For home improvers and professional woodworkers alike, benchtop jointers are a must when working with warped pieces of wood. With its cutter head and combination of knives, it flattens a side of the wood, leaving behind a smooth surface.
Your next woodworking project will be made easier with the right benchtop jointer. In this article, I will review a couple of units worth buying, to see if one (or more) of these tools meets your needs.
My top overall pick is the Rikon 20-600H 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer, which is sufficient for most woodworking projects. It has a helical-style cutter head with six rows and twelve HSS cutters that are ideal for tougher wood types. Helical-style cutter heads are more economical in the long run, since they provide more power with less maintenance.
This unit has a 10-amp motor and a table size of 30 x 6-3/16 inches, to provide more room for jointing. When it comes to durability, this machine doesn’t skimp, due to its all-metal construction that is durable enough to hold heavy wood materials.
As for convenience, it has a quick depth setting mechanism with a scale. Moreover, it has a tilting adjustable fence from 90 to 45 degrees to save you time while still providing accurate outputs.
Among the safety features that I like is the spring-loaded safety guard. The main switch is also at the front for easy access. Moreover, the unit has a 2-1/2-inch dust port that’s ready to connect to your shop vacuum. It is backed by a 5-year warranty as well.
To learn more, read my detailed Rikon 20-600H review.
Things I Like About This Product: The jointer has a helical cutter head with HSS cutters, giving it sufficient power for most wood types. It also has an all-metal construction for added durability.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The fence adjustment could be better in terms of design and safety.
If you prefer a single unit that can accommodate all different kinds of materials, you’ll like the Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Jointer. This jointer has a variable speed of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM, allowing you to choose the appropriate speed depending on the material that you’re working on.
Additionally, this two-knife cutter head has a jackscrew knife leveling arrangement. This allows a faster change in case break or become dull. With a table capacity of up to 6 inches of stock material, and a center-mounted fence (measuring 19.75 x 4.25 inches) that adds support when performing edge jointing, this tool prioritizes accuracy and efficiency.
Likewise, the cutter head lock will also help in terms of safety when you need to adjust or replace the cutter head knives. The fence tilting capacity is up to 45 degrees while it has a cutter head speed of 12,000 to 22,000 CPM (cuts per minute).
With an assembled size of 17.75 x 6.5 inches and with 6-inch blades, it also has a depth adjustment for added accuracy. Additionally, it comes with a shop vacuum adapter compatible with any hose with a 2-1/2-inch diameter. This benchtop jointer is backed by a 3-year limited warranty as well.
To learn more, read my detailed PC160JT review.
Things I Like About This Product: I like the variable speed option to adapt to any material that you’re working on.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: Unfortunately, the knives aren’t helical-style so they aren’t suitable for bigger jobs or brittle hardwoods.
For an entry-level machine, I’d like to suggest the WEN JT630H 10-Amp 6-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer, which has 12 HSS blades with a spiral cutter head system. This makes it sufficient for most woodworking projects. It also has a 30 x 6-inch table that’s suitable for processing common stocks.
When it comes to its adjustable fence, which measures 19-3/4 x 4-1/4 inches, it has up to 45 degrees of beveling. To ensure accuracy when you are jointing your wood material, it has a depth of cut scale. Likewise, it comes with two push blocks for safety and a dust port with a 2-1/2-inch standard size that will fit a variety of common shop vacuums.
In terms of material removal, expect up to 1/8 inch with each pass due to the infeed table adjustability. Aside from that, this benchtop jointer has a spring-loaded blade guard that ensures safety in the workplace, since it only exposes some parts of the cutter head when you’re operating the machine.
With a cutter head speed of up to 12,000 CPM and a 10-amp motor for the most common woodworking tasks, and a 2-year warranty, this is a great benchtop jointer for beginners and casual users.
Things I Like About This Product: It has safety features, such as two push blocks and a spring-loaded blade guard. It also has durable parts, including a cast-iron blade and HSS cutter head blades.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The jointer doesn’t feature variable speed for its cutter head.
