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Five Best Budget Jointer – In-depth Product Reviews and Buying Guide

After many years working with wood and interacting with other people in the industry, I have discovered that there are two extremes- woodworkers who prefer to take shortcuts and those that want to follow the processes of our grandfathers. The first group will only work with wood that is already cut to preferred sizes. For the second group, having a hand planer and saw is enough. If you are looking for the best budget jointer, it means that you lie in between. To help you create the best craft possible, I have covered a few of the top inexpensive jointers, because the initial investment for a jointer can be cost-prohibitive. Yes, it might a little bit difficult to find a quality jointer for less than one grand, but I think the following products make excellent choices.

Now, to save you time, the PORTER-CABLE PC160JT is our top pick for cheap jointer but if you can spend a bit more, the Cutech 40160H-CT is another excellent affordable product to buy.

Check them out!

Our Six Best Budget Jointers with Reviews

Here are the top budget jointers in the market.

1.    RIKON Power Tools 20-600H 6″ Benchtop Jointer with Helical Cutter head

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We can all agree that RIKON Power Tools is not your most popular jointer brand, but the 6-inch 20-600H deserves to open this list of the best budget jointers in the market. If you are looking to achieve a lot in terms of flattening your wood and save lots of money on the tool, then you need to consider this item.

A standout feature is definitely the all-steel construction that gives the jointer a unique appearance. Machined aluminum tables and generally tough accessories define the seemingly durable product.

If you are an amateur woodworker, this budget jointer will be ideal for you, as the cutting capacity is moderate. The powerful 10 AMP motor, high-speed steel insert knives and relatively large 30” x6-3/16” table combine perfectly to make a well-balanced jointer for DIY jobs.

Also worth mentioning is the 6-row helical-style cutter head with 12 HSS, 2-insert cutters, which makes cutting flawless. While it has problems dealing with super large lumber, there are always creative ways of supporting such works.

Pros

  • Compact
  • Easy to use
  • Quiet
  • Portable- 36 pounds only

Cons

  • Several passes needed
  • Problematic locking mechanism- fence

2.      POWERTEC BJ600 Bench Jointer with Built-In Dust Collection, 6-1/8-Inch

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Are you searching for a heavy and pocket-friendly jointer for your larger pieces of wood? My second pick for cheap jointer on this list is the Powertec BJ600 as fits this role perfectly. It is strong, versatile and user-friendly, so you need to check it out.

The in feed table, out feed table and fence are made from cast iron. The total weight of the product is 79 pounds, so it is quite solid. It carries a universal 12 Amps motor that can deliver 1/8-Inch. Max cutting depth.

It is ideal for fast removal of stock, a capability that is highly aided by the built-in dust collection system. A full size dust bag is included.

I really loved the fact that the jointer tilts 45 degrees both inward and outward; it is possible to make bevel and chamfer cuts. It is also highly safe thanks to the Safety Power Switch Lock.

Pros

  • Durable
  • User safe
  • Self-cleaning

Cons

  • User manual somehow unclear
  • Complaints of defects

3.    Delta Power Tools 37-071 6 Inch MIDI-Bench Jointer – Good for small shops

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A heavy-duty jointer that offers accurate results is the dream of every woodworker. I love this 6-inch jointer from Delta Power Tools because it brings a revolutionary performance that also presents a powerful motor.

As is the norm with all Delta tools, this product has one of the most reliable constructions, characterized by a durable cast iron design, which increases weight providing stability and reducing vibration. With its reliable motor, the jointer boasts of up to 1/8″ depth of cut and 20, 000 cuts per minute.

Users like the accuracy that comes from the heavy-duty, cast iron fence support system. In addition, the tool presents admirable versatility from the adjustable positive stops at 90˚ and 45˚ in and out, from the fence adjust system.

Pros

  • Compact design
  • Five-year warranty
  • Durable
  • Absorbs vibration

Cons

  • Relatively heavy
  • Poor dust port design

4.    PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6″ Jointer – Best Cheap

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The PORTER-CABLE brand is one of my favorite brands because they never disappoint when it comes to motor power and features. In fact, the PC160JT is my top pick for the best cheap jointer. There are several standout features on this affordable tool; a reason why I could not leave it out.

