What is the best benchtop jointer for hobbyists in small shops under $500? (updated September 2019)

Flattening faces and squaring the edges of oversized, warped, rough lumber is a blessing for any woodworker. The truth is simple: the initial investment required to buy a jointer allows you to save money on lumber for years to come.

My guide will compare current offers on the market, so you can take an informed decision about what will work best on your shop.

I chose to compare small benchtop jointers for several reasons: I have a small shop, I like to park my cars inside my garage, and an 8” of even a smaller 6” jointer makes sense for 90% of all woodworking tasks. I also believe a small jointer is an ideal first step for the vast majority of woodworkers. Should you outgrow one of these, you can always sell it on Craigslist and buy a bigger tool later on. Having said that…

The Best Benchtop Jointers are…

5-Star Rating

Budget benchtop jointer for beginners: Porter-Cable PC160JT

  • Variable speed control, useful to work with exotic hardwoods and rough lumber of all types
  • Best price in its category
  • Lightest machine, which allows for easy storage in small shops
  • The 6-inch capacity works for 90% of the woodworkers, but perhaps you might wish a little more width every now and then.
Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-inch benchtop planer on unboxing day
 
5-Star Rating

Best benchtop jointer for small shops: Cutech 40180HC-CT

  • 8-inch capacity allows for wider lumber
  • Extendable beds give it the longest table length in class
  • 16 double-sided carbide inserts allow for smoother materials
  • At 49 lbs., it is heavier to move around
Cutech 40180HC-CT 8-inch benchtop planer with carbide inserts on top of a workbench
 
5-Star Rating

Best benchtop jointer-planer combo: Jet JJP-8BT

  • 8-inch capacity allows for wider lumber
  • Great space savings because one footprint allows you to have two machines
  • This is the cheapest jointer-planer combo you can find
  • Going from jointing to planing mode isn’t instantaneous as if you had two separate machines
Jet JJP-8BT benchtop jointer-planer combo on unboxing day
 

Benchtop jointer vs stationary tool

I do woodworking as a hobby and I want to take it up a notch. I recently decided my next tool purchase will be a jointer. My main issue is dealing with a very small shop, so I want something compact.

A benchtop jointer is great for beginner or hobbyist woodworkers or even professionals in smaller shops. If your woodworking consists of smaller-to-medium items, you can rely on 6- or 8-inch jointers to accurately true smaller or shorter stock, say up to 4 feet or so.

Benchtop jointers are also faster than hand planing and much simpler than constantly setting up multiple jigs to start processing your rough lumber on your router table or table saw.

They are also cheaper than buying S4S lumber (all faces and edges smooth), and give you more flexibility in species, lumber dimensions, and even wood figure. Keep on reading as I expand all of these arguments in my article.

Are benchtop jointers worth it?

The initial costs for the convenience of owning tools sound expensive. This is what you trade when you choose to build using home center S4S instead of milling your own wood at home.

Wood magazine did an interesting math using a blanket chest project a few years ago. Given that S4S wood costs between 50% and 100% more when compared to rough sawn stock, they chose their blanket chest project and a few woods in order to determine how many chests you would have to build in order to save enough money to get a “free” benchtop jointer AND a benchtop planer, both new. The math was simple and based on two shopping lists:

  • Home center
    • 8 pc 1x6x72",
    • 1 pc 1x3x48", and
    • 4 pc 1x6x48"
  • Lumberyard
    • 41 board feet rough-sawn, which accounted for 25% waste during the milling process.

Their results were more than clear:

  • if you used red oak you only needed to build 5 chests to get your "free" machines;
  • using maple you needed to build 6 chests for your "freebies"; and
  • 16 chests if you used pine.

The numbers don’t lie and the savings are immense. If you do one single batch of Christmas presents for your family, you can already earn your very own “free” tools from lumber savings.

Any other savings after these are more money you can save towards new tool purchases, which will certainly contribute to increase your woodworking skills and encourage you to tackle even bigger, more complex projects.

Rough lumber unexpected benefits

Working with rough lumber gives you so much versatility.

First of all, it allows you to use other wood species, instead of being restricted by the lumber selection available at your local home center.

