Top 5 Best Benchtop Jointers on The Market (2019 Update)
A jointer is an important tool for any woodworker or carpenter, whether a hobbyist or professional. However, with the amount of Jointers available, (many of varying quality), it is important to know what you are buying before you part with your hard earned money.
That’s where our top 5 review round up comes in. We have researched, tested and incorporated user and trade opinion, to give you the complete low down on some of the most popular benchtop jointers available today.
For our top picks, just view the table below. For the full reviews and a comprehensive buyer’s guide – keep on reading.
Top 5 Best Benchtop Jointers
- Top 5 Best Benchtop Jointers
- A Sharpen-Up Benchtop Jointers Buyer’s Guide
- 1. TOP PICK: Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
- 2. Porter Cable 6 Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer
- 3. Grizzly G0725 6 by 28-Inch Benchtop Jointer
- 4. Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer, 6-Inch
- 5. POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer with Built-In Dust Collection
A Sharpen-Up Benchtop Jointers Buyer’s Guide
What exactly does a jointer do?
In the most basic terms, a wood jointer flattens the face of a twisted, distorted, bent, or curved piece of lumber.
By running a piece of lumber through a jointer, the operator is able to significantly boost the durability and appearance of the wood by flattening it into a uniform shape.
The fact there are many types of jointers available, (which we will cover shortly), is to do with the size of boards the jointer is able to accommodate.
Therefore, when deciding to buy a jointer, it is important to consider the types of projects that you wish to pursue.
The types of Jointer Available
As we have already stated, there are various types of jointer available. They are used for similar purposes, however some will be more practical for certain applications over others.
The Benchtop Jointer
You have reached this page because you are interested in purchasing a benchtop jointer. The benchtop is a small jointer that is ideal for smaller woodworking projects.
A benchtop jointer is generally limited to straightening the edges of boards and the faces of narrow boards, usually no more than 6 inches wide.
Long Bed Jointer
A long bed jointer is larger than a benchtop model. The overall lumber width capacity varies between 6 to 12 inches depending on the model you buy.
The Closed Stand Jointer
The clue is in the name. The closed stand jointers are the sturdiest you can buy and feature an enclosed base to keep the motor secure and prevent dust and debris from getting into the cutter head component
The robust build quality inherent in a closed stand system will very often result in increased safety and stability, noise reduction and vibration control. This all aids precision and accuracy while cutting lumber of all sizes.
Closed stand models have width capacity from 6 inches, right up to 16.
What to look for when buying a Benchtop Jointer
Very often, the higher quality jointer you can afford, the better. Reliability and accuracy are such important variables when using one of these tools, it means a cheaply made jointer will just not cut it, (excuse the pun).
So manufacturing process and attention to detail are what you need from the machine that you opt to buy.
Other factors to consider are based on the functionality of the machine. This includes length of knives, flatness and parallelism of tables, ease of operation, fence design, table length, and other features.
We will look at all of these areas in detail below.
Lumber Size Capacity
The length of the knives will determine the lumber size capacity of the jointer. 16 inches is the highest you will generally find on large industrial 3 phase jointers.
However, as we have mentioned, benchtop models usually reach 6-inch width lumber size capacity.
You should also note the depth capacity of the benchtop you are interested in. This is adjusted via the infeed table. The maximum variation you have there the better, (we cover cutting depth in greater detail further on).
The 6 inch Jointer
Although the 6 inch jointer is the smallest size available it still remains the most useful to professionals as well as homeowners. This is why the benchtop jointer is so popular.
For one the price range of a benchtop is more affordable to the non-professional, (prices generally range between $250 to $500). Because these models are targeted towards homeowners as well as tradesman, they also have many use friendly features.
Options range from spiral cutting heads to long tables as well as mobile bases for extra convenience. A 6-inch wide tool meets most woodworking needs, making the benchtop an excellent buy for anyone dipping their toes into the craft for the first time.
Cutting depth will have a direct influence on the speed and efficiency with which you will be able to work. Essentially, it is the cutting depth that determines how many passes you will need to make before the piece of lumber is fully straight.