The extra-large table is one such feature. Stock of as much as 6″ width will fit into it easily. The powerful variable motor provides the power necessary to machine a wide range of timber sizes, as it delivers Cutter head speed of between 12, 000 to 22, 000 CPM.

Compared to others in this class, this jointer offers performance that is out of this world. It comes with many features that enhance user comfort and efficient results. Moreover, it is easy to use.

Some of the features that make it one of the best budget jointers are jackscrew knife leveling and center-mounted fence for easy knife replacement and accurate edge jointing respectively.

Pros

  • Sizeable table and dust port
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Powerful variable speed motor

Cons

  • Substandard fence

5.    Cutech 40160H-CT 6″ Bench Top Spiral Cutterhead Jointer – Best Value

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This CuTech product may be on the fourth spot, but it is not inferior in any form. Indeed, it offers some of the top ruggedness and results compared to others in its class. Its list of quality features says all about the commitment to quality for all cadres of woodworkers.

Small-scale professionals will find this 40-pound heavy unit relevant because it is built with space limitation and job variety in mind. While toughly constructed and fitted with a 120 VOLT 10 AMP motor, this unit is easy to transport to the job site if necessary.

Recently, CuTech overhauled and redesigned the spiral cutterhead to create more capacity and enhance user-friendliness. Woodworkers and other users appreciate this as a great improvement. Features that really impressed me are the 12 HSS Inserts on the Cutterhead and degree tilt range of the table.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Unreliable helical cutterhead

6.    JET 708457DXK JJ-6CSDX 6-Inch 1 HP Jointer with Quick-Set Knive System, 115/230-Volt 1-Phase

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While this jointer is probably the priciest on this list, it is still relatively affordable at slightly more than $1000. Compared to the quality the unit offers for both pros and beginners, I consider it as one of the best priced in the market today.

Cast iron construction for handwheels, fence, table, and knobs means that the jointer will withstand hits and knocks for many years. The three knives on the Cutterhead promote longevity of the unit even further. The sturdy and heavy table is good for the stability and accuracy of the work. The fan cooled 1hp motor is housed in the base cabinet.

As a long table unit, you can achieve a lot in terms of stock size. The flat precision-machined finish of the table enhances accuracy, as the wood slides effortlessly along. Use the handy handwheels to make height adjustments to customize the results.

On the user safety front, I cannot fail to note the Automatic Limiter feature. With this, you cannot make the mistake of cutting deeper than 1/8 inches. If you need higher convenience, you can override this feature easily. User convenience is top-notch with the convenient buttons and reliable debris disposal system.

Pros

  • Consistent 6000 RPM speed
  • Double tilting fence
  • Versatile
  • User convenience

Cons

  • Heavy
  • May still vibrate if not properly stabilized

Buying Guide To Get A Good Quality Jointers For Cheap

What is a Jointer?

Before buying a jointer, take some time to know its parts and the operation principle. When it comes to stock dressing, there is what woodworkers call the Trinity, which is made up of thickness planer, table saw, and jointer. While usually the least understood, a jointer is probably the simplest in design and easiest to use.

The basic components of the jointer are a pair of leveled tables, sharp blades, and a cutter head. The stock goes to the out-feed table from the in-feed table, but it passes over the cutting head in between the two tables. Height adjustment is on the in feed table only. Some of the components to expect on the jointer are blade guard, sturdy stand, fence, motor, and non-marring fence insert. Others are knife system, hand wheels, and dust port.

Types of Jointers

While every jointer does the same job, the practicality for different situations depends on the design. Three types of jointers that are common are Long Bed Jointer, Bench Top Jointer and Closed Stand Jointer. If you are wondering which version you should buy, I will define each of these briefly.

Of the three types, the benchtop jointer is generally the smallest, as it is limited to 6-inches wide boards. It can only straighten the faces and edges of such wood. If you have a smaller project, this is the equipment to get.

In your forays in the marketplace, you will discover that the Closed Stand Jointer is the most-talked-about version. Currently, it is available in four sizes: 6, 8, 12 and 16 inches.

If you were interested in something that is highly mobile, I would recommend the open stand jointer. The only drawback I have seen in this category is relatively higher noise.

