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Consider Getting a Jointer Planer Combo for Your Tool Collection

If you’ve been woodworking for any amount of time, you’ll be aware that jointers and planers are two of the most essential tools to have at the ready—and that they’re expensive as…fudge. But did you know you can save money (and a coin flip) by purchasing a jointer planer combo?

Jointer Planer Combo

Indeed, you can.

Keep reading for more information on how to choose the best jointer planer combo for you and to comb through our personal top picks!

Top Picks

Best For: The Best Value at the Lowest Price – JET 10” Jointer/Planer with Stand

This jointer planer from JET is perfect the DIYer or amateur woodworker who needs plenty of power and convenience from their machine—without breaking the bank.

Best For: User-Friendly Solo Jointer – PORTER-CABLE 6-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Jointer

Despite being a solo jointer, this model from PORTER-CABLE offers 10 amps of power, a spacious work surface, and several user-friendly features—perfect for the serious DIYer!

Best For: Affordability – CRAFTSMAN 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer

This tabletop jointer from CRAFTSMAN is perfect for new woodworkers or DIYers who need an affordable yet high-quality jointer for their workspace.

Best For: Professional Features at a Great Price – JET 12” Planer/Jointer

Having a quality jointer planer is key to many a successful woodworking project, but they can be so darn expensive! Not so with this 12” Planer/Jointer from JET.

Best For: Professionalism – JET 12” Planer/Jointer with Helical Head

A 3 HP motor, helical cutterhead, quiet operation, and more are waiting for you when you purchase this beast from JET—everything a professional could need, and then some!

Best For: Most Powerful Motor – Grizzly Spiral-Polar Bear Series 12-Inch Planer/Jointer

Its 5 HP motor is only a fraction of the practical and user-friendly features you can expect from this 12-Inch Planer/Jointer from Grizzly—it’s a beast that can be tamed!

What is a Jointer Planer?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, what exactly is a jointer planer?

A jointer planer is a machine that combines the features of a jointer and a planer, so that woodworkers (or DIYers) can utilize the functions of both machines without making two separate purchases.

Essentially, a jointer planer has two beds—one for the jointer operation and another for the planer operation. The jointer part features knives that cut a wood piece from below, while the planer part features knives that cut from above. There is a single dust collection unit for the machine, which you’ll need to transfer from one part to the other before swapping functions.

Do You Need One?

Both jointers and planers are essential tools for any serious woodworker to possess. Each machine works to make rough, untreated wood pieces suitable for use in projects, though they play slightly different roles in the process.

That said, you’re going to need both functions available to you for day-to-day woodworking tasks. While you could begin by purchasing one over the other, or simply buy both machines at the same time, there’s a much more economical option: buying a jointer planer combo.

Related: The Most Indispensable Woodworking Tools: Pocket Hole Jigs

As mentioned, a jointer planer combo gives you both machine functionalities. Many woodworkers—especially those just starting out—find this very convenient for a number of reasons. To give you an idea, jointer planer combos…

  • take up less space than two separate machines would.
  • may cost less than two individual machines would, depending on the model(s).
  • give you the luxury of having two machines in one, so you don’t need to choose between the two.

Of course, jointer planers are not without their drawbacks. For example, most models are notoriously difficult to set up and many users struggle to swap functions. In addition, because jointer planers are a two-in-one deal, they don’t offer the same level of specialization that two separate machines would.

A jointer planer combo can be an incredibly useful tool, but it’s ultimately up to you whether you need one or not.

How to Choose a Jointer Planer

Jointer planers are pretty sophisticated, complex tools. As such, there are several factors you’ll want to keep in mind while searching for your ideal jointer planer combo. Following is a brief outline of what things to look for and consider before making your purchase—remember, this is a major investment that you don’t want to screw up!

Budget

Major investment or no, you need to consider your budget before getting trigger-happy with your credit card. The good news is that purchasing a jointer planer combo tends to be less expensive than purchasing two individual machines. The bad news? “Less expensive” does not translate to “easily affordable.”

Depending on the model you opt for, you’re looking at anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a quality jointer planer.

Intended Use

Of course, there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on a jointer planer if you don’t need all of the features a machine in that price range offers. If you only plan to use the machine for small DIY projects or other light, occasional use, you can get by with a less expensive model.

On the other hand, if you’re a professional woodworker or looking to become one, your future self will thank you for spending a little more on your new machine now. Buying a higher-quality, more powerful machine will eliminate a lot of potential problems later.