A depth up to 1/8″ is what you should look out for. Each pass removes a bit more of the warped surface, and these depths should provide you with a truly straight and uniform piece within just a couple of goes.
Fence size and control
The fence is an important part of the jointer that enables precision control as you work. You will certainly find that some of your lumber pieces will need fence support at tilted angles, so this is a feature to look out for.
In order to have this extra control your jointer of choice will feature several, adjustable positive stops (at 90 and 45 degrees) that can fine-tune the fence position from 45 to 135 degrees.
The fence should also be sturdy as well as flat and most of all easy to operate while you work.
The power under the hood does vary depending on the size of jointer you opt for. However, the majority of machines feature a motor power of between 1 and 2 HorsePower (HP).
Benchtop models normally come in the lower end of that power scale. However, a jointer featuring a 1 HP motor is more that sufficient to smooth out the majority of wood you will ever work with.
Because benchtop jointers are designed for home use, they only need the standard 120 or 220v electrical outlets.
Industrial style units (and some of the large full stand jointers) will require a dual phase outlet of 440 volts.
The Spiral Cutting Head
A jointer with a spiral cutting head uses four-sided cutters in a spiral shape. The remarkable aspect of this design innovation is that the cutters shave off the wood in a slicing manner.
This requires less power, (meaning the motor works more efficiently) while reducing the amount of tooling marks that are left behind on pieces. They are also a lot quieter too.
Another positive aspect is that it is easier to change the knives on a spiral-cutting head. You only need to rotate the individual cutter to get a new cutting surface.
Dust Collection Ability
Because you will likely be using your benchtop jointer at home or in the garage / workshop, dust collection ability is an important issue to consider before you buy. You do not want your house and belongings (or that of your client) covered in shavings.
Look out for models with a built-in dust collector. Many current jointers come with dust collection ports that conveniently remove all the shavings and dust out of your cutting area.
This all helps towards better working practices as well as reduce the potential of sub par work or even accidents.
The beauty of the benchtop jointer is its mobility. Keep an eye on the weight of your chosen model. A sturdy jointer will obviously help overall results, but will be more of a pain to cart from job to job.
Considering how much mobility you require will help determine the style of jointer you opt for.
Best Benchtop jointer 2018 – Our Top 5 Review Roundup
The CuTech 40160H-CT 6″ Bench Top Spiral (helical) Cutterhead Jointer gets our top pick for a number of reasons, however the fact it balances affordability, quality performance and ease of use makes it a top choice for many.
The fact CuTech have packed a superior performing spiral cutterhead into a benchtop is extremely impressive and makes this tool more than worthy of your attention.
The company has recently given the spiral cutterhead a complete redesign in order to increase cutting capacity and ease of use. The machine now features 12 2-sided inserts that provide a finish that is smoother than conventional cutting heads.
The 40160H-CT also has a dust collection area with a 2 ½” dust port. As a result, tear out is further reduced due to better chip evacuation.
The cast iron infeed and outfeed tables are really well designed (as well as incredibly sturdy). These can easily be leveled on the fly, and combined with the fact the cutterhead guard spring tension is also adjustable, you can get some really accurate result with this machine.
The fence is well built too – the one piece 4 3/8″ high by 19 5/8″ design is fully adjustable and can be tilted from 90 to 135 degrees with ease.
Ideal at home or in the workshop the CuTech provides a 6″ width capacity and 1/8″ maximum depth capacity. With a table length totally 30 inches, you can begin to see just how versatile this machine is.
Another nice touch is the fact the manufacturers have provided push blocks and the all tools necessary for rotating or replacing the cutter tips in with the shipped item. (No messing about purchasing extra tools like you need for other jointers in our list – ahem Grizzly).
Pros of the Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer
- The helical spiral cutterhead for increased performance
- Sturdy build quality
- Very versatile with excellent operational adjustment
- Everything you need is included
- From a brand perspective, CuTech are a bit of an unknown quantity and this may put people off.