Each of these types has unique pros and cons that can either support or hinder your projects, based on the following:

  • Your frequency of transportation
  • Level or complexity of wood cutting
  • Whether it is for stationary setting

Remember that you could come across other versions in the market because locations and applications matter. Hence, there could be other categorizations such as Grapevine, Heavy Duty, Acrylic and Barrel Jointers among others.

What to look for when you have a low budget for a jointer

When you are buying the best budget jointer, you need to remember a few features that you don’t want to miss out:

  • Adjustable fence: You cannot afford to overlook an adjustable fence because you want to make sure that the jointer is accurate always. In addition, some pieces will need support when you tilt the angles.
  • Tables (out-feed and in-feed): When considering the tables, one of the areas to focus on is the length. With a longer table, you can work on larger pieces of wood. If you are looking for the longest tables, perhaps you need to look beyond benchtop jointers, as they are usually restricted to about 28 inches length. A stand-mount design can be ideal if you are looking to make tables, doors, and similarly long items.
  • Cutting Depth: Even the most powerful and expensive jointers take several runs to remove the required stock. However, that does not mean that you should not get a budget jointer with good cutting depth. You do not want a machine that will need five passes to get the surface done. The cutting depth determines the amount of material removed per every pass. Note that the aim is to remove between ¼ and ½ of an inch from both sides of the board, so choose your jointer carefully.
  • Motor Power: when looking for the most affordable jointer in the market, make sure that is has enough power for all your jobs. There is no need of buying a jointer that will have problems handling even the lightest tasks. In my opinion, a 1hp motor is the least you should get. This should help you handle challenging jobs, even hardwood.
  • Dust Collection:  It is also important to get a cheap jointer that has a dust collection feature. Jointers produce lots of debris and dust that can affect health if not handled properly. If you do not have a dust collection component, you may have to clean the area regularly. This can be a lot of work and can waste a lot of time.
  • Cutter Head Speed: Cutter head speed is measured in terms of cuts per minute (CPM). I consider anything in the range of 10,000 CPM ideal for most workshop jobs; double this would be awesome. However, remember to make sure this speed balances with the strength of the swipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q1: Which are the leading brands for jointers?

A: Some of the firms manufacturing good budget jointers are Grizzly, Delta, Powermatic and JET. They all make very good inexpensive jointers.

  • Q2: What is the major difference between a jointer and a planer?

A: The planer vs. jointer is a never-ending debate. Despite the misunderstanding, these tools remain crucial for any woodworker. Perhaps it is because of the similar operation of these tools that confusion is common. To machine a wood surface, the two feature a rotary drum that carries blades. However, a planer cannot do the work of a jointer, and vice versa. That is because there is a huge difference in design: The blades in a jointer are located below the wood, while they are located above the wood in a planer. That makes interchangeability of the two tools impossible.

  • Q3: How is the size of the jointer determined?

A: The size of a jointer is determined by the size of the knife, meaning that the largest jointer will machine widest board. Even in the absence of an auxiliary extension, a good budget jointer should machine wood twice the bed length. In other words, blade size and bed length determine the size of stock a jointer can accommodate.

  • Q4: What must one do when jointing?

A: Like for any other machining process, jointing calls for extreme safety. Accidents and mistakes do happen, so it pays to observe all the cautionary measures.

  • Q5: What are the maintenance requirements of a jointer?

A: Regular maintenance of a jointer is crucial, especially because any table imbalance can render the tool ineffective. The most important tune-ups for the tool include table alignment, squaring of the fence, knife setting, and out-feed table adjustment.

Conclusion

Whether you are doing professional or personal tasks, each of the discussed budget jointers is perfect. The differences in function, size, and power are just a factor of different user preferences and tastes. I would like to know which of the products impresses you the most. For me, the PORTER-CABLE PC160JT Variable Speed 6″ Jointer tops the list because it brings speed variability, sizeable table, and powerful motor. The product’s competitive price crowns it all. When you get your product, keep it clean, perform the required tune-ups, and above all use the jointer safely for a rewarding experience. If you have any questions or comments, please share in the comments or get in touch with me via Jack.Toildrop@gmail.com

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