter head, and a built-in cutter head lock to ensure the perfect cut each time. Its open and adjustable knife heads allows you to change the knives quickly without any fuss.
Working with a harder material or hardwood lumber? Then you’ll be pleased to know that 10 AMP motor provides more than ample power without any stress or tension to the jointer.
- Center-mounted fence
- Motor runs quietly for the power service.
- Easy setup and adjustment right out of the packaging.
- Makes large, curling wood shavings which means a vacuum attachment is needed
- Some customers reported issues with the fence and adjusting it but a replacement was delivered once the issue was reported.
Ideal for the DIY expert or a beginner when it comes to woodworking, this helical-style cutter head has two-sided 16 carbide inserts. Not impressed with the fence tilt? Then you can adjust it from 90 degrees to 135 degrees to suit whatever project you are working on. This bench jointer features an easy read depth scale for comfort and takes guesswork out of whatever project you are completing. It is considered portable as it only weighs 49 lbs but can be mounted on a stationary stand if you desire.
- Safety on/off switch
- All-metal construction
- The dust port can be used without an attachment for easy cleanup of wood shavings.
- Some customers reported that the aluminum fence can be hard to adjust
- The table can sink as you are tightening the bolts holding the bench jointer in place.
If you are an experienced woodworker and you tend to tackle the big jobs, such as cupboards or larger furniture pieces (beds, tables, etc.), then this is the bench jointer for you. It’s a massive bench jointer that is made to withstand even the toughest jobs using the hardest wood you can imagine. Measuring 21-13 inches, the base cabinet is 100% steel for additional stability. It has a one-horsepower, one-Ph., 115-volt motor that has been tested in factory and real life situations to ensure that the power is there for any type of project.
The quick set knife system ensures a smooth and accurate cut each time you fire up this bench jointer and start cutting through the wood. The precisely ground fence is made from cast iron parts that offer additional stability and security during the cutting process; allowing you to move large pieces of lumber or hard wood species with ease.
- Push-button switch is lockable
- Easy read scale
- Each knife is made from high-quality and pure steel
- Simple and easy assembly with an included instruction manual.
- Is a heavy product so a second (or third) set of hands for moving and setting up the bench jointer is required.
- Some customers reported that the screws included for assembly weren’t of the best quality but that is rectified with higher-quality screws of the same size.
Using a single-phase motor that provides 12 AMP service and 1-1/2 horsepower, this benchtop jointer is ideal for use when you are new to woodworking. It has the ability to cut 20,000 cuts per minute without losing speed as cutting speed is 10,000 RPMs. While the cutter-head is only a two-knife design; it still offers a clean and precise cut each time. Fine-adjust, in-feed table knob enables you the ability to control the cutting depth and adjust as necessary for the project you are completing.
Messes are not a thing to worry about as it comes with a free dust collection fan and dust collection bag to prevent clogging from the wood shavings.
- Is a solid and secure unit
- Has both a cast iron fence and a cast iron tables.
- Motor quality is good for boards up to six inches in thickness.
- Customers reported issues with the fence and getting it to adjust.
- Recommended you test the removal of the screws before attempting to change the knives as sometimes the screws torqued even further due to the motor output and can strip.
The Bottom Line
Did you find a benchtop jointer on the list that suits your needs? It’s a great tool to add to your collection and definitely makes the job way easier. Be sure to consider all the features, pros, and cons of each product before buying, then select the right one for you.