Second, the home center also limits you in lumber thickness and dimensions for your panels as you see fit for your project, enabling you to achieve more proportional results.

Third, you will be able to experience and work with different wood figures and grain and incorporate those in your design. This will unlock yet another world of possibilities for your woodworking skills and projects, where the wood itself will add beauty to your work.

You can also go to different places to find cheaper/free lumber for milling, such as going to lumberyards and getting to know experienced people who can teach you more about wood, searching for rough lumber ads on eBay, and even posting ads on Craigslist for searching fallen trees that you can mill yourself.

Alternatives for owning a benchtop jointer

You can buy a bigger machine, you can joint boards by hand, or you can simply buy pre-surfaced boards. Two of these make you spend more money, and two of these make you spend more time.

  1. Buying a bigger machine will give you extra capacity, a bigger motor, and more stability, however a stationary jointer costs you more initially.
  2. Jointing boards by hand gives you, well, nice wood shavings... Right? Jokes aside, it is a time-consuming method when you can simply use a power tool and get more accurate, much faster results. Unless you are really anti-machinery, it doesn't make much sense to rely on hand planing in place of a jointer.
  3. Buying S4S pre-surfaced boards, in my opinion, is the worst of both worlds. Often these boards won't even be perfectly finished and parallel. Even if they are, you still need to take them from the store to your shop, and leave it there to acclimate to your shop humidity levels. Once this process is finished, it is unlikely your lumber will still be flat. In the end, you just pay more for the pre-surfaced lumber convenience, but then you need to re-surface it again and end up with thinner boards. In other words, the only warranty you have when buying S4S is that you spend more money, because chances are you will have to mill your stock at your shop because the boards will still be not perfect.

Benchtop jointer or stationary models?

I can tell you very clearly from the start: stationary jointers have bulkier build quality and have motors that work at lower speeds. And they are much, much pricier. Not to mention they need more floor space as well, which is always a rare commodity if you have a small shop or you simply like to park your car inside your garage.

I think it’s quite pedantic to say that any and all benchtop jointers are useless and that only stationary jointers are worth your money. That is just like saying that used economy cars are all trash and the only good cars worth buying are brand-new Audis.

Sure, I would also love to live in the best of the worlds, but sometimes life just doesn’t work like that. Life is a journey, where we can make gradual improvements over time.

I don’t think it’s wise to go into debt for buying a more powerful machine - my ego does not rely on my tool brands, or car brands, or any other brand for that matter. Spending too much money on power tools surely helps, but is not a warranty that my woodworking quality will suddenly improve.

You can also save more money before finally buying a better-quality jointer, but why should you wait that long?

Meanwhile, you can get a basic model and get access to a wider variety of wood species and lumber dimensions. Why should you spend more money for a limited assortment of wood species and dimensions?

You can buy right now a cheap benchtop jointer and start working with exotic woods and make beautiful projects.

Final considerations

This will sound stupid, but with all being said, there is no best answer between hand planing, table saw and router jigs, benchtop jointer, and a stationary jointer. It depends a lot on personal factors such as space availability, money you can spend, your style of woodworking, the time you can dedicate to it, the types of projects you build, and so on.

In my case, I decided for a benchtop model because I have limited time in the shop - and I want to make the best use of it, limited space, and I simply want to make some exotic dust in my spare time, instead of making a living by selling period, handcrafted furniture. I also tend to do smaller woodworking projects, many boxes for gifts, some wooden toys for all my friends who are having children these days, and the occasional furniture project for personal use.

While the price can be mostly recovered on lumber savings, my tiny shop is the final determining factor that prevents me from buying larger stationary tools.

