Craftsman Jointer Review: Is the CMEW020 Worth Getting?

Handyman's World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Craftsman Jointer Review: Is the CMEW020 Worth Getting?

If you often switch between different project scales and wood materials, the Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer is a great machine for you. Powered by a variable-speed motor and a powerful dual-knife cutter head, this benchtop jointer is a well-rounded unit for tackling face jointing, flattening, and edging jobs.

Are you curious about the Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer? Do you want to know about its features, specs, pros, and cons? Keep on reading my review below to find out more.


Reviewed Product

Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer

An overall great benchtop jointer for both the home improvement DIYer and the woodworking professional. It features variable speed options and is sufficient for most jointing tasks.


As a benchtop jointer for general woodworking projects, this tool is adaptable to various wood materials, due to its variable speed and sufficient motor power. Therefore, whether you’re a serious woodworker or simply a weekend warrior, this jointer will suit your needs.


This benchtop jointer boasts a variable speed option, which allows you to pick any value between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM (cutting speed) and 12,000 to 22,000 CPM (cutter head speed). This makes the machine suitable and adaptable to various situations, as well as different material thickness and hardness.

Like many benchtop jointers on the market today, this model has a two-knife cutter head arrangement. The jointer has a heavy-duty 10-amp motor which is powerful enough for most woodworking tasks. It has a fence size of 4-1/4 inches, providing sufficient support for regular and edge jointing.


The Craftsman CMEW020 is backed by a 90-day money-back guarantee. As for durability, it has a heavy-duty motor and a center-mounted fence that stabilizes the machine, which also supports its durability and accuracy. This makes it ideal for both hardwood and softwood projects.

As for its construction, it has a heavy-duty design but doesn’t take a lot of space. You may find this useful for small-scale home garages or job sites.


When it comes to usability, the benchtop jointer has a lot to show. For instance, knife changes are easy thanks to its jackscrew knife leveling arrangement. This also puts safety as a priority because you’ll have less risk of contact with the dangerous part of the cutter head.

This mechanism also allows easy adjustment of the knife system. Moreover, I like that it has a cutter lock to prevent accidents and to maintain accuracy throughout your project.

The variable speed feature also counts as a usability advantage because it allows you to adapt to different situations. For instance, the machine is suitable for both hardwoods and regular wood due to this feature. What I find the most useful from the variable speed feature is that it lengthens the longevity of your knives. You don’t have to use intense speeds with softer wood and it also uses less motor power.

Should You Buy the Craftsman CMEW020 Jointer?

The Craftsman CMEW020 is best for both home improvements and serious projects because of its versatility. It’s also suitable for home garages or job sites where space is a luxury. Whether you’re handling hardwood or softwood, the variable speed allows you to fine-tune the machine without overworking the knives in the cutter head.

If you are still unsure about the decision, go through the below list of the pros and cons of the tool.

Pros of the Craftsman CMEW020

Let’s start with the pros.

It has a variable speed feature.

The variable speed feature allows you to choose between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM for its cutting speed, and 12,000 to 22,000 CPM for its cutter head speed. This allows you to adjust depending on the material that you’re working on.

For example, it allows flexibility for nearly all types of wood without ruining your knives in the process. You don’t have to use a higher speed for softer wood and thus, it will add to the overall lifespan of your cutter head knives.

The machine doesn’t take up a lot of space.

With a portable design, this benchtop jointer won’t cost you a lot of space inside your workshop. This makes it suitable for home garages, as well as job sites that have limited areas for a large machine. However, this portability doesn’t compromise on the material capacity of the jointer.

Changing the cutter head knives is easy.

Due to the jackscrew knife leveling arrangement, it will be easy to change the knife when it gets worn out. Adjusting it when needed will also be simple. Having a convenient way to maintain the cutter head knives will keep you productive because you end up spending less time on adjusting and more time on working on your material.

The jointer has many safety features.

What I like about this benchtop jointer is the built-in cutter lock. This will keep you safe from accidents during operation and when changing or adjusting the knives in the cutter head. After all, safety is important regardless of your skill and your expertise with handling a jointer (or any jobsite machinery, for that matter).

Cons of the Craftsman CMEW020

Even though the Craftsman CMEW020 is a great tool, there are a few cons worth noting as well.

It doesn’t have helical-style knives.

I would’ve liked this unit more if it did have helical-style knives, because it would add to its overall durability and maintenance ease. Helical knives are convenient in terms of blade replacement because they are reversible. This means the tool requires less frequent blade changes as compared to a regular set of knives on a benchtop jointer cutter head.

The outfeed table could be better.

Lacking durability, the outfeed table could be better designed to improve the hold on the materials. Although this is a minor con, I do hope that the manufacturers would address this design flaw in future models.

What Are the Alternatives to the Craftsman CMEW020?

Alternative to Craftsman Jointer If the Craftsman CMEW020 simply didn’t meet your preferences, here are some other benchtop jointers that we’d like to suggest:

A similar adaptable machine you might like is the Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Jointer (read my review), which varies between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM of cutting speed. It is also a dual-knife system and it has a center-mounted fence well for support and accuracy. Moreover, it has a shop vacuum adapter and up to 45 degrees of fence tilting.

The WEN 6559 6-Inch 10-Amp Jointer is a comparable option with similar specifications, save for the little extra width of 6-1/4 inches. However, do know that this jointer doesn’t have variable speed, although the cutter head speed of 20,000 CPM is already a hefty number. It also has good shop vacuum capability due to the 2-1/2-inch dust port.

Another similar machine to consider is the Delta 37-071 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer, which has 20,000 CPM for its cutter head speed as well. Since it has two chute openings, it’s suitable for different types of dust extraction setups. Likewise, it has a cast iron construction and precision-machined fence and table for durability. As for the stops, it has both 45 and 90 degrees to choose from.

Finally, make sure to also check my overview of the best benchtop jointers on the market.


Overall, the Craftsman CMEW020 is a great benchtop jointer for all levels of skills and nearly any woodworker. Because of its variable speed, it will adapt to nearly any project while also preserving the lifespan of your cutter head knives. Although it doesn’t have helical knives, it will be sufficient for most jointing tasks.


Reviewed Product

Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer

An overall great benchtop jointer for both the home improvement DIYer and the woodworking professional. It features variable speed options and is sufficient for most jointing tasks.