Made for the serious woodworker, the JET 718600 JJ-6HHBT 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer is a machine with 14 four-sided, indexable carbide blades for excellent durability and power. Since they are all helical-style, they will work great on tough hardwoods.
Aside from that, the jointer machine is quite sturdy, with a heavy-duty cast iron table set and a cast-iron fence. Like most benchtop jointers, it has a 45-degree adjustable fence, but I particularly like that it has a dual-direction mechanism for convenient beveling. To keep your workplace clean, it has an internal blower motor to remove wood chips and keep the motor and cutter components protected.
With a cutting speed of 10,000 RPM and a 1-HP 15-amp motor, this machine has more of an edge over my other picks when it comes to brittle hardwoods and larger-scale projects. If you want to maintain accuracy throughout your project, then you’ll appreciate it’s easy-to-read depth of cut scale.
I also like the placement of the toggle switch at the front, which even has a removable safety key. With a jointing capacity of 6 inches, the unit has a small footprint so it will be ideal for a workshop that’s already holding many machines.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a powerful 1-HP 15-amp motor and helical blades for tough hardwoods.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The speed is not variable unlike some of my other top picks.
A powerful machine, the Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2 HP 1-Phase Jointer is a jobsite-ready unit that’s ideal for those looking for a standing jointer. With a total of 54 carbide inserts (4-sided), this machine is built for heavy-duty jobs with its 2-horsepower motor.
Since it has a jointing capacity of 8 inches, expect it to easily handle bigger workpieces. As well, it has long tables for supporting larger materials. It even has table surface protection due to the fence design that won’t ruin your material. Speaking of fence tilting, it has a handwheel-operated worm gear system for an easier way of fine-tuning your machine.
Its quick adjustment lever will help you maintain accurate outputs while saving time and effort. It sports a cutting speed of 7,000 RPM, with a 45-degree tilting fence system and a 73-inch long table for wide support. Moreover, it has a 4-inch dust collection port that accomodates bigger vacuums. As it is a heavy-duty jointer, it comes with a helical cutter system for handling tough hardwoods.
Things I Like About This Product: It has an 8-inch jointing capacity, a powerful 2-HP motor, and has a wide table design for supporting bigger workpieces. It also has helical blades which are more effective when handling hardwoods.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The speed is not variable and the housing is not as durable as other models.
The Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer is another choice I’d recommend if you prefer a variable-speed unit, as this machine allows you to select between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM depending on the material that you’re working on. It also has a variable cutter head speed of 12,000 to 22,000 CPM.
As a dual-knife cutter head jointer, it has a jackscrew knife design for easy adjustment and a cutter head lock for safety purposes. This combination of features also allows faster knife replacement when needed. Added to that, it has a center-mounted fence that provides better accuracy when edge jointing.
Powered by a 10-amp motor, this benchtop jointer is ideal for nearly any softwood (and sometimes even hardwood) material that you may work on. It has a standard-sized, 4-1/4 inch fence while also sporting portable design, making it ideal for when you need to move between the garage and the jobsite. This also makes it suitable for the weekend warrior or if your garage doesn’t have enough room for a big machine.
For more information, read my detailed review of the CMEW020 jointer.
Things I Like About This Product: I like this unit’s portability and variable speed features for both the cutting and cutter head speed, allowing you to adjust depending on the wood material. It also has an easy knife-changing design with added safety features.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The outfeed table lacks in durability.
Made with a cutter head speed of 20,000 CPM, the WEN 6559 6-Inch 10-Amp Jointer with Filter Bag and Depth Scale is a powerful machine with a table size of 6-1/4 x 28-1/2 inches to provide extra room for your material. Its two-blade cutter head system with 6-1/8-inch blades, and its 10-amp motor makes it suitable for most woodworking projects.
Among the safety features include a push block and push stick, while it also has an onboard depth scale that will help you to produce accurate results over and over. Aside from that, it has a dual-direction 45-degree bevel capacity for its fence, which measures 20-3/4 x 4-1/2 inches.
For easier clean up, it already comes with a dust filter bag and dust chute that’s compatible with any 2-1/2-inch hose. This means it’s easier to find a suitable shop vacuum for this benchtop jointer.