Comparison Table: The BEST of the Best

Brand & Model Amps & Volts Lumber Capacity (Table Length) Cutterhead Type Cuts per Minute & Speed (RPM) H x L x D (Weight) Fence H x L; Stops (deg.) Dust Port
Best 8-inch benchtop model; longest table length
Cutech 40180HC-CT
10 A, 120 V Best in class
8" x 1/8" (33-1/2"; extends to 51")
Best in class
Spiral (16 inserts, double-sided carbide)
Best in class
192,000 cuts (12,000 RPM)
37" x 16" x 12" (49 lbs) 4-3/8" x 19-3/4"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port + 4" Adapter
Best jointer-planer combo
Jet JJP-8BT
13 A, 120 V 8" x 1/8" (29") Straight Knives (2) 18,000 cuts (9,000 RPM) 31" x 18-1/2" x 16-1/2" (58 lbs) 4-1/8" x 21"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Best budget jointer
Porter-Cable PC160JT
10 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (32") Straight Knives (2) Variable speed control
12,000 to 22,000 cuts (6,000 to 11,000 RPM)
32-1/4" x 12" x 12" (41 lbs) 4-3/8" x 19-5/8"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port

Badge Engineering

Although there are 13 models reviewed in this page, I am actually comparing only 7 different models.

It’s because some of them, made by different companies, are the same machines with different colors. I will also show them below in detail.

Cutech 40160H-CT, Cutech 40160HC-CT, Porter-Cable PC160JT, and Rikon 20-600H review

That’s right, the 2 Cutech’s, the Porter-Cable, and the Rikon are the same machine, with small differences between them.

Both Cutech’s feature spiral cutterheads, the only difference between the both of them are the cutterhead insert materials – HSS inserts on the 40160H-CT, and carbide on the 40160HC-CT. Carbide costs more and lasts longer. The Rikon also uses HSS inserts; the Porter-Cable uses straight knives.

The helical cutterhead allows for a smoother, more silent operation and simpler maintenance with reduced ongoing costs. The cutterhead inserts are two-sided, meaning you get 2x as much use out of each one of them. You can replace them individually as you need, which is smart. Replacements can be bought in packs of 10; their price is within reason.

The Porter-Cable specifically is a favorite among hobby woodworkers. The main difference from the rest of the market is its speed control feature for the lumber you are cutting, resulting in smoother surfaces and less wasted time on sanding afterwards. Neither the Rikon nor the Cutech have this feature.

Weighing 40 lbs, this unit is one of the lightest units reviewed today. It’s lightweight enough for being placed in different parts of your small shop as you see fit. In other words, storing it once you have finished using it is easier on your back.

Cutech’s customer service is top notch. I have engaged on an online chat at their official website because I wanted to know some measurements as I was writing this guide, and they answered all my questions on the spot. They also sent me an email later informing me of one measurement they didn’t have immediately available with them – the 6-ft cord length. Try that level of customer care with a big name tool brand!

The main problem with this machine is that you will need to spend extra time on your initial table setup. The fence isn’t also super sturdy.

If you are patient when you first get the machine and can live with the fence, you might end up a happy customer.

The spiral cutterhead and the lower price point makes this Cutech benchtop jointer unit one of the best cost-benefit ratios you can find today - see it for yourself.

This machine has a lower price point and it does show in the Aluminum fence, which is not the end of the world by itself. The main issue is its fence adjustment system, which needs re-squaring every time you adjust it. It’s a design issue and there isn’t much to be done about it.

The 4-inch dust port is bigger on this unit, compared with 2-12 inches in most other benchtop jointers.

Out of all 4, the Porter-Cable PC160JT is the one I find best. It is the cheapest benchtop jointer on this group, and also one of the lowest prices available on the market today. Do not be discouraged by its flaws. It can very well be your entry into working with rough lumber and saving money on each lumber purchase. Both advanced and beginner woodworkers will get excellent value for their money with its variable speed feature. Click here for info and prices

Cutech 40180H-CT and Cutech 40180HC-CT review

If you liked the 40160, you probably should consider the 40180 series.

They also have two identical machines, with the only difference between them being the carbide inserts on the 40180HC-CT (versus the HSS inserts on the 40180H-CT).

The main difference between the 40160 series and the 40180 is the width: 8 inches here versus 6 inches on the other machine. These machines also have 16 inserts on their cutterheads versus the 12 on the other machine.

Another important difference is the table length: the 40180 offers 33-12 inches, extendable to 51 inches of total length, versus 30 inches on the 40160. By the way, the extendable table is an exclusive feature of this Cutech model.

