One of the most common ways to join two pieces of wood is by using pocket holes. As you likely know, the one tool that can help you with getting this type of joint done right than any other is the pocket hole jig.
While there are quite a few different models of pocket hole jigs made by a variety of manufacturers on the market, some of the most popular ones are made by Kreg Tool. In fact, Kreg Jig is the name you are the most likely to hear if you ask someone for a recommendation.
In this article, I briefly review three of its most popular products – the Kreg Jig Mini, the R3, and the K4 – to help you figure out which one is the best one for your needs. Before continuing, though, below is a table summarizing the jigs compared in this article.
Kreg Jig Mini
Pocket hole jig with one hole. Can be used on boards with unlimited thickness.
Kreg Jig R3
Pocket hole jig with two holes. Can be used on boards between 1/2 and 1-1/2 inches thick.
Kreg Jig K4
Pocket hole jig with three holes. Comes with a built-in clamping system.
A Quick Look at the Three Kreg Jig Models
While I will look at the differences between the Kreg Jig Mini, the Keg Jig R3, and the Kreg Jig K4, first let’s take a look at each of the three models separately in brief reviews.
Kreg Jig Mini Review
The Kreg Jig Mini is an entry-level product and the simplest one of the three mentioned in this article.
The package includes the jig itself, a drill bit with a stop collar, as well as an Allen wrench for adjusting the position of the stop collar. It does not come with a clamp to hold it securely when in use, and so you will have to get one (such as this one made by Kreg) separately.
Unlike the other two products on this list, the Kreg Jig Mini only features one hole. As such, it is not too practical for complex joinery work. That said, it is perfect for repairs, flooring, as well as working in space-restricted areas.
The jig is designed to be used with materials between 1/2 and 1-1/2 inches thick. However, because it does not have a positioning fence, it can theoretically be used on materials of any thickness as long as you position the jig right.
Kreg Jig R3 Review
The Kreg Jig R3 is the one you should be looking at if you are serious about wood joinery but are on a budget.
It comes with the jig itself, a clamp pad adapter, a drill bit with a depth collar, a driver bit, and an Allen wrench for adjusting the position of the collar. The product is available in a starter kit that includes a clamp and some screws as well.
This jig is equipped with two holes (7/8-inch spacing) that allow for drilling pocket holes on boards that are up to 1-7/8 inches wide without having to reposition the jig. For wider pieces, you will need to move the jig to get the holes in the right spots.
You can use the R3 with boards that are between 1/2 and 1-1/2 inches thick. The centering guide is adjustable in 1/8-inch increments.
Kreg Jig K4 Review
The last pocket hole jig in this list, the Kreg Jig K4 is great if you need something more advanced than the previous two.
This jig comes with a frame that has clamps – both for holding the jig steadily on your workbench as well as the board being worked on against the jig – built into it. Still, if you want to carry it around with you, you can remove the jig from the frame to save space.
The K4 can be used with boards that are between 1/2 and 1-1/2 inches thick, and the centering of the holes can be adjusted in 1/8-inch increments.
Thanks to the fact that the K4 has three holes, it can be used to drill pairs of holes with three different spacings, namely 9/16-inch, 7/8-inch, and 1-7/16-inch. That means you can drill pairs of pocket holes for materials between 1 and 4 inches wide without having to move the jig before drilling the second hole.
Kreg Jig Mini vs. R3 vs. K4: What Are Their Similarities & Differences?
Now that you know the basic information about each product, let’s take a look at how the Kreg Jig Mini, R3, and K4 compare against each other.
Before looking at the differences between the three, though, let’s look at the two things that they have in common:
- Quality: Each of the products is made of glass-filled nylon and features hole cores made of hardened steel. Kreg offers a lifetime warranty on the cores.
- Wood-chip relief: Each of the holes on all three products is equipped with a wood-chip relief hole. That will help you keep the holes clear as you drill, as well as prolong the lifetime of your drill bit.
Now, let’s take a look at the differences between the three models of Kreg Jigs:
- Clamping: While the K4 comes with a clamping system that allows you to secure the jig to your workbench and the wood you’re working on to the jig, the other two do not. As such, if you decide to go with the Kreg Mini or R3, you will have to get a separate clamp.
- Number of holes: The Kreg Jig Mini is equipped with one hole, the R3 with two, and the K4 with three. That means that with the Mini you will have to move the clamp every time you want to drill a second hole. With the R3, you will be able to do so without moving the clamp when working with boards up to 1-7/8 inches wide. With the K4, it’s up to 4 inches wide.
- Material thickness: The Mini can be used on materials of any thickness. The other two are limited to materials between 1/2 and 1-1/2 inches thick.
- Cost: As you can guess, generally, the Kreg Jig Mini is the cheapest of the three, followed by the R3, and then the K4. However, Don’t forget to also account for the cost of the time you might spend having to move and readjust the jigs when working with wider boards.
If the above is not enough information for you to study the differences between the three Kreg Jigs, you can check the manual for each of the products through the links below:
If you read through the above, you should have a pretty good idea about which of the three Kreg Jig pocket jigs – the Mini, the R3, or the K4 – is the best for your needs. If you don’t, keep on reading.
In most cases, I would recommend you to get the Kreg Jig R3 which offers great cost-performance. With its two holes, it will be the right tool for most of the joints you will need to do.
That is unless you are planning on working a lot with boards that are fairly wide. In that case, I recommend the Kreg Jig K4 which has three holes and also comes with a built-in clamping system.
Finally, if you only need to drill a pocket hole every now and then and are looking for the most affordable solution, get the Kreg Jig Mini.