As well, it has a removal material capacity of up to 1/8 inches deep, and a spring-loaded blade guard which brings added safety. Additionally, it is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: The jointer has a slightly larger capacity than a standard 6-inch unit. It also has a dual-direction bevel capacity and a spring-loaded blade guard for safety. On top of that, it’s easy to set up for dust collection systems.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The table adjustment feature could be more accurate for edge jointing.
Made with a cast iron construction, the Delta 37-071 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer is a stable and accurate choice for a benchtop jointer. Additionally, it has a precision-machined fence and table to make sure each pass is exact. Moreover, it has adjustable positive stops at 90 and 45 degrees, unlike other units that only have 45 degrees.
When it comes to speed, it has 20,000 CPM, making it powerful for the toughest wood materials. Like many of my picks here, it has up to a 1/8-inch depth of cut (adjustable) and a 6-inch max cutting width.
With two chute openings (2-1/4-inch ID and 2-3/8-inch), you have a flexible choice for your dust collection system. What’s more, it has a pretty powerful 12-amp motor. Therefore, it’s suitable for both weekend projects and some jobsite tasks.
It has a fence size of 22-7/8 x 4-5/16 inches and table dimensions of 6-1/4 x 28-1/2 inches. This two-knife system bench jointer weighs 76 pounds and comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a cast-iron fence and table for durability and it has a 90-degree stop for convenience and flexibility between small and large projects.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The handle is too long and it occasionally hits the fence.
The machine with the largest width capacity on my list is the Wahuda Tools 50110CC-WHD 10-Inch Benchtop Jointer, which will appeal to those who almost always work with larger materials. This heavy-duty unit has a spiral cutter head design and 20 four-sided carbide tips for serious material removal power.
What I especially like with this bench jointer is the extensive tilting fence, which goes from 90 to 135 degrees, making it the most flexible model on my list. Replacing blades is also easy due to its mechanism that only requires you to remove a single mounting screw on each insert.
Equipped with adjustable table extensions, this unit runs on a 12-amp 120V motor for sufficient power when working with mid-scale to heavy-duty jobs. Since this benchtop jointer is made in a certified ISO 9001 factory and is CSA approved, expect it to be a workhorse around the jobsite.
Weighing 74 pounds, this sturdy machine is made of cast iron on its table with leveling for coplanar needs. With a 13-3/8-inch height and 22-inch depth, this unit surprisingly has the footprint of an 8-inch unit, despite having a 10-inch jointing width capacity.
Things I Like About This Product: It has a whopping 10-inch width capacity and a wide-tilting fence from 90 to 135 degrees – ideal for large workpieces while having minimal workshop footprint.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying This Product: The leveling system requires some learning curve to figure out at first.
The Methodology: What I Considered When Picking the Benchtop Jointers Featured Above
In choosing the benchtop jointers I mentioned above, I considered different criteria. Here are some of them that may help you with your decision as well:
The smallest width is 6 inches, and the largest on the market coming in at 16 inches. This is the total capacity of lumber that the benchtop jointer will handle.
If you aren’t working much on wide-scale projects, I think it’s best to stick to the usual 6-inch table width. However, if you find yourself working on larger materials, upgrading to 8-inch or even 10-inch table machines is a better choice.
There are also some jointers, such as the WEN 6559 6-Inch 10-Amp Jointer with Filter Bag and Depth Scale, which has a slightly longer table width than a standard 6-inch machine.
Infeed and Outfeed Table
When selecting a benchtop jointer, choose an infeed and outfeed table system that’s not only accurate, but also proportionate to the table length of the unit. A machine with a longer infeed and outfeed table will support much bigger pieces of wood, allowing you to work faster and adapt to different projects regardless of the width capacity of your jointer.
The adjustable fence will vary between different benchtop jointers. The most common machines out there will have up to 45 degrees of tilting, while others have up to 90 degrees. Some units, such as the Wahuda Tools 50110CC-WHD 10-Inch Benchtop Jointer, are more flexible due to the wider fence tilting of up to 135 degrees.