Everything else is similar in these two machines, so it is really up to you. The 40180 allows you to joint longer and wider stock, so your shop time tends to be more productive.

Do you need the extra capacity offered by the 40180?

Would you like to “future-proof” your purchase and already go for a higher capacity unit?

In my opinion, the Cutech 40180HC-CT is is the best benchtop jointer in the market today - the main factors for me are the helical cutterhead, the extendable table, and the double-sided carbide inserts.

Jet JJP-8BT review

This Jet model is the only benchtop jointer planer combo that I am reviewing today. In other words, buying this machine gives you double functionality for a similar price point of all the other machines available in the market.

If you watch YouTube videos from European makers, you will probably have seen similar machines in their tighter woodshops. Most of these machines have similar designs, where some simple dust port adjustments allow you to switch between jointer and planer in under a minute.

This is a basic machine. Its main differential from other competitors is having all the functionality you need for jointing and planning lumber to your needs using half as much space. It is one of the best choices for small workshops with tighter budgets because it allows you to be fully functional from day one. See today’s Amazon price.

My history with jointers

In my earlier, romantic days of furniture making, I’d hand-plane rough lumber, both faces and edges, in a mad pursuit of an accurately dimensioned board. I spent more time making boards than furniture. Then I bought a jointer.

You don’t have to be a fanatical woodworker to need a jointer. The pre-dimensioned lumber, particleboard and plywood you use for projects and home remodeling is going to fit where you put it only if you make it fit.

Along with the table saw, the jointer is the essential wood tailoring tool. It can turn the weekend project maker into a pro with the flip of a switch.

Why a benchtop jointer?

This is the ideal size and best choice for small to medium woodworking projects and suit most home workshops.

They already allow you to work with rough lumber and save money instead of being restricted by the S2S (surfaced two sides) dimensions your local home center offers.

What does a jointer do?

Contrary to its name, a jointer doesn’t make joints; it planes the edges of boards. Don’t confuse it with a thickness planer, which dimensions rough lumber to exact thickness, but doesn’t do much else.

The jointer is more versatile. It’s designed for accurate edge-planing of boards you’re gluing together into larger boards such as for cabinets or table-tops, but you’ll also use it to:

  • straighten one edge of a curved board so it follows the table saw fence as you cut it to width;
  • remove saw marks on the edges of a board cut on the table saw;
  • flatten warped board faces;
  • smooth edges of plywood, particle-board and Plexiglas;
  • micro-plane cabinet door edges to get an exact fit;
  • bevel door and board edges;
  • clean up glue joints on laminated boards for lathe turning; and
  • trim fractions of stock from door or window molding when remodeling.

How Does A Jointer Work?

The jointer’s cutter head spins between a two-part infeed-outfeed table. The tips of the blades in the cutter head are set level with the stationary outfeed table surface.

As the board passes through the blades, its just-planed edge rides across the outfeed table.

The infeed table adjusts up and down to determine the depth of cut; the fence positions the board at a preset angle to the jointer table and cutter head.

A jointer with its infeed table set at 132 in. will remove 132 in. all along a flat board edge. The new edge will be the same angle to the board face as the fence is to the jointer bed.

Tips For Operating A Jointer

A precision tool is only as precise as its operator. Keep in mind:

  • The jointer may seem harmless because it runs quietly, but be careful. Never remove the swiveling blade guard.
  • A row of set screws holds each blade in the cutter head. Check them regularly for tightness with an Allen wrench.
  • Set the cutting depth at 1/16 in. or less on the inked table before turning on the jointer. If you're planing hardwood, experiment with even shallower cuts to get a smoother board edge and to reduce blade wear and tear.
  • To joint a board edge, grip the board in both hands and push it toward the cutter head, keeping firm pressure downward on the infeed table and sideways along the fence. Cut with the grain when possible, but the jointer smoothly trims edges when cutting against the grain if you don't rush the cut. Maintain an even feed rate. Don't stop the cut partway through or you'll create "divots" along the cut. When finishing the cut, keep pressure steady on the end of the board to keep it firmly on the outfeed table.
  • When jointing shorter boards (3 to 4 ft. long) keep your hands in the same position throughout the cut. Longer boards require repositioning your hands to keep pressure consistently downward and against the fence.
  • Don't joint boards shorter than 12 in. long. Joint longer boards and cut them to length later.
  • Reposition the fence frequently when jointing boards to distribute wear on the blades.
  • To straighten a curved edge, joint several inches from one end, then, as you hear the blades losing contact with the cupped edge, lift the board and joint the other end. After a few rotations. the curve will be removed.