Size & Weight

Aside from your budget, you’re probably looking into jointer planers because you want to save space. To make sure your efforts are not counterintuitive, make sure you purchase a jointer planer with a small footprint.

Another factor to consider here is how heavy the machine is. As a rule of thumb, you should opt for jointer planers that are relatively lightweight (unless you know the machine will be staying in one place).

Power

Professionals, amateurs, and casual DIYers alike should opt for jointer planers with a power rating of anywhere from 1 HP to 3 HP. Go lower, and you won’t have sufficient power for most projects; go higher, and you’re looking at way more power than you’re likely to need.

Stand Type

The stand may seem insignificant, but the type of stand your jointer planer has will make a huge difference in its overall quality and functionality. Jointer planers can be found with one of three stand types:

  • Though more expensive than the other two options, the closed stand type has the most durable design and construction. Some may also have included storage space—always a bonus!
  • The open stand type is less expensive than its closed variant, and this is reflected in its level of durability. Its design is similar to that of table legs, where there’s empty space beneath the machine rather than a solid base.
  • Fold-Down. The fold-down variety tends to make the machine more portable and versatile, though there’s not much to be said about the quality.

Cutting Depth

The cutting depth differs from one jointer planer to another. The main thing you should keep in mind is that the greater the cutting depth, the faster the job will get job. That said, shallower cuts tend to be more suitable for finish work or more-detailed jobs.

Number of Blades

Like cutting depth, the number of knives or blades on the machine will vary from one model to another. Many machines will have either two or three blades.

Bed Width

The bed width of your machine will determine the size of wood pieces it can handle. You should look for beds that are at least 8” wide, which is enough space for smaller projects. However, professional woodworkers may want to opt for a 10”- or 12”-wide model.

Dust Collection

Make sure the dust collection unit on the jointer planer combo is high-quality, large enough to get the job done, and easy to remove and reinstall. The most typical dust collection type is the 4” port, which is more than adequate for most purposes.

Ease of Use

It’s crucial that the jointer planer you purchase is easy to use and won’t cause you too much trouble. The main thing to consider here is the ease of conversion.

This refers to the machine’s method of converting from a jointer to a planer, and vice-versa. When it comes to ease of use, this varies widely from one model to another. Some units are specially designed for fast and simple conversion, while others require several steps and tedious adjustments. If at all possible, opt for a jointer planer with an easy conversion method!

Safety Features

Like any power tool—especially the kind with blades—jointer planers can be dangerous if used incorrectly or if they’re lacking in safety features. Essential features include:

  • Magnetic control switch
  • Automatic restart prevention
  • Secure cutterhead design
  • Kickback protection

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? That’s to be expected, considering the complexity of the tool in question. To give you a hand, we’ve answered a couple of the most common questions people have about jointer planers.

What’s the difference between a planer and a jointer?

You may be wondering how a planer differs from a jointer. As mentioned, both are essential tools for any woodworker to have and both treat wood. But the similarities end there!

To give you a better idea of how planers and jointers are different, take a look at the table below.

Planers…Jointers…
…work on the face and back of the board.…work on the edges of the board.
…cut the wood board from above.…cut the wood board from below.
…ensure equal thickness among the boards.…prepare the edges of the boards to be joined.
…cannot fix twisting or warping problems…can fix any twisting or warping problems.

There are additional differences, but these are the most crucial for you to keep in mind.

The Best Joiner Planer Combos

Now that you know a little more about what you’re dealing with, it’s time to have a look at our top jointer planer picks. We’ve included models to satisfy a range of budgets, purposes, and preferences, so you’re sure to find one that just “clicks.” Keep in mind that we’ve also included a couple of solo jointers, just in case you’re looking for something a bit more affordable and straightforward.

JET JJP-10BTOS 10″ Jointer/Planer

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The most affordable JET model on our list, the 10” Jointer/Planer with Stand provides incredible quality considering the price. Serious DIYers and amateur woodworkers will appreciate its 13-amp motor (just under 2 HP), its large knobs for greater user control, and its aluminum-extruded fence for a more stable joining experience. This model also features a big dust port and an overall compact, semi-lightweight design for easy transport. Depending on your preferences, you’ll also appreciate its stand design, which allows you to use the machine standing or on the benchtop. If you need an affordable machine that means business, you need look no further!