An excellent tool from a relatively unknown player on the block. The CuTech is really worth considering should you be in the market for a new benchtop jointer. Balancing quality with affordability this is our top pick benchtop machine for 2018.
2. Porter Cable 6 Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer
Under the hood the Porter Cable packs some really nice features. The variable speed motor (with a range of 6000 right up to 11,000 RPM) offers an excellent level of control. At a mere flick of a button, the operator is able to select the right speed for the size and hardness of the material being used.
Cutting efficiency is also a big pro on this machine. The two-knife cutter head with jackscrew knife levelling arrangement means it is quick and easy to adjust the knives, while also allowing for simple knife replacement when the time comes.
Loosening a single knob to let the in-feed table move, before turning another to change the allocated depth will very easily control the depth of cut.
Performance wise, the dual cutting head proves to be highly consistent with very smooth results. The center-mounted fence provides much needed and accurate support throughout the cut, giving the user that added confidence that the lumber will not be stressed or end up with scorch marks.
Efficiency and safety are further increased with the reliable and well designed dust collection area – Shavings disappear after every pass with out fuss.
The overall build quality is extremely satisfying on the Porter Cable, especially when you consider its price compared to other jointers on the market.
The machine is sturdy, with a solid base. Most important of all, the table is carefully engineered to be a straight as an arrow. As long as you set the benchtop up correctly, you will not be able to blame your tool for inferior work.
The Pros of the Porter Cable 6 Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer
- Affordable and easy to use
- Sturdy build quality on the table
- High performance cutting with variable speed motor and accurate fence and depth adjustment
- The dust collection area actually works
- Consistent cutting with smooth results
- Some users have reported that adjustable aluminium back feels a little flimsy
- Although sturdy and straight, the table is an exposed surface that can oxidize, (don’t leave your benchtop in a damp area).
The cons of the Porter Cable 6 Inch Variable Speed Bench Jointer are minor when compared to the pros, which stack firmly in the machine’s favour.
Excellent for both beginners and experienced wood workers, this 6 inch capacity benchtop jointer is a great tool that comes highly recommended.
3. Grizzly G0725 6 by 28-Inch Benchtop Jointer
Grizzly need little introduction, the company has a long list of successful power tools that they have released on to the market – it is a popular brand with a proven track record for superior engineering.
The Grizzly G0725 makes our top 5 benchtop jointer for all those reasons and more. The, Grizzly design quality is there and so are the features.
Let’s take a closer look…
A 1-½ HP motor sits inside the GO725 (it is 110v, single phase so ideal for home use). This powers the cutterhead to a maximum speed of 10,000 RPM.
This is essentially more than powerful enough to suit any 6 inch cutting needs, however it does lack the versatility of the Porter Cable in that there is no manual variable speed adjustment here.
The tool does feature a 45 degree bevel adjustment and the knives are simple enough to adjust, (despite the fact some users had a little trouble on first purchasing).
Setting up the machine can be a bit hit and miss on the Grizzly. This seems to be as a result of the Chinese manufacturing process (rather than the original design).
In short, some components may need adjustment upon arrival and depending on your skill set, this may be a deal breaker for you.
One oversight for example, (that has been mentioned from users) is the ability to adjust the infeed and outfeed table heights.
If the tables are not parallel upon arrival there is nothing in the documentation that leads you to where you need to adjust this, (hint – the screws are underneath the machine). To adjust these you will need a 6″ 3 and 5 mm allen wrench, which are not shipped with the Grizzly.
Some users have also complained of the belts being shipped too tight.
Once sorted out you have a good working machine on your hands. Conversely, the tool has arrived with none of these assembly errors and users has been satisfied from the very beginning.
Moving on to the 2-1/2-Inch dust port and collection system works well (and even comes with an internal exhaust system). This helps to ensure safe and cleaning operation.
Another plus is the heavy-duty construction. The formidable cast iron tables and center-mounted cast iron fence are definitely built to last. This is a big positive for the machine, as it also gives the tool adequate heft and sturdiness – exactly what you need in a good benchtop jointer.