How To Choose A Benchtop Jointer

Table Width = Cutting Capacity

This measurement is the maximum lumber width the jointer can handle.

  • 6 inches: this is the smallest jointer you can buy and it fits most budgets. It is best suited for hobby woodworkers and some contractors too, due to its portability.
  • 8 inches: moving up a step in size, 8” jointers give you more flexibility because you can joint wider boards, and in general also allow you to work with longer lumber because they have longer tables and are heavier, more stable machines.
  • 16 inches: these are professional work platforms, suited for large, industrial workshops that need it for daily use.

Table Length

As a rule of thumb, you can comfortably handle wood that is twice as long as the jointer’s table length. You can buy of make table extensions for occasional work with longer lumber.

Tip: Table alignment is one of the two most important things for accurate and dependable results.

Fence

Most fences can be set with positive stops at 45°, 90°, and 135°, and also any angle in between. The vast majority of your jointing, though, will happen at 90°.

Tip: An accurate fence is the other vital element for ensuring accurate work results, and you ensure it with proper fence control.

Cutting Depth

The smaller this figure is, the more passes you will need to make in order to straighten your lumber.

In other words, this is what defines your work efficiency.

Motor

Most motors use standard 110v, single phase outlets.

Some jointers, however, allow rewiring to 220v, single-phase.

Dust Collection

Do not underestimate the amount of dust and wood shavings your jointer makes during operation.

I strongly believe that keeping a clean shop means keeping a safe shop, so make sure your chosen jointer is compatible with your current dust management system.

Dimensions and Weight

Only you can answer these questions based on your own needs and circumstances.

  • How much space do you have available in your shop?
  • Can you buy a jointer with a fixed base?
  • Would you rather build your own cabinet and use that as storage space?

Cutterhead Type

  • Straight Knives: this is the most common cutter type. The cutters spin on a vertical axis along the jointer width and are usually made of solid steel.
  • Spiral Knives: this is most advanced in terms of technology. Here the knives spin as they cut into the wood. This design allows for (relatively) more silent operation, as well as less blade sharpening. Wood shavings are smaller too. Some manufacturers offer a spiral design version where they place several inserts – usually 12 inserts for 6-inch benchtop planers to 16 inserts for 8-inch models.

Why are helical cutters BETTER than straight knives?

  • MUCH lower noise levels - think garbage disposal (80 dB) versus lawn mower (90 dB)
  • Carbide cutters stay sharp for a longer time, saving downtime and sharpening costs
  • Possibility to rotate or change just the damaged cutters instead of changing the entire knife
  • Smaller wood chips versus the long wood shavings produced by straight knives (especially soft woods), which clog up dust collection more often

Number of knives/inserts and cuts per minute (CPM)

Simply put, the more knives/inserts a machine has, the more cuts per minute it will make, and the smoother the end result will be.

On the other hand, the higher cuts per minute figures also tend to result in a higher need for re-sharpening the jointer knives.

Jointer vs. thickness planer

Both machines operate in similar ways to remove material, creating straight and smooth surfaces, however they perform different operations.

  • A jointer will first straighten one face and one edge, while also making them square to each other. This is the most important difference to the jointer because it creates the initial references on your stock.
  • A thickness planer is used afterwards to make the opposite face and edge parallel with the previous surfaces, thus finishing to square your lumber. You can also use it for creating uniform thickness in all your lumber before moving on with your project, which is an added convenience.

Ideally you should own both machines. In real life, they both cost money, which is a finite resource.