Choosing a benchtop jointer with an easy-to-use adjustable fence will speed up your work without sacrificing accuracy in the long run. It also helps to have added positive stops to save time and effort. If you have a variety of projects at hand, it’s best to go for an adjustable fence with a wider tilting angle.
Part of what makes any power tool or machine for woodworking efficient is the dust collection system or capability. Fortunately, many of the benchtop jointers I mentioned above have a good dust collection system or internal blower, while also featuring easily-compatible dust ports.
Setting up a dust collection system is crucial for any woodworker, because we all know how difficult it is to clean up a workspace covered in sawdust. The most common shop vacuum size is 2-1/2 inches and most benchtop jointers on the market have that size. There are also adapters that you can buy separately if you have a different shop vacuum model.
A 10-amp motor is sufficient for a benchtop jointer to run efficiently, even for the simplest DIY projects. However, if you’re looking for a jobsite-level unit, I recommend around 15 amps and a motor that runs somewhere between 1 HP and 2 HP for a more aggressive output, especially if you are often handling hardwoods.
While most motors are only for 110V systems, there are also benchtop jointers out there that allow 220V rewiring if you need additional power.
Cutter Head Blade
The cutter head blade is the core of a benchtop jointer’s capability. Helical knives are the best choice because they last longer and are more aggressive towards hardwood and other difficult materials. It also helps to have a cutter head system in which the blades are easy to remove and replace, but that doesn’t compromise on safety.
Among the reasons why I prefer helical knives compared to standard or straight knives is because they reduce the machine’s noise output. They are also easier to change in an emergency and produce smaller wood chips, making clean up less of a hassle when you finish your work. This also results in decreased chances of clogging up your machine.
Cutter Head Speed
The speed of your machine will vary somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 RPM while the cutter head speed is typically from 12,000 to 20,000 CPM (cuts per minute). It helps to have a variable-speed motor and cutter head speed, so it will be suitable for different jointing tasks and materials without breaking them (or the machine itself).
Cast iron parts on the machine housing and table are highly recommended if you want durability and stability for your benchtop jointer. After all, added weight means better stability for the machine and that also means better accuracy when operating.
Aside from that, helical knives are also better in terms of durability, since they’re sharpness lasts longer than standard knives. Carbide-tipped units are also a plus point.
Many benchtop jointers have valuable safety features that keep your hands off the blades during operation when feeding and/or repositioning the material. Such safety features are also important when performing maintenance, such as changing the cutter head knives. Look for spring-loaded mechanisms in the cutter head knife section for this, as well as push block systems.
Most benchtop jointers are backed by a warranty period of one to three years, depending on which company manufactured the product. By all means, you should know what’s covered by the warranty, such as the housing/body, the motor, and other parts.
Overall, my top pick is the Rikon 20-600H 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer due to its helical cutter head blades and all-metal construction for jobsite durability. I also like the Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Jointer, which will appeal to those who prefer variable-speed motors to match different material’s needs.
For a budget-friendly option, I’d recommend the WEN JT630H 10-Amp 6-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer, which has sufficient power and safety features for the beginner or weekend woodworker. However, if you’re serious about woodworking, the JET 718600 JJ-6HHBT 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer is for you, with its helical blades and powerful 15-amp motor.
If you prefer a machine that already comes with a stand, our suggestion is the Powermatic 1610086K Model 60HH 8-Inch 2 HP 1-Phase Jointer, which also has helical blades for added power, aside from its motor. Yet another variable speed option is the Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer, allowing you to select between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM for the cutting speed (of 12,000 to 22,000 CPM for the cutter head).
For convenient dust collection, you’ll like the WEN 6559 6-Inch 10-Amp Jointer with Filter Bag and Depth Scale, which also comes with blade safety features and a slightly longer width capacity/table size than a common 6-inch machine.
You will also love the Delta 37-071 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer due to its durable cast iron fence and table while having a 90-degree stop. However, if you prefer working on much bigger jobs, the Wahuda Tools 50110CC-WHD 10-Inch Benchtop Jointer is for you due to its wide table size and wider fence tilting without sacrificing machine footprint in the workshop.