Pros of the Grizzly G0725 6 by 28-Inch Benchtop Jointer
- A very affordable benchtop jointer
- Heavy duty construction that is built to last
- Powerful motor and great performance (once you’ve set it up)
- Well designed dust collection with built in exhaust vacuum
- The major complaint here and one of the reasons the Grizzly failed to get our number 1 pick, is the fact the machine can often arrive needing a few adjustments before it works as it should.
- These details clearly originate at the manufacturing plant, and for some that do not want the potential headache of fine tuning their brand new machine, this can obviously be a deal breaker.
A sturdy benchtop jointer built from heavy-duty materials in a manner that will last you a long time. The Grizzly G0725 has some nice features and you also get that all-important superior brand performance. However you may be reaching for your wrench in the setup stages.
4. Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer, 6-Inch
Shop Fox are well known brand with a line of power tools in the more budget friendly range.
The W1829 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer falls into that category, and is one of the reasons it has made our top 5 list.
Let’s take a closer look…
Under the hood, the Shop Fox W1829 benchtop contains a 1-1/2-horsepower, single-phase motor making it ideal for the home or workshop.
This powers a two-knife cutter head with an operating speed of 10,000 rpm. The going rate for most benchtop jointers.
This is non adjustable (unlike the Porter Cable) but does still provide a performance speed of 20,000 cuts per minute.
Cutting depth can be fine tuned using the in-feed table knob. The fence is also fully adjustable, (stops allow for full 45-degrees inward, 90-degrees, and 45-degrees outward (135-degrees) adjustment levels.)
Furthermore, using the quick-adjustment knife design, the Shop Fox can be used for bevel jointing up to 45-degrees (and this is without the need for a knife setting jig.)
All of this results in a machine that provides a pleasing level of control and accuracy.
Other features of the W1829 include a built-in mini impeller. This cleans the wood chips from the cutterhead and blows them out the 2-1/2-inch dust port.
The full 6-inch capacity Jointer also utilises a sturdy cast iron construction for robustness in the work place.
The pros of the Shop Fox W1829 Benchtop Jointer, 6-Inch
- Affordability under the Shop Fox name
- Sturdy cast iron construction
- Fully adjustable fence and depth selection
- Knives can be easily adjusted or removed
- Some users have experienced lacklustre delivery of the machine. Similar to the Grizzly this could be put down to problems during the manufacturing process. Examples include a machine arriving with blunt knives, and unaligned components.
This is a budget friendly benchtop jointer that ticks many boxes in so far as design and performance.
However, like the Grizzly this has been let down in the manufacturing process where items have been shipped without apparent testing, which has caused understandable complaint.
5. POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer with Built-In Dust Collection
The Powertec BJ600 is another benchtop jointer that balances affordability and performance to a satisfying degree.
The machine features a 6 inch cutting capacity with an adjustable cast iron fence that is able to tilt 45 degrees inward and 45 degrees outward for chamfer and bevel cuts.
The robust cast iron construction is also present in the infeed and out feed table, meaning the manufacturers have prioritised longevity and durability in terms of the build quality.
The Built-in dust collection system for fast removal of wood chips into a full size dust bag is a nice additional feature that ensures your workspace is clean and tidy and above all safe.
The BJ600 also features a safety power switch lock to prevent any unintended operation, (or the fingers of children that shouldn’t be in the workshop).
The Pros of the POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer
- Affordable benchtop jointer
- Reliable cutting capacity with adjustable fence
- Robust cast iron construction
- The built in dust collection with bag
- Manufacturing quality isn’t the best here with some users complaining of complicated setup with very unclear instructions
- There are better options available to you if you’re thinking about buying a benchtop jointer
With some satisfied customers the Powertec does represent good value for money. However, if you are on the receiving end of a package that does not live up to expectations, you could end up disappointed.
Considering there are other options available to you, (in our mind the Porter Cable and the Cutech) it does question whether you should be spending your money here instead.