Pros:

  • Compact design
  • Aluminum-extruded fence
  • 13-amp motor
  • Large, easy-to-use knobs
  • Big dust port
  • Can be used standing or on benchtop

Cons:

  • Works better as a planer than a jointer
  • Some reports of shipping-related damage

PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer

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Ideal for the casual DIYer, the 6-Inch Variable Speed Benchtop Jointer from PORTER-CABLE features a capable 10-amp motor, variable speed capabilities (6000 to 11000 RPM), and a large enough work surface for basic day-to-day woodworking tasks. This may be only a jointer, but it has a lot to offer in terms of convenience and user-friendliness: easy setup, replaceable and adjustable knives, and more! It’s also lightweight at 35 pounds and features a strong sheet metal construction, making it perfect for frequent transport. For a basic tabletop jointer that will get the job done, we highly recommend you look into this top contender!  

Pros:

  • Variable speed settings
  • Knives are replaceable and adjustable
  • Large working surface
  • Easy to set up
  • Lightweight construction
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • The fence is not high-quality
  • Not made for long-term use

CRAFTSMAN Benchtop Jointer

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The second solo jointer on our list, this model from CRAFTSMAN possesses many of the same features as the PORTER-CABLE version: a 10-amp motor, variable speed (6000 to 11000 RPM), a lightweight construction, a good amount of workspace, and replaceable/adjustable knives. In addition, it has variable speed for cuts per minute (12000 to 22000) and is available at an even more affordable price! If you’re just getting started with your woodworking space and need a quality machine that won’t break the bank, look no further!

Pros:

  • Variable speed
  • Knives are replaceable and adjustable
  • Portable design
  • Easy to set up
  • Good dust collection unit

Cons:

  • Not for professional use
  • Some reports of shipping-related damage

JET JJP-12 12″ Planer/Jointer

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Now we’re getting to the serious stuff, beginning with this 12” Planer/Joiner from JET. This is one rave-worthy machine, featuring a whopping 3 HP motor, 3-knife operation, steel and cast-iron construction, and a host of user-friendly features. From its large knobs to height-adjustable tables, there is so much built into this bad boy that any serious woodworker is going to love. Oh, and have we mentioned its 12 inches of workspace? Best of all is its 5-year warranty and relatively low price tag (when compared to similar models in its league). You’ll be hard-pressed to find a machine of equal capabilities at such a great price!

Pros:

  • 3 HP motor
  • 3-knife operation
  • Easy to switch function
  • Large knobs
  • 4” dust port
  • Steel/cast iron construction
  • Built-in limiter
  • Height-adjustable tables
  • 5-year warranty

Cons:

  • Table surface is rough
  • Fence is not the best

JET JJP-12HH 12″ Planer/Jointer with Helical Head

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What do you get when you take the previous JET model and throw in a few extra goodies? You get a jointer planer right out of every professional woodworker’s dreams. While this is the most expensive model on our list, it’s not hard to see why—its helical cutterhead, numerous indexable carbide inserts, plethora of safety features, and easy-to-use design set it way above the rest of the competition. In addition, it boasts a much quieter operation than most other jointer planers do…because you know what they say: Silence is golden. If you’re still on the fence, keep in mind that this model comes with a 5-year warranty—more than enough reassurance to know that this will be money well-spent!

Pros:

  • 3 HP motor
  • Steel/cast iron construction
  • Helical cutterhead
  • Indexable carbide inserts
  • Easy-to-operate handwheel
  • Easy to switch function
  • 4” dust port
  • Several safety features
  • 5-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Some reports of manufacturing defects
  • Difficult setup and adjustments
  • Cheap table surface

Grizzly G0634XP Spiral-Polar Bear Series Planer/Jointer

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When you see the words “Grizzly” and “Polar Bear” in the same product line, you know you’re looking at a powerful machine. This 12-Inch Planer/Jointer boasts a 5 HP motor—the most powerful on our list—as well as a practical spiral cutterhead and 4” dust port. If raw horsepower isn’t enough to impress you, maybe its ease of conversion and thermal overload protection feature will! This bad boy may look intimidating, but it’s both easy and safe to use! If you’re looking for a real beast to grace your woodworking shop and make light work of any project, you’ve just found it.

Pros

  • 5 HP motor
  • End-mounted fence
  • Spiral cutterhead
  • Easy to switch function
  • 4” dust port
  • Thermal overload protection

Cons

  • Complex tuning process
  • Blade guard isn’t the best

Conclusion

Choosing which jointer planer combo you need (or deciding if you even need one!) is a weighty decision not to be made lightly. We hope our buying guide and product picks helped give you a better idea of what to look for and what to expect. Who knows? Maybe you’ve already found your ideal jointer planer! Until next time, good luck and stay safe.