If you are in doubt of which purchase you should prioritize, absolutely go for the jointer first because its ability to square stock is much more important than the convenience of having wood planed to a consistent thickness.

Also consider that some manufacturers offer the convenience of combination machines for jointing and planing stock. This is always an interesting choice for smaller shops and tighter budgets.

Safety tips for jointing stock

  • Always use the guard. No excuses allowed here.
  • Jointing stock with knots or other defects increases your chances of accidents.
  • Keep your fingers away from the revolving cutter head.
  • Always joint with the grain.
  • Don't attempt to surface pieces shorter that 12 inches.
  • The maximum depth of cut should be 1/8 inch.
  • Always use a push block when surface jointing or jointing a thin piece of stock.
  • Always stand to the left of the machine and behind the cutter head.
  • Make sure stock is always held firmly against the fence.
  • Check the machine to ensure all parts are securely tightened.
  • Wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
  • Don't wear loose clothing. Roll up long sleeves and keep shirt tails tucked in.

Checking your jointer results

Place two boards you’ve jointed edge-to-edge. When a jointer works right, it cuts straight, 90-degree edges that match perfectly with other jointed boards.

If it’s not working right, there will be gaps. Two adjustments might be necessary:

  • Set the fence to 90 degrees with a small square, being sure to check the fence all along its face.
  • Hold a straightedge firmly on the out-feed table to make sure the tables are parallel. If not, the outfeed table needs adjustment. Many jointers have "gibs" (adjustment screws) at the base of the outfeed table for leveling purposes. After adjusting, recheck the beds with the straightedge.

Don’t fret if the jointer’s beds go slightly out of level with use. Simply take the time to check and adjust them. Don’t leave heavy boards or tools lying on the tables because it’ll encourage their misalignment

Benchtop jointer reviews

Below you will find photos and product reviews for all the other benchtop jointer models currently available for sale.

Brand & Model Amps & Volts Lumber Capacity (Table Length) Cutterhead Type Cuts per Minute & Speed (RPM) H x L x D (Weight) Fence H x L; Stops (deg.) Dust Port
Cutech 40160H-CT 10 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (30") Spiral (12 inserts, double-sided HSS) 131,000 cuts (11,000 RPM) 32-1/4" x 12" x 12" (40 lbs) 4-3/8" x 19-5/8"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Cutech 40160HC-CT 10 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (30") Spiral (12 inserts, double-sided carbide) 131,000 cuts (11,000 RPM) 32-1/4" x 12" x 12" (40 lbs) 4-3/8" x 19-5/8"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Cutech 40180H-CT 10 A, 120 V 8" x 1/8" (33-1/2"; extends to 51") Spiral (16 inserts, double-sided HSS) 192,000 cuts (12,000 RPM) 37" x 16" x 12" (49 lbs) 4-3/8" x 19-3/4"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port + 4" Adapter
Delta 37-071 12 A, 115 V 6" x 1/8" (28-1/2") Straight Knives (2) 20,000 cuts (10,000 RPM) 26" x 8" x 10" (76 lbs) 4-5/16" x 22-7/8"; 45°, 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Grizzly G0725 12 A, 115 V 6" x 1/8" (28-1/2") Straight Knives (2, HSS) 20,000 cuts (10,000 RPM) 29-1/2" x 19-3/4" x 12-1/2" (76 lbs) 4-5/16" x 22-7/8"; 45°, 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port + Dust Bag
Powertec BJ600 12 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (28-1/2") Straight Knives (2) 20,000 cuts (10,000 RPM) 29-1/2" x 19-3/4" x 12-1/2" (76 lbs) 4-5/16" x 22-7/8"; 45°, 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port + Dust Bag
Rikon 20-600H 10 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (32") Spiral (12 inserts, double-sided HSS) Variable speed control
131,000 cuts (11,000 RPM)
32-1/4" x 12" x 12" (37 lbs) 4-3/8" x 19-5/8"; 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Shop Fox W1829 12 A, 110 V 6" x 1/8" (28-1/2") Straight Knives (2, HSS) 20,000 cuts (10,000 RPM) 29-1/2" x 19-3/4" x 12-1/2" (76 lbs) 4-5/16" x 22-7/8"; 45°, 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Wen 6560 10 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (28-1/2") Straight Knives (2) 20,000 cuts (10,000 RPM) 28-1/2" x 20" x 14" (80 lbs) 4-1/2" x 22-3/4"; 45°, 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port
Woodtek 115955 10 A, 120 V 6" x 1/8" (28-1/2") Straight Knives (2, HSS) 15,000 cuts (7,500 RPM) 28-1/2" x 18" x 12" (42 lbs) 4-1/2" x 23-5/8"; 45°, 90°, 135° 2-1/2" Port

