Porter-Cable Jointer Review: Is the PC160JT Worth Buying?

Porter-Cable Jointer Review: Is the PC160JT Worth Buying?

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If you’re a woodworker who handles different kinds of wood, as well as multiple pieces during your projects, then the Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Jointer is a worthy machine to look into. Thanks to its variable speed and easy-change knife, you’ll enjoy increased productivity whether you work in a home garage or at a jobsite.

If you want to know more about the Porter-Cable PC160JT Jointer, I made a review below listing its features, specs, pros, and cons to help you decide whether this model is the right choice for you or not.

 

Reviewed Product

Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Jointer

A compact and flexible jointer with variable speed. With its easy-change knife, it is a great choice for those frequently working on different sizes and kinds of wood.

 

This benchtop jointer is known for a wide range of woodworking projects due to its flexible speed and ample space for a majority of materials. It will support stock for edge jointing, face jointing, and flattening.

Specifications

With a variable speed range of 6,000 to 11,000 RPM (with 12,000 to 22,000 CPM), you’ll be able to choose the right speed for your project and needs. This prolongs the knives lifespan and sharpness, because you can select a lower speed for softer woods.

Additionally, it has a center-mounted fence that measures 19.75 x 4.25 inches for adequate support for your material to maintain accuracy. As with many benchtop jointers on the market, it has a 6-inch width and 30-inch length capacity, allowing most stock to fit in. The entire jointer measures 32.1 x 12.4 x 11.2 inches, weighs 35 pounds, and comes with two push blocks for safe operation.

The machine has 6-inch blades and accepts up to 0.125 (1/8) inch thickness of the material. It also has a rabbeting depth of 0.0625 inches. The benchtop jointer is powered by a 10-amp 120V motor.

Porter-Cable Jointer in Use

Quality

This jointer comes with a two-year warranty from the manufacturer to put your mind at ease. Nonetheless, it has durability features such as quality steel blades, and a cast aluminum fence and table. This reduces the risk corrosion in humid environments, although you do have to secure it to a heavy base.

Usability

There are many usability features found on this benchtop jointer. For instance, it has a depth adjustment that allows you to conveniently adjust the thickness to your liking. It also has a center-mounted fence that adds support when you’re working on any jointing job.

Aside from that, it has a jackscrew knife leveling arrangement to adjust your knives without hassle. This convenient mechanism also allows you to replace the knives when they wear down.

Another safety feature that I like is the built-in lock for the cutter head, which is also aided by the two push blocks. Having a benchtop jointer (or any wood cutting machine, for that matter) with a plethora of safety features will keep your mind at ease with every project you make.

Last, but not least, the variable speed feature is a plus point for any powered machine. It allows you to decrease wear and tear on the cutter head knives when working on small projects.

Should You Buy the Porter-Cable PC160JT Jointer?

The Porter-Cable PC160JT is a great jointer for you if you find yourself jumping between different woodworking projects that require different cutting speeds or materials. Whether you’re a weekend warrior who’s just getting into the hobby or if you work on a jobsite, this jointer has sufficient power, usability, and safety features worth investing in.

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

Pros of the Porter-Cable PC160JT

Let’s start with the pros.

It has a variable speed option.

Allowing you to choose between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM (with 12,000 to 22,000 CPM) is a great plus point for this jointer because you’ll have a longer knife lifespan. For example, if you only need to work with softwoods then you don’t need a higher speed, which is best reserved for the hardwoods such as oak, maple, and ash.

Choosing the right speed for your current project will also decrease the workload placed on the motor, lengthening the lifespan for the machine as a whole. What’s more, switching between speeds useful when working with delicate materials or projects where a high-speed unit would not be suitable (or might break the material).

The knife is easy to change.

With its jackscrew knife leveling arrangement, you’ll worry less about managing the cutter head with safety and ease. This feature also boosts productivity because you’ll spend less time configuring the machine and more time working on your material and getting the job done.

It has a center-mounted fence.

If you’re looking for solid material support and reduced errors, the center-mounted table is a fantastic feature. Throughout cutting, this fence design will increase accuracy and reduce the likelihood of errors.

The machine has a lock for the cutter head.

When it comes to safety features, the lock is a superb one. It keeps the knives safe to replace and without wasting time. It also allows you to adjust them properly and conveniently.

PORTER-CABLE Benchtop Jointer, Variable Speed, 6-Inch (PC160JT)

Cons of the Porter-Cable PC160JT

Even though the Porter-Cable PC160JT is a great tool, there are a few cons worth noting as well.

The knives aren’t helical-style.

Although this jointer’s knives are okay for most jobs, I think it would be much more powerful and durable if it had helical-style knives. Such knives last longer because of their design.

The knife bed could be designed better.

Although the knife bed works just fine, it needs a little fine-tuning to make adjustability much easier.

What Are the Alternatives to the Porter-Cable PC160JT?

Alternative to Portable Cable Jointer If the Porter-Cable PC160JT simply isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry – I have some other alternatives below for you to choose from:

The Craftsman CMEW020 10-Amp Benchtop Jointer (read my review) is a similar variable-speed machine, with a selection between 6,000 and 11,000 RPM (cutting speed) and 12,000 to 22,000 CPM (cutter head speed). Like the Porter-Cable benchtop jointer, it also has a jackscrew knife design for easy adjustment, as well as a center-mounted fence. It even has a similar lock for the cutter head to keep it secure. Neither of the models have helical-style knives, but they do have a simple mechanism for knife replacement.

If you want a helical style cutter, the Rikon 20-600H 6-Inch Benchtop Jointer (read my review) is for you. This machine has an adjustable fence of 90 to 45 degrees and has an easy depth adjustment for increased productivity. Although this unit lacks a little in design quality of the fence, it’s still a great jointer for a wide range of woodworking projects.

Yet another similar machine is the WEN JT630H 10-Amp 6-Inch Spiral Benchtop Jointer, which has up to 12,000 CPM for its cutter head speed, powered by a 10-amp motor. It has a spring-loaded blade guard so it’s a little similar in terms of safety features. Like most benchtop jointers, it comes with a 2-1/2-inch dust port and two push blocks. The machine is also quite durable due to the cast iron construction.

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

Summary

As a whole, the Porter-Cable PC160JT is a great jointer for all-around woodworking. It might not have a helical-style set of knives but it has a variable speed that allows you to adapt to different kinds of wood materials, both hard and soft. Flexibility in the garage or job site is always a great benefit from a benchtop jointer to save time and effort.

 

Reviewed Product

Porter-Cable PC160JT 6-Inch Variable Speed Jointer

A compact and flexible jointer with variable speed. With its easy-change knife, it is a great choice for those frequently working on different sizes and kinds of wood.