Delta 37-071 review

This Delta benchtop jointer certainly offers you stability. At 76 lbs, this is one of the heaviest machines reviewed here today, so it’s unlikely this unit will move around while you are jointing board on it. The weight also helps reduce machine vibration.

Part of the weight is due to its cast iron construction, much more solid, stable, and durable than the aluminum that you often see in this category.

As with most benchtop models, this jointer uses straight knives. It’s not a deal breaker because the lower price reflects that, however you need to be aware that finishing your boards will likely take longer, since straight knives mark the lumber a bit more than spiral cutterheads.

Swapping the knives is simple due to its jackscrew arrangement.

The fence needs some time to be setup. Once you get it there, though, it is very stable and precise.

The built-in dust blower takes care of most wood shavings, however you will be better off by hooking it up to your dust collection system to avoid clogging the dust chute.

The Delta 37-071 jointer is a great choice for the hobby woodworker who wants a substantial machine for a reasonable price. The cast iron construction benefits certainly make a good cause for this unit.

Grizzly G0725, Powertec BJ600, and Shop Fox W1829 review

I will review these 3 units together because they are exactly the same machine.

This Grizzly/Powertec/Shop Fox jointer has many similar features to the above Delta 37-071, namely cast iron construction resulting in bulky weight, less machine vibration, more solidity, stability, and durability. This machine will not move while you are jointing lumber! They could be a good entrance model if you do woodworking as a hobby.

Here are the two main differences between these three machines:

  1. It also uses straight knives, however Grizzly/Shop Fox’s knives are made with harder HSS. In other words, Grizzly/Shop Fox’s knives will last you longer and require less re-sharpening or blade changes in comparison with the Delta (or even the Powertec).
  2. The Grizzly and the Powertec offer a dust collection bag (and the Shop Fox does not) to capture wood shavings, which could be convenient is you don’t have a dust collection system in your shop.

With so many similar characteristics, and some even better such as the knives, you’d be surprised to know that the Grizzly/Powertec/Shop Fox are also much cheaper than the Delta. But there’s a catch.

Adjusting the infeed and the outfeed tables in the Grizzly/Powertec/Shop Fox demands some tinkering, which is not described in the user’s manual. You will also need a pair of 6-inch Allen wrenches in 3 and 5 mm, which are not shipped with this machine. The screws are easy to find under the machine, so accessibility isn’t an issue.

Oddly, not all machines have these issues, so it looks like a quality control issue more than anything. Take that as you will.

If you are patient enough to sort these issues with the Grizzly/Powertec/Shop Fox, you can count on having a dependable workhorse in your home woodshop for a fraction of the price of the Delta.

Wen 6560 review

This Wen is an honest hobby benchtop jointer, plus it is one of the cheapest benchtop jointers currently available at Amazon. As per user reviews, the fence adjustment is the main negative side of this unit.

My main issue with the Wen is that it’s just so… average. While it is one of the cheapest currently for sale, and all its specs are on par with the competition, I have a hard time recommending this model to anyone.

Get a Porter-Cable with variable speed control or a Powertec with a dust bag, they cost around the same but offer something extra for your money.

Woodtek 115955 review

This is yet another lightweight choice if you need a jobsite jointer or simply need to store it out of your way in your small home shop.

The complete lack of customer reviews at Amazon, however, does not inspire me to recommend this jointer to anybody – unless you wouldn’t mind being the first one and taking a chance with your hard-earned money.

The truth is simple - there are very similar machines on the market with similar prices, such as the Grizzly.

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